Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Pompoms for the Lorikeets
The 2nd Entry: Pompoms for the Lorikeets
As part of the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators’ (IAATE) enrichment challenge (check out the challenge and first entry here), I made rubber pompoms for a few of our lorikeets that live behind the scenes. Some of our birds have naturally occurring health conditions that prevent them from being on exhibit. They live peacefully behind the scenes where they get first class care and first class toys. For one of our special lorikeets who has a neurological disorder, Cheeks, and his nest-mate I sewed rubber into slips of fabric (scrunchie style) and bound these into pompoms with rubber hair ties, for a springy, textured toy.
When we introduced the rubber pompoms, Cheeks and his nest-mate were quite intrigued. Cheeks’ mate began picking at and preening the pompoms with her beak, as we expected the lorikeets to do. However, little Cheeks decided to do things his own way. Instead of perching and preening the pompom like his nest-make, Cheeks took a decidedly different approach. He climbed up the side of his enclosure, hung from the ceiling by his feet and tried pulling at the pompom with his beak. When that didn’t work, he dangled from the ceiling by his beak and began pulling at the pompom with his feet! Eventually Cheeks must have either gotten tired or decided that it was more fun to stand on something stable to play with the springy toy. He climbed down, sat on a perch next to the toy and began preening it with his nest mate. They now both love to regularly play with the enrichment pompoms. A point to Cheeks for his initial creativity!
Check in for the next blog to see more enrichment challenge entries!
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