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Duration:06:38
Uploaded:2020-07-16
Last sync:2020-07-16 12:15
Scarlet came to Animal Wonders two years ago in the summer of 2018. Since then she's formed a strong bond to her keeper, Taylor, and together they've made great progress. Learn how Taylor formed a trust bond with Scarlet and how she prepared her to become an ambassador for her species!

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Hi everyone!

Welcome back to Animal Wonders. My name is Taylor, and this is Scarlet the green-winged macaw.

As a keeper and educator here at Animal Wonders, I travel to schools, homes, parks, and many other sites to educate others about our amazing animals. Jessi and I are always excited when we have a new animal that we can share with others, but sometimes it takes a lot of work before that animal is comfortable being in front of an audience. Today I’m happy to announce that, after many months of hard work,.

Scarlet is finally ready to go out on presentations! And so, I’d like to share Scarlet’s success story with you and share how she became one of our newest ambassadors! [CHEERY INTRO MUSIC]. Scarlet came to us from a very loving family, but they were going to start travelling a lot.

They knew they wouldn't be able to give Scarlet all the attention she needed, so they contacted us. When she first came to Animal Wonders, we let her settle in and get to know us. Then we started introducing her to Joy, our blue and gold macaw.

We hoped that they would bond strongly and provide each other with companionship and friendship. And while they do get along, Joy stayed strongly bonded to Jessi and Scarlet started bonding to me. While we loved that we were able to give Scarlet a home, Jessi and I hoped that eventually she could become one of our ambassador animals.

My hope at the time was to eventually be able to take Scarlet to shows and teach others about her adaptations, how smart she is, and how much work and care they require as pets. And I wanted to share her story and teach others that animals are individuals just like us. Also, shows can be wonderful enrichment for the animals.

In the wild, they would be constantly moving and foraging and trying to survive. So shows can be a great way to allow the animals to experience new sounds and smells and sights, while getting some treats. Shows can be stressful at first, but they’re great enrichment for a highly intelligent animal like Scarlet.

But before Scarlet and I could do any shows together, we had to trust each other. It’s really important to have a strong bond with an animal that you take on a show so that they feel safe and comfortable even in a new and unpredictable environment. At first, Scarlet and I were really nervous around each other, so I started by forming a trust bond.

I would offer her treats in her bowl and while she ate, I just stood and talked to her. Then, over time I was able to offer her a treat directly from my fingers. I wanted her to get used to being around me and hearing me and associate me with fun things like treats.

And eventually when I entered the room, she would move towards me and she even started copying my whistles. Once I was feeling comfortable with her and she seemed to be growing comfortable with me,. I wanted to see if she would step up onto my arm.

This next step took a huge amount of trust from both her and me. I had to trust that she wouldn’t get scared or defensive and bite my arm, and she had to trust that my arm was a stable and safe perch and I wouldn't drop her. The first time I tried, I rested my arm on her perch to make sure it was secure, and then I offered her an almond that she could only reach if she stepped up onto my arm.

She walked over to me, tested my arm with her beak, and then walked away. So I could tell she wasn’t ready and I could feel my heart racing, so I took a step back and built up our trust bond. A few days later, she stepped up onto my arm, and eventually, I could take her to different rooms or even outside to enjoy the fresh air.

Once I had a strong bond with Scarlet, I had to train her to enter and travel in a crate. Travel crates are a safe space for the animals when we go on a show. It’s a space where they can be comfortable, happy, or even sleep, and they know nothing bad will happen to them.

But at first, they can be intimidating. And one thing I quickly learned about Scarlet is she takes a long time before she feels comfortable around new things. So this process took a lot of time.

At first I simply introduced the crate and brought it into her space. Then I began to slowly bring her closer and closer to the crate while offering her treats the whole way. After about a month, I was finally able to get her to take a treat from the very edge of the crate, and then eventually I got her to step onto the perch in the crate and eat a treat!

It was a huge accomplishment and I am so proud of her. After that I worked on closing the door to the crate, moving her while she was in the crate, and even putting it in the car. Throughout all the steps, I continued to move slowly and take it at her pace.

When she felt confident, we took another step. And some steps took longer than others. But eventually, we made it all the way to a presentation.

For her official debut, I picked a show at a nearby location, where I knew the staff, the layouts, the attendees, and overall what to expect. I wanted to be in a location where there were as few variables as possible so that I felt comfortable and relaxed, and hopefully Scarlet would feel that and be comfortable as well. When I presented her to the audience, she was nervous at first.

Her feathers were fluffed up and she was stretching her wings out a bit. But I started talking slowly and calmly, and as she began eating her treats, her feathers settled and she relaxed a bit. I only kept her out for a couple minutes, and then I gave her a big reward and let her go back into her crate.

I was ecstatic! I felt incredibly honored because she had shown me that even in a new environment with totally new and different things, she had trusted me. She had exceeded all of my hopes, and we had reached our goal together.

Since then, she’s gone to a bunch of presentations with me, and we’ve educated so many kids and adults about macaws and how amazing they are. My goal now is to continue to take Scarlet to presentations. We’ve gone to small shows so far, but I hope to be able to take her to larger ones.

Also, I want to continue to train her. Training is an awesome way to continue to build our trust bond, and it helps me show off her adaptations during shows. So far, I’ve taught her to spread her wings on cue, but maybe in the future I can get her to turn in a circle, or raise one foot and wave, or even hang from her toes so she can grab a treat.

Also, Scarlet is very vocal and she’s great at copying sounds, so it might be fun to teach her to do different vocalizations during our shows. I’m excited to continue working with Scarlet. I know that we’ll continue to learn and grow together, and I can’t wait to share all of our progress with you.

Thank you so much for watching! If you’d like to continue to go on adventures with us every week, subscribe to our YouTube channel Animal Wonders Montana and we’ll see you next time. [BOLD OUTRO MUSIC].