Today…..

Since leaving my part-time job a few weeks ago, I am slowly getting back up to speed with things….especially with the birdies. I purchased a new cage and sold another. I never thought that parting with a bird cage would have been sad, but this one leaving was just that for me.  You see this cage happened to be for my first Grey. In some way, I could compare it to parting with your kid’s baby crib. Favian has been with me for quite some time and continues to be ‘king’ of the flock, until one of the girls comes down and puts him in his place. 🙂 Anyway, this was his cage and it was just to big and heavy for me to continue wheeling in and out of the  house week after week. You see, at least once a week, all the birdies (and their cages) go outside to get some sunshine and maybe a shower. We are blessed here in Phoenix to have such great heat. (Yes, I said blessed.) The heat allows the cages to dry out quickly and thoroughly and it also allows the use of the water from the garden hose for bird showers. The heat also ensures the water in the garden hose is never too cold.

In addition, I purchased some toys/perches that could be hung from the ceiling. Those have now been hung and the birds are enjoying their time on both. Today, we also had a ‘bird mart’ in town. I debated about going, but wanted to get out of the house and see what else might be out there. I ended up with just a couple of things- a ‘boing’ (sp?), rope perch and a rope ball. You can tell my birds like rope.  The boing will be added to the collection hanging (and often swinging) from the ceiling, [Am I spelling ‘boing’ correctly?]

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We’re back!

Life has been extremely busy in the last year. The flock continues to do well, which I will tell you about in the next post. Forgive my lack of participation as I have had some surgery (ankle), did some PT, worked a lot and more. But you all are equally busy, I am sure, with different circumstances. My ankle is not 100% yet. The dr. told me it would take 12 months for complete healing of the soft tissue and 18 months for healing of the nerves. I should tell you how this all transpired as you will appreciate it, I am sure. I did not break my ankle, but rather rolled it. Now keep in mind I had the surgery at the end of January (this year); however, it was actually injured at the end of February or beginning of March of 2012.

So how did this happen? Well, I often like to take a bird up to bed with me for some snuggle time. It provides some nice one on one time with the flock and relaxation for me. This particular evening I happen to have taken Stu upstairs with me. We had a most enjoyable time together…you know, head scratches, chatting, etc. After about a half an hour it was time for night-night so we proceeded to the stairs….which is when my ankle trouble began. I neglected to turn the light on as we progressed down the stairs. After reaching what I thought was the landing, I put all my weight on my right foot. Yikes! Poor Stu went flying and I tumbled and cried out in excruciating pain! Stu was unscathed, and gladly got back on my hand. I wondered if I had broken my ankle; however, I was able to walk on it. It began to swell immediately so ice was applied. It was huge and seemed to take forever to go down…I do mean forever. By September it was clear there was some permanent damage. After some tests and a few trips to the dr. I found I had torn a ligament on the top of the ankle. The doc told me that in an of itself I could have gotten around as our body has a “back up system” in the ankle – perineal tendons. However, he also told me my back up system (perineal tendons) was non-existent. Faced with continued pain in other joints as a result of the misalignment, fluid in the joint, general instability and a future with Mr. “Arthir- Itis” – surgery was recommended.

Rather than have the surgery during the holidays I opted for the procedure to take place in January. So there you have it. The birds did not know what to think when they first saw me on crutches. I told them “Momma has a boo boo”. So of course, within two days Mario was saying, “Hey Boo Boo” when I walked into the room. They are so funny…I progressed from a cast to one of those ‘boots’, then a soft brace, which I still use now. So there you have it….I cannot wait to share news about the birdies with you…So please do stay tuned, share the blog with friends, and feel free to comment! Thank you for hanging in there!

Our awesome avian Vet….

I have often referred to the Vet that treats my birds, as well as those that have come to me in the past when I was with the rescue. Up until now, Dr. Kevin Wright had been practicing with another Vet in Mesa, Az. However, recently that has changed. Dr. Wright has now ventured out on his own. Even better for those of you who would prefer a home visiting Dr. for your exotic animals, Dr. Wright is now making house calls! Here is a link to his new website, (which does seem to have a glitch):  http://www.wbeph.com/

You will notice when you ‘arrive’ at the website it shows an error message. Just click on “Home” in order to bypass this snafu.

I have many stories to tell you about Dr. Wright, but it is too late to write about them right now. If you go back to the beginning of this blog you will find quite a few stories of how Dr. Wright has helped many a bird that has passed through my doors or come to roost permanently. … for now I bid you good night… Or as Mario says, “You go sleepies? You go night night? I love you!” 🙂

 

News, news, news….

