the first parrot blog
The guided and mis-guided adventures of new parrot owners and the people that encourage and support them. Cautions, advice, amusements and interesting stories about people and their parrots.
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Epitaph To A Parrot
A Bird Of Mine
Give Love, Be Loved
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Land of Vos
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Prior Months Posts
the first parrot blog
Thursday, July 29, 2004
10 Seconds Of Fame
Shuggie Choi made his TV debut today with Barbara Walters on ABC's "The View". Apparently it was a non-speaking role but Shuggie's wardrobe claimed rave reviews. Rumor has it that Shuggie's owner, Hugh, managed to get on national TV as well.
We're having the segment converted to Mpeg format. Look for it in the blog next week.
We're proud of you guys. From the bars of the Bronx to the Great White Way...and it all started in a little kitchen in Mandeville, Louisiana.
- posted by J-Birds @ 6:44 PM |
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Shuggie Is Famous
Hugh Choi's Vos male, Shuggie, will appear on national television on "The View" with Barbara Walters on Thursday morning on ABC. He will be modeling flight suits and participating in a discussion of birds as pets. If anyone has a VCR, please tape the segment for us. This is our first baby that made the national stage.
- posted by J-Birds @ 5:50 AM |
Monday, July 26, 2004
Parrots In The Platform?
Maybe we should have applied for press credentials at the political conventions. Who else is going to cover the events from a parrot's point of view.
For all of us who devote time each day to blogging, take note. The New York Times has an article about bloggers certified with press passes to cover the conventions.
- posted by J-Birds @ 9:09 PM |
Sunday, July 25, 2004
We had lunch at our new home today. Stopped on the way out and got fried chicken, biscuits, Doritos, cokes and beer. Not exactly a gormet meal but it allowed us to sit down and view the home as our own for the first time.
In previous visits we were afraid to start making plans since our offer was not accepted. Now the excitement is setting in. For two years we looked at everything in a negative light to establish a negotiating position. We finally had a chance to look at things more positively.
The good news is the place has been freshly painted, the floors are in great condition, and the well works. We have a few faucets to replace but the septic system seems to be ok. There is a little rot in some areas outside that will require immediate attention.
Our first major project, other than the move itself, is to establish our outdoor aviary and deal with the raccoons. Shortly after the move the weather will be getting colder and we have to find a way to winterize the cages in their new location.
- posted by J-Birds @ 6:54 PM |
- posted by J-Birds @ 7:56 AM |
Saturday, July 24, 2004
Parrots Love Josh Groban
Debra got a Josh Groban CD in the mail today and played it in the living room. A dramatic event occurred when all of the birds started singing in unison. Obviously, they were more impressed than I was. It was truly remarkable to hear the cacophony of noises (including Josh) echoing through the house. Who says parrots have good taste?
- posted by J-Birds @ 3:31 PM |
Flights Of Fancy
Think you are a "seasoned" parrot owner? Interested in a parrot as a pet? I learned a lot from this article called "Flights of Fancy". You will too.
- posted by J-Birds @ 2:10 PM |
Friday, July 23, 2004
Debra and I have a house full of parrots on one-a-day feedings. This is a great time for me. Debra most likes parrots from three to eight weeks old. Something about their vulnerability and dependence, I guess.
On the other hand, I like them best from their first flight until they go to their new homes. After all, you can't teach three week old birds to sing stupid songs. We make them up daily in our kitchen.
Flighted and feathered birds are most impressionable. This is the time when true socialization begins. Manners are taught, bad habits are avoided, and first words are painfully, poorly spoken.
The combination of a nurturing mother (Debra) and a playful dad seems to be a good combination that turns out wonderful, healthy, well-adjusted babies. Just a lucky chemistry that works for us.
- posted by J-Birds @ 7:25 PM |
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Free At Last, Free At Last
Those of you who follow the blog remember the problems we were having with the neighbors and the city regarding our birds in the yard. As a result, we voluntarily relocated our Umbrella Cockatoos, TJ and Star, to a friend's place in the country.
