So You Bought a Parrot, Now What?

In my other blog, I write about my daily life. But, most of my posts revolve around my parrots, as does my life. It is in my belief that birds were not intended to be on this earth so we could still them in a cage in our homes. No matter what your religion is, birds were not made for solitary stationary lives. They were intended to fly in the great outdoors. Nobody can argue with that.

But, now you have one in your home, as do I. Now what? Well, let’s hope that you did your research and you found a parrot that is right for you and your family. We’re going to assume you did for the sake of this article and my sanity.

CAGES

The first thing that needs to be purchased is a cage. Have you ever walked into a pet store and saw that they have a sale going on, “Buy This Cage, Get a Parakeet FREE!” Don’t do that. Just buy the parakeet and cage separately because THAT cage will not be big enough for your new family member. Remember, your new family member is a bird with wings and will need to use those wings. A cage for a parakeet should be wider than taller, because they are not helicopters that can fly straight up.

Bigger is always better when buying a cage for your new pet. However, the width of the bar spacing in cages is also just as important, as tiny heads can get trapped in between the bars. So, keep that in mind when purchasing the cage.

A good cage size for a Macaw or bigger parrot is one where your parrot can stretch his wings without touching the sides of his cage.

FOOD

As with the topic of human children and nutrition, there are just as many debates on parrot nutrition. Some say pellets only, some say seeds and pellets, some say fresh food, seeds, and pellets, some say cooked foods, fresh foods, seeds, and pellets; but, no one says that only feeding seeds is good for a parrot.

Mine get a huge variety of foods on a daily basis. If you read my other blog, you would know that I am having some issues with Sisco eating foods that are good for her. She is a seed junky and will not eat anything else except mashed potatoes. Just like human children, if they are exposed to only certain things, they will never develop a taste of other foods. However, if they are exposed to good foods on a daily basis, they will eventually try something, and possibly even like it!

The point is to never give up trying to feed your parrot healthy foods and never stop learning about parrot nutrition.

TOYS

What do you mean by toys? My bird needs toys? Isn’t a swing enough? Um, no. Your bird needs something to do. A bored bird is an unhappy bird. A bird that is busy is a happy bird. A bird that is locked in a cage from day in to day out with nothing to do will exhibit very unwelcoming behaviors such as excessive screaming. A bird that doesn’t have any toys (or the wrong toys for THAT specific bird) but is allowed the freedom to come and go as he pleases may start to be destructive to the things around him, such as the molding on your big picture window or your first edition of Twilight.

There are lots of different toys on the market today. To pick out which toy is right for your bird will just be a process of trial and error. But in reality, a bird should have a variety of toys and not the same type of toy in his cage at all times. You should have enough toys to be able to rotate every few weeks.

ATTENTION

No, it is not enough to plop them in a cage with healthy foods and enough toys to outfit a bird toy store. Sorry. You need to pay attention to him. You do not have to hold your parrot 24/7, but you do need to give him ambient attention. Ambient attention is to give your parrot attention while she is in her cage or on her playstand. This can be achieved with just talking to your parrot, interacting with her, calling his name when he calls for you, reading to her, dancing with her, singing with her, watching TV and keeping a running commentary with her of what you see, etc. This is the kind of attention parrots absolutely love.

VET CARE

Your new buddy needs to see a doctor from time to time. It is true that birds hide their illnesses, so when you see what could potentially be a sign of an illness, get him to a vet as soon as possible! The time to find a good avian vet is when he is healthy, not when it is an emergency.

Those are just some of the basics of parrot care. The very basics, unfortunately. If you do not treat your parrot like the delicate animal he is, things can go very wrong in an instant.

A Clean Bird Room – 5 Ways To Keep Your Aviary Clean

A clean environment for your bird will keep you and your pet healthier. Sometimes it may feel like effective cleaning is easier talked about than done. But following the 5 suggestions below will help you drastically reduce the number of particles in your bird room.

Avoid Particle Traps—-There are so many places in the usual home and even bird room that can trap allergens. Wall-to-wall carpet, upholstered furnishings, piles of books and magazines, fabric draperies, horizontal blinds, and the list goes on and on.

