Sunday, December 28, 2008

Parrot Rescues

It has come to our attention that a local parrot rescue located in Huntsville, Alabama has recently taken in one of the most disturbing cases of animal abuse in it's history.

Honker, a blue and gold macaw, was abused and beaten for 14 years before fate finally stepped in and allowed this beautifully spirited bird to be rescued. As the Executive Director of Parrots-R-4Ever, Dave put it, "they may have broken his body, but they did not break his spirit". After being kept his lifetime in an 18x18 inch size cockatiel cage, and having pretty much every bone in his body broken at one time or another, Honker now is safe and so loved by everyone who hears his story. You can read Honker's Story here

Happy New Year!

We hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season. With New Year's Eve fast approaching, we would like to remind everyone to be sure and keep your birds in mind if you are hosting a holiday party.

You will probably want to move your birds into a closed off room such as a bedroom where your party guests will not be venturing. This will help keep both birds and guests safe. It should also help keep guests from offering a bird a taste of a holiday drink which could be deadly dangerous for your bird if the drink has alcohol in it.

As New Year's Eve merrymaking will probably go into the wee hours of the night, removing your bird to a safe and quiet area will also help your bird feel more secure, and maybe allow it to get a little shut eye that you and your guests will be missing that night.

Wishes for a safe Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Holiday Hazards

With the holidays upon us, it's a good time to remember to keep our birds safe throughout the festivities. A new danger to add to our list is the non-stick coated aluminum foil which has been linked already this year to the death of a pet bird.

Some good tips for safety can be found at

Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season and a very Happy New Year!

Help Capturing a Lost Parrot

Tips for Recovering Missing Birds by Jean Pattison (The African Queen)

If you belong to a bird club, please ask your newsletter editor to publish this. If your club holds a bird fair, please distribute it. If you know of someone who has lost a bird, please send it along. If you have a personal web page, please put this up. If you are a breeder, please include this in your educational packet. Please forward this to other lists. If you know of lost/found web pages, please ask them to put this up.Additional suggestions from Scott Lewis are included.

Birds can live for days-weeks months, and even years after an escape. Never give up. Always look for a grey BEFORE sun-up while it is still dark, and AFTER sundown. They are the most vocal then, and the most active. Look for the bird constantly. Start where you think the bird landed and circle that area. Add a mile and 1/2 for every 12 hours the bird has been out loose. Since there are many variables, anything can send the bird off in a new direction, or he may even just stay put and hidden close to where you lost sight of him.Day 3 is when they get hungry and try to come in for food, they will go to just about any one at that time if they are tame. This depends on how hungry the bird was when it became lost, and the weather, temperature, etc. The best thing to do is to forget the bird was a pet and start tracking him like a wild, loose, untrained bird in the neighborhood. Yes, food will being a bird down to the ground, but that could take a while for a well fed bird in the heat of the summer. Now that the instincts are in gear, any trained behaviors that were there before the escape may be unreliable.ALWAYS have a recording of your grey when he is playing and having the most fun. Play this recording intermittently as you look for him. Throw food on rooftops. Place a small cage on the roof of your house, or anyone's where they grey has been seen. The only time to put food out is if you want to establish a feeding place on which you will place a trap on the third day. Otherwise, all that putting free food out will do is prolong the time that your bird can make it out in the wild without anyone's help. Tell people to put him in a pillow case, and have friends carrying pillowcases while looking, or small cages. Sometimes greys are caught by inexperienced holders and they don't know what to do with them.Kennels usually work just fine, and won't add further trauma to an already scared bird. Water hoses do work if you can spray him shortly after his escape. Hit him with as much water as you can all at once. He is heavy from not having exercise, and the water throws him off enough to ground him for a bit. Do not drench just before dark unless you are sure you can get him. If possible contact organizations 50 miles away. Sometimes people find them while traveling and go home with them. Greys can also get that far just flying. Give all the children in the neighborhood a buck and tell them there is more if they can locate your bird. Kids tell on people that are hiding them also. (per Mattie Sue Athan) Police will not help you retrieve a bird from someone else's home. You have to plan that one very carefully if they decide they want to keep your bird. Have someone watch the bird at all times if he is spotted and you need to go for help.Carry your cell phone with you at all times, and a flashlight and food treats. You stay with the bird and talk to him, let others go for the ladders and help. If you try to climb the tree, it often times scares them up. A long branch may be better to coax him onto. Use your head here. Raise his cage to where he is. Just get close to him and talk to him. Offer treats without reaching for him. Just befriend him until he remembers you and walks closer to you, then pick him up. If he is roosted near dark, wait until dark before trying to retrieve him. They don't fly well at night, and they don't want to fly, but make sure you don't miss. You may use a high powered flashlight to momentarily blind the bird while another person nets or grabs the bird. Scared birds WILL fly at night, even though they have no idea where they are going to. If you feel that approaching after dark is better, shine a flashlight into their face so they don't see your net coming down over them. Use a large fishing net with soft open netting.If sighted, keep the mobs of people away, and let the owner try and coax him down. Have your helping friends in tall trees or on roof tops to watch where he goes if he takes off. You NEED spotters prepared and willing.

