Are parrots, the god-feathers of social media?

5 Blue and yellow macaw, Ara ararauna

“THERE’S YOUR SIGN,” Bill Engvall

“My parrot is smarter than your Facebook developer,” mitchr

First of all I want to say that I’m proud that we went social media silent over the 2014 Christmas and Hanukkah holidays.

It’s time to celebrate the holidays with family and friends not stare into electronic boxes with glass windows to the universe. We all put our devices down for the holidays, right?

Read moreAre parrots, the god-feathers of social media?

Questions Just Over the Bird Cage Wire week of 12/14/14

I’m looking for an old toy- I know this is a tricky one, it’s a wooden cube it came in a couple different sizes. Unfortunately I do not remember what co. made it. It was dowels which connected to 4 different color square wood pieces with a colored large rope knot in the middle. 
antique parrot telephone
old bird toys come in many forms
 Any help you can offer will be truly appreciated. My rainbow has had one in her cage for about 18 years and it’s her go to every night. It’s getting kinda dangerous – one dowel fell off last year tried to fix it- didn’t last long. I have looked for something similar and being the picky bird owner can’t find anything. It has to be close in form. She is so spooked by new toys takes her up to 6 months sometimes to start acknowledging a toy.
Thank you,
Hi Rachel 
I would advocate removing the old toy immediately so no injury comes to your bird. Then collect buy or make 10 – 15 new bird toys, remove your bird from the cage add all the new toys early in the day and place the bird in the cage before dark.
Not exposing her to new items only promotes her irrational fear. We do it every 2 – 4 weeks – here’s the story on our tiel’s last makeover 
Environmental change keeps a bird mentally stimulated and emotional stable
best of luck
Ginger wrote: 
I recently inherited a Yellow Naped Amazon and love her to pieces, but not being a bird person previously, I could use some advice. He is guessed to
be about 50 years old, actually I was told that Rhoda is a female but, she has never layed eggs so they say she is a he! No matter, I have noticed
some of his feathers have black coloring on them. Is it true that could be caused by him not getting enough sunlight? His cage is in front of a
window, but the window has a sun screen on it. 
What is needed to provide “sun” for him in his cage? I would also like to purchase a “Happy Hut” for
him but I need to know what size I should order.
Thanks for any help you can give me and I welcome any advice!
Ginger Oliveira
yellow nape amazon parrot on woman's arm
hi Ginger 
congrats on the inheritance – first off should you want to determine the sex of your Zon, you can learn about a DNA test kit for $18 here.
As for the feathers I’d start by saying if your bird is not been to an avian vet I would strongly advocate a trip to confirm the overall wellness of your bird. That said the color of feathers is not that straightforward an issue.
The color is affected not only by the birds diet and DNA but by the eyeballs perceiving the color(s) For example if the bird doesn’t have a healthy sheen to it, what you might be seeing is a dark blue but the appearance of blue light-scattering is diminished thus the blue may look muted (black). We talk about that here 
The light thing
It’s good that you want to find proper lighting for your bird. Sunlight is more important to birds than most cage bird keepers realize You can find our birdcage lighting solutions category here. 
Windows can be good news bad news for parrots. The good news is the light that they allow in the activity to help keep things interesting for the bird. Sunlight is good for birds but the light coming in through any glass window filters out all the UVA and UVB they can be helpful to your birds well-being.
Assuming you live in North America the changing of the seasons & daylight savings time can wreak havoc with a South American bird’s physiological stature. This is why we like to see full spectrum lighting on a timer for every caged bird.
The downside(s) to the window thing is the problem with predatory birds (hawks, falcons) flying by – your bird may see and does not understand the concept of glass, self-destructive behavior like feather plucking could be triggered by the unwarranted stress.
Further, parrots being prey animals, feel far more secure when the cage is against one or preferably two walls. 
I would suggest you hold off on this for now until you get to know your bird a bit better. What we don’t want to do is encourage brooding activity. But we do want to encourage his socialization with you as opposed to hiding out in its own little tent.
Amazons are highly socialized animals and really enjoy engaging conversation.
Hope that helps

Is a Cockatoo Right for My Family with Young Children?

