A Bird, Her Game, and What They Taught Me About Training

By Emily Strong, CPDT-KA

I have an Aru Eclectus hen named Cah’ya (pronounced “cha-HI-uh”) who invented her own game. In this game, she stands on my arm and slowly leans far over to one side. I am then supposed to lean to the opposite side. She waits for me to do so. Then she slowly leans over to the other side, and waits for me to reciprocate. I do, of course. She repeats this, but every once in a while she swoops in and boops me with the curve of her beak. If she boops me on the lips, she makes a kissy noise (and I do, too). If she boops me on the nose she says “boop!” — and of course I “boop!” back. She has since made up other games as well, but this is by far her favorite game, and the one she plays most frequently.

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