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Training Your Parrot To Fly.

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Author Topic: Training Your Parrot To Fly.  (Read 4413 times)

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Martin P

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Training Your Parrot To Fly.
« on: August 15, 2010, 09:43:11 AM »

Morning everyone. Ive been asked if it would be possible to post an article relating to possibly getting your Grey to fly to you.
The reason ive been asked is because i was previously a Falconer with my own birds of prey and Falconry business.
I guess the starting point with this would be to ask the question "Why would you want your Grey to fly to you" Well there are a few reasons that spring to mind for me, firstly if you have had your Grey out and you need to "catch it up" to return it to its housing, secondly i think it would be a good stimulous and an extra trick for him/her to learn, and also a great way to help keep your Grey in good health through exercise. There may well be lots of other reasons so please feel free to add to the list.
So lets start with birds of prey and how they are trained to fly to us.
There are 5 groups of birds of prey, Hawks, Falcons, Owls, Eagels and Vultures...each group has a very different way of training to return them to their owner. The one thing you have to remember is that by the very name of this group of birds "Birds of Prey" they all hunt and fly to catch food...and the food they all hunt for is meat...birds of prey do not come with a vegitarian option!
Birds of prey DO NOT fly back to their owners because they like them, as much as that may be the illusion we give, they fly back to us because they know they are going to be rewarded with a piece of food. So in other words the birds are kept at a weight that means they will hunt for a piece of food. Sounds simple but believe me its not. Keeping a BOP at a flying and hunting weight takes a great deal of skill and understanding, ive owned all sorts of birds of prey from a tiny American Kestrel that weighs just 3oz to a Saker Falcon wighing over 2lb. With th the American Kestrel their is NO room for error at all, if you take that bird just 1/4oz under weight to fly it you could very easily kill it!!!
So there is NO WAY WE COULD DO THIS TYPE OF TRAINING WITH A PARROT.
With some birds of prey there is another way we can get them to return to us, this applies to birds that have been hand reared and are what we call "Social Imprints" They are hand reared from a very early age so that they "trust you" but again there is always a reward, that again being food.
In particular this training is used on Owls. It is this training that i believe MAY HELP you train your parrot to fly to you.
So here goes.....first steps. With a parrot we would use a different approach, the parrot we train DOES LIKE US. IT WANTS OUR COMPANY AND CRAVES OUR ATTENTION. So already we have an advatage. In particular if we start training with a young bird, however we would want its feathers to be fully grown and for the bird to have all of its flight feathers. Its like anything the younger we are that we learn something the easier it is, thats not to say an older bird could not learn this, it just may take longer to learn.
Do every thing slowly and remember to earn the birds trust, lose that trust and it wont want to know. So how do we earn that trust. Well we want to "reward" the bird when it does something right. What can we use as a reward. Well we can use food, we would want it to be a healthy reward, no good getting the bird healthy through exercise to only give poor food reward, i would suggest a real treat that the bird likes. The other thing to remember is this, if EVERY time you get the bird to you its to "put it away" in its housing it will soon learn this and will resent it, so dont use this trick simply to put the bird away, vary why you call it to you.
Other than food as a reward it will also come to you because they want your company and attention remember.
So how do we get the birds attention to call it to us. In falconry we show it the food, birds of prey have awsome eyesight and its the movement of the food that triggers them to hunt it down, either to our glove or to something called a lure we use. We also use calls, by this i mean a whistle. As soon as the BOP hears that whistle it KNOWS its going to be rewarded. And its this method that could work with your Grey.
So to gets it attention for the flying command it will need a call, you could use a whisle by mouth, or something like a clicker, anything that it will continue to assosiate with that particular command. What ever it is you use remember to use the exact same thing EVEY time.
Now we want to start slowly, do not overdo things else they will soon become bored. Start with getting the Grey to step up to your hand. One thing ALL birds have in common is they will ALWAYS seek to gain the HIGHEST PERCH. Soset your hand just a fraction above the birds legs and give the command, lets say a whistle, see if it will step up onto your hand for a small treat of food, take your time and see what happens, if it does it, leave it at that dont repeatedly get it to do the same, if it does it on a regular basis first time then you can move on and get it to do it a couple of times, but remember if you reward it with food everytime the bird will get full up with food and may lose the interest to continue. Once it has learnt to step up on a regular basis move on to the next step which is moving your hand a little further away, just a couple of inches, by doing this it will have to use its wings to get that bit further, it may well be scared of its own wings to start with so same again, dont over do things, just a couple of flights if all goes well. Then its just a case of increasing the distance between you and the Grey. I would only use this indoors and probably no more than around 10 times a day. Just keep remembering that trust thinga nd the reward thing, that way the Grey will WANT to fly to you. In equals measures of trust, attention and food.
Im going to leave it at that for now as i have to go out, but will welcome all replies and questions, sorry ive gone on so much but its a difficult subject to sum up in a few words, let me know your thoughts and thanks so much to everyone that has made me sooooo welcome here, regards to all, Martin P:-)
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bkhowe

