Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Alumni story: Scooter

Scooter is an alumnus that we featured several years ago, here. When he was surrendered to us seven years ago, he was very phobic. We thought he might become a resident because his behavior made him extremely difficult to place. And he did stay with us at the Center for about two years. Then, although still very scared, he went home to live with a volunteer with whom he'd formed a bond.

What an amazing transformation this volunteer and her family made on this bird! It wasn't easy, and it did take time, but just look at the results!
video

Scooter was up at the Center last week to be groomed. I was going around, taking pictures and videos of the birds and asked who this playful, happy umbrella cockatoo was. Imagine my shock when I was told it was Scooter.

It's hard to believe this is the same creature. Years ago, he would tremble in the corner and try to avoid human contact. Last week, he was dancing and showing off for me, and literally jumped on my arm when I asked him to step up.

Once again, a success story and testament to the amazing resiliency of parrots.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Alumni story: Chipper

The best part of what we do is when a bird finds a great home. We love hearing success stories and post some here when given permission. Especially when there are adorable pictures!

The reason that Chipper found a home was a sad one, but turned out to be good luck for him. A family had a happy flock of four finches. One died after spending several days at the vet, and they wanted to even up the numbers again in order to have harmony. That was Chip's lucky break.

Here are all four of the finches. Their owner had rearranged all of the cage furnishings in hopes of lessening any territoriality and aiding finch friendships to form.

If you look closely, you can see parts of all four finches in this picture:
Here's Chipper, the CARE alum and new bird on the block:
And here is Chipper with his new flockmate, Holmes:
Chipper's owner discovered that he loves cucumbers, so he now gets them regularly. What a lucky bird he was to have found his way to such a wonderful home!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ditto

Ditto is a female blue-and-gold macaw who is nearing her 20s. She has been at CARE and looking for the right home for almost three years now.
She was originally purchased as a pet for a young teenage girl. When this girl left home to go to college, no one in the family was interested in Ditto. Sound familiar? This actually happens pretty regularly, and is one of the reasons we don't recommend these long-lived creatures as pets for children if no one else in the house is interested in a relationship with the bird.

She spent over a year placed on consignment at a local pet store. When that store went out of business, her owners that were trying to sell her surrendered her to us.

We wrote about Ditto several years ago. In that entry, we made the comment that she wouldn't say "peek-a-boo" on camera. This time, she said it, but without the corresponding wing movements. So you have to combine the images from these two videos in your head to get the full effect!

video

We take Ditto with us on educational visits. She loves being the center of attention! We don't understand why that perfect home hasn't presented itself yet for her -- during the time she's been with us, dozens of other macaws have found their home -- but Ditto knows it will be worth the wait to finally have the love and security of a family that has eluded her thus far.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Meet Tai

Meet Tai, a juvenile blue and gold macaw.
While still a baby, the police confiscated Tai from a home in which illegal activities were taking place. She was sent to animal control, who has very little experience with large birds. They thought she was extremely sick since she had balance issues and wasn't eating. Luckily, they called us right away. It turns out she was weak because she wasn't fully weaned and didn't recognize the food she was given as edible! We've taught her how to eat, and she is now a wonderful, headstrong macaw who's looking for the perfect home.

Tai is still young, so she needs a home that's experienced with macaws. A home where she can learn the rules of living with a family. At this point, she's still a little unclear on the concept of appropriate beak pressure. She frequently resorts to biting as a first response, and she needs guidance as to how to express herself in more appropriate ways.

She's also very playful at heart, and prefers to perform acrobatic movements to perching nicely on an arm.
She'd blossom in a home where she can get tired out and panting every single day. Young macaws have a ton of energy, and if they don't expend their energy through exercise, they often turn to less-desirable methods such as screaming and house destruction. She is also very intelligent and is a perfect candidate for clicker training. It wouldn't be hard to teach her to roller skate or to play basketball.Tai's feathers look a little ratty since she's so playful. She is very high energy!
Look at that happy face! Whoever adopts Tai will have a challenge ahead of them, but one that will be worth it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Doves

We currently have six doves up for adoption. They are all tame and handleable. Doves are among the underrated species of birds. They are very gentle, can't really bite, and typically enjoy just being with you and are nowhere near as demanding as most parrots.

