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WHY NOBODY USES FALCON HOODS FOR PARROTS?

Discuss the methods and techniques of clicker training, target training and bonding. These are usually the first steps in training a young parrot.

WHY NOBODY USES FALCON HOODS FOR PARROTS?

Postby MJC » Mon Jul 21, 2014 12:39 pm

One thing I have noticed in parrot books, websites and blogs is that nobody talks about disciplining or calming down parrots with the use of an eye hood, as falconers do in falconry. I have been scouring the internet for a month and cannot find anyone debating about this. Isn't the use of a hood, as a "positive punishment" (which I understand to be doing something with a view to eradicate an undesirable behaviour) the best way to teach a parrot not to bite? I remember expert parrot behaviourists saying that taking a parrot back to its cage is just too slow, because the process involves too many steps: first you have to say step up, then the step up, then the walk back to the cage, then putting the parrot onto a perch in the cage, then closing the opening, then switching off the lights. By then, the experts say, the parrot can hardly associate the bite with the time out. However, the putting on of the hood can be immediate and be accomplished in an instant, probably in not more than 2 seconds when a hood is strategically placed on standby. So why is this method never discussed, explored, experimented upon, rebutted, discredited and criticized? This phenomenon is truly puzzling?

Also, why nobody talks about the use of a hood to block out the occasional lights which may disturb sleep? In hot weather or countries, putting a dark cover over a cage overnight is probably undesirable, due to the sweltering heat and the stuffiness. So why not use a hood instead? A hood made of starched fabric (instead of leather used in falconry) is going to be much lighter and cooler. And if the back of the hood has a Dutch or Anglo-Indian opening design, which enables the greater dissipation of heat than an Arabic opening design, there is no danger of excess heat being generated. So why nobody even talks about it, or bothers to explain why this seemingly attractive solution is after all, unworkable or unsuitable.

Perhaps Mr Sazhin can shed some insight on these issues.
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Re: WHY NOBODY USES FALCON HOODS FOR PARROTS?

Postby Wolf » Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:54 pm

Well, I can't speak for anyone else, but I see no benefit to punishing my parrots. when I first started training horses it was a common practice to blindfold a horse if it got too excitable. It was quick and it was effective, but it is rarely use anymore except by substandard trainers.A horse that is blindfolded is too afraid to do anything as it is reduced to having to depend totally upon some one other than itself to even move. The use of fear based training methods have been proven to be undesireable whether the animal is a dog, a horse or anything else. Also, it is my understanding that in falconry the hood is not a training device but rather a safety device. And I personally, still don't like it. which is why I don't have falcons and such.
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Re: WHY NOBODY USES FALCON HOODS FOR PARROTS?

Postby cml » Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:44 am

Using hoods sounds like a quite cruel practice to me, regardless whether its falcons or parrots that are being subjected to it.
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Re: WHY NOBODY USES FALCON HOODS FOR PARROTS?

Postby Pajarita » Tue Jul 22, 2014 2:09 pm

Punishment is never a good training tool for the long term but parrots and falcons (or any other bird of prey with the exclusion of owls which never wear hoods) are completely different birds. Parrots are social, birds of prey are not. Parrots are prey, birds of prey are predators. The reason why hoods are used is that it prevents the bird from seeing other birds and going after them (remember, they are not social birds), to keep it calm when transporting (again, these are predators and will think nothing of taking a chunk out of your face when excited) and to ensure the bird will go after the target (birds of prey have prodigious sight and would focus on something that called their attention way before you can see it so they keep their eyes covered so it goes only after what is on the air already).

As to the 'cure' to parrots biting, the only way to teach them not to do it is to avoid getting bit until the bird has bonded with you (but, of course, you have to respect their wishes and can't cause them to become overly hormonal) - and, if the bird will not bond with you (wild-caughts trapped as juveniles or adults will never bond because they imprinted to their own species), just never give them the opportunity. In time, they get used to you, they trust you won't bother them and, as they have not been biting you and things are smooth, they adopt that as the 'new normal' and allow you to do your work cleaning, feeding, etc without attacking you. The truth of the matter is that if a parrot bit you, you did something wrong. It might not have been intentional but you still did it.
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Re: WHY NOBODY USES FALCON HOODS FOR PARROTS?

Postby RoseanneK » Wed Aug 05, 2015 8:11 am

I do not believe in punishment as a training method under any circumstances. Positive reinforcement has been proven in scientific studies to be far more effective than punishment, which actually reinforces aggressive behaviour in social animals (see e.g. this paper http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar ... 5911000026).

