Download
overview of avian behavior n.
Skip this Video
Loading SlideShow in 5 Seconds..
Overview of Avian Behavior PowerPoint Presentation
Download Presentation
Overview of Avian Behavior

Overview of Avian Behavior

562 Views Download Presentation
Download Presentation

Overview of Avian Behavior

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript

  1. Overview of Avian Behavior Avian Core: CVM 6880

  2. Objectives • 1. Understand major factors influencing avian behavior - relationship to wild state • Understand causes of common behavioral problems • Understand basis of training methods • Familiarization with characteristics of some companion birds: Psittacines and Raptors

  3. Factors that Affect a Bird’s Behavior • Type of Hatchling • Speciation/Genetics • Captive Selection • Rearing Conditions • Management at Weaning • Post-weaning Socialization and Experiences • Training • States of Health and Disease

  4. Types of Hatchling • Precocial birds -- also nidifugous • Hatched “ready to run” • Simple imprinting process • Short parental dependence • Altricial Birds -- nidiculous • Blind, unfeathered at hatch • Complex imprinting process • Longer periods of parental dependence (weeks to years)

  5. Galliformes Chickens Turkeys Pheasants Anseriformes Geese Ducks Swans Precocial Birds

  6. Altricial Birds • Psittaciformes • Falconiformes • Passeriformes

  7. Innate Behaviors designed for SURVIVAL Not designed to amuse or entertain Gain Benefit Avoid Pain Food Chain Placement Predator Prey Psittacines are all prey species Speciation and Genetics

  8. Fundamental of Avian Existence • Eat • Reproduce • Avoid Annihilation

  9. Selection in Captivity • Most companion birds are 1 - 3 generations removed from wild stock • Hatched with a full complement of behaviors designed for survival in the wild

  10. Rearing Conditions (altricial birds) • Cavity/Cup nesters • Fed regurgitated food • Isolated from all contact except that of parents • Maintain close body contact with nestmates/parents -- proper imprinting

  11. Attributes of Wild Psittacines • 90% of waking time is spent flying, eating, socializing with flock or mate • As near-equatorial birds, typical photoperiod approximates 12:12 • May fly as far as 35 miles a day in search of food • Fewer than 50% of hatchlings survive to breeding age; 15-20% in some species

  12. Attributes of Wild Raptors • Solitary birds • 50 - 70% survival of hatchlings • One in six becomes a breeder • Ten percent of the breeding population produces 90% of offspring that become breeders

  13. Characteristics of Problematic Captive Environments • Confinement • Prolonged lack of stimulation • Solitary • Ad lib food -- no foraging, no problem solving • Forced Weaning • Overbonding • These are the genesis of behavioral problems

  14. Naturally, a gradual process with no decrease in food amount or change in type Artificially, a stage for creating many problems by “forcing” change Management at Weaning:Psittacines and Raptors

  15. Other Factors in Genesis of Behavioral Problems • Everything that hatches is raised • Poorly behaved birds end up in breeding projects • Owners have unrealistic expectations • Parrots are empathetic to mood of environment around them -- respond to owner stress • Overbonding=> hyperestrogenism disorders

  16. Conflicts Between Behavior and Captive Environment: The Hand-reared Imprint • Recognizes humans as conspecifics • Never becomes fully weaned whining • Does not interact well with other birds - doesn’t “know” it is a bird • Will select a favorite person as a mate • Attempted copulations, masturbation, regurgitation • Will defend mate against other flock members

  17. Frequent Outcome of Imprinting and Rearing Gone Awry • Overbonding obsessive-compulsive behaviors • Screaming • Biting/aggression • Feather picking/self-mutilation

  18. Socialization and Post-WeaningPsittacines • Wild-reared birds introduced to flock at this point • Food, Protection, Companionship • Learn Flock “Rules” • Ideally, young birds join their human “flock” at this point • Changes in flock condition not accepted -- safety issue

  19. Major Socialization Issues:Psittacines • Interbird relationships • Bonding • Territoriality

  20. Important Principles in understanding and Shaping Socialization Process (4): • Parrots are empathetic • Nurturing Guidance is operative • Behavior patterns do not stabilize until after sexual maturity • Bad behavior is NEVER the parrot’s fault

  21. Aspects of Nurturing Guidanceper Sally Blanchard -- Avian Behaviorist • Realistic Expectations • Strong human/parrot bond • Rules • Verbal cues and Commands • Instructional Interaction • Nurturing Authority: dominance or flock lead - human • Physical Interaction • Eye contact and body language • Loweringpersonal energy • Stimulation and Social Interaction • A Sense of Humor, Fun and Play

  22. Training to be a Good Pet • Birds must be trained to be good pets • Intellectually, at the level of a 5 - 6y human • Emotionally, at the level of a 2y human -- never changes • They need (Nurturing Guidance): • Boundaries • Discipline • Direction as to appropriate behavior

  23. Four Basic Behaviors Every Large Psittacine Should Know • Step Up • Step Down • Sit - Stay • The Towel is your Friend Brian Speer, 2001

