Monday, April 30, 2007

Here's Cassie, an unsexed lovebird that was recently transferred to our facility. She (I'm using "she" due to her name and ease of reading) is extremely sweet and will make a loving companion for someone. It's kind of tough to see from the pictures, but Cassie is a special-needs parrot because she is splay-legged.

Cassie is the third splay-legged parrot that has been surrendered to us so far in 2007 (2 lovebirds and 1 congo African grey). The splay-leg condition arises when the chick's parents sit on the chick improperly while in the nestbox and the breeder is not paying attention.

Cassie is not in any pain from her condition. She has been able to adapt to her disability, and doesn't know that her life isn't "normal." And it certainly hasn't affected her wonderful disposition! However, her condition is something that can be easily and painlessly prevented and/or fixed by the breeder when the chick is still young. It is sad to think that what happened to Cassie is so preventable!

Breeding parrots is a serious undertaking, and should not be attempted on a whim.

Cassie can be adopted for a fee of $95, which includes her cage that accommodates her disability. If you are interested in adopting Cassie, please fill out a Bird Wanted Questionnaire.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


You may have heard of foraging, as it's been getting more and more attention in the bird world lately. Foraging occurs when your parrot must look/work for her food. In the wild, parrots spend many hours searching for food. In captivity, food is normally provided in a bowl -- no work required! Unfortunately, the hours that would have been spent looking for food are now available, which can lead to problems like screaming, feather destruction, obesity, etc.

It is very easy to begin foraging. If you always feed your bird in the same place, put a piece of paper over his food dish. Once that becomes too easy, tape the paper over the food dish. There are also many toys that you can purchase. We sell many of them at our facility, as do many other retailers. You can hide a treat in her favorite toy for her to find.

One of our volunteers recently switched her timneh african grey, Max, to 100% foraging for her pellets. Max receives 20 Harrison's pellets per day, which are wrapped in a small amount of paper and hidden about her cage. Before making the total switch, the volunteer would hide 15 pellets around Max's cage and place 5 pellets in her food dish. She noticed that Max would eat her hidden pellets first, sometimes leaving the pellets in her food dish uneaten, prompting the switch to all foraging, which has been successful.

The key is taking things slowly. The beginning forager does not understand the concept of looking for his food. With some of the specially-designed foraging toys, we often show our parrot the wonderful treat that we're putting inside. The only time Max gets her favorite treat -- yogurt-covered walnuts -- is when they're hidden in more complex foraging toys. Don't get frustrated if your parrot doesn't seem to get foraging right away -- it might still be too complex for her. Max's flock-mates are not as adept at foraging as she is, so they are provided with easier foraging opportunities, and as their skills improve, they are presented with more challenging ones.

Here is a video of Max opening up one of her new foraging toys. She has used at least 5 different methods to open this toy, and can now do it in under a minute -- time to up the complexity!


Monday, April 23, 2007

As mentioned in a previous post, Lily is doing very well. In this picture, you can see where her tumor used to be.

Lily has a very sweet disposition and is not afraid of people. She is currently in a cage with several female budgies, and she loves to interact with them. Like most budgies, she also loves playing with her toys!

Isn't she gorgeous?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Here is a video of Hector, a timneh african grey that recently found a fantastic home! Hector loves to dance, and you can hear him making sounds in the background like he's snapping his fingers.

Hector is doing amazingly well in his new home, and is yet another example of how delightful it can be to open your life and home to an older parrot!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Meet Lily, a budgie that recently found her way to us with a HUGE tumor, as you can see in the picture. Perhaps the saddest part of Lily's story is that she was a stray. We assume her former owners didn't want to deal with her unsightly tumor and let her go in the wild. But here's where Lily's luck changes!

Against long odds, she was found outside and made her way to CARE. On Monday April 16, 2007, she underwent surgery to remove the tumor. Surgery and anesthesia are extremely risky with birds, and that's even more true for tiny birds like Lily. However, she is a survivor and less than an hour after returning to the shelter, she was swinging on a swing in her cage!

Lily lost 10 grams during her tumor removal (normal American budgies tend to weigh about 30 grams), so we're talking a significant percentage of her body weight was wrapped up in the tumor. Her sutures will disintegrate on their own.

A big thank you goes out to Dr. Andrea Sobon at New Berlin Animal Hospital for her special care that will allow Lily to live a happy life and allow her to find her special forever home!

If you are interested in adopting Lily or any bird at CARE, please fill out a Bird Wanted Questionnaire.
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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

At the Center, we love hearing and reading stories about parrots in the wild. This link will take you to a wonderful story about cockatoos in Australia. Make sure to click "next page" so you can read the whole story!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Here is a link to a story about a man and his bird, rescued from a tree. It doesn't have anything to do specifically with our shelter, but it seemed timely after our previous entry!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Every year we get quite a few calls from frantic bird owners whose bird got loose outside. In 2006, we had two calls on loose Moluccan cockatoos, and many more calls on smaller birds — some of whom were never found (one M2 was recaptured the next day -- the other spent almost a month outside before being recaptured). Even if your bird’s wings are clipped, she can still fly. It only takes the slightest breeze and burst of adrenaline, and your bird can be out of your sight faster than you can imagine.

You can check out this website to see listings of lost birds by state.

Please be very careful while transporting your bird. Make sure that her travel cage is secure. Use common sense and don’t take unnecessary risks.

If the worst happens, call us and we may be able to provide you with tips to recover your bird, but prevention is obviously the best solution!