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Flighted Parrot Landing on Couch

Discuss indoor freeflight and managing freeflighted birds around the house. How to live with a flighted parrot.

Flighted Parrot Landing on Couch

Postby Michael » Thu Oct 01, 2009 2:49 pm

My Senegal Parrot Kili has been flighted for a few weeks now as her feathers have been coming back in since her original clipping.

She is generally well behaved and doesn't land too many places she's not supposed to. But the fact is I spend a lot of time on my couch (not that I'm a couch potato but my computer displays on my TV screen so I do everything on there) so when she is freeflying and wants to come to me, she finds it most convenient to land on my couch to get my attention. It's not even the poop I'm so worried about as her temptation to chew the couch.

And it's NOT that I don't give her enough chew toys or even leather toys for that matter. It's just the novelty. Her eyes light up on something new to chew. I'm sure after she's chewed a cushion off or something she'd be satisfied and get bored of the couch. But I cannot exactly afford to have her do that. This is so hard to solve because coming to the couch is rewarding no matter what I do. If I take her, attention is the reward, if I leave her, chewing the couch is rewarding.

Is there an aversive action to teach the bird rather than placing an object there. Truth is Kili is pretty well desensitized to many objects because I always tried to introduce her to things, new toys, and new props. If I could find a way of "punishing" her in a way that is not associated to me, I might be able to use that when she lands there. I don't even care as much about her chewing on furniture or other things. Just the couch is soft and one good bite will put a hole in it right away.
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Michael
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Re: Flighted Parrot Landing on Couch

Postby Mona » Thu Oct 01, 2009 5:05 pm

Hi Michael:

A broom is usually a pretty good aversive. For some reason, if I stick a broom where I don't want the birds to go, they avoid it.

Your couch problem is a little tougher because it is where you are...which is where she wants to be...and it sounds like she can damage it quickly. At our house, the male Senegals are not allowed on the couch because for some reason, it stimulates some wierd biting, nesty behavior....so I roll their cages around the couch when we are there so they can still feel like part of the flock but not get into trouble - and they can't bite.

You can teach "off" but it probably won't work for the couch situation because the couch is probably too reinforcing for her. "Off" works if the bird can happily find another place that they would just as likely want to hang out. "Off" also can quickly become a game every time the bird wants your attention.....

I will say that both Babylon and Phinney know "off" and they both know when they need to stop a behavior. Yesterday, Babylon was chasing Bailey around the room (which she will do on occassion - they are both flighted) - I was in the room and I told her to stop it. It was amazing because she did stop it, the same as a dog that knows better will stop a behavior. You can teach this...but you can't do any thing that will hurt the bird. Birds are extremely sensitive and if they are close companions, they will look to us to direct them as to what is safe and what is not (at least my two hens do).....so, it's a communication. I say, "Stop this. It could be dangerous" and they stop immediately. I don't do any thing that would make them think that I would put them in danger at all because if I did, I could lose their strong trust.

I'm not 100% sure how I taught it....and I will think about it more later. I do think it is more of a communication.....kindof hard to articulate. Gotta go now.

Thanks!

Mona
Mona in Seattle
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Babylon Sengal
Doug (spousal unit)
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Re: Flighted Parrot Landing on Couch

Postby greatgriffin » Wed Oct 07, 2009 1:44 pm

What if you covered the couch with a blanket or sheet or something while the bird is out? That way you would not need to worry about damage or contamination.....
Just an idea. Our sofas are covered with a washable cover anyway so I never get anxious when the bird lands on them.
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Re: Flighted Parrot Landing on Couch

Postby Michael » Wed Oct 07, 2009 1:59 pm

I've been trying to find a way to modify the bird rather than the couch because I like it the way it is and covering it would be a major inconvenience to me. I would rather that be a last resort if the bird cannot be solved.
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Michael
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Re: Flighted Parrot Landing on Couch

Postby Kathleen » Wed Oct 07, 2009 4:48 pm

Maybe if you're really letting her free fly around while you're sitting there, you cover it, but if you're training her and she's focused, she won't really go there and it's ok not to cover it.
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Re: Flighted Parrot Landing on Couch

Postby Michael » Wed Oct 07, 2009 4:51 pm

You gonna buy me a cover?? How will I use my mouse on it?
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Re: Flighted Parrot Landing on Couch

Postby Kathleen » Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:03 am

Maybe you could use your mouse on a smaller section if you left a little bit uncovered near the wall.
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Re: Flighted Parrot Landing on Couch

Postby Natacha » Fri Oct 09, 2009 4:44 pm

Kathleen wrote:Maybe you could use your mouse on a smaller section if you left a little bit uncovered near the wall.


Makes sens.

Personally, I don't mind if they come on the couch and I do have a cover on the top part where they like to hang out.
I like them to come near me. I like giving them the option of coming to get some attention when they want.

Of course, if it doesn't suit me for some reason, I put them somewhere else.

Oh and once the novelty of being able to go somewhere wears off, they do it less. And if it seems "forbidden", it's just that much more fun to do it.
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