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★What behaviour are you rewarding?★

During Spring, birds and other animals behave quite “strangely” (for reasons that require no explanation). This magpie provided my family with a recent example.

It started wandering pecking on the glass in the sliding doors at the back of our house.

It was only pecking gently and we thought, “Oh! It wants some food.” There was a bit of toast on the table and so we opened the glass door and tossed it out to the magpie.

It devoured it pretty quickly.

The next day, the magpie came back and it pecked on the window. And, while this time we didn't feed it, we didn't shoo it away. This process went on for about a week.

But one day things went a little further. The magpie came and didn't just peck on the glass door, it moved across to the side and started pecking holes in the mesh of our fly screen door.

By the time we realised what it was doing, it had pecked some rather large holes in our new fly screen. And the next day, it came back and continued where it had left off.

Sometimes we reward behaviour because we think it’s amusing, or we think it’s harmless. However, it pays to think through where that behaviour can go and whether that something that you want to reinforce in the future.


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