Call of elusive night parrot to be monitored by outback Queensland grazier

Elusive Night Parrot of Australia

The search for the elusive night parrot continues in outback Queensland with audio technology now being used to listen for the birds’ call.

Elusive Night Parrot Conservation at Nonbah StationRecorders are being placed in paddocks at Noonbah Station, south-west of Longreach to record the call of the elusive night parrots at dawn and dusk.

Night parrots have already been detected north-west of Noonbah at Goneaway and Diamantina National Park as well as at Pullen Pullen Reserve.

Ecologist with the Queensland Naturalists’ Club, Harry Hines, said they are keen to see if the population extends south.

“There’s a chance, particularly given the proximity to Goneaway, Diamantina and Pullen Pullen, where we know there is a small group of birds at the moment,” he said.

The night parrot was considered to be extinct, with no photos of the bird on record.

Small numbers of parrots have since been located across remote areas of the state and very recently in Western Australia.

Station owner also an avid naturalist

Noonbah Station is located south-east of Goneaway National Park where the night parrot was found only this year.

Station owner and avid naturalist, Angus Emmott, will move the two audio recorders around his property for the next two months.

“I’m confident there is a reasonable chance of hearing the call of the night parrot because it’s the same piece of habitat as the Goneaway Tablelands,” Mr Emmott said.

“The night parrots in this part of the world like [to feed on] the long-unburned spinifex (Triodia longiceps).”

The recorders have been programmed to only record for an hour and a half at dawn and dusk — the time when Mr Hines said the night parrots were likely to call.

The audio will then be put through a computer program where the birds’ calls will be picked up.

Mr Hines said the information would then be passed on to interested parties.

“We will contribute that to a much broader scale project that the University of Queensland is doing, surveying populations of night parrots,” he said.

Ultimately, it will be up to Mr Emmott whether the presence of night parrots on his property is made public, as the bird’s elusive and rare nature is highly valued.

Source: ABC News Australia

Making New Things Fun for Your Parrot

Making New Things Fun for Your Parrot

Barbara talks about Making New Things Fun for Your Parrot you

Making New Things Fun for Your Parrot

My Parrots just blow me away sometimes. Or perhaps it is better to say that training with positive reinforcement blows me away. I recently brought Delbert, my yellow naped Amazon Parrot to a new location for a photo shoot. He is fully flighted and an extremely competent flyer.

Before letting him out, I made sure the room was safe for a flighted Parrot. Windows and mirrors were all covered, dogs were outside and no one was allowed to open a door unless he was safe in his travel cage.

New environments can sometimes be pretty frightening to Parrots. Delbert has been around a number of new places, but not near as much as I would like him too. So I was going to have to really observe his body language and see how he responded.

What I wanted to avoid was my bird flying around the space in a panic.

My first signal that things were probably going to be OK was when he started chatting away while we were doing the final set preparations. He watched from his travel cage and starting asking “Ya wanna come out?”, “Are ya ready?”, “Here we goooooo”

Letting him look at the space for about 20 minutes was a great opportunity for him to acclimate. There are some things that usually evoke a fear response in Parrots such as things moving overhead, quick movement nearby…but sometimes it’s the things you don’t expect that you have to watch out for.

This is when reading your bird’s body language becomes super important. Although he had been looking at it for some time, a long narrow cardboard box was simply unacceptable. Any steps too close to that would send Delbert circling around the room.

Fortunately because of all his recall training he would land on my hand after a few laps. We opted to remove that box while Delbert was far away from it.

Another thing that proved a challenge was the backdrop. The coloured drape would occasionally move. This especially happened the moment Delbert would launch off of my hand for a cued flight.

Although it took him a bit of time, the way he gradually got past this challenge was by doing simple behaviours and getting reinforced. Delbert loves flying to new people.

So for some of our photos he got to fly back and forth between me and new people. This meant treats and attention that he loves.