Most of these surfaces are woven and can trap an unbelievable number of particles that can and are sent airborne with daily activities. The more of these you can eliminate, the better you will be able to clean thoroughly and really reduce the number of particles that are even available to get into your air.

As you add to and replace furnishings in your bird room and home, think bird-friendly replacements. Opt for easy-to-launder throw rugs that are easy to launder. Consider furniture that can be wiped down with a damp cloth rather than fabric covered pieces.

Choose linoleum, tile, wood, or other hard surface that can be mopped clean. And think about shades that can be rolled up and wiped clean and vertical blinds as options that will allow more particles to fall to the floor.

Say No—Saying no to just one more bird can mean that the bird(s) you have already adopted will have a better life. If you are a bird-lover you probably want to give every homeless bird a good life. But depending on the size of your space, continuing to add birds past a certain point makes it nearly impossible to keep conditions healthy.

“The more the merrier” rule does not apply in this situation. Offering fewer birds a good life trumps having a ton of birds that you are unable to care for properly.

Clean Often—How often you clean will be your call based on your situation. But you’ll be able to tell if your schedule is working pretty quickly. Some people are able to clean every couple of days, and others feel they need to clean every day and sometimes more than once a day.

Your frequency will depend on the number and type of birds you have. Those with powder-down birds such as African Greys, Cockatoos, or Cockatiels may find that more frequent cleaning is necessary to keep up with the incessant white powder that these parrots produce.

The goal is to literally keep the dander and dust down. Your room doesn’t need to be able to be able to pass the white glove test, but almost.

Clean Smarter—One of the best ways to really take particles out of circulation is to use water to clean. Adding water to the mix with a damp mop or cloth makes the particulates too heavy to escape into the air again and gives you more of a chance of permanently eliminating them.

A vacuum with a HEPA or high efficiency particle arresting filter is also an excellent way to make sure that what is sucked into the vacuum cleaner stays in the vacuum cleaner. Keep the broom and dust mop out of the mix and opt for the vacuum cleaner.

Filter The Air—Regardless of how smart or frequently you clean, particles will get into the air. Particles just come with the territory when you live with birds. The only way to reliably keep the air clean is to filter it continuously.

HEPA filtration is best because its only by-product is fresh air. There are no ionized particles or ozone levels to worry about.

HEPA filtration is used by hospitals and will surely work for you in your situation. This type of filter must have proven that it is able to eliminate 99.97% of airborne particulates that are.3 microns or greater.

Together, these 5 steps can take you closer to providing a wonderful life for you avian friends, and a healthier life for all who live with them.

Facts About Duck Boxes

One of the best ways to attract wild ducks is through the use of a duck box. The use of the box is particularly to boost the number of ducks in several local populations. Before, wood ducks are abundant in several parts of the United States. However, due to constant hunting their numbers gradually declined. Constant hunting and land reclamations have nearly caused the extinction of this type of bird. Now, because of the changes in the law the wood ducks have increased in numbers. Wild ducks often use the boxes as homes and they often lay eggs on such boxes.

The Importance of the Boxes

The importance of the boxes is that most wood ducks and other duck species usually make it their home. Yes, duck females typically live in wetlands and in wooden boxes. Because of their constant migration, they require homes in various places. When a prospective wooden box is found, the wood duck will often inspect the box and check its contents. Wood ducks often pick their boxes according to their size and shape. Of course, they will also pick a home which is away from any predators. Once they have selected a suitable box for them they will often lay eggs there. The eggs will hatch and then they will then migrate to another location. Basically, a duck box is effective increasing the population of both wooden ducks and other species.

Picking the Right Location for a box

In order to pick the right location for a box, several factors should be strictly considered. One of which is that the box should be away from any known predator which might endanger the tenants of the box. Therefore, the box should have wooden posts and several metal cables in order to prevent any predators from eating the birds. The box should also be found near a suitable habitat and it should not be very far. Usually, wild ducks prefer homes which are a hundred yards away from their habitat. The reason for which is that they require the fertile wetlands for food and for looking for a partner. The shallow wetlands allow them to look for insects and small fishes which in turn becomes their meal.

