Monday, September 8, 2014

University of Florida Student Creates 'Bird Buggy'

Andrew Gray, a computer engineering grad student at the University of Florida, recently invented a device that would allow his pet parrot to roam the house by his side. Gray rightfully named the device the “Bird Buggy” and was surprised at just how much of a positive response it generated from his parrot. Not only did his parrot use it for getting around the house, but it actually seemed to enjoy the process of driving and maneuvering around furniture and objects.

Gray decided to build the device as a means to stop his parrot Pepper from being loud and obnoxious. Before he constructed the Bird Buggy, Gray built an automatic water gun that would shoot pepper anytime he screamed. Unfortunately, however, the water gun only encouraged Pepper to scream whenever he wanted a bath, which seemed more frequently than before. Gray also built a device that made a load rattling noise whenever Pepper started screaming, but this was also ignored by the cunning parrot.

Instead of trying to fight his parrot’s screaming, gray decided to focus on what was already working. He noticed that Pepper screamed less whenever he was in the same room as Gray, so he set out to create a robotic device that would allow Pepper to travel throughout the house with him. After investing dozens of hours of hard work, Gray eventually came up with the Bird Buggy. It allows Pepper to sit on a small podium where he can control the movement by pressing his beak on a joystick. There are even sensors located on the sides that automatically back up when the Bird Buggy comes into contact with a piece of furniture or object.

Another neat little addition Gray made was an IR feature that prevents Pepper from ramming objects too hard. When Pepper starts to approach a wall too fast, the IR sensors automatically trigger the Bird Buggy to slow down; therefore, limiting the power of the impact. Even though it has this addition, Gray has found Pepper to be quite cunning and intelligent when it comes to the Bird Buggy.

Video: Bird Buggy

Check out the video above for a first-hand look at Pepper using the Bird Buggy. As you can see, Pepper is fully aware of how the Buggy operates and what he needs to do to control it. Now that’s pretty impressive! Kudos to both Gray and Pepper for building such as neat little device.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Companion Parrots: Which Species Is Right For My Family?

Which companion species is best suited for my family?

According to some estimates, there are around 350 species of parrots currently in existence. These species vary from the incredibly small Pygmy parrot, which is just 3.5 inches long, to the Hyacinth macaw, which exceeds 3 feet when fully grown. If you're thinking about adopting a companion parrot, you should consider the species and whether or not it's the right choice for your family.

Companion Parrot Size

Size is obviously a factor to consider when choosing a companion parrot. Larger species, such as the African Grey and Macaw, are popular choices, but they come with their own their own unique set of challenges. The larger the parrot, the more space it needs to move around; thus, forcing owners to invest in larger cages. Smaller parrot species, on the other hand, require less space, less food, and generally produce less waste.

Companion Parrot Noise Level

Do you live in an apartment complex, town home, or any other residence in which your neighbors live in close proximity? If so, you should choose a companion parrot that does not produce a lot of noise.

It's important to note that ALL parrots will produce at least some noise. This is their way of communicating to one another in the wild, so it only makes sense for them to make noise when in captivity as well. But there are certain species which produce more noise than others.

Species that are considered the loudest typically include the following:
  • Prrotlets

  • Budgies

  • Cockatiels

  • Pyrrhura conures

  • Pionus

  • Caiques

  • African Greys

  • Poicephalus

Companion Parrot Talking/Vocal Abilities

One of the joys of owning a companion parrot is the ability to teach it words, phrases, or even entire sentences. Dogs might be viewed as man's best friend, but parrots are the only pets that will greet you with a verbal "hello." Of course, some species of parrots are better talkers than others.

Species that are considered good talkers include the following:
  • African Greys

  • Eclectus

  • Quaker

  • Budgies

  • Macaws

  • Psittacula

These are just a few things to consider when choosing a companion parrot to adopt. Above all else, though, make sure you are fully committed to providing your new companion parrot a happy, healthy and loving home. Far too many people adopt these magnificent creatures, only to decide later down the road that they are too much of a hassle.

