If your bird seems sick, take him or her to an avian vet immediately! Check your local phone book or Vet Lookup, AAV, Avian Vet.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have not had your tiel for very long, or if you are just getting ready to bring one into your home, you probably have many questions about feeding, housing, and other issues. I hope the links in my previous posts were helpful, but I'm sure there are still some things you'd like to know about.

If you've had your tiel or tiels for a while, you have probably learned by now that the questions never end. They shift from basic care concerns to more complex issues, with "Why does my cockatiel do that?" becoming the overarching question. Behavior and health issues become more important.

From my own experience, I know humans wonder why we tiels like to grind our beaks. Well, I grind my beak when I'm happy. The other day, I sat on the Tall One's shoulder and started to doze off, grinding my beak. Another thing we do when we're happy and healthy is to sleep standing on one foot. A sick cockatiel would not be able to keep his balance like that, so if your tiel always uses both feet, it might be a warning sign. We have many more habits like that, so with that in mind, I've compiled a list of links to pages dedicated to frequently asked cockatiel questions. I hope you find it useful!

* North American Cockatiel Society: Frequently Asked Pet Cockatiel Questions. Sorted by Behavior, Caging, Clipping Wings, Diet, Egg Laying, Escaped Cockatiels, Feathers, Illness, New Cockatiels, Sexing, Talking, Training, Travelling, and Miscallaneous. All questions and answers are very brief and concise, making for an easy read.

* Frequently Asked Cockatiel Questions. My friend Eleanor at the Cockatiel Cottage put together a list of over 60 questions and answers to all types of cockatiel related topics, from new bird topics to care, health and behavior.

* Australian National Cockatiel Society: Frequently Asked Questions. Questions and answers about many aspects of cockatiel care, most notably eggs, breeding, health conditions, and behavior.

* Pet Cockatiel FAQ. Five basic questions and answers from our cockatiel friends in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, including cockatiel lifespan, size, suitability as a pet, talking, and noise level.

* Cockatiel Information, Cockatiel Care. Nine questions and answers, including health, lifespan, sexing, care, cage, and breeding.

* Birder's Eye: Cockatiel FAQ. Answers to a variety of questions.

* Beginning With Birds: Cockatiel FAQ. By Anita Golden. Answers to a variety of questions.

* Tiel-L FAQ. This list of 38 questions and answers was compiled by the users of the Tiel-L mailing list.

* Cockatiel Tweets Corner: Frequently Asked Questions. Most of them start with the age-old question "Why do cockatiels..."

* American Cockatiel Society: Ask the Vet. Questions and answers on two specialized health topics: a hen laying soft-shelled eggs, and the symptoms and treatment of sour crop.

* Bird Frequently Asked Questions. A fun, simple site with basic questions and answers regarding food, safety, terminology, etc. for all types of pet birds. Easy to read.

* Animal Adventure: Bird Questions. Questions and answers to different bird questions, such a cage placement, apartment living, feeding, temperature, bathing, and cockatiel night frights. If you're interested in other types of pets, you can keep reading on for questions and answers about fish, ferrets, hamsters, rabbits, and even prairie dogs!

If you can't find the answer to your question, try the articles I listed in previous posts. You can easily find them under "Previous Posts: By Topic". Click on Cockatiel Care, Cockatiel Knowledge, or Links. If you can't find what you're looking for, leave me a question under "comments"; I'll try to find the answers for you. You can also join one or more of the friendly message boards I selected and listed under "Cockatiel Conversation" on the left side of my blog. The people on these boards are very dedicated and experienced, and if you post a question, they will generally answer you right away.

Good luck!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

My Human, the Bird Fan

When my human left this evening, I took the opportunity to snoop through the pictures that she had just downloaded from her digital camera to see where she had been. I was surprised to see that most of the pictures were of birds! I think she went to a zoo or rescue facility, or possibly both, because there were pictures of all kinds of wild birds. There were a few pictures of other animals, too, but the birds were clearly in the lead. I think my constant presence has inspired her to look at all of my winged cousins as being very special. Since she has no idea that this blog even exists, she won't know that I uploaded them, so I am going to share the ones I like best with you:

This is my favorite picture: one of my big parrot cousins.

The barn owl is taking a nap. She looks a lot like Miss Prissy when she's asleep, except that she does not have her feet in the water dish!

This, Miss Prissy, is a duck! A duck can put her feet in the water! You are not a duck, you are a cockatiel! You need to keep your feet dry and out of my drinking water!

I don't know what this bird is called. I think it's some type of dove. Very pretty!

Some people say we birds are really dinosaurs. Once I saw the picture of this bird, I believed it!

This peacock has very pretty tailfeathers. I wonder why the Tall One did not bring me one of those feathers to play with.

I think this is some kind of pelican! Look at that beak!

It's hard to believe that a huge bird like this ostrich is related to me. And the Tall One says I look mean! She's lucky there was a fence between her and him!

She's Not a Duck - Or Is She?

