5 Must-Have Things To Keep Your Pet Bird Comfortable and Healthy

March 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Catch All, Pet Birds

Animal-World's Bird Care - How to Take Care of a Pet Bird

Birds can be amazing pets!

Birds are very low maintenance. When keeping them as pets they take up little room, they are great at socializing, they are easily trained, and best of all… a pet bird can be beautiful to look at!

A happy bird will make a happy owner.

If you’re thinking about getting a bird there are a few easy ways to ensure they remain comfortable and healthy.

Here are the 5 must-haves that every pet bird needs:

See Bird cages at Real Smart

1 – A Nice Big and Airy Cage

Remember that birds are wild animals. They are used to the freedom of flying around and hunting for food. If you are going to enclose them make sure you invest in a good cage, which is the appropriate size for your bird.

Put the cage in an area out of direct sunlight but where your pet bird can see action, nature, and other living things. Although they are great socializers and will thrive on human contact, high traffic areas may be stressful for them, so keep them out of the traffic corridor.

2 – Plenty of Toys

It’s very important that your bird is entertained. Remember, they have nowhere to go so need to be stimulated throughout the day, especially when you’re not there to talk to them. If they get too bored they can develop behavioral problems such as screaming, plucking their feathers, and biting. Essential toys a bird should have are:

  • Foraging Toys: These allow your bird to work for their food like they would in the wild.
  • Chewing Toys: Chewing is a major part of a wild bird’s life and it is essential they can do this while caged.
  • Preening Toys: Preening toys such as rope will satisfy your bird’s needs and stop them plucking their own feathers.

3 – Exercise Equipment

Birds are animals that exercise a lot in the wild so exercise equipment inside their cage will keep them happy and entertained throughout the day. Swinging perches and ladders will not only instigate movement, they are very important for foot and muscle health. Perches that look like natural branches are the best choices, but be sure to get the correct thickness for your bird. Ladders and net climbing obstacles will be great for your pet birds play time and discovery. Also check on the latest innovation that could help your pet. It shouldn’t hurt to try new exercise thingies especially if they look promising.

4 – A Cozy Retreat

Make sure there is a nice place to go so that your bird can find solitude as they would in the wild. This is easily achieved with a bit of fabric on one corner. At nighttime, it’s always a good idea to cover the cage entirely to convey comfort and sleep time. You can also add a small birdhouse inside so the pet can go there anytime it feels like it.

5 – House Keeping

A clean bird cage is essential for your bird’s health and happiness. It’s an easy job to do and made even easier with pre cut cage liners. Changed daily, you will avoid unpleasant smells and bacteria on your cage floor. There are also non-toxic sprays which dissolve droppings, and remove stains and marks from your cage. A good example of this is Poop-Off. Also learn how frequently cleaning should be. The cage doesn’t have to be squeaky clean, because hay and some newspaper trimmings inside can create a nice forest-like atmosphere. But it will be helpful if wastes are removed from time to time.

Melianie Cho of Real Smart, works with pet care and has been working in a pet store for several years, where she advises customers on the best products for their pets. She is also a regular contributor in pet forums and blogs.

The Blue and Gold Macaw

July 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Featured Pets, Pet Birds

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Blue and Gold Macaw!

Ah, the “king” of large birds. I don’t know about you, but when I think of parrots, the Blue and Gold Macaw comes to mind first thing! This is one of the most popular large birds and stands out with its defining bold colors. If you are looking for an exceptionally intelligent parrot, I can guarantee that this macaw is a very good choice. My mother is a Certified Avian Specialist, and because of that I have had the privilege of working with and interacting with many of these birds. I have also had several family friends who have owned these macaws. They all seemed very attached to their owners and every single one was a great talker!

Blue and Gold Macaws are affectionate parrots and can fit in with an entire family or do just fine with only one owner. If well socialized they can also do well with other pets and other birds. They have great personalities and are very adaptable to most environments. You will find a great friend who loves to be with you and participate in any activity you wish him to. Blue and Gold Macaws are great talkers, learning up to 20 words or phrases. They also can learn to do a myriad of tricks and imitations.