I appreciate any of you who have taken the time to subscribe to this blog. Please accept my apologies for not being on here a bit more regularly.  There have been a great many changes and I look forward to sharing them with you in the coming days and weeks. First, I have to tell you about something that happened just a few days ago. In all my years of owning parrots, (over 25), this has never happened.  There has always been a specific focus on avoiding any breeding (and anything associate with it). And while I do not encourage mating, one aspect of the reproductive process does occur in some households on occasion. I guess this happened to be our occasion.

One of my females, Gabby, is an adorable creature. (They all are, though, aren’t they?) Gabby has been with me about five years and is a funny girl…she’s got the theme to “The Andy Griffith Show” down pat and has taught many others to whistle it as well. She talks some, likes to whistle, and especially loves her swing. (At some point I have to post a video of this)……While holding on to her swing with one foot, she grabs the front of the cage with her other foot and beak. When she has pulled herself close enough, she lets go of the front of the cage and gets completely on the swing. Viola! We have motion! It is adorable, funny, cute and so enjoyable to watch as she goes back and forth! Gabby also loves to chew up boxes. If you want to keep her occupied, give her a box. It will keep her busy for days.

The beginning of July took us out of town for a few days as went to see our daughter marry. I had a friend coming over to take care of the birdies and doggies. All went well. However, when I came back it seemed Gabby really missed me. 🙂  She just could not stay away. She loved on me, didn’t want to leave me, and followed me around the house like a puppy. I was so missed! (I know it seems like I have gone off on a tangent, but it will make sense in a minute.)  This behavior has continued….this past Sunday as I was getting everyone ready for their weekly bath, shower and sunshine I was startled to see something on the bottom of Gabby’s cage….. you guessed it- it was an egg!

The egg….

You will notice it is cracked, which is fine as it is not fertile anyway. I had never seen an egg from an African Grey or any other parrot for that matter. Of course, I couldn’t bring myself to throw it out- it is still in a dish in the fridge. I don’t know how long I will keep it, but it makes me smile when I open the fridge. I think she may have another eggy in there, which I hope she lays soon. While it is a natural process, it also is not something one desires on a regular basis. It takes a lot of calcium to make an egg, (don’t’ ask me how much, I just know it takes a lot out of a birdies’ body). I will tell  you why this is so pertinent in Gabby’s case in my next post….for now, just do as I have been doing, look at the egg and smile.  🙂

New Girl….a.k.a… Lola….

Please accept my apologies for not providing more progress reports on the New Girl. As you can see, she has been re-named. As the song goes, “Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl”…. (Thanks Barry Manilow and the Copa Cabana). She is a funny girl and does seem to enjoy the spotlight, the music and dancing.  Her personality has blossomed as she has continued to improve. She is funny, often bossy (with the other birds), and entertaining. If you ask her a question she shakes her head yes rather rapidly… (even if yes is not the best answer, which means you must ask appropriately).

Her feathers are continually coming in and it is so rewarding to see her getting better.

Here is her “before”…

Ms Lola in early March when she first arrived…. a sad looking African Grey…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

….. and the ‘after’ taken today, 06.02.12….

 

She still has a way to go, but is SO much better!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(She was dancing when I took this shot…) She’s a happy little girl…

So cute!

The powder that is classic on a Grey, which was greatly lacking, has also begun to reappear. … So what do you think?

New Girl….

Well some suggestions for a name for New Girl have come in….. Lola, Gracie, Kiki, Hazel to name a few… a friend of mine also took the time to do some research in the African name genre…. Anaya- means ‘look up to God’; Bella- ‘slave freed’; Binta- ‘with God’, Nadira- ‘unusual’; and my personal favorite-‘ Wub because it means gorgeous – beautiful. I am torn because I love the meaning of Wub, but am not sure it is ‘the name’. Her personality is really beginning to show, which I think will help determine the final name. In the meantime, keep those suggestions coming!

I have a lot to tell you about New Girl and African Greys in general, so let’s start with these lovely birds and their coloring. They are called African Grey; however, I was surprised to learn a number of years ago that their feathers are actually blue. The blue is not visible to the human eye because of the powder that coats the birds feathers. The powder, (normal in a healthy bird), does not allow light to penetrate and reveal the true color of the feathers- blue. Well, since we know New Girl has been ill and been extremely stressed, she does not have any powder. After a number of showers the feathers she does have are still dark grey, when they should be lighter. However, looking back I wonder if she had the normal powder coating on her feathers if, indeed, her feathers would appear normal…anyway, I digress….What I have found most wonderful is the opportunity to actually see some blue on the remaining feathers on her back. She is a bit camera shy so it has been difficult to get good shots, but check these out….

Aren't they pretty?

