Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

To one and all, from the parrots, from myself, and maybe from Gwen, the dog, if she is in a heartwarming mood. We had a great day, and I hope you all did too, whether or not you celebrate Christmas; safe, stress free(ish), and joyous.

My birds' day was particularly nice, thanks to my wonderful secret Santa Santa Nikki! I love her store, The Cheeky Parrot; a huge selection and great prices!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Very Important- Organic Strawberries!

I think feeding organic produce, or at least avoiding the most contaminated foods, is one of the most important things we can do for our parrots. Due to their size alone they are much more sensitive to the levels of pesticides on their food. Although the pesticide and chemical residue on that apple might be within the supposedly safe levels set by the government (and keep in mind many, many highly regarded scientists dispute this) those "safe levels" are set for people, not parrots. They are much, much, much smaller than we are, obviously, so they will reach a dangerous level much faster.

~ From Carolyn Swicegood on TEC~

As Eclectus keepers know, strawberries and other berries with tiny
seeds, are top favorite foods of our birds. Insects also enjoy this
sweet berry so in order to successfully grow them, poisons are used
to kill the pests and fungi that otherwise could destroy the berries
before they mature. Obviously there are safe ways to grow
strawberries but not being a serious gardener, I don't how pests are
avoided when strawberries are organically grown.

At least ninety-percent of the strawberries sold in the United
States are grown in California so for months, I've followed the fight
between environmentalists and mega-agricultural interests in
California about approval of the pesticide "methyl Iodide". After
reading about its known devastating effects on the most vulnerable
among us -- the unborn, young children, the elderly, and of course,
birds -- I was almost certain that methyl iodide would never be
approved for use on California crops, including strawberries.

Much to my surprise, I discovered on Wednesday this week that this
deadly pesticide has been approved for use in California so I believe
it is critical that we not give our birds, nor our families,
conventionally-grown strawberries. Organically grown strawberries do
cost a little more than conventionally grown berries, but if I cannot
find them and afford them, I'll replace them in our diet or try to
learn to grow them organically. Methyl iodide is a chemical pesticide
known to cause miscarriages as well as neurological problems and
adult cancers, so I can imagine how it might affect a
parrot. Fifty-four scientists, including five Nobel laureates, have
gone on record as believing methyl iodide to be an extremely
dangerous chemical. If you're interested in reading more, here are
some links to recent information on this topic.
California News: California approves use of cancer-causing pesticide
FRESNO, Calif. -- Environmental and public health opponents are
calling on Gov.-elect Jerry Brown to reverse a controversial decision
by state regulators.

Wednesday, they approved the pesticide methyl iodide for use by fruit
and vegetable growers, despite its links to cancer. The pesticide
will replace another which is being phased out because it depletes
the earth's ozone layer.

California's $1.6 billion strawberry industry will be one of the
biggest markets for the chemical. It will also be used in the central
valley's nut orchards and fresh flower nurseries in southern California.

Prescriptions: Beware the Seductive Strawberry
"Even low levels of some pesticides have been shown to disrupt human
hormonal, neurological, and immune functioning. Because of their
underdeveloped detoxifying mechanisms, and other factors the most
vulnerable humans are the developing fetus, babies, and children."

"Early development and life exposures to certain pesticides have been
linked to birth defects, childhood leukemia, neuro-developmental
problems, such as ADHD, adult cancers and Parkinson's disease."

"Fumigants, designed to sterilize the soil before planting, are the
most common class of pesticides used with strawberry
production... However, the decision makers of the California
Department of Pesticide Regulation have decided to replace it with
methyl iodide, a known carcinogen, thyroid and nervous system
disruptor, as well as a chemical that causes mammalian miscarriage..."

While we're on the topic of pesticides, the Environmental Working
Group has posted lists of the best and worst foods according to their
pesticide contamination level.

Here are the top ten foods with the worst contamination levels.
Buy these foods organically grown.

Bell Peppers
Grapes (Imported)

Here are the foods considered safest by the EWG.
These foods are safe to eat when conventionally grown.

Sweet corn
Sweet peas
Sweet potato

At the link below, you'll find a FREE APP for iPhones which includes
the safest foods and the least safe foods lists, as well as the
contamination rank of forty-nine of the most commonly consumed
fruits and vegetable. With this free app, you'll have the list with
you at all times if you keep your cell phone with you, and it's a
handy reference when you're food shopping.

