19 MarA Dire Warning

Beware of Hawks

“Though I feel sure it is not a common event I can tell you it DOES happen that a hawk CAN and WILL fly down while you and your cage-less bird are together.  It cares not that YOU are right there if it wants your bird!”  These words were just written to me by a dear friend in the hopes that I would remind all of you about the grave dangers of taking your beloved birds outside without being caged.  Even though you may have read these stories before, please read them again as a well-intentioned remender.

She continues, “It happened with me and Pete (her beloved little quaker) on the front porch.  He was NOT caged….his wings were trimmed and he was sitting with me on my finger in the swing on front porch.  The hawk came from ‘out of nowhere’ and navigated the porch posts and made a direct swoosh in front of me to nail Pete….luckily, I was fast enough to pull him towards my stomach and bend from the waist to cover him so the hawk missed his target, got a few of my hairs but missed Pete.  It was just TOO close.  I was terrified.   I don’t know if Pete actually saw him coming or not…he did not react if he did – thank God – otherwise he would have made an attempt to fly which would have been a deadly mistake since his wings were clipped.  My point is…though it probably does not happen frequently it DOES HAPPEN and it only takes one time to be deadly.  WE were LUCKY!”

Our Sweet, Little Daisy Girl

Then there’s my own story, which many of you will remember……One cold February day in 2009, while I was out of town, my husband had to take the trash out for collection.  Daisy, our beloved little cockatiel, was sitting on top of the cupboard where she loved to listen to her music.  It was right next to the door to the laundry room on the way to the garage.  She had flown after my husband a couple times because she didn’t want him to leave.   Each time he would put her back, but didn’t lock her up.

Thinking he could make a quick escape, he hurried out the door, but as he did, she hopped onto the collar of the very thick robe he was wearing.  He neither heard nor felt her.  He went out into the garage and opened the overhead door.  As he carried the trash can out, he saw her fly up into the air.  He started calling her back to him, but at just that moment, a large hawk came out of nowhere, swooped down and snatched her away!

Although my husband ran screaming after the hawk, it was a lost cause.  The hawk flew away with her.  That’s the last time he ever saw her, our precious little birdie-girl who never knew anything but gentleness and love.  My husband was devastated.  I was devastated, even though I hadn’t been a witness to this catastrophic event.  My grief, therefore, was not quite as traumatic as my poor husband’s.  He couldn’t bear to talk about it for a long time.  It’s something he’ll  never forget.  It was terrible!

I know that there are many more of these tragic stories.  Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that it couldn’t happen to you or your bird.  I know some of you think that you’ll keep an eye out for hawks, and if you see one you’ll take your bird inside.  Did you know that when a hawk swoops in to attack his prey, that he’s SILENT?  You may never see or hear him until it’s too late.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.  I really want to save your beautiful bird from that kind of horrible death, and you, from that kind of grief.  Remember…..it only takes one time!

I’m adding a postscript to my story as I just received an email from a friend who had just read this blog.  Here is her email:

“I just read your blog and wanted to share something that happened yesterday.  I had my new puppy outside.  Her name is Madison and she weighs 3 lbs but growing fast. Anyway she was running in the yard, and I noticed a hawk in a tree across the street.  It made a big swoop down until it saw me and it took off, but it could have very easily picked up Madison.  That happened to a lady arcoss town.  She had a little chihuahua and a hawk got it.  I saw it on the news.  How sad!  We have a lot of woods around here. “

So be vigilant with your small animals as well.  Don’t leave them outside unattended.

 

10 MarShe Followed Me Home

Introducing, Binkie!

Hi, I'm Binkie!

It happened two Mondays ago….I was in our local bird store buying food.  The manager rang up my purchase, but then he had to go next door to get change.  While I was waiting I turned around to talk with the woman behind me.  She had a large covered cage with her.  I asked what was inside and she said, “a little caique”.  At that point she uncovered the cage, and I stooped down to talk to the adorable little bird inside.  Then I looked up at the woman and said, “You should join our bird club.”  A very unhappy look came over her face, and she proceeded to tell me that she couldn’t because she was bringing her bird in to be sold and why.

