Saturday, December 16, 2006

What Are Birds

Birds are warm-blooded, bipedal egg-laying vertebrates that are characterized primarily by their physical features of feathers, forelimbs modified as wings, and hollow bones. Birds range largley in size from tiny hummingbirds all the way up to the huge Ostrich. Depending on how you look at it, and what your viewpoints are there are approximately ten thousand different species of living birds. Note the living. there are several others that have become extinct throughout human history. This mass in numbers makes birds the most diverse class of terrestrial vertebrates.

Birds are at the majority of times a very differentiated class, with some feeding on nectar, plants, seeds, insects, rodents, fish, carrion, or other birds. Most birds are diurnal, which means that they are active during the day. Some wild birds, such as owls and nightjars, are nocturnal or crepuscular which means that they are active during the night. Several birds will migrate long distances to take advantage of optimal habitats. With that aside there are others that will spend almost all their time at sea. Some birds have the ability to stay up in the air for days at a time, even sleeping while in the air.

All birds have similar characterists:

- Bony beak with no teeth

- Laying of hard-shelled eggs for reproduction

- high metabolic rate

- Light and strong skeleton

Most birds also share the common trait of flight however there are sevaral species of flightless birds, that exist mostly on islands. These are birds that once used to have the ability, but do to adaption have lsost it. A famous flightless bird is the kiwi which exists in New Zealand.

Winter Care for Wild Birds

Here in Michigan and other temperate climates, winter survival is everything for wild birds. The search for food starts at dawn and continues till dusk. If a bird is able to eat enough, it will store enough energy to survive a cold winter's night. It then starts all over for another day.

Wild birds or backyard birds depend on every seed, berry or insect it may find. With the continual decline of natural habitats, birds need our helping hands.

Caring and feeding for wild birds helps them to survive the winter and also gives you a sense of doing good. Helping out nature instead of taking from her.

Birds require food, fresh water, shelter from the elements and protection from predators.

FOOD: High energy food is important. Suet, peanuts, black oil sunflower seed all high energy food high in fat and protein. Nyjer thistle is a high source of energy for finches as well.

Cage feeders are designed to hold suet cakes, Tube and hopper feeders are designed to accommodate a variety of birds. Platform and peanut feeders are also available.

Pack down an area and toss some cracked corn and white millet for the ground scratching birds to enjoy.

FRESH WATER: I emphasize FRESH WATER here. With a lack of natural water sources available in cold winter months, water can be scarce. Fresh water even more so. While birds will and do eat snow, this drives down their body temperature and uses valuable energy to melt the snow and warm back up.

Offer up some water with a heated birdbath or put a heater in your current bath. heaters cost no more to run the a light bulb and can save a birds life. Look for heaters that come with a minimum three year guarantee.

SHELTER: From the harsh winter winds and a place to snuggle. Use your old Christmas tree, or hang a roosting box. Plant lots of bushes and trees for your birds to roost in. Evergreens work wonders here as a wind brake and protection from snow fall.

Most birds will die at night from a lack of food, water and protection. Food and water are life's essentials, protection helps your birds to conserve vital calories.

PROTECTION: Birds need to feel safe from danger and offering protection will keep your birds coming back. Place your feeders and Fresh water source near trees and bushes. Out in the open. Enough for your birds to see if hawks are around and away from places where cats might hide.

By placing your feeding stations 10 to 20 feet from trees and shrubs, your birds have an open view and can escape most attacks from the air or the ground.

Research shows that birds get 25% of their food from human sources. How important is that 25% on any given winter's night?

Backyard birding is a healthy hobby for all and just about anyone can feed the birds. A hobby that can last a lifetime.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Birds, Birdwatching, And What To Feed Them

Birds. Alfred Hitchcock did his best to scare the heck out of us in regard to our fine feathered friends but birds are still about the safest of all animals to be around. Even the least attractive bird has a beauty to it. Maybe that's why so many people take up bird watching.

