Ken Globus

The Bird Whisperer




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Unconventional Wisdom


By Ken Globus


Based on conventional bird wisdom it's easy to understand that my hands-on approach to bird taming is controversial.  What's also clear is that because of that same conventional wisdom, bird owners who have fearful or aggressive birds have been  made to feel helpless to do anything about it.  While the experts in the bird world  contribute greatly to our knowledge of bird care and behavior, many of them have inadvertently paralyzed bird owners.  They espouse "rules"  like,  "Never take a bird out of its cage until it chooses to come out.”   Or, "Never use gloves." (more on this in the article, 'The Biggest Myth')  Or, "Never make a bird do ANYTHING it doesn’t want to do."  And people listen. 


The biggest problem with these rules is that they reflect an idealistic approach to working with birds that, in many cases, just isn't effective.  Once bird owners have tried everything they know in the realm of patience, and still haven't made any significant progress, they are lost.  Their bird doesn't improve, yet guilt and political correctness prevent them from doing anything that they're told might upset their feathered friends.  So, bird owners sadly, patiently and helplessly wait for their frightened  birds to decide to trust them.


Sad Facts



The sad fact is that a great number of these birds do not come around.  Ever.  The experts know this.  Bird owners around the world know this.  Bird Sanctuaries, Adoption & Rescue Centers know this.  Yet, other than setting up adoptions and housing  unwanted birds, no one is giving owners any clear, practical solutions.  


 Every day I get emails from people all over the world, tormented by their inability to get close to their birds.  They write things like, "Help!  I can't get my Amazon to stop biting me."  Or, "I try to get close to my African Grey, but he's terrified of my hands."  Or, "I've been trying to get my parakeet to sit on my finger for seven months and he won't.  Please help me."  Seven months of patience and no progress?  Yet the experts insist that theirs is the only approach.  So, where does that leave people and their terrified birds?  Nowhere.


Many birds are ignored, abandoned, neglected,  or shuttled from place to place simply because their owners don’t have any effective tools to get beyond the  fear and aggression.  But the tools DO exist.  I use them all the time and they're not that difficult to learn.  I demonstrate them in private sessions, programs and workshops around the country.  In virtually every case, my hands-on techniques achieve clear, positive results.  


Wild to Mild


In a bird club program in Salt Lake City, one of the birds they brought for me to work with was an adult, wild-caught Orange Wing Amazon brought in by a local bird rescue center.  The Orange Wing had been around for many years (someone said it was 25 years)  They said that it was a wild caught adult and had never been tamed.  Had never perched on a hand. 

After about 20 minutes of handling not only did I get that Orange Wing to perch nicely on my hand and teach it to do step-ups, I was also able to nuzzle my face in its neck and pet it all over.  Everyone present could see the light go on in that bird's eyes as it realized that the contact it had been avoiding all those years was actually unthreatening, even pleasurable.  This is a bird that had been branded un-handle-able.  If I had listened to conventional wisdom and followed the accepted "rules" of bird taming, I wouldn’t have even taken that bird out of the cage.  And its life would have continued as a "rescue bird."  In a mere half hour that bird was liberated from its prison.  I have since heard that it was placed in a happy home the next day. 




As feedback  to that program several audience members emailed me, thanking me for "giving them permission" (that’s how powerful a grip conventional wisdom has on people) to do something about their birds.  Without exception, everyone who had seen the program and tried this new approach with their birds saw immediate, improvements in their relationships with their birds. With the right handling not only can you change a bird’s behavior in a very short time, you can open the door to an entirely new relationship.  There are clear, simple techniques to help frightened birds learn to trust. 


 So, when I hear people moaning about not being able to touch their nippy budgie I become exasperated.  That kind of behavior can be improved in a few minutes.  And many other such behaviors, as well.  With the right techniques, in a very short time, birds and owners that have spent years living in mutual fear can learn to live happily together.  What an unconventional concept.































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