If given proper care, doves can live around 20 years. If you're interested in adding a dove to your house, we can teach you how to properly care for your new pet.
Doves love to swing! (As an aside, look at the nosy severe macaw in the background!)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Vegetables

Getting parrots to eat vegetables can be a challenge. Not always -- there are birds out there who are like garbage disposals and will eat anything presented to them. Others react in such a way you'd think that zucchini might poison instead of nourish them.

Just like with humans, veggies are an important part of a healthy parrot's diet. At the Center, we try to feed the parrots a variety of vegetables so that they get plenty of essential nutrients.

One way to get picky parrots to eat their vegetables is by food processing them into a mash.

Mash-in-process:
And the completed product:Large batches can be made in advance and frozen. At the Center, we have so many parrots to feed that we usually don't have any left to freeze! But in homes with fewer parrots, this is a great option. Ice cube trays work particularly well for this -- just pop out a square and let it thaw.

One way to introduce mash is by placing it on the food that the parrot already eats. In order to get to his pellets or seed, he'll inadvertently eat some mash -- and discover how delicious it is!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Secrets

These two budgies are usually near each other. Sometimes they allopreen; sometimes they just hang out.I think they're talking about how lucky they were to find each other. Budgies are very social creatures and often appreciate being in flocks of their own kind.

We currently have several budgies up for adoption.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tammy update

We introduced you to Tammy last week; here is that post. As the days have gone on, she has just gotten sweeter and sweeter.

She went to the vet last week, and diagnostics confirmed our suspicion of gout. For the rest of her life, she will need a small daily dose of cosequin (joint supplement) and metacam (pain medication).

She just loves to snuggle!
We've also provided her with a heated perch and made a few adjustments to her cage in order to make her feel more safe and comfortable.

Look at how she's using her foot to hold the hand of the volunteer who's holding her:Her status with us remains the same as the last time we posted. If we can find the right retirement home for her, she may be adopted out after she's stabilized a few more weeks. However, we will be more than happy to let her life out her days at the Center if the right home doesn't come along.

We just can't get over how she's maintained her wonderful demeanor despite everything she's been through. We're lucky to have her.

Friday, March 19, 2010

More Raja

Normally we'd try to not post stories two days in a row about the same bird. But we got a video of Raja yesterday that was so adorable, she's getting featured two days in a row!

Here is her background, from yesterday.

One of the most exciting things about working with older parrots, parrots who have been around the block a few times, is that they often do or say funny things. Even years down the road, they may throw out a phrase or learned behavior they'd kept in the vault.

video

Someone had given Raja a giant cracker (I know...could we get any more cliche -- a parrot with a cracker?) She's holding it in her right foot, but then takes a bite and uses her left foot to eat, all while continuing to hold the rest of the cracker in her right foot! And, being a happy macaw, she took a few moments to dance when she saw she had an audience!

What a character this girl is. It's hard to believe that she was discarded in such a way. Whoever adopts her will be in for a real treat.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Meet Raja

Meet Raja, a 15-20 year old blue and gold macaw. She was passed around to many different family members during that time; no one wanted her for very long. She spent only 30 days in her last home. When that owner decided he could not give her the care she needed, he tried to surrender her to a local humane society. However, this humane society told him that they couldn't take her in -- they're not equipped for large birds like Raja.

Frustrated, the man stood outside this humane society and offered her, free, to any takers. Luckily, CARE was notified, and her previous owner surrendered her to us.

Many people underestimate the space requirements of a large macaw. An appropriately-sized cage can take up a huge portion of the living room. In addition, they are messy, loud, and destructive. Perfect attributes for wild animals living in the jungle! But qualities that can cause problems once these wild animals are brought into living rooms.

During the several weeks Raja has been with us, we've been lucky enough to see her wonderful personality. We know that the right family will welcome her into their lives and provide her with the stability that has eluded her during the first part of her life. If that might be you, stop by and meet Raja.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Meet Prince Albert

Meet Prince Albert, an orange-wing amazon. Prince Albert is one of the oldest parrots we've ever had surrendered to the Center. He's a wild-caught parrot and at least 45 years old. His owner picked him up from the quarantine/import station in the early 1960s.He was very much loved, and spent all of those years in the same home! Unfortunately, due to parrots' long life spans, they occasionally outlive their owners, and that's what happened in this case. When Prince Albert's owner died earlier this year, no one in the family wanted him, so he came to us.