If you're thinking that the only thing involved with bird watching is going outside, making your way to a park and opening your eyes then you need to think again. Bird watching can actually be very involved. There are many techniques bird watchers use to just get the birds to come.

Starting with feeding.

What is it that birds want? Well, if you're trying to attract birds in the winter time to stare at from the confines of your nice warm home, the first thing you need to know is that most birds you will see in the winter are seed eating birds. So if you have a bird feeder in your backyard then what you simply want to do is make sure it is supplied with seeds and water. Do this regularly and eventually the birds will know that this is a consistent source of food and will come back regularly. Assuming that your bird feeder is close to a window you can get a, forgive the pun, bird's eye view of your dinner guests.

The best seeds to provide for your dinner guests are sunflower seeds. These seeds attract cardinals, woodpeckers, blue jays, goldfinches, purple finches, chickadees, titmice, and nuthatches.

Another really good seed is niger. Goldfinches absolutely love niger You can easily have as many as a dozen goldfinches visiting your feeder at one time. However, be forewarned, niger is very expensive. How expensive? Over $1 a pound expensive. So you want to be very careful with niger and don't waste it. The best thing to do is buy a hanging tube with tiny holes designed especially for it. Then hang it where you can see it from your window with the best view.

Another great seed to buy is safflower. This is a white seed that is smaller than a black sunflower seed. What's great about this seed is that squirrels won't touch it, which leaves more for the birds. These seeds are great for cardinals, titmice, chickadees, and downy woodpeckers.

White millet is another important seed to get for your feathered friends. This is a very cheap seed and you can scatter it on the ground for sparrows, juncos, and mourning doves. You can get a 50 pound bag of these for close to nothing. Very, very cheap seeds.

One thing you should never buy is bags of mixed birdseed. The reason is that there are going to be seeds in the bag that some birds will eat and some won't. Ultimately, because a bird will stumble upon a seed it doesn't like, the bird will fly away. In the end, all the birds will fly away and not come back. So stick to a seed that you want to use to attract the bird you're looking for.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Birds - Attracting Them With Flowers

In this second article about birds, bird watching and how to get them to flock to your humble abode, we're going to focus on how to get a flock of birds by planting certain flowers in your garden.

It isn't so much the flowers themselves that the birds are after but the seeds that these flowers produce. After all, this is what these birds eat and a hungry bird will never turn its back on a tasty seed. Well, there are certain flowers that produce seeds that birds are most after. We'll take a look at some of these.

Probably the most popular flower for attracting birds and the most successful is the King sunflower. Birds are absolutely crazy about sunflower seeds. That's why passionate bird feeders go out and buy bags of this stuff that are so heavy they can just about carry them.

Sunflowers themselves have become a very big business because of this. A bird flying over North or South Dakota would literally see thousands of acres of sunflowers, a very large portion of which is grown especially for bird seed. People from all over the United States buy these seeds, which makes this one of the largest industries in the Dakotas.

When planting your sunflowers at home try to plant them in an area that will get full direct sunlight. If possible try to make this also close to a window. You'll get a steady view of hungry birds coming down to feast.

If you don't want to use all your seeds in the summer and want to save some for winter to feed what birds may still be around, what you do is put a paper grocery sack over each seed head and tie it around the stem. Leave some of the flower heads uncovered so that the hungry birds will not try to peck through the paper. After the seed heads have dried cut them from the stems and place them in metal containers. This keeps the mice from getting to them. This will keep your seeds safe for winter feeding.

Other garden flowers that birds love are cosmos, snapdragon, zinnia, cockscomb, aster, and larkspur. After these flowers have bloomed don't cut off their heads. Let them dry right where they are. When winter comes your flowers will bloom again and with them will come a flock of finches and cardinals.

Now, if you're trying to attract hummingbirds the best flowers to plant are any nectar producing flowers, especially if they're red, pink or orange. Some of the hummingbird's favorites are honeysuckle, columbine, coral-bells, impatiens, foxglove, and red penstemon. In the summer, hummingbirds go crazy over scarlet bergamot, cardinal flower, hosta, gladiolus, salvia, and trumpet vine.

