It has been a long work in progress and many people have been asking for several months….I am happy to say that my bird toys are now for sale at Bird Paradise. They have a large on-line store. Their physical store is located in Burlington, New Jersey where I have spoken at the Parrot Palooza for the past three years. The direct link to the toy line is http://www.mybirdstore.com/cart.cgi?group=223807&child=260464
For over five years I have been offering a line of enrichment toys to the avian community. All of my toys are focused around many things and many levels in which the bird interacts with the toy. Being one that truly enjoys and focuses on changing behavior in birds, I design all of my toys to change the behavior of the bird to those more calm and rewarding to the bird and their owners. All of my toys are designed to invite your bird to interact, continue to interact, and to learn. I’ve designed all of my toys to teach a bird that doesn’t play with toys, to start interacting with the toy. I create levels of complexities in my toys so as your bird begins playing with the toys, they can grow and continue learning from the next level of the toy. If you bird is playing with one of the toys I’ve designed, it isn’t screaming, plucking, or worst of all….doing nothing.
Animals learn from their environment and they behave in ways that reflect their environment. If the toys in their environment are not inviting to the bird, then of what purpose do they serve to the well-being of the bird?
In the wild, parrots can spend more than half of their day flying and searching for food. In our households, many birds are served their meals in a bowl where within 10 minutes they can consume a good portion of their nutrition. What will they then find to occupy the rest of this time? This time can easily give way to a parrot to start practicing behaviors developed out of boredom, lack of complexity, and unenriched environments.
The line of toys that I offer are designed to capture your bird’s attention, keep it, and keep them coming back and continuing learning from it. The toys I offer focus on changing undesirable behaviors of our birds into new desirable behaviors. Every toy I offer to the public is intended keep your bird searching and learning. All of my toys can be used as foraging toys. A foraging toy is a toy the bird uses and manipulates in order to attain food or treats. Foraging is a learned behavior and while your bird is learning to forage for its food, please always keep food easily obtained within easy reach of your bird, such as the food dish.
In the above photo is Rocky, my twelve-year-old Moluccan Cockatoo that was going to be put to sleep for his abundance of negative behavior issues developed in his former home. When Rocky first came to live with me over four years ago, he did not play with toys and he did not forage for his food. He did know how to scream very well for hours on end. He also knew how to chase people across the room and bite feet or hands that came near him. With time in teaching him how to play with toys, how to forage for his food, and how to learn to trust those in his environment through positive reinforcement training, Rocky is now one of the friendliest birds I have and one that eagerly looks forward to foraging for his food numerous times throughout the day. Check back soon. I’ll post an article I wrote on the steps I took in teaching Rocky how to forage for his food. I’ll include video clips to show all the details.
Offering learning environments to our birds is one of the best things we can do for them to say “thank you” for enriching ours. If a bird does not interact with toys and does not forage for its food, it is always my goal to create these behaviors. My reinforcer for continuing to make toys, are the photos and feedback that I hear and receive from people who buy them.
Whether my toys, another line of toys, or toys you make yourself, enriching our birds’ environments and teaching them to interact with it should be a primary focus for any owner or caretaker. A bird that eagerly and positively interacts with its environment is one sign of happy and healthy parrot. To see a list of ‘do-it-yourself’ toy ideas, please feel free to visit my website and browse through the ‘enrichment’ page located here: http://www.larajoseph.com/LaraJoseph/Enrichment.html
All of the metal on the toys that I make is either stainless steel or nickel-plated. All metal rings and ends are silver soldered shut with human grade silver solder. All wood is dyed with bird safe dye. Each toy is hand-made and put together by my sister and myself. If you have questions, please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you and much sincerity to all of those that continue to support me through my toy line.