Without going into details, she had a very tragic story, and she was very upset having to give up her baby.  Out of the blue she looked at me and asked, “Will you take her?  I just love your energy. I can tell you’re a wonderful bird person.”  I asked her how much she wanted for her little bird.  She just looked at me and said, “Nothing!  You can have her.  I don’t care about the money, I just want her to have a good home.  You can have her cages and toys and food and all the things she has.”  I was flabbergasted!  I stood there for a minute not knowing what to say.  Then she asked me again and I just said, “OK, just follow me home,” and we left.

I’m think I’m liking it here!
On my way out Doug, the manager, said that I ‘d better call my husband and let him know what was coming.  I said that it would be all right.  When we arrived home I went to find my husband.  I told him I had a surprise for him and I wanted him to come in the kitchen and meet someone.  I asked him what he thought of having another bird.  He asked what kind.  I said, “a caique,” and told him that she was in the kitchen.  He just smiled and asked how that happened.  I told him that she followed me home!

Binkie has been here for 12 days now and is doing great.  I thought that it would take her a couple months to adjust, but it only took a couple days.  The first night we had her she was very frightened and she bit my husband four times and me once, but since then she’s been a sweetheart.  She fits right in and appears to really like it here.
Those of you who know me, know that I like to potty-train my birds.   So I got right to work on that.  Binkie seems to be getting the idea rather quickly.  She didn’t have one accident yesterday.  She actually self-initiated climbing up on the table-top perch twice and pooped.  Once she said “poopie, poopie, poopie”, and when
That flash is making me a little nervous!

I put her on the perch she did just that!  She’s a very smart little girl, so we’ll see.  But the cutest thing to come out of potty training is that she frequently says, “poopie, poopie, poopie” in her sweet little voice.  It cracks me up!

The other cute thing that she does is when she gets scared or nervous.  She puts two of her toes in her mouth and wiggles them really fast like she’s doing in this picture.  It looks like she’s chewing on her nails with a vengeance, but she’s actually just wiggling her foot.  She did this when the camera flashed and also when new people came to the house.  It’s an endearing nervous habit.

She says quite a few things, but right now “poopie” is her new favorite word.  She also loves to wolf-whistle.  All in all, Binkie is adorable and she’s definitely a keeper.  I sure am glad that she followed me home!

 

 

14 FebA St. Valentine’s Day Wish

I'll be yours, if you'll be mine!

Happy Valentine’s

Day from

Bobbie,

Finnegan

and Lucy!

 

I've got a Valentine just for you!

Aw, come on, please be mine?

 

I just thought I’d bring you some special photos with special wishes today.  Bird Mama and her flock would like to wish all of our dear birdie friends a very Happy St. Valentine’s Day!

28 JanA Princess Who Plucks

Lucy's little plucked neck

An Update on Lucy

Quite a few of you have asked about my Lucy and if she’s still plucking?  Lucy does better some days than others, sometimes quite a bit better, others, well….  All of her feathers have grown back on her chest and wings, praise the Lord!  but she still plucks her neck.  I keep a little quilted collar on her most of the time.  Some days I take it off and give her a break, but always put it back on her at night because she likes to pluck when I’m not watching.  She knows!   Frequently I take her collar off during the day…until I catch her at it again.  Then it goes back on for five to seven days to give the feathers a good head start once again.  I’m careful not to let her pluck down to her chest.  She might if I didn’t keep her collar on her at night.  In the summer she seems to be better, but she still has to be watched.  I like to take the collar off during the day because it drives her crazy not being able to preen.  So when I do take it off, I usually offer her a bath and then I leave it off all day unless I catch her plucking.  It’s a challenge.

Lucy in her pretty collar

As you can see by the many pics I’ve posted of her on this site, she does not lack for toys nor for attention.  She gets an abundance of both.  Our vet seems to think that she is (shhhh, don’t let her hear this now…) a bit neurotic.  She’s probably one of those birds who should have been a one and only.  Unfortunately, it’s too late for that.

The collar she wears now is a little quilted number secured with velcro that you see in the photo.  Velcro seems to be the best fastener because she absolutely cannot pull it apart.  She does chew on the edges and neckline though.  It was made for her by a very kind friend who also makes these for her own little plucking quaker.  It’s so much more comfortable than those terrible plastic lampshades.  I know because Lucy had to wear one for a couple of months before she was so bountifully blessed with this soft, pretty little collar.  That’s how she ended up sleeping in her Princess’ bedroom.  She couldn’t navigate very well in that hard plastic cone.

