OK YOU GUYS we are thinking about doing a weekly online Little Beepers class for our new learners.
We'll have a yes/no basics class ($20) for anyone who wants to start (and hasn't already taken our basic course), and then weekly early learner classes focusing on fun, connection, and simple skills. The weekly classes would be $39.97/mth and are usually 1-1.5 hours, 46 weeks/year. 🙂
I don't even have a bird yet, and I don't know when we can add one to the family. It's been discussed greatly lately though, and I'm super excited about this! I hope it comes to fruition!!
Yes I need to teach my Fyo so I can understand him better.
Sounds very interesting
Do you just need a computer and wifi...and a bird?
I’m adopting a Too soon and I’ve been a huge fan of you and your girls for ages so I’ll definitely be signing up! ♥️
Yes! I signed up for the self paced basics class last year but life happened... So that self paced kinda went out the window. I have one that won’t touch and one that just wants to eat the cards. I also have more time to commit now.
I would love to do one of the beginning classes. My life is so so busy that I haven't even started with my birds yet, and they certainly deserve better! I need to start the target training.
P and I would be in!
I’d do it!
I would love it! But is it on "own time" like recorded videos? I have such a busy work schedule but want to teach my birds this!!
Do you think it would be the right fit for a lovebird? She is clever but she has a short attention span for sure.
yes yes yes!!
Id love to join! Right now im unsure its an option for me.. But I'll check my budget. 💕
Yes! But will be difficult to fit into my schedule if it's a live class
are there any prerequisites? (owned by a green cheek conure)
Did you have extended family get-togethers when you were a kid? I was lucky enough to have aunts and uncles and both sets of grandparents living nearby enough that every birthday and every holiday was filled with relatives.
Grandmothers and aunties cooking and scurrying the kids, dad playing football in the backyard with the boys. Grandpa pontificating on the importance of responsibility and duty....😳 (Our other grandpa took us fishing and fed us candy and I honestly think children should have both kinds of grandpas!)
Many of the relatives have passed and even though I'm an auntie, our family get togethers are small now, not full of hustle and bustle and bodies everywhere navigating food prep and table setting.
Until this weekend!
Last year when Isabelle had her Shredding Episode, I reached out to a few trusted bird moms in utter desperation. You know those annoying group chats people send and then you're like OMG TAKE ME OFF THIS CHAT PLEASE? UNSUBSCRIBE REMOVE ME NOW.
Well, I sent one of those chats out to these mamas who barely knew each other but who'd met through my class and it was more like, "Do you have any ideas whatsoever?!"
We chatted, and instead of being done with the chat... they just kept chatting. And chatting. And sharing pics of their birds. And sharing our heartbreaking struggles with FDB. And even talking about our lives... Our birds became each other's nieces, and we became bird aunties.
I'd thought about hosting a Bird Lovers Gathering this year, a skill-share for all parrot lovers everywhere. (I still hope to do this in a few years, and hope you will come!) When it seemed too early to do so, they decided we'd have a Parrot Mamapalooza gathering instead <3
Aunties descended upon my house on Friday and stayed through yesterday and there were bodies and food prep and table setting and playing and snuggling and shooing and kissing birdies everywhere. Angoisse made us Mamapalooza cartoons of all of our birds and Tari printed them on T-shirts and mugs. I felt so overwhelmed with love and community, I just cried!
It felt just like a family get-together, the ones I grew up with, these wonderful bird mom sisters who adore my little girls.
Isabelle was voted the #1 most dramatic cockatoo amongst all of the parrot nieces. ("U2s Squee and Ruggles are about a 4, and Isabelle is like 9.") 😳😂
I speak so often about finding community among other parrot lovers--aunties and uncles for our parrot kids. And if you're looking for some community, we have a non-judgy and loving Facebook group for learning and connecting and sharing with other moms and dads <3 www.facebook.com/groups/readingparrots
These mamas went through our course together and our Tuesday night Inner Flock weekly get-togethers are so full of love and connection, too... My tribe and my friends and some of my very favorite people on earth every Tuesday night, learning and sharing together <3
Wherever you find your tribe, hold them tight and love them so! ... See MoreSee Less
Every Friday, the lawn men come and Ellie shakes from fright. On Saturdays and Wednesdays the garbage trucks pass. And Ellie's eyes dart around frantically--although she no longer shakes, as we've been working on reducing her fear responses.
And every Tuesday night is our online bird learning class, which Ellie very studiously attends and behaves very well because she enjoys meeting her bird friends <3
Ellie's life--all of my girls' lives--is comprised of weekly, monthly, and yearly rhythms and cycles.
Do they know this? Do they know that every Friday, Alex comes to play? And that also the lawn men come and it's always scary on that day? (We hide in the bathroom and turn on the shower.)
Do they know this, even without labels? Or are the scary trucks and lawn maintenance just monsters that growl viciously and terrorize us randomly, and can come at any time without any predictability at all?
Is Ellie always on alert? Or only on Fridays?
So very often when a new lesson idea pops into my head, I think, "That will never work."
This thought is followed up immediately by another one. "Might as well try?"
So I wrote the days of the week onto envelopes, and shoved the daily activities into the right day: Jolie, online class, lawn men, garbage trucks, Zara and Alex.
I taught Ellie the sequence of the week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Then we practiced which day is today/which was yesterday/which is tomorrow...
And we looked at all of the things in each of the days. Friday is the only super-scary day (and mom to the rescue--bathroom shower time!).
I'm hoping hoping hoping that she'll understand the patterns, that she'll see that there's a routine and certainty in her life, and that monsters aren't randomly trying to break break in with their scary loud growls...
And next? I'd like to condition "to know". Did she "know" lawn men come on Fridays already? Or did she only just learn that? <3 ... See MoreSee Less
G#ddg GB is g FCC GB fed fj day gif beg ah hulk lu h jr if ju jr r guh huh yr toy 76 IPO ou 9p 9 eh h hr eeek rut fu u guy fy htm k jugtm rd fr ese dude r you u true rtf y yo it rtf you 6 tweet you 🎅🇺🇸😱😢❄😋😍😍 ... See MoreSee Less
What's it like to live with a few reading and communicating animals? Well, mostly it feels like having small, feathered, opinionated aliens as house mates.
I say aliens because it still sometimes feels super weird that they can read and communicate so easily.
I also say aliens because legit, like the movies, you have to teach them every. single. word. So I spend a lot of time translating things. I squint my eyes in the shower thinking and thinking and thinking of how to explain stuff to them.
I can only use and expound on their existing vocabulary, so sometimes it's a bit of a puzzle how to get from point A to point F. Right now they're learning days of the week... They already know yesterday/today/tomorrow and we use that a lot in building the week day vocab. Could they learn months of the year? --Seven week days = 1 week --Four weeks = ~1 month --Twelve months = 1 year.
Challenge: right now they can only count to 6/7ish.
Point A. Point F. Lots of vocabulary gymnastics going on here! I often think, "This will be too much for them."
And I'm usually wrong.
On an average day, one of the birds gets to choose our breakfast (healthy pancakes, eggs, toast, sweet potato), and another bird picks our music (dance, baroque, romantic, guitar, beach, piano). I cook and clean, we dance to whatever music is playing. Then the third parrot picks our first activity--shower, playing outside, or learning.
That takes up most of our morning time together.
Almost every night we play cards together--a simplified color-match game, and the winner of each round gets big treats. I get chocolate when I win 🙂
And most days of the week, the girls have the opportunity to learn. I ask them what they want to study - math, music, vocab, reading books...
They love learning new vocabulary and they also looooove reading books, so usually it includes both of those. Music and math are sprinkled in here and there for fun. Lessons these days are about 12-30 minutes, depending on the topic and my attention span 🙃 They could legit learn forever, but with three girls needing lessons, plus cooking and cleaning and playing cards and playing outside and somewhere in there I work 10-14 hours per day in my real job...
They get to watch cartoons for a few hours, and they seem to like that. Fills up more brain stuff! 🙂
Our day-to-day lives feel rich with understanding. I remember trying to figure out what they wanted before they could communicate. They were animated lock boxes. I had no idea what was going on inside their little heads. My life was a guessing game. And it's just not anymore.
They're learning to communicate with a communication board, and my hopes for expressive communication are improving. It's not perfect - I'd love for them to "electronically speak" from wherever they are, but for now they touch my cheek when they want to talk with their board.
I honestly thought they'd abuse this and I'd spend my whole life holding up my phone so they can demand things, but actually they're really polite? 🙂
Which was super shocking?!
A few times per day Ellie will ask to use it. She'll often tell me she feels happy or sad. She'll ask for a treat or a book. It's so freaking precious <3 <3 <3
Anyway, that's our life! I love my feathered aliens to bits. Every day with them is magical! ... See MoreSee Less
Wow, that’s so awesome that they can converse to the point that they do!
Jen, you are experiencing a connection with them that few, if any other people know. It is so special. Be proud, be very proud.
So precious. Did they just randomly touch your cheek to use the board or did you teach that? You are such a great Mom💝
awwwwwww when you asked if she loved you and she went towards yes and then picked no......such a teenager!!!!!!!!
Melts my heart to read about your day to day life with them ♥️
I understand the alien thing so much with my iguana. He freaks me out sometimes honestly.
It's so funny reading your posts. I'm homeschooling humans and it's so similar sometimes.
I could watch you all day!❤️
I live with a small non-feathered opinionated alien.. but the doctors keep saying she's a human child and she's mine. 😂😂
It amazes me how much like children animals are and how SMART both are. Neither get enough credit and that's how they constantly wreak wonderful havok in our lives!
I love this so so much :-)
Courteney Smith So gorgeous :-)
Amazing. Wish I could talk to them.
Those have got to be some of the happiest birds on earth. What you do is so amazing! ❤️
Zack Jamous Diane Khatib wow
I understand the process for teaching physical objects, but how did you teach feelings - love, like, angry, scared, etc?
Oh my gosh, if this isn't my 4 year old human baby LOL. "I had a bad time so I don't like anyone anymore!" Poor Isabelle! I'm glad she seemed to feel better by the end here.
It's funny how things from long ago shape us. Sometimes the hurt haunts us until we sort it out. For me, that was our family's participation in a religious cult.
Every winter in memory has been generally awful, and not even because I suffer from SAD (as some have suggested). I live in Florida. While it can be 40s-60s outside, requiring sweaters and scarves, many days it's 78 degrees midday and sunny. I'm outside a lot. I get a crap-ton of sunshine.
Every October as the breeze cooled, I braced myself. By December my heart was shuttering up. January and February felt horrific and full of grief. I ploughed through it, of course, as I always do--smiling and working hard. I'd wait and wait for March 1st, for the warming days that wouldn't truly come until April, and by May I'd start to thaw.
It was ridiculous and yet so painful.
June, July, and August were the sweetest months of the year, and I often awaken at 5:30 or 6 am to go hiking while the dew drips and the sun rises, before my girls wake up.
Yet every single day, often many moments of every day in the summer, I wondered how I'd make it through winter again. I'd always know that cool "sweater weather" was coming.
Just the feeling of coolness on my skin felt agonizing.
Many of you know that my family spent some of my teen years involved with a conservative religious cult. I cut out and was an atheist by the age of 20.
"Do not defraud your brothers in Christ" was absolutely the drum by which we young girls marched. "If he lusts for you, it is your own sin. You have caused your brother in Christ to fall."
I was at the cult's training centers from ages 16-18, wearing ankle-length A-line skirts (straight skirts were too form-fitting) and modest shirts. I lined my skirts with multiple slips so that even if the wind blew, nobody could see the outline of my legs.
Some young girls wore head coverings to show their submission to God and their fathers.
One day during a group activity, we were instructed to lock arms behind our backs with another person--back to back, interlocking arms at the elbow. I didn't think much more about it until afterward when one of the Leadership came to me and told me my clothing was immodest. During the exercise, the t-shirt tightened, and the outline of my chest was visible.
"It would truly be better," he said, "if women could just wear brown paper bags. Formless. Shapeless. And maybe over their heads, too. Men lust after women, and you must do everything in your power to prevent men from lusting after you."
I was sixteen years old, and the most ridiculously sensitive and obedient girl you'd ever meet. The conversation crushed me. I began wearing button-down cotton blouses with long sleeves. I tried even harder to cover up in every way imaginable.
I wished paper bags were attainable for clothing options.
I felt obedient to God with layers and layers of clothing. While at the training centers, I also began to suffer from night terrors, from severe panic attacks, crippling social anxiety ("What if I say the wrong thing and cause my brothers and sisters in Christ to fall? What if I sin with my words?"). Depression cropped up too.
I remember the first time I bought jeans for myself. I didn't know how to pick out clothing. I was twenty years old and in college at University of Florida studying psychology/behavioral neuroscience. I asked the Old Navy clothing attendant to help me. She was so sweet.
A few years ago the winter was especially awful, and Joe decided I needed an Intervention. He found an NLP/hypnotist for me, Elizabeth in Stuart. I told her winters were hard, it was cold outside in the morning, too cold to hike in the early mornings.
We talked at length about why I thought I didn't like winter--none of it having anything to do with the past. Then she had me close my eyes, put me "under", and asked my very first memory.
I was covered up. I was so covered up. Everything in every way possible was covered. I couldn't breathe, I felt terror and overwhelming guilt. I was constricted. Not free, I was bound up.
"Ah," she said, and smiled. "Every winter you have to cover up." And I do - sweaters, turtle necks. Pants or long skirts with layers of slips. Even in Florida.
She did some work in that session--and over the course of a few more sessions. We decided I'd wear tank tops and soft, loose layers. (We did tons of cult deprogramming work too.)
It's mid-February, and for the first time in memory, I feel absolutely no anguish. The cool breeze has been refreshing, not painful. It is so ridiculously beautiful outside, I have no idea how it could have hurt so much before.
