Let’s get right into things: this is a place for me to jot down my thoughts on using operant conditioning to train birds of prey. Although the birds have formal logs at work, I mean this to be a somewhat more intimate look at the training process, as well as a place to talk about other aspects of working with non-releasable raptors. Although operant conditioning is well established, it is very, very new to me and to the birds my coworkers and I training — I will certainly make mistakes. Hopefully, I will look back on this blog and see growth in both the birds and in myself.
To protect the privacy of all involved, I will not be naming my work place or my coworkers, nor will I be using the birds’ real names, as the latter can be easily tracked. If you know me well enough to know the real names of who, where, and what I am discussing, please refrain from sharing them in comments.
I will try to keep things consistent so that folks can follow along with the individual progress of each bird, and I will keep an updated roster of all mentioned birds as follows:
“Big Girl” — Immature female BAEA, 2009 hatch. Shoulder injury.
“One-eye” — Adult male RTHA, 2003 hatch. Hit by car, left eye removed.
“Twitch” — Adult female RTHA, 2001 hatch. Illegal imprint, wing injury.
“Wee One” — Immature female AMKE, 2010 hatch. Captive bred imprint.
“Blinky” — Immature female LEOW, 2010 hatch. Captive bred, parent raised.
“Kohl” — Immature female SEOW, 2010 hatch. Captive bred, parent raised.