This month I want to introduce you all to my good friend Jamie’s birds. Jamie is my partner in crime in all our parrot-related adventures: starting the Bird Ownership class and writing the book for it, founding the Austin Parrot Society, helping out Bird Haven, and studying to become avian behaviorists using positive reinforcement.
All five of her bird are rescues/rehomes, and she takes excellent care of all of them. She is a model bird owner, and keeps a wonderful and informative blog – luchaschoice.blogspot.com – chronicling the progress that she and her birds are making through the use of positive reinforcement training. I highly recommend you check it out.
Her greatest success, in my opinion, is the work she has done with her Lilac Crowned Amazon, Lucha. Somewhere in his mid- to late-thirties, Lucha was a wild-caught parrot who ended up in a series of bad home situations until he ended up with Jamie. When she first got him, he was unhandleable, did not know how to play with toys or forage, did not know how to eat anything other than the horrible diet he had been given, and was generally fearful of anything new. He also had severe health problems and a poor diagnosis; his kidneys were so distressed that his life expectancy wasn’t more than a couple of years, initially. Now, his blood values are all within normal range, he eats everything with relish, he forages and plays toys with the best of them, he enjoys beak rubs and scritches from Jamie, and he loves his training sessions. When anyone tells me that their bird is untameable or too old to change, I use Lucha as a shining example of how patience, love, and positive reinforcement can completely turn a bird’s life around–and as a result, their human caretaker’s life, too.