  24. A Further Complication for Juvenile Birds: Wing Clipping • Frustrates programmed attempts to learn to fly • May lead to injury especially in heavy bodied birds e.g. African Greys • More problematic for birds with high wing-loading (g/cm2)

  25. Principles in Establishing Acceptable Behaviors • Exert Control by understanding dominance • Understand nature and survival value of normally expressed behaviors = motivation • Actively Shape Behavior of: • Companion Bird • Human Handler/Owner • Use positive reinforcement, occasional negative reinforcement (No or “evil eye”) • Never punishment

  26. Dominance • Set Boundaries -- no elevated perches, no free run of the house • Handle at waist level -- no shoulder sitting • Don’t inadvertently reward undesirable behaviors • (continued)

  27. Dominance • Read body language and don’t force behavior in an upset bird -- seek to understand root of problem • Keep full-grown birds adequately wing trimmed

  28. Understanding Normal Behaviors • Biting • Defensive (not offensive) • Signaling • Facultative -- macaws sampling perches • Screaming • ELT for other flock members • Alarm • Greet the dawn, farewell to the sun • Attention seeking -- avoid rewarding this

  29. Fear and Panic: Normal Behaviors • Escape predators and danger • Frustrated in Captivity -- bird cannot escape from fear- or stress-inducing circumstances • Remedy by: • Exposing juveniles to novel situations while providing safety • Gradually desensitize -- use bird’s curiosity • Provide Nesting Boxes and/or secure cage • Elevate Cage (dominance subjugates fear)

  30. Species Profiles: Budgerigars • Most domesticated • Easily Tamed • Capable of developing vocabulary

  31. Species Profiles: Cockatiels • Gentle, loving birds • Fair talkers, great whistlers • Even Disposition • Females may become chronic egg-layers - hysterectomies common

  32. Species Profiles: Lovebirds • Best when hand-raised • Calm disposition • May feather-pick when stressed • Chronic egg-layers

  33. Species Profiles: Conures • Entertaining, playful • Very noisy • Tend to bite • Readily dominate owner if given chance • Feather picking common due to medical reasons

  34. Species Profiles: Amazons • > 30 species • Independent • Excellent talkers, esp yellow-heads • Raised with care, excellent birds • Tendency toward obesity=>hyperestrogen disorders

  35. Species Profiles: African Grey • Highly Intelligent • Best talkers and mimics • Hormonal disorders - lead to feather picking, esp. females • Respond well to regimented lifestyle • Respond poorly to changes • Need a job Congo(above), Timnahs

  36. Species Profiles: Cockatoos • Bond strongly • Respond poorly to being ignored • Poor talkers • Screamers • Feather pickers • Moluccans are prone to obsessive/compulsive behavior

  37. Species Profiles: Macaws • Major and mini- macaws • Large, active, require a lot of space -- strong flyers • Loud screamers • Oral fixation

  38. Species Profiles: Macaws - Hyacinths • Largest, but most mellow and gentle of macaws • Expensive, but animated behavior makes them great pet birds • Relatively few health problems • Require high oil content in diet

  39. Species Profiles: Raptors • Owls • Eagles • Falcons • Buteos • Accipiters

  40. Species Profiles: Owls • Aloof, but can be tamed to a degree • Imprints are trainable, dangerous as adults • Very active at night, more amenable to handling then • Barred Owls are aggressive

  41. Falconry Birds

  42. Species Profiles: Buteos • Red-tails, Red-shoulders, Swainsons, Ferruginous, Rough-legged hawks • Soaring hawks, rodent and amphibian consumers • Red-tails used extensively for falconry • Easily trained • Adapt well to captivity

  43. Harris Hawk • Unique bird from desert Southwest • Combine characteristcs of buteos and accipiters • Bred in captivity • Extensively used for falconry

  44. Species Profiles: Accipiter Hawks • Sharp-shinned, Coopers, Goshawk • High performance, high energy birds • Good game hawks, extensively utilized in falconry • Fractious temperament demands high skills for captive management

  45. Species Profiles: Falcons • Kestrels • Merlins • Prairie/Peregrine • Gyrfalcons • Hybrids

  46. Kestrel • Small falcon • Sexually dimorphic • Insect and Rodent feeders • Apprentice falconer’s bird

  47. Merlin • Larger than kestrel (150 - 200 grams) • Consumes birds and large insects • Delicate nature, harder to maintain in captivity than a kestrel

  48. Peregrines and Prairies • Large falcons -- (800 - 1100 grams) • Powerful, strong flyers • Consume birds up to size of small ducks • Used extensively for falconry • Relatively easily tamed and trained • Durable birds with few health problems

  49. Gyrfalcons • Largest of the falcons (1000 - 1600 grams) • Consume ptarmigan, arctic hares, large ducks • Used extensively for falconry • Delicate psychological makeup • Arctic birds -- many health problems when held in captivity in temperate regions