Shut Up I’m on the Phone

Mustache parakeet screaming
I’m on the phone chatting with the customer and I hear the familiar noise of squawk in the background. No sooner does bird quiet down, do I hear the woman who I was speaking to on the phone, cover the mouthpiece and YELL “hey you hold it down” clearly referring to the noisy bird the background. This is a sign of a new bird owner so I asked her “have you had the bird long”? “About a month” came the expected reply.
“I don’t know if you realize that yelling at your bird to be quiet only encourages your bird to be noisier? The problem is birds are flock animals and when you start “yelling” at your bird, your bird is thinking “hey this is great I finally have somebody to talk to”
Birds, especially large cockatoos need scream time during the day that is part of their makeup If you can’t deal with screaming you shouldn’t have a big bird. But a bird that screams all day long can be a bit annoying to you and your neighbors. Books have been written on the subject. 
That said a quick way to help silence screaming bird using positive reinforcement here’s a quick little trick. Next time you hear your bird screaming, leave the room so your bird is out of sight. In one hand have a wooden spoon and a favored treat. In the other hand have a pot or saucepan. 
While the bird is screaming and while you’re out of sight, bang the pot Wham wham wham wham. Your bird will stop screaming for a moment because he’s attracted to the new noise.
In that brief moment of silence you want to walk into the room with the bird praising the bird for the good behavior – silence – while offering them a favored treat – a sunflower a sprig millet all the while complementing the bird in a high sweet voice telling them how good they are for being silent.
Try it sometime let us know what works for you.
Mitch Rezman
General Manager
Windy City Parrot


Seeking African Grey Re-Homing Assistance.

I am looking for someone special to inherit my African Grey when my time is up . I worry about her being mistreated so I have to set up this for her . 

She is very intelligent and says so many words and sentences too. 

If you can take her or know of anyone who can please put my in contact with them I need to tell them things about her so nothing would change for her, food and such and likes and dislikes 

This is my first choice if not possible ,please recommend others in that case.

Thank you so very much

Patricia Esington

Dear Pat 

I am sorry you need to be thinking about this issue that really so many really do need to plan for. But it is important.

So often a family will come into our store and one or two at most of of the group acts of interest to the bird of the families’ needs and often the rest wander around, showing obvious boredom. As I help them I will make a point of telling the child or teenager, etc that is sulking at being there, that they really need to get involved with this feathered family member as at some point, it may belong to them. Their eyes widen but they have a look that seems to be more thoughtful at this revelation. 

Now is your current planning due to aging, ill health or financial? Or are you thinking in 20 years you may not be able to care for it? 

I mean if you are ill and want a home fairly soon (within a few months or a year), or are aging and want someone to take the bird once you are passed? These are similar situations, as if you live alone and you are ill or aged, if you suddenly passed, the bird could also pass before you are found. 

If you are indeed ill or just cannot take care of the bird anymore, or have other issues that have caused you to look into new homing for your bird then it is best not to wait until the last minute. 

I see you are in Louisiana. If so, I personally cannot help you but I can get in touch with those who can. No one will rush you to take your bird away. There are a LOT of birds needing good forever homes currently all over the US and I am familiar with many who have dedicated much of their lives to do find just the right homes,

Please, if so, send me your phone number. I have your email. If you are not in LA, then please give me the city and state, I will work on getting the right people in touch with you so you can talk to them and make the best plans you can. 

Thank you

Catherine Tobsing
Windy City Parrot Birdie Boutique

Hagen bird food for parrotlets?

80630 Hagen Tropimix Premium Lovebird/Cockatiel Bird Food 2 LB
Would the Hagen food you talked about in your recent newsletter be good for parrotlets too?

Hagen makes food for birds from Finch size up to Macaws. The Hagen Tropimix variety comes in small to large sizes.
For Parrotlets I would recommend one of two varieties depending on how large of bits your birds enjoy. Parrotlets are small birds but do have large beaks and can eat food large enough for Cockatiels and Lovebirds, but some prefer small bits like for Budgies.
For the larger bits the 80630 Hagen Tropimix Premium Lovebird/Cockatiel Bird Food 2 LB
Item# 31501501091
For the smaller bits the 80600 Hagen Tropimix Premium Egg Food Canary/Finch/Budgie Bird Food 1.7 LB item# 31501501086
This second item is out of stock but should be back in mid week.
You can add yourself to the waiting list and as soon as it is back, you would receive an email notification so you can order it.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Thank you

Bird Food-Seed diet

Hi I have african greys that are on Abba seed diet, but-what can you recommend as far as a GOOD seed mix as I add Zupreem pellets? Thanks, I’d like a mix with the best nutrition available:0

