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Hi friends, you might have heard about this through your parrot circles or in the news, but I thought I would post it here as well. The World Parrot Refuge on Vancouver Island is in shambles. The founder died in February and since then the facility has had a rat infestation as well as facing eviction by August 1st. Volunteers are hoping former owners will take back their birds or that new homes can be found. Greyhaven Exotic Sanctuary is one of the groups taking donations. If you do a seach on Google you can find lots of stories about it :/
Just thought I'd share how I taught Ellie my cockatoo to shake her head 'no' when she doesn't want something.
Cockatoos are considered by many to be the hardest parrots to keep in captivity, placing owners in their own special class of crazy. They are brilliant, with the intelligence of toddlers, and their affection needs differentiate them from other parrots. Without proper mental AND emotional support, they begin to pull out their feathers, some mutilate themselves, and some die from their self-injurious behaviors. Keeping a cockatoo happy is very serious business, and failing that, can literally lead to the poor creature's death. And some cockatoos pluck for seemingly no reason at all.
Ellie is quite the spirited little elfling. I relish my own independence, it is one of the most valued traits of my life. I likewise thought independence, agency--the ability to control her surroundings, to affect her environment, to make decisions about her day and her life--might provide a layer of protection against this proclivity to pluck.
Birds are so tiny, it's easy to 'force' them to step-up, to 'force' them to go to people they don't want to visit, to grab them, to 'force' them to go into their cages, in essence, to inflict ourselves and our opinions on their tiny little bodies.
I never wanted that for Ellie. Her life (as much as possible) would be on her terms.
Because she might live up to 60 years, and because she isn't very verbal, I decided early on that I would teach her non-verbal communication, so that she could say "no" when she didn't want something. It would be a form of agency - she could shake her head and the humans in her life would understand in a very human-form, "I don't want that."
So, I set out to teach her to indicate "no."
"No" is such an interesting word. It is abstract - it is an indication of displeasure. It is not a color to select, it is not one number to choose, it is an idea. "I don't want that." And it's an idea connected to a head movement.
I wasn't sure if it would work :)
Alex, the brilliant and famous African Grey, developed a concept of zero, nothing, which, I believe, even dolphins and gorillas haven't demonstrated. Abstract concepts are tougher for animals, but large parrots are also unique.
It was also tough because I try to avoid using the word 'no' to my parrots. I redirect their behavior, put up all kinds of places where they want to play, and reward them for playing in those spots. That said, my mischievous cockatoo Ellie definitely hears the word 'no' more than my other two!
So every time I said "No" to Ellie, I also emphatically shook my head. And every time she indicated she didn't want something by her body language, I also asked verbally, "No???" and shook my head wildly, trying to pair the concepts. Honestly, she looked at me blankly like I was mentally deranged for over a year.
Then one afternoon when I was racing around the house getting ready to go somewhere and about to engage in bird-mommy failure by (the horror) placing her on a play stand without a treat, the lights blinked on in her head, like some total Helen Keller moment, and she shook her head violently, "Nooooooo!!!!!!"
We both kind of stopped and stared at each other. I blinked at her, she blinked at me, and then she shook her head again. "No. Not that perch without a treat!!!!"
I kissed her and laughed and we both shook our heads together and I got her a treat.
Ellie latched onto "No" like it was some life saver and she might drown in this ocean of humans. She shook (and shakes) her head often. "Not that toy, thanks." "I don't want broccoli right now." "Ewww bananas?! Really?!?!??" "No, I don't want to visit that person."
It's not fail-proof. Sometimes she still hunkers down on her haunches and other times she screams if she's especially mad, but it has made navigating life so much easier for both of us when I know (and to the very best of my ability, always honor) her expressions of "No."
Hi everybody! I need your advice please ^u^
It's winter here and it's pretty cold right now. I was wondering if there's a way to make a warm bed/nest/something for my cockatiel so he doesn't feel cold at night? right now he only has natural perchs and I made him a little board-bed because I noticed he likes to put his feet on bigger surfaces when he wants to be comfortable and when it's time to sleep he goes right to his little board-bed. I think the wood may be a bit warmer than the perch but if there is a way to make it warmer or more comfortable it would be great. Or maybe making a nest-bed? I don't know!
He gets scared easily too (I gave up with toys because he either got freaked out of them -even using the "get him used to them first" technique- or completely ignores them when they're small enough to not be "scary"). If I could make a "bed" for him how can I make him accept it and use it?
oh! I cover his cage with two light blankets at night.