Bonjour, mes amis!

There comes a time when even an extremely intelligent and resourceful cockatiel like moi needs some advice, and that time is now. You know about my beautiful companion Miss Prissy. As gorgeous as she is, she also has some strange habits. Most of them are harmless, like looking dreamily into space as if she were seeing angels, or being startled easily.

However, lately she has taken to a very strange behavior that I can't quite understand. She likes to sleep while sitting on the water dish, with her feet in the water! She's not a duck! I'm worried about her possibly getting sick. Not to mention that our drinking water doesn't exactly taste better that way! The Tall One was not very happy when she saw Miss Prissy acting that way, and I have a feeling that she is thinking about taking our water dish away overnight. What if I get thirsty?

My faithful human, cockatiel, and canine readers, has anyone experienced this with a tiel before? If yes, what should I do? Please post your experiences, ideas, or advice under comments!


J. L. LeMone

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Paper Fun

I spent most of the morning tearing up the paper the Tall One put underneath our cage while Miss Prissy looked on from our porch. Here are the pics:

Cool Link: National Geographic

Since you are a faithful reader of my blog, and since we cockatiels are beautiful winged creatures, you are obviously interested in the beauty of nature. One site that gives you information, pictures, and even videos of many creatures and places in the world is the National Geographic web site. If you click on "Animals" and then on "Birds", you can see pictures and read articles about many of my fine feathered relatives who live in the wild.

Since it has a Photo of the Day and a Daily News section that is updated frequently, I am going to put the link under "Daily Diversions" as well so you can visit it daily if you like. The site also features a Place of the Week, free newsletters, educational games for children, information for educators, wallpapers, soundfiles of world music, maps, and much more.

Have fun!

Information des calopsittes pour mes amis francophones, Parte I

Cockatiel Information for My French-Speaking Friends, Part I

Ici sont des sites francophones avec information de calopsittes:
Here are some sites in French with information about cockatiels:

Mes amies les calopsittes. Une site en Belgique avec information de choisir, loger, nourir, reprodiction, particularités, photos, sons, liens, livres, et articles de la santé des oiseaux.
Cockatiels, my Dear Friends. The English version of the Belgian site cited above, including choosing, housing, feeding, reproduction, particularities, photos, sounds, links, and books.

La perruche calopsitte. Description, mutation, nourrissage, elevage, génétique, maladie, photos, et trouver un prénom pour votre oiseau.
(English version under construction.)

Ornitho-Passion: Perruche Calopsitte. Un peu de information des calopsittes: distribution, taille, dimorphisme sexuel, et elevage.

Perruche Calopsitte (Cockatiel). Informations générales des calopsittes.

Perruches calopsites (Nymphicus hollandicus). Généralités, sexage, reproduction, caractère, et un album des calopsittes. Liens générales des oiseaux: attention toxique, alimentation, cage, cohabitation, entretien, maladies, mirage des oeufs, etc.

Le site des passionnés de perruches calopsittes. Généralités, alimentation, logement, reproduction, mutation, photos, vidéos, sons, liens, et un forum.

Oiseau Club Lorientais. Articles, forum, liens, petites annonces, photos, etc.

Vouz avez des liens des calopsittes francophones? Ponez-les en "comments", s'il vous plaît!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Go Away, Tall One!

The Tall One is getting on my nerves. She just does not know what she wants! Sometimes she sleeps in the other room, sometimes in our room on her couch. Sometimes she sleeps during the day and covers us up (she calls it a nap), and other times, she is gone all day long. Sometimes, she gets up before the sun rises, and other days, she sleeps when it's still light outside. And sometimes, she gets up in the middle of the night, and then she goes back to sleep!

I just don't understand these humans! We cockatiels like having a routine! To make matters worse, the humans have control over some of the light, so sometimes it's dark for a while, and then the light comes back on when the Tall One wants it to, and at the craziest times. Usually, it's not that bad, because she goes to bed at almost the same time every night and then gets up early five times, and then she goes to bed late and sleeps late two times, before her routine starts all over again. Ever since she got sick, though, she's been sleeping or waking up at the craziest times!

In my opinion, she needs to go away for a while and let the Cool One come over instead until she can return to a routine like a well-trained human should. I tried to get the message across to her by fluffing up and turning away from her when she talked to me, but I don't think she got it. I like having a human, but sometimes, the behavior issues are a problem.

Cool Blog: Parrot World News

You know how the humans read newspapers and internet articles about other humans? They are interesting to humans, of course, but we parrots get bored of them after a while. We really would prefer a newsmagazine where we could read about other parrots.