Which parrot species is your favorite? Let us know in the comments section below!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Parrots and Children: How To Introduce a Pet Bird To The Family

Thinking about adopting a pet parrot into your family? Parrots are fun-loving, affectionate, and highly intelligent creatures that make wonderful pets. Due to their small size, though, families with young children should use caution when adopting pet parrots. A young child may unknowingly pull or tug on a pet, resulting in injury and/or provoking a retaliatory bite.

The good news is that you can still adopt a pet parrot if you have young children. By following some basic precautions, you can create a safe and enjoyable environment for everyone -- including your new feathered friend.

Start by showing your child the new parrot through its cage. Don't take them out of the cage just yet, but instead keep your parrot confined so they are safe from the clutches of your child. Let your child see the parrot and how it acts. Some children may be frightened at first, but this usually goes away in time. After several weeks have passed, your child should grow accustomed to the new addition to your family.

Once your child is comfortable and no longer afraid of the parrot, take the parrot out of its cage and hold it in your hand. Now let your child pet the parrot, gently. Teach your child the appropriate way for petting a parrot -- starting at the top of its head and running downwards across its back in a slow, gentle manner. Make sure your child's hand is kept above the parrot's head so there's no risk of him or her being bitten.

Even if your parrot appears to be calm and docile around your child, you shouldn't allow your child to pet or play with them alone. It only takes a single instance of instinctual aggression to create serious injury, which is why parents should always supervise their children when taking the parrot out of its cage. This is done to protect both the child and the parrot from injury. As your child grows older and your parrot becomes more domesticated, you'll find the bird's behavior is more predictable.

The bottom line is that families with small children can still enjoy the countless benefits of owning a pet parrot. Regardless of the species, though, parents should err on the side of caution to ensure their child and bird are safe and protected against injury.

Have any other tips you'd live to share with out readers? Leave them in the comments section below!

Monday, August 18, 2014

All About The Senegal Parrot

Although its often viewed as a pest by farmers in African, the Senegal parrot (Poicephalus senegalus) is has become one of the most popular species of pet parrots. This predominantly yellow-green colored bird possesses a playful and affectionate disposition, making it an attractive choice for families with small children. Before you adopt a Senegal, though, there are a few things you should know about the species.

There are Three Subspecies

There are three subspecies of the Senegal. While plumage colors vary depending on the different subspecies, their behavior traits remain the same. See below for a list of the three recognized Senegal subspecies.
  1. P. s. senegalus -- native to the southern Mauritania, Guinea and Lobos Island, this subspecies possesses a distinct yellow-colored vest.

  2. P. s. mesotypus -- native to Nigeria and Cameroon , this subspecies possesses an orange-colored vest.

  3. P. s. versteri: -- this last Senegal subspecies is native to Nigeria and possesses a darker orange-colored vest.

Noise Level

Individuals and families living in close proximity to neighbors may be concerned about the noise level of a pet parrot. Thankfully, the Senegal (all three subspecies) is viewed as a relatively quiet parrot. This doesn't necessarily mean they are silent, but they produce less noise than other popular species of pet parrots.


The Senegal feeds mostly on maize and millet in the wild, which is why they are viewed as a pest by farmers in Africa. Pet Senegals, however, should be fed a diet that consists mostly of pellet and seed mix. Feeding your bird strictly maize (AKA corn) will restrict key nutrients from their diet, which may lead to malnutrition or other health problems.

Stick with a premium pellet blend that contains minimal "filler" ingredients. Pellets are formulated to meet the nutritional needs of pet parrots, so you can rest assured knowing your Senegal is getting the nutrition it needs to maintain proper health and development. You can check out some of our previous blog posts for more information on choosing the right food for your parrot.


If you are looking for a pet parrot that's easy to train, you are in luck. The Senegal is viewed as a highly intelligent parrot that can be taught a variety of tricks. Whether it's shake, talk, etc., these parrots can be trained to perform a number of different tasks and tricks. All it takes is persistence, dedication, and consistency.

What are your thoughts on the Senegal parrot? Let us know in the comments section below!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Efforts Being Made To Save The Endangered Western Ground Parrots

The Western Ground Parrot is one of the rarest and most endangered parrot species in the world. Experts believe there are only 140 of these colorful birds remaining, making it a top priority among conservationists.