Using the right materials

Another important factor when making a duck box is to choose the right wood for the job. The ideal type of wood is the rough cut and unfinished lumber since the ducklings have the sharp claws to create an exit hole. Metal or plastic boxes are not ideal since they might impede the ducklings from exiting the structure. At least a couple of wood shavings should also be inserted on the box so that the ducks will have a nest. Once the females see the wood shavings, they will usually use it in order to incubate their eggs. After the winter season, the boxes should have a new batch of wood shavings since the old batch will be damaged by the harsh weather brought about by the winter cold.

Protecting Garden Birds From Magpies

Magpies can be desired and detested in equal measure, depending on the person and situation. On the one hand, they’re uniquely intelligent birds, with a well developed social system accompanying their well developed appetites. Unfortunately, they’re not only incredibly hungry, but predatory to boot. A small flock will happily devour an entire rabbit left gutted in the garden, so it’s no surprise the ease with which they crack open eggs waiting to hatch, or even kill the live young of other birds around the garden. If you want to keep the other species safe you can read on for a little info on deterring the creatures.

First up, a very simple a cheap system for deterring magpies from your garden. Oddly enough, these socially advanced creatures absolutely cannot abide being looked at by other animals, particularly those they can’t identify. In Australia the birds have been known to attack children in the street, who then took to strapping paper eyes to the reverse of their caps. The magpies see the false eyes, spook easily and are quick to back away.

This is an easy method to adopt, and there are a few ways to expand upon it to make it even more effective. Start off by making a few sets of paper eyes at home. Once you’ve got a few pairs start posting them up around the garden. Trunks and walls are best, a nice flat surface where they’ll enjoy a lot of visibility. Fasten them on with sellotape for longer-lasting results.

The tape actually plays into the best way to improve the technique. Magpies are more likely to spook from objects which reflect light well. Not only are they bright, but they better represent the glistening effect of an actual eye. The best value for money solution you’ll find requires two types of object. A thread of string and any loose CDs and DVDs you’ve no intention of keeping. String the CDs together into long hanging ornaments, then affix them to walls, trunks and branches. They’ll turn in the wind, reflecting randomly while also resembling a circular eye, complete with pupil.

In small domestic gardens these techniques will prove successful enough at scaring off the pesky, predatory birds. So long as you maintain good lines of sight so a pair of eyes or reflective CDs are constantly in view the magpie population should quickly begin avoiding your property. In larger areas setting up a large number of these items tends to be an inefficient use of your time. Instead consider a scarecrow with reflective eyes. They’re an old standby, and the appearance of a conscious human does wonders deterring these birds.

Francesca has been writing about UK wildlife and garden birds for years, from providing them with shelter to keeping them safe from predators. Now serving as a featured contributor to Garden Bird, a premier supplier of bird feed and care accessories, she hopes to expand her audience even further.

The Best Spring Feed for Your Birds

Spring is certainly an important time for bird feeding. Many migratory species will be passing through your garden on their way back home, and you can expect to see new nests and hatchlings springing up around your area when mating season kicks off. Birds have specific nutritional needs throughout the period, however, so it’s worth taking the time to note just what you should be providing.

Mealworms

These are an old standby, and an excellent source of live feed. Unlike their larger, crunchier brethren, mealworms are both protein heavy and moist. They benefit smaller birds the most, and you can expect to see them surge in popularity during mating season. Adults will bring them back to the nest to sustain their young, as they’re one of the most nutritious and edible feeds out there.

Remember, they can easily go off if left outside for too long. Consider soaking them in water for a little extra moisture on hot days, as long as they’re all eaten quickly. As always, be sure to clean up any uneaten remnants to prevent disease.

Fruit

If you grow a variety of plants in your garden, there’s every chance you have a few apples and pears going spare through spring. These large, meaty and moist fruits are particularly suited to feeding larger birds, capable of digging in more effectively. The high water content will certainly benefit them in hotter weeks, and slicing up a few to leave on the feeder will keep a lot of birds happy.

As an interesting idea for presentation, consider slicing a fruit in half and impaling It on the branch of a tree. This will move larger birds into the canopy, while producing a pleasant natural appearance. Just be sure not to leave any sliced fruit out for longer than a few days. In the heat and rain of spring it’s quite easy for them to rot, so dense trees and covered feeders are a nice touch.

