Friday, April 30, 2010

Incoming

Within the next week, the following birds are scheduled to be surrendered:
  • 2 goffin's cockatoos (from separate homes)
  • mutilating senegal parrot
  • severely plucked Moluccan cockatoo
  • budgie
  • cockatiel
We'd recently cleared off our waiting list, by accepting all of the birds on it; however, we've had a recent influx of birds without a corresponding increase in adoptions. Sadly, it looks like we're going to have to start a waiting list for surrendered parrots again.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Meet Cuddles

Meet Cuddles, a severe macaw. We don't know exactly how old Cuddles is, but she lived in her last home for 18 years, so she is most likely in her early 20s. She is very skinny and has very poor feather quality, as you can kind of see from this picture. When she was surrendered, her nails were so long it was obvious that she hadn't been handled in a very long time.Cuddles will frequently ask for a "cracker?" but we're not quite sure what she means by that. Everything cracker-like that we've tried has been dropped on the floor, uneaten! She also says "hello" or "hi bird" when someone enters the room.

She is not yet up for adoption as we need to fatten her up a bit and get her to a normal weight.

Severe macaws are typically among the more challenging species of parrot for us to place. They tend to be one-person birds. They also can be quite nippy. Additionally, they are very intelligent and have a knack for dreaming up trouble!

Cuddles will most likely be up for adoption in the next couple of weeks.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Meet Trixie & Peachie

Trixie and Peachie are parrots who lived in the same house, along with another parrot. They were all caged separately. Things were going fairly well, until their owner bought a puppy. She decided that she didn't have enough time for three parrots and a puppy, so she decided to get rid of these two parrots, who had spent years with her. While surrendering them, she actually said that she's got rid of these two because "they were disposable." Now, they are looking for homes where they will be loved and treated as the unique creatures they are, and not equated with garbage.

Trixie is a green cheeked conure. He's about four years old. He can be cage aggressive, but stepped up immediately on a towel-covered hand. He wasn't handled much recently in his last home, so we suspect he will be less nippy as he settles down into a loving environment. He has a lot of energy and keeps us laughing with the dancing he does.Peachie is about three years old. She is a bit flighty, but we suspect she will calm down once she is around loving people again. She loves playing with toys!These two parrots are now looking for homes. If you've been thinking about adding a lovebird or conure to your house, you'll want to meet these guys!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Joey performs

Joey, our mascot and resident umbrella cockatoo, frequently brings laughter to our lives. One of our favorite things is when he starts talking about "the puppies."

In his previous home, Joey lived with a dog breeder who frequently had puppies in the house. Even though he hasn't lived with a dog breeder in almost a decade, he will still occasionally talk about the puppies. This is something we've hoped to get on video for a long time!

video

It's hard to hear on the video, but he's saying "get the puppies" and says that the puppies are "in the chichen (kitchen)" Sometimes he'll call the puppies, or tell us that the puppies want to go outside (though not in this video). It's a bit hard to hear, but he also pants like a dog in between talking about the puppies.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

At the senior center

One of our volunteers has a parent in a local senior center. This center had a budgie and a cockatiel in adjacent cages. These birds brought great joy to the residents, and also enjoyed singing to each other. The birds are very well taken care of and receive a lot of attention from the residents.

A few weeks ago, their budgie died, leaving the cockatiel bereft. He was no longer singing, and was barely eating. The senior center was contemplating buying another budgie to brighten the spirits of the cockatiel.

Somehow, this volunteer found out about it, and approached CARE about providing a budgie. Since we have budgies looking for homes, we readily agreed. We found the most brightly colored budgie (since many of the senior residents have less than perfect eyesight) and he made his way to the senior center last week.

It was a great match! The cockatiel is now eating and singing with gusto. The budgie is reveling in all of the attention from the residents. The residents are so happy and enjoying their feathered friends. Best of all from our perspective, this budgie found a wonderful home. A win-win-win situation!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Foraging

One of the things that parrots do a lot of in the wild, and not nearly enough in captivity, is forage for their food. In the wild, they spend hours every day looking for food. In captivity, most parrots have a bowl full of food -- no foraging required! That leaves a lot of unfilled hours in the day -- time that sometimes leads to bored parrots which sometimes leads to behavior problems like screaming and plucking.