Hummingbirds like a nice drink with their seeds so make sure you have a bird feeder near by where they can quench their thirst. A good feeder is one that attaches to your window with suction cups. And don't worry about standing at the window when they come. They'll plop down for a drink even with you staring right at them.

Birds - Incredible Creatures

Birds are very interesting creatures. They are vertebrates, because like fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals, they have a spinal cord. They are also tetra pods because of their four limbs, two of which became wings, that are, in general, for flying. The other pair is for walking, running, and swimming. All birds, and only birds, have beaks and feathers and all species lay eggs. They have no mammary glands and neither do they have teeth. They are endothermic, that is why they are considered warm-blooded animals. Most of them fly except for some emus, ostriches, and penguins along with a few other species.

They have been around for millions of years and have been helping the environment. They are known to be very intelligent even without having been thoroughly studied. Scientists believe that birds, as a class, have a higher level of intelligence than most reptiles, and can be just as intelligent as many mammals regardless of size. Mammal intelligence testing is based on how they modify their surroundings using their forelimbs, and since birds lack forelimbs it is difficult to test their intelligence as it is tested on mammals.

It is widely believed in the scientific world, that birds actually lack real intelligence; they act upon their instincts and are unable to learn. Scientists who believe this rely on the fact that birds have a relatively small cerebral cortex, which is the area of the brain where most animals use their intelligence. Yet, it has been proven that the bird uses a different part of its brain for intelligence, the hipertriatum.

Birds have excellent vision. They rely on it for flying and navigating. They need their sharp vision for processing large amounts of visual information for locating rodents and other prey on the earth while flying. They usually have monocular vision; their eyes are each on the opposite side of the head. They need great brainpower to process and combine the different information they get from each eye.

Many scientists say that the more social animals are, the more intelligent they are. The greatest argument in favor of this is that humans are the most social and the most intelligent animals. Parrots and corvids both tend towards organized social behavior. Many corvid species separate into clans for nesting or defending territory. Then they usually flock together with different species in order to migrate. When migration is through they go back to their original clans. Scientists say that this behavior indicates real intelligence because of the way the bird can identify each clan member and the changes in temperature and climate while migrating.

While hunting, some birds make use of teamwork. Predatory birds work in pairs, while one bird distracts the prey, the other swoops down for the kill. This is called the "bait and switch" technique.

Similar to primates, many bird species use tools. Some species of crows grip sticks with their beaks to pick out insects from logs. This has been observed as something the young birds learn from their elders, but it has also been observed in captivity. A laboratory crow made a hook tool with wire without having learned this from any other bird.

Birds have no form of spoken language as we humans do, but they do communicate through singing, calling and using body language. Studies show that birds learn their territorial songs at a young age and use them for the rest of their lives. Some species even learn different song dialects.

Birds - Truly Amazing Creatures

Birds are truly amazing creatures and for bird watchers, birds become a fascinating hobby. Bird watching can be done almost anywhere and whether you live in the city or in the beautiful country surrounded by trees and fields there are birds everywhere for the watching. Nevertheless, you may be more successful at watching birds if you know where to look and what to look for. Below, you will find some tips for bird watching.

The most important thing to remember when you are watching birds is that you do not infringe on the rights of others. Just because you see a bird you have never seen before in someone's yard, don't move into the person's yard without permission to have a closer look. It is important that you always consider the environment you are in when you are birding. Also take into consideration how other people will feel. There are plenty of opportunities to see every species of bird native to the area, so relax, have fun, and be considerate.

Next, when birding, you may want to pick up a bird watching guide. A bird watching guide can advise you about all of the different species of bird that is indigenous to the area you are birding in. Bird guides can teach you about the different species, what the birds look like and where you can find a specific bird. You may also find that certain species of bird are nocturnal and you can only see them in the evening, thus a bird guide is a good thing to have.

