Saturday, December 09, 2006

What do Birds like Eating?

What do birds like eating? Here we came to my favorite topic : I am a great glutton that is why I try to please my birds .

The main parrot food is millet. It is sold in every ”bird” shop . There should always be enough millet into the bird cage , birds know themselves how much to eat . They also enjoy oats very much but only oats ( unpeeled , absolutely natural ) which I haven't seen anywhere in shops : – ((. It is found only as an addition in combined foods . As a compromise variant oat kernels can be given .

They also enjoy sunflower seeds , but not baked of course Give sunflower seeds to your bird only several times per month because it contains lots of fats and the bird gets stout. Before giving it to the bird it is good to crash it slightly (thus they will consume it easily) .

They absolutely adore fresh vegetables! They die for cucumbers , lettuce, carrots, peppers and pepper seeds ( they should not be hot !). They also eat cabbage . Be careful with nitrates ! They are particularly harmful for birds as they can even kill them If it is possible prevent buying foods cultivated in green – houses.

Other " green food ” that they like very much is ordinary fresh and tender grass . I mean ryegrass , clover especially couch – grass or something likes , but not that grass ! Something that you should never give them is parsley ! I don ' t know why , but it is written so in the books and I have ' n ' t made experiments what will happen to them if I feed birds with parsley .

Give them fresh fruit at any possibility apples (They like cores because of the seeds ), pears , plums and also pumpkin. I haven't noticed them to like citrus fruit .

All fruit and vegetables should be well washed .

G ive them hard – boiled egg ( a quarter of egg per two birds ) at least once a month. From it they supply themselves with proteins and vitamin D.

Don't throw the shell away ! Give it to them finely crushed . It provides them with calcium .

Another resource of calcium is chalk . Birds gnaw it with appetite so be sure always to provide chalk in the cage .

Birds like eating bread. It doesn't matter what kind it is . Put a piece of slightly damped bread between the bars and they will tackle it so that your appetite will come back to you.

There should always be sand in the bird cage ( that is why I told you in the beginning that you should buy two vessels for food ). They need the sand in order to assimilate food easier. Food does not go to the bird's stomach directly. Before that it stays for some time into its throat. There due to enzymes and the sand all grain foods taken get broken to pieces, get soft and get digested preliminary . The sand should be fine , that is why you must sift it well and to remove the coarse fractions , because they can block the bird ' s throat . It is compulsory to wash the sand , to boil it for a sort time in hot water, to dry it and only then to give it to the birds . Sea – sand is very appropriate , but it must be well – washed from salt !!! Salt is not very useful for birds .

Birds - Egg Laying Can Kill Your Pet

Birds lay eggs; that's what they do. But did you know that this could be deadly for your pet?

My beloved bird is a cockatiel. She's a beautiful bird and a great companion. About twice a year she gets in a mood to respond to her God given natural activity of egg laying. The first time she ever did this it was really cute.

The problem was, the egg wasn't fertilized, so it wouldn't hatch. So after a while of the egg not hatching, she determined the trick was to lay another egg, only to get the same results. This led to more eggs until she had six or seven eggs she was watching over.

When I first got her I did some research on the Internet about cockatiels and bird care. So when this egg laying event was happening, I remembered reading something about it depleting them of calcium. I went back and read more about it. Sure enough, laying eggs depletes them of calcium and that is deadly to them.

I decided I had to take away her eggs. I didn't want to lose her over this. So, away they went. I made sure she watched me do it so she would know it's dangerous to lay eggs in her cage. They won't lay them if they are not comfortable with the nesting area.

That didn't stop her. She started again and I took them away again. After a few rounds of this, I decided to pull the bedding out of the cage, thinking it would make it less 'homey' for her and she would knock of the egg laying. It did stop for the season, but a season later she got the call to lay again and we resumed the battle.

As the days and weeks went by, she insisted she was going to lay the eggs and I insisted she wasn't. But, she was winning, in spite of my removing them. Then it happened...

One day I walked by her cage and there she was, in the bottom of her cage, still and silent and her limbs and head were twisted into a nearly grotesque position and I couldn't tell if she was even still alive. I was devastated; even to the point of not being able to react.

The evidence seemed clear that I would lose her. This was not a goldfish, but a friend. We talked and played every day. We ate and went to sleep at the same time. She sat on my shoulder and cheered me on as I worked at my computer. There would be no replacement bird; no more than you can replace your child.

I couldn't think right so I had to call on a friend. As we raced down the highway towards the veterinarian, I kept talking to my bird hoping to keep her awake and maybe get that little 'peep' to tell me she was going to be okay.

We rushed her into the emergency room and the vet rushed her behind those swinging doors. Had I seen the last of my bird?

They came out and asked me to step back into another room, where I waited to hear the news. I was waiting for the 'bird nurse' to come out and break it to me, when the door opened and I only saw her back. She walked backwards through the door and as she cleared the door she turned around to reveal the white cage I had brought my pet bird in.

