Pet Birds: Cockatiels

Cockatiels are well known little birds. They are popular with first-time bird owners and master aviculturists alike. They are fairly quiet little guys, but if they do not have enough time out-of-cage, they may begin a screaming habit. They are good in aviaries and can be kept with other cockatiels, doves, finches, and canaries.

Cockatiels are prone to Giardis infections, so take them to the vet yearly for a well-bird visit. They are small, but need a good diet – feed two different kinds of fruit and three different kinds of veggies every day, along with a teaspoon of seeds and a tablespoon of pellets.

Cockatiel males are good talkers, but females do not usually talk. They can be potty trained, taught step up, and can be taught many other tricks. They are friendly and are usually good with children, as long as the children are gentle enough.

Keep them in a fairly large cage with appropriate bar spacing- around ½ inch. Provide them with around three perches and four toys at minimum. While they enjoy toys, their favorite toy is you, so let them have time out-of-cage with you. If you cannot spend lots of time with your cockatiel everyday, get a larger cage and have it share it with a cagemate. They will not usually fight, but introduce them slowly so nothing happens. If you will let the cockatiel out of its cage, but won’t have time to interact (you should interact for at least around ten minutes a day), get a playstand, even a small one, so your cockatiel is not bored.

Now that you know all this, if you are interested in a ‘tiel, visit your local bird rescue or pet store. There are always birds in need of a home and love.

Article contributed by: Eliza Kuklinski.

Top Three Parrots for Kids

Most people purchase their child a parrot without realizing the full responsibility of caring for these creatures. While this does not mean parrots make poor pets, they are a challenge to care for, especially the larger ones, who easily feel neglected, bite hard, and can scream loudly. There are a few birds that can be considered suitable as a first time bird, however.

Budgies

These little parrots have been pets for a long time, and great ones at that. The small birds easily learn to step up and will love spending time with you. However, they need to have their cage washed every two months, have the papers changed every day, and such. If you would like an easy-to-work-with little friend, these are the right birds for you. English budgies live for about 7 years, while American budgies usually live about 15/20 years.

Cockatiels

Cockatiels are another favorite with young bird owners. These friendly birds are not as colorful as other parrots, but they learn to talk more readily than budgies (well, males talk; a talking female is rare) and are very sweet. They are also good at tricks and can learn step up, wave, and can be potty trained. They usually live at least 15-17 years, but more commonly live about twenty years.

Parrotlets

Parrotlets are small – but they make it up with huge personalities. These little guys are feisty and can have a big bite, but are great pets – usually for slightly older kids. They are energetic little green machines and are sure to charm anyone. They are good at talking, especially males, but can learn tricks too. They are fine pets, and once you get to know them you are sure to adore them. They live 20+ years – the oldest on record was thirty years old.

Explore what would be right for you and your child’s lifestyle. Always be sure the parrot is getting adequate care from your child. If you would like a parrot for your child, go to a local parrot shelter or a breeder. There will always be a right one for you.

Article contributed by: Eliza Kuklinski.

The Tale of Winston Perchhill – Part One

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My name is Winston. Winston Perchhill. I am a happy member of a flock of three cockatiels, but it hasn’t always been like this. I would like to take you back to my earliest memories.

I was six months old and had been left in a bird shop by a man who was teaching me to whistle. He had told the owner of the shop to warn everyone to be careful when they came near me, because I was dangerous. It wasn’t clear to me what that meant, except that I probably wouldn’t get to visit with many people or other birds ever again. There I was, alone in my nice, large cage and separated from all of the other birds, some of whom looked to be close relatives of mine. They paid no attention to me at all, and I mostly contented myself by eating the food I was given and watching the controlled commotion around me, keeping an ear poised for any words I might have heard before. I spent the rest of my time whistling my little ditty, putting all of my heart and soul into every syllable and imagining that I was in a great mansion surrounded by birds of all kinds who were spellbound by my song. I determined not to forget even one note, because I felt in my bones that my song would be the key to me finding a new home, my forever home.

One day as I was busy whistling as usual, this strange-looking lady came in, walked past me, and went directly into the back of the shop where I had noticed most customers usually went. In a few minutes, while she was returning to the front with a package filled to the brim with seed, she stopped to listen to me. This was it; I knew it! I whistled with all my might, my nervous little body bending with the song and my swaying head reaching for the sky. I had won her! It was obvious!