One of the most important tools that a bird watcher can have is a set of good binoculars. You will want to get binoculars that can allow you to see great distances. With binoculars you can get a close look at a bird's coloring and you can even see them high in the treetops or across the fields and waterways. Again, just make sure that you honor other people's right to privacy when you are birding.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Birds - The Whooping Crane

Whooping cranes are an endangered species although the population was never high due to over hunting in the 1800s. In the 1940s, the population decreased even more to less then 20. Due to the Whooping Crane's low population, bird care organizations do not allow them to go outside a protected area and they are now protected by law. Their habitat is very limited because they need clean wetlands, and there are only a few left. Notably, a small area of Wood Buffalo National Park in Northern Canada and in the Southern US states near the coast. Organizations are working to increase the crane population that today is about 377.

Whooping cranes have white feathers, long pointed bills and long necks. Cranes also have long thin black legs. However, they do not use their legs for swimming as when cranes are not standing in the water, they fly around their environment with the neck straight out in front and legs trailing behind. Cranes have noticeable black tips on the ends of each wing that you can see when they are flying with their young. Younger cranes do not have white feathers, although they are almost the same height as older cranes; they have brown feathers that gradually turn white when they grow older.

Whopping cranes eat snails, larval insects, leeches, frogs, minnows, small rodents and berries. When whooping cranes are in Texas, they will eat shellfish and small fish from the ocean.

Previous generations' migration routes help Whooping Cranes learn to migrate. Smaller cranes will follow their parents from the fall nesting grounds to the winter nesting grounds. Many cranes will have previously used the same migration route for thousands of years and continue to do so today. Researchers also help cranes to migrate by teaching them how to follow a truck on a set migration path they want them to follow so they can memorize it themselves. They also use cranes from the wild and set them free, then they recapture them and release them again. The researchers do this in the hopes that the cranes will connect the dots during migration.

Birds - The Golden Eagle

The golden eagle is one of the largest birds of prey; the bald eagle and the California Condor are the only ones that are larger. This bird lives in the western Northern Hemisphere flying over prairies, tundra, barren areas, and in hilly mountain regions. Golden Eagles do not congregate in large numbers; they are solitary birds and will fly alone for the winter.

The Golden Eagle has a large hooked bill, and it is dark brown all over, but has a green sheen on its head. Its wings and tail are very long and broad, which can be seen when it's flying high in the air. The Golden Eagle is sometimes mistaken for a Buzzard when it is high in sky, but once the long wings and the head come into focus, it will be obvious that it is an eagle

Prey for the Golden Eagle consists of many animals. While it can attack large prey like cranes and domestic livestock, it tends to eat smaller animals like rabbits, hares, squirrels and prairie dogs. A Golden Eagle needs a huge territory of around 3,000 acres to fly over and hunt. When it finds prey, it will soar from the sky at speeds of 150km/h striking the prey with its sharp talons. Spotting its prey while high in the air is not a problem for the Golden Eagle, it has keen eyesight that allows it to see small animals such as mice or lizards. The Golden Eagle catches most of its prey on the ground; however, it sometimes catches birds while they are in flight. The eagle cannot attack a large animal; when it finds a large animal such as a deer, it will only eat it as carrion.

The Golden Eagle population decreased during the nineteenth century because farmers shot them. In the 1960s, the Golden Eagle, along with other birds, were affected by dangerous chemicals. A number of animals in the Golden Eagle's habitat ate one the chemical called DDT, which had been sprayed onto plants, and since the Golden Eagle was on the top of the food chain, it greatly affected them. Today, Golden Eagles remain protected by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and possession of any body part or a feather could lead to a fine or even up to 10 years in prison.

Birds On High So Rare

I write this as a memorial to the most innocent of birds. These were noble trusting souls. It is likely they had known only one human in their lives. The next human they came in contact with was their last.

I have never told this tragic tale before. I was warned not to. It is over twenty years since it happened.

