This was written by Vicki Knox LeClaire who runs
Miss Vicki’s Parrot Village, Inc
The most heartbreaking things I face on a regular basis revolve around the ‘less than perfect’ birds…not from the birds themselves, but from the humans who encounter them. Here are just a handful of the facts and theories I have about the topic of plucked birds…
1. Don’t feel sorry for a plucked bird to any higher degree than a non-plucked bird. All are captive; all deserve respect, not sympathy. We created the problem, so we need to stand by them. Seeing a plucked bird here, then giving the ‘Bless his/her heart’ is not helping that bird; adopting him/her is.
2. Don’t assume a bird is plucking because he/she is in rescue; that is rarely the case. We have only had two of hundreds, and I am sure other rescues have the same experiences.
3. Don’t assume plucked birds are bored, unhappy, or sick. We don’t see plucked birds in the wild because if they exist, they are plucked out of the gene pool by predators or death; that is natural selection.
4. If your bird is plucking, take your bird to the vet for a full check up, including blood work, to determine if medical causes are to blame. If so, fix them, if not, love your bird as they are. If you are providing a good diet, enrichment, proper sleep, a toxin-free environment, etc. odds are, this is your bird’s ‘normal’. Accepting is and loving him/her as they are is far better for them and you than to constantly be stressing over appearance. Doing this is far less expensive for you than buying every snake oil product out there aimed at ‘fixing’ the ‘problem’.
5. Don’t send your plucking bird to a breeder because you cannot stand how ‘unhappy’ he/she is. Odds are, if you are doing the above, the bird is nowhere near as unhappy as others make you feel the bird is. Sending plucked birds back to breeders is one source of the problem…taking plucked birds into the breeding gene pool that is already messed up, and breeding more birds with the potential genetic predisposition to plucking is only adding fuel to the fire. Mulligan, my M2 that started the rescue was one of these birds frown emoticon
6. Expect it to be a bigger problem in the future. Without the influx of wild parrots into the gene pool and so many breeders not doing their research, we are soon to be facing serious problems from inbreeding. Immunity issues, feather issues, new diseases and abnormalities we have never seen before…hold onto your hats folks…
7. Just love them for who they are. They do it to you every day, just follow their lead
AMY LYNN NEEDS OUR HELP!
Amy Lynn is a Moluccan Cockatoo that is currently in the care of Diane Dwyer in Chalk River, ON, Canada. She came to Diane in desperate need of help. There was barely a place, anywhere on her body that was not “self-mutilated”. Amy Lynn has now been to her first vet appointment and the results are staggering. She is suffering from heavy metal poisoning – most likely from the chain that is currently lodged in her stomach. Here is a picture:
If that were not bad enough, somehow, it appears that almost all of her toes have at one time been broken. That is pretty tough for a creature that has little choice but be on her feet 24/7.
Amy Lynn is on injections for the next 10 days to try to stop the leaching of the metal into her system. With a great deal of luck, the chain will pass though but that is a big unknown at this time. Regardless, it as to come out of there somehow and she is going to require a lot of vet care. That, as we parrot lovers know, becomes very expensive, very quickly. (So far over $500 plus travel expenses etc.)
Bill, the Moluccan Cockatoo happens to be in the position to help. Bill is a legendary “carver”. Anyone who shares their home with a cockatoo (or any parrot) will understand. Her “Mom”, Diana Slater of the Too Crazy Birdy Hotel provides lots of wood around a window in her bird room for Bill to chew to her heart’s content. Here is what it looks like when it is a work in progress:
Diana saves the “carvings” for Gail, the Artist. Gail and Bill work well together as Gail can always see the design that Bill had in mind. She paints them for Bill and the result is amazing! The first collaboration was “Bill’s Selfie”
Bill has also created a Lesser Sulfur Crested Cockatoo perhaps a rendition of her friend Billy:
And also a Galah, probably inspired by Joey, who stayed for a few weeks at the Too Crazy Birdy Hotel:
With the love and blessing of Bill, Diana, Gail and F.E.A.T.H.E.R.S. these three pieces of original cockatoo artwork are to be offered for auction to benefit Amy Lynn and Diane Dwyer of Second Chance Parrot Shelter.
