Parrots and Children

Photo by Jamieleigh Location: Orlando, FL Shown: Hyacinth Macaw "Hymie" & Nephew "Jimmy"

I've never trained a bird with a 15 month old around... 

And while my nephew Jimmy was visiting, it was VERY hard to train Hymie, the hyacinth macaw I am working with for a client for 6 or so weeks. I had no idea how distracting Jimmy would be for Hymie. I assumed crying, screaming, that sort of thing would distract Hymie from training but Jimmy is a good kid and there was none of that. Instead, Hymie just wanted to know what a miniature human was doing around the house with colorful and loud toys following him from place to place!

Most of the toys trailing behind Jimmy would go unseen by me as I'm cueing Hymie to "stick 'em up" but then this scary toy would trail on wheels and Hymie would take flight! In fact, I couldn't even train Hymie in the other room (the bird room) because he could see Jimmy (glass doors) and that was enough of a distraction for Hymie.

So for 10 days Hymie only got trained during Jimmy's day time naps.

Hymie didn't seem to not like Jimmy by any means and I actually feel Jimmy could have pet Hymie with no problem but... Hymie isn't MY bird and Jimmy isn't my child, and because of those two lack of histories, I never played the odds. Not with this huge of a bird!

But I did think this photo of them was pretty cute, so instead of training tricks for the 10 days Jimmy was around, we worked on letting Hymie just hang out and desensitize to all the toys and new noises. He did VERY well. I'm super proud of Hymie.

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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