Should this Eagle Fly Free?

A Bald Eagle approaches the water with talons open to catch fish
Since beginning to work with raptors we’ve been posting images of all birds of prey. The image above evoked some interesting responses on our Facebook fan page  today. I thought I’d share the thread on our blog.
Johanna Nydén, Amy K Hays, Noelle Sellars and 83 others like this.
Freedom Lives These birds shouldn’t have “handlers” for crissakes. This bird looks sick! It should be FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! humans are so assuming, its disgusting.
4 hours ago · Like
James Warner Do you have any idea the regulations regarding Bald Eagles in captivity?
It has to a non-releasable bird, meaning it would die without human intervention. Hence why the bird looks sick.
Because it probably is. The human handling this bird isn’t assuming ownership, it’s assuming responsibility for something that was more than likely caused by another human.
I agree, it should be free, but when it’s not possible, would you expect the person to not help, as the bird shouldn’t have a handler, and should be free? Really?
4 hours ago · Like · 1

Joe Krathwohl People that want everything to be “free” are hypocrites. Where is the outcry against windfarms for all the bald eagles and countless other birds they kill?

Where is the outcry for over-fishing which takes food from bald eagles?
Where is the outcry against the USFWS who prefers that eagles be killed rather than kept by falconers who cherish these birds as gods?
In this day and age, captivity is 100% safer than the wild. Responsible captivity is the only ark, and in the case of eagles only advanced experienced trainers are allowed to have permits for them.
Yet on Facebook armchair quarterback `seems to feel the right to insult them.
4 hours ago · Like · 1
Mitalwyn Walking Bear The bird could be free. Free to die probably. How about living and cared for. Does that count for anything?
4 hours ago · Like · 2 Thank you James Warner & Joe Krthwohl. We appreciate your comments Mitalwyn Walking Bear & Freedom Lives and I would like to clarify James & Joe’s positions.
We feel to take a bird like a Scarlet macaw that would normally fly 50 miles a day in the wild in search of food but we keep the bird in a 12 square-foot enclosure 20 hours a day is not the birds best interest.
That’s why we spent hours daily helping our customers better
understand how to create environments within a birds living space to help Increase a birds quality of life.
We start by evaluating the birds environment holistically (using the real meaning of the term) meaning:
 meaning: nutrition – cage environment – lighting/light cycles – out of the cage environment – whether clipped or flighted – training  – sexuality – species – foraging/enrichment opportunities – exercise – frequency of bathing – other feathered flock members – human flock members
I’ve worked with and interacted with thousands of parrots and their owners over the years and although I run across many “well behaved” birds it’s very rare to find a well “trained” parrot. Raptors are taught to know exactly what to do when the flying free at 1200 feet and ready to dive at 200 miles an hour to acquire prey.
Any raptor handler will tell you that they work with their birds seven days a week. Conversely hundreds of pet birds are lost daily and their owners are unable to get them down from a tree.
A recent study just released indicated 96% of all dogs entering rescues had no obedience training whatsoever.
There’s no statistics that I’m able to find for birds but I’m certain the same percentage holds true for our feathered companions.
If pet bird owners worked as diligently as raptor handlers, bird rescues would empty not overflowing as they are today.
Anyone with a credit card, wallet full of cash or check book can buy a bird or parrot. Falconry which I use as a blanket term to cover the handling of Falcons,
Hawks, Eagles, Owls and so forth requires a two-year apprenticeship and licensing at the state and federal 
level. Bald and Golden Eagles are protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act which requires a license from the US Sec. of the Interior.
From Wikipedia  More than 100,000 bald eagles were killed in Alaska from 1917 to 1953. Public awareness arose during this time, and many groups and individuals dedicated to make the conservation of eagles a national issue 
In the 1960s, the declination of these birds from New York increased due to the distribution of pesticides and habitat destruction. In 1976, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) formed a restoration program called the “hacking technique.”
The purpose of this technique is to take eaglets (hacking) from wild nests and transfer them to a region where they are raised in artificial nests.[28] The young birds were placed on an artificial nesting platform for several weeks.
The birds lived in cages once their feathers 
became fully developed. In addition, they were fed and watched by human caretakers. Around 12 to13 weeks old, the eaglets were tested for their flying ability. In order to monitor the birds, a small radio transmitters were placed on the bird’s back.
DEC assisted with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Cornell University to release 23 successful young eagles. The young eagles learned how to hunt and feed on their own without any parental care. 
Once they were raised and matured, they were released back to where they were raised from and in hopes of becoming breeding birds. The program was a success across the nation for 13 years. In 1989, the program ended due to an observation made by state biologists.
It was observed that the population of released birds was increasing in the New York state reproducing successfully. Due to the Environmental Quality Bond act and the Environmental Protection Fund, these birds are growing at a steady rate by taking advantage of the open land and habitats
End Wikipedia
In this case Freedom, I have to agree with James When you see a picture like the bald eagle and handler above it’s important to note that you’ll see no tether (creance in falconry terms) which means that bird is free to fly wherever he chooses but he chooses to return the glove the handler because he knows he will see receive the best care possible.:-)
2 hours ago · Edited · Like
Joe Krathwohl We free fly all our birds, and for someone to insult a person who has taken the years and personal sacrifice to gain the expertise needed to create a relationship with an eagle in which the bird will choose to fly to him, is pretty low. After 36 years …See More
2 hours ago · Like · 2