Bidding will start on Friday, October 3, 2014 at 6 p.m. Pacific Time and run until Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 6 p.m. and will be administered from the F.E.A.T.H.E.R.S. Facebook page – Feathers in BC
To follow Amy Lynn’s story go to Diane Dwyer’s Page
Birds Bite! It is a fact that if you share your life with a bird, it is more than likely going to bite you at some point and time. Does this mean that all birds are mean or aggressive….Hardly! In fact it is probably furthest from the truth. Birds use their beaks for a variety of reasons. A beak is another hand to a bird and so they use it for eating, climbing, playing etc. Sometimes they aren’t biting at all but just using their beak to step up on you, or check you out. You also have to learn body language and be able to understand what your bird is trying to communicate with you. If he or she is telling you “NO” and you are not paying attention, then a bite may happen. Normally a bird will only truly bite out of fear.
There are some birds that have learned to bite due to not being listened to from previous humans in their lives and now they will bite first and discuss later. What you have to keep in mind is that you need to earn this birds trust. This takes time, patience and lots of love. A lot of people have the false notion that if they have a baby bird it will bond to them and never bite. This also is a myth and totally wrong. As a bird matures so do their wants, desires and personalities. Also you have to keep in mind that when a bird reaches maturity their hormones come into play. I have talked with literally hundreds of people who had a sweet loving baby for years and all of a sudden it started biting them. Not to worry though this can be worked through as well, if you are willing to put in the time and effort to forge that bond and relationship.
Aggression in parrots include territoriality, hormones, stress, not enough mental stimulation, health issues etc. You need to look at your birds health first off and make sure that they are in good health by getting a full checkup from an Avian Vet. Once your bird has a clean bill of health then you need to look at the environment. Maybe they are fearful of something in the home, or too near a window and seeing too much activity outside. Maybe you have changed something in your home or on yourself. New furniture, moved things around, colored your hair or even wearing a new nail polish. Someone new moved in or maybe even your work schedules have changed.Birds can also associate certain colors with good or bad feelings. You also need to make sure that their diet is a healthy one full of all the nutrition they need. All of these things can factor into your birds behavior and so much more! Parrot bites can be painful and severe.
Over the years, I have seen and heard some horror stories involving people and parrot bites. Parrot beaks can be very powerful, even some of the smaller species. Some bites occurred from not aggressive birds but very sweet tame ones in the blink of an eye. If you have children in your home or around your birds…no matter how sweet the birds are you have to be ever vigilant in making sure that both the parrot and the child are safe. A serious bite can happen in the matter of seconds and with a small child this can mean the loss of a finger or an eye. No matter how sweet you think your bird is and has never bitten anyone….it can and does happen!
I am not trying to scare anyone from sharing your life with a parrot. To the contrary, I have many and love them so much. However I feel it is very important for anyone considering a bird to gain all the knowledge you can first. These are highly intelligent beings and it is very important for everyone to understand them before you bring them into your home. Birds are given up to rescues, banished to basements, put outside and even let go when the human does not understand them enough to work through the problems. Once given the proper understanding and patience a bird is an amazing companion, but we must study, research and know the facts prior to bringing one into our home. These are wild creatures even the ones bred in captivity are only a few generations away from their natural wild ancestors. The average parrot can go through many homes during their lifetime due to the humans not fully understanding them. They are creatures of very complex emotions and behaviors. They are not meant to be in homes who aren’t fully on board and dedicated to making their lives as rich as possible.
Moving from home to home also takes a toll on their emotions. Birds are hardwired to stay in one family (flock) and when given up they can become confused, mistrustful and possibly the start of aggression. However if you are willing to take the time, an adopted bird can be the most amazing rewarding experience of your life. All of my babies came from previous homes. Some had many and some only a few. However I have the most loving birds. They are amazing and I do fully trust them. I have had both babies and adult birds during my life, and I can honestly say that it took time and effort for any age bird to form a bond and a trust between us. Taking home a sweet baby bird can be the most misleading start of a relationship. You think this wonderful little ball of fluff is so sweet…..and then maturity happens and you have no clue what happened to your precious little feather baby. Trust me, unless you are fully aware of all the challenges ahead and ready to devote your lives to these babies….they will change once they mature. And then you must start over on the trust and bonding process.