From Matthew Barrier a LinkedIn connection


yo Mitch whats a good bird for a family with little children. ive heard of stories of cockatoos i think umbrella’s crawling up into bed with little children and snuggling… 


anyways would love to hear your thoughts… 2 yr old and 13 yr old



Hi Matthew – Cockatoos can be the best of pet birds, affectionate, smart and playful. That said they can be VERY loud (click here for a real 135 db Mouluccan Cockatoo ear blast) and cockatoos are highly destructive which is why the majority of caged bird keepers fail. Read this thread for a list of household items destroyed by a a pair of TOO’s


they can easily pierce skin and break bones


the best bird to start with is a single parakeet. – they’re smart and make great talkers. They can also be trained to a high level skillset as shown by Norm Barrett .



they are small birds with small brains. if you can handle the noise and mess of a Budgie multiply that by 100 when thinking about a cockatoo.


hope that helps


This Cockatiel Gets a Bird Cage Makeover

Popcorn’s Latest Cage Redo
Today we put a new Parrot Cup Cover in Popcorn’s cage as it popped into my head a bit ago that perhaps her repeated bacterial infections might be resulting from her pooping into her water. We do not see her do it inside the cage, but we now see she tends to sit on top of the cage which is right above her water dish. So a cover for the water was on my “birdie wish list”. I had thought about a water bottle but maybe later. This looked like a good start.
But, to fit it in necessitated some re-arranging of perches and toys. The Thermo Perch had to move to the opposite side of the cage. Her Booda Perch was raised to fill in for that gap. I moved her Twisted Sticks toy low against the back wall as she was not interested in it where it was and it looks cute there. I noticed her Knots of Fun toy was getting pretty worn, she likes to chew off the sea grass on it when she is broody, so I think I will look for something new. She has a Hanging Paddles which she used to mow through in a few days, but now she has slowed down, but still visits it every day.
Anyway, her cage got a pretty good overhaul but nothing was added other than the Parrot Cup Cover over her water dish. I did a check out of all of her toys to make sure they were in decent shape or broken. I reattached a small Chomping Chain that was just laying over a bar which I knew would scare her if she happened to pull at it and it falls out. I also removed a long single strip of leather that had just a few Birdie Bagels left on the end. That could be dangerous if she gets it wrapped around her neck or body part. I will have to add some new Vine Balls, a few Beads, a Plastic Key or two and hang it back up. 
buy bird cage dish cover


So, the cage is all done for now and she comes over to the cage and goes inside, She had been on top of the cage or on my head all while I did the re-arranging so she was observing it all, but once she got inside and realized there were some changes, she quickly worked her way out of the cage and flew over to my side and stuck her head under my arm as I type this, I gave her a few soothing words while I scritched her head, she then walked around the sofa sticking her head between all the pillows (yes, she is broody, I found her trying to check out a hollow behind my bath towels, while I was doing a little cleaning) and now she in between my legs on the sofa while I type on my laptop in a little “cave” created for now. Sadly for her, the cave will go away when I am done typing and set aside my lap top.
She is making little chirps that let me know she is a bit upset or needy, yep, I just felt her peck me a bit. She wants some loving. It is very interesting to hear her chirps. She does not talk but she conveys her feelings and needs quite well through the tone in her single chirps. The ones where we come in after work and she hears us and starts a shrill, loud, demanding call to come and let her out and especially, be with Mitch. If I am the the only one, I will get the same treatment, LOL.
So, in a while I will put her in her cage with a dish of some treats or a bit of millet (her weakness) and shut the door and leave her to get used to the changes in her cage. Ideally, change should not create stress in a bird as we should be moving things around on a regular basis. Even just moving one toy from one side of the cage to the other side. Change is important for a caged bird as they need to be able to deal with change, be it a new toy or having to out and go fast possibly in a new cage or to a new location, or any number of things life brings upon us. Popcorn has a cage at home, it is not huge, just 22 x 17 by 30 high interior on a stand, but it is packed with toys and her food, and is in the family area, well lit and she spends only part of the day in there as she is out of her cage when we are home and can fly. She does figure eights around the living room and if the door is open and there is light at the other end, she will fly the full length of the apartment and back again to her cage or us. Of course, if she stops on the other end, usually on her stand that stays in that part of the house, one of us will go and check on her and if we have no need to stay there with her, she will be shooed back into the other side of the apartment. She has incredible control and may whip back into the living room and circle around and land on her cage, one of two play stands, or one of us. She also does a lot of walking on the floor, so we do a lot of shuffling without lifting our feet off the ground.
white cockatiel on bird cage door eating a steak bone that is larger than her
(All that cage rearranging can make a bird hungry and btw always cut, not chew
protein off animal bones so you don’t exchange your mouth bacteria with your bird)

Usually, she does not like to be left alone without one of us in the room. Mitch is her number one choice, but I come in a close second, ahem. So in general she is always in sight or sound of us unless we are out of the house and she is in her cage.

