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.
Susan Clubb, DVM
Rainforest Clinic for Birds and Exotics Inc
Hurricane Aviaries, Inc
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.
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.
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.
Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Parakeet!
Most likely, you or someone you know has owned a parakeet! They are one of the more popular of the smaller birds, for many reasons. They can learn to talk and whistle, have a shorter lifespan than many of the larger parrots, and are relatively easy to care for. While working at the pet store, I saw many of these birds come and go to new homes. I enjoyed cleaning their cages every day and whistling along with them!
Parakeets are also called Budgerigars, or Budgies. Their scientific name is Melopsittacus undulatus and they are part of the Psittacidae family. They come in many various color combinations, over 100 actually! This makes for a very interesting and unique looking bird! Their primary colors are green, blue, gray, white, yellow, opaline, and pied. Parakeets in general are usually very affectionate towards their owners (especially if trained while young). They are inexpensive and can be trained to do a multitude of tricks. They do require a lot of interaction because they are very social birds by nature. If you do not think you will have a whole lot of one-on-one time available to be with your bird, you should consider bringing home at least one companion bird as well. They have an average lifespan of 12-14 years with proper care.
The history of the Parakeet begins in Australia. They were first noted by European John Gould in 1865 in his book, “Birds of Australia.” These birds are actually part of the parrot family and belonged to a tribe called the Platycercini in Australia. They originate in the desert-like part of central Australia where there is little precipitation. This little to no rain environment has truly helped this bird become hardy! They are also monogamous birds in the wild as well as captivity and so will generally pick a mate for life. Unless of course, their primary mate dies.
Now onto the care and feeding of the Parakeet/Budgerigar. As I stated above, they are relatively inexpensive with fairly easy care requirements. The housing requirements of the parakeet include a roomy cage with plenty of places to climb. A play area that can be put on top of the cage is also a good idea. This will give your parakeet(s) a place to hang out when not in the cage and that helps give more interaction time with you and different scenery to your bird. Include perches and toys/swings/mirrors in the cage. Parakeets also love taking baths, so a bath house or bowl is another good idea. Free-flying time is very important for these birds for both exercise and their mental well-being, so make sure that there is a block of time most days that you can allow them to be out and flying about!
As far as food goes – they need a variety of seeds and fresh foods. A good parakeet seed mix can be bought at local pet stores. Give them fresh fruits and vegetables occasionally as well. However, some food items are not good for them, including cabbage, avocado, green beans, and several others. Good fresh foods for them include Lettuce, carrots, spinach, apples and bananas. Also provide spray millet, cuttle bones (for their beaks) and mineral blocks. Fresh water should be given daily.
Parakeets or budgerigars are pretty hardy birds. They of course can get respiratory illnesses if kept in drafty areas and that is something to watch out for. If you notice them plucking their feathers that is also a sign of a problem. If they are lonely due to not having a companion bird or enough interaction time with you, they can become bored and begin plucking their feathers.
Animal-World’s page on Parakeets/Budgerigars is a great place to start reading if you want to familiarize yourself more with these birds!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
“Technically I’m not a hawk – I just look like one! Another name I go by is the Red Fan Parrot.”
The Hawk-Headed Parrot looks like a hawk because of it’s ability to make a ruff around
The Hawk-Headed Parrot has a unique ability. They can raise their neck feathers quite extensively when they become excited or agitated which gives them a a hawk-like appearance! Most parrots can raise their feathers to some degree, but the Hawk-headed Parrot can do it to a much larger extent! The colorful neck feathers look almost like an open fan when they are displayed fully, which is where they get their other common name – the Red Fan Parrot.
The Hawk-headed Parrot is known for its intelligence and personality that can range from being endearing, adventurous, and mischievous, and fearless. They love to entertain their human friends and always have new antics to show you! It has some behaviors that just seem absolutely bizarre. They also are extremely friendly birds and will follow you around all day if you let them… Read More
Conures – Bird Guides
“Here is everything you know about conures, as well as a few things that you may not know about them!”
Conures are large parrots who come in small packages – they are comical,
affectionate and beautiful!
Conures are members of the parrot family, but are actually one of the smaller to medium sized parrots. They can make wonderful pets! Conures have cone shaped tails, which is what the word “conure” actually means! They can be found in the wild throughout the new world, including southern and central regions of America.
Conure parrots have tapered tails and generally slender bodies which distinguishes them from some of the larger parrots. They can be quite hyper, with energetic personalities, and attractive colors – both of which make them desirable pets. They are also quite intelligent birds, they can learn to talk, they love to play, and they even have a sense of humor!
Many people say that conures are like miniature macaws because they have all their great colors, personalities, and other qualities of macaws, yet they come in smaller sizes! They do have large heads with very powerful beaks and come in several color varieties… Read More
“What could be a more excellent pet than a splendid little fellow like me. Friendly, brains and color all in one… I dance, perform, and talk up a storm!”
The Senegal Parrot is a small parrot, but has a big bird personality!