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Re: Training your parrot to fly..(possibly).
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2010, 10:11:43 AM »

That's a great article Martin  :thumbsup:
You are going to be a great addition to this site.
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Martin P

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Re: Training your parrot to fly..(possibly).
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2010, 03:42:54 PM »

That's a great article Martin  :thumbsup:
You are going to be a great addition to this site.
Thats a pleasure, hope it was an ok read, to be honest its a very brief description and one of those things i could go on and on about, but best to leave it at where it is and invite any questions.
Glad you enjoyed it and a pleasure for me to be made so welcome by some great people on here, best wishes , Martin P
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Re: Training your parrot to fly..(possibly).
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2010, 03:45:32 PM »

I agree with bobz  :hi5:
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Martin P

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Re: Training your parrot to fly..(possibly).
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2010, 04:26:46 PM »

I agree with bobz  :hi5:
Thank you...i am soooo falling for all these names you all have for your gorgeous AG's....im telling myself to stop looking at all the photos....but its not working  :whistle:
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bkhowe

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Re: Training your parrot to fly..(possibly).
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2010, 04:31:33 PM »

Keep on looking Martin  :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
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Martin P

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Re: Training your parrot to fly..(possibly).
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2010, 05:02:10 PM »

Keep on looking Martin  :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
I can see that there is no known cure once the AG bug has bitten...i guess resistance is futile...shall i just accept the fact i have the bug and give into the symptoms  :biggrin:
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bkhowe

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Re: Training your parrot to fly..(possibly).
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2010, 05:06:59 PM »

Yeah, you know it makes sense Martin  :biggrin:
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Martin P

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Re: Training your parrot to fly..(possibly).
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2010, 05:23:57 PM »

Yeah, you know it makes sense Martin  :biggrin:
I think you may have a point...i think the next step may be to leave the forum page open for when Mrs P uses the lap top...maybe leave around the odd copy of Parrot Monthly or equivilent, the odd subtle signs of intrest..you know the sort of thing hehehe :superbat:
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bkhowe

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Re: Training your parrot to fly..(possibly).
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2010, 05:30:07 PM »

Oh I see lol, so Mrs P isn't as enamoured as you  :rofl:
Sure you will sort it out  :thumbsup: How was she with the Falcons?
Suppose she is just thinking of you after the problems you had  :thumbsup:
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Martin P

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Re: Training your parrot to fly..(possibly).
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2010, 05:52:32 PM »

Oh I see lol, so Mrs P isn't as enamoured as you  :rofl:
Sure you will sort it out  :thumbsup: How was she with the Falcons?
Suppose she is just thinking of you after the problems you had  :thumbsup:
No, only joking, i have to say im extremely lucky to have Mrs P who is wonderful and supports me in all i do. In fact we were looking at AG's together earlier this week and she was very taken with them. Your right though she is a little worried because of what happened with the falconry and the unfortunate people involved with it, i guess she is somewhat worried i may get hurt again.
Im sure once she can see that this is thankfully a different situation all together she will be fine.
She was superb at helping me with the falconry when ever i needed help, partically during the birds training stages where you need two pairs off hands, she was a devestated as me when they had to go but on the other hand she was relieved as it took away all the aggro that went with it. The reason i cant return to is it would just never be the same, its such a small community the falconry world and there are those only to willing to make life unbearable, through jealousy and wanting to be one better the whole time. Also i still have problems with severe depression and anxiety so getting outside to actually fly the birds and hunt with them is not possible and just not fair on the birds themselves.
I do find that animals though are just fantastic to help relieve stress and anxiety, we are lucky we live in a beautiful part of the country in Devon and we have a very large garden where i have chickens, a Whippet and a Brittany Spaniel.
For me i believe an AG will fill the role for my love of birds that the falconry gave me, i will still have the partnership they provide, the trust, the bond, the amazing interaction and so on...the good thing will be that if im havingg a bad day when i cant go out then i am still able to be with the AG indoors and enjoy. I reckon there must be lots of people that suffer the same or similar problems as i do that would benifit from having an animal companion, dont know but would be intresting to find out.
Anyway, cut a long story short, Mrs P says i can have one, just have to fund it now...  :yahoo:
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Re: Training your parrot to fly..(possibly).
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2010, 05:54:25 PM »

