Archive for November, 2011

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Review: “Fantastic Foraging Blocks”

November 19, 2011

In our last post, we just had some fun posting pictures of us opening a box of Kris Porter’s “Fantastic Foraging Blocks.” But what do the birds actually think of their new wooden toys?

It turns out that they love ’em!

Mika likes the little wicker accents. She’s big into textures and accents. I appreciate that the blocks offer nice flexibility to customize and add details your bird might like, and I’ll experiment with stuffing the peek-a-boo holes with paper and cardboard for her to shred. As a pionus, she has a softer, more delicate beak, so she tends not to be much of a wood chewer, although she’s taken some bites out of the foraging block to try to get at an almond.

Stewie, on the other hand, really loves pine and other soft woods. There’s something about the design of the cuts that really appeals to him. Pine slats have always been a favorite of his, so the cuts offer the same sort of appealing shapes and textures that entice him to start trying to break them off.

Review of Kris Porter's Fantastic Foraging Blocks
Review of Kris Porter's Fantastic Foraging Blocks
Review of Kris Porter's Fantastic Foraging Blocks
And this is the one I left in Stewie’s cage after 24 hours: Foraging Block

Two big talons up for these wooden blocks. There’s a lot of visual and texture-based interest in the design that I think will keep both my birds’ attention for a long time (or until they are destroyed, whichever comes first).

Updated: Here is a before and after shot (one week later):

Fantastic Foraging Blocks - Before/After

Kris plans on making these available for purchase on her website sometime before the end of the year, These wonderful toys are now available for purchase on the ParrotEnrichment.com website and they’re available to purchase at Phoenix Landing events as well.

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Kris Porter’s Fantastic Foraging Blocks Are Here!

November 19, 2011

Last week, Kris Porter of ParrotEnrichment.com asked if we’d give some feedback on a new foraging toy she has developed. Of course we jumped at the chance! (Are you kidding? A foraging toy developed by the guru of parrot enrichment? Yes, please!)

The box arrived Thursday night and we couldn’t wait to open it. Check out the “unboxing”.

Look, ma! A new box. Let me help you open it!
Unboxing Kris Porter's Fantastic Foraging Blocks

Yay! It’s full of paper! Paper is my favorite!

Unboxing Kris Porter's Fantastic Foraging Blocks

Ooh! A wooden toy?

Unboxing Kris Porter's Fantastic Foraging Blocks

It’s a 2″x 2″ column of untreated pine with peek-a-boo holes drilled through, as well as cuts in different directions creating little ledges to interest busy beaks and wedge treats into. 

Another one!

Unboxing Kris Porter's Fantastic Foraging Blocks

And more!

Unboxing Kris Porter's Fantastic Foraging Blocks

Some of the blocks came “plain” and some were decorated with vine stars and colored buttons (that hid pre-inserted treats behind them).

Let me dig through that box. I think there may be more!

Unboxing Kris Porter's Fantastic Foraging Blocks

Wow! Look at these toys. It’s like an early Christmas!

Unboxing Kris Porter's Fantastic Foraging Blocks

The toys came in two sizes. The small blocks were 2″x 2″. The medium blocks were 2″x 4″.

Let’s check it out!

Unboxing Kris Porter's Fantastic Foraging Blocks

Ahem, ma, I’m out of focus!

I think I spot something!

Unboxing Kris Porter's Fantastic Foraging Blocks

Bingo! It’s an almond! My favorite!

Unboxing Kris Porter's Fantastic Foraging Blocks

Nom nom nom…

Trying out Unboxing Kris Porter's Fantastic Foraging Blocks

So that was our unboxing event. For more about these “Fantastic Foraging Blocks”, and what Stewie thought of them, check out our review.

Update: The Fantastic Foraging blocks, in three sizes, are now available for purchase on Kris Porter’s site.

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Clicker Training for Parrots – Workshop Slides

November 17, 2011

In case you missed it, here are the slides for the Clicker Training for Birds workshop presented at Phoenix Landing in September.

This class focused on the principles of operant conditioning and, specifically, how it applies to our interactions with our birds — and how to use those principles in conjunction with a clicker to mark behavior.

In addition to explaining how clicker training works, ideas for getting started, and strategies for overcoming training challenges, the class included interactive learning with hands-on exercises designed to let participants work on clicker timing and shaping behaviors.

Below are the slides from the workshop.

Clicker training is a fun way to interact with your bird, but it’s also a useful tool for addressing behavioral issues.

Learn more about clicker training birds, common clicker training mistakes, and misconceptions about clicker training.