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Flighted but with a mind of his own

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

Flighted but with a mind of his own

Postby Stubbs'sGirl » Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:46 pm

Hi all!

So Stubbs is now fully flighted and such a beautifully strong flier. He can make several rounds around our large living room and always returns to the top of his cage. He knows the way through our house and can fly into the back and always comes back around into the living room. He truly loves flying and it's the first thing we do in the morning and the last thing before bed. I know that getting all of this exercise has made him a much happier bird.

The problem is.... now he doesn't want to hang out with me. I can treat him and he'll chill out for a second while I do, but the minute I go to hold him or ask him to step up, he's gone.... it becomes almost a game for him. He flies now anytime I even move towards the cage. Even if I am not doing anything other than just walking by, he's off in the air.

When I have him out and on top of his cage, and I have to leave I tell him "Go home" and tap inside the cage and he'll fly off around the living room. He'll return to the top of his cage and when I go to pick him up to put him away he flies off again. So I continue the "Go home" and tapping inside his cage. Around the fourth or fifth time he gets it right and I praise him before locking up the cage.

We used to spend a lot of time cuddling and loving on each other and now I feel like I have lost all seniority in the house. How can I turn it back around in my favor?

:monk:
Stubbs'sGirl
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 10
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Quaker Parrot
Flight: Yes

Re: Flighted but with a mind of his own

Postby Michael » Wed Nov 14, 2012 5:47 pm

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Michael
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 6214
Location: New York
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, Cape Parrot, Green-Winged Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Flighted but with a mind of his own

Postby Stubbs'sGirl » Wed Nov 14, 2012 5:59 pm

Excellent! Thanks Michael, I just read through that article and there are some things that will be very helpful indeed.

I leave Stubbs' cage door open while he's out and hanging out with me. I never thought to close it so it's a treat to get to go back in and eat! So smart.... now I feel like an idiot for not thinking of that! I'm so happy you hang out around these parts to help those of us who are not parrot masters like you.....

Ok, so you are also saying (#4) that if I am going to let him out (until he starts engaging with me again) that I need to keep his door closed and then keep him working the whole time he's out right? Like almost constant flight with a few rests here and there?

Will doing these things also re-engage him with me even though now he has the "choice" considering if he doesn't want to be on my finger he can just fly away? Would you suggest that if he doesn't want to engage I just put him back in and ignore him for a bit? Or should I just wear him out flying until he doesn't mind snuggling with me again?

Thanks again! Btw, Kili looked great last night! Big television stars you are! :thumbsup:
Stubbs'sGirl
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 10
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Quaker Parrot
Flight: Yes

Re: Flighted but with a mind of his own

Postby Michael » Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:17 pm

It's a bit of everything. First it's accepting that the bird has free will and free mobility and will do what it wants. Then you have to think of what you can do to make it want to be with you. That is the most honorable but also most effective approach. Kili could have flown off to anywhere in the studio but instead she flew to do her trick and flew to me. Partly it was for want of food but more importantly out of habit and routine that we've established. I could have not given her a morsel of food and she'd have still stayed with me, it's just the system we've worked out. At home the birds do what they want (unless we're training). They'll fly to me to hang out or back to their cagetop to rest.

Think about everything from the bird's perspective. Why should the bird go in its cage when you tell it to? Why should the bird stay on your hand? Etc. At first this needs to be taught. So in the beginning it might mean giving treats every few seconds to keep it on you. You have to establish that being on you is safe and desirable. Over time as it turns to habit you can rely less on food. Trick training is great because it keeps the bird so busy that it's not thinking about those other things (like flying away to play). It's an approach. It's not just about a specific trick or solution, the approach is about building a relationship and the relationship exists in balance where the bird gets what it wants. The easiest way to start is by secretly taking away what it wants (feeding it less in the cage and at scheduled times) and then being the grand giver when the bird does what you want. It's a win/win. Read over other articles on the blog to help you think through this approach, you can start at the sitemap for a list of all articles.
User avatar
Michael
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 6214
Location: New York
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, Cape Parrot, Green-Winged Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Flighted but with a mind of his own

Postby Michael » Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:07 pm

You may also want to check out my Parrot Wizard Seminar DVDs because it really breaks down this approach and brings it all together. In your case, this would be a really helpful resource. The footage isn't fantastic but the information that you will get will be priceless.
User avatar
Michael
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 6214
Location: New York
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, Cape Parrot, Green-Winged Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Flighted but with a mind of his own

Postby Stubbs'sGirl » Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:51 pm

Thanks Michael!

I wore him out last night before it was bedtime and putting him up was a cinch! Also, since he was nice and worn out he was happy to have some snuggles before bed.

:monk: SO HAPPY!
Stubbs'sGirl
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 10
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Quaker Parrot
Flight: Yes


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