Due to their critically low population numbers, the species is on the verge of extinction. A natural disaster like a wildfire could wipe out their habitat, and subsequently the remaining Western Ground Parrots. But a last-ditch effort is underway to save these beautiful birds and encourage their population numbers to thrive once again.

Australia's Perth Zoo is currently housing seven Western Ground Parrots in four cages. Experts plan to breed them in three different pairs -- along with an extra male. Perth Zoo is known throughout the world for its remarkable conservation expertise and ability to breed endangered animals, which is why it was chosen to house the half-a-dozen-plus-one specimens.

But this a monumental and equally difficult task for Perth Zoo experts, as the bird breeding program is a first of its kind. One of the many hurdles experts face is trying to achieve a healthy, balanced nutrition of the Western Ground Parrots, essentially mimicking its natural diet in the wild. If the parrots' diet is off, it could hinder their ability to reproduce while leaving them susceptible to disease and illness. And being that there are so few Western Ground Parrots left in existence, data regarding its diet, feeding behavior, and other characteristics is minimal at best.

Arthur Ferguson of the Perth Zoo noted, however, that they will be providing the Western Ground Parrots with "multiple nesting opportunities" in an effort to encourage breeding. This includes the use of both artificial and natural nesting sites, which they believe will create a greater sense of security among the critically endangered birds.
"Apart from that we'll be providing the birds with multiple nesting opportunities, we'll be providing artificial nest sites, as well as what we believe will be more naturalistic nest sites, for the birds to try and promote a sense of security and really hopefully encourage them to breed," said Perth Zoo's supervisor of Australian Fauna, Arthur Ferguson.

Without Perth Zoo's program, the Western Grounding Parrot could face extinction. Parrots are often on the forefront of extinction due to their ever-dwindling habitats. Conservation groups have saved numerous species in the past, however, so let's hope they can do it again.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Help! My Parrot Will Only Eat Seeds

Can't get your parrot to eat fresh vegetables, fruit, premium pellets, or other food? There's nothing wrong with feeding a parrot some occasional seeds. In fact, sunflower and flax seeds are loaded in beneficial nutrients that can bolster a parrot's immune system while promoting healthy growth and development. However, feeding your parrot a strict 100% diet can lead to a variety of health ailments, including malnutrition. So, how can you encourage your parrot to try new foods?

Parrots that eat pure seed diets are more likely to experience malnutrition. Vitamin A deficiency is an all-too-common condition in which the respiratory, reproductive and digestive cells undergo adverse changes. Symptoms of vitamin A deficiency can range from the presence of small white spots inside the mouth to abscesses, difficulty breathing, infection, and even death in severe cases. Thankfully, deficiencies such as this are easily avoided by feeding your parrot a well-balanced, nutritious diet that includes a mixture of pellets, seeds, vegetables and fruit.

Much like children, some parrots are finicky regarding their food and will only eat things they are used to. So if you've fed your parrot the same seed mix for the past 2-3 years, abruptly switching to a pellet mix may not work. Your parrot may check it out by pecking at it, but it's unlikely they will change their diet on the fly. The trick to encouraging your parrot to switch from an all-seed diet to a more nutritious and balanced diet is to make the transition more gradual.

Don't just empty your parrot's seed dish and replace it with pellets. Instead, start by creating a mixture of 80% seeds and 20% pellets. This introduces your parrot to the pellets in a slower, less intrusive method. Assuming your parrot eats this mixture (which they should), you can gradually adjust the ratio to focus more pellets. After a week or two, for instance, try using a ratio of 70% seeds and 30% pellets. After another week, drop it down to 60/40, and soon after, 50/50.

What's the ideal ratio of seeds to pellets for a parrot's diet? It really depends on the species of parrot and their condition. Talk with your avian veterinarian for recommendations tailored for your bird. With that said, many parrot experts recommend a diet that's "mostly" parrots with the occasional fruit, vegetables and seeds tossed into the mix.

Have some tips you'd like to share with our readers? Drop us a comment below!

Monday, July 21, 2014

One of Two Rare Blue Parrots That Inspired 'Rio' Dies

Presley, a 40-year old blue Spix's macaw, passed away last month, leaving just one "wild-borne" left in existence.

While there's been no official confirmation from the film's producer s Blue Sky Studios, Presley is believed to have inspired the 2011 computer-animated musical-adventure comedy "Rio."

