Friday, February 12, 2010

A New Level in Motivation

Ever thought about self rewarding behavior? I've heard about it sometimes when a behavior in parrots becomes comforting. Like that Moluccan Cockatoo that used to scream just for attention, but now he does it all the time with or without a reward. Or that feather picking African Grey that simply picks as a way to occupy his time, but now the behavior has become a self-soothing perpetuating behavior. Like the way I bite my nails...

These issuse might be considered a bit more simplistic in the way of behavior, compared to what Mr. Pink talks about (it is a simplistic task for an instant reward). But this gets me to wonder about how his topic could influence what behavior techniques we use in the world of animals. Crows and Keas as examples; these birds have shown extra ordinary abilities to quickly solve unclear tasks (Like Pink talks about humans in the video) for a food reward. Odly, he points out that this kind of bribery works poorly on us humans, compared to an alternative view he expresses.

Then again I remember some faint memory of the birds just standing around just looking at the food based reward puzzle, for several minutes, before attempting it. This is the same thing that humans do in trying to figure out multiple step problems, yet bribery works poorly. Could any of Mr. Pink's research be applied to animals? Can the Keas and Crows actualy perform better at thier tasks like the test subjects he talks about, and if so how do we go about setting up a task for animals like that? I hope I find out in my lifetime.

I've often dreamed about reaching a point with my animals where they can learn "just for the fun of it" but is this possible for creatures other than humans? Or will animals always do better at tasks if given a bribe for simple tasks, like us humans? The jury is still out on that one.

Don't forget to comment and share the insight you've gained from this video or any research you may have come across on the topic. This "New Science" stuff is always interesting!

Copyright 2013 Caitlin Bird
The Sequential Psittacine Blog

Saturday, February 6, 2010


It's not often that you see a great little Poicephalus in the news. I've only seen meyers and a female red bellied as pets. Some people say that red bellies are more interactive and less jittery than the meyers, yet other people claim the exact opposite. Who to believe? In my experience all three of the meyers I've met have been jittery around new people, they tend to be comfortable most around "their" people. And some of these birds have gotten outright nasty with me if I asked for a step-up! But the most recent meyers I know is a sweetheart with everyone. When you take the dear bird out of his cage his feathers automatically slick down and he is on the alert, and this would support the hypothesis that meyers are jittery birds. But I think there might be a little more to the story, the owner of the meyers has a lot of dogs, and a pair of cats always following us ,and the bird around. This could be causing the bird anxiety and be perpetuating a myth that meyers are a jittery parrot.
What about the meyers and Poicephalus you've met? What kind of characteristics have you noticed about them?

Copyright 2013 Caitlin Bird
The Sequential Psittacine Blog

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Everyone who is into parrots knows about foraging. It plays an important role in parrot's lives, as well as all other animals on Earth. The creator of the Captive Foraging DVD, Dr. Scott Echols DVM, is coming out with a new series of DVDs on the care of birds.

I am currently unaware as to what the marketing price will be. I feel that $15 may be reasonalable, depending on the content. But the fact that a series of videos is coming out from a known, respectable professional in the feild of medicine is encouraging to me. It's a lot better than some run of the mill "expert" at the petshop on the corner.

Copyright 2013 Caitlin Bird
The Sequential Psittacine Blog