Living with the Happy Bird

October 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Pet Birds

Birds lovers know how much time and care feathered friends require. Ensuring their happiness is a lot of responsibility. In my quest to keep my quaker parrot Dahlia entertained, I’ve discovered ways to incorporate her in my daily routine.

Most birds are very social creatures getting lonely, bored, and even distressed when left alone. Looking for opportunities each day to include Dahlia keeps her close as I go about my day. Activities especially suited for a bird on the shoulder or nearby include personal grooming, light housekeeping, working on the computer, and running errands. When you have time, playing and allowing them to fly freely can be both physically and mentally stimulating.

Games and Activities

Taking time for focused attention will make all the difference in your bird’s quality of life. There are many ways to interact that will promote bonding and stimulate brain activity. Many birds love toothpicks. Try putting one in your mouth and turning your head to one side. The movement and stick-like object hits the bird’s nest-building instinct. Dahlia and I play keep-away for a couple of minutes several times each week. After she takes the toothpick, she expertly shuttles it to the other side of her mouth to keep it from me. I position her so I can take it back. Knowing I want the toothpick stimulates her interest in it while providing greater eye/beak coordination. Although she has little interest in toys, most birds do. It’s important to buy new toys regularly.

Around the House

There’s no reason your bird can’t help you while you’re working on a computer, doing light housekeeping, opening the mail, and doing bike and car repair. Several bird friends have marveled at how much their birds enjoy watching them do dishes. Since most birds have the developmental ability of a toddler, seeing dishes moving from one place to another provides enough interest for most birds. Having a perch or playstand makes hanging out with you a snap.

In the Bathroom

Bathroom time is an opportunity to keep your bird company. People have showered with birds for decades if not centuries. Dahlia wasn’t up for the shower at first and now she won’t let me bathe without her. If your bird doesn’t is reluctant at first, don’t give up. The steam is especially good for tropical birds. My parrot never tires of my morning routine. The motion of the toothbrush is one of her favorite things. She bobs up and down with the brush every time. The dental floss never makes it to the finish line as I rush to use it as she chases it between my fingers.

On the Road

Dahlia goes with me to run errands daily. Whether she stays in the car or goes in, we spend more time together and she enjoys the changing scenery as a result. Running errands with a bird can be a great bonding time. I put a towel, paper towels, or paper diaper changing pads on the dashboard above the steering wheel. Dahlia stands on the edge of the dash, on the steering wheel, on my shoulder, and on her cage in the passenger seat. I keep snacks in the glove compartment and bring fresh food such as one grape cut in half, a cucumber slice, and a very small container of bird seed is usually in my purse.

At the Pet Store

If you have time, stop in a pet store for a brief walk through. Dahlia enjoys going to the pet store about once each week. She stares at the rabbits and cats, marvels at the fish, and postures for the parrots. The stress relief I get from so much animal cuteness makes the trip well worth it. Seeing my own little bird react to the menagerie of animals is a delight, but the main benefit is making her day a bit more interesting.

Flying Free

Since Dahlia spends much of her time on my shoulder, she is mainly a free bird. She often flies ahead to the car, flies to me from across the room, and regularly flies both in and outdoors. Since this was not something I planned, I did not train Dahlia to fly or to return to me as is customary. She will not be flying again until spring and then only in parks far from traffic.

Caution; free flying should only be done with birds bonded to you. Since there is no one else Dahlia would rather be with, she always comes down from the tree sooner or later.

Article contributed by: Lisa Kendall

Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival 2013

October 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Events

The Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival has a full schedule of events, seminars and field trips for bird lovers. 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of RGVBF, so visitors can look forward to an even more exciting experience.The seminar schedule includes a Warbler Workshop, Field ID Workshop, Why Humans Love Birds, Get Started Birding, The Plume Hunter, Adventures of the Urban Birder and so much more. Field trips will take birders to Anzalduas, Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park, Rio Costero Ranch and other lovely destinations. Also planned is the Birders Bazaar Trade Show, a Big Sit, author signings, Winter Texan Day and fun-filled family activities. For more information visit www.rgvbf.org