We normally take her to work with us daily and she has a bigger cage there as she has to say inside it all day so she does not get hurt or peck at product or the worst case, fly out the door when a customer comes in. But she has lots of things to do, eat, watch us work and the customers as they walk over and say hello to her.
We don’t worry about her flying away at home as we have 3 doors or barriers on each end of our apartment that will never allow her to get out. In front we have heavy drapes between the living room and the front door which helps keep the cold down that slips through the heavy but not tight sealing doors in the front of the building. Between the drapes and that, is our front door to the foyer. Then in back we have a door from the kitchen that leads to an enclosed back porch, then that opens up to the enclosed back staircase that leads to the door to the back yard.
She will not be getting lost. mitch’s response except of course when she sit’s silently behind a stack of towels in the bathroom – as company arrive’s – making us crazy for 10 minutes. (LOL, yes, that happened, 4 of us walking around calling to her, then she popped out. I know to remove the towels next time I have to hunt her down, Catherine) Company was dog people who looked at us like a dog hearing a silent whistle – because they weren’t use to seeing people look “up” towards the ceiling crown molding for their pet. You terrestrial dog, horse & cat people crack me up.
written by catherine tobsing
approved by mitch rezman


De-Stress Your Bird with a Birdie Spa

We allow ourselves to be stressed on so many levels these days. Keeping up with social media contacts. Fixing all the things that break in our lives – kitchen appliances – automobiles


Just getting to and from work can be an adventure. So who wouldn’t say no to a day at the spa?


Delenia Aegean Island Villa – Greece -This gorgeous rental home features 5 bedrooms, a sea salt pool, organic garden, bird’s eye view of the Aegean, stone Turkish steam room, even a freaking parrot. You can only hope this is like Hotel California because once you check in you’ll never want to leave.


Recently I blogged about Popcorn’s compromised immune system. It was all from stress. Stress from her body diverting calories to grow replacement feathers.


buy bird bathing products


Stress from being a female cockatiel with a need to reproduce and an active reproductive system. Stress from daylight savings time, and the whole days are getting shorter thing is stressful for a bird.


Something most noteworthy. Before I describe this behavior of our cockatiel in the shower, we need to do a little housekeeping. Let’s review how birds lungs work in this excellent Emma



Got it? Air flow is one way across your birds lungs. When I’m showering with Popcorn on the shower rod I see her close her eyes and clearly enter this sublime state. And when I look at her I think of Emma’s video, the warm moist air flowing over these highly sensitive lungs must feel like 1 million bucks or a day at the spa.


Birds in the rain forests generally get a regular sprinkling of rain over their feathers once daily. Australian birds like cockatiel’s are nomadic but wherever they find food in a flock it will always be near water and vegetation.


Allowing a bird to bathe is helpful on so many levels but birds will be birds and will not always cooperate with our best intentions.


It would be great if we could just take a bird in the shower with us give them a comfortable place to perch and let them enjoy the water. We hear from a lot of caged bird owners who say they cannot get their birds “into” the shower with them.


Popcorn our cockatiel will to take baths in the kitchen and the bathroom sinks. Try to pull her off the top of the shower curtain rod while taking a shower and you think you were trying to pluck all her feathers.



Much like “should I clip my birds wings” is really a question of degree not either or so instead of trying to force the issue of bathing in the shower which applies especially to large birds who don’t fit kitchen sinks, like Macaws, find some middle ground.


Think about allowing your bird to enjoy the warmth and humidity that a shower provides. It can be a great bonding experience, just make sure you have a shower perch of some sort available should your bird decide to join you under the water stream. The alternative to that is ouch, ouch, ouch, as the bird might slip on your wet body and grab or bite something.



Doing this will go a long way towards offsetting the dryness of heating our homes along with all the other biological and physiological issues your bird is trying to compensate for while living in North America instead of near the equator, where they are mostly from.


written by mitch rezman

approved by catherine tobsing


Serving Powdered Supplements to Your Bird Made Easy

An oft asked question by caged bird keepers is “how do I give my bird powdered supplements”? Pet bird supplement manufacturers are very good at letting us know what is in the supplements and providing us with precise dosages based upon the size of the bird.


What they never tell us is how to get the supplements IN the bird. Most of them are water-soluble but we’ve all watched our birds drink, they don’t drink a lot in terms of volume so we end up throwing a dish of water out two to three times a day along with any diluted vitamins that would be in the water. This is wasteful.


