From fear of birds to training them: Meet UAE experts who help parrots talk

A team of around 30 members from diverse backgrounds aims to showcase the country's avian expertise on global stages

by

Ruqayya Al Qaydi

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Published: Thu 20 Jun 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 21 Jun 2024, 4:30 PM

Overcoming his initial fear of birds, Ajeeb from India is now a skilled parrot trainer exemplifying how determination can turn fear into fascination.

The 41-year-old is part of a team of around 30 members from diverse backgrounds that aims to showcase the country's avian expertise on global stages. They are supported by the UAE's Happiness Parrots Team.


Ajeeb’s journey began with ornithophobia (extreme fear of birds) during his childhood. However, during college, he fought his fear by interacting with a friend's parrot. “That was an unforgettable moment in my life. I have been hooked on these adorable creatures ever since.”

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Over the years, Ajeeb, who is born and raised in the UAE, kept and trained various parrot species, including love birds, conures, and macaws. His skills lie in bird training, particularly in recall techniques, like greeting with a ‘hello’ or mimicking the laughs.

Ajeeb says there are other unique little things that the birds pick up on their own. “When we are in the car and as we reach the flying destination, they get excited and they say, ‘1, 2, 3, go!’ Which is what we say before launching them into the sky.”

Since its inception in 2016, Salem Al Asli's Happiness Parrots Team has united bird breeders across the UAE. Through annual gatherings and participation in UAE festivals, they educate the public on bird breeding techniques and care while delighting audiences with stunning parrot shows and free flight demonstrations.

For Khalifa Al Musafiri, it all started when he witnessed the Happiness Team's majestic macaws in action. He has since dedicated himself to training these birds.

Emphasising the time and emotional commitment involved, Khalifa said: “Macaws are birds that make decisions based on emotions and their relationship with their owner. This bond is extremely important, especially in free flight.”

”We always advise busy individuals who cannot spare much time not to acquire a macaw.”

Abdulrahman Al Bahri’s passion for birds started at a young age owing to his family's background in bird breeding. Under the mentorship of the Happiness Team, he has specialised in free flight training and avian care, particularly with species like Blue and Gold Macaws.

Abdulrahman stressed on the importance of scientific insights and responsible ownership. “Raising parrots requires time, patience, study, and financial consideration, especially since their treatments can be costly. Bird breeding is straightforward and easy if learned correctly.”

At 20 years old, Hamad Al Bahri signifies the next generation's enthusiasm for avian care and training. His fascination deepened when he discovered the Happiness Team for Talking Birds on Instagram, where attending their gatherings provided invaluable support and encouragement.

Training durations vary based on the bird's age and type, typically ranging from one to two months for initial flight training of a Macaw.

While breeding talking birds demands effort and specific care, Hamad finds support and guidance from the team members.

Asma Mohammed’s passion for birds' colours and the art of free flight led her to the Happiness Team. “I entered the world of birds around seven years ago through visits to pet stores and the bird market, where I discovered my fascination with their colours and witnessed the captivating practice of free flight,” Asma said.

Under their guidance, she has trained various species, including conures and a white-bellied parrot. Asma highlights the team's emphasis on nutrition, training techniques, and community support, making aviculture accessible and enriching for all enthusiasts.

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