I'm happy to report that there is such a thing! It's called Psittapedia: Parrot World News. It is a blog written by a bird, and it contains links on parrot news from all over the world, along with general information. I will put the link under "Blog Buddies" as well.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Cockatiel / Quarrion / Nymphicus Hollandicus / Nymphensittich / Perruche Calopsitte / Calopsita / Cacatúa Ninfa o Carolina

We tiels are very popular around the world, and we go by many names. In the English-speaking world, we are known as Cockatiels; in Australia, also as Quarrions. Our proper Latin name is Nymphicus Hollandicus. In German-speaking countries, we are called Nymphensittich. Our francophone friends call us Perruche Calopsitte. In the Spanish-speaking world, we are known as Cacatúa Ninfa or Cacatúa Carolina. In Italian and Portuguese, our name is Calopsita.

I'm very excited to report that I have alreay had visitors from many different countries, including the United States of America, Canada, Britain, Australia, France, Germany, Austria, Mexico, Spain, Tunesia, Qatar, Sweden, Croatia, India, China, Japan, and Malaysia. Just today, Andrea and her cockatiel Jackie from Brazil stopped by!

With so many names and so many friends around the world, some of whom have already visited my blog, I want to include more international information, and I am going to begin by putting some resources together for my friends in the French, German, and Spanish speaking realms, with others to follow. Watch for future posts that feature links in these languages!

Merci! Thank you! Danke! Gracias! Grazie!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Get Well Soon, CC-Man!

I just received some alarming news: My tiel buddy CC-Man got sick and had to go to the doctor. T-Man wrote all about it in his blog. Now, I know dogs and humans seem to get sick quite frequently and have to go to the doctor, but we cockatiels are usually the picture of health. Sure, I've read about other tiels getting sick on occasion, and I know that a sick bird needs to go to the doctor immediately, but I've never personally known a tiel who fell ill. Worse yet, CC-Man has to take medication, and he does not even have the Cool One around to help him take it! I am very worried about him.

CC-Man, I hope you feel better soon! Make sure your human and T-Man take good care of you! Let us know how you are doing!

J. L. LeMone, Cockatiel

Monday, February 19, 2007

Entertaining the Tall One

The Tall One has been home all day. She says she has a stomachache. If you ask me, that's because she eats all kinds of strange things. Maybe I should convert her to a pellet diet, hehe! She says someone called the Flu is going around, and she did not sound happy about it, so I hope he does not come here; she's already unhappy enough as it is.

Miss Prissy flew on the Tall One's head right away this morning, and I followed. We sat on her shoulders for hours. I preened her hair and her neck, and I think that made her feel better. Finally, both Miss Prissy and I fell asleep for a while. The Tall One has her shortcomings, but she does make for a great perch! Later on, I chirped at her for a while so it would not be so quiet and boring around here, and then I got behind the cage and tore up some of the newspaper while screeching at it. I pecked at the wooden cabinet for a while, because the Tall One likes it when I act like a woodpecker. She was getting too quiet, though, so I got ready to chew on the rubber cord. Just like I thought, she told me to quit, and I was happy that I at least got a reaction out of her.

I'm telling you, it's pretty hard to entertain a human who is sick!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Cockatiel Safety

It is extremely important to keep your bird safe and healthy. We are very sensitive to many plants, foods, and chemicals. Remember, what might be dangerous to us could also be dangerous to you, so it's in your own interest to keep us safe. Make sure to read all the links below and to check your feathered friend's environment for hazards.

I have a lot to say about the Tall One, and not all of it is good, but she will go to extremes to keep us safe. As soon as she got me, she researched cockatiels on the internet, and when she found out that non-stick pans can kill birds, she threw all of hers out and bought a new set that had no Teflon or any other non-stick stuff on it. She'd rather scrub the sticky mess than put me in danger.

When the apartment people come to spray for bugs, she either puts Miss Prissy and me in the other room and completely seals off the door, or takes us over to the house of her friend with the long dark hair, who also has a tiel, so that we can stay in a safe place. She did the same thing when they painted the apartment, even though everybody told her the paint was non-toxic. She left us at the dark-haired one's house for several days until all the fumes were gone. She said she was not going to take any chances. She won't even use bug spray, spray starch, or insect repellant in the same room with us.

Even though she's completely addited to chocolate, she won't let us near it. She won't even let us out of the cage when she's eating the stuff, and she washes her hand before handling us.

One time, there was a fire alarm in the building, and there was smoke in the hall. She covered us up with a thick blanket and took us outside, where the firemen admired us after finding out that it was just a washing machine that had broken and overheated. There was no way the Tall One would have left us in the building, exposed to smoke. She took us into the fresh air right away (luckily, it was warm outside) and made sure the building had been aired out before she took us back inside.

Part of a human's job is to keep the tiels safe, and so it's important to keep yourself informed. Of course, I can't guarantee the accuracy of the information on these sites, but they seem like a good place to start. If you know of any other good sites on the topic, please post them below under "Comments". Of course, I will keep you updated on other informative articles I may find in the future.

Read these pages carefully! Your tiel's safty depends on it!

* Hazards and Care of Your Bird. By Bobbi Brinker, Winged Wisdom Pet E-zine, 1998. This article describes potential hazards, such as teflon pans, self-cleaning ovens, links to articles about toxic foods, plants, chemicals, and toy safety, roaming, guests, other companion animals, windows and mirrors, vet visits, bird fairs, bathing, toys, and more.