Because the city was monitoring our website trying to make a case that we were conducting a business in a residential neighborhood, I went through the posts in the blog and changed or deleted references to sales of birds and the number of babies we had in the house. I also toned down further references to our hobby that would be construed as a business.
But now we are moving within 6 weeks and we are coming out of the closet. We love birds and the people we meet that have or want birds. We get several emails a day from people interested in obtaining a parrot and we are happy to help them or refer them to someone who can.
We have people over often,some to see various types of parrots, some to learn how to handfeed, some to visit their babies that we are weaning. We look forward to having open house on Sundays in the country.
And mostly we look forward to the party we are going to throw when TJ and Star return to our family.
- posted by J-Birds @ 7:46 PM |
Sunday, July 18, 2004
Janis Gore contributed this article she found about Charlie the escaped parrot who lives in the belfry of a church in Yorkshire and swears at parishioners. Thanks Janis.
- posted by J-Birds @ 12:28 PM |
- posted by J-Birds @ 7:51 AM |
Saturday, July 17, 2004
Chateau Plumage Home Tour
This is the Virtual Tour of our new home and property. - Craig
- posted by J-Birds @ 10:32 AM |
Friday, July 16, 2004
Albert Camus once said, "Success is a constancy of purpose". I read this quote in 1973 and I reflect on it at least weekly.
We started our search for a home in the country two and a half years ago. Two years ago we discovered the home we now call Chateau Plumage. It hasn't been lived in for five years but at one time it was a beautiful estate with a main home and two guest houses with a small lake, a pool and a hammered copper fountain that stands 11 ft. tall and is 8' in diameter.
The only flaw is that the home has only one bedroom so the property is "functionally obsolete". It is impossible to appraise because it only appeals to a limited market. For us, it is perfect.
Tonight we signed copies of the accepted purchase offer. We close in early August and hopefully we'll be moving in by mid-September. Our special thanks to all of you who have listened to us for two years about our quest and supported us with your kindness and encouragement...and thanks Albert. - Craig
- posted by J-Birds @ 7:10 PM |
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
They're Everywhere, They're Everywhere!
There's an interesting post about a woman and her parrots in the Living in Egypt blog. You can send comments to Maryanne at her email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- posted by J-Birds @ 8:30 PM |
Sunday, July 11, 2004
After receiving assurances from the seller, the attorney representing the estate and the seller's agent that another offer would be well received by the bank that controls the sale of the property(I hope you followed all that), we have resubmitted our offer for what we hope will be our dream property, where birds and people can live undisturbed by neighbors, zoning ordinances, sound ordinances and other urban annoyances.
It's 24 acres and has a guest house. If we get it you are all welcome to come visit.
- posted by J-Birds @ 9:37 PM |
- posted by J-Birds @ 6:17 AM |
Saturday, July 10, 2004
Life of Koby
Joan Phelps has written a wonderful blog about her pet Congo, Koby. She has the relationship with her bird that we wish for all of our birds. If you stop by, leave a comment and tell her we sent you.
- posted by J-Birds @ 7:31 PM |
Difference In Birds
I visited a shop recently that specializes in parrots. In casual conversation we were discussing weaning babies. The shop manager told me that when a baby goes from bedding to a wire cage the store puts them on two a day feedings and supplements them with seeds. We let the babies tell us when they are ready to skip the mid-day feeding.
I asked when they introduced pellets and dried or fresh fruit and vegetables. They said that they encouraged the new owner to feed them a balanced diet when they were sold after weaning. In the meantime they weaned all birds to seeds only.
This is one of the better places to buy a parrot in town. People may diminish the difference between our birds and birds of the same type at pet shops and bird shows and other breeders. We don't. We don't know shortcuts, and diets that make a bird look heavier and shinier while impairing their health and development. We just weren't taught that way and we don't think that way.