Inside that cage was a vibrant, confused and curious cockatiel who saw me and let out a loud chirp as if to ask, "What's up?" My bird was going to make it and doing just fine!

She had gone into a seizure because of calcium deficiency from laying the eggs. They gave her a shot of calcium to revive her. They also gave her a shot that was supposed to keep her from laying eggs. They said it might need to be done every month.

Sure enough, several weeks went by and she was back in the egg laying business. I didn't know what to do. I couldn't keep taking her to the veterinarian every month for expensive shots, but I couldn't go through that again.

I sat looking at her cage one day thinking about how I could make it less desirable for her to lay eggs. Finally, the light bulb went off.

I jumped up, went to the pet store and bought her a cage big enough for a parrot (remember, she's only a cockatiel). The reason I wanted this was because of the big grates on the bottom of the cage. She can still walk around the bottom of the cage, but she cannot nest an egg there because it falls through the grate.


The study of birds is called ornithology; it is a hobby that many people love pursuing. Many bird lovers love bird watching to study birds. Bird lovers often care so much for their birds that they have birdbaths and birdfeeders, along with their regular birdcages and birdhouses. For those who are interested in pursuing this hobby, there are many bird books available through which one can obtain interesting information about birds. And for friends who love birds, you can always present them with one of the many bird lover gifts that are available at the bird shops!

Birds are mainly found on major land masses from the poles to the tropics and over the seas and oceans. The most common wild bird in the world is the Red-billed Quelea from Africa, while the most common domestic bird is the Red Junglefow, commonly known as the common domestic chicken. The rarest bird is hard to distinguish, as a large number of birds have been considered rare for quite some time like the Sudanese Red Sea Cliff Swallow. Since the 1600s, human interference alone has led to the extinction of about 115 species of birds. The largest living bird is the Ostrich, which is 2.74m high and weighs at the most 160 kilograms, while the heaviest flying bird is said to be the Kori Bustard of Africa, weighing up to a record 19kg! It’s hard to believe, but the smallest bird is the Bee Hummingbird from Cuba, which weighs only 1.6 grams!

The world of birds is indeed a vast one with about 9,703 species of birds divided into 23 orders, 142 families and 2,057 genera. This is just the number of types of birds found. If we look at the total number of birds there may be on the planet, scientists suggest there may be between 100,000 to 200,000 million adult birds on the planet at any one time.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Birds Are People Too!

Many bird lovers find themselves closer to birds than many people, indeed birds are our friends and they seem to be intrigued by humans for the most part. Many people have birds as pets and find them to be quite content to be our companions.

One author; Dale Sheldrake has written several books, which discuss how birds and people can communicate at times via brain waves or something other than verbal communication. His verified studies and research even show the ability of birds to communicate over many miles of separation. Yet how can this be? People cannot do that?

Well actually it appears people can. For instance have you ever heard your phone ring and just knew who it was or had been thinking about someone and suddenly they call? How do they do that anyway? Well, it turns out this is perfectly normal and although it does not happen so often in long-lost tribes they describe this ability as common and they use it to communicate. Very interesting.

And did you know that sometimes wild birds over 60 miles away and totally out of range will fly to a dead animal carcass which has been left right after the very first birds of their same species find it and land and start eating? How do they know? How do people communicate like this? My only question is how much abilities do we share with our feathered friends? Consider this in 2006.

How to Provide Shelter for Birds

If you want to see lots of birds in your yard, give some thought to whether or not your property includes good bird shelter. Birds need shelter from the elements just as we do: when the weather’s cold, hot, snowy, rainy, or windy, they need to find places where they can be comfortable and wait it out. They also need places to hide from predators such as prowling cats, snakes, and birds of prey.

Trees of all shapes and sizes provide shelter for birds. The spreading boughs of hardwood trees make shade on sunny days and block the rain on rainy days. Bushes provide similar shelter near the ground and make good places for birds to hide from danger. The warmest bird shelter, good for cold midwinter nights, is the evergreen tree. Birds can get right in near the center of the tree and be out of the wind. Just one bushy evergreen tree can shelter lots of small birds.

So if you have trees, don’t cut them down, and if you don’t, consider planting some. They’ll provide shade and shelter for you too, and break the wind. In windy places, a line of trees, planted perpendicular to the prevailing wind, will protect your home and create friendly backyard bird habitat. Plant small shrubs too; they usually grow quite quickly, and will provide good shelter for birds in a season or two. Even low leafy plants, like hostas, and perennial flowers will provide some bird shelter.

Another way to provide bird shelter and improve your backyard bird habitat is to build a brush pile. When you clean up your yard, simply throw all your small brush, branches, and woody plants into a heap helter skelter. The messier the better, because this will create lots of airspaces inside the pile – cavities that are ideal shelter for birds. Make the pile two or three feet high and just keep adding to it over the years. You can back it up to a rock wall, fence, or other vertical structure to provide additional support and shelter.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Bird Watching & How To Attract Birds To Your Home

What is the most valuable tool for bird watching? That’s simple, a bird feeder. Just as the name implies, a bird feeder is a device that is placed outdoors for the purpose of dispensing food to birds. This type of product is usually installed for the purpose of bird watching, which is a very popular hobby. The ultimate success of a bird feeder is determined by it’s placement, the types of seeds provided and the design of the feeder itself.