* Household Hazards. Another page on the very informative Cockatiel Cottage site. It describes all types of visible and invisible household dangers, some of which I was not even aware of. A must-read!

* Hazardous Plants. A list of potentially dangerous plants to birds.

* Safe Plants and Trees. Before exposing your bird to a plant or perch, make sure that it is on the list of safe items!

* Safe and Toxic Plants. Two useful lists by my friend Eleanor at the Cockatiel Cottage: a list of safe plants, and a list of toxic ones.

* Poisonous Foods, Metals, and Compounds. A list of dangerous stuff.

* Safe Cleaning and Pest Control. By Carolyn Swicegood, Winged Wisdom Pet E-zine, 1999. We cockatiels are very sensitive to chemicals. Some cleaning and pest control products can hurt or kill us. This article describes safe alternatives to these chemicals. Think about it: if it's bad for our lungs, it's probably not good for you, either, so using safe products makes your environment safer not only for your feathered friends, but also for yourself.

* Gillian's Help Desk. This page contains links to bird safety lists and short articles, including first aid, holiday hazards, scented candles, pens and markers, safe wood for perches, potentially toxic plants, dangers in new homes, and many more topics. Concise and easy to understand.

* Cages, Cages, Cages! By Sharron Salas, Winged Wisdom Pet Bird E-zine, 2000. I posted this link previously under "Setting the Stage for the Cage", but I think it's important to include it in this post as well so you can inspect your bird's cage for safety.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Parrot Trivia

We cockatiels are so pretty and unique that many people forget we are actually small parrots. While we are very special, we also have a lot in common with other parrot species. Here is a trivia quiz about Parrot Behavior! Have fun, and let me know how you did under "Comments"!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

What Should You Feed Your Cockatiel?

Now that we're on the topic of food...

We cockatiels like to eat all kinds of things. Personally, during my first years with the Tall One, I would only eat bird seed, millet spray, honey treats, and my cuttlebone, no matter how hard she tried to get me to eat fruits, vegetables, and other things that she considered healthy. She even tried to convert me to pellets a couple of times, because they are supposedly well-balanced, but when she realized she was facing a hunger strike, she gave me my bird seed. You show me the human that's eating a well-balanced pellet diet, and I'll eat it, too, but in the meantime, I want some real food!

Once Miss Prissy moved in, though, I realized that I had been a little narrow-minded about food. She actually tried all the stuff that the Tall One gave us, not only the bread and pizza crust, but also the fruits and veggies. Of course, I didn't want her to have anything I couldn't get, so I tried it, too, and I have to admit that some of the stuff is pretty good. I really missed out before. The other day, she brought something called a hamburger and gave us a little piece. I'd never had one before, and it was yummy! Yesterday, she gave me something called a tortellini. It was a little softer than the things I usually like to eat, but by now I had learned to try new things anyway. It was soooo good, I ate the whole thing!

So, if you're a cockatiel, I'd encourage you to try and eat what your human gives you, unless it really seems to be bad to eat. If you're a human, you need to make sure that everything you feed your tiel is actually good for him or her. Things like chocolate and avocado are actually toxic for birds, and feeding your feathered friends only seeds is not good for them, either. Following are some links on cockatiel nutrition.

The National Cockatiel Society: Feeding Cockatiels. By Dr. Vanessa Rolfe, DVM, 1997. This is a concise article about how to make sure that your cockatiel gets adequate nutrition.

Health and Diet. This page is part of the Australian National Cockatiel Society's web site, and it contains articles on Caged Birds and Diet, Vitamin A Deficiency, and Weeds for Birds.

Cockatiel Cottage: Diet. My friend Eleanor has a very informative page about cockatiel diet on her Cockatiel Cottage site.

20 Things You Must Know About Nutrition. This very informative list refers not only to cockatiels, but all species of pet birds.

Understanding Pet Bird Nutrition. By Gary D. Butcher and Richard D. Miles, University of Florida, IFAS Extension. This is a well-researched article from a reputable source. It describes the six essential nutrients: water, protein, carbohydrates and fiber, lipids, minerals, and vitamins in a relatively easy-to-understand, but scientific format. It also includes a Question-and-Answer section on bird nutrition.

Avian Nutrition, Winged Wisdom Magazine. By P. J. Schimel, 1997. This is an easy-to read general article about pet bird nutrition. It is split up into food categories, for example water, vegetables, sprouts, fruits, nuts, tablefood, birdy bread, and food toys. The author also points out that different species have different nutritional needs.

Some Random Ideas on how to Get Your Cockatiel to Eat Veggies. This is a fun, short, easy-to try list of ideas. Some of these ideas may not work for you and your tiel, but some of them may, and they sound like a lot of fun. Try them out!

