Is corporate management of your bird – the future?


In the news recently – Petco Animal Supplies Inc (over 1000 stores) announced plans to acquire Drs. Foster & Smith (over $200,000,000 in est annual sales). The purchase price was not disclosed.

Also, London-based private equity firm BC Partners has won the auction for retailer PetSmart Inc (almost 1200 stores) in an $8.7 billion deal. 
corporate meeting with african grey on conference table
The new corporate bird care dream team
So I’ll dispense with my normal exuberant verbosity and powers of persuasion to simply ask. Who do you feel will help empower you to be the best caged bird keeper ever – them 
or us? 
catherine tobsing & mitch rezman in the birdie boutique
thank you for your time
Recently sent bird care info email archive More Info Found on Our Blog

The world renowned Windy City Parrot – just keeps getting better


Sometimes you have to slow down and do a little housekeeping.
There’s some things that I want to bring you up to speed with having implemented many changes on in recent weeks.
If you haven’t visited us recently we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised whether you’re on a desktop, tablet or smartphone. We knew your mobile experience was not our best effort – until now. Were quite mobile friendly and we’re adding better site navigation & improvements daily.
Our international partner Globalshopex helped us with the upgrade so if you are seeking to order products outside of the US you will find our international shopping experience, seamless.
Now would be a great time to shop because were offering a 

15% discount for anybody who places a first order with us 

& a 12% discount for any customer who placed a prior order 

– sale items are excluded from this promotion because of their very low prices. .







We will ship any order anywhere in the continental US for free if it’s over $49 and a mere six bucks if the order is under $49
We added a notable gold seal to the lower left-hand part of the site from Norton. We are now providing you with the Norton Shopping Guarantee at no additional cost on every order you place with us.
This means with every purchase you receive $10,000 worth of ID theft protection, a $1000 purchase guarantee and a lowest price guarantee up to $100 meaning if we lower the price on an item within 30 days of your purchase of that item, Norton will write you a check for the difference.
To the people who sent me information about their birds feathers plucking issues, I apologize for my tardiness and lack of response. The site needed to be redesigned per Google by April 21 or we would have suffered penalties in search traffic. Something Google has never been forthright since its inception about all algorithmic changes – until this April.
We will begin working on our feather plucking project early next week.


download the animal poison control center mobile app here
You know were big on bird health, safety and first-aid we want to pass along this website to you which God forbid you’ll never need but will be available to you in an emergency. It’s the animal poison control center mobile app
When disaster strikes we want you to be prepared – We’ve seen a couple of articles in the news about birds escaping from home fires. Something we preach on a regular basis with birds is to practice getting them into the carrier & used to the carrier – drive around with the bird in the carrier 3 or 4 times. You don’t want to be fighting with the animal over a “scary box” in an emergency.
With regards to a burning building something I’ve had the unfortunate experience of walking into consider that their lungs have little tolerance for smoke – rather than trying to carry them through smoke filled rooms which make kill them during the rescue – I’d toss them out a window into fresh air and take my chances.
Last but not least on April 12th I posted this Birdie brunch image of three Amazons and called them “red fronted” Amazons but with a question mark.
My apologies for forgetting the name of the individual who gave us this information it somehow got separated from his email but we now know these three lovely birds are Lilacine Amazons, Amazona autumnalis lilacina – thank you for that information

written by mitch rezman

approved by catherine tobsing


of moms, motorcycles & magpies or how one cockatiel coped with separation


This is a tail of separation anxiety between my bird and me and my mom and her village.
from the Joni Mitchell song “big yellow taxi” come the words “you don’t know what you got till it’s gone” So it was interesting to hear that popcorn was “beside herself” in my absence – I learned this from a 1000 miles away – in Oklahoma – maybe. How did I get here? Funny you should ask.


some of us compensate for anxiety by over eating
last week’s email header said:

This week things are a bit abbreviated. Please let me know if there’s any errors in the news letter – rushing down to Silver City, New Mexico – 3200 miles in 4 days round trip on the Rocket (’09 Triumph Rocket III Classic for all you bikers) so I can argue with my mother in person.
The skinny.

Some of you may have gone or be going through this now. In 1993 I personally moved my mother with all her possessions including her car into a small apartment in Silver city New Mexico. For reasons I don’t remember a town she fell in love with.
Recently at the age of 85 she found herself with fewer friends. Some moved away, others had passed. She decided to come back to Chicago. Originally the plan was for me to fly into El Paso Texas pick up a 22 foot truck, Drive to Silver city, load up the truck and haul her and all her stuff (although she still drives she’s selling her car) back to Chicago.
Not the perfect plan but I’m old-school and do what my mom asks. In the meantime I booked a ticket but I also started calling movers. I remember having moved her into a one-bedroom apartment. I had not returned to Silver city since the move (she comes up to Chicago on a regular basis) and the fact that she had moved into a two-bedroom apartment during this period apparently eluded me.
Although one my sister Melinda Rezman is a well-known psychotherapist here in Chicago I really didn’t need a professional to tell me that my mother was experiencing separation anxiety and was having a melt down. It was profound and needed to be addressed. Airfare with car-rental $500-$700. Car-rental with gas $600-$800. My other sister Monica. is residing in Mexico with my niece Ruby now so she dodged this bullet.


I don’t have an actual bucket list, but if I did my next move would have been a scratch off. The phone call with mom ended at 11:10am. I was on the Rocket at 2:15pm, Thinking this “will be fun”
2009 Triumph Rocket 3 Classic bought new in 2010 w/ zero miles

2 of 3 crash helmets used on trip – a whole other story
Rubberbanding my way out of the city through rush hour traffic in a direction I rarely if ever travel of late – southwest. At some point south of Coal city IL, I owned the road. Pulling into some town southwest of St. Louis about 1 AM, I wanted to ride farther but I found it difficult to negotiate winding roads in darkness at high speeds (90 mph +)
Saturday started out overcast. No one who rides motorcycles likes to ride in the rain but you can’t do a cross-country trip without a rain suit. If you are a motorcyclist reading this and are thinking about getting a rain suit or you’re unhappy with yours, the trick is to make sure it’s not only waterproof but “wind proof” so you don’t have flapping fabric annoying you on top of the rain.
I have a high quality Triumph rain suit and had the foresight to practice putting it on before I left because you don’t want to struggle with something like this on the road – in the rain.