To begin with, a bird feeder must be large enough to accommodate the nearby species. Birds need to be able to get to the seeds easily if they are to continue to use the bird feeder. In addition, the feeder should be placed somewhere convenient and easily accessible for both the birds and for bird watching. Most bird feeders are located in a tree that birds are known to frequent. In some instances, individuals may also opt for hanging a bird feeder on their porch, which will allow for a real close up view for bird watching enthusiasts.

The type of bird that you wish to attract will ultimately determine the type of food that you supply in the bird feeder. For example, while most food is made in the form of seeds, hummingbirds prefer liquid nourishment. This is a very important distinction as bird feeders are created for bird watching and, without the proper food, there may not be any birds to watch.

Many people around the world enjoy bird watching and some even record their experiences on video. Some individuals use webcams, while others use a regular camcorder to capture their birds on film. Photographers often enjoy bird watching for fun and profit. As birds get close enough to enjoy the food in their feeder, photos can be snapped in hopes of capturing their beauty. With all of the bird food in your yard, don’t be surprised if you happen to catch a squirrel in your photographs. These little critters love bird food and are often drawn to areas where it is readily available. The best way to remedy this problem is to put a separate squirrel feeder outside to deter squirrels from snatching all of the bird food as it falls to the ground.

A bird feeder is easy to find at any retail or online store, but the many choices available may make the decision a difficult one. Ultimately, the size of the feeder and it’s design will be the most important consideration. The next thing to consider will be your bird watching budget because, as we all know, cost plays a large role in every purchasing decision that we make.

Why Do Birds Scream?

Why does my bird scream?

Boy if we had THE answer we’d be writing this from our yacht. But of course I have to weigh in here. What got me thinking about the subject of “why birds scream,” is some recent web surfing.

I spend my days doing what many of you wish you could be doing, surfing the web for bird toys and parrot cages. The magic of the internet enables us to shop the world. In order for us to provide the best possible shopping experience. We look at lots of sites and products. Pricing is important but not our priority. We feel good information about parrots and general avian issues is the most important product we can offer. And we offer that for free. We like to know who’s selling what. We also like to see how well they’re selling it i.e. is the site easy to navigate. Do they offer multiple payment choices and so forth?

But I digress – So here I am on the of a national chains of pet supply products. They have an FAQ for bird ownership. Something we always applaud. Well I’m reading the list and one of the topics is Why is my bird screaming? No real explanation is offered and at the end of the paragraph they recommend taking your parrot to a vet if screaming persists.

Yikers! Screaming parrots – vets – why?

Let’s look at this logically folks, not that parrots are logical but they are creatures of habit. One of the things we learned from Michelle Karras is silence means danger! If you have a flock of wild parrots in trees (in their natural environment) or even a flock of local wild birds in your back yard. On any given sunny day a flock of birds will make a lot of noise – it’s all about FLOCK. Chirp, chirp, scream, scream. What are they communicating about? Same things we do. “Find any food lately? Yeah they had a great sale on worms about a mile from here.”

SILENCE means danger! If you’ve ever seen a hawk fly over a flock of wild birds, you swear you can hear the sound of the hawk’s wings flapping. That’s one of the reasons parrots come in so many colors. If they’re quiet and deep in a tree they are difficult to spot. When that danger passes its chirp, chirp, scream, scream. So again I ask, “is screaming a reason to run to the vet? I don’t think so.

Something we hear a lot of is - people will have a screaming bird (usually newbie’s) and the bird will scream for whatever reason. What does their human companion do? Yell SHUT UP! And what does the parrot do? SCREAM SOME MORE!

Again I fall back on my good friend logic. The bird screams, you scream back. Do you think there may be a slight chance that when you scream back the bird might be thinking “hey – this is great! Someone is finally squawking back at me “hey SCREAM, SCREAM, please scream back some more, I’m lonely you’re my flock and I need to talk to someone than you?”

Begin to see where I’m going with this grasshopper? OK so now you know one of the whys. Here’s a little tip form Michelle Karras that may work for you:

Excessive screaming is a learned behavior that we teach our birds. Covering your feathered companion with a blanket, teaches him or her that you will cover the cage when scream gets out of hand.

Yelling at a screaming parrot, gives the parrot the attention it seeks. Ignoring a screaming parrot is not the answer either. Ignoring bird’s screams could result in finding injuries too late (or water had run out). Options are to make sure all your Psittacines needs are satisfied. Large hygienic cage, clean water, fresh food, working toys. Twelve hours of sleep (uninterrupted), soft wood and other materials to chew, and plenty of exercise.

Start with a signal to stop loud parrots. Ring a cowbell (or bang a pot) in the room next to the screaming bird. They hear the bell (sound), they stop to listen, Show up from the other room while they are quiet to praise and reward. Set them up to succeed. Use a time when you know they are quite loud. Distract them with a new noise in the next room. As soon as they stop to listen, appear and praise.