Additional Information/ Comments by Scott LewisI might add to all this that if the bird is hanging around but refuses to go in a cage or allow itself to be caught, a Have-A-Heart chipmunk trap may do the trick. This is a small live trap. We recaptured a hawk headed parrot with one. With this sized bird, which is roughly the same size as a Timneh African Grey, anything larger will not work because the bird can go in and out with impunity. We know this from experience. After watching in total frustration as the hawk head repeatedly walked in and out of a Have-A-Heart squirrel trap to eat, we got a chipmunk trap. She went in, she was back. An actual R/C parrot trap is best, but not many people have one.Place the trap high in the area the bird is frequenting. Remember that height equals safety to parrots and most other birds. Be sure to check it frequently. NEVER leave a trap unattended. A caught bird can easily attract a raptor, and besides, in most parts of the US, unattended traps are against the law. If the bird is caught, it may panic. And, there is a good chance you will catch native birds, which won't appreciate it a damned bit. I have released a few extremely irate grackles and such.For little birds, such as lovebirds and budgies, a sparrow trap works well. We had a black-masked lovebird show up at the aviary. I suppose it was attracted by our birds' calls. Given that lovebirds can carry PBFD, to which all our birds are very susceptible, two vets told me to get a pellet gun. I didn't have the heart to do it. But, I caught him in a sparrow trap within a half hour after I set it.Finally, a hose does work, but don't be shy. The idea is to totally soak the bird in a big hurry to the extent that it can't fly. If you're shy with the hose, you will simply watch a damp bird fly away.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Holidays are Coming!

With the uncertainty of the economy, it seems the holidays may be a bit slower to get started this year. However, Christmas hasn't been cancelled, so checking out the new stuff this holiday season and looking for great new gift ideas, can be shared by everyone. A super neat holiday ornament this year for all you Quaker loving humans out there is a new hand carved and hand painted Quaker Parrot tree or decoration ornament.

Ornament measures about 2-1/2 inches wide and is about 6 inches long. With a little additional glitter to add some extra sparkle, this one is sure to please anyone whose heart has been touched by a little Quaker friend.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

October is Fire Safety Month

Now is a good time to make sure you have all your safety steps in place just in case an emergency occurs. A good time to make sure all your fire and smoke detectors have fresh batteries. Also check all emergency carriers and make sure they are within easy reach in case of a fire. We keep an emergency carrier near every cage as well as a small towel just in case a bird panics in an emergency situation and becomes hard to remove from the cage. If you need help choosing a carrier here are some suggestions at Bird Carriers

Smoke inhalation is deadly for birds, other pets, and humans, so getting out quickly is imperative to all. With a bird's sensitive respiratory system, seconds can make the difference between life and death for any bird. Prepare and plan now, before an emergency happens, Hopefully you will never have to put the plan into effect, but always being prepared is a lot more than a childhood motto.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September is National Papaya Month!

With September being National Papaya month, it's a great time to introduce your bird to some papaya if you have not already done so.

Papaya is sometimes also called PawPaw and Tree Melon and although it began in southern Mexico and certain parts of Central America, papayas today are grown throughout tropical regions. Most commonly found in your local grocery store is the Hawaiian variety and usually weighs in at about a pound. When ripe, papaya has a semi-sweet taste not quite like any other fruit.

Papaya is a favorite among many of our birds, especially our Amazons and Conures. Fresh papaya is also loved by our Cockatoos. Why not take some time to cut some fresh up for yourself and share it with your bird. Just peel the skin off, remove the seeds, and cut into chunks big or small depending on your bird's size.

If on the other hand, your bird prefers his or her papaya not quite so soft, check out some prepacked bird treats of papaya. Just as yummy tasting to your bird, and especially easy when you just don't have the time to cut up fresh.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Have a Safe Labor Day Weekend!

With the upcoming holiday Labor Day weekend approaching, it's a good time to review safety for your birds. With many people celebrating the weekend with family and friends, there may be lots of people going in and out of your home during that weekend barbeque.