There you have it… a hint of blue…I feel privileged to have the opportunity to see these as they are without powder. However, we are looking forward to New Girl getting healthy and having her powder restored. 🙂

Speaking of getting healthy, I have been feeding her Harrison’s High Potency Coarse crushed and made into a ‘mush’, which she is enjoying tremendously. The benefits of this diet is showing in the appearance of new feathers. I know I had previously posted a  photo with new feathers shafts appearing on her chest, but those have not really come out. She is, however, getting new feathers on her back and a few other areas. It is most obvious on her back and only visible when she is preening and very exciting to see…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a bit difficult to catch the photo when she’s preening, but definitely worth the wait….  🙂  Kinda looks like she has a cowlick in the pic on the right, doesn’t it?

Are those feather shafts growing?

New Girl continues to improve…..I think I see some feather shafts growing…What do you think?

Update on the New Girl….

New Girl continues to improve…. Yipee! I have to admit I was a bit worried for a while. After 4 showers she is still darker than she should be, but she is eating and drinking just fine. Her skin continued to slough off, but that has also abated too. The ‘shedding’ skin looked especially awful after her third shower, (which she still enjoyed immensely). Check out the pics below….

 

Can you see the big flakes on her chest? She also looks pretty emaciated in this photo. There is a vast difference in the photo I took tonight.

It’s difficult to see in this photo, but I do think some feathers shafts are beginning to sprout. How exciting! I will keep you posted….

The New Girl….

Let me get you up to speed on ‘life among the greys’. 🙂   Many of my birds have been with me for about 1.5-2 + yrs. Most had ‘issues’ when they came in, whether physical or emotional, they have all thrived and showed great improvement. I realized, for some, it was now time to move on to the next phase of their lives. So a few have now left and are being worked with to prepare them to become part of a family. Some you know, others have never been introduced here. Magee is one that I would LOVE to see in a loving home where someone could lavish attention on him. He has moved on and is doing well. We also had a Timneh in the flock…. he is a funny, smart and interesting chap….and is also being prepared to move in with a loving family. A female Congo along with my 24 yr. old yellow nape are also now participants and being readied for a forever family. I will keep you posted on their progress as I receive updates.

In the meantime, the rest of the flock is adjusting and seems to be content with the new number. In the midst of the previous members moving on, I received information about a female Congo that was having some difficulties. Enter New Girl…. 10 yrs old, bought in Dec. 2011. Within her first month she had begun plucking her feathers. The new owner, distraught and wanting to get her new baby help, took her to the vet. Tests revealed an infection and antibiotic was prescribed. A follow-up visit to see Dr. Wright also included tests for PBFD (psittacine beak and feather disease)  & PDD (Proventricular Dilatation Disease), which came back negative.

The day I met the bird she looked as she does in the photo previously posted. She was very, very dark (where she had feathers), so much so I thought she was a Timneh! Her exposed skin was very dark red…. needless to say, her exterior image was very sad indeed. Her owner was at her wits end trying to get the bird back to her perfect feather condition. However, she could no longer care for the bird and placed her in my care. My first order of ‘business’ when a new birdie comes in is to bathe them. Unfortunately, I could not give her a soaking bathe for the first couple of days, so i resorted to the spray bottle with comforting, warm water. I wrapped her in a towel after her ‘rinse’, then administered her meds along with some liquified Harrisons food, which must have tasted good based on the way she ate it! After a bit of cuddling I let her out of the towel…as she sat on my hand I noticed something on her legs. Initially, I thought it might have been some food. I was stunned when I realized it was actually dead skin.

Do you see it? Weird, huh? A couple of days later I took her in the shower with me. She is a funny girl… quite vocal, squawking when she doesn’t want to do something or is unsure, but she will do it anyway. I heard one squawk as I placed her under the running water, then for the next 4 -5 minutes, on and off, she just relished the water running over her back. It was extremely gratifying to see her enjoying the shower so much. I dried her off a bit, then placed her outside in the beautiful, warm Arizona sunshine, using the blow dryer to help her warm up quickly. She looked better, but still very dark. After about an hour she had large flakes of dead skin on her body…..

3.14.12

Notice the especially large piece of dead skin towards the bottom of the photo. I sent copies of the pics to Dr. Wright to keep him updated on what was happening with New Girl.

Another area that was especially irritated on this birdie was her eye area. As a matter of fact, the skin around her right eye was red and actually swollen when she arrived. That has also improved. I tried to take before and after shots:

Note the redness and swelling around her right eye...

I am happy to say, both the redness & swelling, are gone from her eye area.

I will keep you updated on New Girl’s progress… oh and by the way, if you have suggestions for a new name, I would greatly appreciate them!


The New Girl….

I received a phone call from our wonderful avian vet, Dr. Wright last week, regarding a bird that was having some troubles. I will write more about her in a couple of days….in the meantime, here she is…..

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