In the movie Rio, the macaw travels back to his hometown of Brazil to search for the other remaining blue Spix's macaw, which happens to be a female of course! The film's director Carlos Saldanha stated he hoped Rio would draw attention to the importance of parrot conservation efforts. Rio received generally favorable reviews, with Rotten Tomatoes giving it a 72% rating based on 142 reviews.

Presley was discovered in the early 1970s after being smuggled from Brazil to Colorado. The parrot refuge and breeding facility Lymington Foundation purchased Presley, taking him under their wing (pun intended).

Current estimates suggest that there are around 100 of blue Spix's macaws in various refuges and bird shelters throughout the world. Presley, however, was one of two wild-borne blue Spix's macaws. The species' dwindling numbers is a warning sign that extinction may come if conservation efforts are not taken. Reports suggest the last sighting of a blue Spix's macaw occurred back in 2000 -- nearly a decade and a half ago.

According to Doha News, artificial insemination could help the threatened species propagate and their population numbers improve. With such a low number of blue Spix's macaws left in existence, however, conservationist must use caution to ensure they aren't promoting breeding within family lines.

So, what's to blame for the ever-dwindling population numbers of the blue Spix's macaw? Several factors are to blame, the most damaging being deforestation. Brazil is constantly eating away at its rich tropical landscape. Unfortunately, this landscape is the home of a number of rare animals, including dozens of threatened parrot species such as the blue Spix's macaw.

Another element that's contributed to the species' decline is the presence of honeybees taking over its habitat. As the honeybees continue to disperse and percolate into new areas, parrots and other birds are forced out of their homes.
"To us, Presley is a symbol of the best and worst in mankind," read a statement announcing the blue Spix's macaw’s death from the foundation. "The love, care, concern and effort to help and preserve [on one side], with the greed, selfishness, and lack of concern for the animal world on the other side."

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Researchers Study The Rare Ecuador Amazon Parrot

Photo of the Ecuador Amazon Parrot courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

A group of researchers from the U.K. recently traveled to South America in hopes of learning more about the ultra-rare Ecuador Amazon Parrot (Amazona lilacina). According to a report published by the BBC, however, they left with "more questions than answers."

For many decades, the Ecuador Amazon Parrot was classified as a subspecies of the red-lored Amazon parrot (Amazona autumnalis). Taxonomists initially believed this was the proper classification given the two parrot's familiarities and similar characteristics. In December 2013, however, researchers at Chester Zoo in the United Kingdom classified the Ecuador Amazon Parrot as an entirely new species.

So, why did researchers have the change of heart? There are estimated to be approximately 5-6 million red-lored Amazon parrots, whereas there are only 600 (ish) Ecuador Amazon Parrots currently in existence. The Ecuador Amazon Parrot is also smaller and more colorful than its counterpart.

In terms of appearance, the Ecuador Amazon Parrot is about 32-36 cm in length (beak to tail) with green plumage, red lores, and yellow cheeks (see image above). It's a stunningly beautiful bird that could go the way of the dinosaurs if preservation measures are not taken. Like many birds and parrots native to the Amazon/Ecuador region, it possesses a hard beak that allows it to crack through the tough exteriors of nuts, insects, fruit and vegetables.

In an effort to learn more about the mysterious Ecuador Amazon Parrot, a team of researchers from the U.K. traveled to its native and of Ecuador. Unfortunately, however, they came back with more questions than answers.

Before the trip, the general belief was that the Ecuador Amazon Parrot roosted in the thick mangroves and flew to nearby dry forests to feed -- assuming the dry forests were free of predators. But researchers discovered the Ecuador Amazon Parrot was flying much farther than previously believed. One researcher theorized that the Ecuador Amazon Parrot's long-distance travel could be the result of "bird scaring devices" -- electronic devices used by fishermen to discourage birds from feeding on the local fish.
"The truth is that we came back with far more questions than answers," explained expedition leader Mark Pilgrim, director general of Chester Zoo. "Suddenly, there are a whole number of things that we didn't expect and we now have questions about."

While the population numbers for the Ecuador Amazon Parrot are grim (around 600), researchers noted that there's no immediate threat to the species. This is due in part to the fact that both the mangrove and rainforest are protected.