Free EWG application for iPhones

"California strawberry growers will now be allowed to use a potent
pesticide listed by the state as a known cancer-causing chemical
despite vocal opposition from public health experts,
environmentalists and farm workers.

On Wednesday, the state Department of Pesticide Regulation gave final
approval to methyl iodide, a fumigant designed to eradicate bacteria,
weeds and insects from growing soils.

Immediately after the approval, a group of opponents called on
Governor-elect Jerry Brown to reverse the agency's action, which they
contend resulted after heavy lobbying by the chemical industry.

"The decision to permit use of a chemical in the fields that causes
cancer, late-term miscarriage and permanent neurological damage is
(a) ticking time bomb," Susan Kegley, consulting scientist with San
Francisco's Pesticide Action Network, said in a statement. "The idea
that this pesticide can be used safely in the fields is a myth."

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Biscotti, anyone?

Ultimate health-nut biscotti! At least that is what Avian Organics veggie wedges look like to me. Personally, I have never cared for biscotti, but that pronouncement is perhaps a bit unjust, as it is made due entirely to an unfortunate allergic reaction when I was little. The parrots, however, having no such reservations, love this biscotti! It is the only type they have ever had, so the jury is still out on whether it is a general ruling about Italian cookies, or just this specific sub specie.

The ekkies, quakers, and Yo-yo (and therefore Miss Patty, as she will eat anything Yo-yo will) love the veggies wedges. This is no great surprise, as they are willing to try just about anything, and anything as crisp and toast like as this is bound to be loved. Ava and Linus are never a sure bet, though. In fact, though Ava will eat a fair variety of things, Linus will not eat anything but mash, very, very basic seed mixes, and fresh greens. Nothing else, not crackers, not bread, nothing but those three items. As I said, Ava is better, but she can still be quite picky. With this knowledge, I still give them multiple opportunities to try everything. So, when I opened the veggies wedge package, I took out one wedge and carefully broke it into 6 pieces- two large ones for the ekkies, and four smaller ones, two for the quakers, and one for each Aussie pair, Ava/Linus and Yo-yo/Miss Patty. After distributing my wares, I stood back and happily watched them eat, looking first at those I knew would be eating it, ignoring Ava and Linus at first as I did not think they would eat it, and certainly not right away (although I did present it with flourish and try to convince them it was Aladdin's treasure.) When I did turn to see how Ava and Linus were reacting to their treat, just a mere minute or two after leaving their cage, I was absolutely astounded, as in drop to the floor astounded, that Linus was not only eating it, but had already pulled it out of the dish so he could dig into it with relish from the floor of the cage. As I watched, Ava gracefully (had to throw that in, she is always so elegant) jumped down from her perch and joined him.

Since then, veggie wedges have moved to the top of the class as far as treat value, replacing all others. Just the sight of the bag gets Linus visibly excited, and this is saying something for a parrot as shy as he! Ava's reaction isn't far behind, along with the rest of the parrots!

Avian Organics Parrot Food

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Do your parrots grate on your nerves?

Not all the time, of course, or why would you keep them? But is there some action or behavior they engage in, repeatedly, that just about Drives. You. Up. The. Wall.? Don't try to hide it, I can feel you all thinking exasperated thoughts after reading that sentence, you know what I mean. I could use this post to give ways to eliminate or decrease this behavior, but instead, I will just suggest you read these articles and use this post to whine. I am, after all, only human. Not parrot, as my guys are always ready to remind me any time they feel I get "too high on the horse."

Any of you that have quakers should know the quaker alarm call. While it may not be any louder than any other quaker yell, it really gets on my nerves. Actually, any alarm call does that, perhaps because they are so urgent sounding. The quakers use theirs a lot, though, and I mean a lot. At first, I assumed this was due to actual alarm, but I am now seriously considering the idea that it is all a ruse to add excitement to the day, and make the rest of us look silly in the process.

When I first got Frank, he was very afraid of anything new(ish) or (even just possibly) unknown. Many parrots are like this, nothing very novel; I worked with him on getting used to new things, and over time he got much better. Eventually I reached my original goal of being able rotate toys daily, and bring in almost anything without his fearing it as long as I was calm about it and reassured him. Occasionally we would still hit something that scared him, and of course he would still worry when he saw something outside that looked potentially dangerous, but this was all to be expected. When I got Lola, she seemed to fear little. She didn't pay attention to much, but I didn't notice any fear behaviors.

