Recently Dave joined me this month in trick training and just overall training our parrots new things... and one of the ideas he had was training them all to fly through hoops! So we got home hula hoops from our local Walgreens and started the training immediately.
Dave had already trained Tiko, his brother's blue and gold macaw, how to do this and he and his bro teach is on their trick training course. However, teaching our flock was different because without knowing anything about how to train the behavior, I started first with Bondi. And instead of having her fly away from me and to a perch through the hoop, I had to fly through the hoop to get to me. So it sort of "set the pace" for how the others would be trained.
We tried the training with almost all of our flock, everyone except for two of our macaws (Tusa and Jinx; a camelot and blue throated macaw) but only because we ran out of time in the day.
Surprisingly enough Bondi, our galah, did the worst. She kept jumping onto the hoop and then flying the rest of the way. She loves prop trick training and learning new things, but as far as flight is concerned she only wants to do it when it's on her own time and it's to someone new that she likes. Or she will do it great with using touch training but on its own, she doesn't enough flight as much as the others do.
Our Congo African Grey parrot, Cressi, ended up being the best at flying through the hoop!
Photo by Jamieleigh Location: Orlando, Florida Flying: Congo African Grey "Cressi"
She even flew under, above and on the side just to make sure those were the wrong things to do. When she wants to go back, she will do the behavior 100% wrong so that we will stop training. However, we make sure to wait it out and she doesn't get to stop training until she has ended on a good note and done the behavior right.
You want to try to pick up on your bird's signs that they are done training BEFORE they refuse to train anymore so training always stays fun. Sometimes though, we get so excited they are doing well that we never want it to end!
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.