Why doctors should be prescribing pet birds

Today its email, or you are pinned – tweeted – snapchatted – facebooked and plussed 

Back in the day some announcer would say “keep those cards and letters coming” 

I miss those days  – you knew where your bread was buttered and you only had white, wheat or rye. Shopping was easy. 

 so I get this email

We have had our 22 or 23 year old loved blue gold macaw since she was about 10 months old. Unfortunately, I have been diagnosed with interstitial lung disease.

My pulmonologist has indicated that having our Bird Enki is increasing the deterioration of my lungs. We would like to find Enki a good home. She has a zoo quality cage which she can take with her.

 woman hold blue and gold macaw on right arm face to face

from Wikipedia we learn:

Pulmonology is a medical specialty that deals with diseases involving the respiratory tract.The term is derived from the Latin word pulmo, pulmonis (“lung”) and the Greek -????a, -logia. Pulmonology is synonymous with pneumology, respirology and respiratory medicine. 

Find all our higgins bird food here

Pulmonology is known as chest medicine and respiratory medicine in some countries and areas. Pulmonologists are specially trained in diseases and conditions of the chest, particularly pneumonia, asthma, tuberculosis, emphysema, and complicated chest infections.

I’d like to point out how inefficient mammalian lungs are:

look at this mess

diagram human respiratory system

and when you watch them work

you really have to wonder how we are all still standing upright

some of you may remember Emma’s brilliant video on avian respiration

 I had dinner last night at the new restaurant on the moon my Yelp review reads: “great food – but no atmosphere” 

Being the cantankerous old guy that I am I wrote the following response:

sorry to hear of your demise –

I mean no disrespect with what I am about to say.

find all our hagen bird food here too

Enki’s lungs (and nine air sacs) are 100 times more sensitive than yours on a good day. She’s a South American bird so she has little dander. Theoretically she should molt once a year.

If her cage is kept clean by changing the paper in the bottom of it whenever she poops you can avoid fecal matter particulate in the air. A pellet diet or a blended diet like Tropimix from Hagen would eliminate the seed mess as all Tropimix seeds are hull free.

Add a HEPA (non-ionizing) air filter and the only thing the three of you would be missing is the sadness of not having her in your lives should she get re-homed.

Birds are nature’s first responders to declines in air quality.

What your pulmonologist advocated was to “remove the canary from the coal mine”.

coal miner holding canary in small cage

are you here in Chicago? I believe Suzie from Animal House mentioned your situation.

Please let me know your ZIP Code if you want to move forward in the rehoming process


 caveat: the words the resonate in my head are “We don’t have a cure for your disease so you’re demise is inevitable but we want you to take one of the most cherished living breathing things in your life away. It’s for the best”

 I’m struggling here people

 if you shop for air filters on the Internet you’ll see words like this:

“There are many reasons the GermGuardian 3-n-1 Air Cleaning System is Amazon’s Top Selling Air Purifier.

Aside from capturing 99.97% of allergens with its True HEPA filtration that gets dust mites, pet dander, pollen and more, it also reduces the odors that can filter throughout a home like pets, cooking and even smoking”.

Thus is it is opaque to me how this bird is going to make this individual’s health decline. I’ve seen cockatoo dander but I’ve also lived in Chicago for the better part of six decades and the dust is measurable on horizontal services with all the windows closed in the middle of winter and far exceeds the degradation of air quaility the flakes falling off those Australian species of parrots.

 I understand that I don’t have a medical degree. I respect medical degrees and understand my Google searches will never trump a medical (or veterinary) degree but I’m trying to wrap my head around this.

So I began to work the problem backwards. Can birds cause cancer – maybe it’s a real fear?

Excerpt from a letter in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 202(9):1345 (May 1, 1993), headed:

Question link between human lung cancer and pet bird exposure

by Frederick J. Angulo DVM MPVM, Robert C. Millikan DVM MPH, and Robert Malmgren PhD.

Determining whether an exposure causes a disease in an individual is difficult, but such determination can be supported by demonstrating biological plausibility.

Unfortunately, the mechanisms suggested by Kohlmeier et al. are not consistent with all available information.  

Although inhalation of avian antigens may cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis, neither hypersensitivity pneumonitis nor pulmonary fibrosis, which occasionally results, is associated with lung cancer. 

In addition, avian particulates, owing to their size, are not likely to reach the alveoli, nor have they been proven to be carcinogenic.

Finally a mycologic pathway is unlikely, given that pet birds seldom are a source of Cryptococcus neoformans, even among immunosuppressed individuals, because few birds shed this organism and there is little aerosolization from feces.

 african grey parrot wearing surgical mask

nope birds don’t cause cancer – not in the US – not in Europe

Lung Cancer. 2002 Jul;37(1):29-34.

Pet birds and risk of lung cancer in North-Western Germany.

Jöckel KH1, Pohlabeln H, Bromen K, Ahrens W, Jahn I.

Author information Abstract

 In a case-control study on lung cancer and occupational exposures, a subgroup of 144 cases and 253 population-based controls interviewed in the last 16 months of the study, were additionally asked about their exposure to pet birds and other pets. We used the same questionnaire as a previous German study that found a positive association between pet bird keeping and lung cancer.

Odds ratios were calculated for lifetime and adulthood exposure respectively. The adjusted odds ratio for ever keeping pet birds was 0.85 (95% CI: 0.53-1.35), and 0.87 (95% CI: 0.56-1.36) for adulthood exposure. There was no evidence of a trend for increasing lung cancer risk with duration of pet bird keeping.

With decreasing age at diagnosis, an apparent risk emerged, yielding an odds ratio of 7.62 (95% CI: 2.15-26.95) for ever versus never in the youngest age group (< or =55 years). This odds ratio was reduced to 3.82 (95% CI: 0.98-14.92) after adjustment for smoking and was only 1.39 (95% CI: 0.49-3.95) for adulthood exposure.

 In general, our results indicate that pet bird keeping does not seem to increase the risk of lung cancer.

 The divergent findings at younger ages may be explained by age-related recall bias, but should be investigated in future studies.

 If I had lung cancer I would want to know how dangerous my house – Turns out scientists in lab coats will come to your home and tell you how polluted the air you breathe in your how is or is not.


but no the doctor said “get rid of the bird”

 did the doctor say “get your air ducts cleaned” “test for mold” “install high functioning air filters” no he said “get rid of the bird” <-red flag

So I did a little more drilling on how birds can negatively impact the human respiratory system

which is easy if I borrow from Wikipedia:

Bird fancier’s lung is a type of hypersensitivity pneumonitis caused by bird droppings. The lungs become inflamed with granuloma formation

benefits of Himalayan salt lampsAre Himalayan Salt Lamps to Parrots
what Coal Mines Were to Canaries?

