Adopting a Rescue Parrot

October 11, 2013 by  
Filed under Features

Normally, if you are planning to add a new bird to your family, you have a specific species in mind, because, after all, a parakeet is quite different from a macaw. You might look for someone with a good reputation who breeds this species. This is one of the most popular ways to obtain a bird. However, there is another great way to find a feathered friend or friends- through a shelter or a parrot rescue.

Many people find themselves unable to care for a parrot once they buy one. Perhaps they are too messy, or too loud, or not social enough. Other times, the owner may have financial or health problems, and as much as they love their bird, they truly can no longer care for him or her. These parrots usually do not end up in a parrot rescue; instead, they are usually turned in to a local animal shelter. Generally, shelters are not good environments for parrots – they are very loud, the employees are generally not able to give the birds a lot of attention, and they are very rarely able to provide toys or treats. That is where a parrot rescue comes in. They take the animal from the shelter, and put them either in their own facility, or in a foster home. Either way, they are generally able to provide the level of care that the bird needs. Many potential parrot owners prefer to adopt from parrot rescues rather than animal shelters, because the rescues generally are able to spend time with their birds and are able to provide a better description of their behaviors and personalities.

If you decide to adopt from a shelter rather than a rescue, be careful. Although your bird may have been turned in for no fault of its own, and it could be a perfectly nice pet, he also could have been surrendered for various behavior problems. Ask an employee if they know what the reason for surrender was, or if they have noticed any behavior problems during the birds’ time at the shelter. Ask them if you can spend a little time with the bird; sometimes, a shelter will have a ‘visitation room,’ where you can spend some time alone with your potential new best friend. Remember, sometimes birds will act up in the shelter – they may be frightened and screech loudly, or they could be so scared that they shy away from human contact. The shelter environment is loud and frightening, especially to a small bird like a parakeet, cockatiel or parrotlet. However, even the biggest macaw may act unusually in this loud and scary place.

You may find that you don’t want to adopt from a shelter after all. You might want to adopt from a breeder, where they have truly known the bird its whole life, and can tell you practically everything about it. But remember- if you adopt a bird from a scary situation, you are their hero. Even though you might not realize it, your friend will feel grateful. If you are considering a new avian friend, please consider dropping by a shelter or parrot rescue before you buy from a breeder.

Article contributed by Eliza Kuklinski

Crows Know How

February 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Birding Tips

Researchers and scientists have been studying the New Caledonian crow for a number of years now. It has proven to be a bird with extraordinary capabilities, able to solve problems and use tools to gain access to food. This remarkable talent has led to numerous papers being published in regard to the intelligence of the crow. It seems that researchers wanted more and believed that the crows’ problem solving skills could be pushed a little further, and they were right. New tests have shown that crows are able to devise plans and show extreme caution in unfamiliar circumstances.

The first round of research was done to see how crows make use of tools to forage. Researchers gave the crows a three phase puzzle which was solved successfully. They first used a short stick to retrieve a longer stick, which they then had to use to get to their food which was placed in a hole. This test already stunned researchers, but the crows have now shown that they use tools for various other actions as well.

Over and above using sticks to find food, it seems that New Caledonian crows also use sticks to look at objects they deem to be potentially dangerous. Instead of inspecting it closely, they make use of their sticks to take a look around first before approaching something they are unfamiliar with. Dr. Joanna Wimpenny, a research zoologist on the team is very excited about the new findings, saying: “Evidence is building up that they’re able to plan their actions in advance, which is very interesting from a cognition point of view. It isn’t just that they’re responding in a pre-programmed sort of way. It seems possible they may potentially view a problem and know what the answer is.”

To test this, a rubber snake was used in one instance. The crow moved a little closer, but showed signs of being hesitant. He then used a tool to prod the snake a few times and after seeing no movement, he quickly pulled on the tail while jumping backwards. Once he was sure that the rubber snake posed no danger, he approached completely and began pecking on it. These tests and research prove that crows have an intricate thought process. Further behavioral studies are underway to find out more about these fascinating birds and their intelligent problem solving abilities.