Dear Patti
We offer many varieties of good bird food. The best one is the one your birds will eat (and that have a good variety of good quality ingredients).
You mention your birds are eating Abba just fine. We do not carry it as it is not readily available in our area and we have numerous equally good foods.
Many bird foods are blends now that contain both seeds, fruits, veggies and pellets. Since you are already happy with using Zupreem pellets I am recommending a food line with a few mixes without pellets in them.
These three blends are excellent and fly out of our store daily.
Madagascar Delite
Caribbean Bounty
Schmitt’s Original Fruit N’ Nut – 25 oz
The majority of other blends and manufacturers all seem to be adding pellets in various forms to create a balanced diet without having to add additional pellets or vitamins (note, if your bird is on an all pellet diet, do not add additional vitamins as pellets are fully vitaminized enough)
So other mixes that we offer and recommend are as follows.
Volkman Avian Science Super Parrot Food 4 lb Item# 31502331039
Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Bird Food – Parrot 3 lb Item# 31502151131
80441 Hagen Living World Premium Large Parrot Bird Food 3.7 LB Item# 31501501031
We have so many varieties of quality foods it is not possible to list them all here.
Please go to our food section and take a look. If you have any questions, please let me know.
Some items may be out of stock due to our wide variety of offerings but are usually back in within a few days, you can add yourself to the wait list in a listing and when it is back in stock you will get an email notification and you can place your order.
Thank you

Hi thanks for reply! Now what Volkman would you recommend-right size for Greys?? I can then mix the pellets in with that… Thanks!

Dear Patti
The Volkman Parrot has Sunflower Seeds, The Volkman Hookbill has Safflower Seeds instead.
They both have a small amount of a pellet in them, but not heavy. You may in time decide to switch away from Zupreem added in.
Thank you

Is Citris Bad for a Bird’s Diet?

I have attached some charts for you to look at. You might want to study acid, alkaline, and the combination of neutral acid alkaline foods better as you make recommendations for feeding birds. If a human (and this should apply to birds) eats a mixture of foods that are acid and alkaline, and if more alkaline foods are introduced into the mixture than acid, the combination of the foods eaten tend toward neutral and this is healthy for the body. It may surprise you to know that berries are acid so are apples and pears. However, good nutrition is based upon a combination of a great variety of foods….both acid and alkaline foods are important to eat as they all are loaded with antioxidants and other properties which enhance immunity and cellular health on all levels.
There are citrus fruits that when eaten become alkaline such as tomatoes and grapefruit. Lemons and limes are alkaline. Common in bird foods is millet which is an acidic seed, yet sunflower is an alkaline seed. Sprouts, most beans, flax (, I feed flax to my small birds), sesame and pumpkin seeds are alkaline. Most all nuts are acid except for almonds and they are alkaline. I admit there is a little inconsistency in these charts, but I hope these will serve to still give you a more rounded perspective.
Logically like humans, birds should never eat meat, cheese, or dairy products. These are not only highly acetic but they clog the arteries. They have very negative effects from not only a high fat content but these are laden with hormones and pesticides which is not healthy for humans and far less health for birds.
I enjoy you weekly newsletter… Thank you for it!
Sherrie A

Hi Sherry 
Thank you for the excellent and thoughtful response to this week’s newsletter
Let me start with your statement “If a human (and this should apply to birds) eats a mixture of…………………” 
A reference to your chart: Acid Alkaline Food Chart with 12 Perfect Foods were at the bottom it states:
Try and limit the amount of some somewhat acidic fruits like cranberries, prunes, and blackberries. An important tip is to always eat fruit alone. It breaks down and digests quickly so when eaten in combination with foods that do not it can begin to ferment while it sits in the stomach.
Aside from the fact that it’s a time-tested truism known by avian veterinarians – overly feeding citrus fruits (including oranges) to your birds can lead to “Iron Overload Disease.” There are three distinct differences between bird and human digestive systems. This can actually all be tied back to a birds ability to fly, allow me to explain.
First the differences, birds have no teeth so they are unable to masticate food. When you and I chew food we coat the food with saliva and digestions begins in our mouth. Birds have no saliva. Birds also have a crop & a gizzard which humans do not. Where this comes into play is say a bird in the wild spots some nummy seed growing at the top of grass in an open area. Not wanting to become a Hawks next meal the bird will scoop up the seeds as rapidly as possible extending its neck to swallow and the seeds are then stored in the crop while the bird flies to a safe place. Thus citrus in a bird system does not break down immediately it just goes in the holding until it passes to the gizzard were slowly ground up mechanically unlike a human were we use all sorts of nasty acids and Juices to break down the food in our stomachs.
Birds overall metabolism are like Masarati sports car compared to humans which are much more like Ford trucks. A bird’s standing heart rate is somewhere around 200 bpm. When it jumps off a branch to fly it ramps up to 4 or 500 beats a minute (hummingbirds have a 1200 bpm heart rate in flight) in general a birds digestive system typically already has a low pH thus introducing citrus throws off the balance because it’s not being digested quickly and is just acid within their digestive system without possibly being broken down for hours. Eclectus parrots have an extraordinary long digestive system. So long in fact that we advise not to give them any additional vitamins because they can get vitamin toxicity as the vitamins sit in their in their intestines too long.
I hope that helps clairify
Mitch Rezman
General Manager
Windy City Parrot, Inc.