Monday, June 2, 2014

How To Make Your Parrot Gain Weight

Is your parrot visible underweight -- to the point where you fear for its health and well-being? Skipping a meal here and there probably isn't going to have an adverse reaction on its health, but not eating for several days is a troubling sign that could result in malnutrition among other health problems if not corrected immediately. But how exactly are you supposed to force a parrot to eat?

Common Reasons Why Parrots Stop Eating:

  • Introduced to a new type of food

  • Disease

  • Digestive problems

  • Environmental stress

  • Suffering from a parasite

There are times when parrots stop eating for no apparent reason at all. Pay close attention to your parrot's behavior and mood to see if its exhibiting any other signs of illness. If you believe disease, illness or a parasite is to blame for your parrot's sudden weight loss, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian immediately. Allowing this problem to persist could result in death.

Sweeten Up Your Parrot's Food

One helpful trick that often encourages parrots to eat their food is to sweeten it with fruit juice. Whether you feed them seeds, pellets or a combination of the two, pour some all-natural fruit juice over the top to sweeten it. Orange juice, grape juice, apple juice and pineapple juice are just a few fruit juices that most parrots love.

With the sweet, fruity flavor added to their food, your parrot will be more likely to start eating. Granted, this doesn't always work, but it only takes a couple minutes to try. If you're struggling with a parrot that doesn't want to eat, use the fruit juice trick to sweeten up their lunch and dinner.

Try a New Food

Of course, another idea is to try feeding your parrot a new type of food. Perhaps the formula/ingredients of your parrot's "regular" food was changed without your knowledge (not uncommon for pet food companies to change formulas), and this new formula doesn't sit well with your parrot. Offering your parrot a new type of food may encourage them to start eating once again.

Mix In Some Treats

It's no secret that parrots love treats. You can use this to your advantage by mixing some treats into their normal food. If your parrot enjoys crackers, crumble up a handful of crackers and mix it in their normal food. Hopefully, your parrot will start eating the normal food simply because it contains their favorite type of treat.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

How To Encourage a Parrot To Drink Water

I know it sounds simple enough, but getting a parrot to drink isn't always an easy task -- especially for recently adopted parrots. When they are first brought into a new environment, parrots tend to be reclusive and isolated, which may prevent them from investigating nearby sources of water. Over time, this can lead to potentially life-threatening complications stemming from severe dehydration. So, how do you encourage your parrot to hydrate themselves with H2O?

Baby Parrots May Not Drink Water...

Baby parrots (chicks) that were originally fed formula by their previous owner may not drink regular water as of yet. If you recently adopted a baby parrot, check with the former owner to see what they feeding it. Typically, baby parrots are given a special formula that's mixed with water; thus, providing the chick with both food and water.

Unless otherwise specified by your avian veterinarian, continue this water-soaked formula diet with your chick until they are ready for solid foods, at which point you can introduce water into its cage.

Offer Two Sources of Water

There's no denying the fact that parrots are finicky creatures that prefer to do things "their own way." As a result, some parrots will only drink water from dishes, whereas others will only drink from a bottle. If your parrot is hesitant to drink water in cage, try adding both a dish and a bottle. Having two sources of water will increase the chance of them drinking.  While this doesn't always work, it's certainly not going to hurt either.

Introduce Your Parrot To Water

Is your parrot familiar with the source of water in its cage? If not, you should encourage them to explore it by tapping your fingers in it. Avoid splashing water on your parrot, as this may scare them away, but instead draw attention to the dish/bottle by playing with it. You can even place a treat inside the water. Hopefully, this will trigger your parrot's curiosity, causing them to check out the water.

If you've exhausted all of the options listed above and your parrot still isn't drinking water, call and schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Most parrots will drink before going into severe dehydration, but certain diseases and underlying conditions may restrict their ability to drink. Only a professional avian veterinarian will be able to identify such conditions and offer guidance on how to treat your parrot.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Famous Parrot Flies The Coop. Have You Seen Truman?

Truman, the famous parrot, has gone missing in New York
Have you seen the colorful, small-to-mid-sized Cape parrot pictured to the right?

