If You’re into Animal Behavior and Positive Reinforcement Training, You’re in the Right Spot

World renown animal behavior consultant, falconer, and educator Hillary Hankey dives deep with conversations and case studies on parrots, birds of prey as well as horses, dogs and all kinds of animals on topics of behavior as well as nutrition, ethology and problem solving.

Subscribe now to level up your behavior, training, and animal care understanding with the experts, renegades, rebels, hellions, intellectual rock stars, avicultural ground breakers, rehabilitating legends, and other members of the intelligentsia that break new ground in the animal world and push us to be the best version of ourselves for the animals in our lives.

A Bird Brained Podcast for the Nerd Brained

Conversations include:

  • Parrot behavior and training
  • Avian nutrition and husbandry
  • Aviculture husbandry, breeding, and conservation
  • Problem solving with pets
  • Zoo training
  • Ambassador animal training
  • Falconry
  • Wild bird behavior (ethology)
  • Dog, equine, and cat training
  • Learning theory, the science of behavior, and operant conditioning
  • All things animals!

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  • In this episode, Hillary uses her experience as a guest speaker at the ABMA 2021 conference as well as her evolution on the principle of applying negative reinforcement in using space as a reinforcer to reinforce calm behavior in challenging birds to help the listener understand why this is such an incredible tool for our behavior change processes....

  •   You can’t tell anyone to be curious, you can show them, you can inspire them, and you can lead with humility and grace That’s what Dani Poirier Larson of the Southwick Zoo shows, the spirit she embodies and shows her team. You can’t see......

  • Animal behavior sure does love routine. But what happens when that routine changes and is beyond our control? What about those changes that affect our mental well-being and then transfer on the way we work with our animals and fellow animal lovers? We talk about the three different ways this impacted our work!...

  • Hillary got to sit down with the Griz Kid! Wildlife biologist Wes Larsen, bear expert, and all around awesome person talked with us about his work with HawkWatch this spring banding Golden Eagles in Utah....

  • As a professional free flight bird trainer with high visibility, Hillary has heard from many different companion parrot free flyers of various experience levels. These insights reveal many different outcomes in free flying companion parrots that survivorship bias doesn't always reveal This episode examines several important questions....

  • In this episode, Hillary speaks with Harry Decimo and his partner Hailey. Harry 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. ...

  • This podcast episode is a wide ranging topic on the concept of how understanding how our brain is wired for thought helps the animals in our care as well as conservation. From concepts of how we handle behavior questions we don't know the answer to all the way to consuming information on documentaries, we look at how asking questions and filling in the picture can help us understand how science works and how the natural world is still very much a part of who we still are, technology and all....

  • 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. 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....

  • Does falconry still have a place in the modern world? It’s an old heritage sport, and there are a lot of misconceptions about what it entails. In this episode, Hillary uses her experience and insights as a licensed American falconer to discuss what the commitments and responsibilities of a falconer are. This episode includes a very frank and candid discussion of hunting, so if that is not your thing, it’s recommended that you skip it!...

  • What kind of jobs are there if you love birds and want to spend your life sharing your enthusiasm? It turns out, there are many types of jobs, and in this day and age, you can also make your own way. In this episode, we talk about some of the useful strategies we have seen in the entry level animal trainers and other care givers we have worked with to get a toehold in the competitive field of the science of bird care. We even share some of our insights in to resumes and interviews, some of which may not be the most conventional, but we are here to help you stand apart and find your path!...

  • Being intentional about your choices, the shortcuts you take or don't take in your relationships with people and animals all make up a mosaic that is our behavioral repertoire and learning evolution. How much that we recognize how our actions impact future decisions for the individuals around us makes us better animal trainers and more cognizant, inspirational leaders. ...

  • In the podcast, we are going all in on the behavior analysis term of extinction (not the existential crisis) and why ignoring problem behavior is problem behavior in and of itself. See what we did there? We use loads of examples, from parrots to cranes, hornbills to vultures, to cover this topic. We talk about other fallout scenarios and drawbacks from using extinction procedures, like riding the extinction burst, fallout frustration and aggression and other scenarios....

  • What is a husbandry behavior and why train it? I think of it as the difference between fighting with your cohabitants over little behaviors and coming to an agreement over mutually beneficial behaviors. These behaviors are important whether we are talking to companion parrot lovers or professional animal caregivers. What’s on your list of top five? This episode features a special, unexpected mystery guest who we left in for your listening pleasure. If you have been following along on our social media, then you will enjoy her contributions!...

  • The concept of leaving your parrot flighted or clipping its wings is a huge topic with much debate. There are many opinions going both ways based on health, safety, welfare, and psychological benefits...

  • In this broad conversation, Paige Davis, a curator at the World Bird Sanctuary in St. Louis, Missouri, and I sit down and talk about bird of prey training, falconry, species differences, weight management, and social media. We covered a lot of ground when it comes to birds of prey and the way we train them, and I can’t wait for you to listen to this podcast...