“Does every cockatiel whistle that song, or is that unique to that bird?” she asked the owner, who was too busy with another customer to reply.
“Why is that bird here?”
“On consignment,” she was told.
“Male or female?”
“Male.”
“How old is he?”
“Six months.”
“Why is he here?”
“The family couldn’t keep him any longer.”
“How much would he cost?”
“Fifty dollars, and that includes the cage and the toys.”
“I’ll take him! Can I leave him here for a few hours while I do some other errands?”
“Sure.”

I was to have my own home again! A strange lady, granted, but she did know her music! When my lady came back, she was very happy to see me again. She put my cage into the back of our car and nestled me close to her in a small clear box. She talked and whistled to me all the way home, which turned out to be less than a great mansion, much less. My disappointment was tempered, however, the moment we went through the front door and I saw a tidy cage, inside of which were two beautiful yellow birds. They were smaller than I and we differed a lot in appearance; but they turned out to be pretty nice. The brighter one was quite talkative, although I could understand only a few of the things he said.

Those days we didn’t have much company, probably because in our house there also was a very old gentleman whom my lady was taking care of. So, although it was quiet, I had my birds, and my lady whistled to me all the while she worked and periodically reviewed my whole vocabulary. Then suddenly the old man was gone, and for two years my lady left our house before breakfast and returned after dark, until one day she came home for good, bringing with her two very tiny birds. We were together and had many visitors, and there was absolutely nothing to complain about.

The tiny birds seemed to enjoy being with the rest of us and my lady kept busy teaching me more things to say. We had settled on what I came to know as “The Marine Corps Hymn” to be “my” song. It fit me like a glove and I could whistle it perfectly within a couple of weeks. Every time strangers came into the house, I treated them to multiple renditions of it, to great acclaim.

The months drifted along uneventfully, and then a crisis came upon us. There were tears, and many people coming and going, measuring and removing furniture, and packing clothes and all the pictures and the pretty little china things that had decorated our house. My birds and I were put into the car and driven down the road for a few minutes, taken out, and carried into… a mansion. I was finally going to live in a great mansion! I stretched my neck to see what we were passing along the way inside and it was beyond my wildest dreams. There were birds in the bushes, birds in the trees, birds on the roof. They greeted us as we were carried inside, me whistling, of course, my Marine Hymn. It was bird heaven and I could have died right then and there and been satisfied!

We were placed in what was described as “our bedroom.” From our cages, we could look outside through a huge picture window, and my lady would put food on the porch for the outdoor birds to eat. They would fly in as one and land on the stone railing, impatiently waiting until the food was ready and my lady was gone, and then they would descend on the food, eating ravenously. This happened twice a day like clockwork and all of us birds, inside and out, would begin to get excited about the routine at least half an hour before feeding time. We were one big flock: the five of us inside watching our members on the other side of the window – little brown birds that chirped and huge mostly gray birds that had a very pleasant way of cooing. In the warm weather, we were joined by birds with red faces and little ones who were brown on the back and white on the front, while black-and-red birds ate down on the grass and noisy blue birds ate up in the trees. Once in a while some enormous black birds would soar overhead and in the evening ugly little birds dove around the porch eating right in the air.

On those warm days, my lady would put my cage in a small alcove on the porch, and I would whistle and talk to my friends from morning until evening, when I would be gently carried into my bedroom to rejoin my indoor birds for sleep. It was a wonderful time. My lady visited me throughout the day and often prompted me to say a few words, but mischievously I would say them only when I wanted to. On cold days, she would sit in a nearby room and talk to the five of us indoor birds, and I in turn would treat her to several choruses of my song. My indoor brothers and sisters would glance at each other in amazement and sit very quietly, listening to us. Life went on like that, and then death came.

First my original birds died, then one of the smaller ones. That left just one tiny gray bird and me in our bedroom. We did our best to keep each other company when the house was quiet and the outdoor birds had gone to their nests. My lady kept constant vigil, and the three of us had our hour together every evening just before sleep. Then one day I was all by myself inside with no tiny bedtime companion at all. I comforted myself with my whistling and of course I had my outdoor flock. I became content to sit in my cage and watch them bustle about and descend as one when hungry and fly away as one when scared or when their stomachs were full. Every year there were new members of the flock and every year I would find that some of those whom I had known in the past were missing. A strange big brown bird began to come regularly and perch on the stone railing, and my lady would hustle out and carry me inside when she saw him! I thus learned that not all birds were my friends, and I began to call a warning when he would arrive.