Named Truman, this beloved parrot isn't your typical fly-by-night bird who shouts out random words and phrases. No, Truman is a true star who's touched the lives of thousands, performing a wide range of tricks in front of large audiences.

Some of the places were Truman has performed include:
  • America's Got Talent

  • The David Letterman Show

  • Steve Harvey Show

  • The Parrot Club, Connecticut

  • Parrot Wizard Bird Show & Seminar, Phoenix AZ

  • BBC

  • Japanese TV

  • and many more...

Truman's owner, 27-year-old Michael Sazhin, says the famous parrot flew the coop last month when the two were out for a walk around 16th Avenue and 75 Street in Dyker Heights. This wasn't the first time the duo had gone for walks, but for some reason Truman took off towards 16th Avenue, flying into the unknown where he hasn't been seen since.

Sazhin, whom works as a professional bird trainer, has been walking the streets, asking random people if they've seen his beloved parrot. Unfortunately, there's been no reported sightings of Truman, leaving Sazhnin to question his next move.
"I’ve been walking two days straight now. I haven’t slept and I can’t really eat. I could use all the help I can get," said Sazhin of his search for Truman. "I’ve done everything I can, made up fliers, posted on Facebook and the whole parrot community has been very helpful," he added.

Truman isn't a large parrot like most famous birds you see on television shows and performances. At just 350 grams, he's actually quite small -- comparable to the weight and size of a typical pigeon. Truman is a colorful Cape parrot, featuring a bold combination of white, gray, green, orange, blue and charcoal. His most distinguishable feature is his grayish-white head that rests atop a colorful body.

Sazhnin says that if you see Truman flying or walking the streets of Brooklyn, New York, you should give him some water and bread to keep him idle until Sazhnin reaches the location (see below for contact information).

Anyone with information leading to the whereabouts of Truman are urged to contact its owner, Sazhin, at (917) 318-6394 or by email at And in case you were wondering, there's a $1,000 reward being offered to anyone who can help reunite Sazhnin with his lost parrot.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Help! My Parrot Won't Stop Scratching Itself

Seeing a parrot scratch themselves raw is frightening sight for any owner. You can only 'discourage' a parrot from scratching themselves for so long, at which point they will continue doing it when you leave the area. While some owners may brush this behavior off as normal, it may be the sign of a more serious underlying condition. So, how should you handle your parrot's excessive self-scratching?

Minor Scratching Is Perfectly Normal

All parrots -- big and small -- will scratch themselves in an effort to remove dust, dirt and debris from their feathers. Parrots are exceptionally clean creatures that enjoy grooming and preening themselves, which is where scratching comes into play: it's not uncommon for parrots to scratch their feathers and body to remove debris, so don't assume that all scratching is a bad.

Of course, there comes a point when scratching can lead to adverse health effects and complications. One of the most common complications associated with excessive scratching is the formation infection-prone open wounds. If a parrot scratches itself too much, it can break the skin and cause an open wound. Infections are nothing to play around with, especially in a small parrot. Otherwise minor infections that can be fought off by humans may prove fatal to a parrot.

Signs That Your Parrot Is Scratching Too Much:

  • Noticeable bald spots where feathers are missing.

  • Piles of plucked feathers at the bottom of their cage.

  • Parrot prefers to scratch itself rather than eat treats or play with toys.

  • Parrot's behavior/disposition has changed since it began scratching.

How To Make Your Parrot Stop Scratching

If your parrot is exhibiting one or more of the symptoms listed above, you should schedule an appointment with an avian veterinarian immediately. Allowing the problem to persist could result in serious, potentially even life-threatening health effects. Only a licensed avian veterinarian will be able to properly diagnose your parrot's condition and reveal exactly what's causing it to scratch so much.

With that said, excessive scratching is usually caused by some type of change in the parrot's diet and/or lifestyle. For instance, bringing a new pet into the home may trigger an allergic reaction in your parrot, causing it to scratch for no apparent reason. Other elements that may trigger scratching episodes include new diet, chemicals in water, air fresheners, candles and mites. Think about what changes were recently made to your parrot's surroundings and try to reverse them in possible. If the scratching stops, you know what to avoid.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How To Treat and Prevent Separation Anxiety In Parrots

Separation Anxiety is a Common Problem in Pet Parrots
Does your parrot yelp, scream or otherwise pitch a fit when you leave the room? If so, it could be suffering from a psychological condition known as separation anxiety. Parrots with separation anxiety tend to cry out in distress when their owner leaves their sight.

