Sassy’s Story

This is Sassy, a male B&G macaw who is one of a group of macaws that came into TGF’s offsite care over 18 months ago. He is one of a large group of macaws that had been rescued over the years by a person dedicated to improving the lives of these former unwanted, breeder birds macaws. More than half of these birds have visible cloacal papillomas. Due to owner illness, all of the birds were placed into our offsite location in FL.

Our multi-section aviary there is huge, with communal areas, walk-overs and separate aviaries where the macaws had the opportunity to pick their own friends.  The birds’ care, husbandry, housing and nutrition is overseen by a veterinarian diplomated in avian medicine, with a long history in aviculture, flock behavior, conservation and veterinary medicine. The husbandry staff provides for the daily physical care and cleaning of the flock. The landscaping surrounding the aviaries is tropical and lush. The birds have ponds in their view, and egrets come in to feed during the day. The birds have the safety of wood boxes during inclement/hurricane weather to keep them safe, warm and dry. The aviaries are nestled in the unique FL pines and protected from direct sunlight. The area is tranquil.

Since their move to FL, these birds’ lives and behaviors gradually changed from shyness and fear, to a flock with dynamic relationships. Sassy shared the flight with his friend Izzy, and a pair of Greenwing macaws – each of which had been paired with their friend for at least 15 years. Then some of the bird relationships quickly changed when the two Greenwing macaws became aggressive and territorial. It was too late for Sassy whose beak had been permanently damaged when he was attacked by the Greenwings while his friend Teddy was mortally wounded by the time that human help arrived summoned by the birds’ frantic calls.

Sassy underwent beak repair to reshape the remaining keratin. This beak will not grow again as the damage affected the growth plate. After several weeks in the FL vet clinic hospital, Sassy gained weight, confidence and trust with the vet and vet staff there. Changes for Sassy’s life include a modified diet that is soft and nutritious. We make a mixture of grains, quinoa, sweet potato, and  finely chopped greens. He readily eats this breakfast mash. In the afternoon, he gets pellets, nuts out of shell, fruit and veggies that he can consume without difficulty.

Other than his unusual appearance as a result of this traumatic injury, Sassy’s a handsome and robust bird. He is ready to be in a home with a friend or family that will provide his special diet, keep him happy and enriched and give him a chance to live in a home. Sassy still needs a macaw sized cage. He fully enjoys time outside and his damaged beak does nothing to prevent him from sounding and behaving like a real macaw.

Caption this picture of the lovely Sophie. ... See MoreSee Less

Caption this picture of the lovely Sophie.

Comment on Facebook

I'm Sophie, your walking, talking chipper shredder, I shred anything, paper, wood, cloth ... try me, you'll like me!

"Oh sweet toothpick, how I love you. Gaze into my eyes...."

I can finish this tree yofay!

I keep my stash back here. Bet you can't see it.

I think I remember Sophie. What a beautiful little girl!

Hi. My name is Sophie & I'm applying for the job opening at the toothpick factory.

"I'ma show dat little green cheek how to really make toothpicks!"

She is beautiful, I hope she gets a home filled with love.

"They say the mightiest oak was once just a little nut that held it's ground' but imma gonna rip this sucker up, one splinter at a time!"

"Let's see, I only have to work on this lock pick a little bit longer and then I'm heading for the big city and taking some friends with me."

She's got legs, she knows how to use them!

Tastes like chicken!

Opps I broken it. I fix

Just doing peachie.

Sophie the Vampire Slayer

"Let me tell you a secret."

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2 days ago

The Gabriel Foundation

Lulu Labamba and George are a stunning pair of macaws that are looking for a committed sponsor who is willing to help support the high quality of care they are now accustomed to receiving here at The Gabriel Foundation. Lulu and George have been at TGF since 2009 when then they were relinquished due to their owner's failing health. Their owner was a lifelong heavy smoker and the cigarettes took his life as well as a toll on the health of the birds in his care.