If you clip your bird' flight feathers, make sure no new feathers have grown in recently to prevent a bird from flying out an open door with an unsuspecting person. Keeping a bird safely inside it's cage during this time of activity may be even safer. If your bird become nervous with people around that it doesn't know, you may want to move your bird's cage into your bedroom or other safe area, so your bird can feel secure. This may also prevent unsuspecting children or even adults who do not believe birds will bite, from sticking fingers in cages and being bitten.

Keeping both your bird and your visitors safe should be top priority this holiday weekend.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Polyomavirus in Parrots

Many people already know about the Polyomavirus, but it never hurts to have a refresher minute, or to explain the virus to someone new to birds. Polyomavirus is a nonenveloped virus which simply means that it is hardy virus and can live outside of the body of its host. This type of virus resists many disinfectants as well as freezing and high heat. Polyoma is a foamite which means that it can travel on anything such as your clothes, hair, bird dander, even in your lungs. It is highly contagious and often fatal for birds. How common it still is today is unknown, but it is usually deadly to most all species of parrots if they get it at a young age. Sometimes older birds can survive an exposure, but then they may become carriers of the virus and spread it to other birds they come in contact with. It has been found that budgies and cockatiels can be healthy carriers, meaning they can carry the virus, and never show symptoms of illness. It used to be called Budgerigar Fledgling Disease in budgies.

Test can be done by your avian vet using fecal and blood tests to determine whether you bird has the virus, or possibly if your bird has been exposed to the virus and may be a carrier. If the bird has an active case of the virus and is contagious, they will be "shedding" the virus, and it is believed that the virus will show up in the fecal exam. If the bird is a carrier, it usually shows up in the blood work done by your avian vet.

Prevention is critical. You should follow proper quarantine and testing procedures before adding any new bird to your flock to help prevent infecting any birds you may already own. You should always remember that birds can be carriers and that this deadly virus lives for years on objects. If you visit bird fairs, please be sure to follow all steps to ensure you do not bring home any illness with you. Disinfect yourself, and anything you purchase at a fair before exposing it to your bird. If you like to take your bird to your local bird club meeting, or anywhere else there are other birds, you may want to have your bird vaccinated to protect your parrot from this horrible disease.

You can read more about Avian Polyomavirus at the links shown below:

Avian Polyomavirus: My Thoughts, David N. Phalen, D.V.M., Ph.D.Dipl. ABVP (Avian)

Polyoma Virus: The Real Story by Dr. Gregory Rich, DVM:

Prevention of Avian Polyomavirus Infections through Vaccination:
Dr. Branson Ritchie University of Georgia's Psittacine Disease Research Group

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Dancing Bird

Think you've got rhythm? Well, this little guy has got the moves for sure!
Just click on the link above in the title, or copy and paste the following in your browser's window:

Friday, July 11, 2008

Griffin the Amazing African Grey

We are all so very saddened when Alex the African Grey passed from our world, and we all knew that there would never be another quite like him. Alex was indeed an amazing parrot and an ambassador for the bird world sharing our knowledge that parrots are intelligent and wonderful companions. It is exciting that we find Griffin the African Grey parrot is also converting the non-believers as he wows them with this intelligence. What a great tribute to Alex that his friend Griffin is ready to take over as role of ambassador.

This video shows how Griffin is handling his own among human children in the classroom to prove the intelligence of parrots. Just click on the link titled above, or copy and past the following in your computer's web browser.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Share your birdie recipes

If you have a favorite birdie recipe you would like to share with us, please email complete instructions (and a picture if you have one) of your recipe to so we can add it to our web site and share it with other bird owners.

Blueberry Birdie Muffins

July is national blueberry month so why not bake up some yummy blueberry muffins for your bird.

Blueberry Birdie Muffins:

1 package Harrison's Bird Bread
1 two ounce size package Just Tomatoes Just Blueberries
(or why not add some fresh blueberries instead)

Follow directions on the Harrison's Bird Bread package for preparing your birdie bread. Then add the package of Just Blueberries into the mix and stir until well mixed. Pour mixture into muffin or cupcake pan and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Oven temperatures can vary so be sure muffins are done. Thoroughly cool muffins before serving to your bird. Cooked muffins can be placed into freezer bags and removed daily for a fun treat each day until gone.

Harrison's Bird Bread and Just Tomatoes Just Blueberries can be purchased at GourmetParrot

Monday, June 30, 2008

Help Us Help the Red Cross

We are joining with over 25 other e-commerce sites to help donate urgently needed funds to the Red Cross to help the flood victims. Every sale on July 1, 2008 has a 5% donation attached to it for the Red Cross. And, to thank you for helping the Red Cross, we are offering another 5% discount to our customers simply by entering the coupon code REDCROSS at checkout.