Seeds and Nuts

As ever, nyger seeds make for a great investment, and are extremely popular among the majority of finch species. They’re very fatty for their size, but will need a specialised feeder to hold them in.

Peanuts are a regular feature of any feed mix, but will require special attention if you intend to leave them out in the spring. They’re heavy in fat and protein, but be sure not to make the mistake of leaving out salted nuts, birds can’t process the salt and will suffer for it.

Remember, whole peanuts can easily choke a newly hatched bird, so either crush up your nuts or leave them in a mesh they cannot be removed from whole. Any other small seeds and nuts will suffice, sunflower hearts being another high nutrition treat.

Bird Lovers Should Add Native Plants for Their Feathered Friends

Birds add natural beauty to gardens, parks and other landscapes with their gorgeous colorations, happy chirps, and graceful flight. These feathered creatures also assist in plant pollination (i.e., hummingbirds) and in pest control by eating slugs, snails and wireworms (i.e., purple martins). It then comes as little surprise then that professional gardeners and landscapers plan outdoor spaces with the goal of attracting beneficial bird species.

The best way to attract birds into the garden is to concentrate on the cultivation of native plants including shrubs, vines and trees. Doing so is beneficial for several reasons:

1. Indigenous plants have evolved alongside the local wildlife and, thus, are most likely to provide the right attributes for birds to co-exist with. For example, hummingbirds drink the nectar from plants and, in the process, assist in the pollination of the species to form a mutually beneficial relationship.

2. Native plants create natural corridors where birds can fly back and forth in their natural habitats. In contrast, non-native plants can disrupt the flow, so to speak. Such aspect of plant cultivation is of particular importance to areas impacted by manmade development projects.

3. Indigenous plants will not crowd out other plant species, thus, ensuring diversity of plant life beneficial for the attraction of the local wildlife including birds. In contrast, non-native plants may provide abundant food for birds but are more likely to invade the entire area; examples include Japanese honeysuckle and buckthorn.

4. Of course, the definition of native plants will vary from one location to the next, which is also compounded by the fact that many plants are considered indigenous to several zones. The best way to determine whether a plant is indigenous to the area is to ask the experienced staff of your local plant nursery for more information.

5. When selecting native plants for your bird-friendly garden, consider the following factors:

6. Choose plants that provide food for birds in various ways such as from buds, flowers and nectar aside from the usual fruits.

7. Select species that provide food the whole year-round or for the most parts of the year so that the birds will keep coming even in winter. For example, serviceberries, mulberries and wild cherries provide fruits for the spring; magnolia, spicebush and flowering dogwood have ripening fruits in the fall; and nannyberry, crabapple and hawthorn provide winter sustenance.

The more diverse your choices in native plants, the more diverse the bird life in your garden!

Tips for Keeping Your Pet Birds Warm in Winter

As the weather cools down, it’s important to remember that birds need additional care in winter. Many of our exotic and pet bird breeds are originally from warm, tropical climates and cold temperatures can be a health challenge. Here are a few guidelines for pet bird owners to keep in mind during cooler temperatures that will help them keep their pet birds healthy and happy.

Bird owners should move the cage to a draft free location, away from windows and doors. Moving your bird’s cage to a central location in the home can make a big difference in keeping deadly drafts and cold air away from sensitive birds. Shrink-wrap insulation kits can be used on windows and unused doorways in winter to keep cold air out and warm air in. Increasing the humidity indoors in winter is also good for birds, eliminating dryness and excess dander.

Remember that birds are sensitive to smoke and fumes that can come from wood, gas or kerosene heaters. Some electric heaters are treated with a non-stick coating, which can create fumes that are deadly to birds. Some radiator-style electric heaters can be effective, but be sure to check on possibly harmful coatings.

Bird owners should definitely have a cage cover on hand. Covering the cage at night will help keep birds cozy. Some birds enjoy snugglies and snoozies to help keep them warm at night. Heat lamps can be used, and infrared bulbs will create a glow that does not interfere with the bird’s sleep cycle. It’s important to choose only a bird-safe heat lamp recommended for avian use. Pay attention to the bulbs used in the heat lamp – any bulbs coated with polytetrafluoroethylene can emit toxic fumes when overheated. There are also ceramic heating elements that can be used for birds – from those that clamp onto the cage to heat panels that are placed around the cage. These are specifically designed for animal and avian use. Infrared heat panels that attach to the cage are also an energy-efficient way to keep your bird cozy this winter.