Hi friends, just wanted to share some crafty birdy endeavours as of late from my Etsy shop
. First up is a budgie colouring book! It's all
budgies featuring drawings made from photos of Mr. Jill, Moxie, Mellow and Feisty. It's a PDF that you can print again and again for personal use only. Fun for all ages!
The second is perfect if you want some easy parrot decor. If you don't have a digital die cutter, just let me know and I can make you some! You can also use the pictures as clip art or make stencils on your own. All the pictures are made from my own sketches and there are five birds - budgie, cockatiel, lovebird, cockatoo and macaw. I hung up two of the samples on my kitchen wall :-D I want to make a mobile of them too.
Muffin's fecal gram stain came back completely normal last month. Whatever the problem is, it seems to have sorted itself out. I think he was feeling anxiety over us leaving plus my own anxiety about being a vendor at an event this past weekend. We also live across the street from a bus stop where school children get off. I happened to be home one Friday and the kids were freaking him out. Anyway...all is good!
Here is a little cartoon I made of Muffin...he's a total scavenger and having any kind of bread, pasta or rice for a meal usually means he's not invited :-D Click through for larger!
We went to the vet yesterday and got there a little early. Muffin screamed the whole time in the waiting area. Our vet is an emergency vet as well, so there's exotics and other pets. I kept apologizing to the other people there.
Dr. W thought Muffin looked good. On the surface he couldn't see any problem with Muffin except that he is a little overweight at 109 grams. He mentioned that at Muffin's age, kidney and liver problems become apparent. I was concerned that he was going to be losing weight with all the plotzing. Dr. W took a poop sample and we'll get the results by Wednesday and see what the problem is there.
I was able to buy PediaLyte in a small bottle and I put a small drop on some oatmeal for him to eat. Things did look a little better after that.
I was home most of yesterday and Muffin's poops were totally normal. I don't know if he's experiencing anxiety during the day or around the time I come home. He's been so active that it would be hard to say there is something wrong with him :-D I am going to see if we can set up an old cell phone as a web cam so I can see what he does all day :-D I feel less worried now that we've been to the vet.
Hi parrot lovers, I was wondering if anyone else had this problem with their bird. We will be going to the vet on Saturday.
We went away for Easter weekend and it seems to have stressed Muffin out like crazy. We have left the birds before for a weekend, but maybe something happened, maybe it's because it's spring...but since then, while we are off at work during the day, for no better lack of a term, Muffin just keeps plotzing in one spot. The urates are all water with some solids. I am going to get some PediaLyte after work because the newspaper can't handle it :/. His morning poop and poop when we are home are normal. He was so excited when we got home that he couldn't stop emergency pooping :/
I thought maybe his seed and Zupreem were off, so I bought fresh bags, but no change.
Hopefully a poop test will get to the bottom of things, but it would help to know if someone else had the same problem.
Does anyone here have experience with termite extermination?
A neighbor says she found termite droppings in her apartment, and thinks the entire building will have to be tented. Obviously, my Sennie and I will be out for as long as necessary, whether tenting is needed or spot treatment, but I'm concerned about what's a safe period of time afterward. Exterminators always hand out info about what's safe for "pets," but I have my doubts that they actually know about birds, and I want to make sure I don't bring her back in until it's absolutely, positively safe.
I'd be very grateful for any help or advice!
Muffin is in major nesting mode and Feisty is singing sparrow songs...it's spring!
Lately Muffin has been so funny. He's been climbing around the budgie cage and screaming at Feisty. Or else he whistles and makes heart shaped wings at Feisty. What? Feisty, always the friendly budgie, immediately tried to make friends with Muffin by barfing in his mouth. Muffin was so grossed out, but that's what you get when you leave your beak wide open ;-) Feisty has tried this a few more times and it always makes Muffin angry...but I don't know why Muffin is climbing around the budgie cage in the first place...or keeps doing it. Birds, man!
Here's a gratuitous photo of my big fluff:
If you feed your bird veggies, do you give it raw, cooked, or a combination? I've always made a mix that's half cooked and half raw, and then fridge a few days worth and freeze the rest. And then my partner asked me why I cook it at all. Is there a good reason to take the time and effort to cook it all, or am I just being silly?
Mellow is the last budgie that I would call obnoxious, but she has been so
She developed a fascination with her reflection in the mirror and the craft cabinet and so very wants to meet that other bird. She's been running up and down the one perch and squashing herself between it and the food cup in order to get out.