Nearly nine years at The Gabriel Foundation with a healthy diet, exercise, sunshine and fresh air have improved life for these two. Each of these birds would benefit from the kindness of a sponsor. Both birds are extremely nice and outgoing and ask for no more for more than a safe and loving environment. Lulu and George especially like to dance, sing, and keep each other beautiful! They also enjoy these long summer days in the sun in our outdoor flights. This pair would also be available for adoption to the right home.

Please visit our website to learn more about our sponsorship program.
thegabrielfoundation.org/donate/sponsor/
... See MoreSee Less

Lulu Labamba and George are a stunning pair of macaws that are looking for a committed sponsor who is willing to help support the high quality of care they are now accustomed to receiving here at The Gabriel Foundation. Lulu and George have been at TGF since 2009 when then they were relinquished due to their owners failing health. Their owner was a lifelong heavy smoker and the cigarettes took his life as well as a toll on the health of the birds in his care. 

Nearly nine years at The Gabriel Foundation with a healthy diet, exercise, sunshine and fresh air have improved life for these two. Each of these birds would benefit from the kindness of a sponsor. Both birds are extremely nice and outgoing and ask for no more for more than a safe and loving environment.  Lulu and George especially like to dance, sing, and keep each other beautiful! They also enjoy these long summer days in the sun in our outdoor flights. This pair would also be available for adoption to the right home.

Please visit our website to learn more about our sponsorship program.
http://thegabrielfoundation.org/donate/sponsor/

Comment on Facebook

I want to sponsor them all!!!!!

Have you learned the ABC's?

Of course, you have or you would not be reading this right? We all learned to read and write our ABC's a very long time ago. But what about another type of ABC? The ones that you started to learn right after your birth but most likely have taken for granted your entire life, not actually realizing that you use them in your day to day life. ABC's are nothing new and as a science, they have been in the toolbox of researchers and some psychologists and special educators for over 60 years.

So exactly what is ABC you ask? Well, A stands for antecedent or the environmental events that occur before a behavior, B stands for behavior which is anything that a creature does that can be observed and C is for consequence which are the environmental events that occur after a behavior and influence whether the creature does the behavior again.

So, ABC is a description (short version) of a response unit. It might help if you think of snapping a picture in time, like a freeze frame in order to see what happened just before a behavior, the behavior itself and the immediate consequence that followed that behavior. Also it's important to keep in mind that the consequence of any behavior will help to increase or decrease each behavior...In the words of Susan Friedman Ph.D there is never just "behavior".

For an example, let's use a personal favorite of mine, chocolate *smile*. I was walking into the kitchen when I....A. (antecedent)saw some chocolate on the counter B. (behavior) I put it in my mouth C.(consequence) it tastes good... so the probable future behavior when I see chocolate again is that I will eat chocolate and perhaps I could even be motivated to do other behaviors if I am offered chocolate as an incentive. The behavior of eating chocolate has been reinforcing to me, however, if you had bitten into the chocolate and the consequence was that it had an unpleasant taste to you, chances would be that you would not want more chocolate and you would avoid it. So a consequence predicts whether or not you will be encouraged to increase or decrease a behavior in the future.

So how about an ABC with a parrot. What about your parrot? What is a behavior that he or she does? Remember it needs to be a behavior, something that can be observed. Often I hear people using what has been termed as labels as though they are behaviors. So you need to ask if you can actually observe it. Some confusing pitfalls, if you think of them as being behavior, may be jealous, spoiled, intelligent, happy, sad, angry, aggressive, calm, hormonal, loving and the list goes on and on. What is the problem with these names/labels? The problem is that they don't really tell us anything. A happy bird to you may be one that is sitting (behavior) on a perch with feathers over its beak. A happy bird to me would be one that is screaming (behavior) and flapping (behavior) its wings, where as you might think of that as being aggressive. If we describe the behaviors themselves however, instead of using the labels, we know exactly what we are talking about, painting an accurate picture for one another and once we agree on what a label means....such as happy means an energetic busy bird then we can use happy in our talks and have a clear meaning what each other is talking about. When using labels we tend to assume one person's meaning is the same as our meaning, when in many cases the meanings are quite different.