We encourage creativity on parrot owners' parts to develop proper foraging for their parrots. Perhaps it's as simple as hiding a few almonds in the parrot's cage, or buying specially-designed foraging toys. We know some birds who don't even have food dishes -- all food is hidden daily in their cages for them to find. (Of course you have to work up to this level! You have to make sure your parrot has the skills to find their food! We will touch on this in future posts.)

But, foraging doesn't need to be exclusively food-related! Meet one of our frequent boarders, a gorgeous greenwing macaw:She was destroying toys at an alarming rate. Our volunteers tried to think of ways in which we could make toy destruction a bit more complicated for her, while at the same time perhaps extending the life of her toys a bit. A bird going through $50 worth of toys every day can get a bit expensive!

One of our volunteers had the great idea of punching a hole in the bottom of a cereal box and covering favorite toys with it:
This has worked out beautifully! In order to get to the toy, she now has to shred the box covering it. Therefore, she's spending more time playing, leaving her less time for feather destruction. Foraging for toys!
It's true that keeping a parrot in toys can be an expensive proposition; however, toys are so important for the emotional well-being of captive parrots. Far too frequently, we see the impact that a toy-deprived environment has on these intelligent parrots. By stretching our minds a bit, we can figure out inexpensive ways to keep them occupied!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Prince Albert Update

Last month, we introduced you to Prince Albert, an amazon who lost his home of 45 years when his owner died. The first few weeks he was here, he was very quiet and reserved. This frequently happens with parrots. As prey animals, when they are in a new situation, they are scared and take time to learn the lay of the land before showing their true personalities. This is frequently called the "honeymoon period."

He's really started opening up! Here he is, calling for attention:

video

He's also become more playful and is starting to enjoy life again. It's hard to comprehend the changes he's gone through after such a long period of stability, but once again, he's showing the amazing adaptability and these magnificent creatures.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Meet Rainbow & Skittles

Rainbow and Skittles are a bonded pair of black masked lovebirds looking for a home. They are very playful! They love playing with each other, but also enjoy being around humans.They hadn't been handled much in their previous home, so aren't always the greatest at stepping up, but once they're out, they love hanging out on humans.
Aren't they just adorable? So many time, when people think "parrot rescue," they think of the larger birds -- cockatoos, macaws, etc. We certainly have those, but we also have many smaller guys who can bring just as much joy to your life!

Friday, April 16, 2010

The need for parrot rescue

This weekend, we are scheduled to have 6 large parrots released to us.

A blue and gold macaw, scarlet macaw, and Moluccan cockatoo will be coming from the same home. Their owner is in foreclosure and losing her house. She is very distraught over having to place her birds.

A blue and gold macaw and blue front amazon will be coming from another house.

A severe macaw will be coming from a third house.

We will introduce you to these parrots over the upcoming weeks.

Our greatest wish would be that there is no need for what we do. Unfortunately, as the years progress, there is an ever greater demand for the services we provide.

Only recently were we able to get rid of our waiting list, but we are nearing capacity yet again.

If you've been thinking about adding a bird to your house, now be may the perfect time. We have so many wonderful birds that we should be able to help you find the perfect fit.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The supervisor

We have some amazing volunteers who buy, cut, and drill the wood we use in many of the toys we make. Other volunteers dye the wood and assemble the toys. These toys are sold to help support the Center, and also are given to birds who are (temporarily or permanently) staying with us. (And, if any of you are reading this, thanks again!)

Joey, the Center's mascot, was supervising wood dying last week:Parrots love to be part of the action! They are flock animals. In the wild, a lone bird is often a dead bird, as they are more susceptible to predator attacks. Frequently being left alone and unable to communicate with their flock is one reason why many companion birds develop behavior problems, including screaming (for attention) or plucking (from frustration).

One way to deepen your bond with your parrot is to have him "help" you with your day-to-day activities. It can be helpful to have perches or playstands in various rooms of the house for this purpose.

Of course, you have to be sure that the activity is parrot-safe, and that the parrot can't escape or be injured by the activity (be careful of chemicals)! But, if you're taking a shower, let your parrot perch on the shower curtain. Doing laundry? Mine love to come downstairs and perch on the dryer. Reading the paper? There's a parrot on my lap!

It may take longer to get the task accomplished -- having to stop and acknowledge the parrot is a given! -- but it will help to make your bond even stronger.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Toys!