This developed into a little flying routine where she would try to escape, flap to the lower perch then up to the main perch. Now she forgoes the escaping part and does a little circuit around the cage - down, up, across, down, up, across, down, up, across and the pattern of her wing flaps is so annoying. Flap, flap, fla-flap! Flap, flap, fla-flap!
It's driving Muffin and Feisty crazy, particularly Feisty, because every so often she pauses on the main perch to flap and scream while he's sitting there. Sometimes she lets go of the perch and hovers while flapping and screaming.
Mellow flew on the weekend. Mellow is not a good flyer. Is it sad that she never learned to fly? How is that possible? Her tumour makes it a little difficult and for the first five years of her life she was never let out of the cage because it was located in a hotel.
She flew a few times when we brought her home, but it was disastrous. Usually young budgies learn quickly to avoid walls - but not Mellow. She didn't have much motivation to fly until she met her reflection. Feisty used to sit on top of the cage and chirp encouragement, then he began to flap and scream it. It was kind of like when my husband tried to teach me how to drive ;)
Anyway, Mellow finally braved the open door and flew! Badly. I had to catch her after a while. She couldn't figure out how to get back in the cage. But I think she enjoyed her big adventure because she is still doing her little circuit. Now she over shoots the main perch just a little so she can gracefully land on it. It's never too late to learn!( So...now that I got out, how do I get in? Collapse )
I wrote this on September 10th, but forgot to LJ it. Feisty took peas from my hand a second time :)
I was so proud of Feisty yesterday. As you may remember, he is as wild and untamed as the day we got him from the humane society. Yesterday he ate two peas from my fingertips. Years ago I discovered that he loved peas and always put some in his treat hopper.
Muffin had to be on probiotics back in May as the vet thought his fecal bacteria count was too high. This included Sunshine Factor. Muffin wouldn't take the syringe, so I got creative and dripped the dose over peas and he ate them from a spoon. Feisty saw this going on and would shyly come to the corner of the cage closest to me. Want peas!
His desire was mixed with fear and he wouldn't eat them off the spoon. The budgies, being untamed, kind of tolerate my hand. When I change their food or water they grip the perch with apprehension even though it's only the bird lady that grabs them.
Yesterday I was feeding peas to Muffin as a treat by hand and Feisty ventured over to the corner of the budgie cage. He fluffed up his head. Want peas!
I squished a pea open and held it through the bars. He flapped away, then flapped back, unsure. He approached it with that trepidation familiar to all budgie owners - close enough to reach, but far enough away just in case. I realized that I was part of the problem. Feisty doesn't like to be looked at. At the humane society he tried to make himself as invisible as possible :). I looked away and after a few moments, I felt a little tug.
He ate another pea, then decided that was enough for one day. I put more peas in his treat cup. I can't wait to try again :)
Is anyone here familiar with either The Bird Guru
or Featherbed Resort for Birds
, both in Metrowest Massachusetts? Or does anyone have other recommendations for boarders in Eastern MA? I've recently moved to the Boston area and I'm looking for a place to board Kappa when I travel. These both sound really similar: a bunch of cages near each other, time out of the cage for each bird, feed a veggie mix, full spectrum lighting, require a vet health certificate but not specific tests (e.g., no chlamydia test required), same price.
And below the cut, a few pictures of Kappa in the process of moving. :) ( Pictures hereinCollapse )
Whilst it is not about parrots - I thought maybe someone would have helping information...
My mother has just been given a crow who doesn't have the upper half of his beak.
I haven't seen the bird so far and so I don't have photos yet - I migth be able to get some tonight or tomorrow morning.
Would normally the beak grow back ?
I have checked some local forums about smaller birds like canaries etc, and seems like these birds are getting it growing back... what about crows ?
(Note - Altough there are some who are interested in birds as well... There's no trustable and expert veterinaries for birds here - I'm in Istanbul-Turkey)
Can anyone recommend a boarder in Eastern Massachusetts? I'm located in Somerville, and Kappa is a dusky conure. Thanks! :)
I took this picture the other week of Feisty, just before the fifth anniversary of when we adopted him from the humane society. Alas he was in the middle of a very hard moult, which shows. I found his papers recently too. It's so hard to believe - I had no expectations for his health when we got him, and he does have a tumour or something weird going on with him - his beak overgrows. I really have no idea how old he is, as he was an adult when we got him. He is still wild and untamed, but he's such a good budgie and so smart. He chows down on Zupreem and new foods and pushes Mellow out of the way for a lettuce bath. He's a very attentive spouse and preens Mellow every hour, it seems!
I suppose if I knew that I would be taking photos of him, I would have cleaned all of Muffin's powder off the mirror :-)