Some parrots (like the Sulfphur Crested Cockatoo in the video above) LOVE performing tricks for people like you and me. Others are quite camera and crowd shy, and that's OK, too. But for those parrots that love being the "hams" and center of attention... they should be allowed to show off their skills to all that are willing to watch. These are the "performing parrots" of the flocks. If you have never introduced your bird to a toy that it can really do something with, not only are you missing out but your bird is missing out even more on the opportunity to learn something REALLY fun.
Photo by Dave Location: The View Skyride, St. Thomas, USVI Performing Parrot: Sulfphur Crested CockatooI'm not claiming every bird has this inner yearning to learn how to ride a play bicycle but if you never even offer it, then how do you know? The cockatoo in the video loved riding his bike so much that his reward for doing it, was just that, riding the bike! That is how much he liked it. Now, during the training process it wasn't his reward but once he got it down and really started to get into it, it became his reward. When I was curious about the bike, the trainer brought it down for me and the cockatoo immediately got excited from his perch. She told me he would and gladly took him off his perch and let him ride up and down the walk as much as he wanted and actually... she had to finally put an end to it because he wouldn't have! It was so cute to see the parrot enjoying performing so much. It just goes to prove as a reminder to work with your bird's natural likes and dislikes. And constantly offer new toys and tricks for him to learn to expand his horizons and fear thresholds. If you don't know where to get your toys, here's a start:
The biggest tips when training are to make it fun and keep it short! Make sure to use your bird's natural abilities when training tricks. I recommend buying a few so that your options are open and you can let your bird choose which one he wants to do. If he loves to manipulate things with his beak and use his beak a lot, the memory game will be more his style and easier for him to learn because he already has an interest in picking up objects. If your parrot is more interested in using his feet to manipulate objects or likes to slide around on fabric and so on, he may be more interested in learning how to use those fancy roller skates or the scooter. Keep in mind what your bird already does well when buying these types of toys for your parrot.
Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots whom she shares the stage with.
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