Letting Your Environment Do the Training For You

Photo by Jamieleigh Location: Huntington, West Virginia Shown: Asian Elephant "Suzy", Galah "Bondi" 

After a year, check out how calm Bondi and Suzy are around one another! We are so proud about it because, well, we haven't done a damn thing. We literally haven't worked on socializing any of the elephants with any of our birds since the beginning weeks. We haven't had much of a reason to work on it, no one is pushing, so we let it be and after a while... the environment we had our animals in where they were constantly working side by side and close to one another in all the arenas, did all the training for us!

I literally walked up to Suzy and her trainer Ramon, with my bird Bondi and everyone was calm. I was really excited when I realized what was happening and the elephant brunches are when the birds and elephants are in the closest proximity to one another. We show off the birds' training skills first, and then the elephants come. Then normally a big group photo occurs, and we vary which birds we use. I've gotten Jinx, our blue throated macaw, just as close as Bondi is in his picture above, at another elephant brunch.

Photo by Jillian Collett Location: Huntington, West Virginia Shown: Galah "Bondi" 

And when I say "elephant brunch", the brunch has already been put out there when we're expected to work our birds in front of the audience. That's right - a long table stacked high with bananas (our flock's favorite!), bread, carrots and lettuce. It has even had watermelon, corn, squash and other healthy veggies, fruits and treats that both the elephants and our flock enjoy eating.

It has been so cool to see our environment doing the training for us and it makes me stop and think about all the times that maybe that has happened in the past, too. Just a little something to think about!

Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots whom she shares the stage with.

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