Pet birds should not be frightened of human touch and serious negative reinforcement must already have happened at some stage in your parrot's life to train him to bite at a hand that comes near him. Either that or he's bored. My parakeet sometimes bites me and I can almost see him grinning. If I don't react, he's as good as gold. Neither fear nor boredom need "punishment".

An alternative method for training an aggressive bird is to reinforce them positively when they *do* step up. If they show aggressive behaviour, gently remove the hand and any positive reinforcers being made available to the bird, for just a few seconds. This demonstrates to the bird that its body language was understood, and encourages his input in a positive way.

We're human. At the end of the day, we can wear motorcycle gloves to touch our bird if we have to. There is no reason to deprive a beautiful visual-dominant companion of sight. It will only teach him fear.
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Re: WHY NOBODY USES FALCON HOODS FOR PARROTS?

Postby rebcart » Wed Aug 12, 2015 8:11 am

Roseanne, I was curious about the article you linked to but when I clicked on it the link didn't work. Could you double-check and repost it, or maybe post an actual reference/DOI instead so I can manually search for it?
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Re: WHY NOBODY USES FALCON HOODS FOR PARROTS?

Postby Wolf » Wed Aug 12, 2015 9:32 am

Yes, you will need to do something different as you must be a member of the site in order to read the document to which you linked to. Many of us are not members, so we can't read this link.
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Re: WHY NOBODY USES FALCON HOODS FOR PARROTS?

Postby DirtHawker » Wed Jan 22, 2020 9:43 pm

So just joined this forum recently and as a falconer I thought I should search for "falconry" and see what's been discussed.

There seems to be some misunderstanding about falconry hoods here. Whoever mentioned hoods being used as a safety device is fairly on point.

But more importantly I think people usually anthropomorphize a bit here. We see being hooded as terrifying, or as another person said, punishment, whether positive or negative. Raptors are nothing like parrots (or horses). They don't bond with people, they're not social (with the exception of Harris's), they don't like to perch out on a tree branch and watch the sunrise over the mountains in the morning.

They like to go kill something, eat it, and then go hide for awhile until they want to hunt again. Being predators they know they need to stay out of site from other predators or non predators such as crows attacking them. When they are on a kill, they "mantle" means they cover their food so other predators don't see it and steal it. They like privacy and not to be harassed.

The hood isn't a punishment. I don't know exactly what goes on in their little bird brain biologically speaking, but the anecdote is probably something to the effect of, it can't see anything, therefore nothing can see it. And since a lot of raptors don't want to be seen, they become very content when hooded. We know this because of typical content bird behavior. Lifting one leg to relax, rousing (fluffing up feathers and resetting them) and other behavior you'll see in your own birds when they are content and relaxed. Hoods aren't just used by falconers, they're used in rehabs and anywhere else a raptor needs to be handled without it being stressed.

Hooding a raptor is not cruel. It's not. At all. I am not even going to argue that point. However, I think hooding a parrot, a bird that has totally different kind of behavior, may be cruel. They're also a lot smarter than raptors and may be able to take the hoods off anyways.
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Re: WHY NOBODY USES FALCON HOODS FOR PARROTS?

Postby Pajarita » Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:55 am

As you can see, this is an old thread but your comment is right on point. I don't know whether to hood a bird of prey is cruel or not but I know it is sometimes necessary for their own AND their handlers' wellbeing. Hooding a parrot is absolutely unnecessary and, as you said, it would, in time, be completely futile as the parrot will learn how to get it off but, worst of all, it would destroy the trust/bond the parrot might have had with its human because, as you said, parrots are much smarter than birds of prey and will put 2 and 2 together and will know it was the human that did it to them - parrot will, in time, forgive a human for a mistake but they do not forget.
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Re: WHY NOBODY USES FALCON HOODS FOR PARROTS?

Postby Charly_20 » Wed Mar 25, 2020 10:26 pm

Very interesting topic, even so old, there is still not much of information. One new fact is, that Falcons has a lot in common with parrots. Have related DNA and if you start looking, it is visible how close some species are. Falcons supposed to have a lot more in common with parrots then with eagles and Hawks.
Question: did anyone try a faclonry hiode on a parrot? For the falcons this practice seems to work well and the bird likely does not care. Parrots on the other hand are quite different level of behavior in many aspects. I can only say, that once it is dark, the parrot calms down and goes to it's night time. G
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