March 2013 - Bluebird Learning

By: Margot B., Wednesday March 20, 2013

On March 19, 2013 the York Region Parrot Club welcomed back Debbie Johnston of Bluebird Learning for another interactive and informative session on parrots. Using videos of parrot behaviour, Debbie challenged us to observe various parrot behaviours and realize that all parrot behaviours serve some purpose for the parrot. Learning to better understand parrot motivation helps us better anticipate a bite.

Debbie also focused on the principles behind behaviour modification covering concepts such as positive and negative reinforcement and punishment. Simply put, positive means we add something and negative means we take something away from our birds in response to their behaviour. Reinforcement increases the likelihood a behaviour will be repeated while punishment decreases it's likelihood. Using these techniques it is possible to mold a wide range of behaviours even as much as getting a bird to submit to invasive veterinary exams.

Also along were Debbie's husband Bob and 2 Hyacinth macaws, Jazz and Indigo. After the presentation, Debbie and Bob were very generous in allowing us to meet and even hold their Hyacinths. First-time visitor Peter and his son Spence were particularly enthralled with the Hyacinth and both had the opportunity to hold this amazing bird - thank you Debbie for sharing with us!

Marianne again provided a good variety of foodstuffs enjoyed by all. The raffle had a few duplicate winners. Joseph graciously put his 2nd prize back into the raffle while Marianne shared her winnings with Kimberly for her Red-bellied Poicephalus Coco.

York Region Community Living also came for the first time bringing out a small group of adults with challenges to participate in the evening presentation. It was great to share our love of parrots with the community - thank you for coming!

To learn more about BlueBird Learning, visit

Check out the rest of the photos on the gallery.