Pairing doing simple A to B flights and getting reinforced made the background fade into …well, the background!

Delbert presented excellent flights on cue, posed like the super model he is for his close ups and enjoyed preening the hair on every head there. He also ended the day snoozing on the photographer’s shoulder, beak grinding away.

I suppose technically a photo shoot is “work” but I have to admit it sure felt like fun to me….and I think for Delbert too. (I think we were done shooting way before he decided it was time to wrap it up.) What made it fun was reading his body language and remembering to use positive reinforcement to make sure the experience was a good one for him too.

Hmmmm, maybe he has a future in modeling. Look out Zoolander…..here comes Delbert!

Find the newest products for your Parrot here.

This article was originally published on Good Bird’s blog in April 2010.

Barbara Heidenreich has been a professional animal trainer since 1990. Her company Barbara’s Force Free Animal Training (www.BarbarasFFAT.com) provides animal training DVDs, books, webinars and workshops. She has been a featured speaker in over twenty countries and has been published in nine languages. Barbara works with the companion animal community and also consults on animal training in zoos.

What should I feed my Parrot and Is this food OK to give to my parrot?

What should I feed my Parrot?

What should I feed my Parrot?

What should I feed my Parrot? and Is this food OK to give to my Parrot? are the two most common questions I get asked from existing and new customers of Parrot Essentials. Food is the single most important element of keeping your parrots healthy. What should I feed my Parrot? is a question which we should ask before even deciding on what parrot to get as a companion.

PARROTS & FOOD

Parrots are extremely intelligent and they apply this intelligence to every aspect of their life including food.

Based on years of personal experience I am sad to report that most of the companion parrots are either over fed or fed the wrong diet all together. This approach to feeding is very damaging to their health, can lead to string of illnesses and worst of all a bad diet can shorten the life expectancy of your pet by half or more.

How to tell if you are over-feeding your parrot?

Use this very simple method to find out if you are over-feeding. Fill the bowls with food in the morning. At around 7pm check if there is still food in the bowl. If there is any food left uneaten you are over feeding. If there isn’t, then you may be under feeding. This should include all the food offerings, not just the seeds or pellets. If you are offering fresh mix, fruit or veg this should also be accounted for.

By feeding the right amount you will keep your parrot in optimal health and safe money too by not wasting food.

How to choose the right diet for your parrot?

WHAT SHOULD I FEED MY PARROTIn our store you can shop by Shop by Parrot Species. Find yours and look at what is available and recommended.

If you are not sure and still have any questions, please post it on the website or give us a call on 0800 327 7511.

 

parrot diets

Complete Parrot Food

The complete parrot food is in the form of pellets and each pellet contains the exact amount of nutrients, vitamins and minerals for a healthy and balanced parrot diet. When using a complete parrot food, you do not need to offer anything else as part of the diet. However, a lot of people like to give a little bit of fresh fruit and veg. That is fine if the fresh offering does not exceed 10% of the daily intake. If it does, then the diet is no longer complete.

Seed Based Parrot Food

Seed mixes for parrots should not be high on sunflower seeds or other fatty nuts and seeds (for example peanuts). The occasional fatty seed or nut is OK but it really should be used only as a treat and not on a daily basis. This is especially important for parrot who spend most of their time inside the cage.

Fresh Parrot Mixes

Seed sprouts, mixed with fresh fruit and veg have a higher nutritional value compared to non-sprouted seeds. The mix is tasty and readily accepted by most companion parrots. This type of parrot mix can be easily adapted to mimic the food your parrots will consume in the wild. Here is a link of how we make our Fresh Sprouted Mix. We came up with this mix a few years back after having a lengthy conversation with the renowned Neil Forbes (Great Wester Exocotics) about a way of feeding our birds a fresh and healthy food.  In this article we describe Step by Step of how to sprout and prepare the Fresh Parrot Mix.