NASA wannabe
Somewhere on I44 just before getting on the Oklahoma Turnpike clearly now missing some other components of foresight, I learned 3 valuable lessons about motorcycle rain suits after getting raindrops on the windscreen and helmet face shield

  1. Take your wallet out of your chaps and put it in the outer pocket of the rain suit otherwise you’ll be forced to go through 10 feet of zippers and Velcro to get four dollars to pay your toll pissing off a lot of other divers (karma) .
  2. Put the reflective belt use to cinch the fabric around your waist, around your waist not on the left mirror, where I noticed it as I was entering the on-ramp.
  3. When you need to pee, you’ll have access to the wallet which means you can take four dollars out and stick it in the gauntlet of your clutch hand glove (The 2nd tollbooth girl got all giddy when I asked her to root around my glove for the four bucks:-)


The rain meant I wasn’t going to do near the 700 miles in one day I thought I could. An unmemorable night 2 was spent in Amarillo Texas. Full from my La Quinta Inn breakfast (nothing says welcome better than a waffle the shape of Texas), I was psyched knowing I would be in Silver city by the end of today, the (third) day. The 50 mile an hour gusts of wind across the geographically flat panhandle (as the weather channel predicted) brought the relationship between motorcyclist and motorcycle closer than ever.
Dodging tumbleweed, which I thought only existed in old movies, I continued to descend the United States while starting to climb the mountains towards Albuquerque New Mexico. The faster I went the more aerodynamic I became. At 100 miles an hour (around 4000 RPM) the three cylinder water cooled 140 Cubic inch engine with transmission & shaft drive by Maserati made it remarkably easy to pass an endless conga line of trucks & RV’s laboring up the steep grades in a headwind.
Ironically I was listening to Dave Matthews “Ants Marching” on XM radio at one point with my modified Harmon Kardon earbuds using disposable moldable silicone ear plugs replacing the standard rubber tips, sealing out the sound of 100 mph plus air rushing in and around the helmet.
At some point I lifted the face shield at highway speed and it was never the same again. It wouldn’t stay up and would drop-down with the edge in the middle of my line of sight – ergo the third helmet (see pic above) with new embedded electronics purchased on day 5 at Cycle Gear in Albuquerque. (a terrific sales staff there).
As the wind died with my ascension to the mountains and green was oozing everywhere – it’s spring – and birds – are everywhere too. This made me wonder how many kinds of birds might be found in New Mexico? here’s the list from Wikipedia.

Ducks, geese and swans

Canada goose

Order: Anseriformes sweetheart Family: Anatidae

The family Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These birds are adapted to an aquatic existence with webbed feet, bills which are flattened to a greater or lesser extent, and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to special oils. There are 38 New Mexico species.

Partridges, grouse, turkeys and Old World quail

Order: GalliformesFamily: Phasianidae

Phasianidae consists of the pheasants and their allies. These are terrestrial species, variable in size but generally plump with broad relatively short wings. Many species are gamebirds or have been domesticated as a food source for humans. There are 7 New Mexico species.

New World quail

Order: GalliformesFamily: Odontophoridae

The New World quails are small, plump terrestrial birds only distantly related to the quails of the Old World, but named for their similar appearance and habits. There are 4 New Mexico species.


Order: GaviiformesFamily: Gaviidae

Loons are aquatic birds the size of a large duck, to which they are unrelated. Their plumage is largely gray or black, and they have spear-shaped bills. Loons swim well and fly adequately, but are almost hopeless on land, because their legs are placed towards the rear of the body. There are 4 New Mexico species.


Order: PodicipediformesFamily: Podicipedidae

Grebes are small to medium-large freshwater diving birds. They have lobed toes and are excellent swimmers and divers. However, they have their feet placed far back on the body, making them quite ungainly on land. There are 6 New Mexico species.


Order: ProcellariiformesFamily: Hydrobatidae

The storm-petrels are the smallest seabirds, relatives of the petrels, feeding on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. The flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like. There is 1 New Mexico species.


Order: PelecaniformesFamily: Pelecanidae

Pelicans are very large water birds with a distinctive pouch under their beak. Like other birds in the order Pelecaniformes, they have four webbed toes. There are 2 New Mexico species.


Order: PelecaniformesFamily: Phalacrocoracidae

Cormorants are medium-to-large aquatic birds, usually with mainly dark plumage and areas of colored skin on the face. The bill is long, thin and sharply hooked. Their feet are four-toed and webbed, a distinguishing feature among the Pelecaniformes order. There are 2 New Mexico species.


Order: PelecaniformesFamily: Anhingidae

Darters are cormorant-like water birds with very long necks and long, straight beaks. They are fish eaters which often swim with only their neck above the water. There is 1 New Mexico species.


Order: PelecaniformesFamily: Fregatidae

Frigatebirds are large seabirds usually found over tropical oceans. They are large, black or black-and-white, with long wings and deeply forked tails. The males have colored inflatable throat pouches. They do not swim or walk and cannot take off from a flat surface. Having the largest wingspan-to-body-weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week. There is 1 New Mexico species.

Bitterns, herons and egrets

Great blue heron

Order: CiconiiformesFamily: Ardeidae

The family Ardeidae contains the herons, egrets and bitterns. Herons and egrets are medium to large wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more secretive. Members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted, unlike other long-necked birds such as storks, ibises and spoonbills. There are 12 New Mexico species.

Ibises and spoonbills

Order: CiconiiformesFamily: Threskiornithidae

The family Threskiornithidae includes the ibises and spoonbills. They have long, broad wings. Their bodies tend to be elongated, the neck more so, with rather long legs. The bill is also long, decurved in the case of the ibises, straight and distinctively flattened in the spoonbills. There are 4 New Mexico species.


Order: CiconiiformesFamily: Ciconiidae

Storks are large, heavy, long-legged, long-necked wading birds with long stout bills and wide wingspans. They lack the powder down that other wading birds such as herons, spoonbills and ibises use to clean off fish slime. Storks lack a pharynx and are mute. There is 1 New Mexico species.

New World vultures

Order: CiconiiformesFamily: Cathartidae

The New World vultures are not closely related to Old World vultures, but superficially resemble them because of convergent evolution. Like the Old World vultures, they are scavengers, however, unlike Old World vultures, which find carcasses by sight, New World vultures have a good sense of smell with which they locate carcasses. There are 2 New Mexico species


Order: FalconiformesFamily: Pandionidae

Hawks, kites and eagles

Red-tailed hawk

Order: Falcon in each identify iformesFamily: Accipitridae

Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey, which includes hawks, eagles, kites, harriers and Old World vultures. These birds have very large powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons and keen eyesight. There are 20 New Mexico species.

Caracaras and falcons

Order: FalconiformesFamily: Falconidae

Falconidae is a family of diurnal birds of prey, notably the falcons and caracaras. They differ from hawks, eagles and kites in that they kill with their beaks instead of their talons. There are 6 New Mexico species.

Rails, gallinules and coots

Order: GruiformesFamily: Rallidae

Rallidae is a large family of small to medium-sized birds which includes the rails, crakes, coots and gallinules. The most typical family members occupy dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps or rivers. In general they are shy and secretive birds, making them difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs and long toes which are well adapted to soft uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and tend to be weak fliers. There are 8 New Mexico species.


Order: GruiformesFamily: Gruidae

Cranes are large, long-legged and long-necked birds. Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back. Most have elaborate and noisy courting displays or “dances”. There is 1 New Mexico species.

Lapwings and plovers


Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Charadriidae

The family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels and lapwings. They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings. They are found in open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water. There are 7 New Mexico species.

