A few days ago, Geozone treated us to the video of this amazing bird. (See video at link.)
Today A.J. and owner Dave Cota were guests on FoxNews. . . and I wanted to share their story.
It seems that Dave originally had a bird called Axel, who could do the same tricks. He was scheduled for an appearance on the Tonight Show, several years ago when the great Johnny Carson sat behind the desk. (Many of us remember with fondness Johnny's penchant for animals, and their penchant for embarrassing him - every single time!)
The night before his and Axel's national TV debut. . . a roommate who was sleeping, rolled over on Axel, killing him. Dave was devastated and called to cancel the appearance. But to his surprise, Carson wanted him to come anyway.
During the show, telling his sad story, Dave was presented with a new bird by Johnny himself - A.J. (A for Axel, J for Johnny.) Carson challenged Dave to train the new bird to do all the same tricks Axel had done. . . which Dave accomplished in about 9 months, when he reappeared on the show with his new avian protogee.
Dave says training a bird is different than a dog. He doesn't use a lot of food rewards - just vocal praise. He says it's about repitition. He postions the bird and leads him through the activity again and again, and the birds just do it eventually out of enjoyment.
Dave and A.J. have appeared on many TV shows, including David Letterman's and those on Animal Planet.
Here is A.J.'s personal web site: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/98078/A_J_the_Parakeet_s_Impressive_Display_of_Sporting_Skills
From there you can also access his MySpace site. LOL!