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Old 10-16-2010, 07:59 AM
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The hand-shy bird

I've had my Mishka now for 10 days, and on day 8 I finally got her to take treats from my fingers. As frustrated as I was that first week, I now have finally come to (really) realize that it's going to take time for my baby to let my hand near her, let alone stepping up.

That said, I can't help but wonder if there's anything I can do to help the transition/training/acclimatization.

I've been reading a lot online and have heard conflicting ways to get a bird not hand-shy. Some say let the bird do it on their own time; others take a more assertive approach. So far my methodology has been to hang out talking with the bird, establishing a relationship and getting her used to me. I don't chase her around the cage trying to touch her (I'll try once but when she shies away I immediately stop) - I also lay my hand inside or around the cage walls to try and get her used to it. Right now she won't let my hands near her (except for the occasional treat but only on her terms), and while clipped she's flighted enough to be able to get decent lift when fleeing (which I'll be fixing on her Tuesday vet appointment; I eventually want her flighted but have been told by a couple sources that clipping her a bit more will make hand exercises easier).

I realize it's only been 10 days and I'm not expecting any miracles, but I'd like to know if there's anything else I can/should/shouldn't be doing. Any good behavior books out there on birds? I totally get dogs (a lifetime spent with them) but birds are stumping me!
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Old 10-16-2010, 08:04 AM
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Re: The hand-shy bird

Hello Sarah,
I do have a way that will move you forward. Tell me a bit about your cage. Is it a big thing on wheels or could it be set on the floor for you and Mishka to do some training from floor level?
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Old 10-16-2010, 09:03 AM
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Re: The hand-shy bird

Her current cage is portable and already pretty low to the ground (I usually sit on the floor whenever I hang out with her). It's maybe 20x22x20 (I'm going to get a much larger cage perhaps next week but don't want to move her until she'll at least allow me to touch her) and has a decent amount of toys. She's good about climbing out when I leave the door open so she isn't cage-bound, but is just as shy on top of the cage as inside it.
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Old 10-16-2010, 10:58 AM
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Re: The hand-shy bird

The reason I'm asking is because I found a website for Ken Globus (aka "The Bird Whisperer") that advocated a much more hands-on approach. Even doing some Youtube searches (sadly he's been gone for a few years now so there isn't much available) provided some interesting videos to watch.


(I had to REALLY crank up the volume to even barely begin to hear the video)

I'm really tempted to try this today with my little Mishka but thought I'd see what anyone else had to say on the forums here.
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Old 10-16-2010, 11:58 AM
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Re: The hand-shy bird

Anything Ken does is worth the effort to do yourself with your bird. Hope it works for you.
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Old 10-16-2010, 03:34 PM
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Re: The hand-shy bird

I like the idea from bird tricks.com of putting your hand in just far enough for the bird to feel uneasy but not so unsettled it wants to bite
keep your hand there for till the bird has calmed down again and is at ease
keep doing it 3 or 4 x a day moving closer as your bird will allow
it teachs the bird
a: that by behaving badly you will not remove your hands ( although if she's biting your hands are to close )
b: that your hands will not bring her any harm and that she can relax around them

It changes their mind set about what happens with hands

Have a look on you tube for the user birdtricks and just watch some of the videos it will give a clearer picture on what I'm trying to explain
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Old 10-16-2010, 05:16 PM
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Re: The hand-shy bird

Actually, I was going to take you down that path. Once Mishka is clipped. Please sit on the floor with the cage on the floor next to you. Once she has left the cage, shut the cage door. Then I want you to use your left hand behind her to herd her toward your still right hand... not just holding out a finger, but hold your whole hand flat in front of her as your vertical hand behind her moves her gently toward stepping onto your right hand. If she flutters to the ground use the same technique there. It will be even easier. This will not destroy her trust. Talk quietly to her in words of praise for any act of cooperation and be consistent. Once she is on your hand, lift her to eye level and talk to her. Then place her back on her cage and repeat. Let me know how this goes. Have fun.
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Old 10-17-2010, 11:29 AM
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Re: The hand-shy bird

Quote: Originally Posted by bogo1 View Post
Actually, I was going to take you down that path. Once Mishka is clipped. Please sit on the floor with the cage on the floor next to you. Once she has left the cage, shut the cage door. Then I want you to use your left hand behind her to herd her toward your still right hand... not just holding out a finger, but hold your whole hand flat in front of her as your vertical hand behind her moves her gently toward stepping onto your right hand. If she flutters to the ground use the same technique there. It will be even easier. This will not destroy her trust. Talk quietly to her in words of praise for any act of cooperation and be consistent. Once she is on your hand, lift her to eye level and talk to her. Then place her back on her cage and repeat. Let me know how this goes. Have fun.
Just be careful that by herding her with your other hand doesnt make her scared of your hands even more. She will associate the one hand with other because they look alike.

I went onto the "Bird Whisperer" website and have seen results after only doing one session and Rosie is stepping up and allowing me to get my hands near her. I cant scratch yet but she is showing signs of accepting already. The website is amazing - I would recommend the techniques used there from what Im experiencing only after one session.
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Old 10-17-2010, 11:31 AM
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Re: The hand-shy bird

Quote: Originally Posted by Ladyeclectic View Post
The reason I'm asking is because I found a website for Ken Globus (aka "The Bird Whisperer") that advocated a much more hands-on approach. Even doing some Youtube searches (sadly he's been gone for a few years now so there isn't much available) provided some interesting videos to watch.

YouTube - Bird Whisperer Parrot Tamer Ken Globus & Lovebird

(I had to REALLY crank up the volume to even barely begin to hear the video)

I'm really tempted to try this today with my little Mishka but thought I'd see what anyone else had to say on the forums here.
Thank you for posting this - it has made a huge difference with helping Rosie to trust my hands!!!!
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