Imprinting occurs when a bird is conditioned to believe humans are its natural mother or parents. This will have implications later in life with dependency and sexual attraction.
Imprinting can be avoided by:
- raising birds with others of the same species
- replacing the nest
- fostering baby birds with other parents of the same species
- puppet feeding (some species need this)
- playing bird calls while feeding
- not treating the baby bird like a pet
Magpies imprint easily. Young magpie can be returned to a parent up to 21 days later. Imprinting can be avoided by:
- raising young in groups or with older magpie
- fostering with local parents
- encouraging early self-feeding
- not encouraging begging beyond an appropriate age
- feeding with a hand puppet.