Together, though, they periodically become great scardy-cats (or quakers.) The first time this happened, the alarm calls gradually increased in frequency, leaving me quite stumped. What on earth happened? Why were such normal events causing fear? I hadn't changed the food dish, why did they yell when I brought it in? They still loved the food, as soon as I got to the cage they recovered, peeled themselves off the back wall, and got ready to shove their head in the dish as soon as part of it entered the cage. Could I really be scaring them that much?

I started working with them again, and while a little back-of-my-mind thought that this was some sort of joke occasionally occurred, I kept going and eventually the "fear" went away. Except not for good. Many months later it returned. And was it just my imagination they were having a hard time keeping from blowing their cover by laughing at me outright?

Repeat last paragraph. And again. And again.

You get the picture. I hate to jump to conclusions, or risk anthropomorphizing in some way too much, but I am now very suspicious I am the fool in this scenario. And with that nagging thought comes a growing urge to do something drastic when they start screaming at my skirt, the same one they were playing on yesterday so happily. An urge to scream, or throw their cage outside (which, by the way, is physically impossible) or perhaps jump up and down like a lemur. However, I always resist; I let those thoughts come and let go of them as soon as I can, and take a few deep breathes. I can't say for sure why this alarm stage keeps repeating itself. I have to be patient. Understanding. Calm.

Seriously though, is it just my imagination, or are they laughing at me??

Friday, November 19, 2010

Preparing for the Holidays?

I am sure most or even all of you have by now read many articles on handling the holidays with parrots, but despite that, I intend to face you with yet another. You can never be too prepared, right? The holidays can be very stressful, with all the decor changes, lighting changes (less sun, long artificial light hours) new people coming in, favorite people going out or staying busy, hustle bustle, and noise. This is all assuming you yourself are not stressed by holidays, which naturally can worry your parrot. So much stress can be a huge burden for any parrot! Despite all that, the holidays can also be a happy time for your parrot, and a wonderful opportunity for them to come out of their shell a little (if they have one, that is) and have new experiences. Nothing beats a little environmental stimulation to combat life boredom. A few simple tips will help ensure your holidays are a happy time for your parrot, so here are three things to consider for a better holiday season!

Problem: Thanks to human nature and impressive ad campaigns, many people firmly associate happy holidays with heavy artificial scents. This is not only very un-healthy for your parrot over the long term (meaning you may not be able to see damage immediately, but like pain, damage is not always visible, and that should not lessen it any) but can be immediately lethal in the worst cases, it all depends on the individual parrot. And new evidence is starting to emerge showing these artificial fragrances are not much safer for people. There is no one regulating what goes into them in the U.S. (Other countries are stricter), and they do not have to disclose ingredients to anyone. A few labs have studied the ingredients and found many known carcinogens and toxins that ARE strictly regulated by the government, as breathing even small amounts is known to be very hazardous to your health. Talk about a major loophole! With all that risk, why use them?

Solution: Try opening the window just an inch or so for five minutes; even that short amount of time can really freshen things up! If you want homey scents, try the real thing- fresh evergreen branches, oranges studded with cloves, and cinnamon and apple slices simmering on the stove.

Problem: Visitors, whether over night or just dropping in, are a regular thing for many people throughout the holiday season, Without knowledge or experience with parrots, close encounters between visitors and your feathered companion can quickly turn nasty for both parties. Most people do know, however, that sharing food is a great way to make friends with any animal, but what foods are dangerous for parrots is not nearly as widely shared. Late nights and loud (or even moderately quiet) parties can cause a lot for stress for some parrots, particularly those only regularly handled by one person. And if the guests arrive wearing heavy perfume or other fragrance, that is another burden on your parrot's system.

Solution: Talk to your parrot about what will be happening. Even with the busy schedule, take time each day to focus totally on him or her, or each of them in turn with more than one, and let them know what will be going on. Know your bird(s).