You can't educate a bird buyer in all of the questions to ask when purchasing a new bird. There's just too many issues to deal with. But whenever a person emails us that they got a bargain for $50 cheaper we just hope that they got what they bargained for.
- posted by J-Birds @ 2:19 PM |
Friday, July 09, 2004
I went to a pet shop that specializes in birds. They had a baby Hahn's Macaw. The photo above is "Buster". We raised him last year. There's a whole world of mini-Macaws out there. Maybe we'll get into more details later.
- posted by J-Birds @ 7:13 PM |
Thursday, July 08, 2004
So Pretty, So Quick
This is the baby White Bellied Caique. What a beauty.
- posted by J-Birds @ 6:03 AM |
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Counting Your "Chickens"
It appears that Sonia and Kalador have two fertile eggs. These will be our first Vos babies from them this year. I'm most probably jinxing them with this post.
- posted by J-Birds @ 12:36 PM |
Monday, July 05, 2004
Hello Craig & Debra, Here are some pics of Bonnie & Gina, things are going great. Gina has really taken to Bonnie and she spends all her time with her except for when she is at work. Gina loves bonnies glasses so bonnie has resorted to wearing contacts and putting bells in her hair and other toys hanging from hair pins for Gina to play with. She is a wonderful grey and we both enjoy her very much. Gina is right there every morning to greet bonnie when she takes her cover off the cage, bonnie is so pleased and happy with her bird she is like a little kid. We hope you two are having a great 4th of July, We will keep in touch. Joe
Let's help Joe and Bonnie pay for bird food by visiting their website.
- posted by J-Birds @ 8:15 AM |
Sunday, July 04, 2004
Observations At PetsMart
If you attend a bird fair or bird organization meeting the topic of PetsMart invariably comes up. Local conversation does not center around the supplier of PetsMart birds, Kaytee Preferred Birds. Rather, it centers on the declining condition of the birds once they reach the stores.
PetsMart prices parrots 50% higher than birds raised by breeders in the local area. Most serious buyers research their purchase and deal with a local breeder. This leaves the bird in the store to be purchased by an uninformed impulse buyer or a person that buys the bird to save it from PetsMart.
The staff may be trained to handfeed birds on schedule but the staff turns over rapidly. PetsMart is a revenue driven pet-related department store. The incentive is not to cuddle and pamper the live animals in the store...it is to move them out the door.
The last 3 parrot buyers I have spoken to indicated that the bird they purchased from PetsMart was stressed(as indicated by their feathers) or partially mutilated. All three buyers received substantial discounts on their birds by the store manager. It would seem that if the store priced the birds correctly to begin with that they would have moved the bird sooner and the bird would not be in as poor condition.
Better yet, if the stores referred potential customers to qualified breeders, the customers would still buy cages, toys and food from the store. The buyer would get a better bird and better training and the store would retain a customer.
- posted by J-Birds @ 10:22 PM |
Eclectus, The Perfect Pet by Craig and Debra Johnson,J-Birds
Eclectus are the perfect pet for first-time parrot owners and families. Calm demeanor, low aggression, quiet behavior, excellent talking ability, moderate size and beautiful coloration make these birds one of the most desirable parrots in the United States today.
One of the unique characteristics of this species is the totally different coloration of males vs. females. Males are green with red and black under the wings. Females are red with shades of blue or lavender depending on the sub-species. This is known as sexual dimorphism and is more pronounced in Eclectus than any other species of parrot.
Subspecies. Four subspecies of Eclectus are readily available as domestic bred pets: Solomon Island (Eclectus roratus solomonensis), Grand (Eclectus roratus roratus), Red Sided (Eclectus roratus polychloros), and Vosmaeri (Eclectus roratus vosmaeri). Eklectos, in Greek means "choice or select," and roratus is from the Latin (ros, rorare) meaning "to moisten, as with dew." This may refer to their iridescent feathers.
