2021—Heeeere’s Bobo!

I share my home with a curmudgeonly but very colorful Red-lored Amazon Parrot named Bobo. She is 36 years old and next month she will have been my housemate for 20 of her 36 years. She is not the kind of parrot that willingly sits on a hand or shoulder. She would rather maim that hand or take a chunk out of an ear so I have never allowed her on my shoulder. She will step onto my hand without biting me when, and only when, it suits her and not any other time. In my efforts over the years to interact in a positive way with her and modify her behavior, I started positive reenforcement training by rewarding her with treats when she responds appropriately and not rewarding undesirable behavior. My efforts have met with some success but because I travel so much, our interactions are limited. I use a target stick and encourage her to come to me, touch the stick, and when she does, I give her an almond. I keep an open jar of slivered almonds on the table near her cage and she is welcome to sample the treats whenever she chooses. What pleases me is that much of the time, usually in the morning when I’m drinking my coffee, she will come onto the table and wait for me to present the target stick so she can touch it for her almond reward instead of just plunging her head into the jar and munching away which she does when I am not sitting there. I presume that she considers me her flock. Since Bobo is usually my primary subject when I’m trying out a new lens, and since I wanted to try out my new Nikkor ZMC 50mm macro lens, I decided to try photographing her with it while she was enjoying her morning treats on the table. With the Nikon Z6II battery grip attached and with the camera set about 12 inches away from her, the camera stands up high enough without additional elevation to capture all of Bobo. This was a new approach for me because I usually sit in front of her open cage door to photograph her. This time, with the camera on the table and me offering treats for touching the target stick, I pressed the shutter release after I offered the treat. She responded better than I expected and she held still for a slow 1/25 shutter speed, ate her treat, then moved in closer to touch the stick again and get another treat without regard for the proximity of the camera.

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