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October 20: Blue-Footed Booby Socks & Free-wheeling Feathers
Hello, friends! We hope you enjoy this issue, with its focus on African Grey parrots. In this issue’s TheRoundUp we celebrate that spirit of generosity which inspires folks to “#BetheChange” — like Manko (@i_met-Manko (IG)) leading the way for animal therapy birds in Australia, and Will and Matty Gladstone (@thebluefeetfoundation (IG)) for their innovative support to the blue-footed booby. Also, we continue to study free-flight, with both Peter Corbeau of Taking Wing Consulting (@takingwingconsulting (IG)) and Indonesian Arga with his family of five macaws (@noegie_arga (IG)).
Hailing from Persia, Fandogh (@Fandoghhh__ (IG), in his debonaire attire, is a true ambassador for African greys. Fandogh has graciously and inquisitively followed our Insta account from the beginning, and provided much joy with his dignified yet gentle bearing. A sophistique, sometimes tongue in cheek, here Fandogh dons his cap and playfully teases those who would call it abuse. Daily Fandogh charms his 31k followers:
Both Rexi and Freddy found rescue and their forever home with Gill Horwell (FB). We hope to bring you their full story in our November issue.
Luna (@Luna_the_rescue_grey (IG)) last graced TheRoundUp about a year ago, her joyous story of rescue and rehabilitation rendering her the heart-throb of the male African greys on Twitter. At that time six-year-old Luna was settling in with work-at-home dad and had eyes only for him. Comfortable, respected and safe in her new home, Luna for the most part stopped plucking — it’s been a year of feather growth. Luna still sports fluff from new feathers, has gained confidence and has opened her heart to Mom parront as well. Importantly, Luna serves the family function of keeping Dad’s head on his shoulders during work hours, the best preventative medicine for monologues (aka “rants,” lol!)
Congratulations to Echo, African grey, and Zoey, blue and gold macaw, as they are adopted in to the warm fid family at @katiethemacaw (IG). Echo and Zoey join green-cheek conure Nibbles, macaw Apollo and lilac-crowned Amazon Oscar to form again a family of five.
Echo and Zoey arrive in the aftermath of deep loss. First, macaw Max died in January from PDD– Proventricular Dilatation Disease, also known as Macaw Wasting Disease. The family destroyed Max’s toys and disinfected everything although conventional advice dismissed the likelihood of PDD passing to other birds except when housed together. PDD, an auto-immune disease originating in the brain, causes a macaw’s body to attack itself. A silent killer thought possibly from a new avian bornovirus, it strikes suddenly with a minimum of observable symptoms. Although Katie was poorly within a few months, the vet did not consider PDD as on the radar. Then, in June one day, Katie just died!
Necropsies of both Max and Katie revealed the characteristic wasting of PDD on numerous organs. Because PDD research is in its infancy and because both birds were rescues, there’s no way to determine when either contracted PDD nor how long it remained dormant before onset.
The days grow short in the Northern Hemisphere, but in Tamilnadu Chennai, India, the days are getting longer and Coco (@meet.mittu_coco_and cleo (IG)) has welcomed two rescues into her home: first Mittu the Alexandrine, then more recently Cleo, the Indian ringneck. Coco’s parront is friends with a bird-shop owner, and three months ago this friend asked Coco’s parront to take Mittu when an earlier buyer was found to have neglected him. Mittu arrived screaming and anxious. Coco and his parront’s gentle ways soon soothed Mittu. Cleo arrived about a month ago, the opposite of Mittu, very quiet and shy. Cleo and Mittu, however, quickly bonded and the family makes a happy trio together.
DownUnder birds greet the glory of spring — no doubt with joy and the occasional hormonal scream. Switching from African greys to macaws — have you met Manko?! (@i_met_manko (IG))
This week-end bird model and therapy animal Manko pairs up with Wild Bolivian Adventures Eco-tour Agency (@wild-bolivian-adventures (IG)) to present a Macaw Madness workshop at Queensland’s Elements Festival (@elements_festival_ (IG)) in Southeast Queensland. The workshop educates people about macaws the illegal pet trade. If you’re in Queensland, be sure to join them!
Manko and his parront Katheryn Taylah have a mission beyond modeling and teaching about the pet trade: Manko as a pet therapy bird in Australia is on a mission to teach Australians about parrots and their suitability for official recognition as pet therapy animals.
Manko’s breeder. BK Aviaries of Queensland (@bkaviaries (IG)), an ethical breeder, had witnessed and researched birds as animal therapy support for individuals with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), an anxiety diagnosis often additionally co-occuring with depression. BK Aviaries provided baby Manko to Katheryn and her family, believing Manko could assist them navigate the emotional and behavioral hurdles they faced after experiencing severe domestic violence and abuse.
Unfortunately, Australia currently only recognizes dogs as pet therapy animals, despite the many downsides: not all housing situations allow dogs; people often have dog allergies; dogs are short-lived and can disturb neighbors. Manko knows his longevity, cheerfulness, and endearing sociability make him equal to or, for diverse people in certain circumstances, superior to a dog therapy companion. Manko’s mission is nothing other than achieving the recognition of parrots as pet therapy animals in Australia.
Katheryn also organizes social and cultural events for Brisbane Bird Social Club (@_bbsc_/@birdsocialsoz (IG)): whether the birds meet at a parrot-friendly cafe, on the beach or, in a studio to model for a children’s art lesson, Manko and Katheryn strive to raise awareness of parrots both as pets and as companion therapy animals. Manko’s modeling fees fund assistance to individuals with PTSD in financial distress.
Another dynamic duo engaged in raising bird awareness is Will and Matty Gladstone of The Blue Feet Foundation (@thebluefeetfoundation (IG)) — the two boys are on a mission to save birds — the blue-footed booby, specifically. Together the Gladstones manage a great aid vehicle, which sells blue-footed booby socks and hands the proceeds over to Galapagos Conservancy (@galapagosconservancy (IG)), which applies the funds exclusively to its blue-footed booby programs.
Will originated the idea after learning in fifth grade that the Galapagos blue-footed booby population had declined 50% in the last 60 years. Now in eighth grade, Will has had help from his younger brother Matty, now ten. The boys sourced their signature blue socks from China and established an Instagram presence. Within three months Will and Matty had attracted that threshold following that got orders started. And the orders have just kept coming: tall stacks of shipped socks line their family room walls. Orders are now so voluminous, the boys prepackage shipments in their spare time. The boys brief Facebook presence brought such overwhelming business they had to delete their page t page to keep up with their studies.
As reported by Points of Light, in 2017 Will and Matty helped fund a trip to the Galapagos for Prof. David J. Anderson of Wake Forest University. While there, Dr. Anderson, a foremost expert in the blue-footed booby worked the blue-footed booby’s population decline. By August of this year, the Gladstones had contributed over $40,000 to Galapagos Conservancy. In September Will and Matty traveled to Washington, DC to receive Presidential Environmental Education Awards. The Gladstones trademark socks are covering the world in blue– they have shipped to all fifty states and 39 foreign countries! Thanks to ten-year-old Lithuanian birdwatcher Liepa (@liepa_birdwatching (IG)) for the great picture below!
We applaud Will and Matty for their commitment to a great cause, thank them for teaching us more about the blue-footed booby, and wish them the best with their studies!
Peter Corbeau, trainer of Taking Wing Consulting, (@takingwingconsulting (IG)) only speaks with great reserve about free-flight: it’s not for every fid, nor for every parront. Erect in posture, an artiste in @CirqueMacabre (IG), Peter exhibits that high level of self-awareness and presence of mind training animals that only experienced trainers can. Watch the video again, watch the self-control of his body language. Peter knows well that every gesture, every noise sends an implicit positive or negative reinforcement to the animals around us.
Growing up surrounded by animals in Washington state, Peter was, figuratively, baptized into Orca whale worship at birth. However, in third grade, when a wild owl visited the class, Peter underwent immediate conversion. After that it was all about birds, something in the movement of birds entranced him. Peter’s fascination with birds — training them — has only grown with time. First it was the flock of parakeets, or “how to juggle budgies” coordinating positive reinforcement to cue to multiple flitting birds.
Peter was a reader early on, researching topics that attracted him, learning vicariously from great trainers working with zoo animals and open-ocean dolphins, and in falconry — “trainers that have no option but to have bullet-proof relationships with their learners because they could just disappear and never come back.” From such teachers Peter distilled the fundamental lesson that “excessive use of punishment, negative reinforcement and coercion” have too much negative fall-out to be worthwhile. Pressuring a bird’s belly to motivate it to step on a stick is an example of negative reinforcement: the stimulus is removed once the animal performs the desired behavior. This becomes counter-productive as the bird learns to anticipate the stimulus, because it always only precedes the desired behavior, the bird will merely avoid the stimulus. Carrying it one step further, negative reinforcement is applied continuously so the bird devises a reactive behavior, like biting you. As you start anticipating the biting, the bird learns how to bite without giving advance warning. Miraculously, you’ve now created a biting bird! Similarly, some days just aren’t right for training. When Peter senses Milo or another bird is “off”, a break is advised. Most recently Peter’s 21-year-old blue-fronted Amazon was exhibiting reactive behaviors so the Peter gave him a break from training. as training is potentially stressful.
Peter’s interest in falconry led him to several meets and hunts. Watching the techniques, Peter resolved to free-flight train a parrot using different principles, which he soon did. Peter favors intensive indoor flight-training prior to outdoor attempts utilizing the same spatial skills as he would use when training a walking or climbing bird, beckoning with voice for them to “come to me” from out of sight, for instance from around a corner. Teaching flight is the same in Peter’s eyes as walking or climbing: it’s just a variation on “come to me.”
Peter formalized his training, studying applied behavior analysis (ABA) through BehaviorWorks, with Dr. Susan Friedman, a Utah State University psychology professor, and trains both remotely and in person though he has a strong preference for IRL training. Peter trains a variety of animals using ABA, but birds remain his passion. For all his love of free-flying Milo, Peter does not consult on free-flight training, stressing that free-flight is only appropriate with certain combinations of bird and parront. Its dangers are simply too great for people who are not particularly observant of their birds and responsive to their behavior.
“Calm, everything gonna be fun!” Arga (@noegie_arga (IG)) captions his account with these words. Arga lives in Indonesia, where there is a longstanding tradition of free-flight predating Applied Behavior methods. Arga discovered birds just four years ago, beginning with budgies because in Indonesia budgies are inexpensive, less than $1. In 2016 he got his first macaw, the military macaw below named Amore and readily learned free-flight.
Arga makes free flight sound so easy. The training goes down to the basics — a bird for free-flight is handfed always and gets over 30 minutes per day quality time with its parront. After the parrot is calm and easy to handle, indoor flight training comes first, progressing from a simple “come to me” command through “boomerang” and “blocking” skills which I hope to clarify in the next issue.
First efforts outdoors use a harness, practicing “come to me” safely. After that, the bird is “thrown”, as demonstrated in the below video for free-flight.
On YouTube at @Ceppy Tri you can watch longer videos of Indonesian flight. Indonesians find free-flight a social occasion and will group en masse, providing additional protection to their birds in numbers. The technique of “throwing” the bird demonstrated above by Arga illustrates well the unique technique. You can also see more Indonesian free flight by following #indonesianparrotlovers. We also look forward to interviewing Rusty and Friends (@mybirdsdiary (IG)), from a more northern region of Indonesia, Sulawesi., with her free-flighted conures (see below).
Ruby Doo Vance, E.P., Took on the Wild West and Won!
It’s been busy– what Back-to-School season isn’t?! We apologize for our delay in publishing! We express gratitude to our four feature accounts for their support and enthusiasm despite the delay: female Eclectus Ruby of @Rubydoovance (IG), flock mistress Budgie Brigade (@Budgiebrigade (IG)), devoted mum of a blue Indianringneck Ludo and Goffin cockatoo (Poppy of @Ludo_and_poppy (IG)), and photographer Danielle Griffith of DownUnder @Sydneycockatooos! We so enjoyed the opportunity to interview each of you and get to know you better. Thank you very much! To all our readers in the Northern Hemisphere, we hope your autumn brings you bright colours and much joy; to those in the Southern Hemisphere, we wish we were down there with you for a second summer!
One day in fall 2015, Parront-to-be Vance espied Ruby Doo Vance, E.P. (@Rubydoovance (IG); “Ruby”) through the window of a downtown St. Louis, Missouri pet store. Ruby’s sharp feathers poked through her skin at every angle. A wee chick, much of her scaly skin still lay bare. Swept up in a rapture of excitement, Parront Vance raced into the shop, paid the bride price, and returned every day for the next six weeks to visit the scrappy scarlet princess — notwithstanding the commute from his suburban home — till Ruby was weaned. Parront Vance thus “co-parented” the blossoming young Ruby.
An Eclectus female from the Solomon Islands (eclectus roratus solomonensis), Ruby Doo is slighter than her cousins from the Moluccas, New Guinea, Australia, and Sumba. Mature by one year, orange-black beak morphing to glossy ebony, Ruby — with a life expectancy of around 40 years — charmed early on with her lilting “hello,” “peekaboo,” “I don’t know,” and “Cheerio.” Ruby’s only loud noise was her “tea kettle whistle.” (Can she do cappuccino too?!)