If you have a bird room or keep your parrots in a room other than where the guests will be, the best idea is to keep that room off limits. If your parrot really likes people and is trustworthy, you can bring them out to visit. You would definitely want to make sure that you are there to supervise the whole time, and that you explain some basic parrot handling rules before hand, such as how to hold your hand, what not to do, whether to pet or not, and why sticking your face in theirs or pulling their tail is not recommended. A friend of mine that I thought was so wonderful with all animals, very quiet and nice, for some reason thought it hilarious to pull my tiel's tale. So cover the basics even when you are sure it is not necessary. If there is a group of people, I would not recommend bringing your parrot out at all unless they have shown themselves to enjoy such situations and be very trustworthy, as things can get out of hand quickly.

If your parrots' cages are in the main part of the house where visitors will be, I highly recommend getting them accustomed to another cage (such as a sleep cage) in another part of the house. This way, you can control what is happening, and if the party is going on past your parrots' bedtime, they can be removed. I would not leave them in the party area unless you have explained to everyone there not to stick anything in the cage, and not to share food or drink with them. This is assuming, of course, that your parrots love being around people. If they are stressed by such goings on, you would of course want to remove them from the beginning. And to bring up the fragrances again, if any of your guests wear heavy fragrances, I would move them to another room regardless.

One or two visitors that can be trusted to follow parrot handling rules are a blessing, though, don't forget that! Our parrots can often get stuck in the same routine, seeing just the same people day in and day out. Even as fascinating and wonderful as I am sure you all are, everyone likes to see a new face once in a while! For parrots that are scared of new people, this can be a good time to adjust them to seeing someone else, even if all they do is stand in the door way and whisper hi.

Problem: Stress. Stress. And more stress. For many people, the holidays simple spell out stress. Time to clean, cook, shop, decorate, act nice, wrap presents, send cards, go to parties/engagements/performances, visit family, have family visit, and deal with neighbors that call with dog complaints on Christmas eve night (had to throw that one in there for my family.) Say it with me: S-T-R-E-S-S. As you all can guess, your parrots pick up on this immediately, and their behavior will show it, just adding to your (one more time now) stress.

Solution: Besides a day at the spa or permanently banning the holidays from crossing your threshold, there are ways to help with your, and therefore your parrot's, stress. In fact, your parrot may be one answer to your stress, and instead of giving tips on making schedules, managing time, setting priorities and any other advice people usually get, that is the one I am going to focus on. Whatever else your schedule includes, make sure it includes special one-on-one time with your bird. If necessary, take time to close your eyes and breathe deeply for a minute or two before this, so you really can focus on your parrot and reassure them. If you parrot likes being held, just hold them for a few minutes. If not, just sit near and talk to them. The "blinking game" is a great way to relax. Just make eye contact with your parrot, and then slowly close your eyes and open them again, your parrot should respond to this by blinking on his own, but it can take a few tries for him to get the idea. Mine even initiate the blinking game now.

After some calming, mind clearing, and reaffirming one-on-one time, think of ways to include your parrot in your activities. Baking is not safe with parrots in the kitchen, but prep work, as well as list making for groceries or anything else, is. Writing Christmas cards can also seem more pleasant with your parrot, providing you keep them on their gym with their own letters (little treats and toys wrapped in paper.) If you need an authoritative opinion on what the best present for your boss really is, look no further than your parrot. I am sure they will agree (as soon as you convince them a chewed up shirt and half eaten egg carton are not good ideas,) that nuts are a great present!

Most importantly, if there are going to be any big changes, explain them to your parrot well in advance. If you can manage it at all, keep up whatever base schedule and favorite activities you and your parrot have now. That will not only keep them happy, but it will help keep you happy, as well.

Hope your holidays are happy!

Claudia on her well-chewed Christmas swing.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


All of my birds love clapping, or snapping, or knocking, or even tongue clicking, for that matter. However, Yo-yo and Frank are definitely the clapping fools in this family! I love seeing not just how they react to the clapping, but also how they imitate it.

Yo-yo imitates all clapping-type noises, and like most birds, loves knocking since it means he has an excuse to shout "Hey Yo-yo!" Clapping is by far his favorite, though. I always train my tiels to show off, or spread eagle, on cue by clapping and praising them whenever they do it naturally. Pretty soon, just starting to clap will get them to spread those wings! Yo-yo loves the clapping almost (almost) as much as the praise, and claps along with me by snapping his beak. If he wants me to ask him to show off, he will often start his clapping ahead of time, along with his "Look at me! Aren't I just soooo sleek and handsome?" suave dance.

