Thursday, February 25, 2010

Same Toy, Different Place

Have you had the experience with your bird of moving a toy from one location to another, only to have it ignored or suddenly become interesting? Or if a toy that lost interest is returned to the original location it once again regains its preferred toy status?

A toy may evoke a different response based upon location, the environment, and other factors. This can also apply to food. For example, this morning I filled the budgies' seed dish, and placed it in the usual location. Instead of adding pellet to the seed mix, I placed a second dish containing only pellets in a different/new location in the fort.

Suddenly, all 3 boys went running to the 'new' pellet dish! They began jockeying for position, and anxiously eating the pellets.

Anxious to eat pellets you ask? I know... shocking! Especially in the presence of a freshly prepared seed mix!

These are the same pellets that in other instances (such as when mixed with the seed) do not hold top billing. In the presence of a new location, or unique presentation, we may very well evoke a completely different response. In addition, over time I have served a variety of unique and fun foods in this dish. Now, simply seeing this special food dish evokes a response in the budgies and Coco as they have learned to expect it to contain something tasty. Even if it is a new food, they will usually try it if it is presented in this special dish.

When we consider encouraging natural foraging instincts, we may also want to look beyond the cage or bird room to the totality of the home environment. A bird coming upon a stash of carrot and nutmeats while walking across the cupboard, 'finding' a piece of nut or seed on the arm of the couch, or discovering a seed on the coffee table, will begin to learn to see all areas of its environment as possible foraging sources. An item found within the confines of the cage or bird room may be completely ignored, while the same food discovered on the cupboard or other unexpected location is treated with great interest, intrigue, may become a toy or even be tasted!

Expanding the foraging horizons will provide additional opportunities to hone those foraging instincts!



louara said...

I have experienced this reaction with toys. If my budgie shows no interest in a toy, I try placing it in different places until she does.
I have them hanging all over my house at her little "stations". I never tried it with food, but my girl will eat anything, anywhere, anytime lol!

Arlene said...

It's a funny thing about toys. If mine have no interest or lose interest in one I take it out and put it back months later. They think it's a brand new toy. Silly birds. :)

They have to have their food cups in the exact same place in the cage. But I do put some out on their 'stations' like Louara does, and they think it's the neatest thing.

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