2 oz (56.7 g) AviVita Plus Multivitamin Supplement



Recently our cockatiel Popcorn, was diagnosed with a compromised immune system by our board-certified avian vet Byron de la Navarre, DVM — Chief of Staff @ Animal House here in Chicago This was a result of stress from the seasonal changing light cycles, a recent molt and some reproductive activity. Dr. Byron administered a highly potent antibiotic and prescribed an oral antibiotic that we administered to Popcorn orally twice a day for about 10 days.


We all agreed that she needed a calcium supplement because of the calcium depletion caused by her brooding activities. Catherine and I felt she needed a vitamin based supplementation to compensate for the stress on her system.


When birds molt, calories (energy) are diverted from the general system of a bird and spent on all important feather growth. Stress from North American seasonal changes diverge calories and the endless need to reproduce depletes much needed calcium.


We selected AviVita Plus Multivitamin Supplement and Cal-D-Solve Calcium/Magnesium Supplement for Egg Laying Birds to help Popcorn recover from all these calorie depleting situations.


If you sprinkle a fine powder over seeds, the powder will fall to the bottom of the dish as the bird separates the seeds in the dish while he or she eats. The most recommended tactic is to put the powder supplement on some sort of “wet” food like a piece of fruit or washed piece of lettuce. once again how much of the supplement is a bird getting while it is a shredding the food?


Don’t let introducing a supplement into your bird be a hassle. Classic Lefeber Avi-Cakes makes a fine substrate to deliver powdered supplements to your bird. This is because the ingredients are all held together by molasses making the outside of a piece of Avi-Cake – sticky




Using a salt shaker to sprinkle a single or mixture of supplements over a couple of squares of Avi-Cakes. The molasses will ensure the supplements are are sticking to the seed and ending up in the birds mouth on on the tongue, not the bottom of the dish. This will also ensure that your bird will get the most benefit from your efforts in being the best caged Bird Keeper you can be.


8 oz (227 g) Small Bird Classic Avi-Cakes Seed & Pellet Bars by Lafeber's

Buy Lafeber Bird Products find them all here


Some Information about Avi-cakes from Laefener’s


Avi-Cakes™ “Work ‘n Chew™’ Food – Birds need nutritional variety and foraging excitement: Birds have incredible beak abilities; they can take chunks out of your finest furniture and a moment later, they can take the hull off of a millet seed. Bird’s tongues are incredibly sensitive to touch and texture with more tactile nerve sensors than other parts of their body.


Great Foraging Food: Avi-cakes were designed to provide your bird with a variety of beak and tongue sensations. Your feathered friend will love holding, pulling and tearing at each square. We believe your bird’s food can be both exciting and nutritious.


Nutritionally Balanced Just for Your Bird: Top avian nutritionists, veterinarians and behavioral consultants worked together creating Avi-Cakes. Avi-Cakes were specifically designed for the nutritional demands of birds: for iridescent feathers; for a strong beak and bones; and for bright eyes. Avi-Cakes are a blend of premium seeds mixed 50-50 with nutritionally balanced pellets all held together with a great tasting molasses binder.


Avi-cakes are perfect as a complete meal or as a special treat. They are omega 3&6 balanced, naturally flavored and naturally preserved.


A Gradual Way to Introduce Pellets: Because Avi-Cakes are 50% pellets, many birds will eat pellets after eating Avi-Cakes. Avi-Cakes are a great complement to a pelleted diet, since Avi-Cake nutrition matches most pelleted diets.


written by mitch rezman

approved by catherine tobsing

Coconut Head Foraging Bird Toy

Coconut head foraging bird toy

The actual parrot head is about 5 inches in diameter and 8 inches tall

Windy City Parrot Defines Large Species Birds
We’d love to hear what you think about this toy. We know it will either scare the crap out of your bird or your bird will instantly love it.
A case can be made that this is a toy just for large birds but when you look at it – if you were to take the insides out it would make a dandy little nest for birds of smaller stature. like parakeets & fnches.
What’s on the inside you ask? The mouth has cuttlebone and wood blocks tied together with sisal rope to chew. If the actual shell doesn’t get destroyed you can use it as a foraging toy by putting treats like Lafeber Nutriberries
EZ cage install withincluded pear link<spanstyle=”font-weight: bold;”=””>The chain<spanstyle=”font-size: 13.6000003814697px;”=””> & pear link are 4 inches (10.16 cm) long
Button Shop All Windy City Parrot Bird Toys
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