Caring for a Lost Bird

November 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Pet Birds

The most terrifying experience for a bird owner is to have their beloved pet bird escape and fly away. Fears for their well-being and safety are overwhelming. Equally difficult to deal with is finding a lost bird in your garden and not knowing how to care for it until alternative arrangements can be made, or the original owners can be found. Not everyone has a spare bird cage lying around the house, and if the bird was able to make it to its new destination, the chances of him flying off again are pretty good.

Lost birds are often found near homes as they are scared and confused by their unfamiliar surroundings, and over and above the fear of not knowing how to return home, they are hungry and thirsty. One can almost always lure a pet bird into your home or near enough to place a towel over them for capture with food, water, calling and a lot of patience. Once captured, it is essential to remember the basic needs of a bird and to reduce stress as it can be fatal. Trying to touch the bird or befriend it can cause an aggressive reaction, which is due to the stress of a new environment and fear.

It is suggested that a lost bird be placed in a small bathroom or unused room, without a lot of noise and disturbance, where it is able to relax and feel safe. Any room should be made bird friendly, by removing any toxic bottles, closing all toilets and taking away any item that could be damaged by the bird through chewing on it. Birds are also more comfortable if they are perched and with food and water be placed near to where they perched. A backed chair can be useful in this regard. Getting down to a pet shop to get a packet of seeds is recommended, but if that is not an option, fruits, unsalted nuts, vegetables and cooked pasta (without sauce or seasoning) can also be offered. Foods to stay away from, which can cause serious harm to a bird, include onions, alcohol, avocado and chocolate. If a bird is not perching itself or it is suspected that the bird might be injured, the assistance of a veterinarian is strongly advised. The reunion between a grateful owner and lost pet is always worth the effort.

Eclectus Parrot Ownership is Rewarding

October 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Pet Birds

When people look for a pet bird to join their family, most owners want a one that can be affectionate, a great companion and that has the ability to fit into their daily routines. The Eclectus parrot is often overlooked as a pet bird, and owners unknowingly miss out on the opportunity to enjoy a bird that is loving, intelligent and easily manageable, if they know what their basic needs are. This breathtakingly beautiful bird is not demanding at all and is actually one of the best pet parrots on the market today.

The most distinguishing feature of the Eclectus parrot is the fact that they are dimorphic. Dimorphic means that one can distinguish between the males and females just by looking at them. In the case of the Eclectus, it is the vastly different coloring that makes it easy. The male Eclectuses are covered in green plumage with variations of orange, blue and red under their wings. Their beaks are also unusually orange in color. The females are just as attractive as the males, but have bright red plumage covering their heads and neck, with their backs and chest being purple in color and their wings displaying variations of purple and blue underneath. The females have smooth black beaks. Another unique feature is the fact that the Eclectus parrot has hair-like feathers on their heads, back and chest, opposed to the smooth, locked and contoured feathers on their wings and tails.

As pets, owners will find their Eclectus parrot to be extremely gentle and fond of interaction, even though they will never demand it. They are able to integrate into the daily routines of their owners quite easily and will sit quietly while daily duties are being performed. Through enough love and care, Eclectus parrots will be able to learn a large vocabulary and their inquisitiveness makes them quick learners. They are highly intelligent birds and will quickly notice small changes in their environment. The Eclectus species is generally a healthy bird with a life span of approximately fifty years. They have simple dietary needs of fruit and seeds and enjoy changes made in their food, such as grapes one day and maybe apples the next. Owners will not regret adding an Eclectus parrot to their family, as their gentle and friendly natures make them a pet family and friends can enjoy.

Evolution

February 9, 2009 by  
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Scientists theorize that birds evolved from dinosaurs. This theory for the evolution of birds was brought about by the discovery of a fossil species possessing feathers. This fossil species called Archaeopteryx lithographica dates back to 150 million years ago and is thought to have evolved from dinosaurs called theropods. Archaeopteryx lithographica had two strong legs and walked as a bird does. Its skeleton was reptilian whilst it had the feathers of a bird. Recently, two other feathered dinosaur species were discovered in China. Scientists believe that this adds further proof to the theory of the evolution of birds from dinosaurs.

Other Scientist argue that birds evolved a long period of time before Archaeopteryx. They theorize that the evolution of birds occurred from 4 legged reptiles that died out with the dinosaurs. Such scientists believe that the actual ancestors of our birds today only appeared some 65 to 53 million years ago. This view is not popular amongst scientists though.

There are two theories as to why feathers would have developed in the evolution of birds. One is that because the ancestors of birds where becoming warm-blooded, they required the insulation of feathers. Another is that they develop due to a need for flight and gliding. Whilst many creatures have been and are able to fly, feather-powered flight is unique. This ability to fly gave birds the competitive edge as they could travel over greater distances and areas whilst seeking food. This also allowed them to live in places inaccessible to other animals.

Bird species have adapted to fit into various niches (a place and purpose in relation to the entire ecological community). They have developed instincts to feed, breed and migrate in a way that is species specific.