(If you look closely his beak is partly open, mid-clap)

Frank is the Original Mr. Snappy. He loves any kind of snapping/clapping noise, and while the sounds he makes for each different type of clap (snap knock click) is different, unless you know what each one is, it would be hard to say which was which. What is particularly cute about Frank, though, is the silly motions he has for each sound!

Frank's directions for best noise emphasis:
Clapping- open and close your beak with great repetition while hopping from one foot to the other, turning part way around, and then later around again, occasionally putting one foot to your beak and tapping it, all the while continuing the opening and closing of your beak.
Snapping- rock your head up and down violently in time to your snapping, adding a spin or both-feet hop now and again, just to show how accomplished you are.
Knocking- while keeping your beak open, bang it on any object nearby, be it a bed post, sofa cushion, or perhaps someone's hand (mine) or head (Lola's) or even your own foot if all else fails, as the nails can make a nice clicking sound if you hit them hard enough.
Tongue Clicking- stretch your neck and raise your head way into the air, hold it, and start snapping your beak! Tail swishing highly recommended.

(Again hard to tell, but before he stopped to pose for the camera he was clicking with me)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tilly's Story

~Written by Anna~

We have several wonderful re-home stories in our family. I will tell you the one that is most memorable for me.
An older gentleman was being moved into a nursing home. He had fallen and broken his hip. His family would not take Tilly, his peach faced love bird, so he placed an ad in the paper looking for a new home for her. When my Aunt and Uncle went to go and look at Tilly she was sitting on the gentleman's lap playing with him. He was tossing a little bead and she would fetch it back to him. He cried over Tilly and my Uncle and Aunt promised to provide a good home for Tilly. You could tell he really loved her.

When she first came home, Tilly flew around cheeping, as though she were looking for her former owner. Once the old man got settled, he would call sometimes and they would put him on speaker phone. Tilly would fly over and cheep at him and he spoke to her. After he started calling, she perked up.

It was an adjustment to come to a new home for Tilly because she had to be caged part of the time living with my Aunt and Uncle. They had to teach her to play with toys and entertain herself for a few hours each day.

During the four years which my aunt and uncle had Tilly, she was a very confident and sociable bird. She loved everyone and would fly to greet them. They installed a door between the entrance hall and the rest of the house so Tilly could be free flighted. This way even if she did get into the entrance hall, the outside door would always already be shut. She would often play fetch with anyone who would toss her a little colored bead.

There was , however, one thing that Tilly did not like: red hats! She would chew out any visitor who came over wearing a red hat. My family were 49er fans, so around football season everyone joked about checking their hats at the door so as not to upset Tilly. In some ways she was like living with another person, just one who spoke a different language than we did.

My Aunt got the address of the nursing home where the elderly gentleman went, and once a week she would go in with pictures of Tilly and tell him about her. Tilly's owner passed away about a year after they got Tilly. He said that knowing Tilly had such a good home made it easier for him to go. Tilly died about 5 years ago after developing a cancerous tumor.

Tilly was a friendly and loving lovebird because she had been taken care of by a great owner in her first home. My Aunt and Uncle not only got a fabulous pet, but they made a new friend as well. So many people want big birds because they can talk. Tilly was able to get across exactly what she wanted to say without ever speaking a word.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Yo-yo, as you can see, just couldn't wait. I must have a thing about food lately; it seems that has been a large part of my recent posts! Hopefully you all aren't tired of it yet, as here is another one!

As any bird can tell you, breakfast is a very important meal. In fact, any bird will tell you any meal is a very important meal, including those that aren't usually practiced, such as after-lunch-before-mid-afternoon-snack. Or Winnie the Pooh's favorite elevenses. Back to the original subject, though, breakfast here varies, but often I share it with the parrots. Here is a play-by-play of a recent (very popular) breakfast. As usual, it is all organic, with some of the veggies coming from a local farm, some being frozen.

First, I heated up my pan and added half a teaspoon or so of olive oil.

Once it was hot, I added chopped yellow zucchini.

Once the zucchini had gotten pretty soft, but not too done, I added
some frozen broccoli.

Once the broccoli was nearly done, I added the pre-cooked
(but cold) garbanzo beans.