In addition to keeping your bird warm, you’ll want to ensure that heating your home doesn’t result in a lack of humidity. If so, there are a few simple things you can do to provide the proper conditions for your bird. Regular baths, showers or light misting should be continued throughout the winter months. You can also increase humidity in the home by using a vaporizer or humidifier designed for birds. Other options include placing shallow pans of water on radiators or in the oven when you’re pre-heating it, or simply leaving the bathroom door open when you shower to allow the steam into the house.

Feeding your bird a healthy, vitamin-rich diet throughout the year will help boost its immune system and stay healthier despite changes in temperature. Bird owners should make sure the winter diet includes plenty of fruits and vegetables to maintain optimal health.

Of course, keeping a watchful eye on pet birds throughout the winter is important. As you make changes to your bird’s environment, be on the lookout for signs of overheating, such as panting, extended neck or holding the wings away from the body. Also keep an eye out for signs of any health problems – exposure to cold temperatures can lower the bird’s immunity and result in illness. At any time of year, simple bird care and monitoring will ensure that pet birds stay healthy and happy.

7 Most Common Birds That You Can Find In Singapore

If you live or work in Singapore, you may often have the urge to know more about the city. In this article, we are going to talk about some of the most common birds you can find in this city. We will share some common facts about these birds.

1) Javan Mynah

This bird is called the white-vented mynah as well. For the first time, in 1920, this bird was brought from other countries to be kept as a pet bird.

As far as breeding and food are concerned, mynah is quite adaptable. It leaves its nests before other birds in order to eat road kills, fruits, leftover human food, and insects.

2) Asian Glossy Starling

Often, these birds get together in big flocks consisting of 30 birds. You can find sitting on TV antennas and feeding on different types of fruits in gardens. At night, you can find them in big communal flocks and roosts. Their voice sounds like a whistle.

3) Pink-Necked Green Pigeon

The male pigeon is more colorful than the female. Often, their nests are in trees. Rarely they are found on the ground. Typically, they get down only when they have to drink water.

The pair helps each other incubate the eggs and the nest. Typically, the male rests in the nest throughout the day, and the female comes back in the evening. Unlike other birds, doves and pigeons don’t have oil-producing glands. So, their feathers are not waterproof.

4) Yellow-Vented Bulbul

You can find this bird in almost every park and garden. In gardens, they can be seen flying around flowering shrubs. Usually, it’s cup-like nest is made of plastic strips, raffia pieces, tissue paper, and plant stuff.

They feed on caterpillars, beetles, grasshoppers, and ants. After having their meal, they like to bathe and preen.

5) Whimbrel

You can find these birds breeding in the arctic and sub-arctic parts of the world. Usually, they fly to other countries, such as New Zealand, Australia, and Asia during the colder months of the year.

In Singapore, you can find them in September and November. Their long bills to feed on marine animals and crustaceans.

Whimbrel was seen at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve after a long time in 2014.

6) Pacific Golden Plover

In Singapore, you can find this beautiful bird on the shores. They feed on insects, spiders, worms, marine, and crabs, to name a few. This bird can fly thousands of miles without getting tired. They fly in flocks of hundreds of birds.

In Singapore, they arrive in late August. In April, they fly back to their original sites.

7) Common Redshank

You can identify the common redshank from its red legs. But the juveniles don’t have red legs. Their legs are greenish-yellow. These nervous birds are often seen flying around the sandy shores.

In the breeding season, the common redshank feast on worms, insects, and spiders. Before or after the breeding season, they eat tadpoles, small fish, crustaceans and mollusks.

Feeding Birds – What Type of Feeder Should You Use?

Wild birds are surely capable of feeding themselves off the land. However, when weather extremes make things tougher for them, having an additional source of food or water can be a life saver.

You may see flocks of red-winged blackbirds descend on your backyard seed feeder before they leave their northern range. Feeders can help prepare wild birds for their long journey of migration. You may live on the southwest coast of North America and see Anna’s Hummingbirds at your nectar feeder in the winter. Wherever you live, your wild birds can certainly use a helping hand from time to time throughout the year.