Benson’ story (an example of bad diet)

This is the story of Bensons. An African Grey parrot we rescued a few years ago, who sadly is no longer with us only because she was on a poor diet. Benson’s owner (a friend of a friend) could no longer look after Benson and we were asked if we could care for her. When Benson arrived, we were advised that all she was fed during her lifetime was sunflower seed and an occasional apple or grape. Benson was 20 years old (owner had her from a baby).

As a responsible parrot owner, I immediately started the process of changing Benson’ diet to a healthier alternative. I was shocked but not surprised when she immediately started eating the new food offering and completely refused to eat sunflower seeds ever again.
Sadly, Benson had a heart attack after approximately 3 years with us and the autopsy revealed a fatty liver and clogged arteries.

I knew that she would not have a long life but I honestly expected her to be with us for at least another 5 – 10 years. My conversation with the Vet revealed that most African Greys on a bad diet do not make it past the age of 35. Just to clarify the life expectancy of an African Grey parrot is 50 – 60 years.

How to Change your Parrot’s Diet

Start by asking: What should I feed my parrot? If you think that your parrot is not eating well or is too fussy and will not eat what is good for a parrot, simply start by reducing the daily food offering. In a few days, you will see that your parrot will start trying new things.

If you think that a change of diet is what is required, choose the right one for your pet and slowly introduce the new food over a 4 – 6 week period. During this period gradually reduce the old food and increase the new food offering.

As a result, you will have a much healthier companion pet.

For older parrots and birds who have been on a poor diet over a long period I would recommend pellets, not a seed or fresh mix. You can still offer a little bit of fresh food with the pellets.

Copyrights www.ParrotEssentials.co.uk

How to Make Friends with your Parrot

How to make friends with your parrot

How to make friends with your parrotIn this article Barbara covers the topic of How to Make Friends with your Parrot.

If you are a fan of parrots like me, you look forward to those moments when you get to make a new parrot friend. Unlike a dog or cat that may respond to a new person right away, birds can sometimes require a little extra effort on our part. Birds are often a bit nervous about meeting a stranger. Here are some things you can do to help them to be more comfortable when you are getting to know them.

How to Make Friends with your Parrot

1. Give the bird space: Although it is very tempting try not to go right up to a bird. Give him some time to get used to you being in the same room. Once he is looking relaxed and comfortable you can move a bit closer to the bird.

2. Move slowly: Birds can become frightened when people move too quickly. You don’t want to scare your soon-to-be new friend.

3. Approach from the front: Be sure to approach the parrot so that he can easily see you coming. Many birds don’t like it when someone is moving behind them.

4. Show him something special: Before walking closer to a parrot, it is a good idea to have some treats, parrot toys or other special item with you. Ask people who know the bird what he likes best. You can show the bird what you have to give him before you get too close.

5. Watch his body language: When you show the parrot the special treat or item you have for him, watch how the bird responds. If he leans towards you he is saying he would very much like to accept your gift. If he leans away he might be saying he is not sure he is ready to make friends right now. If he is not ready, you can always try again later.

6. Offer him the special treat: If the parrot leans forward and reaches his beak towards what you have to offer, you can move closer and give him what you have. Whenever you offer a treat or toy to a parrot for the first time try to present it so that the bird has to lean forward to take it with his beak. This way you don’t have to get too close to the bird’s beak. This is so you can be extra sure the bird is ready for the treat. Sometimes when we get too close or offer the item to fast, a bird might respond by biting.

7. Offer more treats: If the parrot takes the first treat or toy and enjoys it. He might look or lean towards you for another one. If he does, that is an invitation to really start getting to know each other. Continue to offer him special treats or items. This will cause your new parrot friend to really look forward to your visits.

Once a parrot understands good things happen when you visit, you will begin to notice he will really want to get to know you better. He might be eager to step onto your hand. He might even talk or sing to see if he can encourage you to come closer with a special treat. If he feels very comfortable with you, he might even let you stroke the feathers on his head. This is a good sign that you were very careful not to scare him and have done a good job earning his trust.

