Training on target for macaws

Training DZG’s two military macaws Mario and Peaches is right on target after bird keepers picked up some top tips at an annual bird conference.

ABOVE – On target… Head of Birds Kellie Piper in training with our male military macaw Mario

Male Mario and his partner Peaches have soon picked up the new training technique which is currently being used to help get them inside.

The target training, where they follow a target around and get rewarded with food for following the instructions, will also be useful for many husbandry reasons including cutting their claws, health checks and to keep them stimulated.

Head of Birds Kellie Piper said: “We’ve started off by putting grapes, their favourite food, on to the target to get them used to it.

“Once they are more familiar with the method we will get them to follow the target without any food on and if they do that, we’ll give them a treat as a reward.”

Target training is one of techniques Kellie and DZG bird keeper Jess Jones learned more about at the recent BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums) bird working group meeting at London Zoo.

The two-day annual event covered training birds for husbandry practices and included a guided tour of the penguin enclosure and the training facilities for birds.

Kellie added: “We’d like to get more involved and make presentations of our own at a future meeting and hopefully even host one in Dudley.

“The meeting was really informative and a good way to meet other bird keepers and share our love of birds.”

And another of our lovely birds, Charlie the blue and gold macaw (shown above with Presentation Assistant Amy Hickman), is helping with DZG’s countdown to the festive excitement – a week to go… only seven more sleeps!