All parrot species -- big and small -- are susceptible to this condition. Parrots are instinctively social creatures that crave the attention and companionship of others, which is why they travel together in flocks in the wild. Parrots still possess this innate desire for companionship when they are brought into the home as pets, and leaving their side can trigger an emotional response of them trying to cal you back.

Don't Feed Into Your Parrot's Separation Anxiety

It's often heartbreaking to see a parrot yelping helplessly for its owner. Even if you know there's nothing physically wrong with the parrot, you may still feel obliged to return to their side in an attempt to calm them down. Unfortunately, going back to your parrot only feeds into their separation anxiety, making them believe their scheme of yelling makes you return.

It may be hard to handle at first, but you must learn to ignore your parrot's cries for attention. Going back to its cage to pet, talk or otherwise provide it with attention will increase its separation anxiety.

Socialization: The Secret To Treating and Preventing Separation Anxiety

Socialization is critical to the treatment and prevention of separation anxiety in pet parrots. Parrots that are left cooped up for days on end will do anything in their power to gain their owner's attention, including yelling and screaming. On the other hand, exposing your parrot to new sights, sounds and smells will satisfy their instinctual desire to explore; thus, helping to prevent separation anxiety.

Here are some easy ways to socialize a pet parrot:

  • Take your parrot out of its cage for a couple hours a day.

  • Purchase a bird harness so you can take your outside.

  • Introduce your parrot to new people.

  • Pull open the curtains so your parrot can look out the window while you're gone.

  • Take your parrot to the veterinarian for routine checkups and grooming.

  • Bring your parrot on car rides.

When you're forced to leave your parrot's side, try turning on the radio or television. It's certainly no substitute for your company, but it may help preoccupy their time with some mental stimulation.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

5 Tips To Protect Your Pet Parrot From Disease

Parrots are susceptible to a wide range of infectious diseases, including Psittacosis, Avian Polyomavirus, Salmonella, Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD), and Mycobacterium Avian Complex (MAC). Some of these diseases may cause nothing more than minor, temporary symptoms that go away without any special medical treatment or care; however, others are more severe and may result in life-threatening complications. This is why it's important for owners to take the necessary precautionary measures to protect their parrots from infectious diseases such as this.

Keep Your Parrot's Cage Clean!

This is probably common sense to most people, but it's still worth noting that allowing your parrot to live in a dirty cage increases the likelihood of them catching an infectious disease. Try to get into the habit of cleaning your parrot's cage once a day, dumping the tray and scrubbing it down with a safe, all-natural cleaning solution.

Feed Your Parrot a Balanced Diet

Another important step to help protect your parrot from infectious disease is to feed them a well-balanced diet. It's a common assumption that seed mix offers all of the vitamins and nutrients parrots need, but this usually isn't the case. Seeds often lack vital nutrients that impact the immune system, so try to incorporate some pellets and fresh foods into your parrot's diet as well.

Veterinarian Checkups

Whether you're parrot has shown symptom of an infectious disease or not, it's always a good idea to have them checked by the veterinarian once in a while. A professional veterinarian will inspect your parrot for signs of illness, deficiency, and overall health. And catching any health-related problems early will drastically increase the chance of a positive outcome. Just remember to choose a veterinarian who's experienced in dealing with parrots and birds (not all vets have this experience).

Limit Exposure To Other Birds

Arguably, the single most important step in protecting a pet parrot from infectious diseases is to keep them away from other birds. More specifically, owners should never exposure their parrot to another bird that hasn't been tested for Psittacosis in the last 45 days. Pigeons and wild birds are the most common carriers of this disease, but pet parrots like African Grays and Parakeets have also been known to carry it.