To Peel or Not to Peel: Parrots & Natural Living Foods. By Monica Gonzalez, 2003. Another list of creative ideas on how to get your bird to eat healthy food. Actually, I might print it out and leave it on the Tall One's desk...

Avian Nutrition. By Cynthia L. Kiesewetter, NACS. Despite its title, this article focuses on cockatiels in particular. Each nutrient is described in detail. There is even a chart that shows how much fat each type of seed contains.

Cockatiel Nutrition Guide. This guide is organized by food components such as carbohydrates, proteins, etc. It explains what role they play in cockatiel nutrition and where they can be found. This site is especially useful if you have some background knowledge in nutrition.

What Should I Feed My Cockatiel? By Mary Beth Voelker, Online Pet Consultant, National Cockatiel Society. If you decide to switch your cockatiel's diet to an all-pellet diet, this article gives good advice and a step-by-step guide.

Converting the Seed Junky to Pellets. By Dr. Vanessa Rolfe, DVM, National Cockatiel Society, 1997. This is another article on the same topic.

What to Feed? A Solution. By Peter Feldman. This article gives a different perspective on pellets, considering them a part of a healthy diet rather than the main or exclusive source of nutrition for birds.

As you can see from these articles, there are different issues and opinions involved with providing good nutrition for us birds. While humans know what foods are unhealthy for us and what nutrients we undoubtedly need, there does not seem a consensus on exactly what a good diet should look like. My advice for my human readers is to offer your cockatiel a diet that contains different types of nutritious foods, and to continue doing your research on cockatiel nutrition and new developments in the field. If I hear of new information, I will certainly keep you posted.

In the meantime, if you have any other informative links on the topic, please post them below under "Comments".

Monday, February 12, 2007

Food Fun!

I really like the Tall One! She came home with a couple of bags last night, and it was full of cockatiel treats! There were different types of bird food, millet spray, fruit treats, and a toy that has seeds inside. She also put some yellow stuff in our drinking water so that it looks like some of that lemonade she likes to drink. I've always wondered what she does that for, but this time, I got a chance to look at the bottle, and it said it had vitamins in it that are healthy for birds. That's good, because Miss Prissy needs extra nutrition now that she is recovering from the pink things. Of course, vitamins are good for me, too. I played with the new toy right away, and it was so much fun!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Setting the Stage for the Cage

Now that you know how to go about finding a fine-feathered friend and the basics of cockatiel care, your next concern is probably to find out more about how to properly house him or her. Personally, I love my cage. It's my home where I sleep, eat, drink water, climb, play, and preen Miss Prissy. It even has a nice door that folds out into a porch. The Tall One usually opens up the cage while she is in the room, so we have plenty of space and time to fly about and exercise our wings and feet. If you can't let your birds out a lot, you should invest in the biggest cage you can possibly afford and accommodate so your fine-feathered friends can fly around and get their exercise. It is also very important to find a good place for the cage. We cockatiels don't like being cold or sitting in drafts, and we love being where the action is. Keep in mind that we are very social!

* Home Tweet Home... All About Cages. By Anne Johnson, Winged Wisdom Pet Bird E-zine, 1997.

* Cages, Cages, Cages!!! By Sharon Salas, Winged Wisdom Pet Bird E-zine, 2000. Important information about safety considerations when buying a cage.

A cage isn't a cage without perches. While we cockatiels like to play at the bottom of the cage every now and then, we spend most of our time on perches. Make sure that the perches you use are made from wood that is safe for birds. You should provide perches of different thickness to your bird can pick a spot that is comfortable for his feet. Don't use sandpaper-covered perches; your bird's feet will get sore! My personal favorite is the banana-flavored calcium perch the Tall One bought for me. It not only feels good on my feet, it also tastes good and is healthy!

* Perches for Caged Birds. By Holly Nash, DVM, MS, at petecudation.com .

* Bird Cages, Perches, Dishes, and Other Accessories. By Drs. Foster and Smith, Inc., on peteducation.com

I don't like it when the Tall One cleans my cage, but it needs to be done. Once it's nice and clean, I'm happy. Not to mention that a clean cage keeps us birds healthy. You need to be very careful with cleaning supplies, since we birds are very sensitive to chemicals. Good pet stores carry safe cleaners for bird cages. The Tall One uses vinegar, which is a natural cleanser. Anyway, here is a link that describes how to safely clean your bird's cage, and another link about cage liners that help keep the cage clean.

* Cleaning Your Bird's Cage. By Drs. Foster and Smith, Inc., at petecudation.com

* Cage Liners: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. By Carol Highfill, Winged Wisdom Pet Bird E-zine, 1997.

Of course, every cage needs a good cover. We birds do not like being cold at night. Sometimes, a cover calms us down. The Tall One simply uses a nice blanket to cover us, but for those of you who are creatively inclined, here is a link on creating pretty covers for your bird cage:

* Decorative Cage Covers. By Katherine Booth, Winged Wisdom Pet Bird E-zine, 1997.

