Ken Globus

The Bird Whisperer




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National Zoo of the Dominican Republic


 Santo Domingo


Amy Taveras, who generously gives her time to the National Zoo of the Dominican Republic, took on the responsibility of the birds in the large aviary in the children's section of the zoo.  She was having considerable trouble in getting the big macaws over their wildness and fear of hands.   


Not really at all surprising since, in all their years at the zoo, these birds had never been handled.  Amy discussed her dilemma with others via the Internet and got lots of advice, but made no headway.  Then someone suggested that she contact me. 


We spoke on the phone at length.  Amy explained the situation:  they have several macaws at the zoo which were wild-caught and AT LEAST 20 years old (they could be much older, no one's sure).  These birds were quite fearful of and aggressive towards people.  Over the last few months Amy had been trying to tame them, but hadnt made any headway.  She described her arms as looking like theyd been hit with shrapnel.


I assured Amy that I could help and would need just a couple days work to turn those birds around.  Amy went to the zoos director, Dr. Alfonso Ferreira, who okayed the plan and a date was set.  I was off to  Santo Domingo for a few days in early May, 2002.  My goal was to get each of the birds through its fear/aggression issues, get it used to hands, and train Amy and the zoo staff so they would be able to follow through with the taming process after Id gone. 


I was met by some very eager pupils.  Amy threw herself into the work with caring and conviction.  When the first macaw tamed down in a few minutes she had mixed emotions; glad to see the bird much calmer and happier, but it looked so easy that she thought it was due to her own shortcomings that the birds were difficult.  This was not true.  In some cases, a breakthrough is quick, like with that first macaw, but with others it's a more gradual process.  


In the photos you'll see many of the zoo people working with a specific technique; they are holding their hands very gently on the edge of the birds' "bubble of fear" so the birds can become accustomed to them.


The first day we worked with four macaws, getting them all to make significant progress.  We also worked with several zoo people, keepers, and veterinarians (everyone wanted to learn the techniques).  The second day we worked with two more macaws, did some follow up on the first four and did some more staff training.  Also, we were joined by a documentary film crew doing a piece on the zoo in general and my visit.  By the third day, I turned the process over to Amy and just corrected and polished her technique.  She was great and I am fully confident that she will be able to continue to make those birds calmer, happier and enjoying human contact.  I feel privileged to have been able to take part in this experience.









































Amy's Follow-up




"Well everyone, I'm dying to tell you about my experiences with Ken Globus, the Bird Whisperer. I know many of you have problems with what you've heard about him, but I can tell you from my own eye-witness account that he is absolutely amazing. 

The first bird we took out was one of the Green-winged Macaws (male? - he's bigger than his companion). This bird used to lunge at me when I got near him. Within 20 minutes of Ken working with him, he was putting his head down, feathers out to have his head scratched. He turned into a total love-bug. Unbelievable!!

The three hardest birds were Big Red (Green-winged Macaw) and the two Blue & Golds. All three have been at the zoo since 1988 and never been handled. I didn't have any problems with them biting me before Ken came, but they were terrified of people. When I first came to the zoo, one of them wouldn't even accept an almond out of my hand (one of the fresh almonds from the tree - VERY big). Big Red would grab the almond and run. Now they will step up onto my hand and Big Red will let me scratch his head and touch his wings!!!

I can tell you that with every day that passes the birds are becoming better and better, ie. I am able to pet Big Red longer, I am able to touch one of the Blue & Gold Macaws on the back for 5 seconds (didn't happen yesterday). Each day they gain more and more trust.

These beautiful birds are now living with less stress in their lives. I can tell simply by the way they return to their outdoor perches. No more leaping to the perch. No more running up to the highest and furthest point on the perch. They are losing fears that they have lived with for over 20 years. I think that's pretty great.

Not only did Ken help bring these birds out of their fears, but also he taught me so much about how to handle them correctly, how to make their living environment better, how to groom them, so many things that will make their lives much more enjoyable. He is wonderful and I would recommend his services to anyone who wants to improve their bird's life." Amy Taveras






Thanks to zoo director, Dr. Alfonso Ferreira, Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Maria, and all the staff who made me feel so welcomed, particularly Amy, who, just because she cares, made all this happen.   






zoo photos


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