I wish I could be of some help to all of you concerned parronts of pluckers out there.  I wish I could give you some advice because as you well know, I sought it from many of you.  I frequently sought help from our vet, too.  Lucy was examined and given various blood tests.  She was put on medication, gabapentin to calm her and supplemental calcium and vitamins.  I was never able to see what difference the medication made, so after it was gone I stopped giving it to her.  I tried various collars from little pull-overs that I made myself, to the tortuous plastic cone I mentioned above to little sweaters.  The vet also made her a little ring collar.  Each one of these worked for a little while (excet the sweater) until she figured out how to get at herself in spite of them.  Now I believe I have the winning combination, a little ring collar that I tape around her neck and place her quilted collar on top of it.  This is so that she can’t bend her head down far enough (because of the ring) so as to chew it off.  If she doesn’t have the ring on (and sometimes she does manage to get it from off UNDER the quilted collar!!… she will pluck her neck.  She can be mighty persistent!

It’s pretty amazing how she’s adjusted and adapted to her collar.  When she first got it a year and a half ago, she could barely stand up and sometimes would fall over while trying so hard to get it off.  Now she has taught herself how to go up and down ladders.  She can also fly with her collar on and land perfectly.  For example, if I leave the room she’s in, as soon as she notices that I’m gone she takes off in hot persuit of me and lands perfectly on my shoulder while I’m walking, even if I’m in another room already!

To make it easier for her to eat, I took the lids from two peanut butter jars and taped them, flat sides together, so that her dish is elevated and she doesn’t have to bend down so far.  Sometimes she almost tips over if she has to bend down to the bottom of a bowl.  This works out much better and I tilt her water bowl a little also.  She still doesn’t like her collar, but she’s definitely learned to make the best of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21 JanA Toy Enjoyed….

Toy Making Ideas

Lucy with her artfully woven chains

Are your birds going through toys rather quickly?  Do they need more variety?  Toys can get get pretty expensive, especially if you have a flock.  If you have macaws and large cockatoos, they get really expensive!  These big guys love making toothpicks!  If you like making your big birds wooden toys, here’s a link to a list of safe woods that will be very helpful to you, http://www.birdsafe.com/woods.htm.  In the summer, I like to puruse the garage sales and look for baby toys that might interest my fids such as plastic chains and keys.

Finnegan with baby keys and chains

I don’t happen to have any really large birds with powerful beaks, so many of my toy-making suggestions are for eclectus sized birds and smaller.  I might as well add that eclectus don’t have particularly powerful beaks, although they can definitely draw blood if the feel the need!  Finnegan has never been a wood chewer.  He prefers shredding toys like my smaller birds do.  He loves vine balls, palm leaf, soft plastic toys, leather, cotton rope and string and of course bells….he LOVES bells!.  He can’t open hard shelled nuts either.  Even a pistachio that doesn’t have an opening in the shell for him to get a start with his beak, is dropped on the floor.  So I give him shelled, unsalted nuts.  And yes, you can get unsalted pistachios.

I’ve found that with a yarn needle (it has a large eye) threaded with string or twine, you can make many different toys.  You can string cupcake papers, beads, straws, plastic chain and lots of other things.  You can buy a bag of yucca chunks and string them.  You can buy a box (30 ft. roll) of woven palm leaf for around $4. and cut it in pieces and string it, alternating these with plastic or wooden beads, or weave several long pieces through the cage bars.  If you use wooden beads, be sure they are not painted or finished in any way.  They should be safe, “naked” wood.  If you want to color them, dip them in food coloring diluted with water, as you would Easter eggs.  Take plain ice-cream cones and fill them with crinkled paper.  You can buy this paper by the bag if you don’t want to cut it up and crinkle it yourself.  Attach a string through the bottom of the cone (and knot it) before you fill it, and then tie the other end around a stainless steel hanger or plastic chain so you can hang it in their cage.  A person who makes these birdie cones to sell, tells me that she uses a bit of corn syrup to “glue” the paper in the bottom of the cup so it doesn’t all fall out, but it looks loose as it spills out of the top.  This way her glue is not toxic.  My birds love these!  Lucy also loves the plastic chains made for babies and weaves them in and out of her cage door.  For bigger birds you can enlarge a hole in a large wiffle ball, fill it with nuts in the shell, and hang it in their cage or from their play-stand.  Finnegan goes absolutely “nuts” over this and it occupies a great deal of his time trying to get them out!  I give him this “toy” only occassionally because  I don’t want him to overload on nuts.  He would eat them all if left up to him!  If you’re interested, here’s a link to a site that sells toy parts for all size birds,http://www.busybird.com/.