We will talk about the things that belong in the cage (food, water, toys, etc.) at a later time.

Au revoir!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

A Cool, Cool Visit

The Cool One came over last night, and completely unexpected! The silly Tall One had been gone all day at her place called work, and it was getting dark, when suddenly, she came home, and the Cool One was there, too! He whistled at me right away and took me out of the cage. Now, usually I bite everyone who tries to hold me, but the Cool One is an exception. We understand each other, and besides, he saved my life. So of course I was thrilled that he came to play with me. He even held me upside down! I love looking at the world from a bat's perspective! Here are the pictures!

I feel like I'm in a bird's nest! How comfy!

I like it when he's wearing a shirt with one of those toys called zipper!

Ready, set...

... chew!

Friday, February 9, 2007

Caring for Your Feathered Friend

Here are some introductory articles on cockatiel care. They cover a wide variety of topics, such as selecting a tiel, quarantine, cages, cleaning, wing and foot care, nutrition, accessories, and much more. Don't get overwhelmed by the information; I will post links on each of these topics in the future. This is just to get you started.

* New Bird In Your Home.
Information provided by Dr. Jill M. Patt, DVM.

* Caring for Your Pet Cockatiel. By Amy Patria, Winged Wisdom Pet Bird E-zine, 1998.

* Cages and Accessories for Your Pet Cockatiel. By Mary Beth Voelker, National Cockatiel Society Online Pet Consultant, 1997.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

New Award And More Bird Rescue Links

I'm very happy to tell you that my blog has won another award! This one is from the nice people at www.parrotphotos.us .

Remember how a little while ago, I posted an article with links about adopting birds? Lynne from www.parrotphotos.us e-mailed me several other links, along with this very true message:

It is important for people to understand that there are a lot of "throw away" birds out there - particularly the smaller ones - in need of homes and sitting in shelters waiting for a loving home. Usually it is not the BIRD that is the problem, but the people who impulse buy them who do not do their homework and come to understand how to properly care for them.

So, here are the additional links for finding a fine-feathered friend in need of a good home:

http://www.mickaboo.org/our-birds/all-small.html (I posted a link to Mickaboo previously, but this one lists the birds currently available for adoption.)

Thank you for the award and the information, Lynne!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The Return of the Tall One

I think the Tall One realized I was mad at her, because she came home at lunch time. She made herself some of that liquid stuff that she calls soup, with little things floating in it just like when Miss Prissy drops our food into our water dish. (I can't stand it when my feathered friend does that, and I chirp for the Tall One to change the water.)

Anyway, the soup did not look appetizing to me, but I still chirped at the Tall One to give me food. Not that I was really hungry; I just felt like a snack. She gave me a piece of banana. Now, I like the taste, because that's the flavor of my calciumm perch, but the fruit itself is way too soft. I tried it, but it was not crunchy, so I left it alone. If she figured out a way to make a banana crunchy, I would try it alright, but not if it is soft.

Miss Prissy didn't even bother to try it, even though she is usually obsessed with anything edible. She was so happy our human was home that she flew on the Tall One's head right away and climbed down on her shoulder. Since I had nothing better to do, I abandoned the banana and landed on the Tall One's head, too, and preened her hair while Miss Prissy got the human's shirt dirty in a matter of seconds. I think the Tall One felt better, though; I'm sure she did not mind changing clothes. She has so many, more than I have feathers... Then she went off again to the place called work, and I returned to the computer to do some more tiel research for you.

Oh no, gotta go!

Don't Go to Work, Human!

I am really mad at the Tall One today. She actually went to that place she calls work, just as I was getting used to her being home all day long. I knew she was going to, because she got up early and ate something, and then she ran the water in the bathroom for a long time. She only let Miss Prissy and me out for a few minutes and put us right back into the cage. Those are the classic signs that she is planning to be gone all day. I thought about biting her, but then I saw that she had filled up our food dish, and that appeased me somewhat.

The Tall One just doesn't know what's best for her and, more importantly, for me. She's not even feeling well yet. She's sneezing a lot, and she's still tired. Of course, she should be staying home with Miss Prissy and me. But this way, she'll come home when it's dark, and then she'll be too tired to let us out and play with us.

I chirped at her to let her know she couldn't leave, but she did not obey me! Even Miss Prissy joined in the noisemaking, but it did not change the Tall One's mind. She is so stubborn! It's very annoying when humans don't do what they're told.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Woodpecker Time

The Tall One is still not feeling well, so she stayed home today, even though it's the first day of her routine and she should be leaving early. She says the place she goes to is called work, but I don't really believe her. Her job is to take care of me, that's the only work she should be concerned about. Anyway, that place will have to do without her today, because I can tell she is still miserable. She coughs and sneezes a lot, and she is really tired.