The Blue and Gold Macaw

About the Blue and Gold Macaw

When did the Blue and Gold Macaw Ara ararauna first become known? Well, their native habitat extends over much of Central and South America, which is a huge area. Diverse habitats including open grasslands, woodlands, and rainforests all act as homes to these birds. The people who lived in these areas for sure were aware of the existence of these large macaws, however they were first described in 1758 by Linnaeus. They primarily live high up in trees and live in pairs or groups. For meals these macaws will all fly together in the morning and at sunset to go feed on fruits, seeds, and vegetables.

Blue and Gold Macaws are so named because of their colors, which consist of primarily blue and gold or yellow! They are one of the largest macaws, with only the Green-winged Macaws and the Hyacinths being larger. However, there is a larger variation of the Blue and Gold called the Bolivian Blue and Gold (found in Bolivia), which can sometimes rival the size of the Hyacinths. In general though, these birds can weigh over 2 pounds as adults, with a length of up to 35 inches and a wingspan of 45 inches. If you want a life-long companion, these parrots are a good choice because they can live upwards of 60 years!

A Blue and Gold Macaw as a Pet

Determining whether you want a Blue and Gold should be a very well thought out decision. Not only do these birds live a long time, but they also require a lot of attention and plenty of room. This can be expensive and time-consuming. Make sure you have the room to provide a large cage, and you may want to even consider putting the cage in it’s own room – as Macaws can get pretty loud! A playpen outside the cage is desirable as well. Your macaw will need sturdy perches and food and water dishes which can withstand being chewed on. Most parrots will appreciate new toys regularly as well. You will want to let your macaw out for at least a couple hours every day.

Caring for your Blue and Gold Macaw

The best staple food for this macaw is a commercially prepared seed and nut mix. They also enjoy eating with people and many of the things you eat can also be offered to your parrot. Many macaws like protein and will eat chicken. Avoid avocados and chocolate, as these contain toxins for birds. Offer them fresh water every day and clean out their dishes daily.

Taking good care of a macaw is the best way to prevent problems. To keep your macaw healthy you will want to:

  1. Give them lots of attention.
  2. Let them out of their cage daily for exercise and play time.
  3. Offer varied supplemental foods in addition to their seed mix.
  4. Clean out their food and water dishes daily.
  5. Give baths daily (to prevent dry feathers and chewing).
  6. Keep their beak and nails trimmed.
  7. Clip their wings to prevent them accidentally flying off.

Acquiring Your Blue and Gold

Blue and Gold Macaws are one of the most readily available macaws as well as one of the least expensive. Many people get hand-fed babies at bird farms. You should also have no problem finding one at a local pet store or online, either. You may even consider adopting an older bird who has been abandoned or lost their previous owner.

Are you a fan of the large parrots? What species is your favorite and what do you like about them?

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many pet articles and animal write-ups.

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Green-cheeked Conure!

May 27, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Featured Pets, Pet Birds

The Green-cheeked Conure

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Green-cheeked Conure!

Green-cheeked Conures are one of many conure species. They are essentially small parrots and appeal to many people! These birds are one of the more popular types of conures available. They have extremely cute personalities, which I can personally testify to! On more than one occasion I have seen someone come into the pet store and have their attention immediately captivated by one of these little guys. And, eventually, they end up taking the bird home!

Some reasons why the Green-cheeked Conure Pyrrhura molinae is more popular include being smaller and quieter than some other species of conures. They actually look almost identical the the Maroon-bellied Conures, except for having a reddish tinge on their upper tail feathers. Overall they have mostly green bodies with blue flight feathers and maroon colored tails. They also have purple on their bellies. As I mentioned above, these conures tend to be more quiet than other conure species, but that doesn’t mean they won’t still make noise! Make sure you can cope with some noise before choosing one of these birds for a pet. And even though they can make some noise, they are not known for great talking abilities.

Green-cheeked Conures originate in Bolivia but are bred and shipped to many other countries where they are kept as pets. In their natural habitats they are extremely social birds and love to hang out with other Green-cheeked Conures. They often sleep in groups and forage for food together. For this reason these birds often do very well bonding to their owners. They enjoy attention and will love being held and spending time with you. If you want more than one bird, they will generally be happy with another companion bird as well.

Caring and maintaining
these conures is practically the same as other birds of similar size and is not too difficult. They love big cages, so if you have the means, provide them with a large cage! Or plan on letting them out of their cage for long periods of time. A minimum size cage should measure 24”x16”x20”. Make sure to provide them with at least 2 perches inside their cage. Toys are a great addition as well. Providing a playpen area outside of the cage with perches and toys is also recommended. You will want to keep the cage away from drafts. Thoroughly cleaning out the cage once a week will keep it sanitary and prevent illness in your bird.

