Today we get tips from Baiata Bird Sanctuary
Rosie and I are amazed at how many African Greys we heard from last week. OK, I heard from their owners and told Rosie about it, but believe me – she was amazed.
Thank you all for emailing and sending photos. My plan is to feature your birds next week.
My first pet was a light blue parakeet, and we raised parrots many years ago, but there is always more to learn. While there are books and countless internet sites full of information, there really is nothing better than going to the source – people with birds.
This week I visited Darwin, Plato and Teddy at the Baiata Bird Sanctuary at NatureScapes in Bunnell. OK, a couple of humans, Trudy Tappan and Kathy Clark were there too.
Darwin is a 75-year-old blue fronted Amazon, a perfect example of how long these birds can live. He stayed back in the aviary, while Plato, the African Grey, and Teddy, the Cockatoo sat in on the interview.
One thing I learned -- Rosie might not be getting enough sleep.
“These birds need between 12 and 14 hours of sleep,” Tappan told me. “Without a good amount of rest in a dark and quiet area, they may not be as talkative.”
So Rosie’s schedule has been changed. I have always covered her up, but she is in the family room so the TV is still on. Since our TV died last Friday, keeping it quiet hasn’t been a problem, but when the new one arrives I am moving her to a different room for bedtime. Why? Because, since Friday, I have seen a difference in Rosie.
Make time for play. Yesterday Rosie was in a mood. She didn’t want to play. This morning she blocked me from filling her food dish so we could play. Birds, like people, have moods.
Clark told me that Amazons don’t generally play with toys as much as a Grey will.
From tug of war with their covers, to a game of fetch, where the bird throws the ball and the Clark’s return it, it’s all about creativity.
A healthy diet is also important, but as many children don’t like broccoli, parrots don’t always go for the pellets over the seeds. I have read many articles about how to introduce pellets. Rosie might eat a few, but she usually picks around them. A diet of seeds is not a balanced diet. This is the one pet you can feed some “people food” to, specifically, raw fruits and vegetables.
“Offer different foods,” Clark suggested. “I have a bird that likes pomegranate.”
Rosie likes scrambled eggs (hard-boiled too), green beans, okra, blueberries and bananas. One thing that you MUST do is clean the fruit and vegetables thoroughly prior to giving them to your bird. The least bit of soap, insecticide or any man-made additive can be fatal. If you are unsure of what is good for your bird, please research.
We also talked about “first” birds. This is important. Birds go up for adoption because the owners weren’t realistic in what to expect. Cockatiels and parakeets are wonderful birds to start with, and may be taught to sit on a finger, say a few words or whistle tunes. A good resource is the American Veterinary Association site at https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Selecting-a-Pet-Bird.aspx.
Tappan summed it up: “There are three things you need to do, be kind, have patience, and take things in small steps.”