The Tale of Winston Perchhill – Part Two

Article written by Mary Anne Little

The Tale of Winston Perchhill – Part Two

The Tale of Winston Perchhill – Part One

After the passage of many years, this mostly tranquil, comfortable life was snatched away from me when my lady and I left our great mansion. I had done my best to get her to stay, greeting every stranger and telling them, in my own words, that we were very happy there and did not want to go, to no avail. Again I was in the car, but this time it was not just a short ride. We went through whole neighborhoods, over rough roads and roads that went through great red rocks, and into places completely covered with trees. We parked in front of a little blue house surrounded by snow, and there was not another bird in sight! I had barely had time to say goodbye to my outdoor friends at the mansion and now I had no one, except my lady. I was miserable and she knew it.

She kept me by her side all day and took me with her whenever she went anywhere in the car. Although I had a big window to look out, there was nothing to see except those awful green trees and that snow on the ground. Oh, the occasional group of four-legged animals would go by; but I did miss my birds. I was so unhappy, I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t even whistle. I just sat on the bottom of my cage and dreamed of my lost flock. Nothing could make me forget and I got weaker and weaker. I could hear my lady talking about me to someone I could not see and one day she left me alone in the house for several hours. When she came home, she was carrying a huge new cage that held the two most beautiful birds I ever saw! They looked somewhat like me; but I’m just a couple of shades of gray, and they were pure white! I knew I was in love with one of them the moment I saw her, and immediately I stretched and got myself off the bottom of my cage.

When my lady let me out, I strolled right over to the white birds and began to whistle as I had never whistled before. I belted out “The Marine Corps Hymn” over and over, slightly spreading my wings and bowing to my new love. I did not feel the sting I should have felt from the incredulous looks I received from the white birds and I began to tell them in my own words how I felt about her: “I love you, pretty bird!” When my love turned her back on me and hurried away, I asked her “What’s the matter?” Even though my appetite was returning, I forgot to eat very much. It had been a long day, but I was still serenading. When we were put to bed, they were in their cage and I in mine. It didn’t seem fair that that other bird got to be near my love all night and I had to sleep by myself! I thought about her until I fell asleep; and when I awoke the next morning, a few hours earlier than usual, I began my serenade all over again.

When we were finally allowed out and she majestically ascended my hanging perch, I stood beneath her looking up, and whistled. I quickly learned that she had a hard heart, but I was determined to win her over. During the daytime, the white birds and I were always free to go out of our cages. I noticed they had a bit of a waddle that I didn’t have, but it was quite endearing. When we ate, they pecked away incessantly until they got their fill and I would choose each seed carefully and munch on it slowly, giving my lady a glance after my every bite, just to make sure that she could see I was really part of my new flock. My muscles were very weak, so I had to watch from a distance as my white birds climbed between cages and flew up to the highest bookshelves and ventured throughout the house. I was, however, able to explore their cage, which was a wonder, filled with toys of every sort. At first, the white birds would pair up against me, not willing to share; and my love would call to him in her coy little way, while I would wander around alone, sometimes letting my competition know that I was serious about turning the head of my newfound love.

I don’t recall exactly when I succeeded in that, but succeed I did, in a big way! I had suddenly become irresistible to her and she was coyly calling to me! My lady began referring to the other white bird as “my dear little orphan boy” and I could totally empathize with him, but this was love and I wasn’t going to miss out on a second of it! I was an old bird—sixteen and counting – and didn’t have much time left, but I was beginning to feel great.