Lengthen the time between the signal and your appearance each time. Try and take a whole day at first and only work with the parrot and the screaming. Initial rewards should be substantial, a known favorite treat. Use the same signal just before feeding fresh food. Wait until the parrot is noisy; give the signal, praise, and feed.

Not all parrots will quiet down for the same signal so you may have to try several noises before finding the one that works for you.

Note: Do not use your voice. They may try to mimic you.

Scream time is a time during the day that you allow your parrots to be noisy. This should be given somewhere between 3p.m. and 7p.m. each day. Encourage your parrots by playing stimulating music. Dance, sing or scream along with them. Scream time should last no less than 15minutes and no more than 1/2 hour each day.

Some parrots enjoy screaming to the vacuum, this is fine to encourage but play music as well. Find music that your parrot gets excited over. Use that same song every day for scream time. Change the music from time to time but be consistent overall. When Scream time is over, lower the music volume Talk your parrot down. Lower the music slowly, turn it off, and play their relaxation code music. Give them afternoon snacks when “cool down” is over.

Provide a Nesting Box for Birds

It's a simple matter to hang a bird house in a tree, but if you're really interested in having birds move in, you'll need to give some thought to proper nesting box design. Every species of bird has specific nesting requirements: if the nest box you provide doesn't suit the tastes of the local birds, you won't get tenants.

A careful bird house design takes into account the appropriate base dimensions, the proper height, the size and placement of the entrance hole, and even the outside appearance of the box. For example, if you have Nuthatches on your property and visiting your feeders, and you would like to provide them with a good nesting box, build a box 10 cm square (4 x 4 in) and 25.5 cm tall (10 in). Cut a 3cm (1.25 in) hole 19 cm (7.5 in) from the base, and leave the outside of the box a natural wood colour or cover it with tree bark. Your approach for Purple Martins will be quite different: they nest in groups, so you'll need multiple 15.25 cm (6 in) cubes, each with a 6.3 cm (2.5in) round hole 5.75 cm (2.25) above the base, and painted white.

A variety of birds will use a bird house if you use the nesting box plan that is right for them, but some birds won't use a nesting box no matter what bird house design you come up with. Birds that you can expect to attract, provided they're present in your location and you have the right features, include Chickadees and Nuthatches, Eastern Bluebirds, Purple Martins, Downy and Red-headed Woodpeckers, Tree Swallows, House Wrens, Northern Flickers, and Wood Ducks. Robins will nest if you provide a shelf, and Barn Owls may come to an open barn with a wide dry shelf high in the beams.

Placing the nesting box is important too: the right bird house design in the wrong place might attract the wrong bird, or no bird at all. Bluebirds prefer the edges of fields; Wood Ducks want to be very close to the water; a nesting box plan for House Wrens may suggest hanging the box from a tree branch. You'll need to do some research on the specific bird you are trying to attract in order to find out where to place the box. It might be best in a thicket of trees or very high off the ground. Perhaps it should be facing an open space, or facing South. Every bird is different.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Animal Water Bottles: Now They're For Your Birds, Too

For bird owners, it is common knowledge that birds can be expert mess makers. One thing they seem to love is pooping or dunking food in their water bowl. While this is an annoyance to us, it can be a serious health hazard for a bird. Water bottles, however, are a simple and easy solution.

Water is an excellent medium for bacterial growth. When organic materials like food and feces enter water, bacteria have a heyday multiplying. A bacterial population can double its numbers in a mere 2 to 3 hours, which means a water dish that is fresh at 9 a.m. could cause disease by 1 p.m.

The quickest and easiest solution to this problem is to train your bird to drink water from a bottle. It needs to be the same kind of water bottle used for small mammals like hamsters. Birds are intelligent enough that they should learn how to use it in the first day. Set the bottle above a perch the same height as your bird’s body. Once a few drops drip through, a vacuum will be created to hold in the rest. The bottle should pique your bird’s curiosity once you introduce it to them, so they are inclined to try it. If you’re not sure whether or not your bird is drinking, present him with a water dish at the end of the day to see if he’s thirsty. Some worry that their birds won’t be able to wet their food anymore, but this isn’t true. As the birds will discover, they can hold their food in their mouth and drink from the bottle.

A Few Words In Praise of Birds

Why do birds appeal to us? Most people enjoy the sight of birds, even people who have never been active birdwatchers. Although birds are less like us in appearance and habits than our fellow mammals, birds undeniably hold a special place in our hearts.

One reason that birds capture our imaginations is that they can fly, while we remain trapped here on earth. What child hasn't watched a bird fly overhead and dreamt of being up there in the sky flying alongside? What adults have not, at one time or another, wished that they could take wing and fly away from all of their everyday troubles and cares? Birds are natural symbols of freedom and escape. After all, what could better encapsulate our vision of pure freedom than the ability to fly off into the sunset ?