I was stationed on a high peak overlooking a long lake in the Rocky Mountains. I watched for fires and lightning strikes in the forest below me. The only way up to the lookout building was by helicopter.

The landscape near the summit was a desolate rocky, snowy, windswept plateau. Only in late summer did the snow completely melt, then the bare rocky summit was highlighted by patches of moss and the occasional severely stunted evergreen shrub.

The birds that frequently wandered over the rocky moss covered plateau were about the size of a small chicken. The birds were a light mottled grey colour. They were Mountain Ptarmigan which usually walked around in a group, searching for food. They looked like a family of birds. They behaved like a mother and her nearly adult chicks. I would see the flock every day or two meandering along the moss-covered areas of the plateau, searching for seeds or bugs to eat. Sometimes they would walk by the lookout. I would go outside to see how close they would let me approach. They were not very afraid of me but they had a comfort zone. It was a distance boundary I was not allowed to cross. I could come as close as fifteen feet before they would turn and walk away. They seemed to be very calm and curious.

One day when the birds came by I thought about trying to catch one. There was a storage area at the bottom of the lookout tower. I went outside and opened the three foot square door to the lookout ground floor storage area. Inside was a flat dirt floor with some paint cans stored in a corner. First I slowly circled the birds and moved behind them. I was then in a position to drive the birds past the lookout's open door. The birds moved forward toward the open door. I had to startle them a little for this to work. Moving quickly they scurried by the lookout and one went in the open door way. I closed the door to give the bird time to calm down. Using a flashlight I went inside the storage area and caught the bird in the corner of the room.

The Ptarmigan weighed almost nothing. I was surprised at how light it was to hold. It felt like holding a bird skeleton covered with feathers. I gently stroked its head and back feathers trying to calm it. I did not wanting to stress the bird out for too long, so took it outside and let it go on the ground. It scurried away to a safe distance.

The next time the helicopter pilot came to deliver supplies he saw the Ptarmigan flock wandering about on the plateau not far from the helipad, so he knew where the birds were.

One day the pilot was talking on the radio, while he was working in the area. He mentioned the Ptarmigan. He planned to go hunting, and might get himself some birds. I didn't think that was at all sporting, since the birds had very little fear of humans.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

We've gone to the Birds!

We have two birds. A cockatoo named Bailey, and a quaker parrot named Lucky, a.k.a. "Little Buddy." I sometimes feel we should hang a sign saying, "This house is operated solely for the convenience of Bailey and Lucky."

Bailey is loud, looney, and lovable. His antics are a guaranteed daily chuckle. Lucky is content to observe the goings-on and offer commentary, criticism, commands, and even limited conversation from his lofty perch (eg. he says 'you're welcome', to which you respond 'thank you'...he'll get it straightened out some day). Our morning routine consists of feeding the birds, cleaning the cages and allowing the birds a couple of hours of free time outside of their cages, or as I'm sure they often think of it...their jail!

It was a dull, dreary day today. They slept extra long as a result. It was nearly ten o'clock before they began demanding breakfast. Bailey hadn't been out five minutes until he started attacking his free-standing perch as if he were a miniature Paul Bunyan and the perch a giant redwood which needed to be felled. He was chased away repeatedly, until Elaine had enough, and put him in jail. Lucky made it a couple of minutes longer until he chomped down on Elaine's chin when she thought he was going to cuddle. That did it for him. I think he will receive an extra long sentence for that one.

Elaine's leaving shortly to visit friends, and I'll retreat to my room soon thereafter. Bailey and Lucky can ponder the absence of their two hand-servants from jail...and reflect. Maybe tomorrow will be a brighter day.

For all the temporary little annoyances that residing with a cockatoo and a parrot bring, they are also very loving, intelligent, and as full of personality as a feathered Robin Williams. If you have patience, persistence, and a loving heart, they can make wonderful additions to any family

Learn About Lovable Lovebirds!

