Sunday, July 7, 2013


Make time for this great event.
You won't want to miss any of Dr. Friedman's lectures and workshops.
For more information, click on picture.

While you are at it, check out these other upcoming events
for Dr. Friedman.
Oct 19-20: Living and Learning With Animals (LLA), Seattle WA


Feb 21-23: Living and Learning With Animals (LLA) with Karen Drummond, New Zealand

April 4-7: Living and Learning With Animals (LLA) with Cory Cordes, Guelph Canada

June 7-9: Living and Learning With Animals (LLA) with Marcus von Kreft, Berlin Germany

June 13-14: Living and Learning With Animals (LLA) with Happy-Fellow Dogschool, Austria

Aug 9-10: Living and Learning With Animals (LLA) with Grisha Stewart, Seattle WA

Friday, July 5, 2013


Just want to let all of our readers know about the fantastic videos that Barbara Heidenreich is making available on the website.         Click here to see some of them.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


If any of our contributors have events they would like posted on the Upcoming Events calendar, please send them to me in the format you would like them to be on the calendar.  You can use the Contact Us link on the website.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Taking Your Pet Birds Outside

Taking Your Pet Birds Outside

By Linda Roberts

Taking your pet birds outside during the warm weather months can be a wonderful experience for your birds, or it can be a terrifying & traumatic experience! It all depends on your bird and its personality and phobias, as well as the method you choose for the outdoor experience.

Exposure to natural sunlight (full spectrum) is important to the long-term health of parrots. Like humans, the vitamin D from the sun is essential to good health. Recent studies show that sunlight through glass windows has reduced full spectrum, so it can be very beneficial for them to have exposure to direct light. However, your bird's physical safety and emotional well being must always come first. If your bird is phobic when taken outside, then by all means do not force them.

Please! Never take your bird outside without some kind of restraint - either in a cage, a carrier, or harness! Even with clipped wings, many birds can still become airborne if the right breeze comes along to provide the necessary lift.

Using A Bird Harness: Some birds are willing to accept a harness which allows your bird to flay their wings as they ride on your arm or shoulder. It does, however, have its drawbacks. First of all, many birds just plain won't accept a harness and it's too stressful to try to force them. But if you are a lucky person with a bird that will accept the harness, you still must be very careful. A sudden noise, such as a car driving by, a horn honking, or even the sight of a dog, cat, or wild bird (like a hawk!) might frighten your bird and cause them to fly off of your shoulder in fear. Although they are on a leash and can't fly away, if you are not paying attention, your bird could land hard on the ground and be injured, or you could even accidentally step on them.

Check the condition of the harness regularly, because many birds can snip through the nylon cording very quickly and suddenly fly away.

Never use your birds' harness as a tether to a t-stand or other perch. Your bird is defenseless when tethered and could become easy food for a hawk or even a crow. Also, if they fly off of the perch in fear, they could become entangled in the harness or hit the ground hard.

When your bird is out on a harness, don't forget to keep track of the time and how long it has been since your bird had access to food or water. While your bird may come to enjoy your walks while in a harness, it is still an exciting and stressful activity, so make sure they get plenty of rest after an outing and don't make it an all-day event unless you have gradually worked up to longer hikes. Don't get overconfident just because your bird is on a harness and leash -- there are still many dangers to consider.

Outside Cages And Carriers: This is my preferred method. The birds are safely contained, but they are also protected from predators and have access to food and water at all times. I have small cages for my birds -- usually just big enough for the bird to stretch out their wings. For instance, the cockatiel and conure are in 12" x 12" square cages; the cockatoo and eclectus go outside in 24: wide travel cages (I call these their "porch cages".) Each porch cage has one perch, and a food and water dish. There's no need for toys as they are not in them all day long.

Location of Outside Time: Avoid putting the birds in direct sunlight -- they can become overheated very quickly. But also be aware of the temperature and that the shade is much cooler than where you are probably sitting. I like the dappled shade on my deck under my big maple tree in the late afternoon -- it provides the right mix of sun and shade.

Getting Started: It's important to start slowly when taking them outside and to be very aware of their natural fears when outside. Put the porch cage against a wall outside, and cover the top and sides with a towel, leaving only the front end open for the birds to look out. Stay with them the entire time, talking calmly to them. make the first session no more than 5 or 10 minutes, then take the bird and cage back inside.
Each time they go out in their porch cages, you can work on increasing the time. You can also gradually fold back the towel so that half of the top and sides are open -- but make sure to leave the back half of the cage and part of the sides and part of the top covered with the towel! This towel provides a shelter for them to hide behind if they see a wild bird that frightens them, or if tht sun comes through too much and they need the shade.

After a while, your birds will be very comfortable with all side of the cage open. However, make sure to still put a small towel over half of the top of the porch cage so they have an area of retreat from sun or perceived predators.

The really fun thing about outside time in their cages is how they come to enjoy it. On expecially warm summer days, after about 30 minutes utside, they are absolutely thrilled to get their showers -- all of them have wings fully spread out, every feather on their bodies raised to all the water to penetrate to their skin. Several of my birds will actually hang upside down so I can get them soaked all the way through! It sometimes takes a full 32-ounce bottle of water for each of the little birds and TWO 32-ounce bottles of water each for the cockatoo and eclectus! Once they are satisfactorily drenched, they will sit on the sunny side of their porch cages, eyes half closed as they dry off in the sunshine.