Birds can soar overhead and they can also cover great distances. They are privy to a "bird's eye view" of a single building or a park, or an entire city or landscape, making them a perfect metaphor for obtaining a fresh perspective on a situation, or for taking a larger view of an issue.

Birds often symbolize other things, as well, such as human character traits and qualities. There's the proud peacock, the noble eagle, the thieving magpie, squabbling crows, and billing and cooing love birds. Gliding swans are the perfect picture of grace and elegance in motion. The hawk is a symbol of war, the dove a symbol of peace.

What else attracts us to birds? Birds have feathers, soft to the touch and a joy to look at. Plumage seems to come in an infinite variety of lovely colors and patterns, from the subtle, earthy tones of the common house sparrow to the outrageous, iridescent regalia of the showy peacock. Birds are beautiful works of art, signed by nature. Their plumage adds color and spectacle to a humdrum world. Their colors may also suggest many different locales and associations to us.

For example, those small, round, brown sparrows are homey, comforting and familiar to those of us who live in temperate climates. They are our backyard friends and neighbors. American cardinals and blue jays are highly colored, cheerful sights to behold on gray days, from the tips of their tail feathers to the fanciful crests on their heads. They are a bit more exotic, yet they are still familiar backyard friends. Then there are those birds who live in far off exotic places, such as African pink flamingos and tropical parrots, who sport wonderful tropical colors. We love them, not only for their magnificent colors, but also for their association with far-flung lands and exotic adventures.

Birds also come in a great variety of shapes and sizes, which further adds to their appeal. We can relate to them, in so far as they, and we, have two eyes, one mouth and bilateral symmetry. Yet, they are also very unlike us. They have protruding beaks, from the sparrow's tiny jabbing beak to the toucan's enormous appendage. They have wings, more unlike human arms than those of other mammals, or even of reptiles. In fact, when their wings are folded against their sides, birds appear to have no arms at all. They also have thin, bare legs and they have claws. Their heads and necks flow smoothly into their bodies. Their forms create graceful outlines, whether round like a chubby European robin, long like an African parrot, or sleek like a regal swan.

Yes, birds are beautiful to look at, but the beauty of birds is not confined to the visual aspects of shape and color alone, because birds also fill the air with music. They seem to offer us their song simply to entertain us, and they ask for nothing in return. Like a garden bursting with colorful flowers, the fantastic colors and songs of birds seem frivolous and out of place in a world full of harsh realities. It seems as though they were put on earth expressly to make life more beautiful. They were not, of course. Their color and song serve biological ends in the process of natural selection, but that does not prevent us from enjoying such sights and sounds. We can listen in on their free concerts and derive pleasure and serenity from the experience. We can also be amused when a few species of birds even mimic our own speech.

Another characteristic of birds that we humans respond to is the fact that they build nests. They seem so industrious and we watch with wonder as each type of bird builds its own species-specific nest, ranging from a simple assemblage of twigs to an intricately woven masterpiece of craftmanship. "Nest" is such a cozy word. Birds build their cozy nests, care for their young, and raise their families, all in the course of a single spring or summer. We admire their patience and devotion and attentive care to their offspring. We observe and marvel at a parent bird's countless trips to and from the nest to diligently feed the helpless chicks. Birds provide us with fine role models for parenting.

Yes, birds are homebodies during the nesting season, but they also migrate. Birds are free to come and go and many cover vast distances each year, as they travel between their summer and their winter homes. They are social creatures, moving in flocks and creating great spectacles as they fly. A glimpse of a V-shaped flock of geese passing overhead thrills us and stirs something in us. We admire their strength and endurance in carrying out such grueling journeys year after year. We envy them, too, for they are free to go beyond mere political boundaries and to cross entire continents. We up north are sorry to see them part each autumn and we are heartened to see them return each spring. The return of such birds as the swallows signals the return of spring, with its promise of birth and renewal.

Each spring we are able to welcome them back into our midsts, for nearly everywhere that humans live, birds live also. Birds cover the earth. There is such a diversity of bird species to fill each ecological niche on earth and to contribute to its balance by doing such things as eating insects and dispersing plant seeds. There are the ducks and moorhens of rural ponds. There are birds who live in the forests. There are birds in the mountains and birds in the deserts. The forbidding oceans have their hardy puffins and pelicans. Even frozen, icy places have their own birds, the lovable penguins.

Birds adapt to so many different habitats and situations, including human environments. The often ignored pigeon is a beautiful bird. (I have cared for and been grateful to have known many individual pigeons over the years.) As a species, they have managed to adapt to modern cityscapes, substituting cliff-like building ledges and bridge girders for their ancestral cliffs of rock. Other bird species may be less tolerant of such disturbances and avoid the prying eyes of humans.

Wherever they choose to live, birds remain symbols of untamed nature, surviving despite man's interference with their habitats. They remain proud and free to the present day. They are also a living link to the mysterious and fascinating history of life on our planet, as birds are the surviving heirs to the dinosaurs. One look at unfeathered baby birds, with their oversized beaks and feet, and it is easy to see the dinosaur in them.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Outhouses Are For The Birds

Do you ever sit and think about the good old days, and think how rough it was back then and at the time you really didn't think about it, because that was part of life. Who would think that those days would be gone and we would have all the things in life that we have.