Stilts and avocets[

Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Recurvirostridae

Recurvirostridae is a family of large wading birds, which includes the avocets and stilts. The avocets have long legs and long up-curved bills. The stilts have extremely long legs and long, thin, straight bills. There are 2 New Mexico species.

Sandpipers, curlews, stints, godwits, snipes and phalaropes[edit]

Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Scolopacidae

Scolopacidae is a large diverse family of small to medium-sized shorebirds including the sandpipers, curlews, godwits, shanks, tattlers, woodcocks, snipes, dowitchers and phalaropes. The majority of these species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Different lengths of legs and bills enable multiple species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food. There are 34 New Mexico species.

Gulls, terns and skimmers

Ring-billed gull

Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Laridae

Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds and includes jaegers, skuas, gulls, terns, kittiwakes and skimmers. They are typically gray or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet. There are 27 New Mexico species.


Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Stercorariidae

Auks, murres and puffins

Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Alcidae

The family Alcidae includes auks, murres and puffins. These are short winged birds that live on the open sea and normally only come ashore for breeding. There is 1 New Mexico species.

Pigeons and doves

Order: ColumbiformesFamily: Columbidae

Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere. There are 8 New Mexico species.

Cuckoos, roadrunners and anis

Order: CuculiformesFamily: Cuculidae

The family Cuculidae includes cuckoos, roadrunners and anis. These birds are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails and strong legs. The Old World cuckoos are brood parasites. There are 4 New Mexico species.

Barn owls

Order: StrigiformesFamily: Tytonidae

Barn owls are medium to large owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons. There is 1 New Mexico species.

Typical owls

Order: StrigiformesFamily: Strigidae

Typical owls are small to large solitary nocturnal birds of prey. They have large forward-facing eyes and ears, a hawk-like beak and a conspicuous circle of feathers around each eye called a facial disk. There are 14 species in New Mexico.


Order: CaprimulgiformesFamily: Caprimulgidae

Nightjars are medium-sized nocturnal birds that usually nest on the ground. They have long wings, short legs and very short bills. Most have small feet, of little use for walking, and long pointed wings. Their soft plumage is cryptically colored to resemble bark or leaves. There are 7 New Mexico species.


Order: ApodiformesFamily: Apodidae

The swifts are small birds which spend the majority of their lives flying. These birds have very short legs and never settle voluntarily on the ground, perching instead only on vertical surfaces. Many swifts have very long, swept-back wings which resemble a crescent or boomerang. There are 3 New Mexico species.


Order: ApodiformesFamily: Trochilidae

Hummingbirds are small birds capable of hovering in mid-air due to the rapid flapping of their wings. They are the only birds that can fly backwards. There are 17 New Mexico species.


Order: TrogoniformesFamily: Trogonidae

Trogons are residents of tropical forests worldwide and have soft, often colorful, feathers with distinctive male and female plumage. They have compact bodies with long tails and short necks. There is 1 New Mexico species.


Order: CoraciiformesFamily: Alcedinidae

Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long, pointed bills, short legs and stubby tails. There are 2 New Mexico species.

Woodpeckers, sapsuckers and flickers[edit]

Order: PiciformesFamily: Picidae

Woodpeckers are small to medium-sized birds with chisel-like beaks, short legs, stiff tails and long tongues used for capturing insects. Some species have feet with two toes pointing forward and two backward, while several species have only three toes. Many woodpeckers have the habit of tapping noisily on tree trunks with their beaks. There are 14 New Mexico species.

Tyrant flycatchers

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Tyrannidae

Tyrant flycatchers are Passerine birds which occur throughout North and South America. They superficially resemble the Old World flycatchers, but are more robust and have stronger bills. They do not have the sophisticated vocal capabilities of the songbirds. Most, but not all, are rather plain. As the name implies, most are insectivorous. There are 32 New Mexico species.


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Laniidae


Fun feathered factoid –>>Shrikes are passerine birds known for their habit of catching other birds and small animals and impaling the uneaten portions of their bodies on thorns. A typical shrike’s beak is hooked, like a bird of prey. There are 2 New Mexico species.


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Vireonidae

The vireos are a group of small to medium-sized passerine birds restricted to the New World. They are typically greenish in color and resemble wood warblers apart from their heavier bills. There are 13 New Mexico species.

Jays, crows, magpies and ravens[edit]

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Corvidae

The Corvidae family includes crows, ravens, jays, choughs, magpies, treepies, nutcrackers and ground jays. Corvids are above average in size among the Passeriformes, and some of the larger species show high levels of intelligence. There are 10 New Mexico species.


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Alaudidae

Larks are small terrestrial birds with often extravagant songs and display flights. Most larks are fairly dull in appearance. Their food is insects and seeds. There is 1 New Mexico species.

Swallows and martins

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Hirundinidae

The Hirundinidae family is adapted to aerial feeding. They have a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and a short bill with a wide gape. The feet are adapted to perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base. There are 8 New Mexico species.

Chickadees and titmice

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Paridae

The Paridae are mainly small stocky woodland species with short stout bills. Some have crests. They are adaptable birds, with a mixed diet including seeds and insects. There are 5 New Mexico species.


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Remizidae

The penduline tits are a family of small passerine birds, related to the true tits. There is 1 New Mexico species.


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Aegithalidae

Bushtits are a group of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They make woven bag nests in trees. Most eat a mixed diet which includes insects. There is 1 New Mexico species.


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Sittidae

Nuthatches are small woodland birds. They have the unusual ability to climb down trees head first, unlike other birds which can only go upwards. Nuthatches have big heads, short tails and powerful bills and feet. There are 3 New Mexico species.


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Certhiidae

Treecreepers are small woodland birds, brown above and white below. They have thin pointed down-curved bills, which they use to extricate insects from bark. They have stiff tail feathers, like woodpeckers, which they use to support themselves on vertical trees. There is 1 New Mexico species.


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Troglodytidae

Wrens are small and inconspicuous birds, except for their loud songs. They have short wings and thin down-turned bills. Several species often hold their tails upright. All are insectivorous. There are 9 New Mexico species.


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Cinclidae

Dippers are small, stout, birds that feed in cold, fast moving streams. There is 1 New Mexico species.


Ruby-crowned kinglet

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Regulidae

The kinglets are a small family of birds which resemble the titmice. They are very small insectivorous birds in the genus Regulus. The adults have colored crowns, giving rise to their names. There are 2 New Mexico species.


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Polioptilidae


Western bluebird

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Turdidae

The thrushes are a group of passerine birds that occur mainly but not exclusively in the Old World. They are plump, soft plumaged, small to medium-sized insectivores or sometimes omnivores, often feeding on the ground. Many have attractive songs. There are 12 New Mexico species.

Mockingbirds and thrashers

Sage thrasher

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Mimidae

The mimids are a family of passerine birds which includes thrashers, mockingbirds, tremblers and the New World catbirds. These birds are notable for their vocalization, especially their remarkable ability to mimic a wide variety of birds and other sounds heard outdoors. The species tend towards dull grays and browns in their appearance. There are 8 New Mexico species.