Yeah, you know it makes sense Martin  :biggrin:
I think you may have a point...i think the next step may be to leave the forum page open for when Mrs P uses the lap top...maybe leave around the odd copy of Parrot Monthly or equivilent, the odd subtle signs of intrest..you know the sort of thing hehehe :superbat:

She'll sucuumb to the signs eventually there's no doubt about it :)
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Pat

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Re: Training your parrot to fly..(possibly).
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2010, 06:12:12 PM »

Where in Devon are you Martin? 

*Yoohoo Mrs P......see, we're all friendly, we'll look after Martin*  :bye:

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Re: Training your parrot to fly..(possibly).
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2010, 06:20:05 PM »

Hi Martin, Well I am glad I was cheeky enough to ask if you would write a "flying" guide, I cant wait for the next instalment.
I am glad to see that you have now got your feet under the table, Welcome. I hope that you find your stay comfortable and enjoyable. And as the others would surely say keep coming back.
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Martin P

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Re: Training your parrot to fly..(possibly).
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2010, 07:01:25 PM »

Where in Devon are you Martin? 

*Yoohoo Mrs P......see, we're all friendly, we'll look after Martin*  :bye:
On beautiful Dartmoor, stunning area :-)
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Martin P

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Re: Training your parrot to fly..(possibly).
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2010, 07:02:54 PM »

Yeah, you know it makes sense Martin  :biggrin:
I think you may have a point...i think the next step may be to leave the forum page open for when Mrs P uses the lap top...maybe leave around the odd copy of Parrot Monthly or equivilent, the odd subtle signs of intrest..you know the sort of thing hehehe :superbat:

She'll sucuumb to the signs eventually there's no doubt about it :)
Nice one Rick..will let you know when it happens lol :-)
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Martin P

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Re: Training your parrot to fly..(possibly).
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2010, 07:04:58 PM »

Hi Martin, Well I am glad I was cheeky enough to ask if you would write a "flying" guide, I cant wait for the next instalment.
I am glad to see that you have now got your feet under the table, Welcome. I hope that you find your stay comfortable and enjoyable. And as the others would surely say keep coming back.
Was  a pleasure, glad you enjoyed the read, i will definately be around from now on :-)
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Pat

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Re: Training your parrot to fly..(possibly).
« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2010, 07:16:02 PM »

Awww we are neighbours Martin, I live in Plymouth, we often take Charlie onto Dartmoor to fly him (on his harness of course).  Where on Dartmoor are you, it would be good to meet up sometime. Did you ever show your birds of prey?  At Sparkwell?

Martin P

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Re: Training your parrot to fly..(possibly).
« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2010, 07:35:29 PM »

Awww we are neighbours Martin, I live in Plymouth, we often take Charlie onto Dartmoor to fly him (on his harness of course).  Where on Dartmoor are you, it would be good to meet up sometime. Did you ever show your birds of prey?  At Sparkwell?
Small world.....i live in Chagford a tiny little village set right on the edge of Dartmoor, it has been the most amazing setting for previously flying my birds of prey. I did the shows at Bovey Castle sometimes and also the minature pony centre along with another local attraction who's name has gone at the moment (its my age). Never done Sparkwell though. The vast majority of my work was private clients.
Would love the oppertunity to come and see Charlie fly at some point, do you have any fav areas that you go to ?
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Re: Training your parrot to fly..(possibly).
« Reply #19 on: August 15, 2010, 07:45:32 PM »

I've heard of Chagford, isn't it near Newton Abbot?  We don't really have any preference with Dartmoor, it's all beautiful.  I really love the moors.  Norsworthy Bridge is a nice area, that's by Burrator Reservoir, plenty of wild birds there.  Usually we stop anywhere where there is an open space and we just fly him from one to the other.  I really have to get him a longer line so we can be further apart, at the moment we can only be about 8' apart lol, but he loves being out and sitting in the "big boy's tree!" to have photos taken lol.  Stover is a lovely place to go as well, although we haven't taken Charlie there yet, I enjoy taking photos too much there and can't manage that with a parrot on my arm lol.
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