Parrots are creatures of habit, and after almost half a century with the same family, it's been a bit of a shock for him to adapt to life at the Center. However, parrots are also very resilient. While he was very quiet and reserved at the beginning of his stay with us, with time, he has started letting us get to know him.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Another cage mess

Following in the footsteps of a post from last week, guess what species of parrot made this mess in less than 8 hours:Cockatoo!
It becomes pretty apparent how toys can become a major expense for parrot owners! Parrots are meant to chew things, and if not provided toys, will often start to chew on unacceptable things, like walls, molding, or themselves. Sometimes even with proper toys they will chew on unacceptable places, but it's less likely when they have plenty of things they can destroy!

Queenie is a male rose-breasted cockatoo who is a resident at the Center. He is a very happy bird and loves to destroy wood. However, Queenie is a bit of a wood snob. He will not chew undyed wood; he requires color in his life!

Last week, I was going around taking pictures of various parrots. When I got to Queenie's cage, he started showing off for me. Look at that beautiful crest!And then he decided to play in his foraging bucket for a bit:We love foraging buckets here at the Center. You can put them near your bird's favorite perch (in Queenie's case, this boing). Then, you can fill it with foot toys, pieces of toys that the parrot destroyed, crumpled paper, maybe a small treat or two. Pretty much anything that is parrot-safe. If used regularly, it can become a bit of a fun treasure hunt for your bird -- she never knows what she's going to find!

We sell stainless steel foraging buckets, and our volunteers would be more than happy to discuss ways of increasing your parrots' foraging opportunities.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Meet Tammy

Tammy is a Nanday Conure who is about 20 years old. She had a very unfortunate life. She was kept in a canary cage -- much too small for a conure! By the time she made her way to us, she was very starved. I have met budgies who weighed more than Tammy. We weren't sure she'd make it through the night. A few more days (maybe only one), and she probably would have starved to death.Tammy has many health problems stemming from her horrible care. She has severe arthritis from poor diet (when they bothered to feed her) and having only one dowel to perch on in her cage.

Parrots need several perch choices available to them. If they are offered only one, smooth perch, they can develop problems when the foot is not allowed to rest in different positions. That's part of the reason why dowel perches are not recommended for parrots. Natural branches, which mimic what parrots would see in the wild, are much better.

Tammy probably has gout. She went to the vet upon arrival, but she was in such a poor state that we opted to not take blood from her, as she needed to put on weight first. She is scheduled for a vet visit this week, and we will try to remember to post her results on the blog.

For the first few days she was with us, we barely saw her face as she was making up for lost time with her beak in her food dish! Even now, in this picture, that's where she was.

Despite everything she's been through, Tammy has a wonderful personality. As she regains strength, that may change, but we doubt it. She has been very sweet and we are determined to give her the last years of her life that she deserves.

Tammy is not yet available for adoption. We need to get her healthy first. Because of her age, and depending on what her blood tests reveal, she may become a resident unless we can find an appropriate retirement home.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Meet Bobber

Meet Bobber, a male cockatiel. He is approximately 10 years old. This picture doesn't do him justice; he is one of the most beautiful cockatiels we've ever seen! His face is almost egg-yolk yellow and he has subtle yellow tinges on his chest. What a beauty!

Bobber was surrendered to a local humane society. CARE maintains close relations with several local humane societies as they are often not equipped to handle the special needs birds require. His owners said they were surrendering him because he would attack them.

However, he was kept in an 18" X 18" cage -- much too small for a cockatiel. We've noticed that parrots in small cages tend to be more cage-aggressive than parrots in appropriately-sized cages.

At the Center, Bobber has not tried to attack anyone. He steps up beautifully and is a delight to be around. As I was whistling to him yesterday, he whistled back. I wouldn't be surprised if he has several whistled songs stored inside his head. And, if not, he seems eager to learn some! He will make a wonderful companion for some lucky person.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Meet Pepper

Pepper is an approximately 8 year old Congo African Grey. She was surrendered because her previous owner had lung problems and could no longer care for her. Unfortunately, the care Pepper received in her previous home left her with some health issues of her own. Her owner continually burned incense about 5 feet away from Pepper's cage!

As you can see from her picture, Pepper had plucked out the majority of her feathers, including her entire tail. As she's been with us, in good air quality and now with a good diet, her feathering is starting to improve, and we are hopeful that her exposure to incense did not cause any long-term health issues.

Pepper has an amazing personality. Currently, she is a bit cage aggressive, but that's certainly understandable. If you'd been taken away from everything you'd ever known, you'd probably protect the one thing you perceived to be yours as well! With patience and time, we feel that she will nicely step up out of her cage for her new owners -- we've seen it happen hundreds of times.

