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Wild Lorikeets - the ultimate example of force-free taming

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InTheAir
Posts: 2040
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2013 4:24 pm

Wild Lorikeets - the ultimate example of force-free taming

Post by InTheAir » Thu Dec 19, 2013 3:06 pm

Last weekend my boyfriend and I were walking along the river bank not far from our house, when we came across a lady covered in rainbow lorikeets, she was feeding them at a picnic table. We stopped for a chat and to admire her friends.
She has been feeding them for about 6 months, every afternoon they show up at her door and she grabs the food and walks down to the park with them. She said the older ones were pretty tame when she met them, most of the birds we saw were this year's offspring. They really couldn't be much tamer, climbing all over her when they had eaten enough, even pushing under a slightly raised foot to reach some dropped food.

This is a pretty common occurrence over here, I have lived at houses where both magpies and kookaburra come out of nowhere when you are eating outside and hop straight onto your plate. We were hand feeding our big resident scrub turkey for a few days, before we realised that he was almost as big as our neighbours toddlers and quite intimidating to a child. As he visits a lot of properties in our street, we decided it was probably best that he is not tame enough to grab food from people's hands!

All these super tame wild birds struck me as a very good example of how effective positive reinforcement and force free training is, when it is used correctly. Those lorikeets don't bite, they will nibble on clothing and skin, but they don't aggressively bite. They don't get forced into situations where they need to bite in self defence.

I another really important aspect of why these birds are so tame is NO ONE HAS PLACED ANY EXPECTATIONS ON THEM. I wonder how many of us have set ourselves back in or interactions with our birds simply because we expect them to behave in certain ways and get frustrated when they don't. This frustration is felt by the bird, no matter how much we try to conceal it.
I have been guilty of this, sometimes I get so excited about teaching Nila a new trick that I feel disappointed when he doesn't understand what I am trying to explain. I stop having fun, Nila doesn't appear to be trying (possibly because he isn't having fun either) and it turns into a downwards spiral until one of us realises it's no fun and gets a different prop that we both understand.
Sometimes it's not even my bad explanation that is causing this rift, it could be a rubbish truck going past, wild lorikeets squawking or our other bird distracting his attention.

I wonder how many other people have run into problems with their birds simply because they have set an expectation that the bird is unable to fulfil at that point in time? I suspect it is more common than most of us like to admit!
I think many people can benefit from recognising this and reassessing their approach.
I think it would do no harm to remember that pet parrots are essentially the same as a wild parrot and not to take them for granted.

zentoucan
Posts: 150
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:45 pm

Re: Wild Lorikeets - the ultimate example of force-free tami

Post by zentoucan » Sat Dec 21, 2013 3:10 am

I think that the birds, like most animals don't bite the hand that feeds them or in most cases the person. After all who can resist a free feed.The scenic railway in the blue mountains had a bird feeding station and those birds would take food from anyone. In Sydney's centennial park the white cockatoos are interacting with people, not just feeding but climbing over people allowing people to pat and stroke them. big hit with the tourists.
I don't think people should put too much into these interactions. just appreciate the moment and catch it on film. I don't put expectations on my birds if they learnt the trick good, if they don't, I try again later and keep trying until they do.
after all it about getting the bird to do something you want without forcing it and making it fun. I get excited when my birds successfully learn a trick and happy while teaching the tricks. I never feel disappointed with my birds progress.

sanjays mummi
Posts: 2054
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:07 pm
Location: Bedfordshire UK

Re: Wild Lorikeets - the ultimate example of force-free tami

Post by sanjays mummi » Sun Jun 29, 2014 11:25 am

I have just read this for the first time we don't have such fabulous wild birds here in the UK, but I love the little Starlings which perch on my knee and accept crumbs from my fingers.

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