Winter is passing like a blink, and I also think counter-conditioning Christmas for Isabelle and I has been the best idea ever. Every spare minute is spent baking or crafting together. We listened to the warm, fuzzy holiday music for weeks and weeks beyond New Year's, too.
This winter I am so deeply, deeply thankful. I'm thankful for cool breezes and for randomly-assigned holiday dates. I'm thankful for a sweet guy who loves me, and for Elizabeth, who absolutely and profoundly changed my life. I'm thankful for the happiness and confidence that has become the feature of my world, even after a shattered past. ... See MoreSee Less
An interesting read,about an interesting person.
Every post from this page is another wonderful look into the life of another person and their intelligent, emotional birds. This is such a personal story I'm amazed you were able to find the strength to move forward from it and share it with us. I'm happy that you're finding happiness the ways you do, with your partner, family, and help you need, and are learning to find confidence after what happened with that religious group.
It seems like on the internet no one really can change anyone's mind, everyone has their own way of thinking already, but your story does help me understand and change my views towards clothing and "covering up", it gives me a firsthand perspective. I know it might not have been the point of the post but I do want to say I'm opening my eyes to how I view things like that too.
You're doing amazing, thank you for sharing with us ❤️
That’s some crazy crap. Christianity is supposed to be about freedom, not any form of bondage. BUT I’m really glad you’ve been able to make the progress you have!! That must feel so freeing! Keep working with yourself, enjoy the months 😀
We just moved to Leesburg FL from NH. It’s amazing to be in a tank top in mid February. I would love to meet you and your girls some day. So glad you’re feeling better.
Proud of you. Continue moving forward. Love to you.
Your honesty and self-awareness are truly inspiring, as is your courage in sharing your story, and walking away from such conditioning. Long may your light continue to shine <3
The more I learn about you and your girls the more amazed, impressed , and interested I am. Are you going to write a book?
Oh sweet girl. How very sorry I am to hear of the horrific abuse you suffered. Those people lied to you about who you were and who Jesus is. I'm so glad you are finding healing and new joy. You are priceless. ❤
Such strength in sharing our vulnerability. It only shows the courage it takes to continue to love despite the past.
THANK SPIRIT FOR ISABELLE ♡♡♡
Very very brave and helpful to bear your soul to help you and others. Hugs. ❤❤
Thank you for sharing. It is amazing the lessons we experience in our lives and how we choose to use them. Perhaps your lessons helped to prepare you for the incredible work you do now with your girls. I only recently started following you and so enjoy your posts. Please keep on with sharing, it helps to inspire me to be a better bird mom.
As someone who did study theology i am deeply shocked how people can make religion to something so embarrassing and dreadful. I just don’t get why people think this would be something god could appreciate. I don’t mind what religion people have or if they are atheists, i believe that getting along with another (human, animals, nature) is the key for happiness for us all. Glad to hear you found your way after all these weird things in the past.
Proud of you.
Love you and you girls
I absolutely love hearing about people's background stories. And, I love how it shows our similarities and differences, in spite of it. Gotta use our "baggage" to help others :-)
So happy that you are able to retrain your brain to stop the stress. Hugs to you my friend.
You and Joe are awesome. Just about everything you have done is a whole life’s work and you are just getting started! I celebrate your freedom with you ♥️ and the little freedoms that happen more often with every healthy choice 💕
I was in fl last week and as I waited after stepping off the plane a couple walked by. A Muslim couple. She wore head to toe covering. Burka and full face covering. All I could think of is there walks a bed spread hiding a woman, a mother and wife. How sad. As her husband walked freely in slacks and short sleeved shirt.
I hope things keep getting better and better for you. And I hope that woman finds her voice and her face are welcome to other human beings.
You are brave and beautiful. You have a tender loving soul. I’m glad to know you and I do admire you. You are enough ❣️
Man, that's a rough road you walked there. Bleesings that you gained some folks to make the journey better.
That right there was a glaring example of why I don't trust organized religeon.
Human interpretations of the universe can get mighty weird, and even weirder when questios, independent thought, and individuality is discouraged.
Which is odd, sorta, considering Dad was trained to be a minister (but not so odd, because he failed to be ordained because he was very honest and very much himself... 😏😂😆 He stated an opinion they folks that were ordaining just didn't like, no matter how legitimate and thought out the point... Yup. Dad was a dangerous thinker. Did his best to make sure his kids were, too. Yay Poppa!).
You be you.
I certainly do not see anything wrong with the blessed soul you were born to be, become, and becoming.
I've luckily never had any experiences with regards to religion (negative or otherwise), so unfortunately I can't relate on that level.
However, it takes an awful lot of balls to be able to share something as raw as what you've been through. Well done 🙂👍
I've been following the shenanigans of you and your girls for a while now.
Absolutely brilliant what you're doing and how they're coming along.
Keep up the awesome work and never doubt yourself or your abilities.
Do what I do.
Go through life with a "How hard can it be?" attitude 🙂
Wow!...u have come a looooong way....much respect & admiration...Thank u for sharing your journey💖💖
Does math give you trouble? Here's some encouragement: Despite their miniature brains, a new study says honeybees can learn basic arithmetic. If they can do it, so can you!
As planned, we're finally celebrating our winter holidays with the bird girls in the morning! They've been counting down the days 'til Santa comes for weeks now with their treat holiday calendar and here is the big day.
Grandma and I (Santa's bird elves, obviously) have been getting ready all night. Fun fact: I've been awake for 22 hours now. 😳
Anyway, hoping they'll sleep in, but expecting Isabelle will sound the Santa alarm first thing. 🙃
One time, I was explaining this to my GCC, pointing to the days on the calendar and counting the nights I would be gone. He turned to me and bit my face. I think he got the gist. ;)
Oh Ellie! Those smart eyes
Getting her to accept this news on the other hand... Lol
I think I might finally be able to join in again! ❤️
Was this her reaction??? Um would talking about coping skills help???
Welcome to all of our friends on our page! Here's an intro to all of my birds--who we are and what we do!!
I'm Jen, by day I own and manage a little, boutique law firm, and the rest of the time I'm a bird mom, parrot kindergarten teacher to cute online students, and (accidentally) an animal cognition researcher. I love love love all of my jobs <3
Ellie is the reason all of this started. She's a Goffin's cockatoo, and the naughtiest little sprite you'll ever meet. She CRAVES mental stimulation and learning - and if her mind isn't full of new ideas, she punishes the household by biting, screaming, and breaking things. 😬
I used to teach inner-city children how to read, so figured I'd try to teach her too, never thinking it would actually work, and utterly shocked that it did. Ellie reads small and large words, small sentences, and seems to understand lots and lots of concepts and vocabulary. She communicates daily through written flash cards about everything from missing grandma to wanting to bite her sisters' tails. 😝
Ellie is incredible. She's absolutely my colleague and buddy as we forge paths in communication together. She is six years old now and learns because she loves to learn--she loves a challenge, she loves tough concepts and puzzles. She pushes me to teach her new things. She figures things out faster than you could ever imagine. She HAS to learn, and is patient with me as I try (and occasionally fail) to explain this big beautiful world to her.
Under blind research conditions, her phonics reading accuracy rate is 70.4% on 34 words (so far). She often says research is boring, tosses the cards, on the floor, and bounces away. 😂
Isabelle is her younger Umbrella Cockatoo sister--four years old. I got her as a 14 month old baby who had experienced medical trauma by way of a foot infection that resulted in an amputation, and then she was released by her owners for adoption. She's very, very sensitive and super dramatic and she's got my heart wrapped around her little toes. 😍
Isabelle has learned pretty much everything Ellie's learned, but she learns not for its own sake (like Ellie), but to connect with us, to share, to talk and to have fun. They've all learned to express their feeling states, and her feelings seem to run deep. She struggles with hormones and cool weather, barbing her feathers. She's on medication that helps a lot.
She was kind of a slow learner at first, but once she figured the whole reading thing out, she became a star! She is our research girl - with 70.6% accuracy across 82 reading trials for our collaborating researcher, Dr. Perry from University of Miami.
Moonlight is a 35(?) year old Palm Cockatoo who lives with us at "permanent camp" 😍 She's also Ellie's BFF. Nobody knows for sure her origins. She may have been wild-caught.
She spent the first 25 years of her life at a zoo, and then went to live at my dear friend Dr. Susan Clubb's office, where she was much beloved. In August of 2017 I began teaching her how to read, too, and three months later she moved in with us <3
If all of my other birds need "management" and mommying, Moonlight is my peer and my friend. She is a lady with so very much life experience, not much phases her. And when I'm trying to explain things to her, and we're both confused, she reaches out and touches my face as if to say, "It's ok." She'll actually *redirect me* going back to kisses and then we start over 😊 I absolutely love her.
We don't have research data on her because she freezes like Kramer from Seinfeld whenever we set up testing conditions. Her eyes bug out and she stares straight ahead. (Seriously, it's just a computer and double-lined cards ROFL! This isn't a brain operation!)
Anyway, she loves to talk using communication cards, she adores books, and also loves to play card games 🙂 Lots of rainy afternoons you'll find Moonlight on a basket and me curled up in a blanket, drinking tea, playing cards, and reading together!
Last but not least (and not pictured!) is teeny tiny Lily, my eight-year-old vicious and adorable parrotlet. She is my little traveling buddy, and goes almost everywhere with me. (Sometimes she sneaky bites strangers on the elbow if they pass too closely... 😳) She doesn't read, but we are using pictograms to communicate about her enrichment preferences. She loves to snuggle, to attack pens and target sticks, and absolutely revels in biting people. Best. Game. Ever. LOL!
Those are my girls, and for clarification, the university research we're doing right now is simply sound/text correspondence--the data sets are done, and we're working through peer review.
My 2019 project is to show under blind conditions (in collaboration with university researchers) that parrots can learn through reading--that they can develop new vocabulary and use it meaningfully through literacy <3
Life with these girls feels magical, and every day is an adventure for which I am deeply, profoundly thankful!!! 😍 ... See MoreSee Less
Love it! Such fascinating histories for all of them 🙂
Such an inspiration to us all. And myth-breaker.
Give Isabelle extra kisses from me 💗💚
They are all amazing (and so are you)! Moonlight is a treasure; I'm sure she has so much wisdom and experience inside of her. And I love that Lily sneaky-bites people! 😂 I'd love to see a picture of her.
I can't help but laugh at the thought of being sneaky bit by a tiny secret lily birb. I wouldn't mind it one bit!
Such a remarkable family. May you have years and years of love and growth together ! 🥰🥰🥰
I've always wondered -- how does Isabelle walk/get around with only one foot ?
Go Jen, you are a champion.
Love reading about your experiences!
Love reading about birds and their adventures. The parrot world is blessed to have you as a pioneer.
Being a teacher and an animal lover I enjoy your posts and research. It is so intriguing to me!
❤️❤️❤️ you and your girls!!!
I don’t have a lot of experience with birds, but your posts give me a whole new appreciation for their personality and depth. Thank you!
What, you need a lawyer to buy boutiques now?
Your descriptions of Ellie as ND Isabelle fit my two children to a tee. 💖💕💗
Great pic of all of you
I love, love, love reading your updates. Your girls are so unique and special. Thank you for sharing their journey with us.
I love your description of Moonlight :)
I have a female eclectus 19 years, an umbrella cockatoo 13 years and a parrotlet 3 years. The parrotlet is the most vicious bird I have ever had. She's adorable-love her chirping.. She sits on my shoulder usually doesn't bite my ears.I wish I could do with my birds what you're doing. Love your posts.
Good look with your new project... I have 2 parrots and they are very intelligent, I see your videos and I like what you do, this help to understand that they have fillings, and if we pay attention to we can create a by connection with them
I can't even tell you what an honor it is that our work is being translated and printed in German!
Hildegard Niemann from Papageientraining Hildegard Niemann and her husband Reinard have been working on our Consenting Parrots: Teach Your Bird to Communicate Yes and No book to make it available to parrot owners in Germany <3
I'm absolutely humbled and overjoyed!!! Lots of love to you, Hilla!
Ever since hearing about Ellie, for some months, veterinarian Dr. Elizabeth Lynch has mentioned to me the book, "Out of my Mind."
It's about a brilliant girl, Melody, with cerebral palsy who cannot speak and has difficulty moving. She's been labeled severely mentally disabled - perhaps not even able to understand color discrimination. And yet she has a photographic memory, has learned how to read, she's ridiculously smart. She simply cannot speak or move in a manner to facilitate communication.
I started reading it a few days ago and I cannot put it down. Holy! Melody's experiences remind me SO much of those of animals--particularly the genius ones, who wish so much to speak to us and just can't.
Early on, Melody is introduced to a communication board on her tray. She points to yes/no and little words to communicate - and she does so just like Ellie!
One time I asked Ellie if the tea was hot or cold - as a discrimination test. The tea had been sitting out for a bit and it was lukewarm. She likes it really warm. She touched COLD.
I said, "No, it's not! it's hot!"
She bopped COLD COLD COLD COLD COLD repeatedly, insisting I needed to warm it up more. 😆
Melody does this too 🙂
Sometimes Melody is misunderstood, because her communication options are so limited. When she wanted to go out for ice cream - and kept touching FOOD and OUT, her dad couldn't figure it out, asking question after question and not understanding, as Melody grew increasingly frustrated.
This happens with my birds, too. Sometimes Ellie tells me she is sad, and I ask her a million questions trying to better understand. And sometimes there is no answer, and we just read a book together instead. 🙁
In some ways, I think (comparatively) that my parrots demonstrate more agency than Melody had. I think their enrichment options are fuller - they have more books than her school teachers expose to Melody, they have more cartoons that are related to things they've learned about. They can freely move about and choose their toys.
There's a lot more choice in their world, in part because they are intentionally vocal, because they can easily move, and in part because of our communication cards.