The gracious Vance home, sporting high ceilings and large open areas, allows Ruby to fly free indoors. Ruby hangs out in her special cubby hole or cat-tower and suns in the breakfast room in her large cage. Ruby likes dog toys and playing with dogs — even hiding under the sofa to launch a surprise game of tag. An accomplished Instagram model, Ruby coyly plays to the camera, posing and playing, fascinated with her own image — even kissing it — in videos.
Recently, Ruby toured the Western US, strutting out in harness at national parks and monuments, befriending strangers with the quiet confidence of a true Birb ambassador.
Ruby first visited Colorado’s Garden of the Gods, with its massive red boulders and stunning vistas, bested Pike’s Peak (14,115 ft elevation above seawater), and coolly surveyed precipitous plunges from the “Million Dollar highway,” which in 50 miles traverses three mountain passes — without interference from guardrails or shoulders!
Onward Ho! Ruby visited her Utah grandparronts, riding granny’s shoulder to Devil’s Garden with its Jurassic Period otherworldly sandstone formations. Quizzically comparing her claw prints with her dinosaur ancestors’, Ruby communed with Nature at the Twenty Mile Wash Dinosaur Track formation there.
We won’t report all Ruby’s activities in Las Vegas. “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”
Ruby graced Bryce Canyon National Park, natural showcase of the world’s largest collection of hoodoos — eroded rock pillars. Passing over the Depression-Era Hoover Dam, Ruby flew on through Grand Canyon National Park and Four Corners Monument, where Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado neatly meet. Can you believe Ruby thought it windy there– There are no trees in the Great American Desert to halt wind or weather!!!! Legend enshrines how the wind, like the mythical Sirens, drove pioneers insane on the long, lonely unprotected trek.
To round off Four Corners, Ruby took in the arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the oldest state capital in the US, established in 1610! Then Ruby surveyed Santa Fe National Forest and Taos Pueblo, finishing off her tour of the West with Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.
While Ruby Did Indeed tour the Wild West, Budgie Brigade (@budgiebrigade (IG)) steadfastly toured her neighborhood, seeking the best sites to free-flight train her two young cockatiels, Linnaeus and Ki-ok.
Nearly a year ago Budgie Brigade took Chris Biro’s free-flight course, Liberty Wings, a Skype-based avian training and flight course, and continues to use Liberty Wings FaceBook group for collaboration, trouble-shooting, and support. As Budgie Brigade lives in New Jersey, where winter can be fierce, she practiced her training skills with indoor flight training for both budgies and cockatiels throughout the winter and in April started outdoors.
As demonstrated below the indoor training uses a perch and practices flying to outstretched arm and return.
Budgie Brigade went outdoors with the birds in April. The Liberty Wings flight course provides a terrain classification system to assist in selecting safe flight training sites. Budgie Brigade did her initial perch-to-hand practices in her yard, after first having accustomed the birds to the outdoors by placing their cage outside for short periods, attended. Budgie Brigade next advanced, as we detailed in an earlier article, to flight in an outdoor aviary, erected from PVC tubing and bird netting such as one would use to protect gardens from birds preying on them. Finally, aided with aerial photos, Budgie Brigade selected nearby locales. (With larger birds, the parront generally would free-flight train in a broad open area. However, after considerable discussion, Budgie Brigade determined that a tree-enclosed area would provide her young cockatiels maximum safety from predatory birds and other hazards while also giving Linnaeus, Ki-ok and Spectre a sense of security. It has proved a great setting!)
Advance trouble-shooting a training session is key with outdoor flight. As Budgie Brigade has smaller birds than what are typically trained for outdoor flight, she has doubly to engage in advanced planning. As they say, “Luck, and damned luck, are only failed preparation” (Said by a military officer in Logistics).
You might reasonably ask, “Isn’t Budgie Brigade afraid of losing her birds?” Confidence in your coursework and preparation are required, but there is always a cause for concern. You may further ask, “have you had a bird fly off?” Well, the answer is: Yes, and more than once. But Budgie Brigade has used these experiences to further her understanding of how her particular birds respond to their opportunities at specific stages of training.
First dear Spectre flew off (below left). A nearby family, lounging at their pool, first noticed an unusual bird call. As Spectre landed on a deck chair, the husband realized she might be tame, called to her and held out his hand. Amazingly, Spectre flew directly to him, landing on the outstretched hand! Not thinking there was “a chance in hell” of recovering Spectre, Budgie Brigade sighed, “the universe was merciful this time!” Budgie Brigade explains in her July 15 post that likely she recovered Spectre due to the following five factors: 1) Spectre was tame and “loved people”; 2) the man called and raised his hand, exactly mimicking Spectre’s training; 3) Spectre was a skilled flier; 4) Spectre had racked up enough outdoor time that she had a fundamental understanding of basic safety; and 5) “I got extremely, unbelievably, miraculously lucky that someone who knew the family saw my shitty posters”!
About one month later, young Ki-ok and Linnaeus ventured off — about two hours before sunset– and got their first night camping as a result! Because this was a first-time fly-off, the two did not know immediately to start calling. Ki-ok. irretrievable in the tree in which he landed (it takes the birds a while to survey, plan and Linnaeus indeterminately located, the birds’ parront could not recover them before nightfall. Before sunrise, Budgie Brigade returned to Ki-ok’s tree, with Spectre calling from a travel cage, and succeeded in recovering the two. The youngsters were flying higher than ever before; it took more than 90 minutes for them to descend. Lesson: “I should have taken them out earlier in the day when this happened I would have had more time [before sunset].”
Since recently acquiring two pineapple-GCC, Budgie Brigade has started flight training them as well. Now, however, she is back at work so it’s harder to find the large spans of time needed for flight-training. Whereas in summer, she generally flew the birds daily, now free flight is restricted to weekends.
Budgie Brigade strongly advocates for free flight training and would love to talk with you about it, especially if you are in the New Jersey area and interested in establishing a local club. Be sure to drop by this rapidly growing Instagram account — the videos of Linnaeus flying have had over 12k and 7k views, respectively.
Meet Ludo, the Indian ringneck and his new brother, Poppy, the Goffin Gockatoo, of @Ludo_and_poppy(IG))! Born February this year and smaller in size, Ludo is further matured than Poppy, who hatched in late March, but both are preening like experts now! Their Mom thinks about possibly training Poppy to free-fly!
One thing about Indian ringnecks– they have a strong flocking urge, often needing other birds present before they will bond closely with their parronts. So I was not surprised when their Parront explained, “My decision to get Poppy was partially because Ludo loves other birds so much. He was so scared of me.” She felt he didn’t trust her but “knew another bird around would help”. And that’s exactly what happened. The day they brought Poppy home, Ludo started following after Poppy “like a dog.” Just days later, Ludo observably was “coming out of his shell,” trusting his parront more, trying new foods with confidence, etc.
Currently located on a two-acre plot, Ludo and Poppy’s home hopefully will soon sport a large outdoor aviary– where his parront will “start adopting as many birds” as possible. “Owning a bird sanctuary has always been a HUGE dream of mine. I have been obsessed with animals as long as I can remember, but birds for some reason caught my attention.” While a third-grader, Ludo’s mom would bring the class pet, a cockatiel, home weekends — “I fell in love.” Describing birds as her “happy place,” Ludo’s mom suggests birbs and parronts “choose each other.”
Ludo’s mom had met Poppy’s breeder six years earlier at a bird mart: he was the breeder “asking 100 questions before allowing someone to consider buying a bird from him. Ludo’s mom looked forward to hand raising a bird. In the course of meeting with the breeder and his baby Goffins, Ludo’s parronts considered about ten different Goffin chicks. Poppy was the one who allowed Ludo’s mom to feed her right away. Later, when sLudo’s mom brought Ludo with her, Ludo “immediately flew to Poppy and tried to feed her himself.” That’s how they came to understand Poppy was theirs.
March 13, 2018.– Disaster in the laundry room! Danielle Griffith laundered her phone within her bedsheets! Aghast to lose her trove of photos of the sulphur-crested cockatoos that fly daily to her balcony, Dani pledged to God a wild cockatoo Instagram account to showcase these wild wonders, if only the phone and photos survived. (Just kidding!) The pictures and phone dried from the drenching, and Dani began her account, @Sydneycockatoos, a March 20, 2018 with the photo above.
Just over six months old, @Sydneycockatoos already has more than 8,100 followers — Impressive. While the first photo this morning had 53 likes, yesterday’s photos already had 1,154!
A textile designer and illustrator, Danielle practices photography as a hobby. For those who are wondering about the cameras she uses– for portrait photos Dani usess a Canon 600D DSLR, a great entry-level camera. For videos she uses her iPhoneX. Sunset photos and videos from the balcony are particularly challenging.
Not long ago, Dani and her fiance found their dream North Shore Sydney apartment — close to nature and family but not far from work and city, situated in view of Lane Cove National Park, within a short distance of Kuring-Gai National Park, where the glossy black cockatoos gather.
Just this week, Dani visited and photographed the glossy blacks, which, like the Eclectus, are sexually dimorphic, with the male sporting red banding on the tail and the female yellow head and tail feathers.
The couple’s first day in the apartment, not realizing a 35-member flock of wild sulphur-crested cockatoos daily visited the balcony, the two reveled in the sole cockatoo who did grace the railing. The bird piqued their curiosity and excitement! On an average day, the cockatoos arrive in the morning, stopping to drink on their way ou; evenings, the birds again circle and descend on the railing before returning to their roosts. Dani notes that with the start of Daylight Savings Time, she will return in time to get more of the favored sunset shots.
The sulphur crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita), a large white cockatoo, is native to regions of Australia, New Guinea, and Indonesia. About 50 cm/20 in in length, the sulphur crested cockatoo is naturally inquisitive and intelligent, adaptable to settled suburban sprawl of Sydney and other Australian cities. While cockatoos may live to around 70 years in captivity, they survive only around 20-40 years in the wild.
A seasonal breeder, cockatoos, according to Wikipedia, breed in Northern Australia from May to September and, in Southern Australia, from August to January. The nest typically is wood chip in a hollowed-out tree, with two to three eggs per season incubated by both parents. Incubation lasts just shy of 4 weeks, nesting 9-12 weeks; and the chicks remain with their parents several months after fledgling status. As ground feeders, cockatoos remain vulnerable as prey, so they have behaviorally adapted by posting a sentinel cockatoo in a nearby tree. This has passed into popular vernacular with the lookout for illegal gambling groups being labeled the “cockatoo” or “cocky.”
Protected as a wild bird in Australia, in the US the cockatoo is banned from importation by the Wild Bird Conservation Act. Sadly, recently local Australian governments in agricultural areas have declared some cockatoo populations “locally unprotected,” due to the perception of cockatoos as grain-feeding pests. Widely bred in captivity, cockatoos like Sam the Cockatoo, dancing emphatically to hard rock music, have captured the imaginations of viewers! However, as ambassador cockatoo Instagram accounts like @violetthecockatoo and @harleythecockatoo point out, these birds can screech at exceedingly high-decibel volume (Buy your hearing aids early and at discount!) and require extensive time, interaction and stimulation to maintain their active health.
The cockatoos are the most numerous regularly attending birds on Danielle and fiance’s’ balcony, frolicking in the birdbath and occasionally snacking on proffered almonds or apple wedges. The balcony stands at about treeline, accessible to the large birds in their outward daily flight. Recently some lorikeets discovered the birdbath and return increasingly. Other “backyard” bird visitors include magpies, kookaburras, mynas, and corellas. Some spotted galahs, grey butcher birds, king parrots and brush turkeys are also often seen in the neighborhood.
Sydneycockatoos’ Insta account brings Dani and her husband joy, satisfaction, and enrichment. Surprised initially at its warm reception, Danielle finds she enjoys the account and the Instagram birdloving community, that they challenge her to improve her photography, and to capture evermore significant cockatoo behaviors on film.
Thank you for reading! We hope you enjoyed yourself and will return for more!
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TheRoundUp Aug 18: George, bright budgie bearing the gift of Joy
Sometimes you run across an Instagram account which takes your breath away. That’s the experience I had on first discovering @rosie_and_george_the_budgie (IG). If you live near Hyde Park, you may have already met Rosie, George and Rosie’s daughter on their daily walk. If you’re ever in Hyde Park and spot them, be sure to greet them and introduce yourself!
Rosie recently celebrated her ninetieth birthday. As Rosie’s daughter got George for Rosie on her 85th birthday, it was also George’s Fifth Gotcha Day!
Scoliosis and Alzheimer’s pose daily challenges for Rosie. It is George, chirping tunes, chattering banter, an active participant in the family, who hastens Rosie to waken in the morning and overcome her daunting hurdles. George uplifts the entire household with good cheer and hope, boundless gifts for living. The affection between Rosie and George warms the heart and gentles spirits. Even as Rosie naps, George is inclined to perch attentively beside her.