I am talking about a bathroom. Something that some people especially kids born in the 60's and 70's wouldn't know about the outhouse that you walked out to in the dark, in knee deep snow, or even in the rain, cause you couldn't wait, mother nature was calling and you would make the mad dash out in the backyard, and you think you would never make it there. When you finally make it close you yell out, praying no one beat you there, and then you open the door to go in you, making sure there weren't any spiders lurking around in there. Oh and the chickens. We had chickens that would love to roost in the outhouse. You had to chase them out before you could get in there most of the time. And forget about the ones that fell down the hole. They were buried in there. We would just tell mom and dad....another one fell in the hole and go on.

Kids now a days are use to the convenience of walking in a room of their house and flushing a toilet and turning on the water and washing their hands.

Back in my growing up years, we didn't have a bathroom in the house with running water. We had an outhouse. We had a room with the sink and bathtub but no running water. There was seven kids in our family. I remember mom heating up water on the gas stove and dumping the hot water in a galvanized rinse tub. When it was full she would bathe all of us kids in the tub. You wanted to be the first or second to be bathed. Can you imagine how the water looked after all seven kids were bathed in it. Yuck! Yes I think about that, and believe me, I like the little room in my house with the bathtub, shower, sink, and flushing toilet. I don't think those outhouse will ever come back. Atleast I sure hope they don't.

Exotic Birds can be Fun and Very Entertaining

I have had four exotic birds for five years now, and let me tell you, I wouldn't give them up for anything. At times I get mad at them because of all the mess they make, but I get over it. Yes they can make a real mess, especially on the floor. You don't want to have them on carpet. It seems like they don't do all their dirty business in the cage, it happens to end up on the floor and once it dries, it is like trying to chisel cement off the floor. My one bird, an umbrella cockatoo just loves to throw her food everywhere. I find it on the floor, windowsill and in the bottom of her cage. You got to keep an eye on her. She use to take her food and water bowls out of the bracket and dump them, now we have a c-clamp holding them down tight so she can't get them out. If you don't clean out the cage right away, in a couple days the seeds start to grow. Believe me, it happened to me. I went away for a couple days and filled up their food and water bowls to last three days. I came home and found plants growing in my cockatoo's cage. What a mess. She also figured out how to open her cage and would get out and open the other three cages. I ended up putting a c-clamp on her door too, to keep her in.

She is a real loving bird. I get her out of the cage and hold her close to my chest and rub under her feathers, and she lays her head on my chest and falls asleep. What a sweetheart. There was one time she wasn't so sweet, that is the time she bit my three quarter diamond out of my ring. Man I grabbed her by the throat and turned her upside down yelling, spit it out now Chloe or I will wring your neck. Out it came bouncing on the floor.

Then there is Rubin, my African Grey. He talks in that deep voice that sounds like a man. He does a lot of talking. His favorite thing to say is, Sebrina, shut up. She is another bird I have. But back to Rubin, that is one bird that drove up crazy for a while until we realize that he mocks every kind of noise. That bird had me running to the clothes dryer, and I wasn't even doing laundry, the telephone and it wasn't even ringing and my microwave and I wasn't cooking anything, He sounds like all of them. He is really good at mimicking sounds. I remember late at night, I was home by myself. I heard a man cough. I froze. It couldn't be my husband, he was away on a trip and besides the voice was too deep. I was scared to death. Then it hit me, it was the bird. My husband taught him to whistle the Andy Griffin theme song. You should hear him, it sound good and he does an excellent cat call.

Then come Sebrina. Another sweetheart and very talkative. She talks the most and sings. She sings two verses of Singing in the Rain and all of Popeye the Sailor Man and even puts in the toot toots. When I feed her. She always says "Want some breakfast, hmmmmm popcorn. Go out the door and she says, bye bye, see you later alligator. She use to cuss but we broke her of that. I hear I love you and Sebrina, are you momma's girl, all the time. All you got to do is come out of the bedroom in the morning and she starts to talk and sing. She is very entertaining.

Then comes Sammy our macaw. I can't say much for the bird other than he favors my husband and I am deathly scared of him. He has a beak that would break you finger if he got it in his mouth. My husband handles him all the time, but let me go near him and he wants to eat me for dinner. I was leaning against his cage while taking care of another bird and he took a hunk out of my shoulder with his beak. That was enough for me. I feed him from outside his cage, if he needs his water changed, which is every day, my husband takes care of that. One thing I can say, he is a very colorful and beautiful bird.

Birds with the Widest Wings Use Ground Affect

There are so many things to do in your retirement and I have decided to travel the country in a motor home and I have now been to all the states and every city over 5000 population. I have also been to every State Park and I have found fun in observing everything that I was too busy to look at while I was working my butt off. You tend to notice thanks in nature when your mind is free.