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Sturnidae

Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds. They are medium-sized passerines with strong feet. Their flight is strong and direct and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country, and they eat insects and fruit. Plumage is typically dark with a metallic sheen. There is 1 New Mexico species.

Wagtails and pipits

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Motacillidae

Motacillidae is a family of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They include the wagtails, longclaws and pipits. They are slender, ground feeding insectivores of open country. There are 3 New Mexico species.


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Bombycillidae

The waxwings are a group of passerine birds with soft silky plumage and unique red tips to some of the wing feathers. In the Bohemian and cedar waxwings, these tips look like sealing wax and give the group its name. These are arboreal birds of northern forests. They live on insects in summer and berries in winter. There are 2 New Mexico species.


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Ptiliogonatidae

The silky-flycatchers are a small family of passerine birds which occur mainly in Central America, although the range of one species extends to central California. They are related to waxwings and like that group, have soft silky plumage, usually gray or pale-yellow. They have small crests.

Longspurs and snow buntings

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Calcariidae

Olive warbler

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Peucedramidae

The olive warbler is the only representative of its family. It was formally classified with the Parulidae, but DNA studies warrant its classification in a distinct family.

Wood warblers

Yellow-rumped warbler

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Parulidae

The wood warblers are a group of small often colorful passerine birds restricted to the New World. Most are arboreal, but some like the ovenbird and the two waterthrushes, are more terrestrial. Most members of this family are insectivores. There are 47 New Mexico species.

American sparrows, towhees and juncos

Green-tailed towhee

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Emberizidae

Emberizidae is a large family of passerine birds. They are seed-eating birds with distinctively shaped bills. In Europe, most species are called buntings. In North America, most of the species in this family are known as sparrows, but these birds are not closely related to the Old World sparrows which are in the family Passeridae. Many emberizid species have distinctive head patterns. There are 34 New Mexico species.

Cardinals, saltators and grosbeaks

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Cardinalidae

The cardinals are a family of robust, seed-eating birds with strong bills. They are typically associated with open woodland. The sexes usually have distinct plumages. There are 15 New Mexico species.


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Icteridae

The icterids are a group of small to medium-sized, often colorful passerine birds restricted to the New World and include the grackles, New World blackbirds and New World orioles. Most species have black as a predominant plumage color, often enlivened by yellow, orange or red. There are 17 New Mexico species.

Fringilline finches, cardueline finches and allies[edit]

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Fringillidae

Finches are seed-eating passerine birds, that are small to moderately large and have a strong beak, usually conical and in some species very large. All have twelve tail feathers and nine primaries. These birds have a bouncing flight with alternating bouts of flapping and gliding on closed wings, and most sing well. There are 15 New Mexico species.

Old World sparrows

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Passeridae

Old World sparrows are small passerine birds. In general, sparrows tend to be small plump brownish or grayish birds with short tails and short powerful beaks. Sparrows are seed eaters, but they also consume small insects. There is 1 New Mexico species.


end Wikipedia


Who’da thunk it?

Vultures are unmistakable and easy to identify. Turkey vultures are not all that uncommon in the Midwest but not in the quantity you’ll see New Mexico. Not too far west from Interstate 25 about 200 miles north of Albuquerque – any time from March through mid-September you can see as many as 50 – 60 vultures roosting in the main area of Frijoles Canyon near the visitor center
I saw many of these magnificent creatures easily spotted by the white feathers on the underside of their wings, floating on the wind waiting for humans to do what we do best – be wasteful. Vultures are considered “nature’s janitors”
Turkey vulture in New Mexico

Feathered factoids about vultures: The short feathers on their head giving them that “crewcut” look is nature’s way of helping them stay sanitary while their heads are rooting around the carcass of their prey.
One of the biggest threats to vultures (including “New World” Vultures like California Condors) today is lead poisoning (working on a blog post about that). Hunters will maim a deer with buckshot but the deer escapes and wanders off to die. Vultures feeding on the carcass buffet unknowingly eat the lead shotgun pellets which results in their death.


I’ve always felt vultures were beautiful birds. This is a Turkey vulture.
Techno geek that I am, besides streaming XM in the helmet, Google maps was giving me directions the entire way through my earbuds courtesy of Ms. Android. I would stop for gas every 125 miles (only about 30 mpg when you’re traveling an average of 95 mph on the Rocket – speed limit was 75 from OK on down) because even though 6 ½ gallon tank sounds big for a motorcycle you never know where the next gas station is in Texas or New Mexico.


It was more than a little annoying hearing the words “in the next 800 feet make a U-turn and continue south on interstate whatever” every time I stopped for gas – she thought I took a wrong turn. I could see how she would get confused talking to all those people all over the country all at once. As punishment I would silence her occasionally but made sure I could hear her clearly once I started seeing signs for Las Cruces (New Mexico).


Dutifully I exited Interstate 25 at Route 152 per her suggestion and was to follow Route 152 for X amount of miles into Silver city. Suddenly I found myself on this beautiful 2 lane highway in the mountains. The fact that the sun had disappeared behind the clouds was minuscule compared to my motorcyclist’s dream come true of riding in the mountains – not on an interstate.
Rolling west, a couple of happy motorcyclists passed me eastward bound, exchanging mc waves. A car here and there and then signs for a town. Seeking no problems I downshifted to second gear and kept a solid 30 mile an hour speed which was captured by the County Sheriff’s radar gun at the bottom of the hill. I waved and kept going.
New Mexico is a beautiful state with as many plant species as birds. I didn’t see any tanager’s (they are found in the area) but I did see these flowers. I’ve always liked this picture. (can anyone help out on the flower species?)


The western tanager is found along the western coast of North America from southeastern Alaska south to northern Baja California, Mexico. Western tanagers extend east to western Texas and north through central New Mexico, central Colorado, extreme northwest Nebraska, and areas of western South Dakota to southern Northwest Territories, Canada.


The area I entered is named Gila National forest. I was clearly gaining altitude feeling like I was about to morph into a Walt Disney movie barely noticing the drizzle when I said to myself “Holy Crap”. I’m climbing a mountain on a 20 foot wide road with no guard rails, in the rain alone & the speed limits are between 10 and 15 miles an hour – there’s your sign(s). Normally I would’ve leaned the Rocket in & out of every turn, but today the roads were wet, I was in a hurry and riding solo. I’ve learned to maintain a relaxed grip at any speed on a motorbike but not being able to see around many of the turns was a bit nerve wracking.


To give you a sense of what the road looked like, I found this video.