 Bird fancier’s lung (BFL), also called bird-breeder’s lung and pigeon-breeder’s lung, is a subset of hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP). This disease is caused by the exposure to avian proteins present in the dry dust of the droppings and sometimes in the feathers of a variety of birds. Birds such as pigeons, parakeets, cockatiels, shell parakeets (budgerigars), parrots, turtle doves, turkeys and chickens have been implicated. 

 Getting back to the original diagnosis – I found this tidbit on Web M.D. Bacteria, viruses, and fungi are known to cause interstitial pneumonias. Regular exposures to inhaled irritants at work or during hobbies can also cause some interstitial lung disease. These irritants include: Asbestos Silica dust Talc Coal dust, or various other metal dusts from working in mining Grain dust from farming Bird proteins (such as from exotic birds, chickens, or pigeons)

 My suspicion is the doctor is following protocol – unfortunately it is not to scale because I think protocol refers to scenarios similar to this:

 People who work with birds or own many birds are at risk. Bird hobbyists and pet store workers may also be at risk.


I’ve never been to a poultry farm but I have been in a racing pigeon coop with about to 50 birds. This was also a problem during World War II when the Army had close to 1/2 million pigeons in the signal corps.

The Army eventually learned that several designs of coops had to be used based upon geography and more importantly they learned about the placement of the coops would help ensure the wind naturally take much of the avian protein particulate away naturally.

All bird coops have one or two doors – do you know why that is?

 Because if they had four doors they would be bird sedans.

 Is there anyone out there that can either back me up or dispute me on this?

If I was a pulmonologist I would have all of my patients rescue a pet bird and keep them in the house under the conditions I stated above.

There is no better first responder for the degradation of air quality than a pet bird

We know that Teflon can be lethal to birds but from the research I have done Teflon has never killed a human. It can in fact cause Polymer fume fever or fluoropolymer fever, also informally called Teflon flu June generating extreme flu like symptoms about six hours after exposure to the Teflon.

 BTW – once you scratch a Teflon pan particles degrade and end up in your food – nasty stuff

Don’t take it from me I was surprised to see that http://www.motherjones.com/ was not only still around but fully digital.

“DuPont has always known more about Teflon than it let on. Two years ago (2005)the EPA fined the company $16.5 million—the largest administrative fine in the agency’s history—for covering up decades’ worth of studies indicating that PFOA could cause health problems such as cancer, birth defects, and liver damage”. more here

 moral of this tail?

 not all doctors are named “Doolittle”

 written by mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing

your zygodactyl foot note


The green wing macaw blue front amazon rescue caper part 1/2

Popcorn update:


Catherine, me and our avian vet Dr. Byron decided to bypass the brooding period. We just exposed Popcorn to 72 hours of light to help (hoping) shut down the reproductive system and stem the production of fluid in her abdomen. This past Friday he tapped 7 mL from the right side and 1 mL from the left side and scheduled another tap for next Friday. The cells in the fluid really have not changed in appearance. It’s either an ovarian cyst or tumor. For now I’ll take the tapping over surgery. She gets her meds twice a day. She is not happy about that so I give her a couple of Higgins Millet Bits after each dose. It’s adding to her weight slightly but I don’t care; it’s comfort food for her.

From my inbox:




I am not sure if you can send me in the right direction but I love your weekly newsletters which has helped me with my babies. I adopted a Lilac crowned Amazon 4 years ago from a co-worker whose mother in law passed. on 8/01/14 I adopted a Blue Fronted Amazon who was almost dead from neglect and has serious PTSD issues. Your site helped me and I am proud to say I am now able to hold Paco bare armed as of last month with minimal damage.


My local pet store owner told me about the greenwing Macaw and the little blue front whose owners had passed and the son cannot keep them and he asked her if she knew of a good parrot mom, she said she did so when I came in for my special order, I walked out with a phone number. The Maccaw and a Bluefront (sic) were raised together – their owner had died and the son cannot keep them. I went to see them yesterday he has them in his garage which has heat but there is no question that I will adopt them and give them love and a forever home they are healthy and were cared for but I told him that I need to wait two weeks while I make room in my home and order a few supplies. Of course I will get my toys and food from you my problem is the cage.



The one he has is appropriate but 20 years old and I will not be able to get it up my stairs. Instead of spending days on the internet, I thought you may point me in the direction of the best place to buy a good new or used cage that is suitable that breaks down so it can be stairs friendly for 200 or less. I will keep the other cage for outdoor use in good weather. I tried searching locally for possible used cages and of course nothing when I need it. I am bringing them home on the 4th or 5th and would like to have them in the same room as my other birds.

My birds are in their cages when I work but when I get home at 6 or so they are downstairs with me until 11 at night to have their dinner and hang out on the perches we have downstairs. You business truly seems to be all about the birds so I figured I would ask you if you had any ideas for me. I have to be careful on what I am spending to take in these new kids as my husband of 24 years loves me and likes our birds, if I empty our account saving the world, he will not be a happy camper!


Paco is now happy and health although I do have many war wounds from his PTSD. Much better now, worst I get is a bruise. It is because of all of the newsletters that Mitch provides weekly that I believe I am able to love and hold my Paco now. I LOVE your newsletters and that you all seem to care so much about the birds as I do. A big thank you for that.




I am rearranging my whole house for these birds. Of course I will not skimp on the cage. It is just financially at the moment, even though the adoption fee is reasonable, I will have to purchase toys and their pellets and playstands so I am scrambling to try to figure out what I need in the next two weeks. I cannot afford a new cage for the Macaw until about April since all I have left to spend on this rescue I am guessing is about 200.00 for the cage. The cage he already has it HUGE and suitable.


The reason I wanted a new one, was because the one he has, does not breakdown as it is 20 years old and there is no way I will ever get it up my stairs which is where my birdroom is. I wanted to be able to keep them all together while the news babies adjust to a new home and while they are mourning for their owners.



If I have a pet emergency my husband will not balk at my hitting the savings but if I start hitting the account or running up the charge cards, he would come unstuck. He is a good man, loves me, puts up with the birds and is glad that I am going to give them a new home but my initial spending has to be frugal as this was such a last minute adoption. Thank you for the reply, and for your good newsletters.


I will give these birds a good and loving and happy healthy life. I will just move some of my living room furniture into the garage for the next few months and leave the Macaws cage downstairs. Not ideal but we will make it work while I start saving for an appropriate cage for him that is stair friendly and will breakdown for moving and cleaning. I will keep checking your site and hope for a huge sale around April or keep looking for a used cage in my area that may pop up. I can always use the new cage I bought for one of my Amazons of the new one! Robin 🙂


Robin Robin Robin


mitch here


Kudos for the desire to be the Mother Teresa of parrots in your hometown. Your strategy may require some additional thought.