We talk all of the time about how important toys are to a parrot's well-being in captivity. In the wild, they are busy all day, procuring food, raising babies, flying, avoiding predators, etc. The relatively safe caged life we provide is boring in comparison! And a bored parrot is more likely to pluck, scream, bite, and exhibit other undesirable behaviors.Obviously, this does not mean that all undesirable behaviors can be eliminated by adding toys to a parrot's cage! But, toys are an essential part of a happy parrot's life.
Properly caring for so many birds at the Center is very expensive. We have to pay to house (rent, utilities, etc.), feed, vet, and entertain them. The adoption fee we charge does not cover the true cost of maintaining such a facility.
In order to not rely so much on donations, CARE has a retail store stocked with exciting and healthy products for your feathered friends. And, if there's something in particular you'd like us to stock, just ask and we'll see what we can do!
If you haven't been up to visit us recently, we've rearranged some things in order to stock a larger selection of food, toys, perches, and other accessories.
Best of all, all proceeds go directly back into the Center, allowing us to help even more birds in need. Thanks for your support over the years! We couldn't do it without you!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lineolated Parakeets

These lineolated parakeets are residents of the Center. They are very playful and this picture was too cute not to post!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Meet Kwanzaa

Meet Kwanzaa, an African Grey Parrot. Kwanzaa used to live with Kahlua. They lost their home after their owners had children. He started plucking out his feathers after the second child was born.Their family realized that they could no longer give him the care he required, so they surrendered him to us, where we hope to find him a home where he will receive all of the attention and stimulation that such intelligent parrots require.

We don't know if he'll ever be fully feathered. Sometimes plucking becomes a habit and even when the incident that triggered the plucking is removed, parrots continue to pluck.

But anyone who looks beyond his less-than-perfect exterior will find an amazing interior!

Here he is, playing and eating at the Center:
By the time he was done, that Ziploc box was in pieces!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Meet Keegan

Meet Keegan, a white-capped pionus who's approximately 4 years old. Actually, we featured Keegan on this blog several years ago, as an alum. Like all adoptions, when it happened, we hoped that Keegan would live out his life in that family. However, that didn't happen in his case.

He's a victim of family upheaval -- his owners are getting divorced and no one was able to take him with them.
When I put my hand in his cage to have him step up, he ran over and jumped on my hand -- perhaps he remembered being here before? He then started emitting this wonderful happy Pionus scent. Yum!His previous owners reported that he can be cage aggressive at times, but other than that is a very sweet bird.

Pionus have incredible feather coloring that this photographer didn't do justice to. He is inquisitive and intelligent and will really thrive in a loving, stable home. If you think that might describe your house, stop by to meet him to see if sparks fly!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Nesting

Last week, one of our volunteers was chatting while Murphy sat on her lap. Suddenly, Murphy decided he wanted more and began trying to nest in her shirt! This was as close as he got, but he kept trying.Though this provided a chuckle, nesting behavior is not something to laugh about. Every bird is different. With females, there is the worry that allowing/promoting nesting behavior may result in egg binding problems, which are potentially fatal. With birds of both genders, allowing/promoting nesting behaviors may result in aggression issues.

Here is an article from a DVM talking about things you can do to help prevent/reduce nesting behavior.

At the Center, we try to treat each bird as an individual. If nesting behavior becomes problematic, we do everything we can to minimize the behavior. However, other birds do not become more aggressive if nesting, and it gives them something to occupy their time. Like most things parrot, there is no "one size fits all" answer -- it depends on the bird and the environment.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Alumni story: Henry

Henry is an extremely large Harlequin macaw. He was surrendered to CARE last year when his owners' illnesses worsened and they had to find new homes for all of their parrots.Henry stayed at the Center for several months, awaiting the right home. Because he's so large, he intimidates many people. When macaws sense fear, they frequently play a "scare the human" game. We've seen it hundreds of times here. Sometimes, the macaws even laugh after they've scared the human! This is a problem because if it's allowed to continue, can lead to aggression and biting.

When Henry met his human, it was love at first sight. Last week, Henry came in to get his nails trimmed. His owner agreed to let me take this picture and put it on the blog.