It took me about 45 minutes to get to the other side of the forest

My mother and her friends had traveled the road a lot by car and were always amazed at the knuckleheads who didn’t do their homework and tried to muscle large RVs up & down the narrow twisting road. Ironically Catherine & I have friends that actually worked at the Gila national forest reception area for two or three summers. They always said they were close to my mom but it was interesting to see this remarkable place up close and personal.
After about 45 minutes of chanting to myself “motorcycles are line of sight vehicles, & with no else other than where you want to go – stay focused on the road – no sight seeing grasshopper” the road went from crinkled twists and turns to gentle curves. I was off and running – at the posted speed limit.

you can always take your bird with

With a reassuring voice Ms. Android guided me to mom’s front door. She was clearly happy to see me and a little surprised that I actually made the trip especially by the method I did. She said “put your bike up the sidewalk here”. I said “you’ve never met the Rocket”


All she could say was “I’ve never seen such a big motorcycle” I brought in my gear, placed the hefty triumph lock on one of the front rotors and began to chat with my mom. By the time I left we worked everything out. She was already preparing for a big house sale on Saturday. We confirmed arrangements to have a moving company haul all of her stuff to Chicago into a new assisted-living apartment on the lakefront. I love it when a plan comes together.
Not visiting mom’s place often, one can forget how Jewish mothers have a compelling need to feed you.


“Would you like a steak?’




“Do you want cinnamon sugar kugel or egg kugle?” (noodle pie)
“You know I’m diabetic I’ll take the egg kugel”


“You want a baked potato with that”
We had a great conversation before bed. She explained to me her desire to be near family at the age of 85. I think we both felt comforted by the thought and agreed that we would see each other at the very least once a month. I awoke to a bagel, cream cheese and lox from Sam’s Club (300 miles away) along with percolated coffee (anyone remember that?) – the best.
I offered to fly down, pick her up and fly back with her once the movers left. She was indignant – understandable for a woman who’s traveled to five of the seven continents on our Planit. “I can get myself back to Chicago just fine”. Silver city like any small town brings out friends and neighbors when “strangers” arrive. Mom’s friend Lisa wanted to meet me was kind enough to take this picture.


Mom was happy to look at and not ride the big blue motorbike


Interestingly her attached neighbor in the front of the building, Rob had an old Prevue parakeet cage cage I recognized it in the picture window when I arrived. The next morning I met Rob, retired but an aspiring artist. Noticing the three cute little parakeet faces in the front window I asked to come in.

He had all these very happy budgies

of all colors flapping around the apartment having a good ole’ time.

We’ll be sending a care package to Rob next week.
We said our goodbyes and they were happy goodbyes because we knew we would see each other again, soon. This was now the fifith time that I was packing the Rocket’s saddlebags and sissy bar bag. I finally figured out the Rubik’s cube of motorcycle storage. Everything fit perfectly when mom said “I made you lunch” handing me a shopping bag that weighed about 12 pounds.
I smiled and like a sailor re-rigging a ship heading into a storm I started snapping and unsnapping elastic cargo nets, leather belt clips and USB wires to enable my lunch (for me and any family of four that I might want to entertain at a roadside rest area) settle into in its own saddlebag so it would not get crushed.

I left on a different route bypassing the Gila national forest challenge although it was sunny, so I could access Interstate 25 northbound in a timely manner. I had two goals for the day. Make it to Amarillo dry and acquire a bottle of Jameson’s whiskey to enjoy in a motel room.
I’m normally a goal achiever but nature proved to be too much. By 7:00 pm not only was it now pounding rain but I lost daylight. About 90 miles south of Amarillo I saw a sign for the first hotel in close to 200 miles. I checked-in and asked if there was a place in town to buy whiskey?
Directions to a small liquor store not half a mile away on the main drag we’re a no-brainer and it was “only drizzling”. Sadly they stop selling alcohol in Texas at 9 o’clock. It was 9:05. Back to the “no tell motel” to get some work done. It’s not easy keeping the international renowned Windy City Parrot bird supply empire running smoothly, especially from a motorcycle seat
I have a high distrust of public networks especially because I’m exchanging information with a lot of you folks – my customers. FYI we never use public Wi-Fi (free or paid) and carry at least three sources of Internet (including my smart phone) wherever we are on the road.

A Chromebook and an iPad make a great redundant system for keeping in touch

as well as all the other chargers, wires, batteries and everything else that can fit into a very small computer bag.
I awoke to the sounds of an unfamiliar bird. Some of the Texas trees in the motel courtyard had leaves and others were just budding. In the top of the big tree with few leaves across from my room sat three big black birds. They weren’t crows or ravens. A quick phone call Catherine confirmed what I suspected – she had seen them in Nevada. Magpies! Magpies are part of the Corvid family. I briefly talk about Corvid’s here in Hookbills, hardbills, softbills & waxbills – just the feathered factoids


Black-billed magpie

Moving northeast from Amarillo I had the foresight this time to stop during daylight acquire a bottle of Jameson’s for my fifth and final night’s stay on the road. Pulling into my second La Quinta Inn of the trip they once again were kind enough to allow me to park the Rocket under the front canopy.


The two most notable events of the final leg on Wednesday were getting lost coming out of St. Louis when Ms. Android took a smoke break (gotta be a stressful job) while going through downtown St. Louis and by the time I reached the southwestern area of Chicagoland I realized I underestimated my need for winter riding gloves. I also learned rain suits can help keep you warm when it’s 40 degrees (fahrenheit) and you’re traveling at 95 mph.
By the time I arrived home, Popcorn’s light was out and her cage was covered. We uncovered the cage and she was content to stay on her flat manzanita sleeping perch. In the morning when I opened the cage door she was more than happy to be back in her regular routine of flying after me around the apartment. Although she spent a lot of time on the top of my head being very clingy before I left for the shop.

When we got home from the shop Thursday, all Catherine could say was Popcorn never greeted “her” as loudly and as strongly as she had heard today. Popcorn was a very happy bird now that I was home.


3296 miles – six days – five states – 60 hours saddle time – 12 hours in the rain

be careful what you wish for

2009 Rocket 3 Classic – 2294 CC – 140 cubic inches – 2.3 litre engine – 140 hp – 157 ft/lbs torque (@1850 rpm) – 3 cylinder (6 spark plugs) water cooled

750 stock rear tire – 7-1/2 inches wide


there’s a reason this factory vid got 1.4 million views

written by mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing


I’m pinned to the ground by a feathered demon send help!