The ouija, aka a spirit board or talking board, is a flat board marked with the letters of the alphabet, the numbers 0–9, the words “yes”, “no”, “hello” (occasionally), and “goodbye”, along with various symbols and graphics.


It uses a planchette (small heart-shaped piece of wood or plastic) as a movable indicator to indicate a spirit’s message by spelling it out on the board during a séance. Participants place their fingers on the planchette, and it is moved about the board to spell out words.


“Ouija” is a trademark of Hasbro, Inc but is often used generically to refer to any talking board. Spiritualists believed that the dead were able to contact the living and reportedly used a talking board very similar to a modern Ouija board at their camps in Ohio in 1886 to ostensibly enable faster communication with spirits.


Following its commercial introduction by businessman Elijah Bond on July 1, 1890, the Ouija board was regarded as an innocent parlor game unrelated to the occult until American Spiritualist Pearl Curran popularized its use as a divining tool during World War I.



Some predictions from mitchr


Paco & Quincy stress point 1 – Rearranging the house


Paco & Quincy stress point 2 – New unknown birds in very close quarters


Paco & Quincy stress point 3 – nervous about losing you to the “new” flock


I know the acquisition of the two new birds is a major stress point for you, too – but here is one of many scenarios that can play out.


You can’t leave the 4 birds alone for a minute! That’s how birds get toes bittenoff and legs broken. The next thing that will be broken is your heart when you watch the two Blue Fronts mate regardless of sex because that’s what Amazons do.


You will be demoted from a bird companion (Paco & Quincy) to zookeeper. I would have the Amazons sexed so that you know if you need to take precautions which will avoid more little Amazons or at the very least increased aggression from the Amazons toward you.



Here’s where it gets good – I wouldn’t worry about getting the cage at this point. By the way there are no “new” $200 cages that will house a green wing macaw – this is because Green-Winged macaws are the second largest parrots in the macaw (entire parrot) family with only the Hyacinth macaw being larger. (Some additional reasons are stated below)


Let’s compare the size of Quincy, a Lilac crowned Amazon, and a Green Wing (aka green & red) macaw.


Quincy is a little longer than 1 foot (30.5 cm) and probably weighs 320 grams (maybe) (11 + ounces).


Greenwings are between 26 – 39 inches (66 – 99 cm) long beak-to-tail, have a 4 foot wingspan (about 120 cm) (104 – 125 cm) and weigh between 32 – 60 oz (900 – 1700 grams).


So this bird may be potentially five times bigger than Quincy (remember Paco & Quincy’s stress point 2).


And there’s that whole bigger-bird-bigger-brain-bigger-poop – thing.


Their beaks are basically 4 opposing razor blades with the ability to clamp down with more than 2,000 pounds of pressure per square inch – probably double the strength of Paco’s beak (think $200 cage).


You may no longer need to worry about the Amazons because the blue front will probably bond making it next to impossible to pry either one out of their cage – Amazons will decide to cohabitate when given the chance. Will Quincy become part of a threesome – doubtful.


What you really need to be prepared for is the destruction of your home and the self-destruction by the big green and red bird.


I made this video with big macaws and big cockatoos in mind.


Even with an endless source of material to chew


These work well:



It would be wise to take contraceptive measures for protecting woodwork in this new bird room. You’ll have an angry scared large parrot whose actions are unpredictable but I would plan for the worst.


If you have drywall in your home, I would advocate having it tested for formaldehyde. Birds see drywall as a source of calcium. A brooding green wing macaw can strip a room of drywall, door and window trim in a day.


This whole course of events may trigger feather plucking in a macaw which needs to be watched for in terms of the amount he or she is preening.


I’d probably invest in a box of these (my favorite for swimming and motorcycle riding because they not only keep my ears dry but block out 90% of the noise). Your Green Wing can scream as loud as a landing passenger jet, so you may need them.


Will any and/or all of this actually happen? Hard to say, Ouija boards are unreliable.


Mitch or other staff: One more question then I promise not to fill your in-box unless I get in a real pickle.


The birds and their cages will arrive Fri or Sat. They will be in carries. I plan to have fresh fruits and nuts at the ready I use fresh Pine Nuts and Pnuts as training treats


When I went to see the birds, they accepted grapes from my hand. I did not try to handle them, they did not lunge and were curious but I know better than to push yourself on a bird.


My question: I thought I would have Quincy my Lilac on his play stand and Paco on his playstand when the birds arrive. I will put Coco dog in my room or outside until the birds have calmed down. They also have a dog so once they are relaxed some, I will let coco meet them.



I was planning to let the Blue Front out first and place her on the play gym, then put on my leather coat which has a cast under it and see if the Macaw will step up to get out if she does not seem to be totally stressed offer her treats and see if she will not stay with me.


Their current care giver and his sons will be there but I thought they could be out of sight and I am thinking it may be better for me to be the one to remove them if they will let me. If the little one gives me a few hits, not a big deal, the Macaw, I will have to be very very careful. Thank you for the good wishes! Robin


I would advocate keeping Paco in Quincy in their cages for the introduction to reduce the chance of four panicked birds – Keep the questions coming this is great stuff.



Images and or video of the introduction would be greatly appreciated and I would make it worth your while


Talk soon – mitchr


Part 2/2 – next week


written by mitch rezman

approved by catherine tobsing


your zygodactyl foot note


The distinction between an avian veterinarian and a vet that will “see birds”

Pop quiz: it’s 7 o’clock on Saturday night and your pet has a veterinary emergency – what is the number you’re going to call?
Let’s start by setting aside the myth that all veterinarians can deal with every species of animal found on Noah’s Ark. Let’s talk about the path to becoming an “avian” vet.
Your new or soon to be, avian veterinarian’s learning emphasis will initially be on domestic animals (mammals), dogs, cats, cows, horses and so forth but if they want to learn exotics they have to elect to take additional courses.