So whenever you want to understand your birds' behavior, remember don't look inside the bird, putting a label on its actions; rather identify the antecedents that set the behavior in motion and the consequences that reinforce it. Behavior has a function! It serves a purpose for the bird.

Back to an ABC with your parrot. Have you thought of a behavior? can you observe it? What happens just before the behavior?...just seconds before not minutes or hours before and not multiple things before. And then what happens immediately after the behavior? Got it? You just did an ABC! Now let me try.

Background: Mackie is playing in his cage and sees me walk into the room. Mackie says to me step up! I go over and open his cage door, asking him to step up but he remains standing on his perch. I chat with him, scritch his head and ask him again to step up...he continues to perch so I close the door and walk away.

A. I ask Mackie to step up B. Mackie stands on his perch C I give Mackie scritches and chatting The probable future behavior will likely be that Mackie will continue to stand on his perch when asked to step up to receive head scritches and a chat.

What can I to do? There are always many ways to work at solving a problem or changing a behavior. That is one of the interesting and great things about using applied behavior analysis and the ABC's. One shoe never fits all, so these tools give you a chance to do what works best for you and your bird. What if I ask Mackie to step up and I don't talk or give him scritches? BUT as soon as he lifts a foot and leans towards my arm he receives praise from me and once he does step up I give him more praise and scritches. Let's do that ABC

A. I ask Mackie to step up B. Mackie steps up C. Receives praise, scritches and fun time with me PFB (probable future behavior) Mackie is going to continue to step up to receive scritches and focused attention from me.

Does it look easy? ABA really isn't all that easy and has had me scratching my head multiple times but it is a valuable tool to help us all figure out better ways of approaching and working with behavior. A way to help us find positive solutions and not use force, punishment or other less desirable methods that often tend to backfire on us later on. A common example is the use of a squirt bottle for a screaming bird. Squirting the bird may work very well at first but it's also not uncommon for that same bird at a later date to not only be screaming again but also be attacking the squirt bottle, or for some birds to become fearful down the road or other problems...so by using a quick fix solution you run the risk of seeing side effects later on.

Wouldn't it be fun to learn more about Applied Behavior Analysis? To learn how to become a better observer of behaviors? How about learning about avoiding or being able to work out behavioral problems with your parrot, dog, cat, spouse or children? Working towards lifelong solutions by building a positive relationship base. It is possible and learning about ABC's gives you the tools to do that.
... See MoreSee Less

Have you learned the ABCs? 

Of course, you have or you would not be reading this right? We all learned to read and write our ABCs a very long time ago. But what about another type of ABC? The ones that you started to learn right after your birth but most likely have taken for granted your entire life, not actually realizing that you use them in your day to day life. ABCs are nothing new and as a science, they have been in the toolbox of researchers and some psychologists and special educators for over 60 years. 

So exactly what is ABC you ask? Well, A stands for antecedent or the environmental events that occur before a behavior, B stands for behavior which is anything that a creature does that can be observed and C is for consequence which are the environmental events that occur after a behavior and influence whether the creature does the behavior again. 

So, ABC is a description (short version) of a response unit. It might help if you think of snapping a picture in time, like a freeze frame in order to see what happened just before a behavior, the behavior itself and the immediate consequence that followed that behavior. Also its important to keep in mind that the consequence of any behavior will help to increase or decrease each behavior...In the words of Susan Friedman Ph.D there is never just behavior. 

For an example, lets use a personal favorite of mine, chocolate *smile*. I was walking into the kitchen when I....A. (antecedent)saw some chocolate on the counter B. (behavior) I put it in my mouth C.(consequence) it tastes good... so the probable future behavior when I see chocolate again is that I will eat chocolate and perhaps I could even be motivated to do other behaviors if I am offered chocolate as an incentive. The behavior of eating chocolate has been reinforcing to me, however, if you had bitten into the chocolate and the consequence was that it had an unpleasant taste to you, chances would be that you would not want more chocolate and you would avoid it. So a consequence predicts whether or not you will be encouraged to increase or decrease a behavior in the future. 