This isn't a spoiler--it's the point of the incredibly inspirational book--that everyone learns just how smart Melody is, and she learns to communicate through technology <3
But this is also the missing link for my birds, too. That their ability to communicate in a meaningful way with language is limited to when I'd sit down with them and hold up cards.
How very much they might want to say during the day. How very limited they are by my schedule and interest.
I've been working on, and tweaking, an electronic communication board for them for months. Someday we'll hopefully make it an easy download for other bird moms and dads to use in addition to the yes/no flashcards 🙂
A few weeks ago, I taught Ellie to touch my ear when she wanted to use it. And she does.
The other day she nuzzled my ear, then used her communication board to say, "I want... treat."
Yesterday she said, "I feel... excited!" and "I want... treat!" before our online class. She loves our online classes with bird friends 🙂
Anyway, Out of my Mind is an absolutely amazing book. I'm still in the middle of it, but it reminds me ever, ever, ever so much of our little parrot friends <3 And it inspires me to be so mindful of their experiences, and how very powerful choice and communication can be, especially to those who are nonverbal <3 ... See MoreSee Less
I just want you to know that my partner and I get so excited to read your posts every day. We are just enthralled by the amazing lives you and your feathery babies live. Thank you for always sharing 😊
That book sounds amazing. I will check it out!!
I think it sounds interesting
I love that book, definitely recommend!
I have CP, though mine is not as restrictive as Melody's. I can do most everything a person without CP can, it just takes me a bit longer. It is still somewhat restrictive as I age (I'm in my mid 40's).I fall on a regular basis, and therein lies the main restriction that I live with. I am also owned by four beautiful rescue quaker parrots, and they make my life complete.
I've been telling you about the book as well. I'm glad you finally listened to your mother.
i love that book!!
Wow that's amazing
Ellie has such a beautiful story.
My younger child has a communication program like that that her therapist used to help her with her speech delay. It's so amazing.
You kinda touched on why I follow your adventures here.
I've had too many ... Experiences ... With animals in general to accept the mainstream assessment of animal inteligence.
I've also seen expressions change when I apparently get the message being conveyed.
And the expressions when I'm being dense.
Wish I could understand better.
Critters seem to understand me much better than I understand them, anyrate.
Ssssooo who's the intelligent species?
Mervyn Lee I love reading her updates on her parrots
This is astonishing! So many more ways for your birds to learn to communicate! I can't wait to see what happens!
Last year, exactly one year ago, every single day I'd come home and it looked like a pillow exploded on the floor next to Isabelle's cage. She was *shredding* her feathers, and I was absolutely horrified.
I'd been away on vacation for a week. It was cold outside. She hit puberty/hormones. She also has a disability (amputated foot). I wasn't sure the cause at the time. Now I believe it's mostly hormonal + cold weather.
It was a long winter with lots of tears. In the end, we discovered haldol and implants help quite a bit, but... she'd also (sobbing regularly) beg to sleep in the bathroom.
For all of my birds, the bathroom is a safe space, away from scary things. When there are fireworks, I turn on the shower and we all hang out in there, feeling nice and warm and hiding from the loud booms.
When the lawn men come, or if there are scary truck noises, they hide in there too.
So Isabelle, bless her poor soul, wanted nothing more with all of her sadness than to sleep in the bathroom every night. So I let her sleep in the bathroom starting last April (as soon as I figured it out), and it was the first time I really felt I "reached" her, since the shredding had started in January.
It became a bit of a thing. Just in case I might forget, every single night, she had a total meltdown to remind me SHE HAS TO SLEEP IN THE BATHROOM OMG. And she actually had a lot of anxiety about this, because sometimes she doesn't. If I'm out of town or something else is going on, she sleeps in her cage in the living room. It very much upset her that there was always a chance she might NOT sleep there.
I suspect it was becoming a bit of a nest for her, and in the interest of managing hormones, that was a problem. For one thing, she'd line up all the little white shower curtain holders underneath her like little eggs. 🙄🙃
For another, and most awfully, she began peeling the paint off of the wall... and then chewing through the wall.
I added olive oil to the rod near the walls to make her less likely to want to go over there. With a huge grin, she learned to balance EVEN BETTER.
I added a foam tube to each side that would spin if she stood on it. She got even better at balancing -- and grinned at me even bigger.
And she was chewing the wall. But having total meltdowns if she couldn't sleep in there.
I bought dog collar cones to try to physically block her from the wall. They were a fun toy. "Thanks, Mom! Super fun to chew and destroy!" 😝
It became very, very, very, clear that Isabelle (for her own safety) needed to be relocated for sleeping, and this would be a Super Unpopular Opinion, since it was basically her only absolute mission in life to sleep in the bathroom, which I suspect had become her "nest".
I decided she'd relocate back into the bird room (cage free, though she sleeps in her cage by preference).
Her very favorite food is healthy, organic toast, which is apparently even better than sunflower seeds, so I used that to create some rituals.
Every night I went into her room with her, and sat on the sofa snuggling. She kept trying to march out, back to the bathroom, so I closed to door, too. :'( We snuggled for twenty minutes, and then I gave her toast and put her on her cage. I returned to the sofa and sat for another half hour, gradually turning off the light, waiting for her to go into her cage, grind her beak... and then fall asleep.
Each morning, I greeted her with SO MANY TREATS for sleeping in her room <3
We did this for a week.
Then I reduced our ritual a bit. Just a few minutes of snuggles, onto the cage, eat some toast, turn off the light... I'd hang out until she was grinding her beak for a few... and then I'd leave.
Now we're at the point where she gets her toast, goes onto her cage, plays for a bit and then goes to sleep all by herself. In the morning she greets me with shining eyes and happy dances 🙂 Overall, she seems... happier?
Things are a lot different in her mood. She doesn't have anxiety about whether or not she's going to sleep in the bathroom. She's less whiny during the day. We don't have any evening meltdowns, which had been a bit of a feature for a while. She's kind of my buddy, following me around the house, wanting to do whatever I'm doing. She's not yelling and grumbling about her horrible life quite so much. 😉
It was really hard for me to feel ok doing this for her--but I knew I absolutely had to. For both of us. I think it has improved her hormones. And I'm really thankful how well it's going! Gently setting some boundaries and working on counter conditioning--I hate to do anything they don't want--but sometimes it's necessary. It was hard, but it's working out <3 ... See MoreSee Less
Your astounding love and patience pays off once again!
And you were both greatly rewarded ❤❤❤
What a gorgeous baby ❤️ Super proud of you! Sometimes our babies need to be counter conditioned to things they find scary- and while it’s hard and potentially full of guilt during the actual process, they’re much better off in general afterward to have one less source of fear/anxiety.
Hormones are rough, and unfortunately for our feathered friends like Isabelle and Azalea, sometimes indulging the behaviors that the hormones make our feathered ones want to do only serves to trigger more hormonal behavior that makes them more miserable than curbing the initial hormonal behavior in the first place. It sucks when you're trying to help them get through that first bit, but how much happier they are once they do and the hormones calm down is totally worth it.
You are such an incredibly lovely person❤
Amazing story. We often dont think of them as having their own unique personalities but they do
The lining up the hooks on the rod like eggs...yep that was a clue and boy that bathroom wall@$!#. Glad she is better and you are the reason Mom☺
I love how big bird emotions are. Everything is big for them, especially their hearts
I totally understand!
She is blessed to have you
to be fair that wall does look delicious...
You’re such an amazing mommy!!
Is she still on Haldol ? How does she walk with a missing foot ?
Good job, Jen! Thanks for sharing!❤️❤️❤️
I've had the "lets chew through the wall" as well. My wall is a 600 year old wall! I was very worried about the 600 year old lime plaster that Bilbo chewed! Immediately called my vet to double check and he said to watch closely. If he starts being sick to get him straight down. But Bilbo was fine! Bouncing around happily as usual. Utterly delighted with his beakwork! I was less than happy. Those wood bits - very very old! We've since had it replastered and he hasn't touched it at all. Now he's trying to work on the 600 year old wooden floorboards instead (I am now covering them with wood boards that I am happy for him to chew!).
I absolutely love reading all about your little family and I've totally fallen in love with them. This made me smile and it warmed my heart. It is good to know your beloved babies are not angels 😀xx
It sounds like you're doing a great job!
Such a sweet emotion filled baby..
You're doing great, all kids need boundaries and are actually happier when they get them💜
Just like a "real" mom! You are doing great with your babies!!
My heart sank when I read the header. Much better now.
I think, the best hormones medicine are understanding, patient and Love. You got them all 💗
Basic choice to leave or return to cage. Builds trust.
I bring out all of the fruits and veggies for the day and the birds pick out what they are going to eat. Pina likes hers in a little omelette and Rue likes his fresh
Scritch or no scritch
How to get out of the cage. Mine won’t step up from inside the cage and sometimes not outside his cage and I’m fine with that. He flies to me when he wants to be with me.
My birds love those little wooden star toys. I let them each pick whatever color they want. I also ask them if they want certain things. They will nod yes if they want something...like a particular treat. :)
Me: Joe, would you super love to do data analysis with me? 😍 Joe: Yep.
And from a blank spreadsheet, he created Excel magic on Isabelle's word list, character frequency, accuracy rates by character, accuracy rates by character differences between words, cross analyzed against character frequency and accuracy....
~Isabelle tell us your secrets!~
For one thing, if the word has f, w, x, or g in it somewhere, she always gets it right.
Some mornings, I swear my birds are out to get me. This usually happens when I've only had 5 hours of sleep. 😂
~They sense my weakness~ 😈
Moonlight toppled a potted plant and got a little scratch, then dumped an essential oil bottle in butter???? There's butter everywhere. 🙄🤣
Buttons and beads cover the living room floor. (Macauley Caulkin would be proud.) And I'm getting so much mom shame and glarey faces because it's not an outside play day.
At least we did tons of cuddling and ate yummy breakfast together. Moonlight preened my ear and my hair, she was so sweet and gentle.
Now time for a quick post-lunch nap to recover from staying up until 1:30 a.m. analyzing research... 😊 The girls have lots of foraging to keep them busy all afternoon...Back to work for me! ... See MoreSee Less
Isabelle's running research data at this point includes 85 words read under blind conditions with 71% accuracy. A control group of adults was utilized to analyze the videos and guess, based on body language, which words they thought were correct.
The control group's accuracy rate was 51%.
Our university research collaborator seems pretty comfy with Isabelle's data pointing toward parrots having the capacity to engage in phonics processing, even with really big words! 🙂
The question she, plus a few other researchers, including Dr. Pepperberg (and this humble bird mom) have has become this: if the birds are sounding out words, HOW are they doing it?
Are they sounding out single letters, left to right?
Are they sounding out groups of sounds with hacks like: apprehension = APP / RE / HEN / SHUN?
Are they looking at the vowel difference in bAll and bEll and deducing the verbal prompt from the contrasting sounds, in which case they are ignoring all of the letters except the two contrasting ones?
What the heck is going on here?! 🙂
The cool bit of the research is that Isabelle's fuss-out rate is ~33%, which is the standard average for research done on small children.
Her accuracy rate of 71% in a forced-choice, two-option setup is also the standard average for research on children (40-70% accuracy).
What I didn't expect is that maybe the answers to the other questions--HOW is she doing it--might lie in existing data.
What if we could analyze the words and see which ones she's more accurate on?
If it has a hard consonant, like a T or a K, is Isabelle more likely to be accurate?
Or a suffix she's already learned, like -tion - shun at the end of a word?
So my new project is to analyze the words in the data sets, noting the properties that are more or less likely to be accurate, and see if there's something there.
I get so excited when reading your posts. From one analytical and bird brain to another it’s just so darn fun!
I always tell my friends your bird can read, they never believe me until they see your videos. Always amazed! Keep up the great work 😁😁
Thank u & your feathered daughters for working so hard in this labor of love💚💙💜💛❤
I tend to wonder if it’s memorizing and or surmising a group of familiarly places letters. I have to wonder if as humans are learning to read, if we do not physically “toy” with the word in our mouth and correlate with the feel of the sound from our mouth to our ears (extremely simply put) hence the tongue relation to making sound. I believe even dumb people vibrate while learning speech both signing and reading. This is why the reading process (not so much speaking) is just fascinating to me. It strikes me off that your birds read but do not speak in relation to their reading vocabulary. Pina speaks appropriately not fluently, when engaged in conversation. She and Rue know yes and no and he is more action based communicator whereas Pina has her word clusters to get the point across. Excruciatingly simple. But your birds read... have a flow of dialect with reading. Do they spell? Do they warble so to speak while reading? I have too many questions. Your work is so incredible it’s... just amazing.
Your work is so fascinating!!💕💕💕
Elena Marie Zsolt V. Tulassay pretty cool
I'm glad this assignment doesn't include me.
There's enrichment, and then there's Enrichment, according to some university researchers in the non-human primate world.
I've always felt like I was scratching at something when it comes to an animal's *capacity* for learning vs. their enrichment opportunities. I felt was unable to really uncover it, but trying and trying to figure it out.
Maybe Ellie figured it out, but she couldn't say it.
All I knew is that for Ellie, filling up a time budget with activities related to naturalistic behavior--foraging, playing, shredding--wasn't enough. And she bit me a lot, to show me exactly the depths of her frustration.
"What exactly are your limits?" I used to wonder. "If you were given every opportunity to display your cognitive capabilities, what could you do?"
Last week, I wrote the proceedings paper for my upcoming presentation to the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators (IAATE), and I discovered some incredible new research insights into theories on enrichment.
Enrichment, wrote the university researchers, is not so much about an animal engaging in natural behaviors to fill up a time budget. It's about engaging the *underlying cognitive processes* such as learning, memory, sensory, and motor skills, ***in increasing levels of difficulty over time****.
In the wild, animals forage--but they are utilizing SO much more than just digging in a box. They're remembering, they're learning, they're searching, they're looking for predators. When they forage, there's so very much more going on in their brains.