The Best List of Presidential Pet Birds

Almost all of the 43 presidents, from George Washington to President Obama have had at least one pet. Information is sketchy so we tried to aggregate all the facts we could find about presidential pet bird ownership
George Washington (1789 -1791) Had Polly the parrot which was actually Martha’s. Apparently George was an impulse buyer because he got the parrot from a trading ship having come all the way from the west Indies and had stopped at Mount Vernon. George didn’t like the bird – apparently the feeling was mutual and they kept a close eye on one another when in the same room.
More than a decade later he hired a carpenter to fix the cage of a bird no one can recall. His step granddaughter Nelly had what people remember as a “green” parrot.
I don’t want to label Martha as a “collector” but history tells us that several parrots lived at the Mount Vernon estate. In 1802 two years after George’s death a visitor to the estate noted that there were several species of parrots one of which was a cockatoo a very friendly cockatoo or so the story goes. Mrs. Washington died soon after the travelers visit.
James Madison (1809 -1817) Dolly Madison owned a Macaw that out lived both of them. When British troops set fire to the presidential residence during the War of 1812, she heroically rescued the parrot as the fire was engulfing the White House. 
Winston Churchill sitting at a glass table with 2 women & 5 parrots
President Roosevelt’s good friend and ally was quite fond of parrots.
Mrs. Madison would be seen entering a reception room with her macaw on her shoulder to help engage guests that were a bit introverted.
John Quincy Adams (1825–1829) Louisa Adams, wife of this president, known at the White House for her silkworms, also owned a parrot during her husband’s term.
Andrew Jackson (1829-1837) Pol the African Grey parrot had been bought as a gift for his wife Rachel. Unfortunately, Rachel died, and the President had to take care of Pol himself. 
Pol was taught to swear and screamed curse words at his funeral. The African Grey had to be ejected from the funeral ceremony when he started cursing in both English and Spanish, all learned from the president!
Zachary Taylor: (1849–1850) Had a canary Named Johnny Ty Not to be confused with the Zachary Taylor American who was the first baseman in the National Baseball Association for the 1874 Baltimore Canaries.
James Buchanan (1857–1861) He had a terrible presidency but owned a cool pair of bald eagles given to him is gifts to somehow make up for his lack of a wife (he had an elephant too – must have been a Republican).
Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877) We only have historical references that he owned a parrot as well as other pets.
 Thomas Jefferson thought of Mockingbirds as “superior beings in the form of a bird.”
Thomas Jefferson and his Mockingbird
Rutherford B. Hayes (1877 – 1881) Hayes had four Canaries with clipped wings (and a Mockingbird). It’s said one of the canaries regularly spent time between one of his cats paws (in a a good way)
Abraham Lincoln (March 1861 – 1865) Mr. Lincoln was well known for his fondness of animals and would rescue them on a regular basis 
– Here’s one account: “Oh,” said he, “when I saw him last” (there had been a severe wind storm), “He (Lincoln) had caught two little birds in his hand, which the wind had blown from their nest, and he was hunting for the nest”. 
He finally found the nest, and placed the birds, to use his own words, “in the home provided for them by their mother”. When he came up with the party they laughed at him. Said he, earnestly, “I could not have slept tonight if I had not given those two little birds to their mother’ Kenneth A. Bernard, Glimpses of Lincoln in the White House, Abraham Lincoln Quarterly, December 1952, p. 168.
Thomas Jefferson (1891 – 1809) Had a Mockingbird (now the Texas state bird) he bought for five shillings from one of the slaves of his father-in-law John Wayles. 
In 1803 Jefferson paid $10 and $15 which was the going rate for the price of the “singing Mockingbirds”. The person he bought them from saying the birds knew American, Scottish and French tunes and could imitate all the birds of the woods.
He took one of them to France where the bird learned more sounds that added to his American repertoire. Because the trip to Europe trip took a month the bird learned to imitate the creaking of the ship’s timbers.
Thomas Jefferson thought of Mockingbirds as “superior beings in the form of a bird.” He had several pet Mockingbirds, but his favorite was named “Dick,” a somewhat underwhelming name when compared to the names of his horses and dogs (Cucullin, Fingal, Bergere, Armandy, etc). TJ cherished Dick “with a peculiar fondness,” and the bird returned his affection.
Dick often flew freely around the room, and would perch on Jefferson’s shoulder to eat bits of food from his lips. When it was time for the afternoon siesta, Dick would hop up the stairs to Jefferson’s bed chamber and literally sing him to sleep. (Monticello.org)
Ulysses S. Grant (1869–1877) Had a parrot – not much else is known
Grover Cleveland (1885-1889 and 1893-1897) Had several canaries and mockingbirds belonging to Mrs. Frances Cleveland
William McKinley (1897–1901) Had a Double Yellow Headed Amazon parrot named “Washington Post” who would finish whistling the songs McKinley started whistling like Yankee Doodle Dandy
Never seen one of Teddy Roosevelt so young. Here's Theodore Roosevelt & "Eli Yale
Theodore Roosevelt Jr.
with his macaw Eli in the White House conservatory
Theodore Roosevelt (1901–1909) The Teddy Roosevelt-era White House was crawling with pets, including roosters and parrots. 
Once the president wrote to Joel Chandler Harris, author of the Uncle Remus stories, that he wasn’t so keen on his son Ted’s pet macaw a Hyacinth named Eli Yale “Eli is the most gorgeous macaw, with a bill that I think could bite through boiler plate, who crawls all over Ted, and whom I view with dark suspicion.”
Warren Harding (1921–23) Had a Canary named Bob
I would be remiss in not mentioning Pres. Roosevelt’s great friend and ally Winston Churchill who not only helped end World War II but was a lover and companion to a number of parrots. Unfortunately none of this has been substantiated. The claims that he had a macaw named Charlie that lived to be 114 have been rejected by the Churchill estate although the bird was very good at spewing anti-Nazi epitaphs.
Lady Soams, Churchill’s daughter Churchill’s daughter does acknowledge that Churchill did have an African gray for about three years which was sold when the family left Chartwell at the start of the war to move to London before her father became England’s Prime Minister.
Calvin Coolidge (1923–1929) – Had Nip and Tuck, yellow canaries , Snowflake a white canary, Old Bill a Thrush, Enoch a Goose and a Mockingbird, name unknown.
Former President Coolidge with a parrot as his wife and Mr. William Wrigley look on
Former President Coolidge with a parrot
as his wife and Mr. William Wrigley look on
John F. Kennedy (1961 – 1963) – Had Robin, a canary, Parakeets named Bluebell (after a famous racehorse) and Marybelle
Lyndon B. Johnson (1963 – 1969) – Owned Lovebirds
written by mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing

This condition could chiefly confront cockatiels all over creation

Popcorn, Catherine and I would like to thank all of you for the outpouring of your thoughts and prayers and similar stories.


Apparently the pilot we made here has evolved into a mini-series. The more we drill down the more we find that this condition (Acites) is quite prevalent in cockatiels and other prolific egg laying species like lovebirds and budgies.


Back story: How droopy wings sent us flying to our avian vet this morning


I will not apologize for sounding like a broken record when I say – PLEASE – weigh your bird regularly at least once a week. It is a cheap but very effective way in determining a possible medical problem with your bird.


You are seeking not the individual day-to-day, week-to-week or month-to-month numbers. You are looking for a trend – up or down.


Let’s put things in visual perspective

xray of avian torso with annotations


We do weigh Popcorn regularly. Why didn’t we pick up her trend? We did but made the assumption that her weight gain was related to the production of eggs which we were expecting to see again until we ended up here based on the droopy wings and the labored breathing.


To put it in slightly more technical terms, we mistook Popcorn’s abdominal distention as possible egg binding or a reproductive issue when in fact it was abdominal fluid accumulation.