Away from her cage, she is very tame and handleable. She is outgoing and would desperately love to find a new flock.

In this video, you can see her dancing, and if you listen closely, you can hear her singing a bit "woah-woah-woah-woah-woah."

video

She makes a lot of fun grey noises, and does talk a bit. However, there's no guarantee that she will talk in her new home.

We're looking for a very special home for Pepper. Someone who can look past her battered exterior to see the wonderful, empathetic, intelligent, and curious being inside.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Little birds

Mention "parrot rescue" to someone, and they usually think of cockatoos, macaws, amazons, and other large parrots. Most people don't realize the large number of smaller birds that are available for adoption! Every year, we have dozens of lovebirds, parrotlets, cockatiels, and budgies up for adoption.Those of us who are lucky enough to have had a wonderful relationship with one of these magnificent tiny creatures knows what I'm talking about! These little gems might be the best-kept parrot secret around.

They can really pack a punch of personality and energy in their little bodies. Plus, their smaller size means that generally they are less messy and noisy than their larger counterparts. Often overlooked, they rarely have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

If you've been thinking about adding a pocket-sized friend to your house, stop by and we'll see if we can find the right match for you!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Prey animals

Parrots are prey animals and, as such, often exhibit behaviors that seem bizarre to us humans. They may seem fearful of new objects, refuse to step up on a stranger, or act afraid with a change in routine. This is normal for these wild animals, many of whom are less than a few generations removed from the wild.

In the wild, parrots must be constantly on alert so that they can escape from dangerous situations. However, in the wild, parrots are able to rely on their flock for some of this vigilance. Each individual can relax occasionally, knowing that other flock members will alert them to danger. In our homes, especially with single birds, or birds who do not consider themselves to be a flock, this vigilance falls entirely on one parrot.

One successful strategy we've employed at the Center is to give each parrot a safe place in their cage -- a place where they can go and hide and feel safe.

Most frequently, we accomplish this by hanging a large toy near a high perch. This fleece ring is particularly effective:If this parrot feels scared, she can go on her favorite perch, be hidden from view, and also snuggle against something warm.

For birds exhibiting more extreme fearful behavior, we'll often cover up a portion of the cage, so that the bird has a larger area in which to feel safe.Luckily, it is rare when we have to employ this strategy, as most parrots quickly get into the routine at the Center and don't need this extra level of security.

This is something that can be effectively used at home. Try to look at things from your parrot's view. Are there things that are scaring her? Perhaps the family dog (predator!) staring at her or an unobstructed view through a backyard window where she may see hawks (scary!) Allaying her fears may be as simple as a cage rearrangement so she has a place to hide and feel safe.

Monday, March 08, 2010

All in a day's work

All of the birds' cage papers had been changed in the morning. Guess who made such a mess in a little over 8 hours?If you guessed a grey, you are right!
Most parrots love to destroy things. If they're not provided with destructible toys, they'll often start to destroy household furnishings or their own feathers. Sometimes they destroy household furnishings or their own feathers even with plenty of toys!

We like to say that a busy bird is a happy bird, so we make sure that all of the parrots at the Center have plenty of wood toys to keep them busy. Chip, chip, chip! Now, if only we could find a market for tiny wood chips -- the parrots could start a business!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Lucky Update

Lucky was first featured on our blog back in 2007; here is that link. He is still waiting for a permanent home. He loves playing with toys and is able to keep himself pretty busy without assistance from humans.

Cockatoos are often described as velcro-birds -- all they want to do is sit on their human and snuggle. Lucky does not fir that stereotype at all! He'd much rather show you how smart he is by doing tricks. He likes being around people, but he is perfectly content sitting on a stand in the same room with people.

He's been in nest-building mode for well over a month. At the beginning of the day in which I took this picture and video, his cage had been completely cleaned out. He made this much progress in less than 6 hours!

Lucky is allowed to build nests like this as it keeps him busy and is not the catalyst for aggressive behavior. Additionally, since he is a male, we don't have to worry about potential egg-binding concerns.

video

We're actually a bit confused as to why it's taking Lucky so long to find his home! During the time he's spent with us, dozens of other cockatoos have had shorter stays with us. We're hoping that 2010 might be his year!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Meet the other Murphy

Can you believe that we have two birds named Murphy up for adoption right now? We introduced you to Jardine's Murphy earlier this week; here is Macaw Murphy:Murphy is a 10 year old male Military Macaw. He was purchased as a pet for a child. When this girl grew up, she couldn't take Murphy with her to college. No one else in the family was interested in him, so they surrendered him to us.