Earlier, when Rosie and daughter took their daily constitutional in nearby Hyde Park without George, Rosie would worry for George. Now, Georgie joins them in his travel cage. The family takes in the fresh air and park beauty together. Even on drizzly days the three make their circuit, Rosie sporting a bright pink poncho, George in his travel cage on her lap, and Rosie’s daughter, scrambling to hold the umbrella over the two while pushing Rosie’s wheelchair, a veritable Gene Kelley — dancing, and singing, in the rain.
A now third generation of budgie-keeping family, Rosie’s daughter shares that “People underestimate budgies.” George remains free at home, save at night. George has a large vocabulary and entire song lyrics memorized.
Rosie and her daughter even travel with George in tow. George’s accoutrements and bags outnumber even Rosie’s. Driving, George sits in his travel cage, between the front seats, both for camaraderie and the view. At the first hotel the family stayed in, the staff looked askance and mentioned fumigating the room afterward. At visit’s end, they apologized of course, as there was no reason to fumigate.
This week Coco and Blue (@featherless_budgie_coco (IG)) share the limelight with Rose and Georgie. Both born in 2016, full feathered — Coco a brilliant yellow, Blue as blue as now– they moved in with their current owner when stress from the original owners’ cats likely triggered manifestations of psittacine beak and feather disease (pbfd) in Coco. Her owner explains: “This is a viral disease that affects her feathers, beak and claws. She’ll never get back her feathers.”
Pbfd virus, with neither effective treatment nor a vaccine available currently, can affect internal organs and increases the chances for opportunistic infections to occur. Despite the odds, Coco’s ready to celebrate a milestone 2.5th birthday with style and panache. Never mind that she can’t fly; she climbs like a mountaineer — and why walk, sister, when you were born to strut?!
And when it’s time to refuel for another day and night of diva-tude, Blue’s no fool. He knows to step back from the feeding dish and give Coco plenty of elbow room. Ever at her side otherwise, he’s true Blue to his ward and consort.
Coco’s no quitter. “She still thinks she can fly. When I have her on my finger and she sees Blue flying around, she just spreads her little chicken wings and she goes for it. Of course she falls… but she never gives up. When I lift up my hand with her on my finger, and run through the living room, she loves it! It’s like flying for her.”
Coco recently enjoyed an outing in this cheery garden bursting with summertime flowers. Meanwhile, her British cousins have been chatting it up merrily in the parks.
London’s parks excel in hosting birds, not just Koko (@koko_in_London (IG)) and George, but also Koko’s wild cousin Indian ringnecks. Anika Shatara (FB) / (@laala_the_banana (IG)) regularly enjoys the company of semi-tame ringnecks in Kensington Gardens. Numerous flocks of ringnecks exist in the UK, but only the Kensington Garden flock lights on people. According to tradition, that flock descends from birds initially gifted by India to the British Empire. All the birds are green, as such is the wild species. Golden ringnecks like Laala and blue ringnecks like her friend Cameron, currently visiting Laala, are genetic developments in captive-bred birds.
Koko (@koko_in_london) has taken the lead in London for actualizing online friendships IRL. Down Under, a new style of bird socialization is taking off under the leadership of Adrienne Bennett (FB), the bird meet-up. Adrienne rents a large room each month, outfits it with plastic floor coverings, any necessary window protections, perches and chop. Publicized only online in Facebook groups, the monthly Melbourne meet-up has taken off. Bird owners must present documentation of recent vet exams and disease testing.
On a personal note I and @budgiebrigade are interested in starting a mid-Atlantic meet up on the US East Coast. Preliminary discussions with avian experts suggest using a species-specific list of disease testing as an entry requirement. Such lists would vary by location as species-prevalent diseases geographically vary. For instance, in the US budgies may carry chlamydia so a swab test, rather than blood test, would be most important prior to the meet-up.
Of course, with bird meet-ups, indoor flight training is very helpful. As Don Scott, founder of Chloe Sanctuary (see the Chloe Sanctuary feature on our No Room at the Inn page), points out, captive-bred birds are “autistic” flyers with diminished instinctual reflexes and so need both training and supervision. Cairo’s mom (@lifewithcairo (IG)) has busied herself with this in hand-raising this three-month yellow-sided conure.
With a family history with birds, Cairo’s mom planned on getting a grey of about eleven or twelve weeks yet, when her trusted breeder showed her one- month Cairo, she fell in love with the baby conure. She met Cairo’s parents and learned their blood lines were healthy, with no in-breeding. Never having hand-fed a bird, Cairo’s breeder carefully trained her. This is key: improper technique can result in crop infection and death, though this poses less risk with smaller-crop birds like cockatiels.
Now three months, Cairo has had DNA testing and is a confirmed boy. Cairo is free-flighted throughout his parront’s two-story home. He can only safely do so through training. Cairo’s mom is part of a new generation of bird owners who do not compromise on maximizing safe freedom for their fids. Her favorite resource is @wingsNpaws (IG) / YouTube. Consistent with Cairo’s mom philosophy, training programs based on operant conditioning aim to teach good decision-making rather than dictate behaviour.
Cairo shares the home with asociable Budgie Becky, a timid parakeet who prefers to stay in her cage; his mom still contemplates adding a grey to the family.
While excellent training videos may be found online, there’s nothing quite so helpful and enjoyable as real-life training. Last week our regional parrot rescue, Phoenix Landing, offered a two-hour introductory clicker training course in the upstairs of our exotic vet’s office. The opportunity to ask questions and to meet other parronts locally were invaluable.
Zoos developed clicker training to better manage captive wildlife, which means, of course, it is effective even with birds not hand-raised. Effective methods of clicker-training are founded on scientific principles of operant conditioning. Methods and teaching improve over time: when I first tried clicker-training about fifteen years ago, I largely failed: no one carefully broke down the initial steps of training myself accurately to mark desired behavior with a synchronous click, and no one mentioned needing to train the animal to expect a treat contemporaneous with a click BEFORE introducing desired behaviors. Melanie Phung, the wonderfully thoughtful instructor, did cover these techniques. Additionally, Melanie suggested target stick training as a first “trick”. As you can see in the following video from parrotwizard.com, you can then use the target stick as a tool in training further behaviors.
Importantly, regular training deepens the trust between bird and parront. As Melanie points out, training sessions resemble deposits in a banking account. An emergency, when a bird may get handled more roughly than usual, acts like a withdrawal: it does not empty the account, but you will want to replenish it.
Fids need engagement and challenge for good health. Most of us choose toys, which most of the fids destroy joyously. The owner of Kataki Sales (FB) (@hootnhollerbirdtoys (IG)) has had birds since childhood and now has blue and gold macaw Loopey, rainbow parakeets Skittles and Sprinkles, and four honeycreepers. The size diversity across the flock enables testing of toys for different shapes and habits. Hoot N Holler fashions its toys according to the motto, “Enjoy and Destroy.”
While owners may imagine they want indestructible toys, birds crave shredding and destroying, mimicry of instincts for foraging and nesting. Shredding toys keep beaks trim and keeps boredom and behavior like plucking at bay. Most of Hoot N Holler’s toys are “designed so people can easily hide nuts or seeds” in them, effectively teaching birds to play on their own.
Kataki Sales owner home schools her two children and manufactures and stores her products on site in a separate, bird-free building. Her beloved father passed last Thanksgiving, leaving her his tools. She wanted to commemorate him, which she does in the store’s logo and very existence. Often donating toys to rescues for auctions, she also eagerly hears suggestions, new ideas and customer feedback. “There’s no better feeling than when you have a customer email you a picture of their bird enjoying your toy.”
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July 15, 2018: Summer Swelter
Belated Happy Canada Day, Independence Day and Bastille Day to our North American and French readers! A summer hotter than usual in the Northern hemisphere—fids bathe relentlessly to stay cool.
Thank you to the kind individuals who granted us interviews, especially Gone to Nest Aviary (@gonetonestaviary (IG)), Chris Biro of Liberty Wings flight school and The Pirate’s Parrot Show (FB), Haaike Barnard (FB), Straus Michalsky (@VaiManu IG)), Birdy and Bailey (@birdyandbailey (IG)) of Belgium, Rio (@rio_thehappybird (IG))), Budgie Brigade (@budgiebrigade (IG))and Rebekah Kennedy (@lory_adventures (IG)).
Haaike Barnard (FB), bird enthusiast and English teacher in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), trained originally in South Africa as a psychologist. He jokes, “Now I need one with all the birds.”
As an adolescent, Haaike kept budgies, adding cockatiels and “my first Timneh and U-2” as he matured. Already settled in the UAE, two years ago Haaike again hankered for bird companionship. Haaike met sweet Malika, a Congo African Grey (CAG), in a local petshop. A special bond immediately made itself felt. As Haaike explains, “The rest is history. They’re so vulnerable, and yet they choose to trust us.”
For Haaike, it appears birds are like potato chips — one just is not enough. In the modern way, Haaike went online with his Malika. Then “the tsunami started,” the flurry of requests that Haaike take in birds needing rescue. But, then, too, Haaike has rescued birds from “lives of hell in dingy pet shop corners.” As Haaike observes, while birds are popular pets in UAE, the country has “much room for improvement in regulating pet shops.”
Haaike currently has eleven birds — nine rescues, and only one is hand-raised.
Often people desire a hand-raised bird from a breeder, yet ambivalence towards breeders prevails with frightened anticipation that breeders may be “bird mills.” Relax! There ARE responsible breeders!
In her twenties, biochemist Donna (@gonetonestaviary (IG), with a passion for both birds and scientific inquiry, applied genetics to her flock to enhance desirable traits. Donna ran prospective owners through an intense vetting, requiring multiple visits before the determination whether the interested party qualified as an owner of her birds was made. More than once she ejected irate, would-be purchasers who felt themselves entitled to buy.
As a biochemist, Donna has equipment and know-how to test cultures for avian disease. She also performs her own bird DNA testing. How nice not to have to wait for the vets’ results as Birdy & Bailey’s parront did recently! Thankfully, as suspected, Birdy tested female and Bailey tested Male so she has a pair anyone would admire.
When a spinal injury prevented Donna from adequately caring for her flock, she grievingly rehomed her birds. Now, with grown son and two delightful maturing daughters, Donna has four fids: two Hahns macaws, Duck the Quaker, and an opaline red-rumped parrot named Twitter.
Donna always weighs birds’ safety against their drive to fly. Astute about avian adaptation, Donna has tailored the perfect modified wing clip for Twitter so the high-flying, speedy grass parakeet can fly safely despite the glass-windowed, two-story vaulted family room ceiling. Above a height of nine feet, windows predominate. Free flight would risk Twitter breaking his neck by smashing into a window so Donna lightly clips the outer two feathers of Twitter’s wings. With this modified clip, Twitter cannot fly above nine feet but can zoom about in lower spaces.
As area hawks, doves, toxic trees, and overhead power lines mean free outdoor flight is not practical, Twitter uses a harness. Ideally harness training begins at weaning, as a bird must allow its parront manually to extend his wing when looping the harness around it. The earlier a bird accepts this intimate handling, the better for harness training.
The path of free flight can be hazardous, but “a catastrophe is only failed preparation.” In Brazil, computer scientist Straus Michalsky (@vaiManu (IG)) as a young boy had rescued a wild white-eyed conure which had cavorted daily with area wild flocks yet returned nightly to an ample cage in Straus’s home. For Straus, a free-flighted bird coming when called felt as natural as eating or breathing.
As an adult, Straus grew enamored of macaws. However, in Brazil, owning a macaw first requires registration with the government and also a special permit. Registered and permitted, Straus devoured all available information on macaws while awaiting the arrival of baby blue and gold macaw Manuela. In the process, Straus discovered Chris Biro (@Chris Biro (YT) on YouTube) , whose free flight videos demonstrated good training, technique and site selection.
Straus made mistakes of inexperience with Manu. Last year a hawk chased Manu off her flight path. Seeking safety in numbers as a guard against future hawk attacks, Straus arranged for two more baby macaws – Gilberto (Catalina macaw) and Dolores (scarlet macaw). Straus also enrolled in Chris Biro’s Skype classes, just as New Jersey’s Budgie Brigade (@budgiebrigade (IG)) and Brisbane’s Rebekah Kennedy (@lory_adventures (IG)) have recently done.
Chris Biro, pioneer and world-preeminent trainer of indoor/outdoor flight, established The Pirate’s Parrot Show (FB), Liberty Wings flight school, and Bird Recovery International (BRI), a non-profit seeking to stabilize wild bird populations, aiding by training captive-bred birds for free flight prior to release.
Human parachute-bird of the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army in the 1980’s, Chris Biro must have intuited something of birds’ drive to fly. Just after leaving the military, Chris met and bonded with his first bird, his sister’s conure. Chris just has a way with birds — and remarkable discipline to establish a popular national fair attraction and an internationally-esteemed free flight school within just a few short years. Chris has presented before the American Federation of Aviculture (AFA), the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators (IAATE), the National Parrot Rescue and Preservation Foundation (NPRPF), and the Parrots International Symposium.