To complicate matters we find out there are about five different kinds of fluids that can end up in your bird’s belly, all based upon various conditions. Apparently veterinarians split them into two types.


From Wikipedia: Transudate is extravascular fluid with low protein content and a low specific gravity. An exudate is a fluid emitted by an organism through pores or a wound, a process known as exuding. Popcorn’s fluid is transudate.



Buy scales to weigh live birds on Windy City ParrotBuy bird health care products here


The saga continues:


Popcorn was very low-energy all day Sunday. When I awoke Monday morning, she was puffy, her wings were drooping and she was clearly distressed – breathing hard. She’d also moved back onto the heated thermal perch – I made an appointment for 2:30 pm at Animal House.


Dr. Jenny was off but Dr. Byron (Chief of Staff) was working and would be treating Popcorn today. We talked about Friday’s visit and the amount of fluid Dr. Jenny had pulled out (about 9 ml). We also discussed the nature of the fluid, where it was coming from and if her skin would get tight again.


Dr. Byron admitted that he was a little more “aggressive” with birds in a veterinary sort of way, as Dr. Jenny was probably more aggressive with her treatment of cats. After draining Popcorn’s abdominal fluid, Dr. Byron brought in a syringe filled with 12 ml of this yellow viscous substance.


1 ml of fluid is equivalent in weight to about 1 gram, so Popcorn lost 12 g or about 5% of her body weight from this fluid draining procedure.


Birds don’t have diaphragms so they shouldn’t be “panting” like mammals but the fluid was pressing organs up under her lungs causing the pressure and discomfort. It (the fluid) has the potential to drown a bird or suffocate one with too much pressure on its 9 air sacs.


diagram of hypdermic needle inserted into birds abdomen


The fluid could be coming from anywhere, liver, kidney, tumor or an ovarian cyst. We won’t know until we see when and if the fluid returns. At that point (when we determine a source) Popcorn will require surgery.


The best outcome from that would be not to find a tumor but to find a non-malignant ovarian cyst that can be cauterized.


Side trip: While Dr. Byron was speaking to me I was looking directly at his big black eye and bruised cheek. I asked him if he had been in the flight? “No” was his reply. “I got hit by a distracted driver, while riding my bicycle. First, I’m riding and then I’m looking at the front of her grill”. He’ll be fine. I didn’t ask for a picture.


A huge problem with cockatiels which we talk about repeatedly is their propensity to lay eggs, something Dr. Byron was very familiar with. He was clearly impressed that we shut down the egg machine using the 72-hour continuous light cycle – among other procedures.


Reflecting back on the x-ray and the weird white spot in the lower abdomen the possibility existed that could be an unfertilized egg that never made it out. To reduce the risk of further reproduction Popcorn was given an injection of Lupron.


avian reproduction system diagram


Lupron is a drug that is made for humans but crosses over to veterinary medicine. For humans it acts as a sex hormone suppressor and can treat endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and premature puberty. It can also treat prostate cancer. For birds it chemically shuts down their reproductive system.


The bill was lower than I expected, $131. We did not make a follow-up visit appointment because we going to play it day-by-day.


She was still puffy, low energy not very hungry and probably uncomfortable from the really big needle that was necessary to drain all of that fluid. She was also a little chilly now, to be expected on the 20° Chicago winter day going to and from the car.


I just put her in her cage, and brought over a second oil filled heater to surround the cage with warmth. In about three hours she seemed back to her normal self. Eating and following us around the apartment again.


Tuesday she was quiet but Wednesday she seemed back to her old self. Flying to and from the kitchen being very chatty looking much like a healthy cockatiel.


Today is Thursday and she was panting again albiet very slightly and the wings were drooping again – very slightly. So this (Thursday) evening we went to see Dr. Byron again and he drained another 13 ml of this yellow viscous fluid. If you’re keeping score it looks something like this 9 ml + 12 ml + 13 ml = 34 ml drained from my bird’s abdomen this week. More than the total weight of your average budgie (about 25 g).


We are now weighing her daily before the vet visit today she weighed 111 g on the best bird scale ever and when she got home tonight she weighed 100 g.


So I thought I would talk about this yellow viscous substance. That’s because if you have birds that are prone to laying more eggs especially cockatiels, yours is a candidate for what I’ve come to known as something called Ascites.



Part of Popcorn’s daily routine


Surprisingly some big birds like Scarlet macaws will actually produce tiny quantities of the fluid in response to related issues as opposed to cockatiels that somehow produce a huge amount of fluid in relation to the size of their body.


If you were wondering how much the bird gets poked when the fluid is being drained, I found that it’s best to use an optimistically sized syringe, something that would have far more capacity than whatever a cockatiel could produce. The procedure is called abdominocentesis.


By doing so, the needle is only being inserted into the bird twice, once to the right and once to the left side of the abdominal cavity. The veterinarian slowly rotates the syringe to ensure consistent aspiration because, much like a sock can clog a vacuum hose, a small piece of tissue or biological debris can stop the flow of the fluid in the angular pointed needle.


Where the fluid is coming from is anyone’s guess. It could be coming from the ovary, liver or a tumor. A bird’s single ovary is very difficult to access surgically because of where it is.


Once the fluid is extracted it’s looked at under a microscope for the condition of three types of mesothelial cells – basically the good, the bad, the ugly. He (Dr. Byron) is looking for a trend seeking the reduction of the bad and/or the ugly cells.


Our goal is to possibly get to the point where the fluid is reabsorbed by the body, assuming production of the fluid doesn’t surpass absorption.


We will continue to introduce (orally) Meta Cam (anti-inflammatory) once a day and Cefa drops (antibiotic) twice a day for a 10 day treatment.


I paid the bill which was exactly $100 and made an appointment for Tuesday evening (in 5 days) to see Dr. Jenny.


written by mitch rezman

approved by catherine tobsing


your zygodactyl footnote


Why birds have no external sex organs

How droopy wings sent us flying to our avian vet this morning

We keep the apartment at a cool 65° but Popcorn has an oil filled heater next to her cage and old-fashioned mercury thermometer next to her cage so we know that she’s in a temperature comfort zone. 

She had been spending a lot more time in her bird cage – subdued. we attributed it to the cool apartment meaning she Enjoyed staying warm in her cage 

I had run errands earlier and when I got home she had moved from one of her Booda perches that she sleeps and spends most of her time on to her heated perch. I didn’t give it a second thought. 

Read moreHow droopy wings sent us flying to our avian vet this morning

Get your bird to accept pellets with great seed mixes from Higgins

I did this one getting this so I can stay warm Editor’s note: we don’t know what bird food your bird will like any more than if you are a fan of “Transparent” “Scandal” or “The Walking Dead” on Netflix.


