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

Wings ‘n Water Festival 2012

June 15, 2012 by  
Filed under Events

The new and improved Wings ‘n Water Festival offers a family-fun, weekend of birding activities for all ages. Features of the festival include folk music, local seafood, hands-on activities, and loads of arts and crafts. For more information contact www.wetlandsinstitute.org.

Dates: 12-14 July 2012
Times: 10-4 (THUR-FRI) 6-10 (SAT)
Venue: Wetlands Institute
City: Stone Harbor
State: New Jersey
Country: USA

Activities

February 9, 2009 by  
Filed under

The main bird related activity that people engage in is that of bird watching, an activity that continues to increase in popularity with people all over the world showing renewed appreciation for the wonders of nature. Bird watching is a relatively inexpensive hobby and there are always opportunities to spot new bird species. One way to watch birds is to attract them to your garden. You can attract birds by providing food, water and shelter for them.

Use your bird guide to identify birds by looking at their general outline/shape, coloration, eye color, leg and bill color, behavior and considering the habitat that they are in. Listening to bird calls and sounds will assist you in identifying them. The more bird watching you do, the easier it will become to identify the bird species in your area. So don’t delay – get out there and spot some birds!

Bird Safety

February 9, 2009 by  
Filed under

Due to the adventurous nature of birds it is essential to ensure that their environment is safe.

The first safety precautions to consider are to do with the bird’s immediate environment – its cage. The spacing between the bars of a bird cage must be narrow so that your bird will not get its head stuck. Bars that are of a small diameter are easily bent and can make the gaps larger and less safe. There are a variety of feeding and watering bowls available and these must be selected carefully with the bird’s safety in mind. It is important to use the bowls designed for the holders as gaps will provide opportunity for toes to get stuck. Be sure to secure “guillotine”; type cage doors as some birds may try to lift these and get their heads caught. Look out for cages made of materials that may contain poisonous zinc or brass. Spring loaded latches can also be dangerous for toes and beaks.

Safety in feeding is another aspect to look at. Foods that are bought in bulk and then repackaged are not a good idea as they may be contaminated. Rather purchase food in the packaging of the manufacturer, even if it is slightly more expensive.

Many people recommend that a bird’s wings be clipped so as to prevent it from flying into trouble around the house. If your bird is permitted to leave its cage, it is vital to bird-proof your home for your bird’s safety, and to always know where it is. Many things around the house may prove toxic to birds, to name a few: crayons, various household cleaners, insecticides, lead-based paint, nicotine and table salt. It is also advisable not to let the bird out the cage when cooking or cleaning, as it may consume the wrong things or get burnt on ovens and stoves. Resist the desire to have your bird sleep with you, as sadly, many people have awoken to find their birds have been crushed.

Certain toys can also compromise your bird’s safety. Toys made from fabric may have threads in which the bird may tangle his/her feet or neck. Key rings are often used to attach hanging toys to the cage, however alternatives would be better as beaks, tongues and toes can get caught in these. Rope toys with loose threads may also entangle your bird.

The best thing to do is to carefully watch your bird’s activities around its cage and the external environment and try to predict any possible dangers to your bird’s safety. Rather safe than sorry!

Florida’s Big “O” Birding Festival

December 5, 2007 by  
Filed under Features

The annual Big “O” Birding Festival is scheduled to take place from 25 to 27 January 2008 in Moore Haven, Florida, on the western side of Lake Okeechobee. Long time bird watchers are no doubt already aware that this area is a birder’s paradise and the activities arranged for the three day festival are sure to reinforce their love and respect for these amazing feathered creatures. The Big “O” Festival is also the perfect opportunity for new and potential bird watchers to find out what birding is all about.

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