What a wonderful life Henry now leads. I guess he just had to scare away all of those potential adopters because he knew someone special was waiting for him.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Meet Calvin

Calvin is a Congo African Grey who's about 12 years old. He used to live in the same cage with another grey, Hobbes (an alum). However, they didn't get along very well. They rarely fought, but occasionally one would prevent the other from eating. It was definitely an icy marriage!Together, the two had been through many homes -- something along the lines of 8 homes in their 12 years! We can't understand why, as they are very well-behaved parrots.

Hobbes found a home several months ago, and since then, Calvin has really opened up. He loves coming out of his cage and getting attention -- you open the door to his cage and he often has his foot up, ready to go! He does frequently prefer to step up backwards, so we put our hands behind him, ask him to step up, and there's a grey on your arm.

Greys are prized because they have the reputation of being big talkers. Most greys have the ability to talk, and say at least a few words. Some have enormous vocabularies -- those are the ones we hear about -- but it's not common. You don't have an in-depth conversation with a grey. In our experience, it's frequently greeting each other back and forth, or listening to the grey order the other members of the house around ("Step up!" "Come here!" "Want some!")
Calvin does say a few words, in a very deep voice. He also makes many pleasant grey noises -- beeping, ringing, chirping, etc. With your eyes closed, he might be mistaken for a smoke alarm with low batteries, a microwave that's finished cooking, or a telephone.

It can take a while to earn a grey's trust. Of course there are exceptions, but they don't tend to adapt as well to major changes -- like losing their home -- as other parrots do. Because Calvin has lost his home so frequently in the past, we're really hoping that this next home will be his last and forever one.

If you're ready to make a commitment to a special being, one that can forever enhance your life, Calvin may be the bird for you.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Meet Peanut

Meet Peanut, an approximately 8 year old Nanday Conure. Look closely; can you see what's wrong with him?
He doesn't have a right foot -- it was completely bitten off by a macaw in his previous home!

Peanut doesn't realize that he has a disability, and has completely adapted to his new life. While I was taking his picture, he quickly scampered up to the shoulder of the volunteer holding him. (Something we're working on as it's generally not wise to allow strange birds on your shoulder so close to your face!)Peanut is a bit cage aggressive, but easily steps up out of his cage if you cover your hand with a towel.

He provides a good reminder of the dangers of multiple birds, especially birds of different sizes. It is very easy for a larger bird to do significant damage to a smaller one, and rigorous care and supervision must be undertaken to prevent instances like the one that deprived Peanut of his leg from happening.

Peanut will require just a bit of accommodation in his new home. Because he is standing on one leg constantly, it is especially important to make sure that he has a wide variety of comfortable perches available to him. That will go a long way in helping to stave off foot problems down the road.

He is so gorgeous and intelligent! If you have room in your flock for Peanut, stop by; he'd love to meet you!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Meet Kahlua

Meet Kahlua, an absolutely adorable senegal. He suffered the fate of many parrots in that once his family had children, they realized they were no longer able to give him the care and attention that he was used to and deserved.Before losing his home, he was a much-loved member of the family. And it's not hard to see why! Kahlua is so completely adorable. He is extremely outgoing and personable.

He is also very intelligent. His cage door must be locked with a key, or he escapes. His water dish had to be rigged so that he couldn't tip it over.

He absolutely needs a family that will work to make sure his intellectual needs are being met. This will involve different types of toys, and perhaps some trick-training. His eyes are constantly pinning when someone talks to him -- proof of his interest in interaction.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Meet Pete

Since the rest of the large macaws currently up for adoption have recently been featured on the blog, we wanted to introduce you to Pete. He's an approximately 20 year old Harlequin macaw. You can't find Harlequin macaws in the wild -- he's a mixture of blue-and gold and greenwing macaws.

Pete was recently living with a smoker, which most likely contributed to the feather destruction you see here. The giant bulge you see -- that's his crop. It's easy to tell when Pete's recently eaten! And boy, does he have an appetite -- this is the way he usually looks.Pete is very affectionate and is an attention-junkie. He's looking for a family that will include him in their daily activities. He'd love to sit in your lap while you watch TV, help you eat breakfast and read the paper, and provide supervision while doing (bird-safe) chores.When Pete finds his family, we'll be sad to see him go, of course, but happy that he'll be receiving the care and attention he desires and deserves. Hopefully that day will soon come!