A good small parrot or conure mixture will work perfectly for feeding your Green-cheeked Conure. It has all the needed nutrition. Feel free to supplement regularly as well. Supplements could include many fruits and vegetables, including spinach, lettuce, carrots, apples, and grapes. They also will sometimes like dog food or monkey chow! Just make sure to never offer avocado, as it is poisonous for birds. Also provide a cuttlebone in the cage. This helps keep their beaks healthy and trimmed. Provide a water dish for drinking, and a larger dish in the bottom for them to take baths in. All dishes – food and water – should be cleaned out daily. If you want to let your conure out regularly, it is a very good idea to have his wings trimmed. This will keep him from accidentally escaping through an open door or window.

If you follow the minimum recommended care guidelines, you most likely will have a hardy and disease-resistant bird! Birds which have problems are generally those who are kept in unclean conditions and not fed a balanced diet or given any supplements. But even the best cared for birds will sometimes get sick. Watch out for ruffled feathers, diarrhea, sneezing and discharge from their noses, labored breathing, and behavioral changes. These could all indicate your Green-cheeked Conure is ill and not feeling well. Taking them to a veterinarian is usually the best course of action in these circumstances. Also, if your bird is stressed or not given enough attention, they can resort to feather plucking, biting, and/or screaming. These problems generally just indicate a need to pay more attention to your bird or to change their environment. For example, simply moving the cage to a different, quieter, room can dramatically reduce the stress your bird feels.

Green-cheeked Conures are usually readily available almost everywhere in the United States. If you are wanting to commit to one of these birds you should be able to acquire one from most pet stores or even look up breeders online. These birds are the perfect pet for many people! Check out the Guide to a Happy, Healthy Conure for more information on Conures in general!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Society Finch!

March 3, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Featured Pets, Pet Birds

The Society Finch

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Society Finch!

Society Finches are another great, easy to care for, all-around great, small bird for beginners! Finches in general, are a great pet bird to just look at, listen to, and keep yourself entertained with. We had so many finches come through the pet store because people just loved them! They would be sold out regularly. I personally think the Society Finch is one of the prettiest finches available. Not only are they pretty, but they are very social and you can keep several of them together!

Finches are really good birds for beginners. The Society Finch Lonchura domestica is a very small, very hardy, very easy to care for, and inexpensive bird. Especially when you compare them to the care required for most larger birds. They are also called “society” finches for a reason – because they LOVE to be social! They do best when kept in groups of many birds and are not aggressive at all! Finches are not generally handled and are primarily just used to look at and listen to. They play and chirp together and are happy when they have several companions. These birds are also very good at breeding; you can easily end up with several babies if you have a large group of finches!

The exact background on these birds is not known. It is thought that the Japanese and Chinese probably developed them by specifically breeding a bird called the White-backed Munia, which is another type of finch. This happened at least 300 years ago and it is not 100% certain this is how they came to be, or the exact reasons of why they were bred. They are, however, completely domesticated birds and are not found in the wild. This makes them great as pets!

Society Finches are very small, reaching less than 5 inches when full grown. They also come in quite a mix of patterns from three basic color varieties. These varieties include white, white and fawn, and white and chocolate. They have also been developed to have crested forms, all solid colors, and tri-colored birds. Quite a variety to choose from!

Caring for these birds couldn’t be easier. Finch Care is easy enough in general. The first rule of thumb is: provide them with fresh food and fresh water every day! Food can consist of a purchased finch seed mix and green vegetables. To mix it up a bit or as a treat feel free to occasionally offer them apples, pears, and egg foods. Society Finches also need to ingest grit to help digest their food and to provide trace elements and minerals. You can purchase grit at a pet store as well and it can be provided in a separate dish or spread over the bottom of their cage where they can readily reach it. Offering cuttle bones is also a good idea. Cuttle bones give them needed calcium to keep their beaks strong and to keep their eggshells healthy during breeding.

Society Finches do enjoy baths so feel free to offer them a dish of water occasionally on the bottom of their cage where they can bathe. Be prepared to trim their nails if they become too long. If you give them rough perches they may need their nails trimmed rarely or never. But do keep an eye on them regardless.

