Saturday, October 30, 2010

Trick or Treat?

How about this:

Give me a treat, or you may soon be known as the 9-Finger Lady!

Happy Halloween everyone!!!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

She Tempts Me, She Tempts Me Not?

In the course of my business interactions, today I came across a lady who has a budgie, two cockatiels, an umbrella cockatoo, an African Grey and an Orange Winged Amazon! Now, that's a bird room full! And to top it off, her daughter has a Green Cheeked Amazon. All were hand raised babies, and she seemed to be a caring and knowledgeable companion to her large flock.

Orange Winged Amazons (along with Lilac Crowned Amazons) are generally known to be amongst the calmer of amazons, usually good talkers and make great companion birds:

Beautiful, yes?!

To the untrained eye, Orange Winged Amazons are often confused with Blue Fronted Amazons.

Green Cheeked Amazons (also known as Red Crowned Amazons) also make wonderful companion birds. (I say that as if I think there is any amazon that doesn't make a wonderful companion bird? You know I love them all!)

Just stunning.... !

The client's 16 year old son is the main keeper of the Orange Winged Amazon, and given his age and accompanying activities, apparently the bird has taken a bit of a back seat as of late. It sounded like there had been some cursory thoughts of re-homing. We had quite a wonderful bird conversation which culminating in her asking me if I wanted another amazon.

Oh my!!!

Do I want another amazon? Heck yes!

(I also want to stay married!)

It is quite the coincidence that just the other day hubby and I were discussing how much noise (a good kind of noise) that the budgie-boys make now that they are together. When Strider first came to me via the tree I climbed, he was quite quiet. Moving into the fort and gaining two friends (especially the noise-box Penske) has brought about constant singing and frivolity.

I was commenting that if Coco had an amazon friend, I can only imagine the banter that might ensue! As it is, she has loud vocal contests with the crows and pileated woodpeckers. Additionally, I am fairly convinced that she can hear the yellow fronted amazon that lives about a quarter mile away from our home. There are times I think she is conversing with the neighbor bird!

I certainly have room for many more budgies as well as another parrot. The biggest consideration would be introducing another parrot to Coco, the new bird's ability to transition to cage-free living and whether Coco (or the new bird) would want to share even a large space.

Having the conversation with her was sort of like dreaming about buying an upgraded computer, redecorating the house, or taking a trip to Tahiti. Fun to think about, but perhaps not practical or obtainable. Ah, but ever so tempting.....

I had to say no, of course.... (but, just between me and you, I still have her phone number)!


Sunday, October 10, 2010

I Always Stay Put...

Of course I always stay in my fort when mom is not looking.....


I am fortunate that over the years, Coco has learned to stay in her fort (for the most part) when I am not in the room.

When I enter the room, that is usually a cue for her to head down the ladder or fly to the corner of the room for play time. However, when I leave the room, she immediately heads back. It was not necessarily something I 'trained' her to do, but something that became part of our routine. Initially, of course, she was well rewarded for returning to her cage-free area. Now it is simply habit for lack of a better word.

I began keeping her in varying degrees of a cage-free environment when she was less than 6 months old depending upon the circumstances of our home. Even during the times when she had a cage large enough for me to stand inside and close the door, her door always remained open - day and night. She did learn to return to the inside of the cage for a treat, a skill that came in quite handy for me.

She has now lived in the fort my husband built her for about 3 years. I wouldn't have it any other way, and I think she would agree. I am so happy we created it for her, and the budgie fort, and even more pleased that these have inspired many of my readers to build similar spaces for their birds.

The unobstructed view is only one of the benefits:
Even when it is not feasible to provide a completely cage-free environment for a bird, every little bit of freedom creates opportunities for enrichment, empowerment, foraging and more.Coco spends a great deal of time foraging for food during the day:
In addition to foraging, other activities include watching and listening to the budgie-boys and observing the mountain wildlife through the sliding glass doors.

Of course, she can also lap the room if she chooses (and does)!

Check this out... one of the remnants of an earlier lap this week. An amazon parrot's secondary flight feathers are a beautiful navy blue with red edging:

Fortunately, these are normally the only souvenirs she leaves me. She is good about returning to the fort to relieve herself.

During the years of fort living, there has been only one instance of unapproved chewing. That was last year when she chewed on the door jamb. As you recall, the fort-maker left the door ajar, and it was simply too much to resist. We have since placed pieces of wood around that area to prevent any further episodes.

She has not (yet) chewed any of the many other items of wood and furniture that she can easily access. Since these items are in her space, it is my bad if there is anything that would cause me upset if she chose to destroy it.

I don't know about where you live, but here it is shaping up to be a beautiful fall! Coco's molt is now complete. Fingers are crossed that the budgie-boys will be finished soon as well.

With the onset of the cooler fall evenings, many begin to turn on the heat. This can trigger hormonal fluctuations in many birds. Naturally, this does not mean we should not provide heat! But it does cause me to consider the variation between day and evening temperatures, and ensure that there is a variation with the emphasis on cooler evenings. My goal is to have bird room temperatures that range 15 to 20 degrees between the daytime and the cooler evenings.

In the fall and winter, the average day temperatures in the bird room
range between 75 and 80 as the room naturally warms when the sun shines through the glass doors. Once the sun sets, the room begins to cool. If needed, I turn on the electric ceiling heater to remove any chill from the room and to ensure a steady temperature as close to 60 degrees farenheit as possible.
This winter, I will certainly rest easier having the generator in place. While we managed exceptionally well during the 3-day power outage last Christmas, I have no desire to repeat that experience! I apparently acclimated the birds to the cooler temperatures better than myself!