Their little bodies have adapted for quite a lot of cognitive capacity to survive that way--things that we can't ethically replicate in captivity, such as predators. Dealing pestilence. Searching during famine or drought.
They're learning and memorizing and hiding and searching. It's what they are built for.
This was Ellie's Thing. She didn't want rote activities to fill up her time. She wanted to LEARN. And learn and learn and keep on learning.
The researchers argued for more artificial access to cognitive enrichment tasks--computers for primates, for instance. In our case, I realized (and wrote in our paper) that literacy and phonics have become, for us, exactly that: as one simple task is mastered, another is learned. Once that one is mastered, there's a new one.
It starts with A.
And then adds B.
A and B are followed by C.
One day at a time...
And before long, the birds are decoding B-A-L-L.
Then they choose between pancakes and eggs for breakfast.
They learn digraphs and suffixes, the words get larger.
They learn music and activities, their capacity for choice in their environment is enhanced.
My heart pounded with happiness as I read about these enrichment theories. "Enhanced Enrichment," they called it, which isn't based only on "naturalistic behavior", but on learning and development.
I'm still hard-core nerding out over the implications and sending the article to everyone in existence (do you want a copy??), but it is what Ellie needed all along... harder and harder tasks. More and more learning. She wanted her brain filled up with things to think about.
And right now, to work on the "memory" part of enrichment, my girls are learning to play the game Concentration! They have to match three upside down cards to the card presented - and remember where the "wrong cards" are located, so when those colors come up, they can pick them!
Isabelle has mostly been distracted by play-attacking the cloth under the tray. 🙄 Yesterday, Moonlight said she wanted to read words not do stupid card games, Mom. 🙃
But Ellie watched and then learned, and then played and played this memory-oriented game. It was astonishing to observe her look at the options and analyze among her choices.
She never stops astonishing me. And no, in 2.5 years of learning, I have not reached her capacity.
I'm so excited about having a new game to play with them... one that draws on their cognitive skill of memory, a way to meet their need for enhanced enrichment <3 ... See MoreSee Less
Yes please would love a copy! :-) Ellie must go to bed with a pounding brainache, there are no limits to her learning capabilities. I hope that my girl Lou will be keener to learn when her toy exploring and learning is done. Although she is 21 this year, toys are new to her. Would love to know more of Ellie, her age, how long you have been together, how long did those toys sustain her for?
You are doing the same thing to us parrot lovers. Stretch out brains to increase activities for our birds. You are amazing.
Your work continues to amaze me. The ramifications of what you do are so profound. It is such an honor to watch you all grow ! 💓💓
Maybe one day Ellie has learned enough to host her own class and be the teacher 😂
You and your girls amaze me time and time again. I, still, firmly believe that what you are doing is very important and that you are uncovering the mysteries of surfaces that many would not even scratch in their dreams!
I want a copy! 🤩 honestly when I see your posts pop up on my feed I drop whatever I'm doing to read it. It's cute and cool and clever and so, SO important the journey you and your birds are on.
I have learned so much from your page, and continue to be amazed by your research and the relationship you have with your girls. With each new insight, I'm able to improve the lives of my own feathered family. Thank-you!
I'm so excited about Ellie's journey of learning. It's so amazing how much you've uncovered and understood about her
I have been following all of your Bird's journeys and I would love a copy!!!
I am a dog owner (maybe a bird someday) but your posts inspire me to respect my dog as an individual with her own wants, needs, and interests. Love your work!!
I’m a special ed teacher and I have many autistic students. They lean best with visuals and concrete manipulatives. An activity I do is this...I use a metal cookie sheet with several magnetic alphabet letters across the top of the cookie sheet....I show them a picture of something like a ball.... the child slides the correct letters “b a l l” down to spell the word. I wonder if Ellie would/could do this with her beak??
I saved the link to read later. I love your posts, always so interesting. Moonlight cracks me up. The looks and attitude go together perfectly 🤣🤣
I’ve always been fascinated by the work Dr Pepperburg did with Alex. I’m even more impressed with what you and Ellie have Achieved!! Ellie is a star in my eyes!💕💕💕
Moonlight sounds like my son when a task is (presently) too hard for him. Maybe try an easier memory game first, with Moonlight?
Helloz! If you were wanting to join the Inner Flock bird music appreciation class, we're doing a catch-up session tonight (teach your bird to discriminate music)! Then classes will resume on Tuesday nights!
PSA! OTHER BIRBS ARE LEARNING CLASSICAL MUSIC AND IT MAKES ME RIDICULOUSLY HAPPY!
If, by chance, the topic of my birds comes up with strangers or acquaintances, I may mention that they're working on "literacy tasks" like phonics.
This is shocking and exciting, of course, to newbies... birds can read?!
"It appears so," I'll say tentatively, and reference grapheme-phoneme correspondence research, also explaining that we're in the process of testing silent reading and vocabulary development.
"That part isn't proven yet... Hopefully this year we'll have some good evidence!"
This is edgy stuff--certainly just skirting the boundaries of possibility in most people's minds. And, of course, it's phenomenal and amazing and cool.
THINGS I **DO NOT TELL** strangers and acquaintances or even casual friends is that Ellie and Isabelle have learned ("appear to have learned, although not yet scientifically tested") classical music composers and enjoy labeling the major musical works of those composers. In my household, we debate about the preeminence of Bach vs. Pachelbel while I cook pancakes, and my girls can distinguish the Brandenberg Concerto #3 from the Canon in D (as well as other pieces by Handel, Beethoven, and Dvorak).
I don't tell that to people, NOT EVEN FAMILY, because that's just freaky crazy town cat lady territory.
"Working on literacy tasks related to phonics" gets a look of surprise and a raised eyebrow.
Classical music would end the conversation, and I'd lose every shred of respect.
Enter, stage right, our Inner Flock bird mamas, who little suspected the absolute wormhole that is classical music appreciation with their little feathered students.
I casually mentioned late last year that we'd start working on music in January and never, ever, ever, ever could have guessed just how absolutely down this crazy town cat lady worm hole we'd all be yanked, nor how quickly!
You guys, these birds are ridiculous. They're brilliant--we know this--but in music? On absolute levels untold.
Goffin's cockatoo, Sassy, can distinguish pieces from Bach, Handel, Pachelbel, Hydan and Mozart and demanded a 45 minute lesson today. African Greys Shelby and Smokey are labeling and rocking out to the 90s (Queen, anyone??) and Carmen's macaw, Hero, not only can distinguish the classical composers with a shocking amount of accuracy, but says she prefers rock music and loves Queen too (thanks so much). 😂
I cannot even tell you how utterly overfull of sheer happiness (and giggles) I am by music exploration with parrots.
I mean, it shouldn't be shocking that they're good at it - bird songs anyone?!
But I now also have a tribe of people who are as profoundly shocked by the sheer depth of intelligence these parrots display as I am. Time and again, I stare at my cockatoos and think, "Who are you? How did genius aliens land in feathered bodies in my living room? ...And how do I reach you and bring you happiness, too?"
Now I'm not the only crazy one who can't fully talk about her birds with strangers 😂 And it makes me so happy that these little parrots have the opportunity to explore something I love so very much, too: music.
It's such an absolute, heartfelt privilege to share a mutual passion with these precious creatures!
I don't find the music piece at all surprising. I'm sure that birds' brains are wired to remember and respond to music. When my Orion was a chicklet (1-2), he was obsessed with the soundtrack to Wicked. He would ask for it: "Wicky!!" Right now, he's going through a Beatles phase.
I've heard people say that birds don't really have musical preferences, that they're just responding to the owners' preferences, but I'm quite sure this isn't true. My budgie's favorite artist was Enya, and she would scold me if I put on anything she felt to be too raucous. Orion has totally different preferences and even likes country, which I do not enjoy.
So what exactly have you not shared with the family? 😁
I love that you altered the title of Air haha
Definitely Queen (Bicycle Bicycle) fans here!!! I play oldies Rock and Roll and they definitely dance when their jam comes on. No one dances to country. Everyone loves The Bangles! Walk like an Egyptian.
I'm not surprised at all. They are so intelligent and you help them show and share it. 😍😍
Such awesomeness. Proud to be a U2 momma with a U2 that does nothing but scream. Maybe in time he will learn.
I thank the cosmos that I happened upon your timeline many months ago and have the great gift of following your awesome work/play and watching you all grow !! 💫💫💖💫💫
Well I believe every word of it. The fact, that no one believes in my family, is that my little greencheek can use words in context, so I know there's more in there.
Omg smart babies
Each of my flock has a “theme song”. It usually includes their name. When they moved here, to comfort and acclimate to a new home, I’d find a song. All of them recognize “their song”: heads bob up and down, move closer to the music, try to sing along. Moods become lighter. Ex: Bingo is the kids song “Bingo”; Xanadu is Olivia Newton John’s “Xanadu”.
This is amazing! Besides your training classes for bird mamas I.hope you will write a book about this journey, the accuracy, extended Christmas time, fav sitters, including all these fb posts and photos like not JUST the technical stuff but also the personal stuff. ...oh my how wonderful in the future if birds could report bad owners!!!
This is so, so lovely! I'm learning piano and have wanted a bird child for a long time now (I would have used to say pet bird, and I guess that's still how I talk about it to most, but in my heart now I know for sure a bird is a feathered child and not a pet, really!) - it's so nice to feel like the two go hand in hand! I hope I can learn to play things my future feathered baby will enjoy!
I’m soo glad they love Queen, such a GREAT band 😍
This is so cool! People tend to think I'm totally nuts when I tell them my girl has favourite tv shows, and ones she cannot stand, she also has favourite music too!
I was going to say birds songs so doesn't surprise me.
Love this post
Puck loves New Orleans jazz and funk, like Kermit Ruffins, Professor Longhair, Trombone Shorty, and Rebirth Brass Band. He dances and sings along, especially with the horn parts. If we aren’t playing his music through the TV, he will go stand by the remote (it’s a voice command one) and yell “DORA! DORA!”. Little scamp is trying his best to say Pandora, and he has learned saying it into the remote makes the music play. I am amazed by him every day.
Buddy loves to sing. Princess loves to dance. I need to work on exploring music with them. I know Buddy totally rocked out to Michael Jackson during the summer.
My mom's Congo African Grey loves music. We haven't done any language training with him like you have with your girls, but you can ask him if he wants music or radio and he'll bob his head. His favorite recent artists are P!nk and Lady Gaga, but he's also super into funk and Stevie Wonder! He'll dance side to side with little shuffling feet and sway his head around, it's so cute!
I love this!
I'll never forget that feeling when I first started questioning if birds were more intelligent than people typically give them credit for. My impish Yosh with her hopping up on the back of a chair between Scott and I to shake water all over both of us after a bath--and then laugh at us. Crows and their tools--that use crosswalks. I love that science is starting to help us understand just what our feathered friends are capable of.
I'm not surprised about this. My dusky conure, T bird, had favorite bands. She grew up listening to music constantly. King Crimson, Yes, Rush, and Mahavishnu Orchestra were some of her favorites. The more she liked the song, the more excited she would get.
My budgie, Perrywinkle, loved the Rush song, Xanadu, and would sing his little heart out when I put on that song.
Our cockatiel, Tessie, likes a song by Foster the People, she peeps along and gets quite loud when it comes on! We just started noticing it the other day. It's so awesome!
Karen Ryan, you should follow this. Amazing things I think you'd appreciate.
How has positive-reinforcement, force-free animal training helped your relationship with your bird?
I, too, scolded birds and used time-outs as a training method for birds when I was younger. Puppies were spanked with newspapers or forced to submit. 😭
I'm so thankful for Barbara Heidenreich and Dr. Friedman and their pioneering work in positive, kindness-based, force-free training techniques. By the time Ellie was born, I was reading everything I could. I wanted her to experience only kindness and no punishment. 😍
I'm always learning, but the trust my girls have in me means everything! I'm so thankful to have learned these easy training habits! ☺I woke up two nights ago from a nightmare. It was a reliving of some of my memories as a fifteen year old of how I treated a puppy back then in order to “train” him. All of us involved collectively denied that puppy of a full life. But he was neither the first nor the last animal to be a victim of my sheer ignorance.
I woke up with a very clear recollection of exactly how he looked the instant I punished him for something he had no idea he was doing wrong. I couldn’t go back to sleep. What did I do to the puppy I loved?
Disciplining an animal to train him is the easy part. Living with it for the rest of your life, knowing exactly how you could have done better, is gut-wrenching. Even a “no” is easier than “I’m sorry”.
I’m not asking for sympathetic comments on how the past is the past. I am asking you to think about whether you are being the kindest teacher you can be today.
In Maya Angelou’s words: “Do the best you can until you know better. When you know better, do better.”
[I have nothing but haunting mental photographs of Casper, that eternal puppy. So here’s a photo of the teacher I now look up to, the dog who changed me for all the animals who came after him.] ... See MoreSee Less
You may remember that we have decided to celebrate Christmas throughout winter. The idea was to draw from holiday enrichment themes to keep a bunch of cute feathered girls (and particularly one who plucks extra badly in winter) distracted with crafts and cooking, music, Santa books...
Christmas is so full of activity and wonder. I'd hoped if we could spread it out through mid-February, maybe all that distraction would keep our hearts merry and light.
And honestly, halfway into January, it's been amazing! Usually I'm rushing through the holidays trying to bask in intense Christmas joy and fill every moment with baking and crafts.
And then, of course, we're out in the cold on our butts January 1, and we've got all of winter to deal with.
This year, it feels like a "season" of stuff, not the intense, breathless six weeks of scrambling for holiday cheer. I think on Saturday I'm going to bake for all of the neighbors.
The girls still need to do their snowman and ornament crafts.
I've still got some holiday shopping to do for them.
