Friday, October 31, 2008


It is Halloween!!
I wonder what costumes the neighbors will be wearing?

Miss Peppermint Patty

Miss Peppermint Patty, also known simply as Miss Patty, came to me as a foster bird in a group of three cockatiels. Being a fan of Peanuts, I decided to name them all for characters in that cartoon. Woodstock was all yellow (not sure whether he was a true lutino or not) except for his orange cheek patches. He was very bumbly, partially due to his very sweet personality, and partially due to his poor feet, that bent and twisted in funny ways, almost as if he could not fully control them. Linus was an almost normal grey, save for a patch of pale yellow on his nape, that was shaped, oddly enough, like a teddy bear. He was very shy, and always trying to be brave, so we named him Linus, hoping that if he found a "blanket", he would be happier, too. Peppermint Patty was a cinnamon Pearl, who also had, and still has, very poor feet, similar to Woodstock's. They also had been in with a lovebird, that was separated from them before I got them, as she was attacking them.

They had been owned by a vet tech, before she left them at that vet's office to get rid of them. She said she had received them all separately from different people, and caged them together in one cage. She left them at the vet's office in a cat carrier, so I do not know what that cage was like. They were wary of people, though Linus was the worst, with his terrible fear of people and hands.

Woodstock was the tamest, and really seemed to love human company. However, he was also the sickest. One week after I got him, despite the best efforts to get good food in him, supplements, and anything that might help, he died of malnutrition. Poor little guy, he was so sweet. I don't know what he had been through in previous homes, but by his condition, I don't think it was very good. Sometimes, working with rescues can be very hard.

After Woodstock died, I continued taming Linus and Miss Patty in the same manner I had tamed the budgies, save for the fact I had to cover my hand with a sock, so Linus would not be as afraid of it. I noticed that Linus and Miss Patty were not really thrilled with each other's company, and were happier when apart. I decided that after quarantine, I would separate them.

When quarantine was over, I allowed Yo-yo to finally meet them. He had been listening to their calls for so long from upstairs, he was really getting desperate. As soon as he was through the doorway, he flew over to their cage, where they were sitting on top, and began whistling and talking to them. First a few chords of Yankee Doodle, then "Whatcha doing", then a few chords of the 1812 Overture, then "Peek-a-boo", and so on. He was soo excited! Linus immediately flew to the top of the curtain rod, and refused to come down, looking nervously at Yo-yo. Miss Patty played coy for a few minutes, but soon let Yo-yo preen her.

As Linus was now away from Miss Patty, I took him into the bird room and put him in his own cage. He soon came out of his shell, and became a very lovable little tiel. He was extremely vocal, and could imitate anything, words, other birds, and sounds, and did so all day long. He also came to love playing. After I had had him a few months, and he was getting pretty tame, even calling for me when I was out of the room, I found him a wonderful new home where he could get all the attention he wanted.

As Miss Patty and Yo-yo had become inseparable, I obviously had to keep her, not that I minded. She is such a sweet girl, and quickly became close friends with Ava. Yo-yo went through a period of not being very tame, and very protective of his new girlfriend, but he soon got over that, and was back to his usual sweet self. Miss Patty, despite my efforts to make friends, does not want to have too much to do with people. She loves spray baths and showers, and will happily eat treats out of your hand and talk to you, but that is about all she is interested in. I am fine with that, as long as they are all happy.

Poor little Woodstock, rest in peace

The three of them together, Woodstock, Peppermint Patty, and Linus.

Peppermint Patty, enjoying the window view.

Yo-yo preening Miss Patty

Yo-yo and Miss Patty in the morning.
Yo-yo is actually eyeing the food dish I have

And a cute pic of synchronized preening.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Also know as Yo-yo. Named for the Japanese city that hosted the international meeting to form the international environmental treaty known as the Kyoto treaty (may I mention the U.S. did not take part?) Anyway, to introduce him.....

After Cone died, I started looking for another tiel, because I could not imagine living without one of the happy little fellows. After a little over a month of looking, Yo-yo came up on Petfinder, around 8:00 in the morning at an SPCA about an hour away. Needless to say, we jumped in the car, and got there a little before nine, which is when the SPCA opened. Before I go on, let me say this story in no way should represent all SPCAs, and I will not mention where this one is. The one near us now, after we moved, is very good.

To continue, when we walked into the new, very large facility, they had Yo-yo in the cage he had come in, sitting in the middle of the room. As I found out reading his "papers" he had been left in an apartment for 5 days without food or water, until the SPCA was called in. They kept him in quarantine for 8 days, to give the person time to come claim him. After that time, they moved him into the main facility and listed him. As I stood there, watching him, I noticed that he had one perch in his cage, a swing made from a bent cloths hanger, and two toys, a hanging rawhide one and one with a bell. The paper in the bottom of his cage was newspaper, that looked very wet and mildewed, with plenty of poop. (Later, when I cleaned it, I found out there were moldy pieces of bread down there, too) I also thought he looked very skinny and sick, close to death, and very nervous. I assumed that was why he was singing, to try and make himself not look as sick as he was. When someone noticed we were looking at him, they did run over and throw some seed in a dish and put it in there. (so kind)

When they called us over to start the adoption, we had to sit through 2 hours of lecturing by a girl who could not remember what species of bird we were talking about, and was simply reading from a sheet. A sheet that said things like "feed only pellets" and "use only unbleached brown or white paper to line the cage." Not sure how they bypassed their own information not to even change his cage paper since he had come in. Anyway, we did adopt him.