Anting Behavior in Birds

January 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Features

Anting is a form of bird behavior that has yet to be explained by researchers and scientists. Even though hundreds of bird species engage in anting all over the world, no-one has been able to confirm the reason why birds choose to do so.

Anting can take on different forms. Some birds will pick up ants in their beaks and rub the ant over their feathers, after which they eat the ant; while others will open their wings and lie down over an active anthill and allow ants to climb up onto them. But it does seem that one part of anting remains consistent: birds prefer using ants that produce formic acid. Ants use the formic acid their bodies produce as a defense mechanism, which they spray at their attackers, but at the same time provides birds with a certain something that scientists would love to discover.

One theory on anting is that the formic acid could be used as a fungicide, bactericide and as an insect repellent, while others choose to believe that it is the vitamin D content in the acid that birds are after. This leads to another unanswered question: why do birds sometimes use alternative anting tools, such as millipedes and fruit? Some scientists believe that anting is used to preen feathers and helps prevent the drying out of their plumage, but then one again has to ask, that if only some birds include anting in their behavior, could preening really be the answer? Another suggestion that has been made is that anting has an intoxicating effect, as some birds have been known to shake and lose control over their ability to walk. Anting has been documented in a variety of species including crows, babblers, weavers, owls, turkeys, waxbills and pheasants to name but a few. And for all the research done and no lack of theories, it seems the human race will have to be satisfied with the fact that the mystery behind anting might elude us forever, and remain a small secret that nature is not willing to share.

FWCAS Parrot Symposium 2009

September 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Events

The second annual Florida West Coast Avian Society Parrot Symposium will be held at the Sarasota Hyatt on the 7th and 8th of November 2009. Everything bird enthusiasts might want to know will be discussed at the 2009 FWCAS Parrot Symposium with guests speakers such as Cassie Malina talking about Operant Conditioning Training, behavior being discussed by Sally Blanchard and Glenn Reynolds bringing conservation awareness to the symposium, from the World Parrot Trust. The FWCAS Parrot Symposium is a celebration of birds and an opportunity to promote awareness and correct care for exotic birds.

Date: 7 – 8 November 2009
Venue: Sarasota Hyatt
City: Sarasota, Florida
Country: United States of America

Education

February 9, 2009 by  
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To be a true bird enthusiast you need to have a basic education on birds.

Here we cover everything from bird anatomy, conservation, the evolution of birds as well as extinct and rare birds. We hope to provide you with expert advice and opinions to help you become a better bird enthusiast and better bird owner.

Understanding the basic behavior of birds and their patterns, will also help you become a more accomplished bird watcher.

Activities

February 9, 2009 by  
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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 Watching

February 9, 2009 by  
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Bird watching is the viewing of birds in their natural habitat in the wild, or in their improvised habitats in urban areas, possibly even in your own back yard. Bird watching involves identifying birds and understanding their behavior. This fascinating hobby is becoming increasingly popular as a pastime enjoyed by young and old alike.

To begin bird watching it is important to have a reliable bird watching guide. Bird watching guides are generally region or country specific, so ensure you have the appropriate book for your area. To assist you in spotting the many varieties of birds, a pair of bird watching binoculars is useful. These range greatly in price and quality. Look around to find a pair of birding binoculars to suit your needs and your pocket. A step up from binoculars is bird watching scopes and bird watching telescopes. Spotting scopes and telescopes enable you to see birds over a greater distance and with greater clarity.

Bird watching can be done anywhere, from your back garden to the local park and various other natural areas. There are many places to choose from to go on bird watching holidays. Many birders start a bird checklist and tick off the birds (especially rare birds) that they see. They go on bird watching holidays in other countries to mark off more species. Why not start your own checklist! Remember to have your bird watching guide handy so that you can identify the new species more easily.

When identifying birds, it is important to consider the following: coloration, the general shape of the bird, the beak, the legs and feet, the way it is behaving, the habitat in which it is living, its call and so forth. All these clues will help you in identifying the bird accurately. Your bird watching scope will come in handy in finding out the finer details.

