Training (teaching a specific behavior) and taming (removing the fear of humans) of birds are important both for the birds' benefit and for improving their pet quality.
Handfed birds often do not require any taming since they are imprinted on humans. On the other hand wild caught birds may take weeks of work to become tame. Patience and positive reinforcement are the
crux of taming. The bird must be shown that there is nothing to fear from humans. Additionally they must learn that people are the source of food and social interaction.
Finger or hand training involves offering the finger or hand as a perch and rewarding the bird when it steps on. This is facilitated by rendering the bird flightless by clipping the wings. Parrots climb with the beak and it is infuriating to them when the hand offered to them is jerked back when they reach for it. If you are afraid of
being bit, get someone else to do the initial work with the bird. For large, aggressive hookbills, a stick or perch may be offered instead of a hand for obvious safety reasons.
An alternative taming technique is called towel taming. This involves restraining the bird with a towel in a normal perching position and scratching or "preening" the bird's head feathers until they settle down
and eventually begin to enjoy the petting sessions. These sessions should always be short and should leave the bird wanting more. If the bird does not settle down within 3-5 minutes should be ended and tried
Both finger training and towel taming should be used and should be done away from the security of the bird's cage. This makes the bird look to the trainer for security. The combination of finger training and towel taming will result in a bird that will come to the owner and enjoy the attention and petting that it gets.