Success: Remember, Progress Comes in Modest Increments.

I don’t usually post more than one thing in a day, but technically it’s Monday now, and I’m too excited to wait.

In my quest to help Maverick get on with my boyfriend, I put O. in charge of his bird chores, so that our Senegal Parrot associates him with lots of good things, and I also just generally work on encouraging all the birds to fly and explore the house more. Busy beaks are happy beaks.

The video above is of Maverick conquering the foraging toy – I’m pleased to report that he ate (or at least removed) all but a single blueberry. Making him work for his meals helps him stay busy and entertained.

This evening, though, our sennie also performed three very nice step-ups for O…. in exchange for sunflower seeds from me.

He didn’t bite, bang his beak, fluff up, or show any signs of aggression whatsoever for three whole step-ups.

Three might seem like a very small, unexciting number, but when working with animals, smaller increments are best. So if you’re asking how long a training session with your bird should last, I’d say it depends. Sometimes ours last no more than 30 seconds, and rarely ever more than 5 or 6. Some birds can handle up to 15 minutes, but the trick is not to let your bird get bored or frustrated. Always end on a good note.

Also, I find that when working to unlearn a learned behaviour, it’s only ever possible to work in bouts of a few seconds each before the old behaviour surfaces.

Don’t push it. If you have just one perfect interaction (as we did with Mavi – no biting or aggression), take it! You’ll end up setting yourself back if you push for more and, say, the bird bites or fluffs up in anger.

I am coming to see that Mavi will simply always be a one-person bird (as so many are), but my goal is to ensure that he and O. can interact safely. That way, if I’m not around for whatever reason, he’ll still get the attention he’s used to!

Also – on a semi-related note, if you have any favourite foraging methods for your birds, please feel free to comment and share! My other goal is to implement a lot more foraging into the birds’ routines.

6 thoughts on “Success: Remember, Progress Comes in Modest Increments.

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    1. Oh, hehe, he was! And the best part about those toys is that they’re self-rewarding. I don’t have to worry that he’ll get bored of it in half a minute, at least not if he’s hungry. 😀


  1. What a little sweetie! Sennies always look so chill 🙂

    My foraging experiences? Well, my 2 B+G Macaw males took to “foraging” my linen cabinets in the bathroom…they proceeded to tear off one of the doors, throw all of the towels and contents to the floor, and turn it into a hiding spot where they go in there and babble and cackle. 🙂


    1. Oh jeez, hahaha, I wouldn’t have known whether to laugh or cry. That’s why I think Senegals are the perfect size… They can cut through fabric or denim no problem, admittedly, but destroying my cabinets is not on the agenda!


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