We do know that instinctively your bird has a desire to “search” or “forage” for food seven days a week. Have you asked yourself why you have filled up six food dishes in your bird’s cage because your bird will be locked up for 12 hours during YOUR workday? Have you considered that your bird would really rather have his or her OWN workday rather than six dishes overflowing with food?


In the wild natural feeding times are about a 1/2 hour after sunrise and again at about a 1/2 hour before sunset. Perhaps you should try to introduce (new) foods within this time frame.


Big birds may enjoy fruits and vegetables throughout the day to munch on and play with. Sticking close to these feeding times will be most natural for your companion birds. Larger breeds can have fruits or vegetables left in the cage through the day for snacking and entertainment.


Smaller breeds will typically have seed left in the cage throughout the day. They (smaller birds) need to eat more frequently throughout the day due to their higher metabolic rate and energy needs.



If you introduce veggies to your small or large bird, frozen mixed vegetables are cheap and easy at around a dollar a package. It’s not required to allow them to thaw before placing in the cage early in the day. In winter we like to run some cold water over them for about 10 seconds just to get the chill off. They will stay fresher longer.


Windy City Parrot is determined to satisfy the nutritional needs of approximately 350 species of parrots and 372 species of parakeets. If you combine all the Hookbills, Hardbills, Softbills and Waxbills we figure we can provide nutritional advice and support for about 1000 species.


Furry factoid: there is only one species of dog (Google it)


How hard can it be to feed a dog?

If it’s a smart dog it will feed itself.


Editor’s note : I have a friend who just got a dog that’s half pitbull and half Collie. First it bites you and then it runs for help (my only dog joke).


The captive birds that we keep locked up in their cages, have no nutritional choice. It’s totally up to the humans. Thus to the non-caged Bird keeper, bird food is something that is sold in big bags at Menards cheaply, and will satisfy the need of any bird. We like to make the distinction that our pet birds are so much more sophisticated than those “wild backyard” birds.


But even wild birds have different nutritional needs. Woodpeckers eat differently than hummingbirds who eat differently than orioles. In reality all birds in the wild (including the one pooping on the cage behind you), are scavengers. In their natural habitat birds will eat almost anything BUT are guided by what mother nature has ingrained in them, to seek out.



Scientifically “exotic” birds can be classified by their diets.


Granivore – Primary diet of grains and seeds

Parrots we consider Grainovores are Budgerigar, Cockatiel, Hyacinth macaw


Frugivore – Primary diet of mostly fruits and flowers with some additional nuts and seeds – Parrots we consider Frugivores are Blue-throated macaw, Green-winged macaw


Florivore – Primary diet of seeds, fruits, nuts, bark, roots, and berries – parrots we consider Florovores are Military macaw, and Blue and gold macaw


Omnivore – Primary diet of seeds, fruits, insects, and invertebrates – parrots we consider Omnivores are Blue-throated macaw, Green-winged macaw


Nectarivore – Primary diet of nectar, pollen, and some insects and seeds – Parrots we consider Nectivores are Lorikeets


Now we know that if we see a picture of a macaw on a bag of bird food, that food is not necessarily suitable for “your” macaw. To muddy the waters further a scarlet macaw is classified as a frugivorous-granivorous “crossing over” with their diet.



It’s obvious here is that we have multiple species of macaws in different dietary categories. As an example Hyacinth macaws prefer palm nuts as their primary source of nutrition while budgies are seed eaters. But our birds aren’t in the wild they’re in our homes and they’re not very active and so they have a lesser need for so many calories.


The “experts” tell us that our pet bird’s diet should be 50% commercial food and 50% fresh food. How much of this bowl of fresh food is Popcorn going to actually consume? Personally I think 50% fresh food is a pretty optimistic number which brings us back to commercial diets.


Like she even cares let alone

gets as far as the one piece of brown lettuce


Most birds like seed-based diets for the same reason you and I like French fries and potato chips – the fat which makes the nummy flavor while adding inches to our hips. So how is the information I’ve laid out so far going to help you select your next bag of bird food?


If you spend any time on our website you’ll see that we have buttons in the majority of our listings explaining what “size bird” that particular product is suitable for. This helps somewhat with the “size?” of the seed/nut/pellet relative to the size of the bird.





Last week we briefly talked about peanuts and birds. Birds should have unsalted peanuts. The normal human response to an unsalted nuts of any kind is “eww”. I like salted peanuts in the shell”. The question I need answered is – how do they get the peanuts to taste salty while the “nut” never leaves the “shell”?


Short answer: the shelled peanuts are soaked in a brine solution and then the air is sucked out of the peanuts so the salty brine gets pulled inside the peanut shells.

these actually look pretty good


The bird food manufacturers all make similar claims about their bird seed being “vitamin fortified.” Unlike the folks who make salted peanuts, the companies making bird seed blends are adding their vitamin and supplement fortifications to the out side of the husks and shells.


For those of you that have not purchased one of our mess-less acrylic feeders I would like you to take a moment and look at the debris under your bird’s cage. During molting season there will be feathers in addition to what you’re looking at now. I can guarantee you that will there will always be plenty of husks and shells that have been discarded by your bird in the process of consuming nuts and seeds.


Those husks and shells, on the floor under your cage is where all the “added” vitamins supplements and minerals went.


I rest my case

Feathered factoid: as much as 30% of a bird’s calories are used in the production and maintenance of feathers


What got me started on this whole picking the right bird food for my bird thing was the reorganization of how we present our ALL products to you. We have re-thought our website by paying special attention to help you find answers quicker.


To make it easier to find things, once you land on the “nutrition” category, all products are one click away on any category. Less clicking, less “drilling down”, finding the next sub of this and sub of that.


When you search other websites selling bird food you’ll see articles on things like Nutrient Requirements of pet birds. What Protein & Amino Acids your birds need to survive. Which vitamins are necessary to keep your bird’s metabolism functioning perfectly.


Minerals – we talk a lot about calcium in brooding birds but what other minerals do our birds require? Should I feed my bird a “formulated” aka “pellet” diet, a seed diet or a blended diet. At the end of the day they always cover their ass by saying “but be sure to consult with your avian veterinarian.”



I love this picture – it redefines what dumbasses we all are. Much like as little as 20 years ago the “experts” thought that red eclectus and green eclectus parrots were two separate species – a year or two ago, a backyard birder in Australia discovered that sweet little lorikeets slurped more than nectar and ate more than seeds, They’re CARNIVORES (meat eaters) – our birds have so much to teach us.


A lot of these articles summarize with something like “make sure you talk to your avian veterinarian about proper nutrition”. Their definition of proper nutrition is what they are stocking in inventory, meaning they will try to sell you what they have “on hand”. The sell what you got in stock retailer mentality.


This is why regardless of your plans on Saturday, you end up at our “Birdie Brunch” on Sunday. Helping us to set the record straight.


