The bird cage privacy canopy

african grey parrot in cage with many toys
Spaulding courtesy of Michelle Karras & the Polite Parrot
We talk about the 60/40 rule a lot. In the wild birds spend 60% of their time looking for food and 40% of their time trying not to be food. Because they are birds the most threatening predators are other (predatory) birds like hawks, eagles and raptors in general.
Much like if we were to bring a prehistoric person into the 21st century there are certain concepts your bird may not grasp quickly. One concept your bird doesn’t understand is “glass”. Putting your bird by a large picture window is fine but you have to be aware that if there are Hawks or other birds of prey in your area that can be seen from the window by your bird it can be deathly frightening, because they don’t understand they are protected by the glass.

What causes small moths in a home with caged birds?

Flour moth & larvae
Great question Ron,
So here’s the deal, bird seed is a natural product harvested from the ground outside. All bird seed contains bug eggs. They could be weevils, grain moths and so forth. These eggs are present in all bird seed. If the bird food is not stored in a cool environment or it is not used in a timely fashion the eggs become larva and the larva become in your case, moths.
What causes small moths in the house with birds?
If you keep your seed in a dry storage area it’s best to keep the food in a clear Tupperware type container so you can see any activity before you open the container daily. Also it’s best to not buy more food that you can use in two to three months because that’s when insect infestation can become a problem. In the meantime if it sounds like you are a candidate for our moth traps which are very effective and you can find them here.
Please remember we offer $49 free shipping and $5.99 flat rate shipping for orders under $49.
Thank you for contacting Windy City Parrot
Caveat: a while back we were closing up the shop. Catherine had been moving around inventory for its best presentation. She somehow had gotten a hold of a compromised box of moth traps.
Her fingers rubbed up against the bait in one of the traps and we then left. We know this because shortly thereafter we had stopped for a bite to eat and no sooner did we get seated (the establishment will remain nameless) when a Disney-esque flock (What do you call a bunch of moths?) of moths started fluttering around her. 
She looked about and said “now we know why these things (moth traps) really work” as she stood up saying “I’ll wash my hands first” while a gaggle (?) Of moths happily followed her apparently all hoping to get lucky.
No Escape Pantry Moth Traps with Moth Pheromone

2 Pack No Escape Bird Seed Pantry Moth Traps with Moth Pheromones

What causes small moths in the house with birds?

Cartoon picture of moth driving car showing police officer picture of the moth as a larva saying the pictures old


The Predictabilty of Fortune Cookies & Your Bird

Free Bird Toy - Fortune Cookie
I have been following your site on Facebook and receiving your emails for a few weeks now, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to opt out now. I was disturbed by your blog a few weeks back advising owners to clip parrots’ wings, but I understand that is a controversial subject.
But today I saw you post a link to the cheap/free bird toys section. I cannot believe that you would consciously recommend that people give their parrots whole fortune cookies. Even for a big macaw, that is WAY too much sugar for a parrot to have in one sitting! Its like giving a toddler an entire cake and telling him to have at it!
I volunteer for and am the former vice president of a parrot rescue in Southern California, and I’ve seen first hand the horrible things that poor diet and too many sweet treats does to a bird’s health and mental well being. You, who portray yourselves as experts in the field of avian enrichment should be setting an example, NOT encouraging people to give their parrots junk food.

Hi Carina
We appreciate your thoughtful comment. The likely hood that any bird would actually consume an entire fortune cookie at one sitting is slim to none as as they crunch it 90% falles to the floor. We had a Ringneck who never had less than 2 fortune cookies in or on his cage and he lived 30 years.
I personally delivered a 3 pound bag of fortune cookies to a rescue who’s staff (board certified avian) vet happen to be there and she thought it was a great idea. 
The internet is laden with bad information about birds and sugar. Many knock Zupreem because of it’s sugar content. After talking to one of the developers of one of the biggest brands of bird food on the planet I’ve come to learn birds get more sugar from fruit in the wild than they ever would from eating pounds of Zupreem let alone a fortune cookie or 2 and yet they are able to live for decades – then again they don’t have clipped wings. Your fear is over stated but we respect your opinion and we’re sorry to see you go. 
Thank you for contacting Windy City Parrot. 
Mitch Rezman

How Well Does Your Bird Smell?