For Miss Prissy and me, that's a good thing, because it means that the cage door is open whenever the Tall One is awake and on the soft thing she calls a couch. I took the opportunity to climb behind the cage. At first, I ripped up all the newspaper the Tall One had placed underneath the cage. Once it was all gone, I did not really know what to do, because all that was left was the wooden cabinet our cage sits on, but then I started tapping it with my beak. It was a lot of fun, because it sounded hollow and made a lot of noise. I like noise! The Tall One told me I sounded like a woodpecker, but it did not seem to bother her much, because she did not stop me. Maybe she was glad I was leaving the papers on her desk and the rubber cords that come out of the wall alone.

I wonder if she'll stay home tomorrow, too. Maybe I should e-mail that place she calls work and tell them they can't have her. Her work is to take care of me so I can play outside the cage all day.

One Tiel or Two?

One Tiel...

Now that you've decided to get a tiel, you are probably wondering whether it's best to get just one cockatiel or two. People say that one cockatiel may bond very well to one person, whereas two cockatiels usually bond to each other, leaving the human somewhat left out. On the other hand, cockatiels like company, and if their humans are gone all day, they will be lonely.

Personally, I enthusiastically endorse the idea of getting two tiels. I liked being with the Tall One alright, but she does not have feathers and is gone most of the day. Once Miss Prissy moved in, I was much happier. We share the same cage, preen each other, and we even bond with the Tall One together. As a matter of fact, I spend more time with our human now, because Miss Prissy adores her and likes to sit on her head or shoulders, and of course I go where Miss Prissy goes. The Tall One and I have gotten along much better since my feathered friend moved in. I was lucky, though; Miss Prissy is very easygoing, and we liked each other right away. If that had not been the case, the Tall One might have had to put us in separate cages, so it really depends on how well the two tiels get along.

These, of course, are my own experiences. Here are some articles about the topic that will give you some more information:

Double the Trouble or Double the Fun? Keeping Birds in Twos. By Winged Wisdon Pet Bird Magazine, June 1998.

An Only Bird Is a Lonely Bird. By R.R. Holster/PetStation

Should I Get a Second Cockatiel? By Mary Beth Voelker, National Cockatiel Society, 1998.

... or Two?

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Super Bowl Sunday

I won't be able to stay on the computer very long; the Tall One will be coming out of the other room pretty soon to watch her talking box that she calls a TV. A big football game called the Super Bowl is on. To be honest, I don't know much about the rules, unlike the Tall One, and I don't really care who wins. I love football, though, because the humans on TV make a lot of noise. They scream and they whistle, and I really like hearing it. I usually whistle right along. Get the chips ready, human, I'm ready for the game!

The Demise of Thing Number Three

By now, you are probably wondering what happened with the pink things. Well, about a day after the Tall One took the first two away while she was cleaning the cage, another pink thing appeared. This time, though, neither Miss Prissy nor I felt like sitting on it. I didn't, because I'd tried it a couple of times and it was very boring. Miss Prissy kind of surprised me, though, because she usually acts like the pink things are the most important things in the world. Maybe it's because the cage looks different, or because the heat in the apartment has been fluctuating due to the cold, cold weather outside, but when it comes down to it, I don't really care. The thing is just at the bottom of the cage, Miss Prissy, the Tall One, and I all ignore it, and no new ones have appeared. I hope this is it for a while where pink things are concerned.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

More Cockatiel Jigsaws!

I know many of you love to do jigsaw puzzles. Don't forget to check out the daily jigsaw puzzle link under "Daily Diversions" on the left bar of the screen! However, if you feel that there are not enough cockatiel puzzles featured, here is a link to five jigsaw puzzles featuring beautiful cockatiels. If you still want more, try the bird jigsaw puzzles page, which includes pictures of other feathered species, for example cockatoos, lovebirds, canaries, budgies, finches, african greys, amazons, and macaws.

Have fun!

Buying a Healthy Cockatiel

Just to make sure you are really prepared for the responsibility of serving a cockatiel, here is another link that will help you consider the implications:
Considering a Pet Bird? Ask Yourself These Seven Critical Questions. By Simon Blake at petboro.com.

Following is a list of very useful links for choosing a pet bird in general and/or a cockatiel in particular. As a cockatiel, I can only base my judgment on my own experiences, and these links seem very good to me, but of course I cannot guarantee that the humans who wrote these articles got all their information right. I hope they make your search for a cockatiel companion easier!

* Introduction to Cockatiels. By Susan Hahn. This brief article contains a description of cockatiel characteristics and what to consider when selecting a bird.

* How to Buy a Cockatiel by e-how.com. This is a brief 9-step guide. It provides useful introductory information. However, you should read several of the information provided in the following links for more specifics.

* Procuring the Right Bird for You -- the Right Way. Information provided by Dr. Jill M. Patt, DVM. "Procuring" is a fancy word, just right for us fancy birds. This is probably my favorite article on the topic of getting a bird, because it is packed with information. It includes questions to ask yourself, and information and links about bird adoption, which the author and I both recommend over purchasing a bird. In addition, it provides information about the advantages and disadvantages of buying from private parties, breeders, and pet stores.