Birdie Necklace

I have started making birdie necklaces to wear when you are holding your birds or have them on your shoulders.  My birds absolutely love theirs and are continually amused with it.  I wear the necklace if I’m on the computer, and I want to keep them occupied while they are on me and I’m busy.  They’re great playthings for your fids when you take them to bird club meetings and other events.  Our birdclub does a lot of educational events.  The necklaces can also be hung in your birds’ cages as a toy.  If you’re interested, I’d love to make one for you, just email me and let me know your birds’ names.  I’m selling them for $10. for smaller birds and $15. for larger birds, plus $6.00 for shipping and handling.  For the larger birds, the necklaces need to be sturdier, so I need to use more wood, less plastic, and rope instead of string.

For other toy-making ideas go to a bird or pet store and look at their toys.  See what you could possibly duplicate or substitute at home.  I invite you to share your toy making ideas with the rest of us in the Comments section below.  Happy toy making!~

14 JanThe Princess and the Pea

Lucy’s Bedroom

Miss Lucy Blue, who will be five years old this spring, took a very long time to get used to the heated perch, and she never did use it much.  She always preferred her snugly.  Some birds take a long time to accept something different, and a few never do.  However, since she started plucking over a year ago and now wears a collar at night, she sleeps in her carrier.  The reason being that I was afraid she might get hung up in her cage with her collar on, and I believe in “better safe than sorry”.  I can always put a heating pad under her carrier if the heat were to go out. By the way, I call this her bedroom.

You probably wouldn’t believe it, so I thought I’d show it to you.  The floor is padded with a towel and covered that with clean paper towels everyday.  I’ve lined the sides with her favorite toys and hanging from the metal door, I’ve hung plastic chains.  These are her favorite things to play with.  When she wakes up in the morning she starts weaving them in and out of the metal bars.  She has made some very elaborate  designs and is quite creative.  In the back of the carrier, she has her little snugly that she used to sleep IN, but now it’s flattened out and she sleeps on top of it.  This is her bed!  I have it surrounded with the cuddly fleece snuglies that Mimi Gryzmala makes and sells on her site, www.ilovebirdthings.com.  Princess Lucy keeps nice and warm in there.  I also put an extra folded paper towel right along the edge of her snugly as you can see, because she always backs up and hangs her little butt over the edge to poop, so her “poopie rug” catches it.  When she slept IN her snugly she did the same thing and would back up and poop out the end of it.  She is Little Miss NEAT!  LOL!  If I told this story to someone who wasn’t a bird person, they would definitely think I was NUTS!!!  LOL!!  Maybe a few of you do anyway!
Lucy is definitely a Princess with a capital “P”.  She is fed her warm oatmeal every morning from a baby spoon.   In our flock, she is the Alpha bird and gets everything first.  The funny thing is that at night she also expects to go to bed first.  She doesn’t see that as bad thing.  She loves her little bedroom and knows when it’s bedtime.  She has an uncanny sense of exactly what time it is.  I know that when she gets hormonal this could be a problem because her carrier is very nest-like.  She did go through a spell of about a month this past fall where she became a bit overprotective of it, but she’s over it now.  I can put my hand in there anytime, but my husband can’t.  That’s typical Lucy behavior anyway.  I’m not suggesting that you make a bedroom for your bird, but if he/she does wear a collar, I don’t think your bird should be in a cage at night because it could be dangerous for him.  This was my solution for Lucy, and I thought you would enjoy seeing it.

13 JanMore Warm Thoughts

On Keeping Our Birds Cozy

All birds fluff up their feathers to trap their body heat, but what concerns me is having one’s furnace or power go out.  Of course if your power goes out the only thing that’s going to help you is having a generator.  That’s why I mentioned it at the end of my previous article.  A friend’s furnace went out last week in Florida when the temps got down in the 30’s.  My daughter’s furnace went out the week before.  Neither one lost power, but they had no heat. My daughter has a space heater that she put in her girls’ bedroom and put the birds in there for the night as well.  It was in the 20’s that night, but they stayed warm and cozy.