If the air is really warm, your birds might also enjoy being sprayed with a soft cold water spray from the garden hose. Make sure that you are far enough away that the water spray is not hard and aim the hose above the birds so the water falls on them like a natural rain. Also, there is some concern that bacteria may breed in garden hoses, so drain your hoses after every use and run water through the hoses for several minutes before aiming the water at your bids.

MAKE SURE ALL CAGE DOORS LOCK SECURELY! so they can't get out. Never leave your birds alone while outside in the porch cages -- use their outside time as your excuse to sit down alongside them, and make time to read that magazine or book!
Have a wonderful summer with your birds!

New Birds / Basic Care

From Dr. David Kersting, DVM


Your bird's diet is one of the most important considerations of its overall care. Adequate feeding plans may be developed from a wide variety of commonly available foods, or formulated diets specially prepared for birds by commercial companies may be offered. Ask your avian veterinarian for recommendations on feeding your bird.


  • Temperature: A healthy bird can tolerate temperatures that are comfortable to its owner. Sudden changes in temperature may be a potential threat to the sick bird.
  • Humidity: Pet birds can adapt to a wide range of humidity levels, although birds native to subtropical climates may benefit from localized increased humidity in the home (e.g., in bathroom with running shower or frequent spraying of the feathers with water).
  • Light and Fresh Air: Opportunities for supervised access to fresh air and direct sunlight (not filtered through glass or plastic) appear to be beneficial, as long as shade is available.


The largest cage that can be accomodated in the home is recommended for birds that are expected to be confined most of the time. The cage must be strong enough to resist bending or dismantling by the bird, made of non-toxic material, and designed for safety and ease of cleaning. In most cases, the cage would need to be wider than it is tall to accomodate stretched wings; however, ample height should be provided for long-tailed birds.
  • Perches: Optimum perches are clean, easily replaceable, appropriately-sized, natural wood branches from pesticide-free and non-toxic trees (e.g., Northern hardwoods, citrus, eucalyptus, Australian pine). A single, well-placed perch may be adequate for agile climbers like psittacines because they tend to prefer the highest perch, even if more are provided. Two perches, one on each end of the cage, should be available for species such as finches, which prefer flying or jumping to climbing. A perch should be placed to prevent droppings from contaminating the bird's food or water and to prevent the bird's tail from contacting food, water or the floor of the cage.
  • Food and Water Bowls: The use of wide bowls rather than deep cups displays food attractively and may encourage the bird to eat new items. Healthy psittacines with normal ambulatory skills can easily approach the food and water bowls; therefore, it is not necessary in these cases to place bowls directly beside the perch. Birds often overeat or chew on food dishes out of boredom.
  • Hygiene: A daily cleaning of the cage floor and bowls prevents problems with food spoilage and alerts the owner to potential signs of illness. A weekly, thorough cleaning of the cage is suggested.
  • Cage Liners: Newspapers, paper towels, or other plain cage liner paper may be preferred over wood chips, chopped corn cobs, kitty litter, or sand as cage substrate, so that the appearance and number of the droppings can be monitored on a daily basis. Substrate should ideally be below a wire barrier so the bird does not have direct access.
  • Security: Many birds benefit from the availability of a retreat inside the cage for a sense of privacy (e.g., paper bag, towel, nest box).


In appropriate species, opportunities may be provided for exercise in the form of supervised freedom from the cage. Pet birds are intelligent, active animals whose psychological needs should be addressed. Locate the cage near family activity in the home.
Toys provide diversion as do a variety of foods. Seeds pushed into an apple or an orange present a bird with entertainment, challenge, and food, all at the same time. Use your own imagination, keeping within safe parameters and provide entertainment and enrichment for your pet birds.
Toys are useful as mental diversions and tend to encourage physical exercise and beak wear; however, they must be selected with safety of the bird in mind. "Chewable" items include branches, pine cones, rawhide dog chews, natural fiber rope, and soft white pine.

General Care

Minimal body care is required for the healthy, well-fed pet bird. Confined indoor pet birds that resist a varied diet require more attention in the care of the nails, feet and feathers.
During the molting of feathers, additional fat, protein and vitamins may be required in the diet. As a new feather develops, the bird may pick at the pin feather cover to open it. This should not be interpreted as "feather picking" or the presence of mites.
Pure water is the most appropriate feather spray. Keep feathers dry and free of oily substances. Soiled feathers may be gently cleaned with a mild detergent solution (e.g., baby shampoo) followed by thorough warm water rinsing and drying.
Wing clip may be desired to prevent escape or injury, or for taming and training. Your veterinarian can advise you on wing clipping.
It may be wise to remove open leg bands to prevent injury. If a closed band must remain on the leg for identification purposes, check under the band occasionally for signs of dirt accumulation, swelling, or constriction of the leg. A regular visit to an avian veterinarian for a routine health examination is advised in order to detect potential problems early.

To Avoid

  • Sandpaper-covered perches.
  • Air pollutants such as cigarette smoke, insecticides, and toxic fumes from over-heated non-stick-coated utensils.
  • Mite boxes or mite sprays.
  • Easily dismantled toys such as balsa wood, small link chain items, toys with metal clips or skewers, or those with lead weights.
  • Access to toxic houseplants, ceiling fans, cats, dogs, young children.
  • Access to cedar, redwood, or pressure-treated pine chips as cage substrate.
Adapated from a brochure by the Association of Avian Veterenarians