Provide a roomy cage for several society finches. Keep the cage away from drafts and direct sunlight. Make sure to change out the paper and clean out the cage every few days. If you really want to go all out, you can set up an aviary for them. These finches do very well in aviaries! They love the room to fly and having many companion birds.

If you want to try your hand at bird breeding, Society Finches are a great bird to start with. They breed readily and easily. You can choose to breed just one pair, or have at least 3 or more pairs in the same space (to reduce territorial fighting). Make sure there are plenty of nesting spaces which are closed or at least partially closed. As I mentioned before, make sure you are feeding your finches properly and giving them cuttle bones to ensure their eggs and offspring will be healthy. Females will lay 4-6 eggs and will do all the sitting on them. The eggs hatch within 12 to 13 days and both the males and females will help to feed the young.

Society Finches are extremely hardy birds. If you take care of them, they will almost certainly thrive! Keep their cages clean, provide them with a proper diet, and you should have very healthy birds!

Read more on Society Finches if these little birds pique your interest! If you are a breeder or want to become one, then good luck! These are great birds!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Double Yellow-headed Amazon!

January 13, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Featured Pets, Pet Birds

The Double Yellow-headed Amazon

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Double Yellow-headed Amazon!

Have you ever wondered what the most popular Amazon Parrot kept as a pet is? It is the Double Yellow-headed Amazon Parrot! With the Blue-fronted Amazon Parrot coming in close behind. When you are looking for a large parrot to keep as a pet, many people will steer you to the Double Yellow-headed Amazon Amazona oratrix. These Amazons are one of the best talkers and they can sing well too! At the pet store I worked at we always had at least one Double Yellow-headed and usually another less common type of Amazon as well, just to spruce things up a bit. We often got them as young babies and I helped hand-feed many of these youngsters! It was quite rewarding working with parrots at such a young age.

The Double Yellow-headed Amazon is a beautiful bird and a GREAT talker! That’s the main reason why people choose this one over others. They are very out-going and love to “cause a scene”! These Amazons love drama and will do all sorts of things to gain and keep their owners attention! This includes turning their head upside down, fanning out their tails, and dilating their pupils in and out very quickly. They should be handled and trained from a very young age to ensure they are tame and don’t get too rowdy. They are usually very social birds and love human companionship, but they also need down time where they can be alone and in their own space.

The Double Yellow-headed Amazons have been kept as pets for several hundred years now (pretty crazy to think about!), and they have definitely been favored. They were actually given a name and described for the first time in 1887 by Ridgeway. Other names they are known by include the Yellow-headed Amazon and the Yellow-headed Parrot. These Amazons originate from Central America and some coastal areas of Mexico. They inhabit regions such as forests and savannahs where there are plenty of nuts, seeds, berries, and other fruit. Usually they stay together as a flock or sometimes in pairs. The Double Yellow-headed Amazon is on the IUCN Red List for Endangered Species and is listed as Endangered (EN).

The care and feeding of these Amazons is like most other large parrots. They need a large enough cage where they can get around and stretch their wings. They should also have ample time outside their cage with a play area specifically for them. Their cage should be kept away from drafts, as birds in general are prone to respiratory illnesses. Give them plenty of perches and toys. You will probably find that switching out toys every month or so and giving them new ones will make your Amazon especially happy! Also, providing them with a rough or concrete perch can help tremendously in keeping their nails trimmed so that you don’t have to do it as often, or at all! Plan on trimming their wings periodically too. This will ensure they don’t get very far out an open door or window and become lost.

Give your Double Yellow-headed Amazon a wide and varied diet. Seed mixes or pellets bought at the store can be the bulk of their food. Feel free to give them plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables along with most other table foods from your meals. Some parrots like protein – such as chicken – as well. Give them clean, fresh water daily. You may want to provide a separate bowl or deep dish specifically for bathing. Amazons love bath time!

These Amazons rarely become ill if provided with a proper environment and are well-cared for. Some signs to look out for that they may be stressed or ill include: feather plucking, rasping, watery eyes, ruffled feathers, or moodiness. There are other signs too, so generally just keep an eye out for behaviors or appearances which vary from normal. If you suspect your bird is sick, definitely seek a veterinarian’s care.

If you are looking for an inquisitive, out-going, and fun-loving talking parrot, the Double Yellow-headed Amazon is certainly a good place to start!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Red Factor Canary!