Lovebirds make wonderful pets. Their exquisite colors and animated personalities easily endear them to onlookers. While every bird has its own personality there are traits common to all Lovebirds which have made them a popular pet and a great choice for a first time bird owner.


Lovebirds have perhaps the most varied coloration among the parrot species. Years of hybridizing by breeders have developed soft pastels or brilliant hues. You'll find Lovebirds in nearly any color imaginable - blues, yellows, purples, peaches and so on.

Lovebirds are also a pleasantly sized parrot for most people. They are only 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 inches and about 42-60 grams. Baby Lovebirds will be close to the size of an adult Lovebird.

Life Span

Like other parrots, Lovebirds have a long life span - although not as long as the larger species. They live 15-20 years, approximately the same life span as a cat. It is important to understand the commitment before purchasing a Lovebird.

Lovebirds Are Active Little Parrots

Lovebirds are very energetic and inquisitive. They will happily fly about or sit on your shoulder during daily activities. They are not nervous of usual activity and generally can integrate with a family of busy, noisy children with great enjoyment. Lovebirds love to play and are comical to watch whether they are playing alone splashing in their water dish or playing with your hair and sneaking into your collar.

Your best bet is to buy a hand-raised Lovebird which will be more tame than a parent-raised bird. While Lovebirds are quite fearless and should be supervised closely around other pets, they do enjoy playing with people. Gentle and consistent handling will help prevent nipping.

Lovebirds, like other birds, are born to live among a flock and so they will challenge authority for the dominant position. Sometimes headstrong, the owner of a Lovebird needs to be patient and firm. However, Lovebirds are not overly demanding in most respects and will learn to be well-behaved. They are also content to play alone for periods of time as long as they are given proper space and playthings.

Lovebirds are very intelligent and can even be 'potty' trained to go on a paper or in a trash container instead of around the house. This can make it much easier to allow your Lovebird to enjoy freedom outside the cage without the constant clean up.


While Lovebirds will learn to mimic the sounds around them, including household noises and other birds, they are not known for mimicking human speech as well as other parrot species.

Despite this you will find your Lovebird to have a strong personality all its own and it will convey its moods and desires quite clearly.

Before buying your Lovebird be sure the owner or breeder can provide additional assistance in helping you settle your bird at home. You are likely to have other questions arise as a first time owner and should look for cooperation for properly learning to care for your pet Lovebird.

Your Cat and Wild Birds

There are a lot of good reasons for *not* letting your new cat become an outside cat and I mention most of them in my new ebook "Your New Cat's First 24 Hours".

But one very important reason that I left out was the fact that cats are death on birds.

Yes, this is a fact that cat owners don't like to face, but a cat is a predator that doesn't distinguish between mice and birds when it comes to her prey.

It's estimated that there are about 40 million cats in the United States free to roam outside, and 20 to 30 percent of the kills they make are birds.

When you figure that a single outdoor cat will kill up to 200 birds and mammals every year, this can add up to over a billion birds killed by outdoor cats!

Many cat owners think that if they keep their cat well fed she won't feel the need to kill, but they are not taking into account that a cat does not kill out of hunger, but because she is an instinctual predator. A well fed cat *will* kill birds.

So, do Mother Nature and her wonderful birds a favor.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Birds - Parakeet Care

Parakeets are one of America's most popular birds today. They make great pets because they are very friendly, have a cheerful disposition and are very entertaining. They also have very beautiful bright color varieties. Parakeets don't require a lot of maintenance or money.

Parakeets are also known as Budgies or Keets. They are one of the smallest members of the parrot family. They originate from a desert-like area of Australia where it doesn't rain much, which makes parakeets very hardy birds. There are a variety of colors, such as yellows, dark greens, pastel blues, purples, solid whites and many combinations of several colors. The average life span of parakeets is 8 to 12 years.

In the wild, parakeets are flocking birds so they are used to companionship, so it is best to get more than one. However, keep the birds separate when they are young so that they will get used to humans. When they get older then you can put them together. If you plan on keeping just one bird, you should play with it as much as possible. You should also put a mirror in the cage so that they won't feel so alone when you aren't there.