And last but not least, when it was all cooked, I added several stalks of chopped
celery, stirred that in, and served. I always add the celery last because I
love the texture difference it adds to leave it uncooked and fresh.

Before giving the birds their portion, I added a few healthy topping such as alfalfa powder and flax oil. Sorry, no pics of the tails up moment, but I assure you, there was a verrrry long one!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Donate to your favorite 501(c)(3)!

Many of you, such as those on the Busy Beaks email list, will already know this, but I thought I would post it here as well. From now through November 30, if you have your order drop shipped to a certified 501(c)(3) avian rescue, Busy Beaks will match your order up to $100! And if you aren't sure what they want, you can give them a gift certificate, which Busy Beaks will double up to $100 dollars when they redeem it. Not bad, right? And rescues really need all the help they can get. I have a very very few in my sidebar, but there are many more; find one you like, whether near you or not, and why not give them a present this year, too? Many have wish lists on their site, and I am sure they would not mind your contacting them to ask what they would like, as well. I think wood toys (too many to link to!), though, are universally appreciated! I imagine shredders and preeners, such as the starbird fuzzy wuzzy, are also loved; most rescues have many pluckers, and those kinds of toys can help distract them from their feather destruction.

Link to newsletter
Busy Beaks Bird Toys

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hope you all had a Happy Halloween!

We certainly did. As you can see, I carved my pumpkin as a ghostly attack parrot!

As it was a very nice day, some of the parrots also came outside with me, and although they weren't interested in eating much with all to see outside, Claudia couldn't resist some raw pumpkin. I always save the "innards" from my pumpkin carving. The seeds I toast for both me and the birds to enjoy, and I used some of the pumpkin scrapings and seed membrane to make a lovely pudding bread, which was extremely tasty, and shared (and approved) by all. The rest of the pumpkin I am drying for later use.

I rinse the seeds and try to pull of any remaining bits of the pumpkin membrane. I then dry them well, mix them with a teensy bit (1/2 teaspoon or less) of olive oil. I don't add any salt until after they have toasted and I have separated out the birds portion.

The pudding bread I made by mixing some of the pumpkin with sundry other items, such as applesauce, 100% fruit jam (apricot), freeze dried pineapple, and rice and coconut flour.I topped it with some sunflowers seeds, as you can see, as much for me as for the birds. I think it turned out quite well! I just love anything made with winter squash.

Monday, October 25, 2010

(Cook)Book Review

I must admit, I love love love reading cookbooks. I think it must be an inherited trait from my grandmother. Oddly enough, I also hate following recipes, either for baking or cooking, but there ya go. Both of these details apply to parrot food as well, although parrot cookbooks are few and far between. In fact, I only know of 2 cookbooks, and just a handful more that include a recipe or two among other information. One of those cookbooks I consider fairly useless, the other, which came out last December, I consider simply amazing.

I had been waiting with great anticipation once I heard Phoenix Landing was publishing a cookbook, Nourish to Flourish, and I was not disappointed. It is a lovely size, and spiral bound in wipe-able pages, which is very important both for a cookbook and for something that parrots might (will) be around. It is wonderfully organized into sections, with great information in the front, followed by veggie, fruit, grain, legume and protein sections. It has not just great information, but also great and very healthy recipes, and a wide variety of them at that. Truly something for everyone, and I will most definitely be recommending this book for anyone in the future that adopts a bird from me, or in fact anyone that doesn't, as well.

Despite my overall raves about the book, I would be quite disappointed in myself if I did not mention a few facts I find confusing or misleading.

-One, couscous is treated a a grain in the book. While that in itself is not bad, as it is in fact a grain product, people need to realize that couscous is simply a type of noodle. It is often times made with a different kind of wheat, but if you are buying standard couscous in the store, it is the same as buying standard white noodles. However, don't despair quite yet, couscous lovers! Just as there are a healthy types of noodles, there are healthy types of couscous. I have found whole wheat couscous to be readily available, though I myself, due to Chester's wheat allergy (and my own gluten issues), stick with organic brown rice couscous made by Lundberg Farms.