November 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Catch All, Featured Pets, Pet Birds

The Hamster

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Red Factor Canary!

Canaries are unique little birds and there is a HUGE variety of them! You can choose from so many different types if a canary is a pet you want. I am going to focus on the Red Factor Canary Serinus canaria because they are one of my personal favorites. I think they are beautiful and I love to watch them. They are one of the popular canaries among enthusiasts and are bred specifically to bring out their color. They are entertaining birds and easy to care for.

Most canaries in general are known for their singing abilities. However the Red Factor Canary is known for its color rather than its singing. They are known as “color canaries” and are not bred to enhance singing or physical traits, but are bred to enhance their color. For hundreds of years canaries have been kept in captivity and each specific natural occurring type was bred. As time went on more and more colors were coming out while breeding. People began to think they could influence these colors and by the 1900′s color bred canaries started to emerge. Red Factor Canaries in particular started to emerge shortly after 1929, when a German geneticist came up with a theory. He believed a red colored canary could come out if Venezuelan Black Hooded Red Siskins were introduced into the breeding line. And sure enough, the first Red Factor emerged successfully by A.K. Gill in Britain. The Canary Colour Breeders Association began in 1947.

Many people keep canaries to show them, especially the Red Factor Canary. They are divided into two classes, the Lipochromes and the Melanins. And these classes are then divided into subclasses, frosts or non-frosts (depending on their color brightness), and hard or soft feathers. They are relatively small birds, reaching 5.5 inches.

On to the basics of care. These canaries are easy to care for. They need a roomy cage with different perches and maybe a swing. The easiest way to feed them is to give them prepared canary seed mixes found at any pet store. Give them fresh greens a couple times a week to supplement their diet and as a treat. Also make sure to provide a cuttlebone to help keep their beaks in shape and provide them with calcium. If you are concerned with keeping their red color intense, you should focus on feeding them color-enhancing foods. Three chemicals help enhance color: carotenoids, Canthaxanthin, and Beta-Carotene. Foods with these chemicals include beets, sweet potatoes, berries, cherries, squashes, and tomatoes. Some people also add tiny amounts of cayenne pepper and paprika. You can also buy prepared carotenoid concentrates to simply add to their regular food in the proper amounts.

Other routine maintenance activities include providing them with fresh water and fresh bath water (they love baths). Also trim their nails and keep their cage clean! Red Factor Canaries are also very social birds and so you may want to keep more than one together. If you want a good singer, it is best to keep a male by itself.

These canaries are more difficult to breed than other types. However, read up on these Breeding and Reproduction Guidelines for Canaries if you would like to try your hand at it.

As I noted before, these canaries are hardy and easy to keep. They should have few problems if taken care of properly. They are also readily available for purchase. They can usually be found at pet stores, online, from breeders, or even at bird shows and clubs.

Read more on Animal-World’s Red Factor Canary page!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Diamond Dove!

September 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Catch All, Featured Pets, Pet Birds

The Diamond Dove

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Diamond Dove!

Diamond Doves Geopelia cuneata are one of the most common doves kept as pets. People like them because of their beauty and their easy care requirements. My main exposure to them (other than through the pet store) was with a friend who bred them in her house. She had several doves, both Diamond Doves and Ringneck Doves. Breeding them and having them in her home was truly her passion!

The Ringneck Dove Streptopelia risoria, is larger and is actually the most popular pet dove. However the Diamond Dove comes in a close second! Diamond Doves are very easy to care for and are quite hardy. They are great for first-time bird keepers, for people who just want a low-maintenance bird, and for dove lovers! They are easy to breed as well, for those interested in breeding. They are generally considered a “domestic” bird because they are so widely bred and available in the pet market. But they also live in the wild and have no problems there.

The native home of the Diamond Dove is in Northern and Central Australia. Their natural habitat is in open grasslands and sparsely wooded areas near water. They can also be found near human populated areas such as parks and gardens. They are part of the popular “Turtle Dove” category and are fairly small birds. They are slightly larger than canaries and have very long tails. They live to be around 10 years old, which is a good lifespan for someone not looking for a lifetime commitment but who still wants a companion for a good time. These birds have white spots that look like diamonds on their gray backs and shoulders, hence their name “Diamond” dove. They have reddish eyes with a orbital red ring around them. Males tend to have darker coloring overall than the females. These doves can also come in a variation of colors such as silver, pied, cinnamon, and many others.