Keep Your Parrot Happy

You might be surprised to learn that a parrot's emotional health is directly linked to their physical health. Neglecting the emotional needs of your parrot may increase their risk of catching an infectious disease, so make it a point to show them love and attention on a daily basis.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Homemade Cleaning Solutions For a Parrot Cage

One of the responsibilities that comes with owning a pet parrot is cleaning out their cage on a regular basis. Parrots love to make a mess inside their cage, knocking off their loose feathers, tossing their food around, and tearing up any newspaper or wood shavings. It's the owner's responsibility to keep their parrot's cage clean by removing all of this debris as well as sanitizing it with a proper cleaning product.

But you must use extra caution when choosing a cleaning product to use in your parrot's cage. Traditional kitchen and bathroom spray cleaners are typically produced with bleach and other harsh ingredients that could prove toxic to a small parrot. It's best to avoid these products and stick with something more gentle and safer for your feathered friend.

Lemon Juice and Baking Soda

Mixing lemon juice, baking soda and water together creates a highly effective, all-natural cleaning solution that's perfect for parrot cages. Don't worry too much about the exact ratio of the ingredients, but instead make water the base of your cleaning solution while adding in a small amount of real lemon juice and baking soda. Mix the ingredients up thoroughly and pour the solution inside an empty spray bottle.

The lemon juice and baking soda concoction will sanitize your parrot's cage without leaving behind traces of harmful chemicals. Using to much lemon juice may cause some irritation if your parrot happens to get it in their eyes or on their skin, but it's a safe, non-toxic ingredient nonetheless.

Diluted White Vinegar

Another DIY homemade cleaning solution for your parrot's cage is diluted white vinegar. You can purchase a bottle of filtered white vinegar from most grocery stores for about $2-$3 bucks, making this a cheap and easy cleaning product. Simply dilute it with 1 part vinegar and 2 parts warm water into a spray bottle and generously spray it inside your parrot's cage.

Vinegar is a safe disinfectant that's perfect to use inside a parrot's cage. It instantly kills germs upon contact while leaving your parrot's cage smelling nice and fresh (the vinegar odor dissipates after a while).

These are just two quick and easy homemade cleaning solutions for parrot cages. Regardless of which product you choose, make sure it contains safe, all-natural ingredients that are gentle enough for use around parrots. Parrots, or all birds for that matter, are sensitive to fumes and harsh chemicals, and cleaning their cage with certain products could lead to illness.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Critically Endangered Kakapo Parrot Egg Survives Damage

Kakapo Parrot
An egg of the critically endangered kakapo parrot survived extensive damage thanks to the efforts of New Zealand conservation officials.

About The Kakapo Egg Discovery

Department of Conservation (DOC) officials discovered the crushed kakapo egg on Whenua Hou/ Codfish Island, near the southern tip of the country. Unfortunately, the egg was partially crushed, which was likely the result of it falling. Being that the kakapo is critically endangered, however, DOC officials attempted to repair the egg using glue and tape.

It should go without saying that this was their first attempt to repair a crushed egg using tape and glue. DOC officials believed there was a slim-to-none chance of the egg surviving, but against all odds, it survived and hatched to reveal a healthy kakapo chick.
"We only have five viable eggs on Whenua Hou and this one was the first laid. It was touch and go for a few days, but with the special care and expertise of our team, the dedication has paid off," said Deidre Vercoe Scott, manager for the DOC kakapo recovery program.

DOC officials named the new kakapo chick "Lisa One" and immediately placed it inside an incubator upon hatching. Lisa One is now receiving around-the-clock care, including regular feedings, weighings and physical examinations. Although Lisa One suggests the newly born chick is female, officials stated that they won't know the gender for at least another 2-3 weeks.

The kakapo is currently placed on the critically endangered list. As of March 2014, there are only 130 known to exist, making it one of the rarest parrots in the world. New Zealand DOC officials have an additional four kakapo eggs under their care, all of which are currently in incubators. The four kakapo eggs are expected to hatch in the upcoming weeks.

Kakapo Facts

You might be surprised to learn that kakapo is the only flightless parrot species in the world. Rather than flying, they hop to move around. Unfortunately, their lack of flight makes them vulnerable to predators like cats and stoats. Without the ability to fly, kakapos are unable to escape the grasps of New Zealand's predators.

The kakapo is also the only parrot species with a lek breeding system. Lek breeding systems are characterized by males gathering to engage in a competitive display in hopes of winning courting rights of nearby females.

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