The Goffin Lab

The Goffin Lab is a research facility in Goldegg/Niederösterreich established specifically for the purpose of studying the cognitive processes of the Goffin's cockatoo. The animal facility consists of a large group aviary (indoor area: 45m2 ground space, 3-6m high; outdoor area: 180m2 ground space, 3-5m high), enriched with green meadows, branches, bathing puddles, a sandpit, herbage beds, hideaways and a variable selection of parrot toys. Food, consisting of a selection of seeds, fresh and dried fruit as well as various mineral and protein sources, and fresh drinking water are available at all times. Treats such as nuts are only used as food rewards during experimental routines. To avoid social learning, testing subjects can be visually secluded from the group into an indoor or an outdoor experimental compartment.

 
 

Animals at the Goffin Lab

The Goffin Lab presently houses 14 adult Goffin’s cockatoos, eight males and seven females. Two juvenile females and one male will soon be introduced. The birds are flying free in the aviary within a single group allowing us to collect data on their social interactions. None of our animals is wing clipped and birds therefore partake in all experiments voluntarily: they are called into the experimental chamber by name or asked to step on to the experimenter’s hand and carried inside. If a bird is not motivated if can fly off at any time.
All birds were introduced into the facility upon weaning to solid food and have not previously been exposed to materials that could influence their performance in problem-solving tasks, either while at the breeders or at the lab. By now all of the animals are used to a daily experimental routine and are highly motivated to participate in all of our studies so far.