Dove care is relatively simple and easy. Most people keep them in a fairly large aviary but they can also be kept in a regular cage. These cages should be at least 18 inches square to give them enough space to move around in. Diamond doves are very hardy. They can be kept outside in cold conditions, but to keep them in optimum health a heat source should be provided. They can be fed a finch or parakeet food mix purchased at a pet store. As a supplement provide them with cuttlebones, grit, and occasional greens and spray millet. Doves are social birds and so you may want to consider keeping more than one together. They also get along well with other bird types, such as canaries and finches!

If you are interested in breeding doves, diamond doves are a good choice. They don’t breed quite as easily as Ringneck Doves, but they aren’t particularly difficult to breed, either. Provide them with a nest (dried twigs, grass, etc.) in a large enclosure or aviary and make sure you have both males and females. You can tell the difference in the sexes at about 6 months of age. Males have a larger orange ring around their eyes compared to females. The females will lay two eggs in the provided nest which will then hatch around 13-14 days later. When you notice they are weaned you will want to remove them from the cage so the parents don’t try to run them off.

To keep these birds healthy and free of problems, make sure to provide them a safe, dry, and clean environment. They are generally hardy birds if their basic needs are met!

Diamond Doves are easy and hardy birds to keep as pets as well as good breeders. For more information, Animal-World’s Diamond Dove page has everything you could want to know!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Pet Parrot Keeping is Endangered! Bird Lover’s Please Help

September 2, 2012 by  
Filed under Animal News, Catch All, Pet Birds

Endangered Macaws

Below is a letter from Susan Clubb asking for people to comment on the new proposed listing of 4 species of Macaw as Endangered and to fill out a survey on the bird(s) they own. There is much concern on how this could negatively impact these macaws in the United States, without actually helping the species in the wild. There is controversy over whether the Government should be allowed to require all macaws to be licensed. You can also read the Veterinary Practice News article Feds Propose Protecting Four Macaw Species as Endangered for more information.

Dear Fellow Aviculturists,

I’m sure you have all heard about the pending listing of Hyacinth macaws, Scarlet macaws, Buffon’s macaws and Military macaws on the US Endangered Species list. If approved this will prohibit interstate sales of these species without ESA permits or CBW (captive bred wildlife) permits for both buyer and seller. The justification is that more money will be available for conservation of listed species, however If conservation funds are going from the US government to help other parrots listed on ESA, I am unaware of them (excluding the Puerto Rican Parrot which is a native species). It is my feeling that this listing will have only negative effects on aviculture for these species in the US with no real benefit for the species in the wild. They are already protected from international trade by their listing on Appendix I of CITES.

The comment period for this is over on Sept 4 so we have very little time. The beauty of Survey Monkey is that the results are tabulated automatically so if many people respond, I will have virtually instant results which can then be reported to USFWS.

I wanted to be able to give the US Fish and Wildlife Service some sort of indication of how many people, and birds, would be affected if these species are listed, and some idea of how many of these birds are being bred in the US. This translates into economic impact.

I know that aviculturists have historically been very reluctant to participate in surveys because of the potential for theft. In this case, I am doing the survey myself, independently. I am covering all the costs, and will send the report to USFWS myself. The only identifier for you will be your Zip code. There is a space at the bottom where you can provide an email address if you want.

The survey is short and easy. Basically I ask how many of these species you currently possess, how many you have bred and/or sold in the last 10 years (can be an estimate if you are unsure) and if this listing will have an adverse effect on your hobby or business. You can do it in a few minutes.

Please cross-post this to anyone that you know who may breed or own these species. Even pet owners can respond because if they decide to sell their pets, they will only be able to do that within their state, which severely limits anyones market. We just need numbers. PLEASE take a few moments to help. If you have any questions please send them directly to me. Follow the link to the survey. Thanks in advance for your participation.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ZRTMLRF

Sincerely,
Susan Clubb, DVM
Rainforest Clinic for Birds and Exotics Inc
Hurricane Aviaries, Inc

susanclubb.com

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Eclectus Parrot!

August 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Catch All, Featured Pets, Pet Birds

The Eclectus Parrot

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Eclectus Parrot!