I don’t care if you buy a thing but I’d really like you to visit our new nutrition category to tell us if we are doing the right thing? Could we organize it any better? Could we make it more educational? Please post your comments below.


We hear the words “my bird won’t….” Fill in the blank – a lot. Perhaps the time it is convenient for you to feed your bird is not the time nature intended for your bird to eat.



Let’s talk about Higgins. They make an engineered pellet called InTune. If you are concerned that your bird won’t accept pellets, every other bird food in the HIggins line has InTune pellets as part of the formula. Your bird is getting engineered nutrition in every seed and fruit blend Higgins offers without knowing it and without having the opportunity to reject a dish of of pellet bird food – out of hand. InTune pellets bind their entire bird food line together making it ideal for any exotic bird.


It’s no accident that Higgins is popular with caged bird keepers. What sets them apart is the depth of the product line. It’s not that they offer simply a lot of products, they “brand” each of their seven lines into seven unique caged Bird keeper solutions.




So Good You’ll Want To Eat It (But Save Some For Your Bird)! We eat it – it’s actually quite tasty. Sunburst (formerly named Snack Attack)


Sunburst Diets (TM) are unique blends of seeds, pasteurized, like our Higgins Nederlands Vita Seeds, but with additional fruits and nuts and more exotic seeds that birds really enjoy.


These premier Gourmet avian exotic tropical mixtures birds cannot resist. Loaded with natural goodies. You’ll be impressed by not only the premium quality of the ingredients but the quantity of select natural treats.


Pasteurize (defined by mitchr): too far to see.

Vita Seed


Higgins Nederlands Vita Seed® brand is now Higgins Vita Seed® natural with added vitamins, minerals and trace nutrients. Vita Seed® is now free of artificial colors! Vita Seed is also free of artificial preservatives and flavors and enriched with DHA and balanced Omega-3 fatty acids to


Support the immune system as well as encapsulated pro-biotics for a healthier digestive tract.


Vita Seed® blends premium seeds with dried fruits, vegetables and nuts for added variety and nutrition to your pet’s diet. Vita Seed® also contains Higgins inTune® Natural extruded morsels for added nutrition. Vita Seed® is available in shelf-sized, stand-up, resealable packaging as well as resealable, barrier bulk bags.




Higgins uses natural and healthy, high end sources for nutritional fat like coconut fat and macadamia nut meal. Many competing brands use economical and simple vegetable or soy oil as their source of fat.

InTune does not use chemical preservatives like Ethoxyquin and BHA/BHT used by competing brands.


Is free of fillers like wheat middlings, a wheat mill by-product with no nutritional value. The two leading competing brands list wheat middlings as their sixth ingredient on their respective ingredient labels. inTune’s sixth ingredient on their labels: bananas.


The bird food also uses encapsulated pro-biotics to help insure a higher level of live, digestive cultures. Competing brands use freeze dried pro-biotics that do not have a long shelf life.


Mayan Harvest


Mayan Harvest is Higgins’ newest and most innovative seed brand yet. Inspired by the lost civilization that cherished and worshiped the native birds of the South America, Mayan Harvest brings together exotic, natural ingredients and holistic herbs.


The results are premium seed, nut and fruits blended to be as unique as its name. Mayan Harvest is free of artificial colors and preservatives. All the diets in the Mayan Harvest brand contain natural bee pollen.


Gourmet Blends by Higgins. NO Artificial Colors, No Artificial Preservatives.


Safflower Gold 


Safflower Gold is now Natural with added vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Safflower Gold has no sunflower seeds and uses premium gourmet ingredients that are free of artificial colors and preservatives. DHA and balanced Omega-3 fatty acids are added to support the immune system as well as encapsulated probiotics, ensuring a higher level of active in beneficial microorganisms for a healthier digestive system.


Safflower Gold also has Higgins InTune Natural extruded morsels for added nutrition. Available in 3 pound and 25 pound poly laminated, resealable bags in Cockatiel & Conure size and Parrot size.

Snack Attack

Higgins, the avian and small animal specialists who formulate the freshest premium diets available, now bring you the best treats for your pet bird.


Place a treat stick in your pet’s cage in an area that’s easily accessible. Attach stick to cage by twisting the wire fastener around a horizontal bar or put into the new LIXIT Treat Stick Holder item #10401601041


Higgins, the avian and small animal specialists who formulate the freshest premium diets available, now bring you the best treat for your pet. Higgins Gourmet Treat Sticks are the treat feasts your pets have been waiting for.

Worldy Cuisines
Higgins Worldly Cuisines are the natural, healthy foods that add variety to a companion birds daily diet. Worldly Cuisines will transport your customers bird food to different parts of the world with human edible ingredients.


These exotic cuisines contain wholesome ingredients like sea kelp, organic couscous, basmati rice, papaya, apples, cranberries, lentils, dates, tomatoes, anise, ginger and more!


Editors note: if you’re curious to know the names of the species on the Higgins category icons, you’ll have to visit our nutrition category where we have a clickable link to mapping all 44 species on that page.

Now available in microwaveable bags

There are even cuisines that include organic quinoa, known for being one of the best sources of vegetable protein. Worldly Cuisines cook up fast on your stove top and fill the air with an intoxicating aroma of different spices.
Parrot owners will not only enjoy in the easy preparation of Worldly Cuisines but will participate in the satisfaction their bird receives in foraging and eating this unique food. In re-sealable, nitrogen flushed barrier bags.


written & approved by

catherine tobsing & mitch rezman


your zygodactyl footnote






so do u know any cockatoo rescues??