I don’t miss the mansion anymore and I have begun to think about my old flock less and less. The warm weather has returned and there are dozens of birds outside, along with many more of those four-legged animals, some with their babies, and many other types of animals who weren’t here in the cold. I have my pure white love and our mutual white friend, and a comfortable, cozy cottage, and my lady. That’s a lot of things to whistle about and I whistle periodically from morning until sleep. I have taken up the chirp of the white birds that is much more musical than a simpler one I borrowed years ago. I have truly become one of them: we share our cages and we eat and sleep together, and we are happy. Would you believe it, I can fly now – mostly, however, in a downward trajectory; but my wings are getting stronger and I glide farther every day! My lady smiles a lot as she watches over us. She and I still review my words and my song every day; and I have gotten used to sitting on her shoulder while we have good, long talks. You know, I never once let my lady touch my back until I saw how much my white birds enjoy it; but now I can sit for hours letting my lady stroke my feathers and rub my face, and kiss me – right on the beak! It is, in fact, a very good life!

Article written by Mary Anne Little

Atlanta Exotic Bird Fair 2010

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To marvel at a magnificent range of exotic birds of all shapes and colors, head down to the Atlanta Exotic Bird Fair on the 13th and 14th of March 2010. Here visitors will see birds such as eclectus, finches, cockatiels and canaries, and be able to browse through a variety of exhibitors that offer numerous bird care related products, including nutrition, toys, cages and educational information.

To find out more about this exciting bird show, queries can be directed to the North Atlanta Trade Centre, by email to Rhonda@natcshows.com.

Date: 13 – 14 March 2010
Venue: North Atlanta Trade Center
City: Atlanta
Country: United States of America

Texas Bird Breeders Annual Fall Show and Fair 2009

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The Texas Bird Breeders Annual Fall Show and Fair is an anticipated event for all bird breeders, as it gives them the opportunity to show off their best birds, and win a few prizes. Held on the 7th of November 2009, the show is organized by the Texas Bird Breeders and Fanciers Association, and there will be a variety of birds, vendors and exhibits to look forward to. Some of the birds on display include Budgerigars, Cockatiels, Softbills, Finches, Lovebirds and a few different parrot species.

Information and details about the show is available on the Texas Bird Breeders and Fanciers Association website, at http://www.texasbirdbreeders.org .

Date: 7 November 2009
Venue: Mayborn Convention Centre
City: Texas
Country: United States of America

Grand Bird Show 2009

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The Budgerigar Society of Pakistan has been working tirelessly to promote budgies and educate the public in regard to birds. The Grand Bird Show 2009 is yet another initiative to reach out to the community. As World Animal Day is being celebrated on 4 October 2009, the society is using the opportunity to showcase some of the prized budgies in the country and to assist bird owners by offering pet inspections free of charge.

This annual competition for both cockatiels and budgerigars is a popular event with the top breeders and owners of Pakistan and everyone is welcome to attend this colorful event. More information in regard to the Budgerigar Society of Pakistan and its events is available on the website at www.GrandBirdShow.com.

Date: 4 October 2009
Venue: Avari Hotel
City: Lahore
Country: Pakistan

SCVCEBC 48th Annual Cage Bird Show 2009

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Bird lovers are advised not to miss the 48th Annual Cage Bird Show which is hosted by the Santa Clara Valley Canary and Exotic Bird Club on the 12th of December 2009. Hundreds of bird will be on display and well known judges will be walking through the cages, determining winners in the various categories. Some of the birds exhibited include finches, cockatiels, canaries and budgies. While some birds will be judged on the color others will be singing for first prize.

Bird enthusiasts who want to attend or have a prize bird at home to enter into the Annual Cage Bird Show are invited to email scvcebc@yahoo.com for more information regarding the show.

Date: 12 December 2009
Venue: Temple Emanu-El
City: San Jose, California
Country: United States of America

Understanding Bird Cancer

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Filed under Features

Most new bird owners probably would not even imagine their feathered friends getting bird cancer. It seems like a somewhat outlandish concept. Yet, if you’ve been involved with these beautiful creatures for long enough, you’ll know that the incidence of cancer in birds is quite a bit more common than most people would like to acknowledge.

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Gout Does Affect Birds

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Firstly, one needs to understand what gout is. Gout is a buildup of uric acid in the blood and forms due to the kidneys not being able to remove the uric acid from the body because the levels are too high. Uric acid crystals begin to form in the affected areas, causing the gout sufferer extreme pain and discomfort. These crystals form in the ligaments and joints when articular gout is experienced and around organs such as the liver and kidneys when it is visceral gout. Unfortunately, birds are susceptible to gout.

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