Dates: 6-10 November 2013
Venue: Fair Park Municipal Complex
City: Harlingen
State: Texas
Country: United States

Central Valley Birding Symposium 2013

October 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Events

The program for the Central Valley Birding Symposium in 2013 will include a Bird Identification Panel, A talk on alien invaders by Kimball Garrett, a sketching workshop, a specimen workshop, a discussion of the Migration Patterns of the Northern Saw-whet Owls near Forest Ranch, a talk on bird intelligence by Susan Schneider, a flycatcher ID Workshop, a keynote address on the Birds of the Sierra Nevada and much much more.Birding field trips will cover areas such as Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, Cosumnes River Preserve, Merced Refuges, Salt Springs Valley and a number of other fascinating destinations. Register now to avoid disappointment. For more information visit www.2013cvbs.org

Dates: 21-24 November 2013
Venue: Stockton Hilton Hotel
City: Stockton
State: California
Country: United States

New York Birders Conference 2013

October 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Events

The 66th annual New York Birders Conference offers birders the opportunity to view the fall coastal migration when it is at its peak, the ideal time to spot rare birds. Keynote speaker for the event is James Currie, a renowned birder who has contributed to a number of publications. Other speakers and presenters are Mark E. Hauber Ph.D., John Turner, Sean Mahar, Susan Elbin, and more. Field trips will have birders exploring Jones Beach State Park, Kissena Park, Sunken Meadow State Park, Francis Purcell Preserve and other lovely birding spots. Book your spot today. For more information visit nybirdersconference.wordpress.com

Date: 1-3 November 2013
Venue: Mariott Hotel
City: Uniondale
State: New York
Country: United States

Finding a Reputable Bird Breeder

October 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Pet Birds

You are looking to add a new baby bird to your family. You have chosen the best species for your family. You pick up the newspaper and find an ad for someone who breeds this species. But their advertisement seems a little suspicious. Still, you give them a call. But, once you talk to the breeder, you become even more concerned. They refuse to send photos, and they want you to send them a check before they give you the bird. This article will help you avoid this situation & help you find a reputable breeder you can trust.

First off- check this person’s website. Normally, but not always, a reputable breeder will have a website with contact information, prices, and photos of the babies and their parents. It’s also good if they give a little information about themselves and their birds. If a breeder is committed enough to put up an informative website with photos, they are likely experienced, well-informed breeders. If you find advertisements for breeders with only emails and no websites, it may mean that they are inexperienced or un-reputable breeders.

Try to find reviews for this breeder. Can you find any bird owners that have purchased birds from this breeder? Ask them some questions. Are their birds healthy, active, socialized, friendly birds? When they bought the bird, was it hand-tamed, or did they have to work with the bird for a while? Did the bird have any health problems when they purchased it? Does it have health problems now? Did they get to meet the parents of their bird? You may not always be able to find customers of the breeder, but if you do, be sure to get some information from them.

Ask your breeder what the name of their avian vet is. If they cannot seem to give you the name of the vet or the veterinary practice that they work at, this is a bad sign. Ask the breeder for the veterinary records of your potential new baby. If they are unable to provide them, you may want to consider getting a bird from another breeder. If they are able to give you the name of the veterinarian, ask the vet some questions. Make sure that your bird’s parents are healthy and in good condition.

Although this may not always be the case, if the breeder refuses to let you into their home or breeding facility, it is a reason to be suspicious. How do you know that the birds are kept in sanitary conditions? If the breeder wants you to meet him/her in a parking lot, at a store or gas station, or at any location other than where he keeps the bird, it is a little unusual, and you should be cautious. If the person has no website, doesn’t appear to have a vet, his/her reviews are negative, and asks you to meet them at an unusual location, you should probably go to another breeder. The person may have a ‘bird mill’ where his/her birds are kept in unsanitary conditions, are kept in tiny cages, and are not provided fresh food and clean water.

And remember- if you cannot find a reputable breeder in your area (which is highly unlikely), check out a shelter or parrot rescue. You may find that your best friend doesn’t have to come from a breeder after all.

Article submitted by: Eliza Kuklinski

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