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Train Your Bird To Fly To A Target

Follow this step-by-step guide to teaching your pet bird how to fly to a target.

Anastasia Thrift

Bird flying to target

A happy training session goes a long way in strengthening your friendship with your bird. Train your bird to fly to a target, and get in the groove of building a lasting partnership.

This trick gets tricky; teach it after your bird has mastered basic-training maneuvers, such as the step up and touching a target with its beak on command. Use this trick to give your bird a little exercise and to help call back a bird that’s flown off.

If your bird is already flighted, you’re in a good spot. Get birds that have grown back their flight feathers up to speed by letting them perch on your finger or arm while you raise and lower your arm. They will flap for balance and revive dormant flight muscles. Bird-proof your bird’s environment before allowing free flight: make sure doors and windows are closed, and items that can pose a hazard are put away.

1) Familiarize your bird with your goal by using this introductory step: Find a firm, comfortable location as a target. It could be a destination your bird already flies to, such as its cage.

2) Hold your bird nearby, and encourage it to fly to the target.

3) Use a command, such as, "Fly to your cage/perch/gym.” When it grows accustomed to the command, move to the next step.

4) Place two chairs, backs facing each other, 3 feet apart.

5) Place your bird on one chair, walk to the other and place a treat in your hand. Place your closed hand on the back of the chair and ask your bird to come to your hand, using your chosen command.

6) If the bird is reluctant, open your hand for a moment, bring it closer to the bird and show it that you have a reward. If your bird flies to your hand, that’s a step in the right direction. Place the bird on the back of the chair near you. Walk to the opposite chair and repeat the process.

7) Eventually, you should be able to draw your hand farther away from the target and begin to point to the landing spot of your choice, such as a playgym or hanging perch.

8) If your bird is slow in landing on the designated spot, go back a couple of steps to reinforce its earlier training.

9) Lavish praise on your bird for a job well done. It deserves it!

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Posted: August 29, 2013, 1:30 p.m. PDT

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