 When our birds, who are used to temperate climates, are abruptly exposed to a sudden drop in temperatures, down in the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, maybe even the 50’s, I’d say that’s a danger to them.  I just think that we all need some kind of plan.  A heated perch or a space heater will only be good if your furnace goes out, but you still have power.  A generator is what’s needed for a loss of power.  It would not only help our birds, but obviously us as well.  My husband bought a small generator for about $300, one that would run the furnace and our refrigerator in case of emergency.  We got it a few years ago after we had a huge power outage in the late spring that lasted for almost a week, and we lost the food in our refrigerator and freezer.  Fortunately, my fids and I were able to stay at my daughter’s for the week.

I have a bit more information on heated perches.  The small size is not very small.  It’s about 1″ in diameter, smaller at the tip and a little larger at the end where it attaches to the cage.  Finnegan used it for a year until I got him a medium size one this winter.  Any bird from a small Amazon on down could be use the small size.  Also it’s irregular in shape for the benefit of your birds’ feet.  It’s smaller near the tip and larger near the cage end.  The medium size ranges from 1 1/4” to 1 ½”.  The large size would be for the bigger macaws and cockatoos and is about 2″ in diameter.  I know that they are expensive.  For this reason I started out with one and added more as I could afford them, ususally one per year.

Not all birds will accept a new perch immediately.  With some birds you have to leave it outside the cage for awhile for them to look at and get used to.  With others, you can just replace their current sleeping perch with the new ones as I did with Finnegan and Bobbie, and they were just fine.  They aren’t afraid of new toys either, but then they may be the excepti0n and not the rule.

I also cover each of my birds’ cages at night with a black fleece piece of fabric so that they’ll have 12+ hours of darkness, and it keeps out drafts.  I think that covering them gives them a feeling of safety and security.  I’ll be writing another blog about our  cockatiel, Bobbie, and about she adapted to covering.  Watch for it.

 

11 JanBe Prepared

Keep Those Tootsies Warm

A friend of mine brought up a good point the other day which was my inspiration for this article.  She happens to live in Florida where the weather has been on the chilly side.  Unfortunately her heat went out and she and her birds were living under a large pile of blankets.  How do you plan on keeping your bird(s) warm if your furnace goes out?

I live in Michigan and my birds have heated perches which they use year round.  After all, even air-conditioning can get chilly.  The nice thing about heated perches is that they are pre-set to a bird’s body temperature and are warmest at the end that connects to the electrical cord and cooler at the the tip.  In this way your bird can choose where he’d like to stand so as to warm his feet or not.  It also adds a TINY bit of heat to the cage when it’s covered.

Finnegan's heated perch

These perches are completely safe.  The electrical cord is wrapped in a metal coil and is on the outside of the cage.  It attaches like a lot of perches.  One end is threaded and has a indentation in it that you place on one of the bars, and the other end screws over it from the outside.  It’s very ingenious. They come in three different perch sizes to accomodate any size bird.  I have the small size for my quaker and cockatiel and the medium size for my eclectus.  I’ve used them for five or six years now, and my birds love them.

From numerous blogs that I’ve read I realize that many people are under the impression that if you cover your bird’s cage with lots of blankets, your bird will be warm just like we are when covering ourselves with blankets.  This is not true.  Lots of blankets do not produce heat, just weight.  The reason they keep us warm is because our bodies are producing the heat and the blankets are trapping it.  I suppose that if you could wrap your bird in a blanket, it would stay warmer because you would be trapping in its own body heat.  However, it won’t be warmer in the cage because there are blankets over it. The blankets will block out drafts and that helps, but you have to have a heat source to produce heat.  Your bird certainly can’t produce enough heat to warm its cage no matter how many blankets you put over it.  Therefore, a heated perch will help keep your bird warm since it is producing heat and warming its feet.