The Pirate’s Parrot Show, a free-flight educational extravaganza touring United States county and state fairs, features an authentic pirate ship, educational performances, and, of course, free-flying, free flight-trained birds. Notably, the birds are not returned to cages after their stage appearances but flock around the fairgrounds freely interacting fair attendees. The below YouTube video from the recent Lake Charles, Louisiana fair conveys the thrill ofhttps://youtu.be/ctALKzYogho these shows:
Chris’s Liberty Wings flight course strives to present the most humane, effective training methods and tools to maximize bird safety in indoor/outdoor free flight. Chris promotes the “equestrian” style of bird management which combines house cages with large outdoor flight aviaries so birds can fly instinctually throughout the day.
Below, as example, Rebekeh Kennedy (@lory_adventures) uses PVC and bird netting to erect a temporary practice aviary. For information on outdoor aviaries, check with Birdy & Bailey (@birdyandbailey (IG) — her father raises ibis, cranes, ducks, geese and swans with the help of large outdoor aviaries!
Chris has founded clubs and email lists, empowering owners of free flight birds to communicate, socialize and assist each another. For those wanting to explore and engage more, both the Brisbane Free Flight Club (@adventures_of_roku (IG)) and the Bay Area Free Flight Club (@West_wings_free_flight_club) have accessible Instagram accounts. Adventures of Roku, like Chris, has a helpful YouTube channel (@Adventures of Roku (YT)). While Rebekah Kennedy participates in the Brisbane club, New Jersey res Budgie Brigade consults with free flight colleagues from around the world through other media.
While folks may debate the value of social media, all can rejoice that a coincidental Twitter/Instagram cross-hash resulted in London’s lost Rio (@Rio_thehappybird (IG)) being spotted, caught and returned to his owner. Rio’s friend Koko (@Koko_in_London (IG)/@Zak Tinawi (FB)) put out the word of Rio’s unfortunate escape out on Instagram and plastered the lamp posts of London with posters. Meanwhile, friend and photographer Sya Groosman (@syaphotography (Tw)) tweeted Koko’s poster. Finally, when Christopher Wheeler (@stokeywheels (Tw)) tweeted a photo of a sun conure perched on a bush in front of his Stokey residence and tagged @stokeyupdates (Tw)), Sya and Chris got in touch and Rio’s amazed, dazed and thankful owner Gemma rejoiced in reunion with Rio. The Evening Standard (@evening.standard (IG) even published journalist Naomi Ackerman’s report of this tremendously fortuitous social media-aided rescue!
Shortly after meeting Koko, I learned of his charming friendship with Rio: Koko had wanted an IRL bird friend for playdates. Rio reached out, and their owners started messaging by WhatsApp. The fids’ first playdate was a smashing success! Rio joined Koko in celebration at Koko’s of his third birthday earlier this year, and most recently Koko’s parronts hosted Rio while his parront vacationed. Friends are the best!
Rio thanks Koko for hospitality while his parront was out of town (Courtesy of @Koko_in_London (IG)).
Until our next issue we wish you the best. Please also enjoy the Media Gallery below, which is part of TheRoundUp.
Courtesy of Marc Lambert (FB)
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March 15: Wild March Winds & Wings
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By S Katherine Clarke
Spring is coming! Sagy of Bratislava (@sagy_greenforever (IG)) watches for it through the dark night while Koko (@koko_in_London (IG)) again tours Holland Park in search of ever more fans and followers (or love?)!
Ayoub has a way with birds: untamed birds trust him readily. This talent saved his life. An “adrenaline junky” when in his early twenties, Ayoub loved racing his car in Algerian traffic and aspired to living in his car some day. Then one day, as he drove slowly around the corner to gas up, his first bird, Pikachu, a Lutino cockatiel, in the car with him, it struck him: “there’s so much more to enjoy in life than rushing it!”
Raised with pet birds on both sides of the family, Ayoub fell in love with Pikachu when his cousin offered the cockatiel for sale. Ayoub bought Pikachu. Pikachu, however, felt no particular indebtedness. Untamed and aggressive, Pikachu would hiss and bite at people passing by his cage. A hired animal trainer concluded that Pikachu was eternally untamable.
On joining Facebook bird groups. Ayoub admits he envied other members’ tame birds. Ayoub resolved to train Pikachu himself. . . Within several months, Pikachu was tame! Ayoub has a way with birds: an untamed cockatiel may now trust him within just a couple of hours.
Later, a friend brought Ayoub a sickly parrotlet named Flacko. As Flacko’s feathers started growing again with tender care, he befriended Pikachu. From then on, Ayoub sought out disabled, neglected and abused birds to heal because “the special needs ones, they are the most loving ever! They give every little bit of love back!” Whether a bird, even with urgent med care and top nutrition might be “at their last stages,” it “melts and warms” Ayoub’s heart that “they spend their last stages deeply loved and well-cared for.” BirbObserver offers Ayoub its condolences on the recent passing of Flacko, at a well-lived nine years of life.
Ayoub also has an education mission. In Algeria, the longstanding tradition is to keep birds in locked cages, clip their wings, and feed them just sunflower seeds. Common pets, birds, especially the national bird, the goldfinch, grace many Algerian homes. Ayoub says his countrymen “grow up on wrong info and refuse to . . . educate themselves to the right way.” The goldfinch below passed house to house, as owners wearied trying to get his feathers to grow. In Ayoub’s capable hands, the bird starts to heal.
The story of Pi, ten-month-old cockatiel (@DaivaCoy (Tw)), with two fewer syllables to his name than Pikachu, is just beginning! Charming in those embarrassed moments, he would steal the show from the remainder of the flock if he could. A toddler inclined to break tail feathers, Pi always surprises with new stunts, such as beating his beak against his bowl and intoning a hissed, husky vocal. But the rest of the flock stole show at the 40th birthday party for Sid’s Dad.
Meet Coco Puff– her inspirational post from International Women’s Day is entirely in character! Named after Coco Chanel, the perfume magnate, Coco Puff (@cocopowerandgang (IG)), lives the strong, exemplary, beautiful life her parront hoped for her. Born with “bendy legs” and unable to fly, Coco met her mom when her mom picked up her three other birds from the sitter, who was also a breeder. Coco’s unfeathered body, her tummy and claws hanging down through the cage grate where she lay, stole her parront’s heart.
Though challenged, Coco lives a happy life in a cage with no grate but with soft fabrics that enable her to scoot around. Coco has learned to climb using her beak and one claw! Coco spends hours playing with her colorful toys. She particularly likes massages, being wrapped in a fleece blanket and biting her balsa wood blocks (and her parront!).
Coco will turn seven in May. Her bird companions are Norman the cockatiel, Bella the budgie and Milo the lovebird.
Down Under Suzy Lupton, Facebook winner of our #BirbLoveIs contest along with her beloved Rocky Tiel, recently caught wild sulfur-crested cockatoos interacting with Rocky’s off-stage call, which is first his “hello, hello” and then a warning cry.
Galahs frequently visit Suzy’s place, too.
Also in Australia, Benjamin Rosenzweig (@lumpnboy (Tw)) has created a wild cockatoo haven in his backyard over the last few years. Pigeons, ducks, lorikeets, corellas, galahs and other birds often join them as well. Located near La Trobe University’s Bundoora campus, which acts virtually as a “reserve” for birds, the backyard haven began with the simple act of putting out seed to attract wild lorikeets. The cockatoo flock approached warily, initially just a couple, then a couple at a time of a flock of about thirty.
Tappy, an early visitor, would tap on the window to seek the attention of Benjamin and his partner. Later, Blindy, peering through window and curtain, would also tap on the window to demand breakfast. Marginalized Messy, with a few deformities including a “messed up” crest, always with her beau, is the first and only cockatoo to learn her name. Patrick remains the only cockatoo who routinely stands on shoulders while the feed is distributed.
Benjamin shares several pointers: 1) keep the yard safe and clean, and 2) name the birds. Naming them allows you to distinguish and get to know the behaviors of a particular bird, whether or not the bird ever learns its name.
And, yes, in fact, wild lorikeets can be found in Australia. Just outside Brisbane, Rebekah Kennedy’s Emery (@lory_adventures (IG)) shows off her own jumping skills to the locals. (And you thought only caiques jumped — they’re just noisier about it!)
In other news, Alex (@AlexTheHonk (Tw)/@AlexTheHonkingBird (IG)) has hit true celebrity on YouTube, with a feature in AtlasObscura to his credit and his own line of merchandise. Alex has largely healed from his late wing injury and, though not raising the wing as high as before, flies unhampered by it. Kudos as well to Fluffy Bird Family’s Yaro, dilute green-cheeck conure, and Kiki, Quaker parrot, for their first place win in the Romance category of Penny’s Great Companion pet video competition (@fluffy.bird (IG)).
Happy third birthday to both Kaiyoshi, Yaro’s brother (@fluffy.bird (IG)) and Koko (@koko_in_london (IG))! Koko spent his birthday with friend Rio (@Rio_thehappybird (IG)), who brought presents! And happy 40th to Sid’s Dad (@SidTHEParrot (Tw))
Last issue BirbObserver reported on the #birddominion movement. By way of update, the emergence of Budgie Choir as a front organization for undercover operations has meant a flurry of auditions and skills testing. Ziggy outdid himself (@ziggy_n_flower (IG)/(Tw))Meanwhile, there is indication that the leading African greys Otto (@keelingrob (Tw)) Otis (@bluejaylover49 (Tw)), Alfie (@lauraallen55 (Tw)) and Sid mull alliances and counter-strategies. In particular, the birds scrutinize the new apparent alliance between humans and wild birds and question whether cats are enemies or objects of imitation.
On a more serious note, a matter of bird safety: BirbObserver’s Board has endorsed an Instagram petition asking Instagram to remove media portraying animal abuse and cruelty AND DECLARING ALL ANIMAL ABUSE as against its Community Standards – just as Instagram has declared with exotics trophy hunters’ selfies. Following the Easter campaigns not to buy chicks or other baby animals as Easter gifts, the petition supporters will intensify momentum to draw in signatures from throughout pet and animal social media communities.
The petition is in response to an incident in the global Instagram rabbit community in which an Iranian individual was torturing rabbits to death on posted video. Justice is being sought against this individual. As the incident caused grief and upset throughout that community, the petition seeks to disallow such disruption and attention-seeking showcasing of cruelty on the Instagram social media platform.
The next issue of BirbObserver will publish a Letter to the Editor from the authors of the petition. Additional information about the petition can be obtained from Instagram’s Haruyukibun (@haruyukibun (IG)).
Please also support programs to discourage the sale of rabbits, chicks and other birds as Easter pets.
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March 1: Blessed Be the Tie That Binds
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By S Katherine Clarke with Sarah Ludick
Welcome back to TheRoundUp! In the North, the weather warms; Down Under the lories feed on that “wet mix,” nectar-replacement therapy. . . milletsies, move over!
Most urgent matters first: Chico of @chicogreenleaf (IG) (Bahrain) and Grape of @two_red_beaks (IG) (Hessen, Germany) are missing. If you are in their areas, please help search for them. [For a happier story of a bird found, read on below!]
As last issue’s rescue/adoption stories evoked strong, supportive interest, BirbObserver introduces @simplelife_seiko_san‘s (IG) Herman, a 27-year-old blue-fronted Amazon. Herman had lived at a Rhode Island avian sanctuary for more than ten years when Seiko San met him. Seiko San chose Herman from over 100 other birds as Herman greeted him nicely . . . and the shelter personnel advised that Herman had little hope of ultimate adoption — his last family returned him to the sanctuary after just two weeks.
Fundamentally, Herman distrusted people. Seiko San won Herman over with the most elegant and tasty chops imaginable! Seiko San did not dare to touch Herman for the first year, but six months ago Seiko San apprehensively reached out and touched Herman. Herman “was not angry at all.” Ever since then, Herman has let Seiko San touch him readily. Bird and parront have mutual accommodation: they respect each other’s boundaries.
Congratulations to Keito’s mom, BirbObserver, Inc.’s webmaster, QuarkyBirdy (@quarkybirdy (Tw)/(IG)) on her recent birthday. Congratulations to Leaf and Olaf for growing feathers right under Suni and Jojo’s beaks (@LagunaBirds (Tw)). Congratulations, too, to dear Scrappy and Ono (@eightisaflock (IG)) on their recent plastic egg exercise! (Scrappy was so tuckered out from feeding Ono as she diligently warmed their plastic eggs that the vet determined “generous regurgitation caused some nasal blockages”!)
Now age four, Dexter can say over 100 words, mimic the phone ringing, and sing. Fan of YouTube’s Disco the Parakeet, Dexter can repeat most of Disco’s phrases too! Inquisitive, outgoing and hyperactive, he has a close bond with his parronts — sitting on their hands, flying to their hands on command, and giving kisses (all on his own prerogative, of course!). Some evidence exists, however, which suggests Dexter has had recent interaction with the #birddominion movement. [See also below.]
