Carly Lu is a Congo African Grey parrot who was born in December 2004. Carly was severely clipped as a baby and never fledged. We started training when she was about a year old, Carly learning fun tricks and recall, and me learning everything I could about science-based animal behavior and training. Her flight training began at 1 1/2 years as her flight feathers grew back in. As we practiced recall drills, she learned flight skills, from using her tail as a brake or turning corners in the house, to climbing down from tall trees. She also increased her fitness and stamina as her flight skills improved. Once she was ready for flying outdoors we started back at the basics of recall as she gained confidence and today she is an extremely strong and agile flyer.

Many San Diego residents and visitors have seen Carly fly at La Jolla Shores beach or Mission Bay Park, now with her mate and pal Piper. This blog was started in part to answer questions we are asked by the public and other parrot owners, and to promote enrichment activities, positive reinforcement training, and treating these long-lived creatures with respect for their intelligence and strong will.

Carly’s story is published in Barbara Heidenreich’s Good Bird Magazine, Spring 2008:
Carly Gets Her Wings: Flight Training an Unfledged African Grey Parrot
Here is some information frequently requested:


Raz’s activities in the bird training community

  • Founding member of the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators (IAATE) Companion Parrot Committee
  • IAATE conference presenter, 2010: Using Applied Behavior Analysis in Freeflight Training: Beyond the “How To”
  • Good Bird Magazine training articles on recall training for exercise and safety
  • Graduate of Dr Susan Friedman’s Living and Learning with Parrots
  • Parrot Behavior Analysis Solutions tutor


I live in San Diego, California, with African Grey Piper (hatched March 2008), two White-faced Grey Cockatiels; cats Maggie, Poohead, and Newt; a Box Turtle; and hens Eliza Doo (Silkie), Dorie and Flo (Bantam Cochin). I am an oceanographer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD.


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Photographs by Innemee & Jonker, © 2009; Raz Rasmussen © 2007