The Pacific Parrotlets

August 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Pet Birds

Pacific Parrotlets are a somewhat uncommon species. While they are actually the most common of their genera, they are not the everyday pet. The Pacifics are the friendliest of them all, although feisty and occasionally nippy, and make great companions.

They are 5 inches long at full maturity. The males have light blue streaks behind their eyes and darker streaks on the wings and rump. The female is plain green and may or may not have the light blue streak behind the eye. While they are not recommended for young children because their occasional nips can be painful, they are noted for being good at tricks, such as flying to the owner on command, the ‘wave’, and going through a hoop on command. They are also good talkers and may speak in complete sentences, although the voice is not as clear as some other parrots. They are very cute, but are known for eating as much as the larger cockatiels.

They are not recommended for aviaries as they may kill their mate or cagemate. If you put a Pacific in an aviary be sure they have lots of room to fly and do not put them with other birds as they will attack other birds regardless of size. They cannot be housed in a small finch or budgie cage and need a very large cage with about ½ inch bar sizing. They need at least 3 toys and 3-4 perches (more is always better!). Though they are small their nutrition should not be overlooked and they should be fed at least three vegetables and 2 fruits every day. They are good apartment birds because they are relatively quiet.

Pacific Parrotlets come in several color mutations such as blue, white, albino, American yellow, and gray-green. They are rarely obtained at pet stores and usually have to be bought from a professional breeder. They are good show birds as they are generally comfortable with traveling, and like all the attention they will obtain from the attendants and the judge.

Parrotlets may be small, but they are very messy. Just as the large parrots typically do, they will fling fruit and such on everything in their paths, including walls, the cage, cagemates, and the owner! They love to be with you and are very affectionate. They will (somewhat begrudgingly) let you softly stroke them in most cases. Most will gladly step onto your hand if you prompt them. Pacific Parrotlets make great pets. If you would like a parrotlet find a local breeder in your area or check a nearby shelter – you may find the right parrot for you.

Article contributed by: Eliza Kuklinski.

Explore the Birds of Vermont Museum

August 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Features

Through its displays of superb wood-carvings, representing close to 500 birds from 258 species, the Birds of Vermont Museum offers visitors the opportunity to discover the diverse birdlife of the State of Vermont. The life-like carvings are displayed in settings closely resembling the habitats each species would favor in its natural surroundings. As a non-profit organization, the museum is dedicated to educating the public, while encouraging an appreciation of the environment and the wildlife, particularly of the feathered kind, that depends on the environment remaining intact.

Most of the museum’s birds have been carved by Robert Spear, Jr., a local naturalist and author who founded the museum to pursue his goal of using biologically and anatomically accurate wood carvings to teach both children and adults about the essential role birds play in the ecosystem. The museum’s collection is arranged in four major groups in accordance with their habitat – Wetlands in Spring and Fall; Endangered and Extinct; Special Exhibit; and Nesting Birds and Raptors.

The Wetlands in Spring and Fall category features a loon family, spring and autumn migration scenes, and two wetland dioramas. The Endangered and Extinct category features a range of birds, as well as an Archaeopteryx – a genus of theropod dinosaur controversially believed to have been the oldest known bird. The intricately carved California condor is one of the largest of Bob Spear’s works and took him more than 500 hours to complete. The Special Exhibit located near the Autumn Migration Diorama consists of a Turkey which took the meticulous artist two years to complete. The Nesting Birds and Raptors display is in the main gallery and features all the nesting birds of Vermont in their respective nests displayed in more than 120 glass cases, while raptors in flight hang from the ceiling overhead. A Winter Diorama displays birds that only visit the area during the wintertime, and then only if their food supplies have run out in their northern habitats. The balcony off the main gallery features hawks and their prey, as well as a magnificent Bald Eagle.

The Birds of Vermont Museum is located in a 100-acre nature conservation area, and in addition to viewing the wood-carved birds, visitors can stroll along the various trails and participate in early morning Bird Monitoring walks, and students can sign up as volunteers to assist with various projects. This unique and fascinating museum is an enduring testament to the efforts of a group of people dedicated to sharing nature’s wonders with others.

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