This morning, Ellie asked for the "Christmas smell" (light essential oil) and "Christmas music". Moonlight's been learning about Santa for the first time--and she's ALL smiles! And we've been snuggling and reading Santa and Frosty books, drinking peppermint and cinnamon tea, and enjoying all of the holiday happiness together.
What a great idea! We should all do this. Just as you said come the beginning of January it’s such a huge let down and then nothing!
This is beautiful. 😭❤️
So happy to hear this is helping your plucky feather-baby.
Amazing and fun to watch.
I think it's wonderful. Not only is it keeping your girls busy, you actually have time to enjoy every part of Christmas without feeling like you have to cram it all in between work, research, and all the other everyday "stuff" all of you actually have time to just enjoy.
Winter in a tank top. #Floriduh (I'm in St. Pete. We have our a/c on over here.)
Raffaele vabbè guarda che brava aaaaa sono innamorata ❤️❤️❤️😭😭😭
So which essential oils to you use for your girls? I try to be extra careful with things that give off a sent but I've heard some oils in moderation and not to close are ok. We have a house chicken and sometimes I come home and the house smells like chicken poop! I can't be there every moment to pick it up and my husband is afraid that diapers mat have chemicals that could make her sick, so we pick up poop all day. No carpet!
It's been eight wonderful days of fever. All I will say is that while I was Googling the symptoms of actually DYING FROM THE FLU last Friday (I'd lost 4 lbs in 9 hours and legit couldn't even keep down water), Ellie was an angel (kind of shocking?) and Moonlight and Isabelle were beasts on a Seek and Destroy mission.
The casualties: --My mouse dongle - M --the Christmas tree lights (which were off) - M --my laptop keyboard - I --my CD ROM (don't tell Joe, I think I fixed it...) - I --THE WALL IN TWO PLACES - I & M
Lily gets an honorable mention as both being both snuggly but also gnawing on my thumb.
Joe relocated me to his house on Friday and the girls to safe playing areas so I could drift in and out of consciousness in a more supervised setting while burning with fever and without having to manage feathered toddlers.
Anyway I live, but am pretty weak and tired and am dealing with sick-brain memory capacity, which is to say, I can't remember English very well but will hopefully get there soon!
Oh! And I tried to teach the girls the word "Sick" (with a picture of my red face) and Ellie said no, she wanted to talk about Santa instead... so we read Santa books.
First, I hope you’re feeling better. I’m just curious if you Think that fear could have been a trigger behind Moonlight and Isabelle’s behavior.
I do know from my experience that whenever I was ill my Cosmo would become extra loving and would basically keep watch
Feel better. Chicken soup with lots of onion and garlic!
I’m so glad you are receiving some care now. Sending healing thoughts.
My parrotlet is rude when I don't feel well, but that comes with the territory, lol.
Hope you're better soonest.
My conure will basically scream and freak out until I let her out, and then she'll sit quietly on or near my head, sometimes for hours at a time. It's kinda sweet, except for the screaming part. XD
Feel better soon! Although your post did make me giggle. My girls couldn’t care less if I’m sick. Step n’ fetch it, Mom! Lol
Love the picture of Moonlight! So happy you are feeling better and Joe is taking care of you! (((Hugs)))
Joe is a keeper 4 sure. Taking you all sick and buggie to HIS house!😵
My Blue Crown is very cuddly when I’m sick.
My previous parrot, a Cherry Head Conure was a wild-caught rescue. He never talked during the day, but was very vocal in the evening. Not long after I acquired him I woke up one morning with a migraine. I finally got out of bed just to go downstairs to feed him. After I fixed his breakfast, my head was hurting so bad I didn’t even feel like going back to bed and just laid down on the couch. After a few minuets in a soft, sweet little voice he said “I love you”. He was my first parrot and I was blown away that he understood and demonstrated empathy!! 💕
Hope u feel better soon!
Oh no! My Milly becomes my nurse when I am sick. She is a total love. I hope you feel better soon. ❤️
So sorry you have been feeling so awful and happy that you are soon back to your healthy self! 😷🥴☺️
I hope you get better soon!!
They sense your weakness
I hope you feel better soon
Poor featherless mom. Sounds like a lot of rowdy toddlers. Glad you are in the upside. Hope you are completely better soon.
4lb?! I'm getting on a plane to kiss u. I NEED those germs!!!
Oh no. I keep telling you kids are easier. I'm hoping it's all behind you now.
I only laugh because thats my house to a T lol. I hope you get well soon!! <3
So sorry you are so sick! Get well soon!! ❤️
Early last year when I wrote about research with my cockatoos I said it mostly felt like a mother sending her four-year-old to perform at the Olympics.
You've got no idea whether she's too hungry or too full, whether she's upset about the bag next to the door, whether she's tired or fussy... and within this framework my little cockatoos were supposed to read under blind conditions for university research. 😯
(Although research is always voluntary for them, Ellie told me the tests were boring and I was also boring. And then mostly picked every wrong answer. 🙄)
Isabelle had primarily "good day" data sets, but she fussed out a few times, too.
It felt so random, their participation and accuracy so completely out of my control. Isabelle was a total champ, though, and voila! Data sets and journal article submissions!
In October, Jolie, our FAU Intern, and I worked on something almost nonsensical: baseline testing. We placed dots on cards, presented 2 cards at a time--one with a dot and one without--and tested how accurately they could just touch the dot with the card under blind conditions.
Through analyzing the baseline tests as well as other behaviors during research, the most fascinating information emerged.
--If I was excited about the cards, bounced them and said, "Are you ready? Look here and here! Which one?!" their accuracy improved--even Ellie would step up to the plate.
Just by sing-songing the testing session, we got more engagement.
--If Isabelle vocalizes and touches my arm, that's a clear sign the session will be a bomb.
--If Ellie is anting or throws a practice card, it will be a bomb.
--And if we build momentum for the test with practice questions--and they get more than half right, and several in a row correct, they're ready for action.
Last weekend when we did our research, for the first time ever thanks to our work with Jolie, I absolutely trusted my girls. I trusted the process. I sing-songed through the whole lesson, bouncing cards and doling out jackpots for treats. Ellie's accuracy was 75% and Isabelle's was 77% -- higher than even their normal testing (~71%)! 😍
Jump into January exploring MUSIC with your parrot! We’ll pick a classical era each Tuesday night and learn about two major composers – their music, their lives… (Ellie has the hugest crush on Bach, be warned.)
We’ll pick a few bouncy songs to teach to our birds! We’ll also be learning about musical instruments, and of course, having fun with interactive story time, crafts, and fun learning projects!
Hope you can join us! As always, it's suitable for all levels of learning ❤
This is very interesting to me having just learned that palm cockatoos use seeds and other things to make too music to attract a mate. Ellie obviously wants someone classy ! Lol 😆
I've been trying to expand my chickens' taste, while they tend to enjoy mostly bluegrass and soft jazz I played some Disney for them the other day and they didn't seem to hate it 🤓
My fids like all types of music. My cag loves to sing Ghost songs! They all like DKM and Linkin' Park. For some reason, they don't like Lindsey Buckingham solo, but like Fleetwood Mac! Lol
Our budgie loves ABBA and Diana Ross & the Supremes. Loves, loves, loves them: will stop almost everything to sing along.
There aren't enough smiley emojis to describe my feelings about art with parrots! 😆 My bird girls each made their own winter wreaths! (Ellie was super boss lady about hers. She owned it!)
Holy moley their art is soooo cute! (Pics of each of their wreaths is at the end of the video!) I hung them up in the living room 😍
A few weeks ago in our weekly Inner Flock class, making wreaths was one of the craft ideas. It's a cool one, too - only using target (touch) training and simple yes/no cards to be inspired and create together!!!
To try to counter-condition Isabelle's "winter blues", we're celebrating Christmas in February. I loaded us up on craft and cooking supplies to last us through the winter, so we can focus on inside fun while it's cool outside.
This was our first time really crafting together, and it went so well! I can't wait to tackle our other projects - from ugly sweater cookies to making snowmen, and even each girl creating her own ornament... 😀
I love the craft and learning ideas that come up in our Inner Flock craft classes. 🙃 ... See MoreSee Less
Oh man I loved this video so much. I loved the "oh heck no" attitude she made when you brought out the big colorful ball things. 💚
This is fabulous 😍
Love this so much!!
Ellie is so fascinating. I really enjoy watching you interact with her. So cool 😍♥️🥰
Amazing to watch her!
This is so pure 😭 im so proud of their little wreaths and its gotta be so cute seeing them hung in your home!
Great how she really eyeballed what you were doing. Very classy wreath for her.
She did a great job! & so did the other 2
Again very interesting insights in little thoughts and souls.
I think this is one of the most precious videos❤
I would be so, so curious to learn if they would each recognize their own wreaths next year...
I love your ideas. So sweet.
Ellie knew exactly how she wanted her wreath to look!! Lol
Is extending Christmas and all the fun activities helping Isabelle?
Where did you find the letters? I’ve been looking for some
i feel like their wreaths really represent their personalities!
Hahaha she said "hard pass" to those striped balls. Didn't even wanna touch em 😂
Kenneth Alex Hrishikesh this is legitimately incredible
Matt Brown Rose Nobes the most wholesome arts and crafts
This video is so wholesome 😍❤❤ I just love seeing how decisive Ellie is and how different all their wreaths came out!!
Ellie is a lady bird that knows what she wants. Isabelle is a bird that is full of big emotions shes trying hard to understand...like a teenager. And moonlight is just gorgeous! I love to see their personalities shine through. I have 3 blue and golds and a citron too. My citron too is really the sweetest little cuddle bug you ever met, but my blue and golds each have personalities, and strong ones too!
I love that they each made so different wreaths! :)
Big Birds favorite (other than me) is my daughter. Although he is pretty good with everyone these days. When we rescued him he hated men and that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore so yay, we’re doing something right. LOL
She looks so happyyyy
Koda has no favourite people, Inca loves Tim.
My boy Cletus has always been super friendly, but he's especially fond of my grandmother, though she doesn't return his feelings. Oh but do his feet get warm, and does he starts beak grinding and talking to her? Yes, everytime. 😁
All 3 of my birds have one favorite person-my husband. Mom’s cool when dad isn’t around but the minute he gets home it’s all about daddy 🙄
Rio has no other favourite person just me lol he likes to running an attack other people I'm the only one that can give him kisses and get cuddles lol xxx
My u2 likes everybody. When he sees someone new he starts to ask Who are you? Non stop.
And then he asks hugs from new person.
I’d just like to remind everyone that AUNTIE ANGI is Isabelle’s favorite!
Apart from that important message, Bird Daddy is Sassy’s favorite!
My Goffins only likes me and my husband. He comes to me for cuddles and my hubby for play. Tries to bite anyone else 😭😭😭
Every. Single. Person. She sees.
Most days it's anyone BUT me
My mom for sure
My daughter Alex, otherwise know to the bird-boys as “Other Mom” ❤️
There can be only one. 💜
I haven't found anyone yet that my Sun Conure, Duck-Duck, doesn't like!! I think he should be a therapy birdy!
This is a pretty picture! You should print this out 🙂
I’m sad that my birds don’t like anyone but me. Detre my patty will go to other people and stand there stiffly! Bit all three will take food gently from anyone.
My birds love everybody....
My green cheek (turquoise) loves my boyfriend for some weird reason yet he's also very nippy with my boyfriend. I think my green cheek is happy just sitting him but hands off interaction only. As for my crimson bellied, I'm her favorite person and she does like my boyfriend - but again, bitey as heck with him. I think he lacks the skills and the patience to really work with her on it so I doubt her biting will or rough preening will be fixed unless he puts in the time/effort. She's very good with me and loves her Momma. I can cuddle her, handle her, give her kisses and even hold her food dish around her without being attacked. She even falls asleep under my hand or in my sweater sometimes. 💖 She'd never do that with anyone else. 😂
Do you ever need a break? What's your go-to for a little R&R? <3
Parrots--especially the big, drama ones--are kind of intense and a lot of work. My time commitment to my guys is four (or more) hours per day, every single day, of interactive playtime.
Mostly I clean and cook, we have outside playtime and home school... sometimes I have a few minutes to read a book or craft while they're snuggling.
I'm a bird mom. It's a life I wouldn't trade for anything. I literally love my life, and every minute feels like a dream come true. <3
It's also really, really, really intense, because pretty much every minute I'm not caring for them, I'm working on the law firm, lecturing in the community, working on research, or developing parrot communication training curriculum--all things I absolutely enjoy.
Joe and I have date nights and watch movies together, but with running two companies, we spend a lot of time laughing and working together over coffee.
It's a marathon, though, and one of the only ways I can maintain this pace is because other than basic morning care, I get every single Friday off when it comes to Mom duty.
When Ellie was a baby (and a psychotic tornado), Joe's daughter broke up with her fiance and moved in with me as a roommate. She was studying for her Master's. I was working at a law firm, and Amber decided to find someone to help us with the house.
And so Zara and her little son, Alex, joined our family six years ago, to help me not drown in housework once per week. She has become a beloved part of our lives. My girls worship her, and she takes *such* good care of them, and of us.
Every Friday is a "restart"-- the house is spotless, my little bird girls get to play, and Zara often gets them set for bed, too.
It feels so good to entrust their little hearts to someone else who loves them, too, and be able to get a break.
Y'all, I'm like "MOM'S NIGHT OUT WOOOO!" Where's the party, Joe?! 🤣
It's really cool too because Ellie and Isabelle have grown up with Alex, and if Ellie knows he's coming over, she always asks to play in the living room that day--she doesn't want to miss him for anything!
Today when I left, I overheard Alex (now 10 years old - and about to be a big brother!) say to Isabelle, "Want to play hide and seek?! You hide, and I'll count!"
I peeked over my shoulder and he had his eyes covered. Isabelle, with a huge cockatoo grin, marched on the floor toward the bathroom...