One observation that I have had and I am sure others have too is that the birds with the largest and widest wings tend to spend most of their time flying close to the ground. It seems as if their wings serve as ground affect and that they are able to fly on the cushion of air they create. When they come in for landing they may go 10 or more yards only inches off the ground before they glide to a stop.

This is interesting because aircraft with the largest wings also get a significant advantage in ground affect when landing. Low wing aircraft tend to have much smoother landings that high wing aircraft and they need less of a beefy landing gear. Next time you watch birds fly very low to the ground for a very long period of time check and see if you noticed what I have?

The bird will have a larger and/or wider wings than similar sized birds. Indeed, many people find it bird watching rather boring and I guess I understand why, but I also would like to tell all of them that; All Life Is Interesting. Please consider this in 2006.

Monday, December 04, 2006

How to Draw Birds Easily

To draw birds as Audubon did is very demanding and difficult. Even though his drawings were better as art than as objective science, they really did look a lot like the birds he claimed them to represent. I have no advice for those who want to follow in his footsteps, except to go to a traditional art school for years and years.

But if you only want to draw birds simply, just apply a pencil to paper and start making some shapes. When it somewhat resembles what might be a bird, put in an eye and a beak and a topknot and it will be acceptable, maybe even funny.

Almost any shape can be made to look like a bird. It can be made out of squares, circles, triangles, rectangles, polygons, parallelograms, or any combination. You can draw a picture of anything and add an eye, some feathers, a beak, maybe a tail and it will call up the image of a bird. You can take an existing picture of a piece of fruit, a guitar, a jar, a box, a suitcase and add the features of a bird and there you are.

You could write a whole story illustrated with bird figures like these, especially a children‘s book. No need to worry about legs and feet and tails, just sort of a profile. For some examples of bird drawings visit the website below.

I was tempted to call this article Bird Droppings but the ghost of Audubon came to me and threatened to illustrate my cloacus if I dared.

How to Identify Birds

As a continuation of our how-to series we are going to talk about how to identify birds. Perhaps birds aren't really your cup of tea. Well believe it or not, it can actually be quite entertaining to be able to identify birds. Birdwatching has always been a popular pastime, especially with noble men and royalty.

In fact, bird watching is still a rather popular hobby. However, it can take a little time and research if you plan to sort through the many airborne creatures that inhabit this world. If you ever had any doubts, why don't you try it for your self?

It would be quite impressive if you could actually identify the various birds that you came across in your travels. That would probably catch them off guard. The great part is, you don't really need much to get started. A decent pair of binoculars and a bird book should do the trick quite nicely.

Have you ever seen an unusual looking bird that really caught your eye and wondered, what is that? At that point I bet that you have the knowledge to the to identify birds.

I myself can remember seeing beautiful birds as a child that inspired me to want to learn how to identify birds. Growing up in the country certainly has its high points, but the true value of the experience is in interacting and appreciating nature around you. As an example, my grandpa taught me how to identify birds. He initially I had no interest in it, however, as I grew and experienced camping and fishing much more, I eventually wanted to know how to identify birds. And then that spread to a natural curiosity of plants and other things in nature. While identifying birds is a fun past-time, having the ability to know the different properties of plants should certainly be beneficial. I found that out soon after I contracted poison ivy. That incredibly annoying rash that I got absolutely drove me nuts.

After spending a beautiful springtime on the Colorado River with my grandpa and sisters, I was really starting to come into my own as far as having the ability of how to identify birds. Learning how to identify words is not a difficult skill in the least. There is mountains and mountains of reference books can be used. You can also go on the Internet where there is an abundance of information that you will find helpful. The key to great bird watching once you've learned the names and characteristics is a great pair of binoculars.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Basic Care of Budgerigars

Budgerigars are a lot of fun, but require more attention and special care than the more common household pets. This article covers the basics of pet bird care.

I will cover the following topics: Nutrition, Environment, Housing, Activity, General care, and Things to avoid.


As with any pet, the nutritional and quality aspects of the food you provide is extremely important for the well-being of your bird. A quality seed mix is essential, as is fresh vegetables daily. Apple slices, grated carrot, and chopped lettuces are among the favorites of many birds, helping to provide essential nutrition.


Since Budgerigars are native to Australia, it is essential their environment is not overlooked.


A healthy bird will be able to tolerate most temperatures that are comfortable to its owner. Avoid sudden changes in temperature, as this may cause discomfort and even sickness if extreme changes occur.


As with temperature, humidity is not a problem to most birds. A higher humidity can benefit your budgerigar, but is not essential.

-Light & Fresh Air

Fresh air and direct sunlight for at least part of the day is essential to the well-being of your budgerigar. Always be sure to provide ample shade, as excessive sunlight can cause your budgerigar to overheat.



An oversized cage is a must. A large cage provides room for eating and play, which are so essential to a happy, healthy bird. The cage should be made of strong, non-toxic materials, designed for safety and easy cleaning. A cage which is wider than it is tall is best for budgerigars.


