My Bird Can't Do That

When you see a bird who is doing amazing tricks, advanced skills, or simple step ups, you might thing “my bird can’t do that!” It’s a common complaint! You’re right, your bird can’t do that! We are all at different places in our journeys with our parrots. Living with parrots and training them to do what we need them to do is not always easy.

A woman with her arms up in front of a green parrot with its wings open

Fall seven times and stand up eight

When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.

Be Your Birds Advocate

First, let me commend you for being your bird’s advocate! You noticed they can’t do it, and instead of forcing them anyway, you stopped!

Thank you!

Birds everywhere need thoughtful people like you! Saying “my bird can’t do that!” is a great way to stand up for your bird, notice they aren’t there (yet) and stop. Good work!

It's OK

If your bird isn’t ready, then that’s ok! Is this something you need your bird to do? Not everyone needs their bird to count, identify colours, or do a perfect recall. If it’s not something you need in your life, then let it be. You and your bird have a unique relationship, and it’s OK if all these things are not for you!

Does this skill add to your birds' physical and mental health

If you are interested in adding a skill to your routine that your bird CANT do yet, here is the mandatory considerations:

does this skill add to your birds physical and mental health.

If yes, then we should work through adding it to your bird’s repertoire. To do that, we must follow the humane behavior change rules. This includes regular vet checks, setting up their environment for success, and teaching skills in small steps. These are the three “secrets” to helping your bird!

A grey parrot hanging from a rope

Three Secrets To Adding A Skill:


Before anything else, is this a skill they used to do and now they can’t? Any sudden changes in behaviour warrant a vet visit immediately! Is your bird not able to do something because of a physical limitation? Look at your bird with an Avian Veterinarian and see that they are in tip-top shape!


Next, look and see if you can modify something small in your birds environment that will make it easier for them. If something as simple as a perch on the door to their cage can help them enter/exit their cage easier, then you may not even need to teach anything new. See if a small change, re-arrangement, or addition could be all your bird needs to be able to Do The Thing.


Lastly, we can teach a skill to help your bird get it right. If your bird can’t Do The Thing, what skills might be useful to help your bird? Sometimes teaching a Target behaviour helps a bird come out of their cage or go back into their cage. Sometimes, the skill is simply to ‘take a treat gently from the hand’. Each skill can be broken down into smaller micro-steps and taught gently. Work with your bird to create the skills to make the goal easier!

Keep Going!

If you are stuck on a skill your bird can’t do, and you would like to be able to do that with them, send us an email. We can set you up with an individual training plan to help you reach your goals!

Join Our Mailing List

Don't miss a single update!

Check out our socials


In the spirit of respect, reciprocity and truth, we honour and acknowledge Moh’kinsstis, and the traditional Treaty 7 territory and oral practices of the Blackfoot confederacy: Siksika, Kainai, Piikani, as well as the Îyâxe Nakoda and Tsuut’ina nations. We acknowledge that this territory is home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3 within the historical Northwest Métis homeland. Finally, we acknowledge all Nations – Indigenous and non – who live, work and play on this land, and who honour and celebrate this territory.

© Copyright 2020. All Rights Reserved