Joe Krathwohl …and yes, we fly our macaws and cockatoos the same as any other bird.
2 hours ago · Like

Cage Covers for Bird Warmth?

Cozzzy 32 Inch x 21 Inch Parrot Cage Cover for Flat Top 13221 cages - 3221FT - Black
Does this cover do anything to keep birds warm? Our house is toasty during the day due to solar gain but gets very cool/cold at night. Will this cover help to keep my 5 month old Lovebird warm at night? I’m worried about the impending cold!

Dear Karen
I understand as I like a cool temperature at night to sleep myself, and also worried about my own birds comfort at night. Cage covers are fabric coverings only. They are made to fit a cage better than a sheet or a light blanket.
They help with maintaining a more regulated sleep pattern and help to give a skittish bird privacy at night that might be frightened by passers by. They help with drafts. They do not produce heat nor contain materials with insulating properties as they must be a safe fabric that can be able to be nibbled on without harming the bird if the bird so choose to.
As so may birds need to be put to bed early to avoid hormonal issues from lack of quality sleep they are very useful for that as well.
I would recommend a thermo perch in a size small so your bird will have a heat source when it wants it. They are marvelous and my own parrot had 3 in various cages and he truly enjoyed them.
You can find them at this listing.
African Grey Parrot on Heated Bird Perch
I hope this helps.
Thank you

Bird food pellet conversion made easy

amazon macaw baby and amazon parrot feeding
We get a lot of people who call and e-mail asking how to convert their birds to a pellet diet. The advantage of a pellet bird food diet is that pellets are considered engineered foods. In other words the bird food manufacturers decide what components are necessary for a nutritious diet and then they blend the ingredients by grinding them up and extruding them so that each individual pellet contains a precisely controlled diet. 
You cannot control what seeds a bird eats and sometimes getting them to eat fresh fruits and vegetables can be a daunting task. Each pellet bird food manufacture will provide you with their prescribed method of pellet conversion. Some methods are simple and some are more elaborate. We thought we’d share this quick and easy method. 

Repair of Stainless Steel Screw On Dish for Parrot Play Stands



Stainless stell feeding cup for bird playstand Parrot Play Stand parrot play stand threaded post Parrot play stand U componenet
cup full view post U-membe


Hi there (and Happy Thanksgiving!)— 

I hope you can help me out.  I’ve got a perch (see “full view.jpg).  The fittings on the bottom of the cups and the posts onto which they are supposed to screw, are rusted (see “cup.jpg” and “post.jpg”).  The cups just slide loosely onto the posts.  The posts seem to be about ¼” ID and the female receptacle on the cups also seem to be ¼”.  