Puttu is two years old and lives with a flock of five other budgies. A great lover of play, Puttu mimics the sounds around him and sings. Puttu loves baths and scrambled eggs; more importantly, he likes to share his happiness in life with others.
Outstanding Birding Account of the Year goes to Martin Cormican (@martinsbirdwatch (IG)), with well over 9,000 followers. Martin posts beautiful photos shot from the vicinity of his own feeders. Martin’s commentary below each precise photo invariably informs accurately and with spirit. Raised with budgies and pigeons, Martin came to birding photography when multiple sclerosis (MS) slowed him to the point of noticing, and cherishing, the birds in his own garden. These glimpses “resparked a forgotten passion” and the renewed interest in turn relieved pain from the MS. Martin began with just a few feeders, and it took the birds a while to discover them. He advises all beginners that patience is essential, and he shared that he studies the birds’ specific flight paths of appraoch to the feeders to determine the best position for his camera. In 2017, Martin, like many other birders in Britain, participated in the RSPB Great Bird Watch. [See Bird’s Eye View editorial this issue to learn more about the importance of this study.]
Mr. Archibaldd (@mr_archibaldd (IG)) went missing the evening of February 22 when, you guessed it, Dad was heating the “wet mix” (“spoiled birds!”) and the usually locked food doors were briefly open! With a team of ten for hours, until sunset, Archie’s dad beat at the bushes in the reserve behind the house. Archie was nowhere to be found. In the morning flyers went up in the neighborhood. Condolences and concerns from around the world found expression in the comments under this 12k follower account. Archie’s auntie found him mid-morning. . . perched on a bottle brush tree in a backyard two blocks behind the reserve. Ahem– the food doors shall be double-locked henceforth!
Meet Luna, a handsome and friendly male Indian ringneck (@luna_the_lunatic_parrot (IG). While in his bio Luna claims to “Own the World,” when our reporter questioned him about #birddominion, he did not respond. Most likely, Luna was preoccupied with taming his new “friend”, Jade, a larger, bossier Alexandrine parakeet, who moved in Chez Luna recently. Luna’s parront beams with pride over Luna’s initiatives toward Jade. Further, Luna appears most affectionately attached to his parronts and loves nothing more than spending time with them (though they do exile Luna to his room at mealtime because he can be disruptive at table).
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Caution: Remaining Content May Not be Appropriate for Your Birb
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As reported in the last issue, African grey Otto (@keelingrob (Tw)) recently launched a movement hashtagged #birdworlddominion. After BirbObserver‘s last RoundUp, Otto, by sleight of claw, switched the hashtag to #birddominion. BirbObserver did not miss a tweet! but continues to follow this fast-growing movement closely.
When Otto switched the hashtag, he cattily tweeted: “I think that @BirbObserver are doing their best to now suppress the story”! But BirbObserver reporters, we assure you, have pursued the disparate strands and threads relentlessly, faithfully to report this story today.
Otto’s advisors assemble in his boudoir post bath (Courtesy of trusted informant)
#birddominion reportedly has two security guards, African greys Jules from Off the Perch (@Bronson006 (Tw)) and Alfie (@LauraAllen55 (Tw)), as well as two escape car drivers (one being –who else but!!– Sid (@sidTHEparrot (Tw)); BirbObserver has not yethowever, identified the second driver.) [Editorial Note: The investigative reporters of BirbObserver have not, and will not, hack direct messages to obtain information!]
Otto’s recruiting beyond that initial circle of African greys started modestly with an overture (to the best of our knowledge) to budgie RingoStarr (@Georgieboysmum (Tw)), but Budgie Bouquet (@budgiebouquet (Tw/(IG)) burst in, volunteering as the Aviation squad. Shortly thereafter, for no apparent reason, Budgie Bouquet also launched Budgie Choir.
All manner of birds, some with both Twitter and Instagram accounts, have ties to Budgie Choir. BirbObserver has not obtained definitive lists of recruits either to the choir or Otto’s #birddominion, but red-crowned Amazon Lucky (@luckybirdbooks (Tw)/(IG)) and African greys Otis (@bluejaylover49 (Tw)) and Chiyome (@FlockisFamily (Tw), along
with the usual budgie suspects Teal and Levi (@FlockisFamily (Tw)) did not escape our reporters’ notice, nor did those unflappable cockatiels, Ziggy and Flower (@ziggy_n_flower (Tw)/(IG)), all of whom appear to have auditioned.
Other positions filled in #birddominion construction engineer (@Bronson006 (Tw)) (for “catapults”– [whether that includes the family cats is unclear]); smart phone comptroller (@DexterTheBird (Tw)), who mimics the phone ringing; and computer hacker, Bombi the Tiel’s Peachy (@BombiTiel (Tw), who inserts “millet” onto the computerized shopping list.
Given Petra the Grey’s YouTube trick of bossing Alexa around, you may want to reconsider the use of voice-activated devices in your household.
The group appears to have a secret wing sign: “Wings Up!” . . . or maybe now that it’s been decoded by BirbObserver, it may be “Claws up!”
BirbObserver investigative reporters on Instagram indicate that Budgie Bouquet’s bio states that the group is a recruiter for #birddominion.
While details of #birddominion activity on Instagram remain sketchy, this latest addition to the flock, Houston (@coqui_and_co (IG)) will no doubt attract the attention of #birddominion agents.
Houston, we have a problem. But don’t worry, . .. Say Hi to Houston, ground control! (Courtesy of @coqui_and_co (IG))
A reliable anonymous source suggests that the seemingly innocent Budgie Choir may, in fact, be an undercover ploy and future operation: Budgie Choir could advertise a performance and, while unsuspecting parronts attended, #birddominion terrorism or worse could erupt elsewhere.
This term #birddominion does lack in precision, and BirbObserver has diligently tracked it through Twitter. Otto has stated that the birds will bring the humans to their knees. There has been birb twitter about removing humans to the aviaries. Yet, birds like RingoStarr and Peachy (@BombiTiel (Tw)), have indicated that they would miss the scritching. One of the dangerous Budgie Bouquet flock claimed parronts would be very happy once removed to aviaries — due to #StockholmSyndrome. However, due to some fids addiction to scritches, divided loyalties may forever hamper the movement.
BirbObserver strives to keep you informed. Psst! The Media Gallery, below, is safe for all viewers.
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Feb. 15: A Fine, Fine Line?
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By S Katherine Clarke, with Sarah Ludick
Is there a Fine, Fine Line between a budgie’s fascination with mirrors and an African Grey’s plot for #birdworlddominion? In belated honor of Valentine’s Day, this issue of TheRoundUp explores birb self-love — in its hopefully healthy expression.
But, first, Congratulations to our Valentine’s Day #birbloveis tee-shirt & birdtoy giveaway winners: @Bluejaylover49 (Tw), @Skyelark_the_parakeet (IG), Suzy Lupton (FB) and, for the bird toy, @sidTHEparrot (Tw). . . Thank you to Lucky (@luckybirdbooks (Tw/IG)) for hosting a fab Valentine’s Day party on Twitter.
Second, Congratulations & Best Wishes to Jumi Junaki (@jumijunaki (IG/FB)) upon her long-awaited adoption of Wish, blue and gold macaw resident of the Assam State Zoo and Botanical Gardens, whom Jumi named Wish because she Wished to adopt him! Four years of determination and three zoo superintendents later, Jumi has free access to, and unlimited interaction with, Wish; gives Wish toys and sings to him; and purchases his food under the Zoo’s Adoption Program. Although Wish is now Jumi’s, he remains at the Zoo, serving its Adoption Program’s goals. Through Wish’s adoption, Ms. Junaki seeks to raise India’s cultural awareness and appreciation of birds’ intrinsic value and complexity to win birds better treatment.
Next, Happy Hatch Day #11 to Grendel (@greybirdy (Tw)) and upcoming #24 to Chiyome (@FlockisFamily (Tw))! Belated Happy Birthday to birb parronts of @koko_in_london (IG) and @noora_par (IG; @nel.a.p.(IG)).
Now, about that Fine, Fine Line: Mirror-gazing budgies abound; but how many, like Stanley Bad Budgie (@mumofbadbudgie (Tw)), can hardly star in a new video because, when his mum Nikki pulls out the phone, he flies compulsively to the phone, pecking it until a prior Stanley video plays (repeatedly, as he chirrups and pecks appreciatively at the screen)? Nikki tries to expose Stanley to other birds’ videos, but Stanley insistently watches only his own and those of RIP Harry Birdie Bird (@HarrytheBirdie (Tw)) (May he Rest in Peace)!
What of Beethoven budgie (@Beethov93953891 (Tw)), who identifies so closely with his great German composer namesake?
Now, the intellectual history of narcissism presents self-love on a spectrum, stretching, on the one hand, from dangerous deficit, through healthy medium, and, ahem, to the final excess — the disorder of megalomania. In Ovid’s myth, the nymph Echo spurns young, amorous Narcissus, who then soothes his unrequited love by admiring his own reflection in a pool– until he falls in upon it, and drowns. Scholars have attributed narcissism to media stars, businessmen, politicians; certainly experts have speculated that notables like Napoleon, Nietzsche, and Hitler had delusional megalomania. So, is there a Fine, Fine Line, between healthy and unsafe self-love in our birbs? Or is it a question of gradations — or even unnamed dimensions — we see in our birbs?
Neglected and abused birds, after rescue, struggle against a self-esteem deficit — healthy self-love abstains from self-harm and lacks fear-filled aggression. Luna (@luna_the_rescue_grey (IG)) and caique Conan (@conan_thebarbarian (IG)) have both battled to make up such deficits.
Luna’s parronts long yearned for an African grey. They made the leap when Dad started working from home. They had known of Luna for several years, as her ignorant, abusive owner variously tried foisting her off on others. These prospective parronts waged a successful six-month campaign to adopt Luna, to save her from isolated days in a cold, dark warehouse. They ended the isolation punishments for plucking and the grotesque and ineffectual deterrent of applying Listerine to Luna. Luna now perches on her Dad’s shoulder while watching him work and listening to music (Prince is her favorite). Bilingual, Luna can chatter away mysteriously in Arabic. Charmingly, when she drops a poo-poo on the floor, she thanks her parronts for cleaning up after her! The pictures show Luna’s great new feather growth! New foods and toys — such novelty! — are introduced at this gentle girl’s pace.
Conan The Barbarian’s parront had volunteered at a bird rescue to learn her parrot species preferrence before adopting. When the rescue’s owner asked if she wanted a caique (the rescue lacked room), she visited Conan at his then-home. There Conan sat in a cage without perch or toy, with only a bowl of water and fruit pellets. Conan lacked interaction and sunlight; he was aggressive, untamed, and — most of all — scared! The cage was opened, and an apple slice offered. And Conan promptly shredded his future owner’s hand! She reminisced, “I knew then that I wanted to help him, and I brought him home with me that night.” Conan, once “the Barbarian,” is now a mischievous, “sweet and mostly well-behaved little clown.” Conan’s mom offers: “I know many people are afraid to adopt animals, but, if you give them a second chance and show them love, it’s amazing what you get in return.”
Back to birb narcissism. What about eating habits? What will a budgie sacrifice for millet spray, Sid (@sidTHEparrot (Tw)) for a Yorkshire pudding, or Henry for his strawberry (@TardisParrot (Tw)), or Otis (@bluejaylover49 (Tw)) or Jules (@Bronson006 (Tw)) for their cheesies?
Consider African grey, Otto (@keelingrob & @Caithean (Tw)). February 7, 2018, Otto launched Stage 2 #birdworlddominion from the garden doorway, upon spotting smaller clay birds on fancy planters. Immediately, fellow African grey Otis tested his cage alarm, locked up and joined Otto undercover. African greys Sid (@sidTHEparrot (Tw)), Stanley Parrot OBE of #OllieAid fame (@ParrotStanley (Tw)), and Makena (@MakenaNut (Tw)) also signed on. [BirbObserver (@BirbObserver (Tw/IG/FB)) attended also, as War Correspondent]. Otto hatched plans.
February 8, 2018, Otto was offered his first #MissionImpossible — to remove the nut from the top of his scary new cage while swinging from a favorite toy; three days later he took to hill walking to maintain fitness. . . . On February 13, budgies Levi and Teal (@FlockisFamily (Tw)) formed the base sleeper cell to, in Otto’s words, “bring the world to its knees and realise WE are the masters.”
Otis undertakes hill walking in preparation for #birdworlddominion (Courtesy of @keelingrob (Tw))
Then there are the macaws and lorikeets–where will they land in this Game of Thrones, with their broad wingspan and free flight? There’s @HeideNilson‘s (IG) blue and gold macaw, Nova, and her two hyacinth macaws, the brothers Shadow and Blue, in Sweden, where the law makes wing-clipping illegal and minimum macaw cage size must be at least 6.5 m2! Those are practiced flyers not to mess with! Further, they are birdie contortionists — they push their tails forward through their legs and scratch their heads with them!! Then there’s young Greenwing Frankie and her pal, blue and gold macaw Lulu (@Frankiesfollowing (IG/FB)) Down Under. Just give that girl some time (and attention with lots of hugs and scritches!) And what about Hans macaw Levi with the blue and golds Blu and Jazz (@featherbabiesflock (IG))? And don’t forget our free-flighted lory friends in Brisbane, Rebekah Kennedy’s black-capped Kai and red-breasted Emory (@lory_adventures (IG)). Wheaties, step aside!– These birds know about the Breakfast of Champions: with winning style, they forage amongst marbles to get their daily nectar-replacement therapy.