You should choose the largest cage that you can afford for your parakeet. It needs to be large enough so that he can comfortably move around. You will also need room for toys and perches. The minimum size is 20" X 12" X 18". Parakeets are very playful and inquisitive. Because of this, they enjoy playing with a variety of toys. They especially love shiny objects, bells, bright colors and objects they can move around with their beak. Be sure that the toys you purchase don't contain any small parts that your bird could swallow and choke on.

Lots of parakeets take a long time to build trust in their owners. It will probably be very shy when you first get one. Every day you should just put your finger in the cage in front of the bird. Eventually it will get the courage to get on your finger. If you have the patience your bird will learn to trust you, but some birds even can take months to build trust.

Parakeets love to sing and chirp. They seem to love when you play music and will often sing along. When you are gone, you might want to leave the radio on for them. Most parakeets won't learn to talk. However, it is possible to teach some of them if you are consistent.

Parakeets always need fresh food and water in the cage. They are vegetarians and like seeds, greens and fruits. Their food should have a large variety of millet seeds and grain. Ready made seed mixes are sold at pet stores and supermarkets. Other than the seed mix, you should also provide fresh greens. However, do not leave these in the cage long or they will spoil.

The best way to keep your bird healthy is by providing a good diet and by keeping the water and cage clean. Make sure you clean and sanitize all the toys and accessories in the cage also. Birds are very good at hiding illnesses so if you think your bird is acting strangely at all, be sure to take it to the vet.

Birds - Cockatiel Care

A cockatiel is one of the most popular birds today. They are extremely sociable, gentle, intelligent and not very demanding. This makes them wonderful pets even for beginners. Owning one of these birds is very rewarding and not very hard work.

Cockatiels are actually a species of parrot. They get their name from a Dutch word, "Kakatielje" that means little cockatoo. Cockatiels belong to the cockatoo family and originated from Australia. There are many color varieties of cockatiels, including yellow, gray and white. With the proper nutrition, cockatiels will live for 15 to 20 years.

Cockatiels are extremely sociable birds. By nature, they are very gentle, docile and only moderately active. These birds need to be played with, talked to and touched. They will try to get your attention by doing tricks or singing. They are generally very happy cheerful birds. They are also very affectionate and will often groom your hair. Because of their affectionate nature, they especially love to be stroked and cuddled. They will even put their heads down for you to stroke them! Cockatiels can be taught to talk and whistle tunes. However, their speech is not as clear as the larger parrots. Males are usually more vocal than the females.

Even though cockatiels are from the parrot family, they are much smaller, quieter, cleaner and bite less than most other parrots. This makes them great family pets. When choosing a pet, make sure that it is hand-fed so that it will be tame and used to people. Also, you will need to decide whether you want a male or female. Females are more nervous than males, but also more friendly and affectionate. Males are a little more aggressive but will talk and sing more than females. Cockatiels are not an expensive bird.

Cockatiels need a cage at least 18" X 18" X 18". If they are going to be in the cage a lot then you should get a cage at least 36" X 18" X 24". This will give flying room that he will need for exercise. Try not to keep the cage in a draughty area. You should try to let your bird out of the cage as much as possible. There are even bird diapers now to prevent messes in your house! Because of their intelligence, cockatiels need lots of mental stimulation. You should change the toys in their cage every few weeks so that they won't get bored. Cockatiels do chew on things, so make sure the toys you get are safe.

In order to keep your pet healthy, it is imperative that you keep them on a good diet. Do not put your bird on an all seed diet. Try and get a pellet-based diet. If you do not get a pellet based diet, you will need to prepare fresh fruits and vegetables every day. Foods that are good for them include fruits, vegetables, cereals, bread and cheese. You can give these as treats if you have your bird on a pellet diet. Also, cockatiels need between 10 and 12 hours of sleep every night or they will become ill.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Which Birds Make Good Pets?

