New research proves parrot chicks learn their names from parents

What’s in a name? Ask your parrot!  Up until about a month ago, it was thought that only humans, dolphins, and some songbirds use certain calls which distinguish different individuals within a social group. Now, research shows that “all wild parrots use unique “contact calls” that not only distinguish each bird individually, but also communicate […]

Pet your parrot properly

Don’t get to 2nd base with your bird! I know it sounds obvious, but it’s not. Probably 90% of the parrot behavior problems I address are due to hormonal behavior, often stimulated by their owner petting and cuddling them like a dog.  Cockatoos are especially susceptible because of their love of touch.  Improperly touching your […]

Training Tidbit for July: Contrafreeloading

I didn’t just make that word up, I swear!  It’s a real term: Researchers have coined the term contrafreeloading to describe the phenomenon that animals choose to perform a learned response to obtain reinforcers even when the same reinforcers are freely available. For example, given a choice between working for food and obtaining food for […]

Language in parrots and babies

Uncovering the mysteries of language using parrots and babies Prosidy: A linguist’s term for “the rhythm, stress, and intonation of speech … reflecting the emotional state of the speaker; the form of the utterance (statement, question, or command); the presence of irony or sarcasm; emphasis, contrast, and focus; or other elements of language that may […]

Reinforcement vs. Bribery

Training Tidbit for May 2011: The difference between reinforcement and bribery This comes up in training sessions ALL the time, usually brought up by someone who has been told by a well-meaning friend or professional that they are one and the same, and are now afraid that by using positive reinforcement to train they are […]

Penguin Tickling

Penguin tickling: the latest almost-fatal dose of CUTE going around the internet. Don’t we all shriek a little when we’re tickled? *Once again, the behavior nerd in me has to add: this penguin is not actually “ticklish.”  Can anyone guess what little Cookie is really doing? If you give up, click here for the answer. […]

Getting a good recall or step-up

Training Tidbit – April 2011 The Golden Rule of animal training: Don’t ever, ever call your pet to you (or ask your bird to step up) then punish them.  Animals are not stupid; they learn by association and consequences, and if there is an unwanted consequence for coming to you, they will be reluctant to […]

Parrot Screaming

My Parrot is Screaming! Excessive vocalization is one of the most common complaints parrot guardians have.  Unfortunately for our ears (and our neighbors!), even happy, healthy parrots can be very loud.  Screaming seems to be self-reinforcing for pet parrots.  Wondering whether the level of bird noise in your household is normal or not, and how […]

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