All eyes are on Otto and his team of African greys. Will ambition combined with over-reaching prove his undoing? Or will playful ingenuity prevail? That is the key, what the scholars don’t mention — play is a third dimension above and beyond the two-dimensional array of the narcissism spectrum.
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In Japan, while cockatiel Rico and flock’s (@four_wannabe_dinosaurs (IG)) parronts were away, an earthquake struck. Despite the remarkable petcare giver sending voluminous photos and taking copious notes, Rico’s parronts were unaware of the earthquake. They returned to a shaken bird with bleeding on the wings and blood feathers on the floor of the cage! The bleeding was stopped, and Rico is now well. Other birds in the area reportedly pluck blood feathers from earthquake distress.
The Japanese sometimes train their birds to step-up and do a shaking exercise after a quake to help deal with the stress. In the meantime, these Wannabe Dinosaurs will have travel cage at the ready in the event evacuation is ever required. In earthquake-prone regions, it is important to ensure that the base of the cage is secure against shaking and that nothing can readily fall upon it from above.
Toucan Zazu (@ZazutheIvoryBilledAracari (IG/FB)) continues a strong recovery from his emergency surgery for a ruptured trachea. Zazu’s final post-op check-up on March 9 will include bloodwork and radiographs under anaesthesia. His Mom Jess deeply appreciates your continuing support and offers Thank You notes, digital aracari prints, and Custom-made stuffed animals for various donation levels. Please contact her by DM/Messenger for further information. You can contribute to Zazu’s Gofundme campaign by clicking here.
Cockatoo Diva’s buddy Apollo (@divathecockatoo (IG)) recovers from endoscopic GI tract surgery for a suspected blockage. In fact, extreme inflammation gave the impression of blockage; his vet continues to search for the cause of inflammation. Meanwhile, Diva matures beautifully.
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FEBRUARY 1, 2018
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By S. Katherine Clarke, with Sarah Ludick
Tomorrow is Groundhog Day in the US and Canada: if Punxotawny Phil, a species of large ground squirrel, sees his shadow on exiting his den, the Northern winter lasts another six weeks. If not, spring will be here soon. Frankly, this issue’s cheerful cockatiels tell me it’ll be an early spring.
Cockatiels are “little people stuffed in bird bodies,” says Susan K. (@fluff.n.blubber (IG)). In 2009 Susan’s then-fiance Matt treated her to b-day sushi and sake before letting her hit the pet store. Susan watched a hand-fed baby ‘tiel step onto Matt’s finger, and one hour later the couple emerged with baby cockatiels Meat and Dude. Are ‘tiels like ‘tater chips?. . . Two became a flock of seven.
Our birds ease winter confinement variously: Keito (@quarkybirdy (Tw)) and Oscar (@paulineporter16 (Tw)) commune via social media while Koko (@koko_in_London (IG)) and Rio (@rio_thehappybird (IG)) had their second IRL play date– with both rivalry and comradery. Koko and baby Rio met on Instagram and consult regularly about diet, training, etc. Maple (@MapletheTiel (Tw)), meanwhile, trains her parront in proper head-scritching.
Suni (@LagunaBirds (Tw)) passed winter days practicing hair dressing and then scaled The Eiffel Tower while Shiloh and Dixie (@ShilohTheConure (Tw) and @DixieTheCaique (Tw)) in the sunny South enjoyed brunch. Last, but not least, Peachy serenaded himself in the mirror while Bombi practiced downward birdie pose (@BombiTiel (Tw))
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One look at Courtney’s (Flockmaster Flex’s) (@eightisaflock (IG)) flock might scare a person away from birds: one bird mushroomed to 35. It happened this way: Cinnamon-pearled cockatiel Ono, Courtney’s first birb, was picky about friends. One-by-one, Courtney added seven male ‘tiels, until there was Scrappy.
Scrappy, a much-bullied, untamed cockatiel with malformed beak and crooked toe entranced with his cheery eyes and sweet song. Courtney rescued him, determined Scrappy never be bullied again. Scrappy stole Ono’s heart. But Courtney worried what Ono would do when Scrappy, now approximately 20, would die — Entrez Lennon, from @fluff.n.blubber’s flock! The bonds born on social media deepen with the exchanging and fostering of birds.
Courtney’s Zeferino (Portuguese for “wild west wind”), an untamed New Zealand kakariki, turns one this month. As Zef is still “skittish and distrustful,” Courtney hopes “with time and patience to get him to a place of mutual respect and [to] become friends.”
Down Under, birds can enjoy warmth and blossom relaxed– so long as their older brother doesn’t steal all their formula. Here Sundos just intended to help Safi, right (@featheredmonster (IG)).
Also down under, Alex (@AlexTheHonk (Tw)/@AlexTheHonkingBird (IG)), now 20, bemoaned his growing fragility when a strained shoulder ligament sent him via Uber to the vet, riding (silently for once!) in a box, his carrier unavailable. Son Dominic, meanwhile, conducted a screen test for their YouTube channel with the toaster.
Some birbs can’t resist the Uber fad, living it out even in fantasy. Perhaps Caiyo and Jin’s lively imaginations account for the mushrooming of their Instagram following, @happy.cockatiel.corner. Having “learned a lot from this Instagram community,” their mum remarks that Game-of-Thrones-singing Jin and cuddly Caiyo, like all birds, thrive when parronts “talk to them and keep them occupied with fun toys and fresh food.”
On a more serious note, the remaining cockatiel stories remind that education, adoption and rehoming are recurrent needs in our birb community. January was Bird Adoption month at the Parrot Education & Adoption Center (@PEACsandiego (Tw)), a 501(c)(3) organization in San Diego serving So Cal lost and unwanted medium to large parrots for over 21 years. PEAC evaluates newly arrived birds through fostering– rehabilitating, adopting out, or placing in qualified sanctuaries, as appropriate. Averaging 15-25 adoptions per year, PEAC’s time-tested adoption policies and procedures maximize a parrot’s long run happiness. Several people began PEAC’s required adoption curriculum in January and may adopt upon completion. Willow, January’s featured bird, has been fostered three years and overcome her plucking behavior. You can read her story here on Petfinder.
Kudos to umbrella cockatoo Harley and mom (@Harleythecockatoo (IG)), campaigning to raise awareness of parrots’ great need for committed parrontal time, for the lack thereof increases demand for adoptive services.
Willow was the featured January Adoption bird but remains available for adoption (Courtesy of @PEACsandiego (Tw))
Harley and her parront’s message could not be wiser or more heartfelt (Courtesy of @harleythecocatoo (IG))
Having a bird, says Harley’s mom, “is really like raising a child” — “exhausting because they ask a lot of time and a lot of energy.”
Shadow’s mom (@that_caique_shadow (IG)), wanting her first companion bird, did the legwork: she researched apartment-sized parrots beforehand: “It’s important to be as prepared as possible — all parrots come with pros and cons and require a lot of attention and dedication.” Shadow’s mom recommends joining online parrot/bird communities and forums as part of preparation and as continuing education.
Splay-legged Cody the Lovebird (@birdhism (Tw)) is a celebrity spokesbird of bird compassion. Living with mum Jen Budrock and nineteen birb siblings, more than half of whom are special needs, Cody preaches birdhism — “no matter our differences we can agree [and do what is right] out of love of birds.” January 21 Cody greeted fans at South West Florida Wildlife Center where Jen has extensively served as a volunteer, in advance of the monthly Bird Lovers Club meeting.
Heavily involved in bird rescue and rehabilitation for years, Jen has launched, among other initiatives, birdhism.Com and the Birdhism Facebook page to better educate the public about bird ownership. These sites encourage individuals to research birds before acquiring them. The sites offer items designed by Jen in support of avian education and rescue. Birds, says Jen, “deserve love and compassion” as they are “wild animals meant for the skies [yet] confined to cages, waiting on our schedules, sometimes alone for hours [so it’s] no wonder they lash out.” Birds “feel the same emotions we feel, from love and joy to pain and suffering.” As Jen points out, “Awareness and education prevent suffering.” Her takeaway: “Every voice matters when it comes to speaking for the birds.”
The parronts of 23-year-old, peanut-chawing Panama Amazon Sasha (@Sasha_the_peanut (IG)) and 28-year-old umbrella cockatoo Jaxon (@Jaxonaction (IG)) have opened their home more than twice to animals in need. Their adopted Sasha eight years ago when a neighbor could no longer keep her as Sasha’s mom had grown up with small birds. Though an Amazon brought surprises, the family still opened their hearts again to re-home Jaxon when the need arose.
We bid adieu to Twitter’s Queen Birdie Butternut Buttercup and Knight Echo of Twitcherton (@BirdieButternut): their parront accepted employment with extensive travel. Fortunately, she could rehome these ‘tiels with bird friends in her native Oslo, where they smile and chirp over toyses, milltsies and Nutriberries: “We have all loved the burdie community on Twitter so much. Thank you for all the joy and advice and support. We will never forgets.”
Dusty (@cockatiel_dusty (IG)) is his adoptive mom’s best friend. Caught in a net at one year by a distant relative, Dusty appeared neglected and abused at family gatherings, yet Alyssa had fallen in love with him at first sight. While Dusty bit his owners, he would settle happily on Alyssa’s finger so finally the relative asked Alyssa to take him, which she did. Dusty has come a long way in the two years since!
Of course, an adopted bird can come with issues. Billy Beep’s parront (@Billy.beeps (IG)) adopted Billy when Billy’s then-allergic owner planned a move. Now eighteen, Billy has never overcome his dislike of fingers and bites fingers waved in front of him. Billy laughs when his owner laughs and wolf whistles at himself in the mirror.
Soon Valentine’s Day will be here, and I hope you’ll all enter our #birbloveis photo tee-shirt contest! Remember, like Sid (@SidTHEparrot (Tw)), or four-year-old cinnamon Bat (@Bat_the_Conure (IG)), when the going gets rough, take a deep breath, and let the blood rush to your head bat-style!
From young Cosima in sunny Mesa, Arizona (@cosimacalopsita; photos courtesy of Jennifer Pielack):
Last, but most certainly not least, from @fluffy.bird (IG):
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JANUARY 15, 2018
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Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! Rev. King once observed that humanity had “learned to fly the air like birds” yet not to “walk the Earth as brothers and sisters.” Our anipals are the wind beneath our wings; truly, our birds, with their daily needs and demanding habits, ground us in the practices of humanity.
We salute Stanley Parrot OBE (@StanleyParrot (Tw)), who on New Year’s Day received his OBE (Most Excellent Order of The British Empire) from Ollie, the “BRILLIANT . . . MODEST AND HUMBLE” cat of Jane Fallon and Ricky Gervais (@myleftfang (Tw)), for Stan’s contributions to #OllieAid: Stan has raised about £300 for charity by auctioning off his feathers. With #OllieAid auctions, auction winners contribute the winning bid amounts to the charities of their choice and, on presenting the receipt to the auction holder, to receive the merchandise bid upon.
After New Year’s, a “bomb cyclone” paralyzed Eastern Canada and the Northern U.S.; but the birds chirped, screeched, and scritched much as usual, celebrated National Bird Day . . . . and envied birds Down Under like @Pipthealex (IG), who played outdoors on the designer gym his dad made him for Christmas. Pip has a congenital spinal deformity which slows him at walking, but the playground helps strengthen him to compensate.
Closer to home, Chico (@Chico_n_Rootie (IG)), usually the poster child of elder-brother congeniality, was perhaps under the weather when he fretted at Rootie for monopolizing toys in the green playhouse:
Glamour has not died in the depths of winter: Violet the Ambassabird (@violetthecockatoo (IG)), elegant at 23 years, struts the hallways of her NYC home, the cold cutting short her outdoor diplomacy with her neighborhood demographic of “pretty young girls” excited children, with whom she jumps up and down. Violet advises, “Be very kind but firm with us companion birds. DO expect that we will train you well, and speak gently and softly to us. For us cockatoos, be prepared to give AT LEAST two hours of intense physical attention time daily.”
Baby Cockatoo Diva (@Divathecockatoo (IG)) takes the wintry weather in stride– in her youthful exuberance she is utterly oblivious:
Community birds have experienced various maladies lately: Zazu (@ZazuTheIvoryBilledRacari (IG)) is healing well from emergency surgery to repair his burst trachea; over the next two months the vet will watch for scar tissue growth, which would require further surgery to remote. The least dollar donated toward Zazu’s vet expenses touches his mum Jess deeply. Contributions can be made at gofundme.com/ZazuTheIvoryBilledAracari
New Year’s Day, Off the Perch (@Bronson006 (Tw)), rushed African grey Jules to Ontario Veterinary College (“OVC”)’s ED– the unidentified virus that attacked Jules last summer had inexplicably returned, overwhelming his immune system. A “strong-willed grey” and a full member of a loving family, Jules overcame the worst with expert veterinary care and moral support from his parronts. Jules’s convalescence continues with daily medications.