Wild birds will come to feed at many different types of feeders depending on the type of feeder they prefer. Some birds prefer most to forage from the ground or platform feeders, as do cardinals. Others as this male house finch will feed from the ground, platform feeders, tube feeders, and seed feeders readily all as one. Others still, like the goldfinch prefer thistle seed from open fields or from tube feeders.

Platform feeders will attract Chipping Sparrows, Cardinals, American Tree Sparrows, Towhees, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Blue Grosbeak, Song Sparrows, White-Throated Sparrows, Meadowlarks, Evening Grosbeak, Blue Jays, Magpies, Steller’s Jays, Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers, Downy Woodpeckers, Mourning Doves, Black-Capped Chickadee, Gray Catbirds, Eastern Bluebirds, Pine Grosbeak, Northern Mockingbirds, and others.

Platform feeders can be as simple as a piece of wood on your picnic table, or your picnic table itself. However, that can be quite messy. Another option would be to get a 4×4 post and nail a wood plank sized 12 x 12 or larger to the top of the post. Drill holes through the wood plank so that water does not just sit as a puddle. To prevent most of the food pieces from just falling off to the ground, you may take some thin wood trimming and nail it to the border of the wood plank. Nailing the wood trim to surround the border of the wood plank will help keep most of the nuts, fruit, suet, or bread from just falling off. Although, having some of the scraps fall to the ground is good, as this will also attract other birds that will like to forage on the ground most often.

Suet Feeders attract: Blue Jays, Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers, Downy Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers, Northern Flickers, Black-Capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Nuthatch, Eastern Bluebirds, Northern Mockingbirds, Brown Creepers, Gray Catbirds, Wrens, Steller’s Jays, and more.

A suet feeder is typically made of wire mesh, and easily hung from a tree branch, hanger, or pole.

Fruit feeders/ Fruit & Jelly Feeders attract Orioles, Western Tanagers, Scarlet Tanagers, and Rose-Breasted Grosbeak.

Fruit feeders will typically utilize cups for jelly as in the feeder above, with side pins for sticking orange halves.

Peanut Feeders attract: Indigo Bunting, Blue Jays, Woodpeckers, Nuthatch, Eastern Bluebirds, and others.

Hummingbird or Sugar Water Feeders attract more than Hummingbirds. They also will attract Bullock’s Orioles, Baltimore Orioles, Western Tanagers, and House Finch among others.

Seed Feeders attract: Painted Bunting, Purple Finch, American Goldfinch, Pine Siskin, Grosbeak, House Sparrows, Juncos, Common Redpoll, Red Crossbill, Tree Sparrows, and many more.

What To Know About Cockatoos

Pets make the lives of most people a lot more fun which is why people always make it a point to have a pet at home. Aside from dogs and cats, people also like taking care of birds specifically Cockatoos. These are great birds and are very playful and colorful as well so to those who would like to know more about these birds, here are some things that they should do before getting their very own Cockatoo:

The first thing that the bird enthusiast needs to know about taking care of these birds is to prepare their budget. This is because raising these birds can be a bit expensive. Pet owners should also bear in mind that they should have a pair so the Cockatoo would not be that lonely.

People should also prepare for the noise because most Cockatoos are noisy. Some even talk like little kids so to those who want some quiet time with their loved ones, they may need to think about it first before they consider getting one.

You also need to make sure that you provide your birds a lot of attention because that is what they like. You should be able to spare some of your time to interact with your pets because it makes them feel good all the time.

Cockatoos also need to be maintained properly. Their cages should always be cleaned and there should be enough water to hydrate them. It is also important that the cages of the birds are in the busy area in the house so the birds would always have tons of audiences to watch them when they are doing some bird tricks.

Cockatoos are also a bit noisy and they scream a lot. There are tons of noisy breeds so to those who would like to have some quiet time, they may pick those species that are not that noisy. People should also bear in mind that when pets get too excited, they tend to scream or make a lot of noise.

These type of birds are also great and could easily be taught so pet owner might want to train their very own Cockatoos. People could earn money from training Cockatoos or putting up some bird shows.

Now that you know what Cockatoos can do, you might want to consider getting your own pet. These are great information that future bird owners would like to check out before getting one.