According to author Frank Gill in his book, “Ornithology,” “The avian sense of smell has been traditionally underestimated. Most birds do have small smell centers (olfactory bulbs) in their brain; the bulb tends to be small, but is well developed in some birds, especially those that fly and hunt by night.

“Recent research found that some birds with relatively small olfactory bulbs can smell well enough to detect certain odors.”

It was originally thought the birds such as Leach’s Storm-Petrels (Kent Island, New Brunswick) have large nerve cell centers which help them rely on their sense of smell. it’s now generally thought by scientists that most birds use their sense of smell while performing their everyday chores. Certain species actually adapted the sense of smell to facilitate activities such as mating.

The two little nostrils on the top of the birds beak are called “nares” Your bird uses the nares to breath through. These nostrils help guide the air into three nasal cavities which act as an important filtration system cleaning the air before it hits their delicate lungs.

An essay in “The Birder’s Handbook” explains that “while most birds would have little use for smell. … the apparatus for detecting odors is present in the nasal passages of all birds.

We can also deduce that if birds can die from noxious fumes like burnt Teflon, the smells don’t act as a warning to the bird like if you or I were to smell burning rubber we would flee. Your birds don’t react to these noxious fumes so the olfactory glands only provide part of the story to the brain.

Not surprising, if you think about it. Birds live in trees, up high where odors get dispersed so the general consensus for parrots at least is that they can smell but it’s not a sense they rely on for daily activities. We hear customers saying that their bird knows where the food in their home is even though they can’t see it, the bird must’ve smelled it which we know is not surprising but even the strong odor of dreadfully rotting fruit would unlikely be smelled by parrots at foraging altitudes.

Speaking of bird altitudes, birds have to be one the most adaptable creatures on the face of the earth. Did you know the Ruppells Griffon Vulture (about 22 pounds with 7 foot wing spans) had their altitude recorded by airlines pilots as high as 36,000 feet? That’s almost 7 miles above the earth. They’re able to do this because they’ve developed a certain type of hemoglobin which improves how their body assimilates oxygen.

Head-on picture of a Ruppell's Griffon vulture in flight
Although their sense of smell is highly developed you can bet that their extraordinary eyesight is what keeps them from being hungry for very long. Vultures are like the janitors of wildlife. They keep dead animal carcasses from littering the landscape.

Mitch Rezman CMO
Windy City Parrot, Inc
Simply Everything for Exotic Birds – Since 1993


Flight Suit for Cape Parrot

Cape Parrot

I have looked at your sizing chart and you have a very comprehensive list–with the exception of my bird–the Cape or brown-necked parrot. I have measured her at the girth which is approx 8″ and the nape to tail at 5″. I’ve tried using a model that I no longer see listed as these were for a CAG I had but they are listed at size 8 and are too large for my cape. So she is smaller bodied than a CAG, but definitely larger than say a Conure or Hahns Macaw I’ve also owned, so can confidently say this.

The body type is stockier like an African Grey, but smaller I think so perhaps a wide or wide plus would fit her. I hope the measurements clear that up — and then you can add the Capes to the list too! I have used these for years and love them–can’t say the birds do, but I find the younger they are, the better. It’s the rescues that are the least likely to accept them. 


Based on the measurements provided, the size Wide will probably work the best. 

 Mitch Rezman


Help for a Yellow Head Parot

Good Day! I have a beautiful Yellow Head Parot that has been with me since birth. we grew up together! My mom bought him,(Chico) When i was born, and according to my mother, he had just been born. I am now 56 years young, LOL!! 
He is very healthy and happy. He is my little companion and i have just decided to remodel his cage and give him some more love, do something different. You tell me. Why pellets over a traditional nourishing parrot mix? Is calcium really important, what about a vitamin supplement. I have been told that i should give Chico hay?? and anything else you can think of. Just dumped dr. fosters, terrible customer service. found you guys as i was searching the web for a new source. Thanks for your ears and your time. Many blessings to you and your loved ones!!