Bear, parrot of Dylan Senegal (@LilParrotBoy (Tw)) crushed his toe while perched unobtrusively on top of a closing door. The claw and part of the toe were removed last Wednesday, and despite tearing out some of his stitches, Bear is recuperating well.
Watch out for the African greys and caiques this month! A belated Happy Eighth Birthday to Pepe (@takkiewax (Tw))! While @FlockisFamily’s (Tw) African grey and @EarlGreyParrot (Tw) compete for the messy eating award, Sid (@SidTHEparrot (Tw)) and Trixie (@TrixieRedBum (Tw)) demonstrate more gentile techniques. Timneh Grendel(@greybirdy (Tw)) enjoys bath time, and Otis the Parrot (@bluejaylover49 (Tw)) plays Yahtzee:
The caiques walk The Walk and talk The Talk!
Emperor Felix (@SweetFelix (Tw)) reviews holiday cards in stately style, yet, in casual moments this 18-year-old black-capped caique, like all caiques, moonwalks — that is, suddenly whirls around and executes FAST backward steps! Daily Felix marches from cage, through dining room, and up the back of a dining-room chair–his throne–from whence to view his serf family and flock carry on household business. Deep-voiced and talkative, Felix greets passers by with a hearty “hi” and typically ambles over to “Danderville” to visit “his relatives,” the eight cockatiels. Bebe (@liketochirp (Tw)), a Danderville resident of eight years, is the family’s “first-born”, hatched from an egg laid in secret behind the hallway mirror. A survivor of a partial hysterectomy from egg-binding and of a toe-tumor removal, Bebe would set herself up as Empress atop her parront’s head!
Marcel’s (@marcel_caique (IG)) parronts chose a caique in 2015 because they wanted a bird with a “playful big personality” yet sized to apartment living. Marcel, now two, “is nothing but a tiny dinosaur.” Marcel loves his meals and also bathing in the kitchen sink while spraying water across the apartment.
Coco (@cocothecaique (IG), at one year, is a skilled, clever bird. His parronts began his training with the usual “step up”. Flighted, in good weather Coco ventures out in a harness. Coco has advanced through a series of exercises with colored marbles and cups which teach him his colors. So far he knows blue, pink and yellow–on only 10-15 minutes training per day. His parronts scour the internet for new tricks to teach him.
The moustache parakeet brings up the rear. “Parakeet” hardly seems to fit– at just over one year, Freida is twice the size (120 grams) of sibling GCC Baron Coqui von Poopyfloor (65 grams) (@coqui_and_co (IG)). Moustache parakeets (aka, red breasted Javan parakeets) are members of the psittacula group of psittacines, more directly related to Alexandrines and ringnecks than budgies. A “ham,” Freida’s favorite bedtime game consists of making believe her parront must capture her to put her to bed. Freida flirts with this prospect, on being captured lets loose the squawk-of-the-near-murdered, but she never tries to escape.
Now, @coqui_and_co is one of those unusual accounts with both breath-taking birdwatching photos and whimsical companion birb videos. One day while at the pet store to talk finches, her eyes fell entranced on Coqui’s emerald feathers. Back home, she frantically researched why a companion birb would be impractical . . . only to emerge from the pet store one month later with Coqui. Freida joined them not much later. Here Freida “travels 150 million years into the past to battle a stegosaurus.”
Let Freida battle her imaginary monsters; let us walk in humanity toward birds and community. May Martin Luther King Jr. Day remind you of the dreams worth living for.
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JANUARY 1, 2018
Happy New Year! Bonne Année! Feliz año nuevo! Ring in 2018! Join @sidTHEparrot (Tw) in relishing the possibilities of the New Year!
And Happy Seventh Day of Christmas! Twelfth Night– Epiphany– is when, according to tradition, three Wise Men (The Magi) worshiped an infant in swaddling clothes laying in a manger; Twelfth Night is celebrated January 6-7 by some Christians. So sing Twitter’s @KatoQParrot’s Seventh Day of Christmas caroling verse!
In truth, we celebrate winter solstice, one and all. The Northern Hemisphere has passed through the longest night of the year. After Constantine converted the Roman Empire to Christianity, Christmas supplanted pagan celebrations like Solstice. The holiday coexists with monotheism, however, yet today in Iran, where friend @noora_par (IG) commemorated the national holiday of Yalda, with recitation of the great Persian poet Hafez’s verse and generous hospitality to visitors and guests.
Let us linger, for future nostalgia’s sake, over recent memories; let us share them that our lives be richer together!
In Canada and the northern United States, early snow presaged a white Christmas. For Sir Darwin (@DarwinTiel (Tw)), snowfall created a Winter Wonderland; young blue Quaker Doggo (@quakquakquakquak (IG)), upon his first snow, wished for summer’s return.
Whether you had snow or not, if you let your birb shop for Christmas gifts, like @oneflewoverthecockatielsnest (IG) and @burnabybird (IG), you no doubt were struck: “He’s all grown up, he shops for Christmas gifts . . . for himself!”
Be consoled—Many have troubled birb thoughts at holiday time: you are NOT alone! Every household has Christmas mishaps. . . So what if your birb was over the top? Consider Sagy of Slovakia (@Sagy_Greenforever (IG)), who learned to imitate Santa’s “Ho-Ho-Ho”—and never stopped:
You are not alone! You thought your bird destroyed wrapping paper? Well, consider Scout the Senegal (@p_isforparrot (Tw & IG)) and her Wrapping Paper Offensive! So your birb didn’t appreciate her gift? Was it any different from @Koko_in_London’s (IG & FB) abandoning his unwrapped gift for the charms of a smartphone? Or @intrepid_igor’s (IG) Equal Opportunity Policy on Gifts Under The Christmas Tree?
Can a family really celebrate Christmas if no single string of lights failed to light up when plugged in?! Bring on the broken nutcracker so young girls can dream of Sugar Plum pas de deux and Mouse Wars! Hail the Singing Santa who doesn’t sing so your engineering birb, like Lucky (@luckybirdbooks (Tw & IG)), can showcase her DIY repair verve. When your birb, like Alex The Honk (@AlexTheHonkingBird (Tw & IG)), gives sway to blatant Big Brother envy, isn’t it a comfort that he channels you after all?
It’s times like these the silver lining of the cloud shimmers– you take to bed with a toothache, but your birds, like @Ziggy_n_flower (Tw & IG) or Yuzuru and Mao (@Okamen75 (Tw)), cheer you with costumed charm. Or your young chick, Halo, imitates grandpa and dad by mounting a skateboard (@cocothecanary (Tw)). And, remember if worst comes to worst—never fear!—Sid can now simulate a human cough and call in sick for you!
***********AT THIS TIME WE MAKE A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT*********
Remember the plight of seasonal workers, and do what you can to support them. Consider Yuzuru and Mao, “The Little Matchstick Birbs”! They shudder under blankets in the cold, doing their utmost to earn the summer chauffeur’s wage.
Whether you’re in the Northern Hemisphere celebrating Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, or in the Southern Hemisphere enjoying summer vacation, December is a month for visiting. Birbs visit other birbs on playdates. Sundos (4 yrs, green Eclectus) and companion Safia, who at four months like to steal and break Sundos’ toys (@featheredmonster (IG)), host Berry (far left; @berrytheeckie (IG)), birb of their parront’s best friend, on a sunny afternoon Down Under. Closer to home, Gigi and parront (@gigitheparrotlet (IG)) met up with @coqui_and_co (IG) and perched on @coqui_and_co’s mum’s for a night of entertainment in Disney Springs! There is something at least as magical as Disney when social media account holders and their anipals meet up in real life!
Then there are those birds who “visit” friends while their parronts enjoy a vacation(!) Rio (‘Riuh’ in Malay; @rioriuh2014 (IG) explored his host’s home in dismay but then bonded with him over the two weeks his parronts traveled. Of course, birb hosting birb for such a long period may lead to sibling rivalry, but @tiellover’s mom got the perfect tool for managing that! Just pray the birbs don’t conspire against The Sign with The Exorcist Challenge of @thebeanboiii (IG)!
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*****LATE BREAKING NEWS!*****
Zazu (@ZazuTheIvoryBillledAracari (IG)), who charmed everyone last issue, had emergency surgery Friday for a spontaneously ruptured trachea. We repost here the text from Saturday’s post: @zazutheivorybilledaracari): “Hi, everyone. It’s been an extremely stressful night as I spent 6 hours at the emergency vet with Zazu last night. No one has a clue as to what happened but his trachea spontaneously ruptured and required emergency surgery to repair. He is still at the clinic for observation until this afternoon. We are not out of the woods yet and will require a follow-up endoscopy to make sure there’s no redundant healing. If that takes place, additional surgery will be required since it can close his trachea over time. This was an extremely costly procedure and we’re looking at around $4 thousand of dollars in vet bills if everything heals correctly… We’re in desperate need of help to continue to give Zazu the love, support, and care he needs through this difficult time.
Please, please, please keep my baby boy in your thoughts. I’m honestly heartbroken he had to go through this to begin with and am mortified by the thought of losing him.
Zazu after emergency surgery for a ruptured trachea (By @ZazuTheIvoryBilledAracari (IG))
Zazu is back home. He slept through Saturday night safely and even had a few blueberries Sunday morning. To keep him resting, his parronts have taken his toys away. Friday Zazu will have a check-up with the vet Friday, which should reveal how well he is healing. His parronts express gratitude for the community’s love and support.
Dylan the Senegal’s parront (@LilParrotBoy (Tw)), while walking the dog, discovered a wrenchingly inhumane situation: a peach-faced blue lovebird in a cardboard box, dumped on the icy UK snow, discarded and abandoned to near-certain death from hypothermia. Dramatically, the motionless bird, on warming, revived. Dylan et al. have adopted the lovebird, now named Topaz. Carla Chadwick (FB) relates this poignantly at https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10213877638708891&id=1046120827.
Topaz now publishes his own story from his brand new Twitter account, @Topazlostb, established to deter similar bird dumpings. Read his story!
The family started a GoFundMe account some time ago for another bird’s vet bills and has added Topaz’s initial vet care to that fund drive. Topaz reports that Apollo the Tiel (@Apollotiel (Tw)) generously donated £100, which covered the vet bill and a few toys as well! Thank you, Apollo, for being The Spirit of Christmas to a wee lovebird!
Yes, Christmastide celebrates determined and victorious hope, but it’s also about making eggnog at New Year’s from cracked eggs!
My dad pretends that he doesn’t care about mycockatiels, but he is watching cockatiel videos with Pipoca and Chicken (By @MariChrisney (Tw))
‘Tis the season . . . to snuggle birds in the cold dark of northern winter’s night and exchange holiday greetings with friends! Secret Santa gift exchanges abound, and posts of festooned Christmas trees at the mercy of inquisitive birds delight!
‘Tis the season, most of all, to celebrate hope in new life. The chicks from Twitter’s @cocothecanary’s Maggie and Twister brighten Advent days while @TheLuxeBirds’ (Tw) JoJo’s husbird, Suni, does his share warming Christmas cockatiel eggs.
In truth, the spiritual dynamic of the winter holidays, be they Christmas or Saturnalia, lies in anticipatory waiting — waiting in the dark and through the dark, waiting out even some desperation. In the spirit of Advent determination, we join with both @Sherrithewriter and @elvisbird_dean (@elvisbird (IG)) in mourning their recent losses, respectively, of Chloe and JoJo in incidents of cruel irony in the wintry outdoors. (See also Sherri’s article on our Behavior Issues page).
In JoJo’s and Chloe’s honor, we seek renewal of hope, that bright summer days like Emilio’s on this Connecticut lake (@emiliothebird (IG)) shall soon return. In hope, we feature a few charming, relatively new members of our social media community that the community will grow and flourish:
Zazu the aracari, or toucan (@Zazutheivorybilledaracari (IG)), belongs to the family Ramphastidae, species pteroglossus azara, native to the humid, warm lowland forests of South America where iron binds insolubly with the (lateritic) soil. At eight months, Zazu takes decaf black tea regularly — so tannins can reduce the risk of iron storage disease common to aracari. His long beak is light, a bony structure infilled with spongy keratin, and his feathery tongue, with serated tip, enables him to eat not only fruit but insects and small lizards. You’ll get to learn more about Zazu in a feature by @Zazutheivorybilledaracari at a later date!
Skye (@ParrotletSkye (Tw)), a blue Pacific Parrotlet, at three months, wants to accompany her parronts everywhere, mischievously steals food from their plates, and fancies herself a gamester. . . Eight-month-old greencheek conure Ari squawked when put to bed to win snuggles with his parront until lady friend Blu (six months) arrived to distract him (@ari_the_greencheek (IG)/@aritheconure (Tw)); their parront treasures them as family and chats with them nightly on FaceTime when she travels.