Rose Breasted Cockatoos (Galah’s) Seed Eating Issues


My rosies (Bourke Parakeets) wont eat fruits or pellets….they are on .basically a seeded diet. I am told that nuts (peanuts, sunflower seeds?, almonds etc.) are bad for this species due to fatty liver disease. Any info and help on their diet would be greatly appreciated.

Regarding your question on your birds diet. 

In the wild this issue does not come up because they scavenge for food wherever they can locate it and fly many miles exercising which helps to prevent sedentary illnesses like Fatty Liver disease. 

Pelleted foods help in keeping a caged birds diet consistent. A variety of foods are best, not just pellets and we have written and collected a number of articles on this topic. Also, vegetables are more important to a birds diet than too many fruits, so try to entice your birds with corn, peas and cooked beans more so than fruit and especially serve very little citrus as this has recently been proven to cause other nutritional problems as it changes the normal intestinal flora negatively. 

Here are a few I have selected. I have also included the links to the pages that contain these articles and many others that may be helpful to you and your birds. This is the link to our Blog posts on many topics such as feeding, housing, toys, etc. This link takes you to the page that has many articles we have collected and written that also may help.

Please take a look at them and I am sure they will be helpful.

Thank you

Catherine Tobsing

Windy City Parrot Birdie Boutique
906 N. Western Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60622
312.492.9673 ext 102
312.492.9674 Fax

My birds only like seed, what can I do?

I have two birds: a peach-faced loved bird (Maisie) and a parrotlet (Nell). We’ve gone along with bird food purchased from the local Pet Supplies Plus (the cockatiel mixture) and Krazy Korn Rainforest Pudding. I’ve tried to vary the offerings with things from the grocery market’s salad bar and chopped fruits and vegetables that are in season.
I’ll cut to the chase: Neither one wants anything to do with anything other than the birdseed. For at least 3+ years they were flexible but now I am very worried that they are not getting the right nutrition and buying different kinds of food winds up to be a serious financial waste.
How can I get them (back) on a nutritionally balanced diet?
Hi Suzanne
There’s a couple of ways to approach this. Generally birds on an all seed diet will not get all of the vitamins and minerals they need. Items that you need to look at to be included in your birds diet would be Silver beets, Red and green bell peppers, Broccoli, Dandelion flowers, Corn on the cob or corn, kernels, Chick weed, Banana, Apple Celery, mung beans, snow peas.
We are also advising people not to introduce any citrus to the birds. Things like oranges and tomatoes. Vegetables with a high pH, which means there are acidic. Fruits that are highly acidic will lower a birds pH in their digestive system posing issues with the assimilation of food through the intestines.
That said you have couple of choices. Continue with the seed blend that you have been buying although I would ask for a complete ingredient panel and a written guarantee from the store that the bins they are dispensing from are sanitized. When these bulk food dispensers are not washed and sanitized a regular basis, there’s a strong likelihood that mold can grow at the bottom or along the edges of the interior of the dispenser.
You can simply introduce an all-purpose supplement to your birds diet like Hagen Prime. By adding Prime you’re ensuring that your birds get all the essential nutrients and minerals necessary for healthy life. Prime is best added to food by placing the wet leafy green vegetable or a piece of fruit not in the water as it will get tossed out regular basis.
Your other option is to put you birds on a more robust blend of bird food like Hagen Tropimix Cockatiel and Lovebird food. Tropimix is unique in that it is a robust blend yummy things like cooked cracked green split peas, brown rice, cooked soybean grits, dehydrated papaya in addition to the seed. The seed is also unique in this blend in that all the hulls have been removed from the seeds making it a much cleaner food to serve your bird and the analysis of the food that you read on the bag is much more accurate because the hulls of the seeds are not taken into consideration when calculating these measurements.
Hope this helps let me know if I can answer any other questions
Mitch Rezman
Windy City Parrot


Rehome Turquoise Green Cheek Conure Chicago Area

Turquois Green Cheek Conure Parrot


I saw your site and was hoping you might be able to assist me. I have a Turquoise Green Cheek Conure (Camilla). Approximately 1 year old. She is actually a great bird with no issues, other than wanting a lot of attention. I live in a condo where we are only allowed to have 2 pets.

Due to an increase in work hours I have been wanting to get a “pal” for our 6 year old dog who seems to be very lonely during the day. In order for me to do that, I must make choice since I can only have 2 pets.

I have made the difficult decision to rehome Camilla in order to get a playmate for our dog. I have tried selling her on Oodle and Ebay classifieds, with no luck.

She really is a nice bird and has been doing well. She will try to nip a new person, but she quickly adapts and becomes comfortable with new people.

I am trying to find options or contacts for a way to rehome her. I feel horrible to not be able to keep her and the choice was difficult, but I do feel this is the best decision for us. If there are any suggestions you may have, I would be most grateful.

Thanks in advance for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

Ron Torrance

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