Making friends with a parrot sometimes takes a little extra effort. But it is a very special compliment when a parrot accepts you as a friend. Pay close attention to your actions when you are meeting a parrot for the first time, offer him yummy treats and fun toys. Soon you will find yourself surrounded by many new feathered friends.

Barbara Heidenreich has been a professional animal trainer since 1990. Her company Good Bird Inc (www.GoodBirdInc.com) provides parrot training DVDs, books and workshops. She has been a featured speaker in twenty countries and has been published in nine languages. Barbara also consults on animal training in zoos.

Barbara Heidenreich
For more information on how to train your parrot visit Good Bird Inc
Barbara’s Force Free Animal Training www.BarbarasFFAT.com

How to Get Your Parrot to Play with Toys

HOW TO GET YOUR PARROT TO PLAY WITH TOYS

In this blog post Barbara Heidenreich talks about How to Get Your Parrot to Play with Toys and the different techniques you can use to encourage the acceptance of new toys in the cage or playstand.

How to Get Your Parrot to Play with Toys

I have been inspired by a question posted to my yahoo group. The question was asked how do you get a parrot used to a new toy? I think that is a marvelous question. All too often we assume because it is a toy, our parrots should automatically be eagerly interacting with it. In general parrots tend to show hesitancy around new items or situations. As positive reinforcement enthusiasts, most of us know that we can train our birds to be calm and confident with change. But it does take some investment on our part. Not a financial investment, but a commitment to teaching your bird via positive reinforcement training strategies. But if in this moment your bird has clearly demonstrated new toys create a fear response, what can you do?

How to Get Your Parrot to Play with Toys

I usually start with systematic desensitization. This means I place the toy a distance away from the parrot. I also make sure the bird is presenting calm relaxed body language. I then leave the toy there for a period of time, maybe even days. Over time I gradually place the toy closer and closer to the cage. Again making sure the parrot is relaxed and comfortable. Eventually I may hang the toy on the outside of the cage, but near the bottom of the cage. I can gradually move it higher. When the parrot is ready, I can try moving the toy to inside the cage. I usually put it away from food and water bowls and preferred perches. This is because if the bird has any concerns with the toy that I failed to notice, it will not be a hindrance to his physical needs and comfort.
Once the parrot is comfortable with the toy in his cage, now I can consider some of my other positive reinforcement tools of the trade. I can use a target to help encourage the parrot to move closer to the toy. I could pair positive reinforcers with the toy, by placing them near or on the toy. I could also “free shape” the behavior.
How to Get Your Parrot to Play with ToysTo free shape, rather than use a target or a food prompt, I would just wait until the bird presents an approximation I can reinforce. For example if the bird looks at the toy I can reinforce that. After several repetitions the bird may move in the direction he has been looking. I can reinforce that. Eventually the parrot may move closer, and over time try to touch the toy. This is all shaped by looking for the slightest approximation towards the desired goal behavior of interacting with the toy.
I recently used this strategy to help my puppy get past a fear response he had with a new vacuum cleaner. First I reinforced him for looking at the vacuum from far away and then reinforced him for approximations he took moving closer to the thing. He then sniffed it and eventually touched it with his nose and paws, and even moved it. The entire process took about twenty minutes. I have promised my yahoo group http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/GoodBirdGroup/ I would get the video clip on my YouTube site. http://www.youtube.com/GoodBirdInc I will notify everyone once it is up!

Hope this gives readers some ideas for ways to get your parrots playing!

This article was first published in Good Bird Inc Blog

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Barbara Heidenreich has been a professional animal trainer since 1990. Her company Barbara’s Force Free Animal Training (www.BarbarasFFAT.com) provides animal training DVDs, books, webinars and workshops. She has been a featured speaker in over twenty countries and has been published in nine languages. Barbara works with the companion animal community and also consults on animal training in zoos.