CrankyConure’s (Tw) “favorite all-time food is BRUSSEL SPROUTS!” but she loves to do interior design with raspberries and resists conversion to apples, bananas or carrots. Moreover, she has a running vendetta with her “mom’s” scarves because “she only wears them so I can’t give her neck love bites”. . . Sagy of Slovakia (@sagy_greenforever (IG)) has been harness training and, more impressively, now seeks employment as a full-fledged personal assistant! . . . And then there’s @mimikoy_and_kikiram (IG), two curious budgies, eight and three months, respectively, who simply entrance with their play:
(I love some raspberries; I loves to makes a mess!)
Just kiss me, kiss me! (@mimikoy_and_kikiram (IG):
Tango the Senegal (@myparrotlife (IG)), a “true millenial” who does “anything to get close to . . . cellphones and laptops” and loves to hang upside down, celebrates his Hatch Day for the first time this month. A training prodigy who shakes hands, fetches, plays dead and is being trained to harness, Tango imitates his parront’s clicking “before the trick is even finished, in anticipation”!
Of course, winter in the Northern Hemisphere means fewer ventures outside for our birb friends– it’s just too cold most days. But Koko (@koko_in_London (IG)) braves it to brighten the days of a few international tourists in Holland Park. Here he makes friends with amply bundled @DJMadameBoo (IG), comic radio host/producer, ADA activist, missionary and speaker.
Meanwhile, Down Under, Mr. Archibaldd (FB, Instagram’s @Mr_Archibaldd), a luxuriant lory with lorikeet siblings, suns away the summer and relishes his third birthday on the beach! Mr. Archibald loves to bathe and preen and is prone to stick his lush and long lorikeet tongue in his parront’s ear while snuggling! In the Maldives, our friends @thealexandrineparrots (IG) play throughout the December summer vacation (later in the year they will celebrate Eid, rather than Christmas) and prepare for New Year’s fireworks.
Along with Mr. Archibaldd, Scout the Senegal (@p_isforparrot (IG/Tw)) celebrates her third birthday. . . . by spontaneously arranging her vegetables in a “3.”
And, remember, if you can’t think of anything better to do, birbs, when Christmas carols are playing, take Alex the Honk’s advice and “Honk, like no one hears you”! (@AlexTheHonk (Tw)):
You cannot watch your movie until you have paid attention to me! (@sara2020hatami (IG))
(Thirty-four yearold parrot Charlie enjoys tussling with the Snowman! (@veronika_charlie.the_parrot (IG))
Baby Dexter (@jade_the_ringneck (IG))
My favorite exercise- checking myself out in the mirror! (@CrazyConure (Tw)):
As we come off the excitement of Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc., let’s take a moment to pause again in thanks. And especially in thanks for friendship with a great little TwitBirb, @HarrytheBirdie: Friday, November 17, 2017 Twitter’s beloved @HarrytheBirdie drove to the vet with his “mom” Shelly for the final time. It was a difficult trip, but Shelly and the vet had discussed euthanasia when Harry was diagnosed six weeks earlier with testicular cancer: the vet told Shelly that Harry’s strong heart meant he would survive great suffering, that euthanasia might be the kindest gesture at the right time.
November 16, Harry had a good day and played with his disco ball. But by evening, Shelly tweeted to Harry’s 2,000 followers, Harry lay on his belly — even the opiate pain killer which earlier rejuvenated him gave little relief. Shelly made her decision to take him to the vet if his condition worsened in the night. And it did.
Throughout Harry’s life, Shelly had extraordinary sensitivity to Harry’s health and well-being. In 2010, when she determined to get an English budgie, she chose Harry’s parents at a breeder’s in Osh Kosh, Wisconsin. The breeder later sent Shelly pictures of the eggs. Harry hatched in January 2011 and went home with Shelly as a black-eyed, black-beaked 8-week chick in February.
Harry’s antics included climbing up the lamp cord on his favorite lamp, kissing his mommy, playing with his disco ball, talking to Grammy (Shelly’s mother), and rocking out to the bands Shelly’s husband played on the stereo.
Long past Harry’s chickdom, Shelly maintained a mother’s vigilance with a baby monitor so she knew even when Harry had night frights. And, this year, the monitor alerted Shelly when Harry several times fell off his perch while sleeping. To Shelly, this falling absent flapping from a night fright was reason for a trip to the vet. The vet indicated that Harry fell due to numbness in his right foot, which developed as his tumor pressed against the sciatic nerve.
As a budgie typically lives twelve to fifteen years, Harry’s demise at age six after six weeks of decline, was untimely and extraordinarily difficult for Shelly. She wisely joined a pet grieving group and commemorates Harry through private cremation. The vet surprised her with a claw print!
Harry will long be held dear in the hearts of Twitter friends, especially those who gathered at the legendary #HarrysPorch. We stand in silence to honor him and send condolences to Shelly.
On a more cheerful note, congratulations to Twitter’s @cocothecanary on her lovely “T-Rex” chicks. Maggie and Twister have done themselves proud! Already they are sporting canary gold! And friend JoJo cockatiel (@theluxebirds (Tw)) is expecting! She has eggs now!
Health matters are the order of the day for this issue: Instagram’s @Snowball64, a twelve-year-old cockatiel with an enlarged heart, has lived with that heart condition and regular medication for over three years now. A singing and talking bird whose first song was the Andy Griffith theme song, which he learned while hospitalized at the vet with a respiratory infection, Snowball wears a collar to prevent over-preening and to encourage his chewing on toys rather than himself. Enjoy the warm Christmas spirit Snowball ushers in!
A caution to all birb owners with sanded perches for their birbs—Twitter’s @KatoQParrot sustained a beak injury from over rubbing his beak on such a perch! The beak, treated with coconut oil and steam-room treatments. KatoQ also has a youtube channel, where you can see him dance the hokey pokey and sing “Popeye, the Sailorman,” https://youtube.com/user/KatoQParrot .
We lately met Babazee of Instagram (@_babazee.and.flapjack_ (IG)), who is already in his third home despite being less than one year in age. His first owner neglected him abusively: pictures revealed Babazee and his brother in a single-perch budgie cage overflowing with poop, feathers and seed husks and splattered with blood from broken blood feathers; the cage and improper diet permanently stunted the birds’ growth. Needless to say the conditions rendered them sickly, and the brother did not survive. Babazee’s current owner reports that, on first arrival, Babazee startled and hissed at any approach to his cage, yet within two months he consumed a healthy diet and ate millet from her hand! Recently, Babazee neatly “stepped up” and let her pet him! If you’re a good bird handler in the right situation, consider adopting a needy bird in 2018.
On a totally different tack—birbs and tech, a new free android game app is out—Tiny Bird Garden—and the Instagram birb community finds it is a great passtime. One of the characters is actually designed after a Scots-born birb/pigeon cartoonist on Instagram, @emmamabird., who knows the developers, and our own @KingArchimedes enjoys playing it: each player has a garden in which they can put things birds like to play with, put out seed birds like to eat, and entertain other birds who leave behind feathers, which are the trading currency for the garden.
Little bird garden . . . big bird playground. . . Instagram’s @BacontheCockatoo’s owner got Bacon 1.5 years ago (he hatched in May 1999) when he seduced her with a “Hi, love; hi, yoouuu!” Potty-trained and equipped of a considerable vocabulary, Bacon usually steps up on command with glee, notwithstanding the below video caption! He has learned curse words and even let fly with “the F-bomb” when given a timeout not long ago.
Finally, please visit our new Gen(i)us page, which will feature bird by species and birdwatching from both @quarkybirdy and @KingArchimedes, alternating on the 1st and 15th of each month. Do you know the species below? Maybe it’s time to brush up!!!
With that, as it is Friday, we give you food for thought, @sidTHEparrot’s suggestion that on Sundays, yoga is the best way to start the day.
Good morning! It’s a Typical Day in BirbVerse—Crimson (Crimsons_life (IG)) does her nails, Bonnet (@BonnettheBird (Tw)) hides under the covers, Sugar (@sugartiel (Tw)) shines out a greeting, Sid (@sidTHEparrot (Tw)) gets the morning “scritches” that keep him happy, and @miss_maggie_magpie (IG) plays breakfast insect computer games on her tablet:
It’s that time of year—British birbs have survived Guy Fawkes Day fireworks, and the weather in the Northern Hemisphere has turned wintry. Dressed in his Zombie Squad uniform, Private Bob Owa (@owa_bob (Tw)) pronounced the fireworks more frightful than zombies!
We join Zombie Squad in mourning the sudden passing of sweet Private Molly moo moo (@molly_fluffybun (Tw)) on November 2. Her sweet love-patter with @owa_bob enraptured the TwitterVerse and will long be missed!
The recent weather has meant icy roads and cranky cars for Canadian and British birb owners alike. For @Lollypop_and_Candyfloss (IG), two love geese aged five and four months, respectively, it means starting to sleep in their own little house, which Lolly is not happy about.
Bob has not been the only bird ambassador active lately: while @Koko_in_London greets passersby in Kensington Park, @myparrotlife’s (IG) Senegal Tango dines sociably à la fresco in New York, and an undercoverbirb leads aerobics class in an undisclosed location, courtesy of @NikosGKountouri (Tw).
@Koko_in_London is a relative newcomer to social media. At 2.5 years of age, this Indian ringneck charms with his favorite greeting of “Gimme a kiss” and game of peekaboo. Free-flight at home and in-harness outside, Koko ventures into London—its tourist spots and quaint corners—cheering people up as he goes. Other newcomers to our Instagram following are @Flockof10 with her six conures, two cockatiels, one Lovebird and one pied Imperial– below Sydney, Techno, Ginger and Luffy stand in affectionate formation on her forearm; and @Sagy_Greenforever, a bluefronted Amazon of Bratislava, Slovakia, shown invading the kitchen.
We welcome our first Facebook submitter, Hakomi Akiyama (@KingArchimedes (IG)), an avian rescue volunteer, local bird guide and natural science lecturer. Her rescued Utility King pigeon, King Archimedes, doubles as her service animal, warning of impending seizures. King Archimedes stands 11.5 inches tall, measures 6.2 inches across the chest and 9.5 inches stem to stern, and weighs 41 ounces. Utility King pigeons are generally bred for meat and for release.
Congratulations to Maggie and Twister (@cocothecanary (Tw)) on their new hatchling! @FlockIsFamily (Tw) welcomes baby budgie Teal, and thoughtful “brother” Levi starts Teal on fishnet attack training so he can aid neighbor @OscarTheBetta in times of need. Both Levi and Teal were adopted from @MickabooRescue (Tw), Levi in 2014 and Teal November 5. Levi is reportedly a most helpful older brother.
Happily, Harry Birdie Bird (@HarryTheBirdie (Tw)) capitalizes on improved health and holds steady at 54 gms. Notwithstanding the cooler temperatures, #HarrysPorch, as pictured in an earlier issue, has become a popular hangout for the likes of @CocoTheParrot and @OscarTheBetta.
Training and play, of course, are central to the health of our birbs, and the smiles their antics bring to our faces bring us health too! Their efforts range from the naïve—like @Shadybadparrot’s (Tw) confusion over whether a water bowl can double as a bath and @Lokii_and_Maple‘s (IG) Lokii turning her head 180 degrees for a scratch—to the complex, concentrated efforts of @p_isforparrot (Tw)’s Senegal Scout and @SarahLudick64’s Tigger learning new tasks of artistry and housecleaning, respectively.
While Tigger is still a baby, Scout (named after the protagonist in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird) is nearly three years old and has mastered over 25 tricks—including, fetching, rolling over and skate boarding—through judicious use of positive reinforcement clicker training! Through training, Scout and her owner share quality time, and the mental stimulation keeps Scout healthy. Scout and her owner have active accounts on both Twitter and Instagram, and Scout’s owner hopes they together inspire other owner – bird pairs in the great enrichment clicker – training provides.
Southern Hemisphere birds are not to be outdone: the dynamic duo of love-hate relationships, hand-raised and flighted Alexandrian parrots Kiwi, three-year-old female, and Prince, two-year-old, of the Maldives (@thealexandrineparakeets (IG)) dispute ownership of the Kleenex box:
Although winter is upon us, we have not escaped the ravaging results of the Caribbean hurricane season. Not only are our friends in Puerto Rico still without adequate electrical power, as @BirdsCaribbean (Tw) reminds us, entire species of wild parrot now struggle for survival, such as the Sisserou Parrot. The rescue asks that you make contributions at https://www.razoo.com or rarespecies.org. In addition, @zazushousesanctuary (IG), in Washington state, has its third annual winter fund-raiser, Cozy Winter 2018, to fund the heating of its two large sanctuary houses. The drive lasts throughout the month of November, and contributors of $25 or more receive a 2018 calendar. Contributions welcome at https://www.gofundme.com/cozywinter2018.