Mj Bryant (redmagnet@att.net) wrote:
so do u know any cockatoo rescues??
Nora Caterino (responds for Windy city Parrot)
Jan 31 (4 days ago)
to redmagnet
Hi Mj, I’m sorry to hear you are considering giving up a cockatoo to a rescue. ?Do you mind if I ask why you are doing this? Perhaps it is a problem we could help you solve if it is due to behavior.
First of all, I would not look for a “rescue” unless you feel the bird can never live in a loving home with people. Rescues only take birds and keep them, sometimes using them for breeding but they do not rehome them even though there are people out there that willingly take in problem or even handicapped birds and turn them into loving companions through the use of steady, unconditional love, patience, often medical care, a good diet and housing situation and everything the bird needs to be happy.
rose breasted cockatoo launched form mans hand
rose breasted cockatoo aka galah
If the cockatoo can live in a home, even if it is a plucker or screamer, I would try to place it in a bird adoption center. In these centers they get the bird in good health if it isn’t, take care of its needs, and when it is accessed as adoptable, place it onto the adoption list which usually has a rehoming charge but much less than the bird would be if bought in a store or from a breeder. Every bird deserves a loving home and even if the bird is not happy living with you or is not tame, someone with the time and patience may be able to teach the cockatoo to be a loving companion. These centers screen the prospective adoptive homes to ensure the bird will have space and a healthy living situation. They also pay follow up visits to check on the bird during the first year or two.
You could also place an listing on Craigslist for a free Cockatoo and provide an honest description of him/her including whatever problems are causing you to give the bird up.. Do screen the responders carefully to be sure they aren’t going to sell the bird and will really give it a loving home. Ask about their knowledge of caring for birds, housing, diet, etc. and a turn away anyone that doesn’t sound as if they are going to care for the bird. If they don’t understand what caring for a big, often loud, messy bird is like, they shouldn’t get yours.
never argue with an umbrella cockatoo
But many birds find great homes this way. If you read my articles about getting Kiwi, he was listed on Craigslist and the lady had received many calls but when she asked the people what they planned to do with the bird, many said they wanted to sell it. I called and said I wanted to give him a good home and didn’t not plan to use him as a breeder unless he indicated that was what he wanted, so I got Kiwi. Screening thoroughly is important because someone might take your bird for free and sell it for quite a bit of money.
I do not know where you live, but to locate a bird adoption center or, if you must, a bird rescue center, simply perform a search with “cockatoo adoption center <your city and state>” and you will likely get a large list in the return. Do visit the center, whichever type you choose, and be sure the birds are well cared for and the people care for them properly.
Search for a l local Cockatoo owners club, easily found on facebook or by search engine because these people already know about ‘toos and would likely want the bird or know someone with bird knowledge that would want him. If you were near me in FL, I would love to take a cockatoo but I doubt you are in FL.
Also, if your local zoo has a free flight aviary, they often accept donations of birds. But first I’d try to locate an adoption center.
male and females carnaby's black cockatoos
carnaby’s black cockatoos
Sorry this email is so long, but I do hate to see someone have to give up their bird but if they must, iit deserves the chance to have a good home unless it can’t possibly live with people, and very few bird fit into this category.
Let me know what happens, please.
Best wishes,
Nora Caterino
first off, thanks so much for all the valuable information. i wish i were a better keyboarder and I would try to get to you as fast as [possible all about this bird.
First and foremost, i would NEVER say “Lovie” (which should have been HANNIBAL) is not fit to live with a family; she can be very loving, very funny and she is so intuitive.
male and female gang gang cockatoo
male (left) gang gang cockatoos
she was purchased, originally, for a five yr. old girl and we know how that went and then she was moved around to about 3 or 4 homes before i met her at my neighbors house. My neighbor had a macaw and Lovie in her own cage just sat there like a lump. as soon as i walked in she brightened and i commented that she looked depressed. the neighbor just asked me if i wanted her, told me her story and i ent hoe and rad about cockatoos and their neediness and came back a week later and there she was sitting like a lump,,which she does…and i said no, i thought she would be too much for me; Ive been fostering rabbits and guinea pigs for yrs and i asked her what she would do with her…she said she would probably sent her to a breeder, and that was the magic word, because IVE SEEN SO MUCH MISERY FROM THE BACK YARD BREEDERS AND at the shelters where i have volunteered so much, i see the remnants.
I have had as many as 17 rabbits in this house at one time and they were all spayed as neutered as well as 7 guinea pigs…every cat i have ever had has been fixed; even the ferals i had to trap.!! I feel VERY strongly about unplanned animals coming into this world….so i just said, let me get a decent cage and I’ll take her. the breeding thing and the many moves in her young life just didnt seem right.
blue eyed cockatoo close up head shot
So fast forward to today…..she plucks, she bites and she screams..altho i have probably had the most success with the screaming by using behavior modification…I recently took her in for bloodwork to make sure the plucking was behavior..undoubtedly boredom. she is is very healthy, her bloodwork was perfect, her wt was perfect ..but even my vet commented how anxious and nervous she is….he prescribed valium and an antihistamine for the plucking…which i had compounded and was only able to get it into her maybe 5 times; then we’re done with that…it WAS helping..I was able to work with her alittle more than usual,thinking NOW was the time.
I had another flavor compounded but it sits in the fridge. she has NEVER been treat or food oriented…she could care less.
she bites when she is scared (duh) but you never KNOW what will scare her; it could be a band-aid on your finger or a three quarter length t-shirt. i have had a brace prescribed from my dr. for my thumb joint to prevent further erosion of the thumb joint till i have surgery, i CANNOT wear it anywhere around her…she’ll attack me.
sulfur crested cockatoo hanging upside down on tree branch
sulfur crested cockatoo
It took me almost 3 yrs to get her OFF seeds; over 2 yrs to get her eat bananas (fruit) and the same with an apple slice. she is like a pit-bull. she seemed MUCH happier when there was so much chaos with all the buns and the piggies and you would think she would have been jealous.
She may have just found the very entertaining, as they were.
Do i love her??? I adore her!!!! the reason i have kept her about 5 yrs longer than I should have is because I didnt want her going to be a breeder or to be SOLD!!
female red tail black cockatoo in flight
female red tail black cockatoo in flight
But the reality is I am obviously NOT a good bird person. I reinforce the wrong things…and ignore the right things,most likely..i really want my life back I AM EXHAUSTED OF BEING CONTROLLED BY A BIRD!! she WELL be naked if she doesnt stop picking…im tired of being bit…i have worked 47 yrs with the developmentally disabled and work in the skilled nursing aspect of the facility…(that alone should give you a hint as to my patience in certain areas) I just cant go i with bite wounds because of the types of bacteria there….besides the fact it hurts like heck!!
I think she may just require so much MORE that I have to give her anymore…its too much.!!
majpr mitchell cockatoo
major mitchell cockatoo
I DO NOT work full-time, i am semi retired now so i work 10 days a month and the rest i am home. she is out of her cage every day;unless she’s a butt then she goes back in for 10 min or so and then out again. i AM NOT one of those people who would put her in the basement and I DO HAVE ONE….or lock her away in another room far away…..thats abuse…but im kinda at my wits end.
I live in sonoma county, northern California. I DO DO C.L. but not FAcebook…and people LIE!! people lie about their intentions with animals…i have seen it so many times in the shelters where I have volunteered..my biggest fear is I would get someone and it would be the wrong person and she would be moved again. I KNOW enuff to know you cant move birds around like that!!
So..what do you think? Marti
sulfur crested & umbrella cockatoo arguing
you don’t want to get in the middle of this argument
Nora Caterino
Feb 1 (3 days ago)
to redmagnet, Mitch, Catherine
You are welcome MJ, unfortunately we have not been able to come up with a viable solution to your situation. In some cases surrendering the bird for adoption really is the best thing for them. I wish I could give you a magic solution but there simply isn’t one for Lovie and you. I know you will do the best thing for her and find a good facility for her.
Windy City Parrot
written by nora caterino
approved by mitch rezman
your zygodactyl footnote
editors note: if we only knew what KIND of cockatoo Mj was talking about


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