The names have been changed to protect the innocent
“Well Johnny, your father and I have decided since you won’t eat anything that’s good for you we feel is perfectly fine for you to eat French fries and drink Coca-Cola three meals a day until you turn 21”
File under “my bird doesn’t like what I give him or her” I’ll make sure that I won’t do anything that would possibly make my bird unhappy”:
Inbound communication week of 4/5/15 <-(the 20 of 2015 has been intentionally removed indicating the permanent death of the Y2K bug – google it)
My parrot has recently lost feathers that have not grown back. We have never seen her pluck them or evidence of that. Attached are photos. She eats well and is almost 19.
Jane Doe
sun conure in bird cage
Hi Jane
it’s impossible to diagnose things like feather plucking from a single sentence but the image that you attached poses many questions.
The perch the bird is on is clearly the sleeping perch which is a solid hardwood  perch slightly undersized because I can see the potential for the birds back nails to irritate the front toes. This is one of the primary causes of bumble foot.
Being a dowel perch it also has no uneven surfaces so for lack of a better explanation your birds feet may hurt from spending so many hours on a perch with no uneven surfaces to challenge your birds feet. Dowel perches are not bad in and of themselves they are just not the ideal perch for a bird to sleep on.
I noticed some perches in the foreground and a pair of manzanita perches. Because of the toys on the left side of the screen your bird has no way to access those perches and is not motivated to do so because they are lower rather than higher. And less in feeding mode birds will always gravitate to perches and accessories higher in the cage.
The few toys that I see in the cage have similar architecture and materials and none of them seem to be frayed which means your bir has no interest in them.  I would seek other materials like palm and coconut to see if you can get your birds attention.
The room that the bird cages and looks to be very light and airy but the bird has no privacy which may be an irritant. This blog post about the bird cage privacy canopy explains the concept.
I have no idea what you’re feeding your bird. Acidic fruits like pineapple and tomatoes could cause birdie heartburn triggering feather plucking activities
 the question you ask a simple, the solution is not
girl looking at sun conure that she is holding in her hand
 jane replies:
Oh – those are interesting comments.  She usually goes to the back to rest and sleep and there are uneven perches in the front.   She’s very particular about where the cage is located.  We’ve tried other locations, but it seemed to make her upset.  We always keep her well covered at night.  She does chew on her toys and when they fray too much we replace them.  But I take your point about changing them up.
mitchr replies
try getting her on a soft rope perch to sleep on and see if that helps


 Jane replied
Actually I tried that once and she jumped out of the cage and hid under the table.  I order more of the manzanita perches from your site and we’ll replace that one.  She has rejected countless toys.  
The perch that she sleeps on in the back, I had specially made to mimic the one from her old cage.  I had to set it up identically because she refused to go in it until then.
close up sun conure sleeping on one foot
 It took a couple of weeks to transition.  This parrot does not like change.  After Sandy, she stayed with me in a smaller cage in Manhattan because my parents home was damaged (no heat or power, but magically the upper west side of Manahttan had no problems).  
I took off of work to be with her to help her adjust.  My parents never saw her happier when she was able to return home to her regular cage. I suppose after almost 19 years, we just go with her commands.
me telling it like it is
so what you’re saying is 110 g of feathers is controlling your actions. Kids don;t like to eat their vegetables nor go to bed early. The more you force change the better your bird will be. sometime plucking is simply out of boredom. It can take 1 – 2 weeks or more for a bird to accept a new toy or accessory.
Try finding something she likes like millet and strap it to the softy perch. She doesn’t know what good for her – you do. You have to allow her to suffer the consequences of change which may mean locking here in a cage with something she doesn’t like at first.
how’s your lighting – do you have full spectrum lighting set up anywhere near the cage?
jane being agreeable
I do try a few times, I play with the toys outside of the cage first with her, then hang them up, but sometimes they are just summarily rejected.
I’ve had her for almost 19 years, and she’s never plucked before.  We haven’t seen a pile of feathers anywhere, just regular molting.  Maybe I’ll try the soft perch again.
new subject
Shelly C.
Mar 29th, 11:04am
My family loves to cook, but we often wonder if the spices we use are safe for our birds. For example, this morning our banana pancakes which included some ingredients I am not sure about, such as nutmeg, & ginger.
Then I wonder about other spices in other dishes. Is there any trusted resource that you recommend to reference or overall people food lists? So much conflicting info is found on the internet that I don’t know what to trust. Thank you.
cherry headed conure parrot eating flowers in tree
cherry headed conure
new subject
We just wanted to say hi, I’m David Jones and this is my 10 month old “Blue Headed Pionus” we believe to be a male at this time his name is “The Shriek of Araby”, but the vote is still out…!!  He is sweet and naughty at the same time.  Any tips on what to do when they shriek.?
Thanks David
blue headed pionus parrot
Hi David
Yes birds will shriek because birds will be birds. One of the things you can try something called a “redirection” have a big pot in a wooden cooking spoon in a place that you get to easily that is out of sight of the bird.
Keep in mind you have to let the bird shriek 10 or 20 minutes a day to let it out of the system but if it’s incessant what you can do is when they begin to shriek,
Grab the kitchen pot in a wooden spoon and place it in a room outside of the birds vision. When the bird begins this shriek go into the other room and bang the pot – Bam – Bam – Bam.
The bird will be silenced out of pure curiosity but just for a moment. In that moment you want to come into the room that the bird is in with a high-value treat (sunflower raisin whatever) they like and offered to the bird in a high voice with lots of positive praise for being silent
Let us know how it works for you
Q. My parrots love eating any kind of fruit or juice,
nuts or seeds, but aren’t interested in any other kind of food I think is good for them. How can I change this?
close up african grey eating watermelon
 my opinion
The problem is that it’s not a balanced diet as they’re not getting enough protein.  I would advocate to introduce a product like LeFeber’s avi- cakes. They are mistaken as a treat but offer 100% nutrition to your bird because they contain a high percentage of pellets.
The pellets are wrapped with seeds and nuts and fruit held together with molasses. In addition to the Higgins seed blend that our cockatiel Popcorn fees on regularly she goes through a package of avicakes about every two weeks.
Because of molting and reproductive activity is as well as the stress of changing daylight we use a saltshaker to sprinkle a mixture of avian vitamins and a calcium supplement on top of the avicakes. The light dusting sticks to them because of the molasses thus providing her with all of the nutrition she needs confirmed by our avian vet who sees her about every three months
Can the Hagen Prime be given Eclectus. Eclectus are EXTREMELY sensitive to vitamins. They CANNOT be given the MANMADE supplements. ALL vitamins MUST be organic
male eclectus parrot preening
Hi Don
we advocate not to give eclectus vitamins at all organic or not because of their elongated digestive systems. The only way to know if your bird is vitamin deficient is to get a blood panel workup at the vet
Pellets work well but if you;re having trouble converting you might like this Eclectus parrot mix from the Volkman seed company
written by  mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing
your zygodactyl footnote

Win $250 by sharing a pic of your bird’s cage


Winner of the most recent Windy City Parrot
$250 Birdcage Makeover Sweepstakes
(no worries more to come soon 🙂
Meet LuLu – Companion to Alex and Doreen from Beacon, NY
he is a 8 1/2 yo cockatiel that eats pellets and doesn’t talk
Winner $250 Birdcage Makeover Sweepstakes
“Hi i am Lulu and my cage needs a definite makeover
does anyone have the number of any bird interior decorators?”
Please congratulate Lulu below (in the comments section)

Understanding your bird’s hormonal issues may help you cope

Head shot screaming mustached parakeet

It’s spring, which means some of you may have noticed your bird’s behavior has begun to change a bit which may mean, your bird’s hormonal cycle has begun to change. You can expect many changes but above all expect the unexpected.

