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Welcome to the Aviology Learning Center!  You have come to the right place to learn more about how to form a cooperative and trusting relationship with your companion parrot.  By learning more about behavioral science, applied behavior analysis, and professional training techniques, you will be empowered to help your feathered friends learn to live harmoniously within your home.

We have great hopes for the Aviology Learning Center!  Return to the site often as we continue to roll out more features to make learning about parrot behaviors more rewarding!



I just wanted to thank you for helping me to understand my macaw!

Behave! Behaving! Behavior! - Article 1 PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 15 October 2009 16:00

So what is it about parrots' behaviors?  We all have been enthralled, entertained, and sometimes disturbed with our feathered friends' behaviors.  I love watching Dewey, our GW macaw, fly and do mid-air acrobatics.  He seems to have so much fun learning another twist, dive, and stall routine.  I am comforted seeing my macaws ruffle up their feathers after a nice scritching.  At the same time, I am deeply torn when I see them fearful or aggressive.  It is all these human emotions that I go through on a day-to-day basis with my companion macaws. 

I realize that not only do I need to take care of their physical needs, but just as importantly I have to take care of their psychological welfare.  I can manage their physical needs fairly easily, but when it comes to the psychological stuff, well that is another story.  Here I have to work at it to really help my macaws learn behaviors that empower them to be mentally healthy and content in my home.
At first glance, behaviors may seem simple, but the more I learn I realize behaviors are very complex.  Here is where Applied Behavior Analysis, "ABA", opened up a wonderful new world for me and our macaws. 

Last Updated on Friday, 16 October 2009 12:58
Parrots and Us PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 09 April 2009 15:06
Why can't parrots just behave? 

Well the truth is that most behaviors are a matter of consequences.  And since we are the ones providing the consequences for our captive companion parrots, they learn from us how to behave.  By accepting this one fact, we can now set a new course to be responsible for our parrot's behaviors and for helping them learn new positively reinforced behaviors.  All we have to do is become better teachers.

We all know that parrots are intelligent.  They have highly evolved senses, and they have the ability to remember the smallest details including place and time.  Your companion parrot constantly scans the environment trying to read the signs, i.e. cues, to decide how to behave depending on past consequences.  And with the ability to detect the smallest details and then remember them, your parrot is being taught new lessons all the time.

Here is where we come into the picture.  We have to become teachers for our parrots.  We have to setup the environment and the consequences to help them succeed in our homes.  They want to learn, and we need to learn the skills that will make us effective teachers using the most ethical positively reinforcing techniques.

This is where Applied Behavior Analysis and professional training techniques come into play.  By learning more about these, you will be embarking upon a new journey to become a positively reinforcing teacher for your feathered friend.
Reshaping Step-up after Medical Treatment PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 23 February 2009 18:26

First we know that stepping up is a learned behavior.  What does that mean?  Well, it means that a bird performs the behavior of step up either increasingly or decreasingly in the future based on the consequences that immediately and consistently follow the step up.  With a bird that used to step up readily but now steps up decreasingly, we know that the perceived consequence for the bird has changed from being reinforcing to punishing.  Well, this is definitely the case with a bird that goes through a period of time stepping up only to find out that the consequence is something aversive, i.e. medical treatment. 

Now the bird bites to remove the potential aversive consequence.  And voila, it works!  Biting the hand removes the hand!  In fact the biting behavior will maintain itself or increase.  This is a negatively reinforced behavior, i.e. an increasing behavior that removes an aversive consequence.  Hey this all makes sense!

How do we change this; how do we help the bird learn to step up again without biting?  Well, we know that hands and fingers presented for a step-up are the cue, i.e. immediate antecedent, for step-up behavior and then the potential aversive consequence.  In order to change the behavior from biting to stepping up, we need to help the bird learn that the cue means the following consequences are rewarding not aversive.  But we have to take small steps, i.e. successive approximations, to help the bird learn gradually without the bird becoming uncomfortable and being forced to revert back to the biting behavior.  We call this shaping a behavior with positive reinforcement.  And we need a shaping plan to do this!

Last Updated on Sunday, 02 August 2009 16:31


What problem bird behavior are you experiencing?