Plan your next visit to the National Aviary at!


To help us care for our flock during these challenging times, make a donation to our Vital Care Efforts.

Plan your next visit to the National Aviary at!


To help us care for our flock during these challenging times, make a donation to our Vital Care Efforts.

National Aviary Offers Positive Parroting Workshop


Pittsburgh, PA– Do you have a pet parrot?  Are you considering adding a pet parrot to your household? Parrots - including parakeets, cockatiels, conures, macaws, and cockatoos - can be incredibly rewarding pets for the right home, but they are not a low-maintenance alternative to a dog or cat. 

In order to better prepare families to care for pet birds, the National Aviary is offering a day-long program entitled Positive Parroting, to be held Saturday, November 10 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Aviary.

“Many people don’t realize that pet birds not only require regular attention , “ says Cathy Schlott, manager of Animal Training at the National Aviary. “They also need specialized housing, nutrition, and even toys to maintain proper mental and physical health. Even a small bird, like a parakeet, has these needs.”

The course will explore some common behavioral issues that parrot owners face, as well as information on healthy diets, appropriate housing, veterinary care and positive reinforcement training.

Notes Schlott, “Some of the traits that make parrots so appealing – their long lifespans, their ability to copy sounds, and their intelligence – also make them very challenging to live with.”  Medium-sized parrots, such as Amazons and cockatoos, can easily live 40 years or more, making them a very long commitment for a pet owner.  Pet parrots are also hard-wired to make contact calls and loud sounds throughout the day. For example, if an owner leaves the room, a parrot may start to contact call. This is their way of yelling, ‘Where are you?’”  And parrots, which are among the most intelligent groups of birds, need plenty of mental stimulation.  A bored parrot can develop bad habits.

The key to successfully living with pet parrots is encouraging appropriate natural behaviors.  Pet parrot owners can accomplish this by learning some basic training techniques, which Schlott will introduce and demonstrate during the course of the workshop.

“These training techniques are easy to learn and easy for people to practice at home,” says Schlott.  “Not only does it help with challenging parrot behaviors, it also helps parrot owners have a better relationship with their birds.  And these training methods can work with any pet – not just parrots.”

The National Aviary’s workshop will include training demonstrations with the Aviary’s parrots, nutrition and health information, tips on housing, and even a section on making inexpensive parrot toys at home.  Participants will make a one-of-a-kind toy to take home during the workshop. 

Positive Parroting is supported by grants from Kaytee Avian Foundation and The Banfield Charitable Trust.

The workshop will be held on November 10 from 9am-3pm.  Cost of the workshop is $50-- $45 for Aviary members --  and includes a take-home binder and materials for enhancing a parrot’s well-being. Please leave your parrots at home! To register for the workshop or for more information, please visit or call 412-258-9439.



About the National Aviary

The National Aviary is America’s only independent indoor nonprofit zoo dedicated exclusively to birds. Located in West Park on Pittsburgh’s historic North Side, the National Aviary’s diverse collection comprises 600 birds representing more than 200 species from around the world, many of them threatened or endangered in the wild. The National Aviary’s large walk-through exhibits create an intimate, up-close interaction between visitors and free-flying birds, including opportunities to hand-feed and to meet many species rarely found in zoos anywhere else in the world.


Ericka Leigh Houck