So how about an ABC with a parrot. What about your parrot? What is a behavior that he or she does? Remember it needs to be a behavior, something that can be observed. Often I hear people using what has been termed as labels as though they are behaviors. So you need to ask if you can actually observe it. Some confusing pitfalls, if you think of them as being behavior, may be jealous, spoiled, intelligent, happy, sad, angry, aggressive, calm, hormonal, loving and the list goes on and on. What is the problem with these names/labels? The problem is that they dont really tell us anything. A happy bird to you may be one that is sitting (behavior) on a perch with feathers over its beak. A happy bird to me would be one that is screaming (behavior) and flapping (behavior) its wings, where as you might think of that as being aggressive. If we describe the behaviors themselves however, instead of using the labels, we know exactly what we are talking about, painting an accurate picture for one another and once we agree on what a label means....such as happy means an energetic busy bird then we can use happy in our talks and have a clear meaning what each other is talking about. When using labels we tend to assume one persons meaning is the same as our meaning, when in many cases the meanings are quite different. 

So whenever you want to understand your birds behavior, remember dont look inside the bird, putting a label on its actions; rather identify the antecedents that set the behavior in motion and the consequences that reinforce it. Behavior has a function! It serves a purpose for the bird. 

Back to an ABC with your parrot. Have you thought of a behavior? can you observe it? What happens just before the behavior?...just seconds before not minutes or hours before and not multiple things before. And then what happens immediately after the behavior? Got it? You just did an ABC! Now let me try. 

Background: Mackie is playing in his cage and sees me walk into the room. Mackie says to me step up! I go over and open his cage door, asking him to step up but he remains standing on his perch. I chat with him, scritch his head and ask him again to step up...he continues to perch so I close the door and walk away. 

A. I ask Mackie to step up B. Mackie stands on his perch C I give Mackie scritches and chatting The probable future behavior will likely be that Mackie will continue to stand on his perch when asked to step up to receive head scritches and a chat. 

What can I to do? There are always many ways to work at solving a problem or changing a behavior. That is one of the interesting and great things about using applied behavior analysis and the ABCs. One shoe never fits all, so these tools give you a chance to do what works best for you and your bird. What if I ask Mackie to step up and I dont talk or give him scritches? BUT as soon as he lifts a foot and leans towards my arm he receives praise from me and once he does step up I give him more praise and scritches. Lets do that ABC 

A. I ask Mackie to step up B. Mackie steps up C. Receives praise, scritches and fun time with me PFB (probable future behavior) Mackie is going to continue to step up to receive scritches and focused attention from me. 

Does it look easy? ABA really isnt all that easy and has had me scratching my head multiple times but it is a valuable tool to help us all figure out better ways of approaching and working with behavior. A way to help us find positive solutions and not use force, punishment or other less desirable methods that often tend to backfire on us later on. A common example is the use of a squirt bottle for a screaming bird. Squirting the bird may work very well at first but its also not uncommon for that same bird at a later date to not only be screaming again but also be attacking the squirt bottle, or for some birds to become fearful down the road or other problems...so by using a quick fix solution you run the risk of seeing side effects later on. 

Wouldnt it be fun to learn more about Applied Behavior Analysis? To learn how to become a better observer of behaviors? How about learning about avoiding or being able to work out behavioral problems with your parrot, dog, cat, spouse or children? Working towards lifelong solutions by building a positive relationship base. It is possible and learning about ABCs gives you the tools to do that.

Comment on Facebook

I have been working on getting a behavior changed that my scarlet macaw, Rascal, had picked up before becoming our fid. When he doesn't want to interact, or fears something (perhaps thinking back to his short time at a zoo), he lunges, squawks, and sometimes tries to do a warning bite. Then he expects scritches. Instead I say "hey!" and walk away. He usually apologizes (head down, "helloooOOOohohohOH", kiss sounds), I give him a few minutes, then I go back and try again to interact how I started to in the beginning. He is slowly learning to be nice, or to communicate his need to be left alone, in other ways, such as just using body language of stepping away.

Great but too long for FB quick reading. Suggest breaking it done to a #of posts.

Excellent!