The Eclectus Parrot Eclectus roratus is one of the most beautiful and brilliant colored parrots! My primary experience with them was at the pet store I worked at, as well as visiting at various bird breeding facilities. We had several pairs come through the pet store and they for sure attracted quite a few people over to ooh and aah over them! One of the most interesting facts about them is that the males and females are different colors. The males basic colors are green on top with red on their bellies and under their wings. The females basic colors are red on top with purple or blue on their bellies and under their wings.

Although their colors alone make them desirable to look at, they also have several traits that make them good pets as well. They are very good talkers and have calm personalities. If they are well-socialized with humans while young, then they often become very affectionate and accepting of them as their companions. They tend to like quieter environments and become very attached to their cages and play areas. They also do very well with routines and are easy to care for because of this. These attributes make them ideal pets for older people or people without noisy children and/or lots of visitors. They become stressed easily if there is lots of noise or new routines every day.

The Eclectus Parrot originates in Australia, Maluki Islands, New Guinea, Soloman Island, and other Pacific Islands near Eastern Indonesia. It was described in 1776 by Muller. Only one species is currently in existence from the Eclectus genus and that is the Eclectus roratus. There has been fossils found of another species however, Eclectus infectus, which is extinct now. There are now 10 or more subspecies from the existing Eclectus roratus, and four of these can be found as pets.

The care and feeding of the Eclectus Parrot is mostly easy and straight-forward. Provide them with a hookbill bird seed mix and supplement with whatever fruits and vegetables you have on hand. The fruits and vegetables are a necessity because these foods are what provide them with most of their Vitamin A and fiber, which keeps their digestive track healthy. The two foods that should definitely be avoided are avocado and chocolate, which are poisonous to birds. A cuttle bone should be provided for them to chew on. This keeps their beaks trimmed down and is a good source of calcium for them. Provide them with fresh water daily as well, to keep them healthy. You may also want to provide a dish of water on the bottom of the cage so they can bathe.

Provide them with a large enough cage or aviary that they have plenty of room to move and climb around. They should be given several perches and toys and swings to play with/on. You will also want to take them out daily and have a separate play area. These parrots crave routine. They can become territorial over their certain “areas” as well. As I mentioned before, these birds are social and can become very attached to their human owners as well as to other companion birds. They are fairly easy to tame and handle. In general, the females are the more dominant of the sexes and can become more aggressive – especially near breeding time.

The Eclectus Parrot does not have any general health problems and usually remains healthy if well taken care of. Some signs of illness to look out for include wheezing, watery eyes, diarrhea, plucked or ruffled feathers, and extreme changes in their mood. If you see any of these, it is best to get them to a veterinarian to have them checked out.

These really are fascinating birds with their amazing colors and personalities! Check out more on the them on Animal-World’s Eclectus Parrot page!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Project Osprey

June 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Animal News, Catch All, Pet Birds, Wild Animals

Osprey
The Osprey

Photo Wiki Commons
Courtesy NASA
Licensed under Public Domain

The Osprey Pandion haliaetus, is a large bird of prey found by bodies of fresh water all over the world. They are raptors and their diet consists mostly of fish. They can reach 24 inches inches in length and have a wingspan that can reach up to 71 inches! Other names they go by are the Sea Hawk, Fish Hawk, or Fish Eagle. The Osprey almost became non-existent in many areas of the United States due to use of the DDT pesticide after World War II. This pesticide interfered with calcium production during reproduction, resulting in thin-shelled eggs which were easily broken or infertile eggs. DDT was banned in 1972 and since then populations of Osprey have come back to many bodies of water.

Below is a live camera showing a nest of Osprey in Missoula, Montana. The camera was set here to aid in the Project Osprey which is studying these birds.

Watch live streaming video from hellgateosprey at livestream.com

Project Osprey is a study going on at the University of Montana. It is investigating inorganic contaminants such as mercury in these birds and using the results to help determine environmental health in surrounding areas. These large raptors are useful in determining environmental conditions in local lakes and rivers because they are at the top of the food chain and eat primarily fish obtained from these bodies of water. Therefore what is contained in these birds is also contained in the fish they eat and in the environment the fish live in. The project has been ongoing for for six breeding seasons now and a study detailing the mercury and other contaminants found in Osprey in the Clark Fork River Basin has been published.

If you would like to see pictures of other wild birds, check out Animal-Image.

References

http://www.cas.umt.edu/geosciences/faculty/langner/Osprey/montanaosprey4t/index.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osprey

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