I am thankful for the blessings in our lives, and Zara and Alex are one of the biggest blessings of all! <3 ... See MoreSee Less
Awwww, you certainly are busy. You should treat yourself to a monthly 75 minute massage on a Friday, it does wonders and will recharge you in such a wonderful way!
I love your big family <3
So envious. This post is really timely, as today has been crazy time with the flock. I need to follow your example and get some help!
I love the story!! You’re such an inspiration to me and I aspire to be a bird mom like you 💗 Your time management skills are simply amazing. And you’re right, being a bird mom can be really intense at times! I have 4 lovebirds and have just recently left my job this year to start my solo business, and I’m loving how my new lifestyle gives me more time with the birds so I can spend time with them during their waking hours and do classes when they’re the most active!
You are so loving and I’m so happy that your life is full and joyful.
I volunteer at a parrot education and rehabilitation center so that's my go to! If I want to, I don't necessarily need to handle any birds if I don't want to & instead just work on taking care of them or making toys! Either that or I like to spend time with my brother, see a movie, shopping, or even just sitting at Timmies for an iced cap
This brought me to happy tears! What a wonderful family you have and to know that a young person is growing up in love with birds warms my heart!
Hell hath no fury like an upset Ellie. (In this video, Ellie had been very, very frightened and upset by fireworks - plus me being gone... She tormented everyone in the house. 🙁 )
From time to time I mention that Ellie was, long ago, a fairly tough parrot. I don't mean mischievous. I mean... she was a creature possessed. 😯
She didn't just, oh say, chew the base boards. She appeared to have the capacity to analyze every member of the household, as well as the inter-dynamics within the relationships, determine the hot buttons, and absolutely spend all every ounce of her mental energy wreaking havoc to effectuate her fury.
I've always been a proponent of force-free handling and positive reinforcement but (confession time) one day some years ago, I. Had. It. To. Here. 🙋♀️
I'm sure there was some escalating combination of screaming and biting me, she'd probably also thrown glass on the floor (as was her habit)...
I put her in time out for 10 minutes.
I retrieved her and she bit the crap out of me.
I made angry faces at her and put her back in time out.
On the way out she bit me and chased a sister.
Essentially we were both Having A Moment and that day included probably all of the time outs she'd never had before... her fury escalated and escalated, my frustration (and only time outs) also escalated and I realized...
This wasn't a place I wanted to be--emotionally or mentally--not that moment and not ever again.
(Not that I'm never frustrated - hello I'm a parrot mom, taking a lot of deep breaths and trying trying trying to avoid frustrating situations--training and redirecting--is a lifesaver!)
But I realized that moment that 1) time outs were NOT working and 2) I didn't want to put myself in situations of conflict with her. I didn't like how I felt. I want to practice force-free husbandry.
The only way I could reach her was to teach her--it was literally the only activity that settled her down. Ellie was basically a creature possessed. For years.
And that's why she learned to read. I kept running out of tricks and, out of absolute, sheer, soul-searching ("Why does God hate me???") desperation to somehow, someway fix the situation, I grabbed phonics letters.
This post isn't about time outs or reading, though. It's just to give you a glimpse of Ellie's capabilities for mayhem 🤣
So I was out of town for New Years and Jolie and Parker were tag-teaming babysitting the girls. Ellie's always a little out of sorts when I'm gone, but she's also terrified of fireworks, so I'm sure her normal irritability was simmering into levels untold, and things started going downhill for her New Year's Eve and continued to be awful, loud, and frightening even into the next evening...
We were abroad so my facts are a little hazy, but basically as I understand it, angry Ellie kicked Moonlight out of her own cage, bullied her onto the chandelier, and then wouldn't budge from Moonlight's perches.
(Meanwhile, Moonlight couldn't eat dinner and was quite upset, also refusing to come down from the chandelier.)
Ellie only came out to chase and bite Jolie because she dared to snuggle Isabelle.
And this standoff lasted *hours* as we texted, talked, and even Parker came over to assist with negotiations.
(Jolie and Parker, you are both saints and we love you!!)
In the end, Ellie was sequestered to the bird room with lots of love and toys--for everyone's safety. Patient Jolie coaxed Moonlight down and gave her extra love and comforting before bed. Parker helped with Isabelle.
Then everyone went to sleep and the next morning was a fresh, new day and mom came home too <3
It has been *years* since Ellie has been furious on such levels. It was also a reminder of my life back then. Learning to read and to communicate has absolutely changed her--has changed *us*. She's a completely different bird: content, inquisitive, patient. She's absolutely my friend and partner on this learning journey.
But God help us all when there's fireworks and mama's not around and thank goodness for loving and patient babysitters! 😍 ... See MoreSee Less
Well, it's obvious ..... You just can't ever leave town, even for a night, ever, ever again ! Easy peasy ! 😀😀
How is Moonlight today?
It's interesting-- you wrote that Ellie was furious, but she says she was not mad...but rather scared and sad. Scared and sad often is misinterpreted as mad with humans too.
Fireworks put my guys in a meltdown too
This was our conure's first fireworks with us, and I totally expected some sort of reaction. Other than a slight startle at the really loud ones, he didn't seem to react at all. He normally snuggles with me in the evening, so that's what he did. I think I was more upset by the fireworks than he was! 😂
I'm glad everyone is getting back to normal now
Oh my heart💜💜💜
Bless her little heart!! So happy everyone is back to normal and thank goodness no more fireworks until July!
I love how she thinks about her feelings before she tells you about them. That's it then, you can never go away at firework time ever again even if you have to amazing sitters😁
obviously her trust account with you is huge otherwise she wouldn't have come around this quickly. I love your stories, so much to learn in there for all our pets no matter the species! thanks :)
Awwww, she just wanted to remind you who’s boss and don’t forget it.
It’s also amazing how she can choose to be loved on or not, just so endearing!
I think it’s a great time to find out about how to soundproof your bathroom if I remember correctly that’s her favorite safe space. Have the bathroom remodeled to soundproof it and I bet that money will be the best ever spent 🤣. It’s usually doesn’t seem to be THAT much to remodel a bathroom and I’m sure if the bathroom small making it soundproof shouldn’t be too too much. It’s a lot of money to keep your birds happy but you really do hold their emotions in high regard and try to keep them happy so I know it’s something you may seriously consider.
I'm always here for support. Promise.
Take more trips...she might get used to it😳
Oh, what a hard day
Dang fireworks! When are people going to realize the emotional damage to our pets and the fire danger are just not worth it!
Do they come find you when they hear your voice (like my dogs)?
Sweet pic of you & Moonight
Yes it is!!
I love the photo of you and Moonlight!!! I could never be gone 6 days! I have no one that I trust to be gone that long with my babies!! You are very blessed with awesome birb sitters!!!
I know how you feel
You are an amazing bird lady!
I adore you and what you do with your feather babies ❤️
This is my favourite pic of all of your photos. Moonlight just entrances me.
Welcome home, Mom! 🕊🦃🐓 I left my girls home with a sitter that had watched them before and she was barely there. I think all three of us were traumatized 😥
Gosh, that is such a pretty picture. I am sure your babies missed you terribly while you were gone!
I would love to see the full art work on the wall behind you. Is that a mural of your own birds ?
Aww...I know the feeling! 💜🦜
Every New Year's Eve I spend a bit of time reflecting on the past year - particularly the moments that were most special over the course of the year.
A few years ago, my partner Joe and I lived near the ocean, about a block from each other. Almost every single day we walked--to the beach, along the intracoastal, to breakfast or ice cream or dinner or wherever... walking along the sea was such a feature of our lives, and it was particularly special that year, as we were building a new business together too.
Then he moved to the Farms (because Farms) and I moved inland so I could do some homesteading and our walking has become only occasional (but still ever so special).
THIS YEAR HOWEVER, my reflection takes me time and again to friendship. Particularly, a conglomerate of bird mom friends who have filled my days with joy.
I've always thought, "It takes a village to raise a parrot" - their lives are so long, and they are so very complex. I've raised parrots in a vacuum, spending so much time wondering whether I was doing the right thing by them, reading and reading trying to figure out how to best enrich them.
That was fine. There are, thankfully, a lot of resources out there.
But I had no idea how absolutely precious and special *friendship* could be--other bird moms and dads who *GET IT*. Some who can come along with a hug when Isabelle is struggling, or laugh along with me when they're just plain cute and funny.
(This pic is with Angoisse--we met through our bird reading class, and have become such good friends and our birds are of course now cousins...! Who have never met each other except online. But anyway! 🤣)
For me, friendship has come (unexpectedly) through our learning classes, drinking warm tea, chatting, giggling, and learning in our sweet Inner Flock weekly online get-togethers.
Friendship awaits at local bird clubs.
So my wish for you this New Year's Eve (since who needs another resolution?)... is friendship. Community. Connection. With other bird moms and dads.
You may already have this. If so, I'm so, so happy to know that--share about your besties in the comments!! 😀 (Friendship is ever so precious!)
If you don't, here are some ideas for 2019.
1. Reach out and connect through your local bird clubs. (This is my New Year's resolution, too!) If you don't know if there's one near you, post your city/state below, and maybe someone can connect you! Here in South Florida we have Parrot Society of the Palm Beaches, Bird Lovers Club (FTL), and Treasure Coast Exotic Bird Club! (We're so lucky!!)
2. Forge friendships online - the Facebook groups are fantastic! You could check out: Birb Birb Void For The Love of Parrots Bird Addicts Cockatoo Lovers Umbrella Cockatoo 101 etc!! (**Share your fav groups in the comments below too!!**)
THEY HAVE SO MUCH GOOD INFO FOR SRS DO IT.
3. Group Facebook chats with like minded bird friends can legit fill your day with little niece and nephew birds that you come to adore as you share together each day... and can become some of your very best friends on earth <3
4. Training opportunities and get togethers. Legit I have developed such great friendships through webinars and even live-attendance at events.
For me... each of you have also filled my life with love through your thoughts, your comments, your support and love - through the ups and downs that is bird mommy-ing.
I could never have imagined a life filled with SO MUCH CUTE and SO MUCH LOVE in this feathered world of ours. Thank you, thank you, thank you <3 ... See MoreSee Less
I met the most amazing people in groups like these! In Birb I met some of my best friends on the whole weird and even got to meet some of them recently ♥️
Saving your post. LOVE your work and spirit!
🎉 HAPPY 💥 NEW 🎈 YEAR ❗️
🎵 2️⃣ 0️⃣ 1️⃣ 9️⃣ 🎶
Love love love my Facebook bird friends😊😊😊🎅🎅
I also recommend Feathered Friends!! Lots of fantastic bird posts and educational too! For all birds, not just parrots :)
Happy New Year Jennifer...
Thank you for being part of my life.
Love this! Thank you for always posting interesting and incredibly touching stuff. I hope you have a wonderful New Year with your girls and I look forward to see what’s coming up in the near future! 🌈💥✨💫
Oh and No Flocks Given is a great small group of folks who don’t judge which is really refreshing!
I definitely have real but entirely online friendships with people from the Birb group! I'm also lucky enough to have close friends who are also bird lovers.
It is an absolute joy watching you & your precious feathered children💜I look forward to your posts...you have added into my life by just doing what what u love to do💜🎆Happy New Year 🎆
I would love to find a bird friend in-person!
If it weren't through a couple of those groups, we wouldn't have met. I've made some of the most awesome people through them. I second your recommendation. Happy New Year! Sending much love your way!
Thank you for sharing! Happy New Year to you and your family! ( That means your birds also of course!)
Parrot sniffers r us is a great group. Yes seriously, this is the name of my favourite group. Happy new year.
Happy New Year to you and all your babies
I don't have birds unfortunately...but I live vicariously through your posts.
Thank you for all you do and are doing to make the bird world a better place.
Happy New Year ❣
I love Cockatiels Forever if you have Cockatiels or budgies
I’m SO happy that I started your fundamentals of learning webinar !!!! I’m going to start module 2 this week 💓 I wish I could make it for your Tuesday nights classes, unfortunately for the UK/US time difference!
Ellie's figured out that if she's (mostly) quiet and doesn't interfere, she can hang out on a basket next to me while Moonlight has a lesson.
She gets treats for "stationing" there, and she occasionally squawks to remind me she's sat long enough for another treat, please. 😝
Yesterday, Moonlight and I worked on her communication board. Expressive communication is near and dear to my heart--it's the next project!--but while Ellie has become fairly fluent with its use, I still haven't fully figured out the logistics.
Mostly because parrots destroy computers. So there's that.
Anyway, we were done with the communication board, and were just chatting. It was a bit late, and not her ideal learning time (sleepy girl was sleepy, but not ready to sleep since she kept kicking away my hand and wanting to learn). I asked if she liked her Ellie and she picked red - NO.
Ellie was watching from the basket next to me, so I thought I'd see what she thought about things.
Me: Ellie, did Moonlight say she likes you? Ellie: No Me: Do you like Moonlight? Ellie: Yes Me: Do you feel sad about Moonlight? Ellie: No Me: Do you feel happy about Moonlight? Ellie: Yes
*shrug* Well if it doesn't bother her... Back to Moonlight.
Me: Moonlight, do you like Mom? Moonlight: Yes Me: Do you like Isabelle? Moonlight: Yes Me: Do you like Lily? Moonlight: Yes
Um. But not Ellie?? 👀
Maybe it was a "miss." An incorrect answer.
Me: Do you like Ellie? Moonlight: Yes.
OK - just a miss. But what would Ellie say?
Me: Ellie, did Moonlight say she likes you? Ellie: Yes.
It was clear Ellie was watching the whole lesson. Could she answer questions about Moonlight's responses? And could Moonlight answer questions about Ellie's responses?
In short, can they opine about each other? (More expansively, could they communicate with each other through some other format someday? Would they want to? What would they talk about?)