The Senegal Parrot Poicephalus senegalus, are also called the Yellow-vented Parrot, is a delightful small parrot and can be easily trained. They are known for their mischievousness and acrobatics! They adapt quickly and easily to new environments and will become your companion quickly, wanting to cuddle as soon as they get used to you! People who own a Senegal Parrot often say they are great companions and are a source of amusement.
Senegal Parrots love to have routines in their lives and definitely get to know their owners habits. They need interaction with their owners so make sure you spend at least an hour a day with your parrot because they need social interaction, even if that just means holding him/her while you are watching TV. Senegal Parrots are known for becoming very attached to their human companion and can become jealous of other people when they come around. If there are several people who live in a new Senegal Parrots home, make sure to socialize the bird with all members of the household to avoid too much possessiveness on the part of the Senegal… Read More
Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Zebra Finch!
If you would like to try out a bird as a pet, the Zebra Finch may be a great way to go! They are small, easy to care for, relatively hardy, and inexpensive! I know many people who have had them for pets, and they are especially good for an older child who would like a bird but who may not be ready for the responsibility and care that comes with a larger bird such as a conure or parrot. They are a good bird that is best enjoyed by sitting back and watching and listening to them – rather than handling and training them. They are very active birds and love to tweet and fly around often.
The Zebra Finch Poephila guttata castanotis originated in Australia and has been one of the most popular pet birds for over 100 years! In Australia, they are naturally wild in over 90% of its landmass, they live and breed in groups, and feed on grass seeds from the ground. They actually live a fairly long life in domestic conditions – up to 12 years with decent care – and are quite easy to breed in captivity if you have a desire to do so.
Their care is not hard to accommodate into most people’s lives, although it does take daily maintenance. They should be provided with fresh water every day as well as fresh food. The best food for them is a finch seed mix – which can be found at virtually any pet store. Treats can be offered occasionally, which could include moistened bread, green vegetables (lettuce, celery tops and spinach), and packaged bird seed treats from pet stores. It is essential that you provide them with grit which contains charcoal because they need it to aid in their digestion and provide them with certain minerals. You can purchase this grit at a pet store as well and either spread it on the bottom of their cage or provide it in a separate dish from their food. They should also be given a cuttlebone to provide them with calcium. Calcium helps keep their beaks strong as well as aids in reproduction.
Zebra finches also need and love baths, so providing them with a bowl of bathwater every day is great for their health and well-being. Their nails will continue to grow as well, so it is best to keep an eye on them and if you notice their nails getting a little long you will want to trim them back a tiny bit.
If you want to provide optimal conditions for your zebra finch(es), make sure to provide a cage that is big enough for them to fly in and that is larger horizontally than vertically because they love to fly in a horizontal direction. This will help keep them in good physical shape and they will be happier overall. Also provide at least one or two perches (depending on how big the cage is) so that they have places to stand other than the cage bottom. These birds also do much better when kept in pairs and not singly – so plan on buying at least 2 finches and ensure the cage is large enough to accommodate that!
As I stated earlier, zebra finches are hardy little birds and rarely get sick. As long as you keep them in a healthy environment, provide the proper diet, and keep them out of drafts (all birds should be kept out of drafty areas), you will most likely have a very healthy bird (or pair of birds!) for many years.
Zebra Finches are available almost everywhere and should be easy to find if you would like to purchase one. For more detailed information on their care, read up on Animal-World’s Zebra Finch care guide!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
“Keeping a pet bird means good bird care! This bird care basics guide includes everything you need to know from bird cages, food and supplies to health care, exercise and safety!”
To have a great pet bird, it must begin with the best bird care!
Many different types of pet birds are available and they can all make amazing pets if given the best of care. Most birds are social creatures and need and love close contact with their owners. Some other birds just love talking and singing which can give you feelings of having a friend there. The largest birds, parrots often become very close friends, loving to nap, sometimes shower, and eat with you! Most just love interaction of any kind.
Taking on a bird as a pet does take some work and dedication as well as some common sense. All birds have the same needs as far as bird care basics are concerned. For instance, every bird needs a cage that is tailored to their size and includes perches, bird feeders with the appropriate food, and fresh water… Read More
“Vibrantly brilliant color! Eclectus parrots are first about color, and then adorable and lovable, it just doesn’t get any better than this!”
Eclectus parrots have amazing coloring, with the males and females having striking
The Eclectus parrots Eclectus roratus are beautiful and smart birds. Out of all parrot species, the Eclectus parrots one of the most sexually dimorphic and brilliantly colored. They do best as pets when they are socialized with humans at a young age. They usually grow to love human company and become very affectionate. They are good at copying sounds, including the telephone and the microwave! They can become very good talkers as well.
Eclectus Parrots are pretty laid back in general and most people like this about them. They will often play quietly by themselves for hours at a time on their perches when provided with a variety of toys. They do become distressed with a lot of noise and too much going on around them. Generally calm birds, they do become apprehensive when introduced into new situations… Read More