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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  • Special bonus episode with Jon Rossi of the Rossifari Podcast that was released earlier this year when we sat down for a fun conversation. We talked flying birds, leadership, bird nerdin' and so much more....

  • In this final part of our series with Dr. Scott Echols, board certified avian veterinarian, we cover A LOT of ground in terms of avian health and welfare. If you want the straight science about how to get your bird exercising, even in terms of rehabilitated wildlife, diet management, and osteoporosis, we talk about it all. Dr. Echols is as always, so generous with his time and information, and we are forever grateful....

  • Working with rehabilitated birds of prey as education ambassadors is rewarding work, but it can be fraught with challenges as well. From working with unruly (and opinionated!) audiences to dealing with heartbreaking avian losses and health issues, it can feel thankless at times.In this episode, we focus on two big issues: working with a volunteer staff and sensitive birds coming from a place of trauma...

  • The Problem Solving Paradigm teaches you how to manage really complex and sometimes uncontrollable variables when trying to train your bird, so you actually can realize real change....

  • Once again, I sit down with board certified avian veterinarian Dr. Scott Echols to discuss some pretty intense concepts in veterinary and wellness technology. He covers how new technology is discovering diseases we never even knew existed and how we are able to diagnose and treat them. More on bornavirus, feather destructive behavior, and other complex topics....

  • Using food as a contrived reinforcer to train our parrots is often fraught with emotions and tension. And not without good reason. But we can discuss the differences in contrived reinforcement and natural reinforcement and how both are important components in building strong relationships and decode our interactions with our birds. These concepts can uncover why our birds might stop doing what they used to do, what skills they need to build to be successful in our homes and lives and how we can become better buddies together....

  • Training free lofted birds of prey can be an incredibly enriching program for trainer and bird, but it can also lead to an unnecessarily protracted program that brings all parties a lot of stress....

  • Why does science in animal care matter? Barbara Heidenreich and I sit down - this time in person - for a conversation about what it actually means to be scientific in animal care and behavior...

  • If you have ever been in a falconry forum, it doesn't take long to recognize the level of tension that can course through the interactions between different experience levels and the roots of this derogatory term. We discuss the conservation aspect of hunting in the US, how falconry plays a role, the responsibility of outdoor recreation in preserving green spaces, and other aspects of preservation. We also dig into some training concepts such as free lofting, weight management, and the capacity of birds of prey to have relationships. ...

  • Let's blow the lid off of the way we think of operant conditioning and dive deep with Maasa Nishimuta and Sean Will of CAAWT, or the Constructional Approach to Animal Welfare and Training....

  • This is our second interview with Dr. Scott Echols, Diplomat- ABVP - Avian Specialty, nutrition expert, and, geez, there so many epithets we can tag on here. In this episode, we talk about avian dietary supplements, Omega-3 fatty acids, the ol' pellets versus raw diet debate, and a few other questions within this topic....

  • Owl ambassadors can be tough to train, but in our opinion, so worth it. They are powerful conservation ambassadors for myriad of topics. We topic about two key things that we look at when we set ourselves up to train an owl ambassador....

  • Parrot screaming is incredibly complex! This challenging behavior calls for a comprehensive approach. In this podcast, we tackle just one aspect of parrot screaming: when you parrot screams when you set it down or leave the room. Keeping your parrot busy, especially if he doesn’t......

  • What do trials for human's capacity for G force have to do with animal training? Turns out, the alleged beginnings of Murphy's law at Edwards Air Force Base in California by Colonel Stapp's team had its beginnings not in pessimism but practicality. Our episode explores how we can use this mindset can turn our understanding of animal behavior into mastery....

  • This episode is a juicy one! In our interview with self-proclaimed bird nerd and parrot lover, Melanie Canatella, Founder of Fluff and Feathers, we chat about working with birds with special needs and creating a more harmonious environment and relationship with them. Melanie has been a......