I decided to give them sets of colors and ask them to pick their favorite colors from each set of two. Moonlight picked yellow (vs orange) the first round.
I offered the two colors to Ellie. Me: Ellie, which is Moonlight's favorite? Ellie: *picks yellow* Me: Which is your fav color? Ellie: *picks orange*
Me: Moonlight, which was Ellie's fav color? Moonlight: *ummm... nobody told me it'd be a quiz!*
I repeated the question to Ellie so Moonlight could watch, and then recued Moonlight.
Over the course of 5-6 repetitions with different color options, it was clear that Ellie *always* picked Moonlight's fav colors accurately - and sometimes it was the same, and sometimes different, than her own favs.
And Moonlight was probably way too sleepy to want to be bothered, so her answers were mostly "Umm."
It was really interesting to watch their interaction, this dynamic. It's fascinating that Ellie can differentiate her own picks from those of Moonlight's.
It also makes me really, really crazy excited about (hopefully!) working with Connie and Texas A&M University starting next summer as we conduct tablet-based research into literacy and communication with birds.
The possibilities--even for intraspecies communication--could be incredible! ... See MoreSee Less
Moonlight is just a lady and above the plebs. x'D
Ellie's such a smarty!
I wonder if that means that some birds (either because of species or individual preferences) just tend to be more self-oriented, where others are more flock-oriented. Azalea, like Moonlight, tends to focus on what she wants or likes, but Yosh is more like Ellie--she'll even call us over to get stuff for Azalea when Azalea needs something but is trying to communicate it through body language and we can't see her. I also wonder how much of it is environment based. When we got Yosh, she was an only bird, and so she was the focus of our attention. When we got Azalea, she was a baby, so we asked Yosh to help us look out for her and teach her--Azalea went straight to being the center of even Yosh's attention, and we never asked her to help Yosh. Did we teach Yosh to be flock oriented and Azalea to be self oriented? Or would they each have had those tendencies on their own? Are there other factors at play? It would be interesting to find out.
This is an interesting interaction. I know in the past with foster or rescue birds I’ve watched Rue try to show them HOW to get scritches (he will warble to them and then physically try to show them, yell SAFE! And then run back to them to repeat the process. There are other processes he and they have gone through and I’ve always wondered what is actually transpiring. Is it tone? Mimicking? (Rue and whatever bird are quite animate. Sometimes he can talk them down partially, sometimes they make it all of the way down). It’s so interesting.
This is soooo fascinating and I'm very interested in joining the research if more participants are invited from the community!
Fascinating! As far as communication boards, are you familiar with PECS (picture exchange communication system)? These were used extensively with kids with communication challenges (autism, intellectual disability, etc) before tablets became so widespread.
I suspect that birds of different species can communicate to a degree. My Orion certainly attempts to communicate with the wild birds, and he definitely understands their predator alarms.
This is truly incredible!
Fascinating! I am intrigued by the differences in Ellie's ability to pick Mmolights favorites but not the other way around!
So amazing . I'm not surprised about Ellie's intelligence though- modelling behavior is how they learn the best. In my house if I teach one behavior to one of the flock, in time, they all respond the same. Some quicker than others. :)
I've asked my Green Cheek Conure a number of times if he wants to learn to read. Every time, he's verbally said, "Yes." I just don't know if he's going to have the attention span for that, but maybe I'll give it a try. I previously tried to teach him color names, and he got bored with that very quickly.
Since it's the holidays, and because lots of people at least WANT to travel, I thought today I'd share about babysitters 🙂
(Do you have a good babysitter?! I'd love to hear your tips in the comments too!)
Last week I asked what the top 3 challenges are that parrot owners are facing - and boarding/babysitting was quite a common theme.
I use babysitters when traveling, and I honestly think it's good for my girls to be used to others' care giving practices. Life has no certainties, and if they can adjust to others, it's a gift to them <3
So. I thought I'd share how I found some of my much beloved (and ever so needed!) babysitters!
1. FINDING A SITTER The first thing is that *most* of my babysitters have not been bird people. It's hard to find experienced parrot people that are also in-home pet sitters... and I mildly worry about germ transmittal too.
It's also nice to have 3-4 different sitters, in case you're in a pinch. (Do I sound like a mom of toddlers?!) Just FYI Care.com has a pet sitting section now, and this could apply to them as well.
Neighborhood kids are awesome because you know them, you can trust them, and you can teach them! Parker, our awesome neighbor, was 16 when I moved in. He and Ellie hit it off instantly. I had him come over every day for three or four days before I went out of town the first time to get used to things and learn how to feed/care for them. Of course, his parents were also right next door in case anything went awry and I called every day to check in. Bonus! He got to learn all about bird handling! He's three years into babysitting for us and is an expert 😀
I also had Nadine, a dog sitter, for a good while until she moved out of town. I found her through a Nextdoor post, got a copy of her DL and references, and had her visit 2-3 times before I went out of town too, showing her the ropes and letting the girls get to know her.
I try to bake cookies and visit with the sitters for a few visits before traveling, so we hang out together while the girls play with them. 🙂
Katie is Parker's friend and another dog sitter. When he went away to college, Katie started staying with my girls. They really like her too 🙂
Jolie is our intern and she is quite, quite beloved by my girls, and an absolute gem caring for them when I'm gone. Because they know her so well, she's also able to do a lot of learning work with them, which is nice, and I know they like that so much! She texts me throughout the day, too, and I feel so happy to share their day still, even when I'm gone!! <3 <3 <3
She and Parker will be tag-teaming the babysitting when I'm away for five days over New Year's.
2. TRAINING THE BABYSITTER The three most important things for babysitters to do are: A) feed the birds; B) provide some comfort/fun; and C) make sure they don't die. Obviously.
A - Food. I've known friends who left their birds with a babysitter and they thought there was "still food in there" cuz the seed husks were still in there and the birds died. :'(
My birds would die because the purple and orange pellets are left, and they've eaten the green, yellow, and red ones. 🙄
I ALWAYS TELL THE BABYSITTERS TO EMPTY THE WHOLE BOWL in the garbage every single day, no matter how much is wasted. Just start fresh with a big handful per bird every day. And obviously wash the water bowl and provide new water.
I also text/communicate at least once pretty much every day to make sure the babysitter made it over alright.
B - Comfort and love. I leave three big labeled boxes on the counter, one with foot toys, one with big toys, and one with homemade paper bag foraging toys. I ask the babysitters (and write on the boxes too) to every single day swap 2 big toys, 3 little toys, and 1 foraging bag toy for each bird.
Babysitters also sweep their room and then can kind of do whatever to play with the birds, read/play on the phone, etc. while the birds are on them/around/chilling.
If you are force-free and have the birds voluntarily go into their cages with treat toys, you can teach the babysitters to do that pretty easily, to reduce any handling stress. I also taught my babysitters easy force-free methods for step-up, etc. so my birds still have a largely force-free experience while I'm away.
If your birds are nippy (*cough* ELLIE) I show the babysitters how to transport them via baskets. Ellie gave Nadine quite a run for her money, so Nadine learned to transport her via baskets--no nips, and still fun stuff going on. The other sitters manage Ellie really well 😁
C - Make sure they don't die. I have a pretty extensive checklist and I review it with them and then tape it to the front door: toilet bowl down, all bedroom, entry/exit and bathroom doors are closed, please don't use the stove or oven, make sure everything's locked. No candles or scented anything--no perfumes. No bleach.
I write out the list of toxic foods and tape it to the front door. I literally do not permit eggplants or avocados in my house, period, for any reason, ever.
(RIP avocado tomato sandwiches and eggplant Parmesan.) 🤣
I also give them Dr. Clubb's office number and her cell (after hours), plus my mom's number, Joe's number, and usually Ryan Mueller's number too. I should add Chanel to that list too! Haha 😀
There are no guarantees in life, of course. Accidents can happen even on my watch, and I know that. Life is what it is, and we do the best we can. I have a camera in their room and it helps me feel comforted to check in on my phone and make sure everyone's still alive and moving here and there <3
3. PAYING THE BABYSITTER For all that, it is actually more affordable for me to have babysitters play with my birds for four hours/day and stay overnight at my house than it is to board them. Boarding my 4 birds would be $60-$75+/day (😫). The local hourly babysitting rate varies by region. For me, $40-$50/day covers hours of play with a local friend and sleeping overnight <3
It's definitely not cheap to go away, even for a few days. I always have to budget about $50/day for parrot care. BUT I absolutely know they are having an amazing experience with lots of fun and snuggles, with people who love them,
And... I think it's good for them. It helps them learn to be flexible in life with the things that can happen. They'll live a long time. To have relationships with others, to know that there are kind people everywhere... it's a gift I can give them. And it's a gift to myself too. <3
OMG,about the "make sure they don't die" point! I remember when my mum took care of our aviary birds for a couple of weeks. We had three or four species of fig parrots - which are very sensitive and food specialists.
Honestly I (and several bird friends) was impressed that she kept them alive and she was so offended by that :P She did an excellent job following my instructions <3
Aw, of course you can add my number! Great information. I like that you trained non bird people. I use my friend who has many years of vet assistant experience because Rio is so special needs. He could have to have a blood feather pulled, corn starch packed in, the cone and bubble put on, meds given, and on the best day, he needs tea with special medicine in it... If he has a normal good day, anyone could care for him. But it's being able to notice when something is wrong that may save his life. Sigh. Then I feel like Leroux is another story being a free flighted macaw 😂
But my bird sitter comes to my house three times a week because I teach her karate. The birds love her! And she plays with them those days. So when she cares for them they know and love her. It's a good trade for me
I am lucky to have my kids who were raised with to be able to sit when I am not around. It's not often but good
I feel like it’s soooooo boring with a quiet house and no one home. I did a sitter one time and I just felt soooo bad seeing Leroy on the Nest all lonely and quiet. Rainforest is my go to now. At least you have 3 to keep each other semi company.
Holly Asevenx Genova you should follow this page. The things she posts about her birds are amazing! It makes me really think about how intelligent birds are and how they deserve to have their best life too.
We bought an rv so we could bring everyone with us when we travel. It works out really well for us. We are currently staying at fort wilderness Campground for Christmas and New Years. We don’t know what we would do though if we couldn’t take the rv
I had two very good...friends anyway... and player but we move this year and are now too far...
I have "only" 1 green cheek and no sitters local because there are no local avian vets if anything goes wrong, so I drive THREE HUNDRED AND TWENTY MILES PER TRIP if we go south to have him boarded at a bird sitters. If we go north then only 160 miles RT. She doesn't take them out but she is there and has a clean a lovely facility and knows birds AND lives near NC State Vet School for Avian and Exotics where he as gone. What can you do? You love'em.
I pay a lot to board my baby at an avian vet. Like a lot a lot. But its maybe only a 10 minute drive from me, she enjoys it there, and shes in incredibly good hands.
One family friend who seems to have formed a bit of a bond with Buster Bird. She comes over and sings “Frere Jaques” to Buster, who dances up and down. She makes sure Buster has food—clean bowls for water, pellets, and yogurt, I leave notes on the counter on where food and utensils are. Should only use reverse-osmosis water from special tap. All doors to smaller rooms stay shut. Shade down over basement entrance (which doesn’t support a door, based on layout). Buster should be in her carrier by 9 or 10pm, out for breakfast by 8am. Should visit the house several times to check up on her and provide company (friend lives only a few blocks away). If you come over during the day and she’s not on the large cage, she will either be on top of the kitchen cabinets or on one of the coat closet doors. You may turn the radio to whichever station you like but please keep it on during the day so it isn’t too quiet. Please make sure the lights on top of the cabinets are turned during the day on so she has an additional warm place.
My amazon won’t eat the purple or orange ones either!!! And I’m always sure to let the babysitter know to throw the food out when that’s only left
I have two different sitters to use. One was a former parrot slave (blue front anazon), the other had been around a cockatoo. I wrote out very explicit, step by step instructions (from uncovering, turning tv on/off, papers, what to feed & and when to feed, covering up, making sure bathroom doors are closed just in case, etc). I lay out toys for each of them. I purchase veggies for them and leave cash just in case. Both sitters know what foods birds are not allowed to eat and if they want to give them a treat, other than what I have, they will ask first. Prior to using either if them, they came to meet the birds. The birds liked them. And I could tell by the way they interacted with the birds, they really like the birds as well. The Vets number is posted on the wall (with driving directions). I also have an avian vet that has a great set up for boarding. Gadget, U2, loves birdie camp. I think the alexes prefer home. I have the sitter come twice a day.
I never thought about babysitters from the perspective of letting our birds get used to care by others. It’s a great point that birds can sometimes end up with new owners under any number of tragic circumstances, and that it can be traumatic. It’s a great way to prepare them for transitions in case anything ever were to happen. Or even just having new people enter our lives—partners, kids. You’re such a good parront! And you have an amazing network supporting you, it seems.
First... eggplant? We eat it but don’t give to birds but I had no idea it was as harmful as avocados.
I have a house sitter, the daughter of the woman who has cleaned my house for 15 years... we’ve become friends. Jenny loves animals and my birds and god love her. She stays over, takes in the mail, etc. I pay $50 a day but it’s far less than if I boarded three parrots and two poodles. I’m thankful for this! And Jenny’s mom would also help if needed!
The rescue I volunteer at boards birds and next time (when I can put it into my budget) - they will be boarding there for once a week for 3-4 days. It's $12 a day but I get a 20% discount because I have two birds + I'm a volunteer. So it makes it decently affordable. Unfortunately, other than my boyfriend, I don't trust anyone in this household to look after my birds anymore because even labelling their every day food is not enough to discourage them from feeding them massively unhealthy seeds. It makes me have to throw their full bowl of pellets out because the empty seed hulls will make them very very very picky and they won't eat pellets if there is possibly seed in the bowl. At where I volunteer, they will have all dishes cleaned every day, fresh water, more pellets, fresh food, be around other birds (therefore socialization with more situations) and even possibly get out for a little bit. And they can make all the noise they want without being told to be quiet. :)
I took Leroy on a road trip across country.Comfort Inn every night..No problems.