“Variety is the spice of life” Variety in types of materials used and perch diameter. Provide various sized perches made of non-toxic woods. Never place perches over food and water dishes, as droppings may contaminate the food or water and cause bacteria to build which could make any bird sick. Also never use harsh sand perches or sandpaper perch covers, as this can lead to foot trouble.

-Food & Water Bowls

Wide bowls that latch to the side of the cage are best for your budgerigar. Deep dishes may cause wasted food as opened seed shells may hide seeds deeper which may never be eaten. Again, never place food or water dishes directly beneath perches to prevent contamination.


Clean both the cage floor and food and water dishes daily to keep tabs on your budgerigar's health and to prevent bacteria build-up. A deep-clean of the cage, dishes, perches and toys should be done weekly.

-Cage Liners

To line the bottom of the cage and to assist in the ease of cleaning, old newspaper or paper towels should be used. Never use corn-cob or other pelleted material, as a bird may choke on the small pieces.


Most birds, budgerigars included, need a 'personal space' to call their own where they can retreat to, sleep, and otherwise get some privacy. A good way to provide this is to hang or place inside the cage, near a perch, a small paper bag, hand towel or washcloth.


Your budgerigar, like all pet birds, needs to spend supervised time outside the cage. This provides an opportunity to exercise, take baths, play with toys and other forms of birdy entertainment.


Toys are one of those indispensable aspects of your budgerigar's existence. Providing a variety of toys provides your bird with entertainment, mental stimulation, and an outlet for that never-ending desire to chew. 'Chewable' items include wood branches, pine cones, natural 'bird-safe' ropes, wood blocks, and acrylic shapes.

General Care

Regular care of the beak, nails, feet and feathers is recommended. See your veterinarian for advice.

Things to Avoid

*Sandpaper perch covers.

*NEVER use non-stick cookware near a bird, the fumes travel quite a ways and can kill a bird within minutes.

*Mite sprays or boxes.

*Many houseplants are toxic to birds/parrots, a quick search online will provide ample resources.

*Never leave ceiling fans running while your bird is out of its cage.

Transferring Birds from Bird Cage to Aviary

When catching the larger birds, a small bird cage is taken into the aviary and the bird is transferred from the net. The temptation to transport birds in the net must be resisted as accidents can very easily happen and one can easily let go of the top of the net, allowing the bird to escape.

A vital piece of equipment in any bird room or aviary is a catching net, obtainable from aviary suppliers. Those made of dark-colored materials are preferable. The rim should be padded to prevent injury. The sight of the net invariably causes the birds to scream or to fly about wildly so I always conceal it until reaching the aviary containing the bird to be caught.

In most collections, one large and one small net will be found useful. When releasing a bird into an aviary from a bird cage, the door should be opened and the bird allowed to find its own way out. If it shows no signs of doing so, the perch should be removed and the bird should be gently coaxed. Turning the cage on its side, so that the door is uppermost, often encourages the occupant to climb out.

If a bird refuses to be coaxed, it will have to be handled. Large parrots should be picked up in a folded towel, small ones in a hand protected by a lightweight glove. A thick glove is useless for the purpose as it does not allow one to grip the bird properly. When holding a parrot in a towel, this should be wrapped around the body so that the legs and wings are firmly enclosed and its eyes are not covered. However, it must be held in a grip which does not allow it to use its beak! The thumb and finger, or two fingers, should be placed on each side of the beak so that the bird is unable to turn its head.

Catching must be carried out as quickly as possible and with a minimum of disturbance. Transferring a bird from one bird cage to another can often be accomplished without handling it, by placing the doors of both bird cages together and persuading the bird to enter. Removal of the perches will aid this process.

I prefer to place a parrot in a new aviary at mid-day. Many will not feed at first and, if moved early in the morning, may not eat at all that day. This will not harm a large parrot which is healthy but could adversely affect a small one, especially in cold weather.

A parrot should never be introduced into an aviary containing another bird which has been in residence some time. The established occupant will regard the aviary as its own territory and the newcomer as an intruder. Failure to realize this on the part of inexperienced aviculturists must have resulted in the death of many birds. Existing occupants should therefore be removed from the aviary for a few days to allow the newcomer to become confident in its new surroundings before being introduced to its potential mate. It may even be necessary to adopt this procedure after removing a sick bird for several days or weeks. This is especially true if the one remaining in the aviary is the dominant member of a pair, for it may attempt to reassert its dominance on the return of its partner.

Many birds die shortly after going to a new home because they suffer stress at a change of this kind and need careful attention. It is not always advisable to place a new bird immediately in an outdoor aviary. Some will benefit from a few days in a bird cage, during which time they can get used to new management and feeding methods. They are more likely to feed in a bird cage, finding the food more easily than in an aviary. It is an excellent idea to catch up the bird's prospective mate during this period and to bird cage the birds side by side.

On introducing birds to an aviary, the food should be hung at perch level as a nervous bird may not descend to the feeding shelf. A millet spray hung at the end of the perch will induce many birds to feed. After a couple of days, the food containers can be removed towards the feeding shelf, then placed on it. Such precautions are not always necessary but are worth bearing in mind.

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