AAV Enrichment Tips
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Welcome to the AAV Enrichment Tip Blog! There are 5 types of enrichment that can be provided to your pet bird. These include 1) sensory, 2) nutritional, 3) manipulative, 4) environmental, and 5) behavioral. Think about each category when putting together your pet’s living space! Follow #AAVEnrichmentTip posts on AAV's social media sites or subscribe to this blog for weekly posts.


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Top tags: toys  foraging  bath  recycle  reinforce  shower  social  body-language  contrafreeloading  manipulative  natural  penguin  positive-reinforcement  toy  wood 

Reinforcing behaviors

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, July 16, 2019

All behaviors performed by pet birds have a purpose. When a behavior is undesirable, it is important not to reinforce the behavior. However, it can also be helpful to evaluate what the bird is trying to achieve by the behavior (the intended consequence) and to provide an alternative, desirable behavior to accomplish the same outcome. For example, if your bird screams when you leave the room, it may be asking “where did you go?” As an alternative, teach your bird to whistle to you. When he or she whistles, you can whistle back. When you leave the room and your bird whistles, asking “where did you go,” your reply whistle will indicate “I’m over here.” #AAVEnrichmentTip

Tags:  reinforce 

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Auditory Stimulation

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, July 2, 2019

One form of sensory enrichment is providing auditory stimulation. Examples for birds include playing music or bird calls. What music do your parrots or songbirds prefer?

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Bird-safe Wood

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Updated: Friday, June 21, 2019

Common bird-safe wood for perches and toys:

  • Balsa
  • Poplar
  • Ash
  • Elm
  • Maple
  • Birch
  • Dragonwood
  • Manzanita
  • Java
  • Ribbonwood

Make sure all wood being used is pesticide-free and untreated (no wood preservatives or chemicals). Also keep in mind that wood collected outdoors could contain unwanted pests.

Tags:  wood 

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Stuffed Pasta Treats

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Treats can be stuffed into uncooked pasta such as shells, wheels, or rigatoni. Birds can manipulate these stuffed pasta treats with their beaks and feet to access the treat inside. #AAVEnrichmentTip

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Importance of Body Language

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, June 4, 2019


With any enrichment opportunity, it is important to watch your bird’s body language to ensure that the experience is positive and desired. In the first video, the Amazon parrot is showing very subtle signs that he is not interested in the shower—stepping away from the bottle and leaning back on the perch. In the second video, Kiwi (another Amazon parrot) starts to vocalize, occasionally leans into the spray, and spreads out her wings! #AAVEnrichmentTip

Tags:  body-language  shower 

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Nutritional Enrichment

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Nutritional enrichment can be provided in the form of activity foods—foods that take longer to manipulate and eat! Safe options for parrots include tree nuts in the shell (eg: shelled raw almonds), a small piece of pomegranate including the skin and kernels, a slide of banana including the skin, and sugar snap peas. When offering larger pieces of fruit, make sure that any skin, seeds, or pits included are non-toxic! #AAVEnrichmentTip

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Encourage foraging behavior

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Did you know that some wild parrots spend 240-360 minutes per day foraging for food? In contrast, captive parrots only forage for 30-72 minutes. There are many easy ways to encourage foraging behavior including placing safe, non-edible objects in the food bowl that need to be moved to get to the diet or hiding your bird’s favorite treats inside chewable objects like cardboard boxes, bags, or cups. #AAVEnrichmentTip

Tags:  foraging 

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Posted By Administration, Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Updated: Thursday, May 2, 2019


Contrafreeloading is a behavioral term that describes the preference of an animal to work for food even when food is available freely. This behavior has been studied in a variety of animals- including birds! This is a great reason to offer some of your pet bird’s diet outside of the food bowl. In addition to homemade foraging toys using safe items such as cardboard boxes, unwaxed paper cups, cardboard egg cartons, or paper towel rolls, there are many commercial options for puzzle toys and feeders available. (Shh! Don’t tell the parrot that there is an almond in that box!) #AAVEnrichmentTip

Tags:  contrafreeloading  foraging  toys 

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Minimum Cage Size Recommendations

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Another form of environmental enrichment is offering the largest cage possible. Minimum cage sizes for different species can be found online, and you can also speak with your avian veterinarian for advice. Unfortunately, some of the cages advertised for birds are too small for these pets to exhibit natural behaviors. #AAVEnrichmentTip 

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Not just for parrots!

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Enrichment isn’t just for parrots! It is important for all avian species to help satisfy physical and psychological needs. #AAVEnrichmentTip

Tags:  penguin 

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