Heated perches are on the expensive side, ranging from around $32.99 to $49.99, with the smaller ones being on the lower end.  Do shop the internet because you can find that the same size perch can range $8. to $10.  The first one that I bought was used and was only $12.  It happened to come into our bird store in a used cage which was being re-sold.  The perch lasted for about three years.  So it turned out to be a very good buy.  Who knows, maybe you can find one on eBay.  If you have multiple birds and can’t buy several at once, you may want to buy one for your oldest bird first.  Our little Bobbie, who is soon to be 15, has arthritic feet and is enjoying her first winter with her heated perch.  She loves it!  I took her sleeping perch out of her cage and replaced it with the heated one.  She was only suspicious the first night.  After that, I usually find her on her warm perch in the morning.  She also uses it during the day for naps.  We’ve only had Bobbie for a year and a half or she would have had one sooner.

Another source of heat for your birds would be a heating pad placed under a smaller, table-top cage since heat rises.  Best of all though, is to have a safe, non-teflon coated space heater for the room in which you keep your birds.  It can’t be stressed enough that you make sure that the space heater you have or buy does NOT have teflon coated heating elements.  Many appliances today, including hair dryers, irons, ovens, etc., are teflon coated.  I would also strongly recommend having a generator, even a small, inexpensive one, in case you lose your power since these electrical appliances obviously won’t work if your power goes out.

I hate it when my feet are cold.  It makes me feel cold all over.  I tend to think that our birds don’t like cold feet either.  If you don’t have a heated perch already, give some thought to getting one, or two.  Keep your fids’ tootsies warm and cozy.  They’ll love it!

 

08 JanSplish, Splash

I Love Taking a Bath…err Shower

Yesterday I asked Mr. Finnegan if he would like to take a shower with me.  As usual, he got pretty excited and wanted to step up immediately to be taken to the bathroom.  This is one of his favorite activities, second only to being blown dry with my hair dryer.  I read somewhere that one shouldn’t blow dry one’s bird because it discourages preening.  This is not the case with Finnegan.  I like doing it because I feel he’s less inclined to get cold.  I don’t blow him dry in the summer when it’s hot outside, but I do the other months when I’m afraid he might get a chill.  In the summer I set him out on our sunporch to dry.  In the winter we keep our home on the cooler side, usually around 68 degrees.  So I feel a blow dry is indicated, and he couldn’t agree more.

My green boy absolutely revels in his shower.  When I don’t ask him, he usually shows up uninvited at the bathroom door while I’m getting undressed.  I can hear his toenails clicking on our hardwood floor and stop right outside the door where he waits patiently for me to let him in.  When I first got Finnegan I had a shower perch (with suction cups) attached to the wall.  But twice it let loose and fell off the wall with him on it!  Needless to say, I discontinued using that unreliable thing!  Now I take one of our tabletop perches into the bathroom for him to sit on while I bathe.  He waits ever so patiently for me to finish and then steps right up onto my hand for his turn.  I hold him under the water, turning him this way and that as he spreads out his wings and tries to let the water run under each wing.  When he’s finished with that task, he loves to just sit there on my hand and let the water run down his back.  Often he will place his beak on my upper lip and rest it there while just relaxing under the water.  What a bird!

If I don’t take Finnegan in the shower with me often enough, he will take matters into his own claws.  He dives into his water dish with great gusto, splashing everything within a six foot radius.  It’s really comical to see a fairly large bird try to bathe in a  dish this size.  It’s amazing how wet he gets himself….and everything else to boot.  Sometimes I think he just likes to wash his face.  After his shower comes the fun part, Momma’s blow dryer.  Wheeeeee!  He flaps his wings and shakes his tail.  He just loves the feel of that warm air blowing on his feathers.

With Lucy it’s another matter.  She loves her baths, but usually doesn’t get her back wet.  So every few weeks or so, I’ll give her a little shower to cleanse those back feathers and the tops of her wings.  I do have to hold her or she’ll fly away.  However, when she sees me get  out her bathtub, (my large Corningware cassarole dish), she gets very excited.  I fill it with a couple inches of warm water and she jumps right in.  She needs no invitation.  When she’s finished she climbs out onto the small towel I lay next to her tub and I wrap her up in it just like I did with my kids when they were small.  I kiss her her little beak and tell her she’s my baby as I pat her dry and then let her out to air dry and preen.  She’s not keen on the blow dryer, so in the winter I keep her in the bathroom with the heat lamp on until her feathers are dry.