* Choosing Your Bird. By Parrots Canada, 2000. This article covers pretty much anything that a prospective first bird buyer needs to know, including how to start looking, whether to buy from a breeder or pet store, hand raised babies and weaning, personality, lifesapan, noise level, price, signs of a sick bird, and much more. If children live in the house, the "if you have children, read this" section is especially helpful.

* Buying a Cockatiel. This page provides a comprehensive overview for the first time cockatiel buyer, including a description of our personality, a checklist to see if you are the right kind of person for a tiel, tips on choosing a male or female, one bird or a pair, buying a tiel and a suitable cage, and information on cockatiel bands.

* Purchasing a First Bird Companion. By Pamela L. West, Birds and Ways: Winged Wisdom Pet Bird E-zine, 2001. This article descibes the different options for buying a pet bird: professional breeders, hobbyists, and commercial pet shops. It also includes a list of questions to ask if buying from a pet store.

* Ask and You Shall Receive: Buying a Quality Pet Bird. By Anne Jackson, Birds and Ways: Winged Wisdom Pet E-zine, 1997. This article includes useful lists of questions to ask when buying a bird, including general information and questions as well as questions about diet, health, and care and questions specific for the bird you might select.

* The A, B, Cs and 1, 2, 3s of Bird Buying by Wanda Elder, Birds n Ways, 1997. This article includes a useful list for questions to ask of breeders, exhibitors, and private sellers. I find the questions to ask about older birds especially important.

* Before You Purchase Your New Bird. By Donna Mason, 1997. This page includes three checklists that are very useful when considering a bird for purchase: a health checklist, a list of questions to ask, and a list of basic needs of your new bird.

* Finding a Good Pet Store. By Becky Taylor. This article describes what to look for when choosing a pet store.

* Healthy Cockatiels, by my friend Eleanor McCaffrey at Cockatiel Cottage. This very beautiful page includes information on how to tell if a cockatiel is healthy, including a detailed checklist.

* Inspecting and Choosing a Healthy Bird. By Geoffrey and Barbara Gould, Parrot Preservation Society, 1993. This article describes how to select a bird from a breeder, including questions to ask.

* National Cockatiel Society Bird Checklist. By Dr. Vanessa Rolfe, DVM, 1997. This is a very brief list of the essential items you need to make your cockatiel feel at home. I will post more articles on taking care of your tiel soon!

If you know of any other useful links on this topic, please leave them under "Comments"!

Time with the Tall One

The Tall One is staying home today. Now, that's not really surprising, since it's the sixth day. She usually leaves really early for five days in a row, but the following two days, she does not. On those days, it's hard to tell what she is going to do; sometimes she leaves later, sometimes she stays home, and sometimes the Cool One comes over. Then she starts all over with the five days of leaving early. I don't know why she follows such a strange pattern instead of just staying home with Miss Prissy and me, but she does many silly things, and I try not to wonder too much about them. At least I have some idea what she is going to do on most days.

Today is different, though, because I can tell the Tall One is not feeling well. She sounds funny when she talks, and she sneezes quite a bit. She gets that way sometimes. To be honest, I don't mind it, because I know that she'll stay home with us for sure. I'm a very healthy bird, and I've never been sick in my life, but I know how Miss Prissy acts right before the pink things appear, and I remember that one time when Miss Prissy kept losing her feathers and growing new ones for two months, so I can tell when others are not feeling well. The Tall One does not always know what she is doing, but she really likes me, and so I don't like it when she is sick. I want her to be happy.

I think Miss Prissy was thinking the same thing. She flew off to land on the Tall One's shoulders, and I followed, landing on her head. I preened her hair for a while, and then I climbed down on her shoulder and preened her neck, and I think she felt better, because she called us "pretty birds" and petted Miss Prissy. (She knows better than to try and touch me; I want to make her feel better, but that does not mean that she can pet me!)

I had to wait until she got tired and went back to the long soft thing in the other room where she likes to sleep before I could finally get to the computer and give you this long-awaited update. Those humans sure are funny. Every self-respecting bird sleeps standing up or, at the very least, sitting in a nest, but the humans actually stretch out horizontally as if they were dead. The first few times the Tall One did that, I panicked and started screaming, and I still do that sometimes when I see her doing that, even though I know now that she'll get up and be just fine, but it just does not look right. Well, if it helps her feel better to sleep that way for a while, I'll try not to make too much noise. You never can tell, though; if I feel like chirping, I will do it, and the Tall One will just have to wait until I'm done.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Le petit déjeuner

Bonjour, mes amis!

I am very happy with the Tall One this morning. While she was having her breakfast and I was sitting on top of my cage, she gave me some of the bread that I really like, the kind that has little seeds baked in it. Of course, she gave me my favorite part, the end piece that consists mostly of the crust. I don't like bread that is too soft, but this kind is just right. Yum! I chirped happily while I was eating. The day is off to a good start!