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Old 05-24-2018, 10:27 PM
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Aversion to flight and how to overcome it

Kermit, my GCC, came to me as a clipped baby who I presume was never allowed to learn how to fly. It's the only reason I can think to explain her aversion to flight. When I initially allowed her flight feather's to grow out, she only flew when spooked. Over time she learned controlled flight. So she's not a danger to herself & can safely navigate the house if something spooks her, but she very rarely /wants/ to fly. On rare occasion, she'll fly over to a person she really wants to see. She does fly more and more for reasons not related to being spooked, but it is still rare. We joke she's just lazy and prefers her taxi service (us).

I'm curious if other parrot owners have had this experience and what they've done to encourage their birds to bridge that gap. I'd love to teach her full-on recall training, but she has so little motivation for flight. I've tried encouraging her to flutter a short distance for a highly desirable treat (whatever distance she can't quite reach with her beak), but she just seems to get frustrated by the process. I've even tried taking a quick jog down the hallway to get her wings fluttering, which sometimes works, but I can tell she doesn't like it.

Please share your advice & stories. I'd love to know more. A bird that doesn't want to fly is just sad to me.
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Old 05-24-2018, 10:30 PM
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Re: Aversion to flight and how to overcome it

Why yes I have, and even created a video on how to do it, and what the process looks like. The process is the same whether it’s a conure, a macaw, eclectic, IRN, you name it.

Essentially, targeting is the bridge. Target over a distance, then target across perches of ever increasing distance.

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Old 05-24-2018, 10:53 PM
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Re: Aversion to flight and how to overcome it

My Goffins only flies when startled. I assume it is because she was not given many opportunities to fly in her last homes. She will fly to me (usually only if I have a treat lol) and as long as she's happy I don't really care if she wants to fly or not.
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Old 05-24-2018, 10:58 PM
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Re: Aversion to flight and how to overcome it

Chris-md;; Ahh I recall seeing Parker's training adventures a long while ago. Thank you for sharing this video. I've seen a lot on the pieces of recall training, but never the pieces together, and I never understood the logical leap from target training to recall training. Thank you ! Am I correct in assuming target training is setting up a clear expectation (i.e. go here and get a treat) which inherently increases motivation for flight later down the line ?

BirdGeeks; That's true too ! I think Kermit enjoys being a chubby green lump with her own personal taxi service.

Last edited by IndySE; 05-24-2018 at 11:00 PM.
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Old 05-24-2018, 11:18 PM
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Re: Aversion to flight and how to overcome it

My pleasure. That’s exactly why I made the videos. I’m not actor or movie start, so I’m not as graceful on camera. But everyone wants to make these training connections so good on camera or not, it’s there

Yes, essentially you’ve got it. Targeting gets them to go “here”, wherever here is. Be it a perch, your arm, a chair back, etc.

I also created this addendum that shows how to make the leap from perch-to-perch flight to perch-to-arm flight. Understand, to fly to you from a perch to an arm is a big leap; an arm is a much less stable surface so there is inherent fear at first. so you’ll need extra special food to increase motivation at first- more desirable treat is how you do that. I typically use small nut pieces for training. But the first couple sessions of something new, I use cheese. It’s junk, yes. But he is so motivated that I’m able to get big leaps in training progress in a short amount of time. Shift to nuts after the initial understanding and connection is made,2-3 sessions.

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Old 05-25-2018, 07:33 AM
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Re: Aversion to flight and how to overcome it

Excellent video! Thank you for sharing.
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