I know your list...I had it all together and then I moved. I cant find anyone to save my life...let alone trust them with theirs. Lol. All i get are “ I had a dog once...”
I use TrustedHousesitters.com and I love them!
I’d be happy to bird sit. I’m in Ohio though lol
Thank you so much for sharing this. Great info.
Christmas is, bar none, my favorite holiday, and legit it's because of my birds. (I'm also a little over the moon for my nephews and niece, but anyway...)
On one level--much like pets I've had in the past--it's fun to buy my birds gifts, wrap them, and stick them under the tree. Pets opening and enjoying their presents are always, always crazy cute, so that's just plain awesomesauce. 😍
With birds that can communicate, there's another level of enjoyment too--sharing in holiday culture. There's picking out toys for Santa, and counting down the days to Christmas with an advent calendar. Frosty hides treats, so it's fun to see them grow excited in anticipation, looking for Frosty every day. ❄️
There are ridiculously adorable crafts too. This year I've got supplies so they can help pick out the decorations for their own wreaths and ornaments. 🎄 Call me silly, but they'll each be dressing their own sticker snowmen too. ☃️
Not to mention the unspeakable cute that is parrots helping their moms and dads write letters to Santa with their toy wish lists! 🎅
So much of the magic of Christmas for me now is them. It's their excitement, their help with crafts, 🙃 their delight over presents 🎁 and dinner and Grandma visiting... 👵💼
Christmas is about their opinions regarding Santa (Isabelle loves him and Ellie thinks he's shady). It's reading holiday books together (and classic cartoons too! 📺), as they hunt for St. Nick and reindeer on each page.🦌
It's dancing to Mannheim Steamroller or Trans-Siberian orchestra together, or reading to George Winston's December album.
And the magic is also their seeming knowledge about seasons, about winter, and that winter brings cold 🌨, but also Christmas and presents and indoor fun.
Isabelle says it's her favorite holiday of the year. <3
It's incredible not only to share this holiday with them, but to know that THEY know (three years into this) that it comes year after year. It's part of our life, the cycle of our experiences, and they'll always be here to share it together as a little family together.
We're still actually planning to celebrate our Christmas in February 😳 (to spread out the enrichment opportunities and counter-condition winter for Isabelle), BUT.... On this Christmas night (for everyone else in the whole world!), many hugs to you and your adorable birds. 🤗 May your entire winter season by full of love, snuggles, cozy stories, and fun projects to tickle your minds and warm your hearts!
*A little reminder that this is just observation, not science! Our science research is still focused on ground-breaking phonics acquisition in parrots, so I wanted to make a little clarification note. 😀 ... See MoreSee Less
I love how everything Christmas makes Ellie smile! 💕🙏
What does Moonlight think of Santa?
With everything leading up to Christmas - all the planning and excitement - how do you "wind-down" the holidays??
Merry Christmas to you & your flock
I love how Ellie still finds Santa a shady man haha. I thought she said she started liking him cause of the presents? Or was she just saying that to be coy?
Merry Christmas to you and your flock!! It's always wonderful reading your posts but this one even more so.
Yesterday our favourite part of the day was sharing in our feather/ fur kids opening their presents! However our two cats preferred watching their brofur (Charlie dog) open his gifts before tackling their own 😂! Our two elder bunnies enjoyed opening their gifts the most, this was their 10th Christmas with us and we hope there will be at least 10 more. ❤️
Loved hearing of all your holiday enjoyments w/your birds. I need to get out my G. Winston "December" album as well before the holidays are completely over. Thnx for reminding me. Christmas is, indeed, a time for sharing w/others - be it gifts, meals, memories or music 🎶. Merriest of Christmas to your family!
I love hearing how you enrich your birds life! Ever so considerate of the tiniest item of concern for all of your birds. You are the best and I love being part of your online friend ♥️
I can't wait to hear about your bird holiday prep and fun!
Oh my goodness! We all want to have Christmas at your house!
This is from two years ago, but Degas is showing the proper distaste for a Christmas tree having found its way into our Jewish household. XD (It was a gift, and felt REALLY weird to have in the house.)
Juno says Merry Christmas!
Christmas Brunch! Merry Christmas!
I can't. Mine is boarding at the vet's office 😩
Where's my gift?
Chilli being Christmasy. We don't have a tree or anything, the bauble was a gift. Maybe we'll have a tree to go with it next year. 🙈🙈🙈
Her first Christmas. ❤️
Sesame in St. Pete.
My sister managed to get close to my (very slightly tame) birb, Matcha
So much stuffing my nose in that breast while he was busy preening.
It would be a shame if anything happened to this little tree Once you put the lights on it
When Ellie has a wobble in life, she withdraws. She also becomes Very Well Behaved.
A sad Ellie is a pitiful sight because she isn't into any trouble at all. She just kind of watches the comings and goings of life, floofed up and quiet. :,(
A happy Ellie is a mischievous, energetic elfling - exasperating and hilarious. 😍
I'll tell you all day long that Isabelle and I are twin souls - she's probably actually somehow my genetic feathered daughter - and Ellie and I share only our passion for learning and green smoothies and not much else. 😂
It dawned on me today that we do have something else in common, this withdrawing habit, when life sends a wobble.
Moonlight doesn't really wobble, she's a steady chica. If Isabelle is wobbling, she's loud and dramatic... and probably also hurting herself. Lily life wobbles result in a teeny vicious dinosaur that wants extra cuddling.
But Ellie and I withdraw for a bit. We get our bearings, regain our senses, and then pop back. We have that in common too.
A few weeks ago there were some who, for ideological purposes only, attacked our little page and our little company. For three days I was in sheer panic as they--having never used our services, and exhibiting such sheer loathing and utter disgust, not even knowing me (or us) or much about us at all, left horrible 1-star reviews and said awful, awful things.
I hardly slept, I was nearly in tears, and my hands were shaking as I tried to figure out what to do. I've spent so very much time trying to create a little space of goodness in our community - I absolutely love and value all of us here... Many of you feel almost like family <3 And to come under attack in a way that actually could quite hurt our company after trying so, so, so hard to maintain an excellent reputation... It was just awful, honestly.
In the end, some absolutely amazing people rallied in support. The reviews were removed. (I think even Facebook deleted one as harassment.) And I rediscovered just how full of kindness this world really is... even when there are wobbles.
But my soul felt a bit bruised. It's hard to come into a public space and want to Share All Things Bird (and otherwise) as a sensitive introvert when doing so actually wound up hurting quite a lot. 😯
So I discovered I'm a bit like Ellie. 🙂 Now my chest is feeling better, the sun's a little brighter, and I'm feeling chipper.
It's a reminder to me that sometimes life sends unexpected wobbly things, and it's ok to pause, to regain our senses, and then to return. We aren't required to be 100% when something upsetting happens. It's ok to be trying hard but not be perfect. It's ok to need a pause.
And wobbles are ok too. They're part of life.
All of this reminded me of something else. Ideological differences.
Just for fun, I'll tell you my ideology.
I think most bird owners are trying hard to do right by their birds. And if that's you, I think you're awesome. <3
We're all on a journey with our feathered friends, and we're at different places along that journey too. We've got different scenery and different tactics for loving and enriching our sweet birds' lives.
Our experiences and resources might be different. But we care for our birds, right? 🙂
While I agree that there isn't space for abuse (violence, neglect), I absolutely believe if you're trying to give your critter a good life--whatever that looks like on your path right now--you're awesome. If it's not quite what you want it to be, keep going. You'll get there!!
We've all got growth to go, it's part of our journey--part of our own (mine too!) learning and enrichment.
So tonight, here's to you, for trying hard to do right by your critter, and for being a great parront! ... See MoreSee Less
Tell me who hurt you. I will stab them for you. HUGS
Your page and story are so inspiring! I don't have any birds, but if I did, I could only wish to be as amazing of a mom as you are to them! You and your babies do some incredible things that are changing the way we think! Thank you and your little feathered loves for showing just how amazing pet companionship can really be!!! 🖤🖤🖤🐦🐦🐦
Oh, honey, I'm so sorry that happened to you. 😰 On the other hand, think about what a clarifying and enriching experience it ended up being. Personally, though, I like like my Major Life Lessons to be a bit easier !! Know that your peeps love and respect you and your work. 🎄💗🎄
You are so insightful. I'm sorry about those awful posts, but I'm grateful to those who came behind you with support. It was scary and hurtful, but you were so happy to see all the kind comments. This group has your back.
I had no idea that happened to you. I am in awe of your work with your birds. Don’t think twice about them; it’s on them certainly not you
I am so shocked to hear this, why are some people so mean and silly?!
I've been a long-time page follower and I'll echo what others have said: you do wonderful work! Thank you for sharing your little piece of the world (bird and human) and I'm glad to hear you got the support you need, can learn from the experience, and can move on!
True love. Keep it that way between all of us..god bless them amd us.😍
I'm so deeply sorry your page was attacked. I had that happen recently after 7 years of five star reviews on my community page, so can relate with the hurt. You have a beautiful, loving community here, with so many like minded people who are greatly inspired by you and the girls. Sending Light and positive vibes of unconditional happiness. Keep shining :)
I am so sorry hurtful people have entered our world. Sometime I like animals (birds) better than people. Thank you for trusting us enough to share. BTW hurtful people are usually also hurting inside and feel the need to lash out.
I'm so sorry you went through this! I don't know you personally, but from your posts you seem like one of the smartest kindest people I have ever come across. Your videos with you little buddies always make me smile...Halo and I are glad you are feeling better ::hugs::
I love reading about you and your birds and how you can communicate with them. This is so remarkable that you are finding a way to share feelings and understanding with them. If intelligence exists on other worlds or not, there is more intelligence here than people have recognized, and you are showing how to communicate with our neighbors on this world
I love that description. A wobble. I have those too and now I know how to describe them! Thank you. You’re page is amazing and I love following the birds progress. I haven’t started training my cockatiel yet because I’m a bit nervous and I’m not sure what he can do but once I get my bearings I’m hoping to teach him!!
Ugh, I can't imagine why someone would do that to you. Your page is nothing but wonderful stories, positive messages, and great stuff all around! I'm sorry you had to deal with that. As a teacher I've dealt with my share of attacks and criticism so I know how it can feel! Keep up the amazing work though, we love it!
You are an amazing bird mom! You have given your birds a voice! You have done important work in the scientific community by doing this. I look forward to a your posts!
There’s always a hater. Some asshole who simply can’t see good. You are so brave and loving. ❤️
Oh, my! You and your sweet birds are an inspiration to many you do not even know. I am so sorry for the wobble and related pain. Thank you so much for the work you do and your posts! 🤗
I have had company and haven't been online much, so I completely missed whatever that hater was going on about. Good thing, I would have had a thing or two to say back to them! I use to show dogs. As long as my dogs were so so, everyone was my friend. Once my dogs got better and started winning, that's when people had mean hateful things to say. So, I figure when people are talking about me or my dogs, they are just jealous. Those people are not worth my time. So, I know it is upsetting, but for someone to feel the need to bad mouth you, they had to take notice of the excellent work you are doing. Ignore them and keep up the great work!! Big hugs!!!
Fred & i feel sad that such people have to bully others. & made you feel so upset. You & your birds have a fabulous relationship. That they are probably missing with there birds ( if they have one) so there jealous. So glad all got straighten out. Keep up your fabulous work with all your wonderful flock. Fred & I enjoy it tremendously. Hugs wishing a fun filled reading learning year for 2019
We love you, Jen! Thank you for sharing your experiences and your knowledge with us. Thank you for giving us great ideas about how to make life with/for our birds even better. Thank you for listening, being so open, so supportive, loving, and wonderful. You are a light in the bird community and an inspiration to me and my birdies.
I just want to echo the love and respect everyone has expressed here, and want to thank you for sharing what happened and how you processed and dealt with it. You’re deeply enlightened and compassionate, and doing such important work with Ellie & Isabelle. Thank you for being a light and including us in your entire journey. Love you and your birdlings. 🕊🕊💖
Who would attack such a wholesome place??? Ugh, evil people are everywhere
God bless you all, have had birdies and this was wonderful to read, Merry Christmas!
I love reading all your posts about your feathered adventures. You are the absolute gold star standard of care in all ways in my opinion, and I admire you so much. Hopefully one day I can be close to the same level.
I love how not only do you share your passion for education and animals but that you also share your experience with trauma and mental health. I think it’s something a lot of people (not just in the bird community) look over. They’re always posting about their lavish life or how good/happy they are but they forget to share the troubles they went through to get there and the hard times they’re still going through. I struggle with depression and anxiety so hard and I think it’s extremely brave of you to share your journey with us. When I read your writing it almost feels as though I am going through it with you. It helps keep me grounded and reminds me just how raw experiencing these emotions can be.
Merry Bird! Sassy Cockatoo tells us all about Christmas!
She has been learning about holidays all this year. Her fun mama Angoisse Winkle started teaching her to read last spring, and is part of our Inner Flock class. Sassy was adopted from Tallgrass Parrot Sanctuary, Inc just a year ago, in early December. 😀
I love their learning adventures! And happy adoption month, Sassy! ... See MoreSee Less
Clever girl! But Goffin's are too smart for their own good, sometimes.
Smart birdie, good trainer.
Thank u for sharing this❣🌲
Are you sure she's reading and hasn't just picked up on the fact that the correct answer is alternating hands each time?
I love the way she leans forward appearing eager to choose!
I feel like this is sad Do they need to be reading ??? We domesticated them and put them in cages now making them do human activities it’s to much I’m not to sure she’s reading but just doing repetitive motions
This just amazes me!! She is soo smart! Wow 😀