Your bird is getting up in years but God willing still may have another 10 or 20 or 30 years. You say that you “just decided” to remodel his cage and give him more love – to do something different. We recommend that you remodel your birds cage every 2 to 4 weeks thereby always giving him something to think about.
Some basic guidelines would be to have 10 or more toys in the upper third of the cage acting as a perimeter fence if you will. The toys are meant not only act as foraging opportunities and engagement items but to provide privacy “fence”
Pellet bird food provides a comprehensive balanced diet. Pellets are created by food manufacturers, engineers and agriculturists determining their recipe for optimal nutrition. These ingredients are then ground up and held together with a binder and then extruded into pellets of varying sizes to accommodate the many sizes of birds.
Seed diets although probably are a bit tastier, birds ultimately will require some sort of nutritional supplementation in spite of “vitamin fortification” All say diets can lead to malnutrition, overextended beak growth and poor feather development. A straight seed diet should always be augmented with with a supplement. Supplements are best introduced directly into food, fruit or leafy green not into water as when replacing fresh water daily supplement will get wasted.
Speaking of fruit, we do encourage fresh fruits and vegetables introduce daily. Even simple generic frozen mixed vegetables served semi-frozen the morning will help round out your birds daily diet. Recent research is now teaching us to avoid citrus in our birds diet due to the lowering of the pH (making things more acidic) can throw your birds digestive system of kilter.
Introducing supplemental calcium such as a cuttle bone is only necessary for brooding hens as the eggs deplete calcium in a bird’s body. Although the cuttle bone may help trim your birds speak it’s really best to introduce a trimming perch near the food dishes to serve this purpose.
As for hay – it’s best not to introduce any into the birds cage as it will do nothing more than retain moisture which will become mould, feces and waste. Newspaper as an effective way to line refuse tray in a bird cage. It’s our humans sensitive to allergens you might consider T-3 antimicrobial paper by preview pet as a superior alternative.
I hope this gets you on the right path. To round out what you know feel free to visit our bird care knowledge base library found here.
Mitch Rezman
Windy City Parrot


Travel Carrier for African Grey Parrot

Fold Away Travel Cage Carrier for Medium Parrots AE BC1819M
I’m considering the purchase of this cage for my African Grey for a 3-4 day trip and want to know if its size would be okay for my parrot. I want the cage to fit on the back seat of my SUV. Here’s the cage I’m considering:
Fold Away Travel Cage Carrier for Medium Parrots AE BC1819M 
Item Id: 19301061058 
The cage is a fine size for that time frame, Be sure to measure the door that you can fit the cage through as well as that the cage will fit the seat. The seat belt or bungee cords would be important so the cage does not slide off in case of a quick stop. The cage is also barred so you will want to put something solid (plastic or wood board/panel behind it so the bird cannot damage your auto upholstery. I hope this info helps. If you have more questions, please let us know.
Also consider the #602 carrier.
Fold Away Travel Cage Carrier for Medium Parrots #602 23 x 17 x 19



Budgie breeding box use

Prevue Pet 1105 Wood Nest Box - Parakeet Nestbox for Outside of Cage - 1 Box
Hi Catherine,
I got some budgie breeding boxes from you a few months ago. I was happy with the service and the quality of the boxes and I did submit a review.
Since then, I have actually put the boxes to use. I have decided tht I don’t like the offset entry style with the side doors for viewing. Reason being is tht the concave is very shallow, but even more of a problem (at least for me) is that the wood material used for the bottom of the box & concave is very, very smooth and the eggs keep rolling all over.
I realize that these boxes are primarily intended for attaching to a cage, whereas I
set mine out inside my aviary. I tend to handle my boxes alot more than most people do and have to be extremely careful with these boxes. Even so, I can hear eggs rolling around just from movement of the hens as they leave and enter the boxes. 
The other day, I found a broken egg….about 2 days aways from hatching time, on the
aviary floor. I’ve never had that happen before. It was an experienced hen, contentedly sitting her newly hatched chick. The other 2 eggs were fine….so it did not appear she had gone on a tyrant……but most likely the egg did get broken and she cleared it away.
I moved the eggs to another box to insure it didn’t happen again. 
The hen using the other box has abandoned the concave and keeps her eggs way in the corner. I worry that it might be a problem when the chicks hatch. Being on a solid surface can contribute to leg splaying. 
I’ll have to keep the box well cushioned with bedding material. I’m going to have to figure out what to do with the floor before using the boxes again. 
Anyway….a learning curve. But just wanted to give you some more input on the boxes

Nesting material is recommended in breeding boxes for that purpose. Few boxes have a deep enough concave to hold the eggs all together. It also helps keep the eggs warmer.

Catherine Tobsing
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