-Two, some fish is mentioned as being healthy as an occasional treat for parrots. Again, that in itself is not bad. However, one of the fish mentioned is tuna. Never, ever, ever, ever feed your parrot tuna. Ever. First of all, some types of tuna are sorely over fished, but ignoring that, tuna is very high in mercury. In fact, almost any large ocean (or river or lake or pond or...) fish is high in mercury, as such contaminants are always concentrated the higher up the food chain you go, as the larger fish have absorbed all the contaminants from the smaller fish they have eaten. With all the potential toxins our parrots put up with daily in our households, mercury has no need to be one of them.

-This a small detail, but one I find important. Some of the stock pictures included in the book are those of dried fruit that is as brightly colored as fresh. Please be aware that if your apricots are still yellow/orange instead of a dark brown red, they are treated with sulfur, whatever the package does or does not say. The same applies to other dried foods. While some parrots may not have a problem with sulfur as a preservative, many do. It was definitely a problem for both Frank and Claudia. I had gotten a very popular parrot food for them that contain dried fruit and did not list sulfur. In fact, it is touted as all natural, nothing added food. If you talk to the company, however, as I did when I almost immediately noticed problems, you discover that they can make these claims because they do not add the sulfur, they buy the fruit already sulfured. Yes, that is correct. They can sell it without listing it as long as they did not add it, even though they know full well it is there.

Now, back to the things I like! The wonderful folks at PL did a great job of explaining about the different types of foods, and the different ways to serve them. They also place emphasis on avoiding many foods that are commonly fed by well meaning parrot caretakers, such as white flour and jiffy mixes in birdie breads. And if you don't believe jiffy mixes should be avoided at all cost, just read the label!

Nourish to Flourish, Phoenix Landing Press

P.S. It is worth buying alone for the oh-so-adorable pics of parrots eating. Seriously.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Jeffrey found a home!

I am more than thrilled to be able to report that Jeffrey finally found a home, and through this blog! I had been trying very hard to find a home for Jeffrey after his foster Mom contacted me last year, but it was an extremely hard and fruitless search for many reasons, such as the overpopulation of tiels, the fact that Jeffrey was not tame (however cute) and, of course, the distance between me and where he was in Kentucky.

The woman that had taken Jeffrey in to foster (the foster bit being imposed by her husband) had made great strides with Jeffrey in the year she had had him. However, she finally had to take him into the pet store this summer so they could find him a home, as her husband finally said that her "foster" had stayed far too long. And so there at the pet store Jeffrey stayed for two months, and was fed only seed, put in a tiny cage rather than the one he had been brought in, and without most of his toys and perches (which was not how the store said they would treat him, of course, they had seemed far nicer.) Just this past week, however, a woman contacted me through my blog about him, even though she was unsure it would reach me as my blog had not been active for so long! It did, however, reach me, and I was able to put her in touch with Jeffrey's previous foster mom. They went together to the store and not only got Jeffrey, but many many things to spoil him with!

Jeffrey, now named Tommy or Tom Tom, is happy at his new home, with a new Mom that loves him and is willing to let him be himself and spoil him rotten in the meantime. He is quickly settling in and coming out of his shell, even starting to play again! He will also be able to play with his new friend Buddy the tiel when he comes out of quarantine.

Who could ask for a better ending than that?

Long time gone!

Goodness it has been a loonnngg time since my last post! Actually, it has been a long time since I have been on the computer at all. Last winter was rough for me, and I finally became so sick I was completely off the computer until a couple of weeks ago; I have spent that time trying to get all caught up, both on and off the computer! Fortunately, I have some wonderful bird loving family members, like my Mom, that helped me out and took care of the birds and any issues that arose with the rescue birds I have adopted out. Now that I have recovered somewhat, I am busy looking for a safer place for me to live MCS-wise (again, yes, home-searching is hard for those with MCS.) Obviously the birds are always a consideration in this, and they are always good sports. If I end up living near a rescue, I will volunteer with them, or continue my own work, just as I have done in the past.

I am going to try and get caught up on all the blogs; so much has happened, both good and bad! It makes you feel quite lonely, having been away from your friends for so long. I also hope to be posting again (and much more frequently than last fall/winter) starting with a sweet story about Jeffrey the tiel!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Odds and Ends

Pika and Pixel, along with Jezebel the tiel, were finally able to make their way home. They are now settling in, and seem very happy. I know they will be taken great care of there! I am still helping a woman in Kentucky with a tiel she took in when no one wanted him, Jeffrey. He would really like a permanent home, hint hint! He was very frightened when she got him, but he is really coming around, and becoming quite the quirky, always adorable little tiel!

