December 25, 2007

This morning this handsome cardinal was sitting on a tree stump in our front yard. This is not a mirror image – look closely! It’s two different pictures I put side by side. The cardinal just turned his head in opposite directions in the two pictures.

Merry Christmas to all!!!

Snowball, the Dancing Cockatoo, Ambassador for Bird Rescue

December 20, 2007

This little video was first seen on the web May 9th, on the Bird Lover’s Only Rescue website, and has become such a big sensation! My favorite clip is that first one, which can be seen on the Bird Lover’s Only Rescue site. I’ve had the link for weeks, and every time I watch it, this bird makes me laugh. However, there is a longer version they posted on YouTube that I could share:

The video clip of Snowball dancing made Time Magazines top 10 list for Best Web Videos.

Snowball has been on the David Letterman show, but that clip isn’t nearly as entertaining. I feel sure Snowball was intimidated by the change in environment, and all the noise the band and audience were making.

Now Snowball is going to be featured on Animal Planet’s show, “The Year in Animals.” The first airing is this Saturday, December 22nd, 8pm Central.

Besides being highly entertaining, this little video of Snowball makes an important contribution in educating people. I imagine a lot of people didn’t even know there was such a thing as bird rescue organizations. I imagine a lot don’t realize how many birds NEED to be rescued.

They look pretty in the cage, and many people are in love with the idea of having a bird. Once they have one, the reality is sometimes quite different than they imagined. Birds are messy. They need a better diet than just seeds and water. They need good lighting. They need toys. They can be destructive, because they need to chew. It’s a natural behavior, and they don’t distinguish between their chew toys and your good furniture. Having a parrot is like having a perpetually teething puppy.

They need attention. The parrot family especially, because of their high intelligence, are quite needy. An African Grey, for instance, is reported to have the emotional level of a 2-year old, and the intelligence of a 5-year old. Would you leave a 5-year old in a crib or playpen at all times? Well, guess what, you shouldn’t confine a parrot in a small space 24/7 either.

They need change! They need a stimulating environment. And yes, they need love. DON’T get a parrot unless you are willing to live with the mess and give one the time and attention it deserves. You won’t be happy with the resulting chaos, and the bird won’t be happy confined and ignored.

Snowball’s “mom” wrote a very good piece about the difficulties of owning a parrot, and why so many end up in rescue. I think the main difficulty is people don’t take the time to learn about the creature they want to own, what kind of behavior to expect, and what it needs to thrive. The first time they get bit, they think they have a BAD BIRD. More likely, the bird was frightened, or it was the result of a BAD OWNER, because they didn’t understand how to interact with the bird.

My own parrot, an African Grey, is a rescue bird. Her previous owner bought her at some sort of bird show. She had NO idea what she’d gotten into. She just “wanted some company.” Reading between the lines after talking to her, I suspect she got bit and was thereafter afraid of the bird. She scooted the bird out of the way with a flyswatter when she needed to put food in the bowls.

The parrot had a bare chest and no tail feathers. She told me the bird was moulting. I didn’t contradict her, but I knew better. This one had just been moved to a new environment. African Greys are notorious for feather picking when stressed, and it often becomes a habit, much like biting fingernails is for some people.

Why buy an animal if you don’t know how to take care of it, or at least are willing to learn how to do so? Owning an animal brings responsibility for that animal. Who else will care for the animal, and be sure it has what it needs to thrive? It doesn’t matter if it’s a bird, rabbit, ferret, horse, cow, pig, or whatever.

Bottom Line: If we buy any animal, taking it into our care, it’s our responsibility to learn how to care for it properly, then DO IT. If everyone did that, we wouldn’t need so many bird, dog, and all kinds of other rescue organizations. There are a lot of cute animals out there, but please be sure you’re ready to take care of one properly before you give into that impulse to buy one.

You’ll both be a lot happier that way.

Florida’s Paradise Birds

November 24, 2007
While in Florida, I came across this Bird of Paradise: And then here’s one of the Birds IN Paradise:

If you like warm weather, then Florida might be the paradise you’re looking for!

Florida Fruit

November 23, 2007
We’re staying in a nice motel close to a lake. Here on the grounds, they have the makings for a tropical fruit salad. They have grapefruit trees and orange trees.
There are also banana trees:

And just to make things a little more interesting, after we make our fruit salad, we could watch the birds at the lake, like this one resting on one of the pilings near the shoreline.

This is a great place!

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