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Question about teaching flight recall

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Question about teaching flight recall

Postby Andromeda » Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:08 pm

My brown-headed parrot knows how to fly, but he doesn't do it very often and he's not very good at actually ending up where he intends to go so I'm working on flight recall with him.

He already knows how to target, turn in a circle, wave, and step-up.

I've been working on flight recall with him for about 10 days now. I work with him about 3 times a day. I'm using Michael's training perches.

He'll step from perch to perch no problem.

The problem I'm having is that no matter how far apart the perches are he rarely uses his wings at all. I keep waiting for him to "slip" and have to flap to regain height but it's just not happening.

He always leads with his beak so even if the perches are really far apart he leans out as far as he can and catches the very tip of his beak on the other perch. Using his beak as an "anchor" he then stretches his foot an almost impossible length across the gap until he can reach the other perch. Then he just uses his beak and foot to pull himself up. Sometimes he even ends up upside down and has to use his beak to pull himself up on top of the perch again. It looks like a ton of effort but that's what he's settled on doing as opposed to flying.

Maybe he just needs more time. If he does, that's fine, but I don't want to teach him the "wrong" thing, either. Is there something I can change?

I've tried placing the perches just outside of the reach of his beak but when I do that he refuses to move, no matter how much time I give him.

I've also modeled the behavior with my GCC and he watches as my GCC flies across a small gap from perch to perch.
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Andromeda
Poicephalus
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
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Location: Florida
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: brown-headed parrot, green cheek conure
Flight: Yes

Re: Question about teaching flight recall

Postby Michael » Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:06 pm

Just gotta progress farther apart until he has to flap to make it across. If he was previously clipped he may not know how to fly and wings are atrophied. If you keep trying, he's bound to figure it out eventually. This method has worked for me and others with both flighted and once clipped parrots.
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Michael
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Gender: This parrot forum member is male
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Flight: Yes

Re: Question about teaching flight recall

Postby Andromeda » Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:19 pm

Michael wrote:Just gotta progress farther apart until he has to flap to make it across. If he was previously clipped he may not know how to fly and wings are atrophied. If you keep trying, he's bound to figure it out eventually. This method has worked for me and others with both flighted and once clipped parrots.


Thanks for the response, Michael. I have no problem with just trying it until it eventually works but I wanted to make sure that in the meantime I wasn't teaching the "wrong" behavior (since he never flaps and I'm unable to "capture" him flapping his wings with the clicker).
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Andromeda
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Gender: This parrot forum member is female
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Location: Florida
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: brown-headed parrot, green cheek conure
Flight: Yes

Re: Question about teaching flight recall

Postby Michael » Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:53 pm

Well what you should be clicking for is targeting (this is why this behavior should be done with target and not lure and not click for jump). You're teaching them to come to target and reward for that. Just along the process you try to screw them into misjudging it, falling, and instinctively trying to flap across.

There are other methods but I don't like them too much. There's throwing the bird and letting him figure it out in air, making him unsteady on your arm to flap and fly off, etc. The problem is they hurt your relationship with the parrot in the process so not a great thing to do.

You can try changing the height between stands a little. I never had to do this but this might encourage the flap. Either going from a slightly lower to slightly higher perch or vice versa. I can almost imagine a flap being required going up. Say the gap between stands if 4-6 inches and the top stand is 4-6 inches higher. The bird can just almost step up that high to get up but needs a flap of the wings to push upward more. Worth a shot.

You can also play a cheap move by pushing a stand a little further away as he's making the hop. You gotta get it right on the first try or he may not trust you to do it that way again. When he makes the hop to the maximum distance when it's too late to go back, you stand by and move the second stand just a bit further so he can't make it there without flapping. Believe me, this is all the longest part. Once they make it across a few times flapping, you get to progress very quickly.
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Michael
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Gender: This parrot forum member is male
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Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, Cape Parrot, Green-Winged Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Question about teaching flight recall

Postby Andromeda » Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:07 pm

Thanks for the suggestions, Michael. I am clicking for the targeting. He's very good at going where I target him. I never "lure" and I always keep the treats out of sight.

He is a very cautious bird and he holds grudges for a long, long time over small incidents so I would never, ever throw him or purposefully make him unsteady in order to get him to fly.

He doesn't "hop" and that's kind of part of the problem. I've never seen him hop once in the 4 years I've had him. He is very deliberate and cautious with all of his movements, so he will step from perch to perch at a very short distance but any further and he starts leading with his beak. If he can't reach it with his beak he won't budge.

I'll try changing the heights, that's a good idea. Anything I can change that wouldn't cause mistrust but would encourage flapping is worth a try.
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Andromeda
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Gender: This parrot forum member is female
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Location: Florida
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: brown-headed parrot, green cheek conure
Flight: Yes

Re: Question about teaching flight recall

Postby Michael » Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:12 pm

Sounds like Kili before she became flighted. She never hopped when she was clipped. Makes sense, too risky. Since she's been flighted she leaps from perch to perch or shoulder haphazardly. Who cares if she misses and falls down? She can always catch herself on the wing. Yet another important reason for not clipping parrots.
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Michael
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 6198
Location: New York
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, Cape Parrot, Green-Winged Macaw
Flight: Yes


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