I would also like to bring up Happy Endings again, in case anyone new reading this has one to share. If you have had a positive experience with your rehomed or rescued parrot, and have had them for more than 6 months, I would love to hear your story! It doesn't have to be long, or even a story! Photo essays, poems, however you want to tell it. Just leave a comment or email me through my profile.

Recently the program Trees for a Change was brought to my attention. As we all know deforestation for whatever reason is a real problem, but it costs quite a bit of money to re-plant an area! Trees for a Change allows you to "purchase" trees to be planted in one of our National Forests as a gift or memorial for many different occasions. One of the tree memorials they offer is a pet memorial. Planting a tree in honor of an animal is so very fitting, especially for birds. You get a card or certificate on recycled paper, and can add your pet's photo to their website. Plus, you actually get to see where your tree was planted, which I think is wonderful; it really makes it seem so much more personal. I am definitely going to look into doing this for Cone, my first tiel that died of a complete prolapse after attempting to lay an egg.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

So much snow!

Goodness! Who knew eastern Virginia could get this much snow? And is it strictly coincidence that PBS ran a program on the Donner party before these last snows?

My parrots love snow. Just think of how it changes the atmosphere of the room- different light, different sounds, different window scene, different wild bird behavior, etc. And because of all these changes, my birds always seem different with snow. Or I should say always did seem different; snow is getting to be old news here!

Claudia, my little window watcher, spends snow days switching between closely watching the window for hours and running around like a parrot maniac beating toys with her beak. Usually the latter takes roughly only 20% of her precious snow days, but it leaves quite the impression on the rest of us!

Yo-yo shares Claudia's behavior, but on a mellower scale. Rather, he spends just as much time studying the outside goings on, but he also spends time whistling loudly to the wild birds, getting shocked at sudden movements like snow falling off the roof (I am sure all of you with cockatiels are now picturing the adorable crest up, tail low, feathers flattened look), and then with any spare time he stuffs his face with ever more food. It is a mystery of nature, how he can remain so tiny and underweight (70 g) and yet sooo much food! All because he was starved as a baby.

The other birds enjoy the snow while still maintaining something more similiar to a regular schedule. Ava spends most of the day beak grinding and snow watching, with a few breaks dedicated to destruction or her morning and evening flyabout. Miss Patty follows an almost opposite schedule, prefering to spend the day destroying things with a few well deserved breaks to watch the scenery. Linus spends the whole day looking out the window, singing to the wild birds and getting shocked at sudden changes, but for him, this dedication is not unusual! The quakers, especially Frank, can't wait to talk with you all about the snow, but they don't let it get in the way of their daily duties other than that. No, they still maintain their jobs as mess makers through it all.

And then there is Chester, the only bird that really seems unaffected by snow. Actually, he seems to live in his own world and is unaffected by many things, so this is not surprising!

Personally, I love the snow. Little Gwen, the chihuahua, used to say the same, firmly believing snow was the single best invention ever to fall from the sky! However, the heights of the recent snows have greatly damped her enthusiasim. Somehow, she doesn't think it is so fun when it is over her head, and mixed with ice, to boot!

I hope everyone else experiencing these snow storms is doing ok!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

It's Adopt-A-Rescue-Bird Month!

I still have Jezebel, a very sweet and friendly all white tiel up for adoption. I also need a foster home for a budgie cockatiel pair, if anyone can help.

For those of you looking to adopt or to help parrots get adopted by others, here are several resources to check out:

Kibibi's website allows users to rate rescue organizations and leave comments on them-

And for those in Canada-

Of course, there is always Petfinder Not only is that a great place to search for adoptable animals, but you can also search for local shelters/rescue groups here.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Male Ekkie needs help!

This may be a shot in the dark, but a friend of mine in NYC has had truly sad turn of events of late, as many in this country have. After going a couple years unable to find work, they now must sell their apartment, and their future is, needless to say, up in the air. At the very least, they urgently some place to take their ekkie boy while they fix up the apartment to sell.

He is a very sweet boy, tame and friendly, if a bit nervous. Anyone out there able to help a parrot and family in need? Just contact me through my profile, or leave a comment!