Below is just a small example of pics taken of bird bites and they were from some very experienced bird handlers.
post on December 24th, 2009 by Patty
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the flights,
Not a bird was stirring since I turned off the lights.
Clean dishes were stacked by the freezer with care,
So in the morning they would be filled with fresh healthy fare.
The birds were all fed and put out to play,
Everyone was settled – I was done for the day.
When down from the basement there arose such a clatter,
That I ran for the stairs to see what was the matter.
I raced down the steps and turned down the light,
Glancing first to the left and then to the right.
It was then that I noticed the now empty spot,
In the cage where the Cockatoos should be but were not!
The Goffins are missing I yelled to my spouse,
While I shuddered to think what they’d do to the house.
My fears were well founded I soon came to know.
As I surveyed the destruction in the bird room below.
Feeding doors had been opened, the dishes all tossed,
Bags were ripped open their contents all lost.
The marauders unfastened from the cage tops each toy,
which they tossed at the occupants below with such joy.
The other birds sulked as they viewed the whole mess,
This Cockatoo duo had created such stress!
I searched through the room, my frustration profound,
Those two fiendish beasts simply weren’t to be found!
It was then that I noticed the Senegal staring,
As his eyes flashed with anger I saw he was glaring
Towards the side of the room at an overturned pail.
I followed his gaze and saw a flash of white tail.
Holding my breath as I approached with great care,
Was it possible both could be hiding in there?
I snatched up the bucket and the villains were exposed,
They knew they were busted and for a second they froze,
Then the Cockatoo shriek and scrambling of feet,
They raced for their cage in hasty retreat.
I slammed the door shut as I trembled with rage,
Don’t you two ever, ever come out of your cage!
They stared at me smugly cheeks puffed with contentment,
Their mission accomplished they ignored my resentment.
I’ll clean up tomorrow.
I said aloud with a sigh
As I walked toward the steps one ‘Too said “bye bye.”
As I turned with a grin I felt suddenly calm,
Their sweet little voices could act as a balm.
For along with their mischief, they brought love and fun,
It was hard to stay angry despite what they’d done.
My jangled nerves and life’s hectic pace,
Had made me forget what was in my face.
I didn’t need gifts, fancy stuff from the store.
I had all I needed, my birds and much more!
My dear friends and family, my health and my spouse,
Everything that mattered was right here in this house.
So Santa I thank you but I don’t need a lot,
I’m learning to be grateful for all that I’ve got.
If you come down my chimney to leave something new,
Just leave me some padlocks so I can lock up the ‘Toos!!
I wish you all the happiest holidays and the brightest new year.
I had been intending to write up an article on safe cleaning products and came across this one today. It states everything exactly as I use and so no need for me to write my own article, when it has already been done perfectly 🙂
Parrots are slobs. When they aren’t flinging food at the walls, they’re pooping on the floor. Wood chips and toy parts are everywhere.The dust and dander alone is enough to make you cry. Literally. It is very difficult to keep your house in pristine condition when you live with parrots, but we do have to try.The result of an unclean home will be sick birds (and humans), insects, rodents, and perhaps an unwanted relationship with the Board of Health.
For birds that have the power to make a mess resembling a construction site, they are fragile little flowers when it comes to the products that we can safely use around them. There are a few things you must keep in mind whether you are cleaning your bird’s cage and accessories or cleaning the house around your bird:
A birds respiratory system is a delicate and intricate machine. Any product that comes in an aerosol spray bottle is automatically out of the question for use in a home that is shared with a bird. The contents of an aerosol bottle are under extreme pressure. When released, they come out with force in a fine mist that looms in the air. The mist can flow freely from room to room with natural air currents or with the help of your home’s air system. They are dangerous as are any products that produce fumes. Oven cleaning products (and ovens with self cleaning features) are often cited as the cause of death for many birds.
Everything in your bird’s path will wind up in its mouth.This includes its own feet after they have walked on your newly washed floor. Your bird must never come in contact with chemicals or its residue..