Birds make great pets, but it requires making a good decision before you take on your new companion. A little knowledge before you make your choice can save you lots of headaches down the road and ensure that you and your new pet will get along just fine in the years to come. Purchasing a bird for a pet doesn't have to be difficult.

There are birds that a very personable, like cockatiels and lovebirds, birds that talk, like parrots and mynah birds, those that sing, like canaries and those that are fun to watch, like finches.

Some of these traits cross over. For instance, male cockatiels can learn to talk and whistle. In fact, a friend of mine had one that liked to ask him, "Where's my baby?" and even whistle the theme to the Andy Griffith show.

If you like smaller birds, you might go for finches, lovebirds or parakeets. If you are not intimidated by large birds, a parrot, macaw, cockatoo or conure might make a good companion.

If you are on a budget, get a Budgie, which is a Parakeet. They are not only affordable, but they make great pets for kids. Most of them are beautifully colored and they can be very affectionate if you spend time with them. Some even learn to talk.

If you want something more exotic and showy, try a large Parrot. They can learn to talk and do tricks and they love to show off. These brightly colored birds can also be very affectionate once you have earned their trust.

Certainly, this is not an all inclusive list of birds that make good pets. Some people even keep doves and pigeons, among others. One thing you don't want to do is make a wild bird a pet. They don't adapt well, they don't take well to humans and they may carry diseases.

Typically, you can figure the bigger the bird, the bigger the mess. Birds can be messy because they get their food all over the place, especially when they are breaking shells from nuts and seeds. But it's worth it. You can get supplies to help reduce this undesirable mess.

Don't be in a hurry when you go shopping for your bird. Plan on spending some time looking at several birds. You will soon discover they have different personalities. If you are a laid back person, you might want a laid back bird. If you are outgoing, you might want the one that is proactive and runs up to greet you as you approach the cage.

Remember, it's cute to have a bird that talks, but they do not come with 'on and off' switches. If you are not prepared for a noisy bird, don't get a parrot or a cockatoo. Certainly you can usually quiet them temporarily by putting a cover over their cage or putting them in a dark room, but this is not fair. Understand what you are getting into before you make a purchase or adopt your new friend.

Why Feathers Fall Off Birds

1. Natural fall of feathers

The natural fall of feathers of birds is called languishing . This is a physiological process that reveals generally in the end of summer and the beginning of autumn with all birds species.

During the period of languishing consecutively all feathers fall off birds and are replaced with new ones . A change of all feathers occurs with old birds and with young ones this starts at the age of about 2 months and is called baby – languishing. During this they change only a part of their feathers that means only the small cover – feathers without the tail and helming feathers . For the growth of new feathers, the organism of birds uses up lots of energy. To be able to compensate this in due time it is necessary to provide favorable zoo – hygienic conditions of breeding, rich food full of vitamins and minerals, fresh air and warm . When breeding birds properly, languishing proceeds easily and fast . Incorrect feeding, dry undiversified and of poor quality food before languishing , leads to disturbance in metabolism, painful and long – lasting change of feathers. That is why it is necessary to provide various fresh and full of vitamins food ( fruit , vegetables ) . After completing the languishing, the bird restores its vitality, mobility and lively type.

2. Fall off feathers because of other reasons ( I unnatural season – winter).

Partial fall of feathers as well as their violent wrenching away by the birds themselves , which is a very common phenomenon and mostly in home – cultivated birds. This might be due to many reasons :
• sudden temperature changes
• insufficient feeding with undiversified food – especially only oil – bearing seeds
• damp and warm stuffy air – for example kitchen rooms
• lack of enough movements
• decrease of the continuation of daylight in the room
• invasion of parasites
• nerve disorders
• lack of attention

In such cases it is recommended to provide nourishing feeding with foods rich in animal proteins, minerals and vitamins. It should be considered that regular as well as irregular languishing create conditions for predispositions towards diseases, because of which special care and hygiene are necessary in this period.

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