Is this likely a standard size, so that you can sell me new cups, or perhaps a new top unit (see “U-member.jpg”)?  (For what it’s worth, the dish of the unit is 19 ½” in diameter.)  Or do I have to bite the bullet and buy a whole new perch?  (Unfortunately, I can’t drop by your store too easily, as I live in La Crosse, WI, but it might be possible for my son, who lives in Evanston, to visit you guys.) 



 Hi Ken 

It’s hard to tell from the images if it’s the bar threads or the cup threads that are compromised. Here’s what I suggest 

Purchase 2 new cups found here: 

When you receive the new cups, dap a couple of drops of vegetable (cooking) oil on to posts to offset the rust. If the threads integrate, you’re good-to-go. 

If you still have some “slippage” you may be able to postpone purchasing a whole new unit by wrapping the post threads with a thin layer of tape ie black electrical tape. 

If that doesn’t work, you will have to replace the “U” component. 

Let me know if we can be of further assistance. 

Mitch Rezman
General Manager
Windy City Parrot, Inc.
906 N Western Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60622


Stainless Steel Screw On Dish for Parrot Play Stands - 10 oz

Keeping birds safe in power outages

Are there any products that would help keep a bird warm in an extended power outage, like the one we recently experienced here on the east coast? Is there such a thing as a battery-operated heat lamp, or some similar product?

Dear Pat

One solution that can help for a shorter period is a milk jug filled with hot water, then placed under a blanket that the cage is wrapped in, or if small birds put right in the cage.

We are very sorry for this terrible tragedy that has occurred on the east coast. Are there any shelters or humane societies that will allow you to bring your birds to them in travel cages until the heat is resolved?

We truly feel your pain in worry for the birds, pets, children and anyone suffering from this disaster.


Windy City Parrot, Inc.

Thanks for your response. Getting the hot water could be challenging, though–I was able to take my lovebird to a friend who had power, so she was safe this time, but I worry about the next storm, in possibly even colder weather. My house was down to 48 degrees by the time power was restored; I’m not sure she could have survived that.

I am not sure if there about shelter options–pets were allowed in some shelters; my home was habitable, if cold, and I have two dogs; I couldn’t really picture how we would all manage in a shelter. I’m just now researching possible options and ideas in case it happens again and I am not able to take her anywhere. My plan of last resort was to put her in her small cage, throw a blanket over it, and stay under it with her as much as possible in the hope that body heat would keep her alive. I’m not sure I ever want to test out that theory, though.

thanks again…


Dear Pat 

Since your bird is small, It may enjoy the comfort of being inside your clothing with you. Perhaps even in a fabric pouch on a string around your neck and be tucked at about “ahem” chest level. Like a sugar glider bag. 

At night putting the bird in a small cage or plastic shoe box with many holes for air and tucking under your blanket with you may be helpful. 

Otherwise, I am out of ideas, I went to a favorite bird forum I use and asked for advise. It did not bring much help.

Bringing tropical animals into a cold climate does have its disadvantages when we find ourselves in a situation such as this. 

I wish you the best.

Catherine Tobsing
Windy City Parrot Birdie Boutique

Seeking Bird Food for Multiple Species of Birds

Thanks for speaking with me today.

Here is a list of my birds and the emails from Hagen.

The birds are all breeding pairs: 6 English Budgies, 6 Pacific Parrotlets, 5 Bourke’s, 4 Red Rumps, 4 Eastern Rosellas, 3 Green Cheek Conure’s, 2 White Belly Ciaques, and 1 Senegal.

As I mentioned it would be easier for me to have only two diets for these birds.

What ever help you can be would be appreciated and I look forward to working with you.


In a perfect world, it would be good to keep the 80344 seed mixture separate from the 80524 in order to evaluate what the bird or birds are eating truly. It also minimizes waste especially with a large f lock of birds. BUT,depending on how your flock is caged, i.e. pairs, individual cages, or flocked together, dictates how to feed the combination.

Should you alternate days with the two diets,your smaller birds such as the rosellas etc. rea lly can’t go for more than 36 hours without food,so knowing what the individual bird consumes is paramount . If you are sure that a ll birds eat formulated diet, you can by all means a lternate the diet.