When using products that are safe for your bird, which I will list below, use them sparingly. A little goes a long way. Manufacturers will recommend that you use more than is really necessary because they want you to run out of it sooner so you have to buy more. Further, the more of a product you use, even the safe ones, the more difficult it will be to rinse clean.
When washing things that have food matter on them, remember to rinse your cleaning cloths and brushes often. Food gathers bacterias which can be transferred from one item to the next during the course of cleaning.
Never introduce chemicals into anything that you use in conjunction with your birds, such as spray bottles, steamers or cleaning tools.
Elbow grease is an effective cleaner.
Mild dishwashing liquid: Sometimes I feel things needs a good, old fashioned scrub down with soap and water. I wash cages, toys and perches safely with a small amount of Dawn.
White distilled vinegar and water: I use a cup or two per gallon of water. This cleans everything from cages to mirrors. I use this solution and soapy water, as above, as my main general house cleaners.
Steam: If you have a bird that manages to get food into toy and cage crevices, this is a great method of cleaning. The hot steam gets into places that can’t always be reached with cleaning tools. It’s perfect for cleaning playgyms and porous perches. It kills mold and fungus too. There are hand held models available at some online bird stores. Never use anything but water in your steamer.
Laundry detergent: I know a lot of you have birds that play with towels, under sheets or are always in contact with your clothes. Some even help do the laundry. I use Tide, but in lesser amounts that is suggested because I want to be sure that any residue is removed in the rinse cycle. I clean my bird’s cage covers with this, and if you read my last post, you know that the cage cover spends a lot of time in Linus’ mouth. Don’t use fabric softener sheets, like Bounce, with fabrics your bird will come in contact with.
GSE (grapefruit seed extract) – This is a very effective antibacterial cleaner and great to have around for cleaning things like cutting boards, kitchen counters, and other places where food has been or will be.
Baking soda – On its own, it is great for absorbing oils and greasy messes. It also lifts stains when mixed with a bit of water to make a paste. It cleans effectively when diluted in hot water (about 1/4 cup per gallon of water), but leaves a residue behind that has to be cleaned or rinsed.
That’s my list. These are the ONLY products I use that my birds might have ANY contact with wherever they might be.
I want to add that, in addition to aerosols and chemical cleaners DO NOT use freshening products like Fabreze or Carpet Fresh. They are directly responsible for the deaths of a number of birds. If something stinks, it needs to be cleaned, not covered with a prettier smell. Further, beware of solutions used in carpet cleaners and keep your birds well away from freshly shampooed carpet. No Scotch Guard type products on your furniture upholstery, either. Sorry. I know birds enjoy pooping on couches.
I want to impress upon you that many off-the-shelf products that claim to be “pet friendly” are not necessarily created with birds in mind. There are many bird specific cleaning products on the market. I have tried many of them, and find none to be more effective than ones you can make cheaply yourself from products you have in your kitchen. I advise you to stick with the tried and true methods of keeping your bird’s environments clean and safe.
Get up early in the morning & have a cup of coffee.
It’s going to be a long day, so place your Parrot on a
perch nearby to keep you company while you prepare the
Remove Parrot from kitchen counter and return him to
perch. Prepare stuffing, and remove Parrot from edge
of stuffing bowl and return him to perch.
Stuff turkey & place it in the roasting pan, and
remove Parrot from edge of pan and return him to
perch. Have another cup of coffee to steady your
Remove Parrot’s head from turkey cavity and return him
to perch, and re-stuff the turkey.
Prepare relish tray, and remember to make twice as
much so that you’ll have a regular size serving after
the Parrot has eaten his fill.
Remove Parrot from kitchen counter and return him to
perch. Prepare cranberry sauce, discard berries
accidentally flung to the floor by Parrot. Peel
potatoes, remove Parrot from edge of potato bowl and
return him to perch.
Arrange sweet potatoes in a pan & cover with brown
sugar & mini marshmallows. Remove Parrot from edge of
pan and return him to perch. Replace missing
Brew another pot of coffee. While it is brewing, clean
up the torn filter. Pry coffee bean from Parrot beak.