Last but not least, there’s little Bobbie, our almost 15 year old cockatiel.  We didn’t think she liked baths until one day last fall I caught her SITTING in her water dish!….not splashing around, but just soaking in her tub!  I thought this was hilarious!  And all the time I didn’t think she liked water.  I see her in there much more frequently now, and sometimes she even splashes around a bit.  About a month ago my husband took her in the shower with him just to see what her reaction would be.  She seemed to like it and didn’t attempt to fly away.  So now she gets showers, too, although I’ve not yet intrduced her to the blow dryer.  It might be a bit much for a 15 year old fid.

Bathing is very good for your birds.  I suggest you give them the opportunity to bathe or shower at least a couple times a week.  Some like it everyday.  If they don’t like either one, be sure to mist them frequently in a warm room, away from drafts.  My fids don’t like being misted, but some birds do.  Regular bathing not only keeps your birds feathers in clean, beautiful conditon, but it also helps relieve dry, itchy skin.  Your bird will thank you for it.

 

30 DecOver the Rainbow Bridge

RIP Little BooBoo

To all my friends who have been following Bird Mama’s column over the past year and a half, you can see that there’s been a minor change to my site.  Many of you know of the severe medical problems my husband faced this past year.  Consequently, I was off-line for a long time, during which I lost my domain name because I failed to renew it.  So….since it was purchased by some company that sells that sort of thing (and is now for sale for $1,800!!!), I have a slightly new name, THE Bird Mama, or thebirdmama.com.  Well, wasn’t I always THE Bird Mama anyway??  🙂

I have some very sad news to relate to The Bird Mama’s many friends and followers.  Our eleven year old, half-moon conure, BooBoo, crossed over the Rainbow Bridge this past October.  I could tell he was failing the two preceding months as he seemed to get more and more unstable on his little feet.  For those of you who didn’t know of him, he was a special-needs bird who seemed to have neurological problems with walking and balance.  The vet was never sure what had caused this.  We had no history on him because he had been re-homed several times.

His regular wooden perch was changed to a rope perch because he could grasp it more easily.  I padded the bottom of his cage with a thick, folded towel quite some time ago fearing he might fall and hurt himself.  I covered the towel with layers of soft paper towels which I changed multiple times a day.  As he became more unstable on his feet, I moved his rope perch lower and lower in his cage until it was just an inch from the floor . He could then climb up or down on it using just his beak.  He began sleeping on the padded floor of his cage as he felt more comfortable there and was quite content.

Also, I started using a little wicker basket to keep him in when he wanted to be with us while we ate and when he couldn’t sit on our shoulders.  He liked his little basket because I would put on his special “beautiful music” and place him near the CD player so he could listen to it in the mornings.  He loved sitting there for hours listening to his music.  Frequently in the evening I would put him in his basket, after the other birds had been put to bed, and bring him into our bedroom.  I would then take him out and put him on my chest and give him scritchies while we watched TV.  He just loved that and was so snugly.  He frequently fell asleep on his side or cuddled up to my neck.  He was such a sweet little guy.

In October, I flew to Denver to visit my daughter, granddaughters and first great-granddaughter.  While there, little BooBoo took a turn for the worse.  My husband heard him scream during the night and ran in to see what the matter was.  He was hanging upside down in his cage.  My husband took him out and held him for a long time.  He seemed unable to move except that he was twitching badly.  He then got the little wicker basket and took him into the bedroom and kept him there next to his bed until morning.  He took BooBoo into see the vet as soon as the office was open.  She said that he was having a massive seizure and possibly a stroke, and that there was nothing she could do for him except to keep him comfortable.  So she gave him an injection of morphine.  My husband did not want the vet to euthanize him as she said that he wouldn’t live for more than a few more hours.  He then took BooBoo home and proceeded to hold him the entire day and evening.  We talked on the phone almost hourly.   He put BooBoo in his little basket for the night and kept him right next to his bed, checking on him frequently.  BooBoo actually lived through the night.  In the morning, he tried to pull himself up to the side of his basket and put his little head over the side.  I think he may have been looking for me.  He then looked at my husband and died.  My only regret is that I wasn’t home to love and hold him during his last hours.  Rest in peace, my little BooBoo.  I will always love you.