The 50/50 suggest ion is based on weekly consumption-easy to manage with 1 or 2 birds, but we do understand the challenges associated with f lock. offers free shipping on orders $49.00 & over. They also have loyalty customer discounts as well.

I hope that helps!

Please feel free to contact me directly s hould you have further concerns. Sincerely,

Melanie A llen

Avian Product Specialist Rolf C. Hagen (USA) Corp.

Toll Free: 888 BY HAGEN (888-294-2436)
Visit the HARI Blog Site! www


Here is a follow up from Melanie. I received it just after I sent my email to you.If you can digest things and put a plan together for me it would be appreciated. Our birds are in a separate building with heating, air conditioning, and humidity controlled.The smaller birds are in 22D x 22H x 36W Euro Cages and the medium size are in 22D x 22H x 30W cages.

Thanks for your help,


Hi Don!

My answers are in blue.

My birds are in pairs in separate cages. There cages are good sized.

Good-pairs are easier to monitor in terms of health and diet assessment! “Good size” is arbitrary…I might think a good size cage for your birds is a 10’ X 20’ flight whereas you might be thinking a 24” X 24” X 24” is good. Diet is also based on the calorie burn off….just a thought.

It is my understanding that the smaller pairs would get the 50/50 and my medium size pairs would only get the pelletted diet. Is this correct.

Yes-but let’s be clear and differentiate the smaller and medium and more accurately refer to them by general species.

Smaller-assuming they are the Australian grass keet type species-Rosellas, Red rumps, budgies. Add the parrotlets, despite them being South American, to this too . Their bodies cannot handle high quantities of calorie or rich proteins for that matter. In fact, we do make a special Tropican Egg Granule for them…the key ingredient is of course real egg-which offers high QUALITY of protein and not high QUANTITY of protein. 80513 for 8 lb bag.

Medium-assuming they are the SOUTH AMERICAN and suggestions on the diet break down that I had sent to customer service for you was based on this separation. The South American birds can handle a different calorie intake than those of the more delicate Australians. For those species, it’s much easier to break down; The HARI recommendation is 70% Tropican /30% Enrichment foods which includes the Tropimix as well as veggies. This way you address their basic nutritional needs without the need for supplements such as Prime.

What would be your feeding program for them?

Australian birds (and parrotlets)

Every day offer the Tropican Lifetime (1 TBSP per bird), separate dish offer the Seed mixture-1-2 TBLS per bird. Most of these birds are ground foragers, so use shallow dishes, perhaps with clean natural twigs to encourage the foraging activities. You can sprinkle Prime on fresh, but slightly moistened spray millet or leafy greens once or twice a week. If a particular pair is passing on the Tropican, and going for the seed-add an additional day of Prime dose with veggies. Fun ways to get these birds to consume Prime can be found here:

Conures-pretty much as I had suggested in previous question. We do have a lot of feeding suggestions from our HARI team on You Tube under the Rolf C. Hagen Channel. Here’s a link to one of them:

They do get vegies several times a week.

Don’t get too carried away with this. Veggies, are important, but if the veggie portion is too high compared to essential amino acid source coupled with proper calorie ratio-you will deprive them of the nutritional foundation and interrupt their bodies’ ability to utilize the minerals and vitamins derived from vegetables.

Hope that helps a bit!






Help with plucking African Grey Parrot

Self mutilating African Grey Parrot on back of chair

Thread from   African Grey Parrot Lovers group on LinkedIn

Anne Orsene

Hi everyone, Six months ago my 3 1/2 yo CAG plucked her entire chest and neck overnight. She had never touched a feather before. The only thing I have determined that may have caused it was lack of sleep. After many failed attempts with different remedies to stop it, nothing worked for months and it became progressively worse.

I don’t know if it was a coincidence but a friend suggested adding nutraberries to her diet, and that with a combination of a more quiet winter environment my COG just grew all her feathers back! She has stopped plucking but still shreds the ends of some feathers. I am fearful that the plucking will return and wanted to know if any of you have had a CAG completely recover after a massive plucking event. I am also concerned that with summer around the corner, more activity and light equaling less sleep this could happen again. Any tips would be appreciated. Thanks!

