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Keeping pet birds flying

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From the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon, an article about not clipping pet birds' wings and instead using clicker training to help keep them safe:

Most pet-bird owners wrestle with the decision about wing-clipping early in their birds' lives. Salem veterinarian Dr. Madeline Rae said for most owners, the decision to clip is based on two simple thoughts: to keep the bird safe and to keep it from escaping.
But because of an increasing obesity problem among some pet birds, there is a small and growing number of bird owners who are opting to keep their bird flighted.
She owns about 15 cockatoos and spends much of her day training them to be flighted pets. She recently hung out her shingle to teach other companion-parrot or cockatoo owners to train their own birds. Six of Shank's cockatoos not only fly untethered in her home, but they also fly about in the open air outside her home. She said her birds are trained using positive reinforcement and a clicker.

Read the full article.

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Chris Shank at Cockatoo Downs

A few weeks ago, I was able to spend a few days at Chris Shanks' ranch in Dallas, Oregon just outside Salem. About 30 people showed for a conference/workshop on clicker training birds for flight. This blog entry was written over 2 years ago - and it is correct: there are a growing number of companion bird owners interested in leaving their birds flighted.

It was quite a sight to see Chris' cockatoos free flying around the ranch - and coming back when called.

Chris' website is at www.cockatoodowns.com

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