In the last newsletter, we learned some insights on how parrots think. We also found out that parrots learn good or bad behavior base on the reward system of food or attention.
We are now beginning to understand how parrots think. But why do they think like that? This segment will cover the groundwork of their instinctive thought process. Knowing these next three secrets is KEY to TRAINING your PARROT!
In my opinion, parrots have three things they think about all the time! It all begins with the basic survival instinct. We won't mention shelter, or a favorite place to roost, as it is given that your parrot should already feel safe in their surrounding. (No drafty places and cages should be nice and large for the bird, and the perch up high in the cage.)
1. Food and Water
Parrots don't generally think ahead and ration their food or water. You will notice many times that your bird may splash all of his or her water out of the cage cup. Then if not checked hourly by you, your bird may be out of water for a period of time. This is also true with the Seed container. They let it fall to the cage bottom. In most newer cages, the bird will be unable to get the seeds they drop as it falls through to a container at the bottom. Just think...in the wild they can get food and water anytime they need it. They just fly there! Remember your parrot is only a few generations from this instinctive behavior and still has a strong connection to it. Dogs, on the other hand, have been bred in captivity for literally thousands of years and their instinctive urge to survive is a bit different.
2. The Sense of Belonging to a Flock - Communication Socialization
This can be one of the most misunderstood issues widely gone unchecked in society! Most Parrots are very vocal in the morning and the evening. This is how they communicate in the Wild and how they stay together as a Flock. In the morning they will call to other birds to listen if they survived through the night. In the evening, parrots DO THINK AHEAD and find a good roosting spot, or use their favorite location before it gets too dark! If they didn't do this in the wild they would surely perish by a predator.
A couple of key points to note: Birds understand there is safety in groups. They just don't go flying off by themselves and start squawking or singing in some unknown Tree. If they did,- A predator would surely be able to SINGLE them out and they would become a meal. So instincts are that if a parrot is all alone or not safe.....They don't make a sound! This is important to understand as your parrot may be all alone in your home! And calling attention to his location could mean disaster or DEATH!.
Many times you will find that your parrot talks or makes noises when you vacuum the carpet or run an appliance. Now you know the secret! They feel much safer with another noise in the room because the predator cannot pinpoint their location! (on our CD #3 we have audio tracks of various appliances running so you can play the sounds for your bird) - Another key point here is to help make your bird feel SAFE.
Once your bird has confidence, they can be a master communicator.
As we have learned from above, this element of communication is key to a parrots survival in the wild. The better a bird can communicate with the flock, the safer the bird will become and also fills the need for a belonging to a family. This is true with your parrot. Stimulate their growth by including them in family meetings in the home. You probably have noticed that when you have company over your bird may really start chattering and making sounds to get attention. It's just their way of communicating just like we do. It's a desperate need the bird must have in order to survive!
3. Replication - Bonding - Routines
Parrots are just like people! They have a need for a routine. In the wild, it's waking up in the morning, calling to the flock and checking on everyone, it may be a quick snack at the end of the branch, then flying to the waterhole with the flock and then to a favorite tree for communicating and eating. Afternoons are a bit quieter and may involve a quick nap aside their favorite loved one. Early evenings may include another trip for water then another meal and lot's of chatter as everyone settles down and finds a safe place to roost for the evening. Once nightfall comes, the birds won't make a sound for fear of being targeted by a predator.
People tell us all the time how their bird attaches to one person in the family. This is an important instinct in the wild. While in their daily routine, having another bird with them at all times is important to watch for danger as well as filling the bonding socialization need. Soon after this bonding completes, the birds may have a nest and begin the replication process. Without a strong need for replication, any animals, insects or humans would become extinct.
The lesson here is simply to have a routine with your parrot! Train him or her daily at the same time. The mornings work best for some as the parrot may talk more then and may work better on an empty stomach for treats. Whatever works best for you, just be sure to do it every day.
One last thing about the routine. Imagine you were a parrot (or a four-year-old) and your parents just left you alone for four days by yourself in the house (while on a trip or vacation). How would you feel? Lost? Scared? Happy they came home? Mad from being locked up in a cage with no exercise? Keep in mind your parrot thinks just like a four-year-old does! Just imagine the mental stress.
I am proud of you! You made it through Newsletter #2. Now that you have these basics down it's time to have a bit of fun! Practice what you have learned today because this will be the basis of everything we do with our parrots!
Quick training tip!
Choose 1 track and play your Feathered Phonics Audio CD for 15-30 minutes at the same time every day!
Again, thank you for reading our newsletters. Remember everyone has his or own opinion on bird training. The above is our own generalized common sense approach. For more information on the subject be sure to visit your local pet shop and ask for advice.