He's quite the charmer and blushes when he's excited -- his white facial patches almost become scarlet! He prefers blonde women, generally. In this picture, though the lighting is bad, you can see the beginning of a blush around his eyes.

Although Militaries are among the smaller of the large macaw species, they still require a large cage and tons of destructible toys. Additionally, when he wants to, he can let out a scream to wake the neighbors!

Like most parrots, Murphy is very intelligent, and will do well in a home where that is explored. He will thrive in a home where he can learn to do tricks and focus his energy, mental and physical, into positive endeavors.

If Murphy sounds like he might be a good match, stop by to meet him!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Meet Murphy

Murphy is a Lesser Jardine's parrot. We don't know much about his history as Murphy was found in an abandoned house! His previous owners had just left him there to die. When he came to us in December, he was very sick and malnourished. We didn't know if he would make it. Several months later, he has made a full recovery!Murphy is handleable, though he doesn't always like to come out of his cage and can be a bit cage aggressive at times. He loves to have his head pet, and we feel confident that once he's in a loving home, he can regain trust and be a great companion.

Murphy is looking for a home that will treat him as a wanted member of the family and not trash left behind after a move. Look into those eyes -- how could someone have valued him so little?

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Meet Molly

Molly is a Mealy Amazon, which is one of the largest Amazon parrot species. When Molly came to us, he was probably among the largest Amazon individuals, as a poor diet and sedentary life combined to make him a severely obese parrot!

When he was first surrendered to us, several years ago, you couldn't see his feet when he perched -- his belly hung out that far. Unfortunately, we didn't take any pictures at that time, as his transformation is truly amazing! He also had fatty lipid deposits covering his body. Poor guy!

video

Molly was adopted by a couple, but they ran into problems with him. They had several other amazons, and Molly fell in love with one of their other parrots. Doing what parrots do when placed in unnatural settings (our living rooms), he became aggressive against his owners in an attempt to court this other bird.

His owners realized that they could no longer provide a good environment for him, as he was spending more and more time inside his cage, so he returned to CARE.

Molly is most likely in his upper teens/lower 20s. He is a very happy and vocal bird. As you can hear in the video, he loves to sing scales! And look at the way his eye pins at me towards the end when he says hello -- breathtaking!

He has a cataract in one eye, though this does not slow him down. He receives a homeopathic spray in his water every day for this. He may require additional medication in the future should his condition worsen; however, we're hoping that an improved diet will make additional medication unnecessary. He also requires daily exercise in order to keep his weight down.

Molly is quite tame, though he tends to pick people he likes and doesn't like. He is also stick trained. His vocal exploits could keep me entertained for hours.

Although Molly is up for adoption, his special needs are such that he may end up being a resident.

Next time you're at the Center, stop by Molly's cage and sing/whistle a few scales with him. He'll love it!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Boarding/Grooming information

CARE provides boarding and grooming services, the proceeds of which go directly back into the Center.

Effective March 1, 2010, these are the new boarding and grooming rates:

BOARDING (daily charges):

PETITE (finch, canary, budgie, parrotlet -- owner must provide cage): $5 per cage
SMALL (lovebird, cockatiel, green cheek conure -- owner has option to provide cage): $8 (owner's cage)/$9 (CARE's cage)
MEDIUM (other conures, quaker, senegal, pionus): $12
LARGE (amazon, grey, cockatoo, mini macaw): $15
X-LARGE (macaw): $18

We fill up quite quickly, especially around holidays, so it's recommended to call us and reserve your bird's (or birds') space as soon as you know your details.

GROOMING:

There are two amounts listed after each size bird -- the first, smaller amount is for wings OR nails; the second, larger amount is for wings AND nails. Please see the boarding information for what category your bird falls into:

PETITE: $6/$10
SMALL: $7/$12
MEDIUM: $8/$14
LARGE: $9/$16
X-LARGE: $10/$18

On weekdays, we ask that you call the Center to make an appointment before bringing your bird in. That way, we can make sure that we have enough properly trained volunteers available. On Saturdays, no appointment is necessary between the hours of 1-4 pm.

Should you have any questions, please call us at the Center. Thank you!