To find out more about bird watching why not visit a book store to see which bird watching magazines they have available. Bird watching magazines will provide information on birds, products, etc in your region.

Your skills as a birder will improve the more you practice. Soon enough you will be identifying your local birds without any difficulty.

Identifying Birds

February 9, 2009 by  
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Bird watching involves identifying birds by their physical attributes as well as by their behavior. There are 9 points that can be used when identifying bird species – size, color, shape, bill (shape and color), leg (length and color), eye color, flight pattern, habitat and distribution. It is best to use a field guide for your area, for example a field guide on identifying British birds if you are in Britain, as these will contain the species for your area. The secret to bird identification is to recognize which family the bird belongs to. From there, finding the exact species is matter of elimination.

Let us take the example of identifying birds of prey. If you saw a large raptor with legs feathered to the feet, large powerful talons, you would know that it is a true eagle. To identify the exact species you would consider habitat, size and coloration. Another example of identifying birds of prey is: If you saw a small raptor with pointed wings, a long narrow tail, facial markings like “sideburns”, direct flight with rapid wing beats and hunting on the wing, you would know it belongs to the falcon family. By process of elimination you would identify the exact species of falcon.

When identifying backyard birds, consider the above points and pay particular attention to distribution. Distribution is an accurate and great help in identifying a bird. If a bird is noted as not being found in your area, chances are it’s a different species that you have spotted. Identifying garden birds can be difficult and may require the use of binoculars to note leg and bill color. However, starting with identifying backyard birds is the perfect way to begin birding.

Another useful way to determine bird species is by identifying bird song. Many CDs are available to assist in identifying bird song. Bird song is very species specific and leaves you with little doubt as to the bird you are listening to.

Once you have started to identify birds using the above tips, you will understand the delight that many bird watchers experience in observing these feathered wonders.

Bird Behavior

February 9, 2009 by  
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Bird behavior refers to the actions of a bird in response to environmental situations. Some bird behavior is instinctive, whilst other behavior is learned. Behavior includes caring for itself, feeding and interaction with others (birds, humans, other animals).

To develop a happy and satisfying relationship with your pet bird it is important to understand its behavior. Birds view people as part of their flock and therefore act accordingly. Dominant behavior by birds is displayed when the bird believes it is head of the pecking order. It is thus very important to establish the pecking order with your bird as the subordinate. A dominant bird may develop “bad”; behavior such as biting or screeching. It may feel it needs to defend its territory against disliked people and attack them. Such behavior by birds can be avoided by keeping the top of the bird’s head level with your chest. Do not allow it to perch above you or on your shoulder as this encourages dominant behavior.

Bird behavior can often be interpreted, much like a foreign language. Tongue clicking is an invitation to interact. Grinding of the beak indicates contentment. Panting is a sign that a bird is overheated or perhaps uncomfortable. A sharp flick of the wings demonstrates annoyance. Observe your pet bird’s behavior carefully and you will gain much insight into its state of mind and general well-being.

Preening is an important part of bird behavior as it keeps feathers in good condition. Preening involves the smoothing of feathers by stroking the feathers with the beak. Preening behavior by garden birds may include dust baths and splashing around in water.

Bird feeding behavior may change due to temperature, season and time of day. This is especially evident in the feeding behavior of garden birds. In winter they are more likely to make use of bird feeders due to a lack of natural food sources. Your pet bird may begin bobbing his/her head when hungry or excited by the prospect of being fed. Many birds expect to be fed at a certain time every day. Some species are very messy feeders and feed with great enthusiasm.

Bird behavior is intricate and fascinating, whether you are observing the behavior of garden birds, birds in the wild or your own beloved pet.

The Feather Picking Phenomenon

October 16, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

According to veterinary estimates, as many as 50% or more of pet birds taken to the vet engage in some form of over-preening or other feather damaging behavior. The problem is quite commonplace, but it is distressing for bird owners and difficult to get rid of. Moreover, any bird can start to exhibit this problem. So what do we do about it?

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