The smallest of the domestic Eclectus is the Solomon Island at 12-13” and an average weight of 420 gm. The S.I. is the gentlest or least aggressive sub-species although all Eclectus are less aggressive than any other species of large parrots. Solomons are identified in the female by coloration of red and royal blue feathers with a slight orange tint at the edge of their red tail feathers. Female Solomons have a powder blue eye ring. Males are determined by size and weight.
Red Sided Eclectus are widely considered to be a regional variation of the Solomon Island. Red Sides are slightly larger than the S.I. at 13-13.5"and are slightly heavier at 440-475 gm. The body type of the S.I. and R.S. Eclectus is similar to a Congo Grey.
The first subspecies discovered was the Grand, hence its designation as the nominate sub-species. Grand Eclectus are the least common of the domestic subspecies. Contrary to popular belief the Grand Eclectus is not the largest of the species. At 12-13” they are similar in length to the Solomon Island but their weight is slightly heavier.
Vosmaeri Eclectus are the largest of the subspecies at 475-540gms and 14”. Female Vosmaeri are identified by a bright yellow band at the tip of their tails. This band is usually ¾ to 1” in width. Vosmaeri females are red and lavender as opposed to the royal blue of the Solomon. Vosmaeri and Grand Eclectus have a stocky body type similar to an Amazon.
Behavior. While Amazons, Congos, Macaws and Cockatoos are inquisitive and playful, Eclectus are gentle, almost docile, birds. Eclectus enjoy interaction with people and will sit quietly on a shoulder for long periods. They are also content to play quietly in their cage. Known as the ultimate “family bird”, Eclectus do not bond with a single family member over time. We find that they have their own unique relationship with each family member.
Eclectus can, as any large parrot, be provoked to bite. This is usually when they feel threatened or are afraid. Fortunately, if they are treated in a calm fashion, they rarely get agitated enough to strike. Females are slightly more easily intimidated from time to time. This is usually credited to periodic hormonal changes. Although marginally more aggressive than males, female Eclectus are less aggressive than other species of large parrots in general.
Environment. The natural range of the Eclectus parrot in the wild includes New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the Indonesian islands and the Cape York Peninsula of Australia. Their habitat is densely wooded semitropical to tropical rainforests, with a maximum elevation reported about 1000 meters. These birds reside for the most part beneath the forest canopy.
As a pet, it is recommended that Eclectus be housed in a fairly large cage. A good size would be 23” x 32” x 50”. Eclectus are not as playful as other large parrots but they do enjoy a variety of bird toys and multiple perches within the cage. These birds strongly relate to their owner family as part of their flock and should be kept near the center of family activity within the home.
Diet. Eclectus’ natural diet includes fruits, nuts, seeds, berries, leaf buds, blossoms, nectar and leaf shoots. As a pet, their regular diet should include species-specific pellets, a smaller percentage of a commercial seed mix, and daily fresh fruit or vegetables. All Eclectus love peppers of any type. Habanero peppers are like popcorn to Eclectus.
Conclusion. Whether you are a first time parrot owner or looking for the perfect bird to add to your collection, the Eclectus is a great addition to your family.
- posted by J-Birds @ 2:39 PM |
Raising The Flag
Have a happy and safe 4th of July.
- posted by J-Birds @ 12:13 AM |
Saturday, July 03, 2004
The new addition of ParrotChronicles is available online.
- posted by J-Birds @ 8:15 AM |
Thursday, July 01, 2004
Indecision has caused me to be drafted into writing a species profile on Eclectus for the Louisiana Aviculture Society Newsletter in July. As usual, I had a thought today about writing an opinion piece on Parrots and Children. Too late to work this up in time for our deadline.
We are exposed to all sorts of interactions between parrots and children. Some parents call and say they want to buy the bird for their eight year old because they're really good with animals. Some parents are concerned about getting a bird that will tolerate small kids. Some are worried about parrot attacks. Of course, we are primarily interested in the well-being of the parrot.
If I have the motivation to write this article I'll post it in the blog for your review. In the meantime, your thoughts and comments are most welcome.
- posted by J-Birds @ 7:00 PM |
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