Training Birds to go Upside Down

Photo by David Location: Orlando, FL Upside down: Galah"Bondi" 

The first bird I ever trained to go upside down and do the "bat" was my galah, Bondi, who is currently 4 years old. The second bird I trained to do the bat impression was my blue throated macaw, Jinx, and most recently I trained my 1.5 year old Congo African Grey parrot, Cressi, to do it.

Photo by David Location: Orlando, FL Upside down: Macaw "Jinx" 

I have to say, I got better at training it every time I did it again. And Cressi is probably the BEST that I have trained.

With Bondi, I was merely taking a trick I'd seen performed on stage by magician Rick Thomas (with his Moluccan cockatoo) and copying it with my bird. My mind didn't go any further with the trick than that. But when it came to training Jinx the same thing, I thought, I should try to get him to HELP himself go over instead of ME doing it TO him... So that was my thought process training Jinx. When it came to Cressi, I took it a step further and thought, The bird should be the one DOING the trick, not the person. So my idea of the whole trick changed from me turning the bird upside down via a cue, to the BIRD turning ITSELF upside down given a cue.  

Photo by David Location: Orlando, FL Upside down: African Grey "Cressi" 

To demonstrate the difference of what these look like, I made a video showing you how every bird does it differently. Hopefully you can see that they are conveying my EXACT thought process of what I wanted out of the trick. And as I got better, the bird got better and learned faster.

 

Pretty cool, huh?

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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