Mitch RezmanHave you looked at it from this side?…

Sue Bendheim Hi Anne, I like the article Mitch sent to you, but I need to add, along with doing all of the things in his reference, you primarily need to take her to an avian vet to rule out foreign body ingestion which can indicate metal and other toxicities, along with many other medical conditions that result in feather destructive behaviors. Diet is another concern. NO dairy, (parrots manufacture NO lactase to digest dairy,) no pesticides, no processed foods, bleached flours, simple carbs, avocado, nightshades, (mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, eggplant,) no spinach, citrus, chocolate, alcohol, please check out the toxic plant and food lists for parrots… Then the obvious non stick cookware, scented candles, Fabreeze, Lysol, room fresheners, plug ins, scented oil wick diffusers, and on and on and on. I know I have missed something, but this is a pretty comprehensive start. Please keep us posted.
Sue Bendheim

Nancy VeselyHave you introduced forging into her life? I have an eight year old Gray and January is our worst month for feather issues. But I have started setting up different forging items in her cage to keep her busy. Paper cups shoved in the bars and left in some spots around her cage.

I am thinking of decreasing the amount of pellets in her cup and make her look for them in her cage. This will keep her busy and a busy beak can’t pull feathers.

Also fresh air – I’m not sure where you are but I live in Indiana and try to put her in a travel cage and get her outside when the weather allows. This has helped alot this year.

Anne OrseneThank you Sue and Nancy, I have taken her to an avian vet who ruled out a medical condition. Unfortunately she also put a collar on Nikko that was traumatic and I believe initially made matters worse. I removed the collar after a few days and needless to say have not returned to that vet and won’t again. I have learned a lot on my own since the initial traumatic experience. Her diet is good with the exception of occasional processed foods. I was confused about citrus. Nikko loves mandarin oranges, is she not supposed to have these?? I was familiar with the other restrictions.

Nancy, I use seeds in newspaper in cups almost exactly how you described! I am always trying to come up with new foraging ideas if you have anymore. We live in Buffalo. In the summer she gets a lot of fresh air. Much less in the winter. However, her plucking occurred in the late summer and has reduced in the winter so I don’t think it was a lack of fresh air. Someone mentioned that she could have been getting too much sunlight in the summer. Seemed strange to me.

Anne OrseneHi everyone, Thanks for all your comments. I posted about my grey Nikko’s plucking last year. I tried a lot of your suggestions and Nikko grew all of her feathers back this past winter : ) I also used the rescue remedy (Bach rescue I believe) but I did not notice any change in her plucking behavior with it. What really seemed to work for Nikko was when I started introducing Nutra-berries to her diet. It might have been a coincidence but that is when the plucking started to slow down. By spring she had a full coat of beautiful feathers. Unfortunately, I learned how little it takes to stress a grey out. I take her out and about a lot and started the same this summer. One day I took her to a family gathering and I guess it was too much for her and she pulled a small patch of feathers from the center of her chest. It was not a major plucking like the first time, and she did not enlarge the area, but she keeps pulling any feathers that try to grow back in that area. She is also shredding some of her feathers. Interestingly enough she no longer will take any Nutra-berries. Just stopped all together. I tried every flavor and she will have nothing to do with them. Her diet otherwise is pretty good. I think that part of her recovery last year was due to the fact that we live in a cold weather climate and the long nights, more sleep and more down time were good for her. Hopefully she will recover fully again this winter. I find it very nerve racking when the pet that you love and try to do everything for is under stress. Grey’s definitively are a difficult pet but worth it : ) I wish you the best of luck with your birds plucking.

Does your bird Mango?

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Catherine tells me one of the things that turns her on about me is that I am I doing housework. A war that I am always fighting at home and in the shop is the war on dust. I have an arsenal of feather duster’s but it’s always a challenge to get the dust off the feathers. Much like my feather duster’s your birds 10,000 or so feathers are picking up everything from lipstick (from kisses), newsprint ink, and oils and God knows what else?
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find all US made mango Pet products hereMore about Mango bird products
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