One of the harshest realities to deal with is the aggression that you might not have seen before which is normal and probably won’t last a long time. Unlike other pets like cats and dogs, you really can’t discipline your bird for this. Hormonal behavior will happen when a parrot hits sexual maturity causing hormones to modify his or her behavior.
Eclectus and African Greys have the ability to breed year round, many times and never show changes in their behavior. They both reach sexual maturity around the age of three and eventually mature and grow out of it. Conversely, Amazon parrots reach sexual maturity between the ages of five and twelve. You can expect a great deal of aggression for one to two years during this period. The good news is Amazon aggression will settle down once they are no longer hormonal.
Although they pose less of a problem, Budgies and other smaller breeds can hit sexual maturity as early as six months. Larger breeds of parrots can wait as many as 16 years to reach sexual maturity. Generally as males come into puberty they will become more vocal and may do something as benign as displaying affection to the person they have chosen as their mate – you. Cockatiels may show off their plumage like the heart-shaped wings of a cockatiel male or spread their wings in a particular way.
Males may also strut whereas females typically don’t. There will be, at the very least subtle signals that will help make you aware of the hormonal changes going on in your bird’s body.
Mustache Parakeet head close up - Screaming
Catherine responded to a recent Facebook question we posted
regarding bird owners hormonal issues with the following comment:
“Oh one more thing, now this is gonna sadden some folk, but also stop “beaking”, meaning the rubbing the birds beak between your fingers, yeah it feels good. But it is a sexual/sensual thing to a bird. Overall physical touch should be limited during these hormonal peaks because they can stimulate hormones, which is the last thing you want.
Even though it is hard, please don’t forget, these are NOT children, they are wild animals, even if tamed to live with humans. And birds that have not been socialized with other birds when they are young or in their formative years, WILL think you are their are possible mates. They become confused, and may be unable to relate to other birds later on. Supervised birdie “play dates” are a good way to allow birds to realize they are BIRDS.” Even a just ride in a car.
It’s important to avoid handling your bird especially in the tail area and around its vent and certainly don’t pull on the tail. More importantly if you have not exercised your bird this would be the time to start, if you are already exercising your bird this would be the time to step it up.
If your bird is making sexual advances towards you or other family members try to redirect their attention by flicking lights on-off, break out their favorite toy or introduce a favorite food or treat.
This would also be a good time to embark on the training program that’s been on your to-do list. New tricks or working with a clicker will pose a positive distraction. For years we’ve recommend re-arranging everything in your bird’s cage at least once a month to distract your bird. If you haven’t done it before, this would be a great time to start. If you’ve ever considered moving the cage to a different location this would be a the time to do it, again because of the distraction to the bird.
On the bright side if you have a very good relationship with your parrot from the beginning when they’re young, sexual maturity may not become a big problem. Conversely parrots that over bond in other words where one person is dominant in their lives can exhibit serious problems as they mature sexually.
Over bonded parrots may bite their primary companion when someone else comes into the room because the parrot perceives him or herself as their companions sexual partner. The parrots may exhibit unusual behavior by rubbing their vent on their owners hands or legs which is their way of trying to initiate copulation. Your best course of action at that point is to return the bird to a stand or its cage without making an issue. The behavior should be ignored and neither promoted nor discouraged.
Sometimes a bird owner will find their bird aggressive not towards them but towards another family member. This is natural behavior much like a wild bird leaving mom and dad and choosing its own mate. If this happens, make sure the family member that the bird has chosen, limits their action with your bird and make sure you spend more time with the bird when that person is around so that you can be sure that you’re the only one to provide all the goodies and all
Other signs that your bird may exhibit while going through hormonal changes:
  • Your bird may regurgitate frequently.
  • You may find it panting or crouching down with the wings dropped.
  • You may see increased shredding (especially paper toys) and the desire to chew more.
  • Nest building awareness in general, hiding in dark areas or searching for potential nesting sites – keep your bird away from these areas.
  • As well as you know your bird, they will defend this area and perceive you as a threat
  • Keep your hen off the floor because she’s probably seeking an area where she could build a good nest.
  • Becoming very protective of a particular chosen nesting site.
  • Females may be very interested in sources of calcium or other foods rich in protein like eggs and meat.
  • Your bird may be rubbing its vent against different objects which is a sign of masturbation.
You can give them something to masturbate with which can be you or a favorite toy, but a two or three inch diameter ball depending upon the size of the bird works well.
There are some medications available to help overcome these trying times which you can discuss with your vet. A drug named Lupron may reduce certain hormones and has been used for birds who have a chronic egg laying problem as well as feather plucking issues.
One the simplest things you can do to help reduce this hormone behavior is to ensure that your bird gets roughly 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness which is what they get in equatorial regions of the world.
A nest can be store bought, or they can be as simple as a cardboard box and unfortunately they may find areas in and around furniture and even shoes. If that’s the case it’s really best to discourage the furniture behavior and\clothing behavior. You can introduce a cardboard box or even a small blanket.
This would also be a time that you will commend yourself or having the forethought to have stick trained your bird. Sometimes you just can’t get through the lunging or aggression, but you do have to be able to take the bird out of the cage and put it back – without being bitten. A dowel rod or wood perch that your bird can step up on, will come in handy for this. It needs to be something they do not fear. The same color as their perch is helpful.
We can never talk enough about filling your birds cage with toys and items they can shred and chew. The more shreddable materials, the better off your bird will be. Take a look at our free bird toy category for ideas that won’t break the bank.
This the time you want to cut back on any high-protein foods like beans, cheese and meat. If your bird is eating a high potency pelleted diet with a lot of protein you want to cut back on some of that by offering more fresh vegetables and a small amount of fruit as excessive sugar is not good at this time. Soft, warm foods can signal to the bird that it’s time to start making and feeding baby birds so cooked foods should not be served. It’s very important to limit both starch and sugar. Presumably starch will increase a birds hormones dramatically.
If you have a hen that has laid eggs it’s best not to take them away whether or not she’s sitting on them and believe me birds can count.
If you take away the eggs she will move to replace what you took so just leave them. It usually takes about a month from the time the first egg is laid in by leaving the eggs there (your bird can count her biological month) which will then tell her when the laying cycle can stop. You can consider boiling the eggs individually letting them cool one by one and give them back to her so they won’t break and stink up the cage. For small species we offer fake eggs for this purpose
If you see your bird at the bottom of the cage and you notice that she’s straining, panting and it looks as though she can’t move her legs she may be egg bound and you want to get her to the vet as soon as possible
Ladies if you ever told a guy to go take a cold shower the same would hold true with your bird except it’s best that you use warm water, this will also help calm them down.
And sadly much like men will blame hormonal changes in women for their moods, this may not always be an accurate assessment and a trip to the vet may be in order.
written by catherine tobsing
approved by mitch rezman

How bird friendly is your bird’s cage

I make up words when it suits me – who doesn’t?

I no longer read books. I read the biggest dictionary I could find and now in my spare time I keep rearranging all the words into stories that I like in my head. To that end sometimes there’s just not enough words in the dictionary to explain every thought.

A word I coined a dozen years ago is “Cagescaping.” If you’re a seasoned caged Bird keeper you know the word’s implications. If you’re a novice, it’s important to learn that the interior of your birds cage is mission critical to your birds overall well-being.

