Friday, October 24, 2008

Vote For Snowball!

Our good friend, Snowball has been chosen as one of three top finalists in WebVet's Birds on Broadway contest.

From now through 11:59pm EST on Tuesday, October 28th, the public is invited to log onto and vote for the bird they believe has the most talent. The winner of Birds on Broadway will be announced at on Wednesday, October 29th. The Grand Prize is $2,500, payable by a check made payable to the winner. While this may not seem like much, that amount would go to Bird Lovers Only Rescue Service, Inc. (A 501(c)3 Not For Profit Bird Rescue and Sanctuary) and would pay for quite a few vet visits, food, toys, and other supplies for the birds in residence there at this time.

Please everyone, visit WebVet.comand check out the finalists to vote for Snowball. Please,be sure to tell your friends and family to vote too!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What About Nick?

Nicodemus or Nick as he is affectionately called is my wonderful almost 14 year old friend and partner. Nick has been with me since he was about 4 weeks old. I was an experienced hand feeder of many parrots and with the help of Phoebe Linden (via reading her wonderful works on abundance weaning)I sucessfully raised a wonderful parrot as naturally as possible in a domestic environment.

Sadly, when Nick was a little over a year old, I had to go to work outside the home and even with my husband home all day to help keep him company and take him to his tree and back a few times a day, Nick began pulling out his tail feathers, flight feathers and chest feathers. About 6 years ago, I had sustained a neck injury while employed at a mixed animal veterinary practice and had a three level cervical spine fusion. Nick was so thrilled to have me home full-time again. He slowly stopped plucking and now pretty much full featherd he thrives on me working on my laptop in the living room with him and Koko most of the day and going out for fresh air and sunshine on the deck as the weather permits.

Nick is very in tune with me and my emotions. He will bug me terribly by asking me "Are you happy?" until I answer in a cheery tone, "Yeah!" He will not accept any less then enthusiasm in my answer to him. He KNOWS when I am faking it too! lol But seriously, it is pretty much impossible not be happy around him and even if I am in a bad mood or in more pain then I like to deal with he makes me happy by being the wonderful intelligent, caring creature he is.

Nick helps me the dogs by telling them "Quiet" or "Enough". He knows and calls them by their names (though they rarely pay too much attention to him). If someone is coming up our gravel drive, Nick will be the first to "bark" and get the dogs going in alerting us to their presence.

Want to share stories about your parrots? Please send me any stories and or photos of your birds and I will post them here to share with the world. :-)

The Latest Snowball News

Yes, our dancing cockatoo friend, Snowball is quite famous these days, here is the latest news on him:

Snowball makes it to Wikipedia! Check it out HERE

Animal Talk Naturally Internet Radio Show recently had Irena Schulz from Bird Lovers Only Rescue as a returning guest. This great show has Irena discussing Snowball's research and how that may relate to recent studies involving music therapy on Parkinson's Disease patients. She also discusses how the state of the economy has increased calls and emails from bird owners needing to rehome their birds.

Click HERE to listen to the show in MP3 format

Please visit Bird Lovers Only Blog for all the news on Snowball and Birds Lovers Only Resuce Organization.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Bonding Tips and Fun Things To Do With Your Bird

It seems we are all so busy these days...

How much time do you spend with your bird/(s) daily? Remember, they are flock animals and even if there is another bird in the household (or many); if they are all locked away in their seperate cages while you are at work during the day they need to be out and with YOU as often as possible. If you have many birds in the household, it may be difficult to have one on one time with each one each day but, that is okay, you don't have to be one on one with all the parrots in the same day, just try to get into the habit of doing at least a short time of bonding and or fun things regularly with all of the birds. Your birds will thank you with less time plucking, and having a much better mental outlook on the world!

I know, each bird is an individual... some tend to be much more 'social' than others. Some birds you can easily pick up and snuggle with without fear of needing stitches. Others you may have to be more careful with. No matter what level of 'snuggliness' your bird prefers, you can always adjust each little bonding/play time to your parrot’s individual comfort level.

Meaningful Time

Similar to children, both quality and quantity time matter when a trusting, loving
relationship is the goal. Layne Dicker, in his article "Time Well Spent With Parrots", developed an excellent model for managing time with our birds based on three kinds of attention: direct, shared, and ambient. Direct attention is “one to one” time with lots of eye contact and touching and no distractions. Indirect attention is the shared time when you’re playing with the bird but you’re also reading, watching TV or talking on the phone. Ambient attention is when the bird is out of his cage in the midst of the family hubbub. At a minimum, birds need 30 to 45 minutes each day of combined direct and indirect attention, and about 3 hours per day of ambient attention.

Spend some quality one-on-one time

Just hang out together. Let them help you pick up around the house. My CAG, Nick likes to help me fold laundry and do dishes. Koko prefers to sit on me and get scratches while I (or perferably my husband) lay on the couch relaxing.

My Greys LOVE rainforest, classical and celtic hymes music to relax and un-wind to in the evenings. Maybe you and the parrots can just sit quietly together listening to the music for a little bit. There are no rules, the point is just to give your bird your undivided attention.

Share a meal

Fix up some nice vegetables, fruit, pasta or any other bird-safe dish that pleases your parrot’s palate. Share with your bird, heck, eat off the same plate. One bite for you, one little bite for them. Of course, remember to give them their own spoon or fork so you don’t give them your icky human germs or just let them eat off the plate no fingers needed.

Interactive Play

Hand toys like birdie bagels, marbella shapes; a piece of rope, a popsicle stick, a towel, even a wadded up piece of paper can be really fun interactive bird toys. Nick loves to get inside of grocrey size paper bags and Koko likes to find toys I hid in small lunch bag size paper bags and then twist the end shut. She loves it when I encourage her to "get it".

There are hundreds of safe and fun things to play with. Lighten up and show your bird a good time. My first African Grey, years ago, loved to play catch with a wadded up piece of paper. When catch time is over, he loved to shred it up. It doesn’t have to be expensive, it just has to be fun and something you can interact with them with!

I have some baby toys that are great fun to play with the birds with. Stacking cups, toy pianos, busy boxes, etc.

I have found that Koko would like to sing. Nick would much rather whistle but when I sing to Koko she trys to join in with me. We have started "singing lessons". lol She and I will hum tunes and are trying to learn how to sing a song or two, it keeps her focused and gives us some special one on one time at least once a day.

Many Birds can easily learn animal sounds. Nick is one that loves to hear and often times repeat animal sounds so we are working on me asking him what does the Dog say? or what does the bird say? He has often coughed like my husband does when he gets up in the morning so we now do a "What does Daddy say?" Nick will then cough.

What relaxing or fun play session would be complete without a nice shower or bath? Depending on your parrot’s preference, let them splash around in the sink or tub. Mist your bird with a squirt bottle or for a finer water spray you could use a birdie mister like Mr. Mister. Whatever they prefer, make it fun!

What do you do for one on one time with your birds? I would love to hear from you and post here to share with others...