After getting him home, we put him in quarantine, of course. He was about the weight of a budgie, with such dry skin and feathers, that his down feathers were literally in "dreadlocks," so he was constantly itchy. He did not ever even move around in the cage. I noticed that he was not eating, even the millet hung right in front of him, so there was not going to be any calm taming like there had been with other birds. I immediately got him out. I replaced the "swing" with a short perch, and soon realized he would step up on the swing, so I could easily get him out. I spent hours lying on the bed next to the cage (he was in a guest bedroom) with him next to me, offering him different types of seed, millet, any thing. He did start eating when he was out with me after a day.

We went on like this, my getting him out a couple times a day to eat, his getting used to having me around. I also started spraying him with Kaytee bath spray, to help his feathers. After about two weeks, he started singing for me to come back. I decided then, since he was gaining weight, that I really needed to change his cage (I already changed and cleaned the tray, of course) to something larger, and more importantly, cleaner. I also decided to try giving him a shower, which he LOVED! Once he was in his larger cage, with some more toys and much cleaner feathers, I kept taming him until quarantine was over. I also switched him over to healthy foods, including his new favorite treat, dried papaya. Then, as he had an ok from the vet, we put him up with the other birds. He almost immediately became friends with the budgies.

When I got him, he still had all of his "baby feathers," meaning he still had grey on is face, and a striped tail. (The tail, by the way, had been cut with scissors to be short, like a parrot's tail, no clue why.) Now, however, he is very healthy, with such bright feathers, and so tame he will let me rub him all over, and comes flying whenever I seem the least upset. He eats everything and anything I give him, and has become a destroy bird on a mission, any toy, must be tested and destroyed. Unfortunately, that includes woodwork....

Yo-yo, shortly after I got him, still with some baby feathers even after one molt.

Yo-yo's "pleeeease pick me up"!

And his "Any particular reason WHY you are photographing
me when I want to sleep?"

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Short Memorial

My first cockatiel, Cone, a beautiful, and very large, pearl female, was only 4 years old when she died. I had had her for only a year, when she started getting nesty, and looking for a mate. Unfortunately, though her previous owner said she had layed eggs many times with no problem, that was not the case this time. She became eggbound, and when she finally layed her egg, due to its huge size and soft shell, she had a complete prolapse. Despite our best efforts, she died 4 days later. My budgies morned for a very long time, as did I. She was such a friendly, albeit bossy and demanding, little girl. Since then, I have made sure I know as much as I can about eggbinding, other egg complications, and what to do in an emergency.

The Socialites - Peter and Ava

After researching and deciding I really would like to rehome a bird, I started checking Petfinder regularly. Peter, a blue budgie, came up in an animal shelter near my doctor, so of course I went to see him. According to the lady at the shelter, he had been caught loose on the seventh floor dorm of a local university. As he was caught loose, they could not adopt him out for another 8 days, so I went home and returned the next week. The night before I returned, someone left a yellow budgie in the night deposit box. (I know, how could you do that?) As Peter (the blue budgie) and Ava (what I named the yellow budgie) were already calling to each other, I took them both.

First we all had several days of adjustment. Mostly them adjusting, I was constantly being awed by everyth
ing they did. I sat with them, read to them, watched tv with them, waiting until they seemed pretty comfortable with me. Then I put my hand on the outside of the cage next to their food dish, after feeding them, and stayed very still. They soon became comfortable enough with this to not even hesitate jumping to eat. I then began putting my hand in the cage, with food in my palm, and leaving it in there, just inside the door, for around 15 minutes at a time. After a while, they began to come closer, and then get on my hand to eat. After they would readily jump on my hand for the food, I would try moving it, slowly and gently, back and forth in the cage. Once they would stay on it for that, I began trying to pull my hand out of the cage with them on it. That took longer.

After about a month, Ava was getting pretty tame, so I decided to get them a big cage together. Once they were in a larger cage together, I let them out to play on their playgym, and they could have each other's company when I wasn't there. Plus, since Ava was tame, it became easier to tame Peter. It still took another three months, but on Christmas day, he got on my hand, voluntarily and without prompting or food. What a great present!

Edited to add: After Peter and Ava had a violent, if drawn out, split, they became increasingly unhappy even being in the same house and hearing each other's calls. Peter would get territorial, Ava depressed. I finally decided it was only fair to both of them that I separate them completely, and my parents happily agreed to keep Peter.

The beautiful blue Peter

Gorgeous Ava. She is named for Ava Gardner, and with
those long eye-lash looking feathers, can't you see why?

Peter, enjoying the winter weather outside the window.
He always looks great in black and white.

Ava, having a bath.

And the two of them together.


My first blog. Very interesting. I have finally stepped out of the group of readers and across the river to the group of writers. Well. I suppose a little introduction to the flock is in order, which should probably be done is several posts. I first got my two budgies, Peter and Ava, so I will start with them.