A week since I got Truman, my new baby Cape Parrot, I have already had my first successful flight recall. Since he came to me not clipped - and never will be clipped - safely managing his flight is essential. He is not yet a good flier and does not know well how to get from point A to point B. I can use his ignorance to my advantage by catalyzing his learning of flight and shaping it in direction and purpose that suits me. The number one most important thing is that I want him to learn to fly to me. Then I'd like to teach him to fly to appropriate places in my apartment and not others.
I kept the two stands with the perches parallel to each other and within walking distance. I lured Truman to walk between the stands when offering treats. Originally I was putting food straight into his beak because he wasn't eating well on his own so I decided why not at least make him walk for it. As I spread the distance he would reach harder and harder to get across. But as soon as the gap got too large to step across, he would give up trying to cross. It amazed me because he could fly across the room but not across an 8" gap. I continued the walk across exercises with him.
On occasion he would slip as he crossed and reflexively would flap his wings to stabilize. This is the part of the exercise that actually teaches the parrot to use his wings to make it across the gap. I taught Kili to get across the gap in exactly the same way except that I targeted her across with a stick. Since Truman doesn't know the target behavior yet, I simply offered him goodies on the other end. I would rather teach him flight recall before target training (although target training is an excellent method for teaching recall) because I want him to have the longest practice of flight recall in his life. I want it to be his first and most practiced trick. If he forgets everything, I want flight recall to me to be the most remembered and reliable thing in his repertoire. This is why I'm skipping the other stuff for now and going straight to flight recall which is generally a more advanced behavior to teach. Also I want to use his quick baby age learning and willingness to make the most of teaching recall.
A cue is already starting to emerge although it is just temporary. I no longer have to show him the treat or toy that he will get for coming across. I can just tap and point to the perch I want him to go to and he flaps across to it. I am going to practice this just a little more but as soon as he is recalling to my hand I will only practice the recall cue specifically and stop all luring and temporary cues.
Managing Truman's motivation for this basic informal training was fairly simple. He is not on any sort of food or weight management. In fact, he seems to be more motivated by toys many times than food. He's a curious baby and likes to explore so anything that is of interest to him can be positively reinforcing for preempted behavior. However, since Truman has been eating rather poorly on his own in the cage (mostly from a fear of climbing down to where the bowls are), he's been pretty hungry and would gladly take pellets from my hand. I have not yet even developed any treats for him and just feed him any of bland or colored pellets and almonds.
Thus I put all of these skills together and produced the first preempted flight recall with Truman. It is true that he has flown to me prior, however, that was either because he himself wanted to or because I happened to be a convenient place to land. However, this time, by doing the pointing cue like I had used on the perch, I was able to call him to my hand specifically. I just turned the second training perch away and put my arm where it used to be and in the same manner as cuing him to the training perch, I cued him to my hand.
Now increasing distance is quite simple and merely a matter of practice. Now the important thing to work on is developing a solid recall cue and practicing to no ends.
I highly recommend these training stands to anyone that has a flighted parrot or wants to teach a fledgling (or if they let the feathers grow back) to fly and eventually flight recall. You can use the stands to build practice jumping across a gap and then eventually flying to your hand. The height is adjustable so that you can keep the parrot at a comfortable height for your training. Very soon I will be offering these stands at 2x for $99 + shipping so stay tuned.
I'm going to start recall training with Capri tomorrow. She's been here only about 24 hours. She's bonding to both me and Jer so I think it's time! These videos are GREAT- thanks for posting them!! I'm going to Capri will be my first "recall trained" bird. My Hahns macaw hates to fly!
My bird's flight feathers were terribly clipped back. He had no blue feathers left at all. He is with me since September 2012. After I got the OK from the vet, I started taking Gonzo outside to hang out with me. Now 4 or 5 flight feathers have come out and I tried to encourage him to fly in my apartment under my watch. He is a chicken. My boyfriend has a caique who hangs out with my bird. They love each other. So when we outside now Gonzo flies after us when he start running away from them. The problem has been he landed on the roof twice and refused to come down so we had to get him. He always came to me or my boyfriend for a sunflower seed. So since then I am trying him to land on my hand on command. He refuses to land on my hand. He flies to my bed or in the kitchen. I use target training combined with click training and tons of seeds. But he refuses to land on my hand (finger). Any ideas what I can do to make him land on my finger? I am afraid he will fly off and wont come back. He has a harness but he likes to just bite it when he wears it and dont fly with it.