Have another cup of coffee & remove Parrot from
kitchen counter and return him to perch
When time to serve the meal: Place roasted turkey on a
large platter, and cover beak marks with strategically
placed sprigs of parsley.
Put mashed potatoes into serving bowl, rewhip at last
minute to conceal beak marks and claw prints. Place
pan of sweet potatoes on sideboard, forget
presentation as there’s no way to hide the areas of
Put rolls in decorative basket, remove Parrot from
side of basket and return him to perch. Also remove
beaked rolls, serve what’s left. Set a stick of butter
out on the counter to soften – think better and return
it to the refrigerator.
Wipe down counter to remove mashed potato claw tracks.
Remove Parrot from kitchen counter and return him to
Cut the pie into serving slices. Wipe whipped cream
off Parrot’s beak and place large dollops of remaining
whipped cream on pie slices. Whole slices are then
served to guests, beaked-out portions should be
reserved for host & hostess.
Place Parrot inside cage & lock the door. Sit down to
a nice relaxing dinner with your family – accompanied
by plaintive cries of “WANT DINNER!” from the other
Sounds a little ridiculous now doesn’t it? Are there even different sides to choose from and if so….Why?
All too often we are asked to choose sides in the Avian Community? Is there really a need for this? Can we not Love these precious birds together and fight for them and be on their side? Should there even be sides. Now I am not referring to breeding vs rescuing. I am talking about the lines constantly drawn in the sand in the rescue world of the avian community. Why? How is this ever going to help the one thing that we are all here trying to fight for? As adults can we not see how this is only going to hurt the very thing that means the most to us? Our reason for spending hours daily online to discuss the plight, education and awareness of the Feathered ones?
There are so many amazing organizations and groups out there that are trying their very best to do what is good for the sake of the birds. It is each persons right to choose which they want to support and which they choose not to. Does this seriously have to cause a war between us though? I support several causes, but that does not mean that I am opposed to the others that I do not support. It also doesn’t mean that I am in favor of them either. It just means I have chosen what is best for me to support. This is my decision alone and nobody else is going to tell me that I have to support something in order to be their friend. And what kind of person even asks you to do this? Are they so insecure in their beliefs or cause that it has to be forced upon you? Isn’t this the stuff that Wars are made of? One leader saying that everyone must bow down and follow their ideas or be exiled or executed?
When people freely choose who they wish to follow or support, they are energized and excited to share openly about their cause, they are not puppets or merely resources doing as they are told or expected to do. Good leaders understand that they are there to inspire, cooperate and contribute as a team member, not as a dictator. And in dealing with these precious Angels if our mission or cause is not based on pure love, then the cause is completely lost altogether. How can we not practice exactly what we are so desperately trying to preach?
“Love waits patiently, shows kindness. Love is not jealous, does not brag, is not ‘puffed up’, does not behave improperly, does not seek self-interest, doesn’t get provoked, doesn’t reckon up evil, doesn’t rejoice at injustice, but rejoices at integrity.
Love copes with everything; is always committed, always hopeful, always endures to the end; love never collapses” (1 Cor 12:31 – 13:8).
Our Words can be very powerful! They also reveal what kind of heart we have. So when you are listening or reading someones words…are they about hope, love, faith and full of excitement? Our words can link people to one another and create a wonderful bridge of success together. Words should motivate, encourage and inspire. They should never be about tearing down and dividing.
For my human friends, please understand that I don’t care what cause or mission you support or stand by. All I care about is helping these precious Angels have a better future and doing it together. Am I a dreamer? Yes I am but I will never stop believing in my dreams of saving these precious Angels. You see they give me hope, for all things better. They have shown me what love and compassion are truly about. Their hearts are full of grace and forgiveness. For them, I will always believe that Love is stronger than anything else in life and it truly is the only thing that matters.
So if I must choose a side, then I am choosing “The Angels”! I am here for them and to help spread the word that they need us together! I have looked into their eyes and have not seen any animosity, only hope that we are listening. I have heard their pleas of love and trust for a better tomorrow…. and I intend to do whatever I possibly can to make that happen for them. I refuse to choose any other side but theirs!
“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”
Deborah Feathered Angels