Cagescaping allows you the freedom to work within your bird small environment much like zoos build species specific environments for our viewing pleasure. One of our goals is to help you understand things like the distance of a perch from the back wall of the cage is determined by the length of a bird’s tail.

Learn more about this fun project

In other words if you put a perch on the side of the cage, close to the back of the cage, and the bird has a long tail, the bird will use the perch less because when it’s on that perch its tail bangs the back of the cage. Whereas a short tail bird is perfectly happy with a perch that is close to the back of the cage because there is no friction. The general consensus of bird toy size is to have bird toys sized to the species of birds. Logic would dictate that you wouldn’t put a 10 pound 24 inch long wooden toy in a cockatiel cage. Put it into a large aviary and you have a landing area for almost any size bird.

There are no rules. It’s you and your creativity. In some of my meanderings below we talk about our cockatiel’s leg injury and neutralizing her cage so that what she would stay on the bottom of it more in order to reduce stress on her leg.


cagescape design certified by cockatiels with temporary disabilities act

Now that she’s healed the cage has to be fully redecorated, cagescaped. I can’t tell you how many times we hear ‘I don’t want to change anything in my bird’s cage because it will upset him or her.’ To those people we sentence their car radio to be stuck on one station, NPR National Public Radio.

We will tell you cagescaping best practices dictate that you rearrange your bird’s entire cage at least once a month. This will challenge your bird mentally and physically which is essential to the overall health of caged birds.

Think of cagescaping not in terms of attaching perches, swings, ladders and accessories to the bars of the cage. Think of it as remodeling your home. With birds though, it’s more about function than design.

One of our bedrooms is also a de facto photo studio for the some of the products you see on our site. Popcorn our cockatiel probably doesn’t cognize that mom and dad have a big birds store with the bunch of bird stuff in another room waiting to be photographed.

While putting her “healthy bird” cage design back together I happened to have this Buri Palm toy. It’s really meant for bigger birds but I grabbed it and realized instantly how effective it can be in her cage.

The question was, “would she engage it?” After tweaking some perches and placing it where I did the answer was a resounding “yes.”

This picture illustrates a toy that’s bigger than the bird but she comfortably accesses it from several areas of her cage. I know, I’m thinking of doing this for a living.


slowly getting all of her toys and accessories
back to the upper part of the cage where they belong

From the news we learn

that the government or the phone companies or some agency is listening to all of our conversations. That’s great but it’s kind of like trying to drink water from a firehose. We’re pretty transparent here, We will even offer up the transcripts of our conversations. Plus our stuff is lot more interesting than government conspiracy theories, especially if you’re a caged Bird keeper.


Hello, You guys not only have the best products, but also great advice. Here’s a question…..We have a 25 year old, female Umbrella Cockatoo. I recently met a woman, who has a 12 year old male Moluccan. She said, “We should get them together for a play date”. Neither bird has had contact with other cockatoos, although my bird does have a Maltese dog who she adores (and likewise). Both birds are sweet and friendly, but I have reservations, given the larger size of her bird and that he is a male. Should we let them meet? And if so, how?

Thanks, Ling

what could possibly go wrong?


Supervised visits only. Ideally they should start on separate stands and you two can have tea or coffee and observe nearby. They should not be forced together or left in a room alone until you know if they will get along.

Let us know how it goes.

Catherine Tobsing

Feathered factoid check needed please

Last week one of our social media posts had the brain exploding headline – Rainbow lorikeets eating meat leaves bird experts astonished. This taught us something we didn’t know about lorikeets – the darn fruit slurpers are carnivores just like us.

“I ordered mine medium rare”

I tend to walk my bicycle because I don’t have time to get on it so Catherine will notice things like this line in the aforementioned article “He also puts out seed for vegetarian birds like galahs, king parrots and the lorikeets.”

Because I’m spending most of my time right now building a bold new look for desktop and mobile, I don’t have time to fact check this.

Does anyone know with absolute certainty if Rose breasted cockatoos and King parrots are in fact true vegetarians or will eat meat one available?

Eight in one mite protector has been banned from Windy City Parrot

More than 50% of our products end up for sale based upon request from caged bird keepers. We had gotten a few inquiries about this mite protector product and brought in a small quantity.


Sales of the product have been mediocre but several of our customers reached out and expressed the sentiment that this product is harmful to our birds. We love money but we love our birds more.

I needed to go above my pay grade for answer to this question so on Popcorn’s most recent visit to Dr. Byron (our board-certified avian vet from Animal House of Chicago Catherine brought a packet seeking the doctor’s sage wisdom.

“Not very effective and has the potential to harm a bird” That’s all we needed to hear. We thank everyone for their input on the subject.

We are looking at alternatives one of which is from Vetafarm out of Australia. If anyone has use this product please email with your input.

Flighted bird safety warning

In a recent episode of “As the world turns around our cockatiel Popcorn” she had sustained a foot injury (see some words about this above) and basically needed to be “grounded” so she wasn’t jumping on and off perches adding stress to her injured leg.

We made a halfhearted attempt at clipping her for her own good and chopped off 4 secondary flight feathers on the either way. About a week ago she began her molt and I saw one one or two of the cut feathers on the floor understanding that the other half dozen were under the better some piece of furniture.

In any case as I walk around the apartment muttering like an old man, “there’s freakin’ feathers everywhere!” I noticed she stayed on her cage more and didn’t follow me around.

Catherine had mentioned this about her diminished flight ability but although I normally listen to her EVERY word, somehow that conversation escape me. The conversation got resurrected we both watched or missed her target of the computer monitor.

the good ole days before the molt when mantle landings were like commuter airliners

This is when we realized that the rest of the chopped off flight feathers were not under furniture but still part of her wings and upon investigation those were about all that were left in the middle of the molt.

Once again the bird is the teacher. We now know to watch the activities of our bird during a molt because the diminish flight activity could result in an accident.

Can the Hagen Prime be given Eclectus?


Eclectus are EXTREMELY sensitive to vitamins. They CANNOT be given the MAN MADE supplements. ALL vitamins MUST be organic


we advocate not to give eclectus vitamins at all organic or not because of their elongated digestive systems. The only way to know if your bird is vitamin deficient is to get a blood panel workup at the vet

Pellets work well but if you;re having trouble converting you might like this Eclectus mix from Volkman.


Can Older Parrots Learn New Tricks? Yes and No!

Steve hartman, one of the most knowledgeable parrot breeders on the planet, helps us understand our adult bird’s psyche, providing answers to why we may fail our bird’s due to our lack of understanding about their intellectual development.


baby catalina macaws

In the article Steve is asked Is the training of adult birds is nearly impossible?

To provide a correct answer it is necessary to ask two questions.

  1. Can a properly raised parrot be a great pet and continue to learn to fit in with the family for life?
  2. Will many pet parrots be difficult to deal with and untrainable as they become mature adults?

The answer to both questions is YES. Read more

written by mitch rezman

approved by catherine tobsing

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