28 Adopting an Umbrella Cockatoo with Liv Morton

28 Adopting an Umbrella Cockatoo with Liv Morton

“I had known about birds and I thought I was prepared; but, obviously, you’re never prepared until they’re in your life.”

In this episode, Hillary speaks with Liv Morton. Liv is a member of Avian Behavior Lab, our online education program catering to the world of animal care professionals and other animal lovers and enthusiasts.

What You’ll Learn in This Episode:

The limitations of a targeted approach in an uncontrolled environment
How Scout entered Liv’s life
Initial hurdles working with Scout
Dealing with common challenges in training and caring for a male cockatoo
How Avian Behavior Lab supported Liv
Liv’s goals for the near future
Getting the hang of Scout’s specific needs and preferences
Training challenges that Liv is considering putting Scout through
Hillary on the Lab’s parrot recall course


Hillary and Liv talk about the ins-and-outs of working with male cockatoos. They touch on the limitations of using a targeted, one-size-fits-all approach to situations that aren’t taking place in a controlled environment such as a zoo.

What the two encourage, instead, is to undergo a paradigm shift. Sometimes what is needed is environmental management, building new skills, and overhauling the animals’ entire behavioral repertoire. Hillary, in fact, mentions how she had to spend a good amount of time doing exactly those things with Snowball the umbrella cockatoo a year prior.

The passion with which Liv speaks about her time so far with her bird, Scout, is palpable. Listen in as she shares her experience working with Scout, including how he entered her life a year ago amid the pandemic, the challenges of building a bond with a male cockatoo that had zero skills from the get-go, how Avian Behavior Lab encouraged her day-by-day, and her upcoming plans for her career in the animal world.


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