Birds today continue to adapt to the changing conditions of the world. Unfortunately, these changing conditions have seen many species become extinct. However, increasing awareness of the need to protect the environment and the animals who live in it may ensure that future generations will continue to enjoy these fascinating creatures.

Research & Studies

February 9, 2009 by  
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Many Non Government Organizations (NGO) and Non-profit organizations (NPO) study and conduct research on birds, often inviting the public to get involved. Most bird research is conducted by Ornithologists, and the information gathered by the study of birds is used to gain insight into their behavior and how they relate, and adapt, to their environment.

Why should we study birds? Birds are relatively easy to study, and often open the way for further nature and scientific studies. Their behavior is interesting and they are of great importance to the ecosystem. Birds also offer an indication of the overall the health of the environment, often alerting environmentalists to potential problems.

The study of birds by the public in conjunction with scientists is referred to as citizen science. To find out more about bird research in your area, contact a local study group. The public assist in bird research projects by counting birds and recording data. This data is used by scientists to determine the state of bird populations, issues affecting birds and to work out conservation strategies.

There are many different bird studies being conducted, for example, research is being conducted into bio-acoustics, which involves the development of new techniques to record and analyze bird sounds. The study of bird eggs is referred to as oology, which involves not only the study of bird eggs, but also research into breeding habits and the study of nests. Research into bird aviation hazards has saved the lives of many birds. Studies into migratory birds has helped scientists to discover their routes and thus devise ways to conserve their stop-over points to ensure a safe migration.

A matter of concern to many people is bird flu research, especially with regard to its possible impact on humans. Bird flu or avian influenza is a dangerous viral disease affecting mostly poultry flocks. Bird flu research has revealed how it is spread and using this information scientists will be able to develop ways of keeping humans safe.

Many resources are available for people who wish to study birds for their own benefit. By watching birds in your garden you can learn much about their behavior. Carefully observe how they have adapted to living and functioning in an urban environment.

Want to get connected with other bird enthusiasts? Bird societies are great places to start. You’ll find organized groups of bird enthusiasts on every continent in the world. Some focus on seeking out rare birds. Others focus on bird conservation and scientific studies. Most will provide interesting field trips and learning opportunities.

For example, the National Audubon Society has chapters in many countries, including the USA, Belize, Panama, and Venezuela. Your local chapter can teach you about bird conservation. It’s also a great way to meet other birdwatchers in your area. Audubon’s chapters can provide bird-watching trips for all ages and skill-levels.

Or join a Christmas Bird Count. In this 24-hour census, volunteers in teams count as many birds as possible in a single day. Scientists use the results to learn more about bird populations. Over 40,000 people participate in the Western Hemisphere, from South America to Canada. It’s the largest wildlife survey ever done- and anyone with binoculars can join.

Would you like your bird-watching to help bird conservation? Project Feeder-watch, run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, uses observations from backyard birdwatchers for their scientific study. In this program, anyone in North America can join. Birdwatchers count the numbers of birds at their backyard feeder, at specific times between November and April. They then report these numbers to the Cornell Lab. Scientists at the Lab will use the information in their study of winter bird distributions in North America.

Research and study of birds is vital to learn more about them and develop ways to ensure they are here for the enjoyment of future generations.

Rock Pigeon (Columba livia)

February 9, 2009 by  
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Also known as the Rock Dove or Domestic Pigeon, the Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) is a fairly common sight in urban areas around the world. Some places – such as Trafalgar Square in London or Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester – are famous for their large pigeon populations. The Rock Pigeon has a restricted natural range in western and southern Europe, southwest Asia and North Africa. However, it has been successfully introduced in virtually every other country in the world and it is quite common to see Rock Pigeons resting on window ledges in cities across the globe.

The Rock Pigeon is a fairly large pigeon measuring 29-36 cm in length with a wingspan of 50-67 cm. Their coloration is quite varied but most wild birds are grey with a white rump and rounded tail. The tail usually has a dark tip and the wings are pale grey with two black bars. The Rock Pigeon has fairly broad wings and is a competent flier. They may have green and lilac patches on the sides of their necks. The male and female are similar in appearance but the males are larger and have more iridescent necks. The eyes and eyelids are usually orange though some have white-grey eyes. The eyes are usually surrounded by a dull white eye ring and the feet can be red or pink in color. Immature Rock Pigeons are duller in color and have less lustre.

Rock Pigeons tend to nest on ledges or in a cave – depending on their immediate environment. The nest is made of grass, heather or seaweed and is a fairly flimsy structure. A female will use the same nest repeatedly, building on top of old nests each time she wants to roost. She generally lays two white eggs in it. Both parents incubate the eggs for 18 days afterwhich they hatch to reveal pale yellow chicks with flesh-coloured bills that have a dark band. The parents feed the hatchlings on ‘crop milk’ for about a month until the fledging period has ended. Rock Pigeons have been domesticated for thousands of years and have been used both as a source of food and as racing and homing pigeons. Despite their ability to find their way home over long distances, they are generally quite sedate and do not leave their local areas. Because of their association with humans, feral Rock Pigeons often display a wide variety of plumages.

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