It’s time for another in our interview series and this time we’re talking to Kris Porter, author of the Parrot Enrichment Activity Books, which are available for free as PDFs from her website. She came to Phoenix Landing last year to give a parrot enrichment seminar, which gave us all tons of ideas for integrating foraging and stimulus into our birds’ lives.
Kris is a graduate of the online class in behavior analysis called Living and Learning with Parrots. She is an enrichment specialist on the World Parrot Trusts expert panel of parrot specialists, has written enrichment articles for Good Bird Magazine, and her ideas with photos of parrot enrichment activities have been featured in articles in Parrots Magazine and Australian BirdKeeper Magazine. Kris is well-known in the avian community for her talent for coming up with ideas and using photos and video clips to enlighten, motivate and inspire all of us who are looking for ways to enrich the captive parrot environment.
She was kind enough to spend some time to give us an interview. Read on to learn more.
Q: What is parrot enrichment and why is it important?
Kris Porter: Enrichment is an integral part of responsible parrot care. It has everything to do with how we keep our parrots happy, healthy and active as well as intellectually and instinctually challenged. For me that includes providing them with foraging opportunities; different play areas set up in more than one room in the house; toys and positive reinforcement training sessions.
We recently moved from Alaska to Minnesota. Before the move we renovated the Alaska home and then completely remodeled the new home in Minnesota. I believe the enrichment practices in place in our home helped our own parrots deal with the challenges and stress associated with the move and the ongoing construction work in a more normal less fearful way. In Alaska we had many different perching and play areas throughout the house as well as an outdoor aviary where the parrots experienced new sights and sounds like lawn mowers and children playing next door. During construction and remodeling of the new home we made use of the playtops on their cages, made a play area out of the upstairs banister and offered foraging opportunities inside and outside the cage. I’m convinced being exposed to a broader range of experiences helped them cope more successfully with the stress of the move and construction.
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