Selasa, 30 Juli 2013

How to Bond With a Sun Conure

Many people are instantly attracted to the striking beauty of a sun conure, and this attraction often leads to an impulse purchase, instead of the careful research needed to be sure that this is the right bird for them. The sun conure can be a loving, comical and devoted companion, but the path to bonding is not a short one. Patience, understanding and the realization that training will be an on-going process (with several bites along the way), is the key to your best chance of successfully bringing this intelligent beauty into your life.

Instructions

How to Bond with a Sun Conure

    1

    Purchase a baby hand raised sun conure, as they are easier to bond with than an adult. You may have success with an adult, but it is generally more of a task to gain their trust, and you may have no way of knowing the bird's history regarding being handled by humans.

    2

    Give the bird a safe, quiet space to live in and time to settle in. Place the cage in a corner, if possible; this will give her a little more sense of security. Do not place her by a window, as there may be more sights, sounds and movement from outside to make her nervous.

    3

    Teach the sun conure to "step up," by calmly and slowly placing your hand near the bird, and saying "step up" while gently touching his chest. The bird may bite from fear or agitation. Do not flick his beak, hit or yell at him. Try to keep your hand in place, and try not to react to the bite. Give him the command once more. If he bites again, slowly pull your hand back and say "No." If the biting continues, turn your back and leave the room for several minutes. Once he succeeds at stepping up, give him a treat and cheerful praise.

    4

    Introduce your sun conure to the other people in your home. Sun conures often bond with only one member of the household, meaning that everyone else is apt to be bitten or screamed at upon coming near her. Attempt to train her to be handled by more than one person, but do not be surprised if this does not happen. Realize that your bird may choose someone else as her favorite; try not to take it personally.

    5

    Provide your sun conure with lots of toys; they all love to play and clown around. As you handle him more often, try laying him on his back in your hand, or on your lap. This is often one of the conure's favorite positions to play in, and if he allows you to do this, you will know you are gaining his trust. Make sure he has regular out of the cage time on his stand.

    6

    Make sure your sun conure gets 11 to 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Lack of sleep can make your bird very crabby, and less likely to feel like interacting with you. Give her a quiet space in order for her to nap during the day, as well.

    7

    Provide your bird with the proper nutrition each day. Sun conures need lots of fruits and vegetables in their diets, as well as conure or cockatiel seed mix, pelleted food and occasionally, a few nuts. If your bird is not fed properly, he may not feel well enough to bother with bonding. For a list of foods to offer, and foods to avoid, see the resources section.

How to Help Conures Stop Biting & Screaming

How to Help Conures Stop Biting & Screaming

Conures are delightful companions. Small parrots native to South America, there are many different varieties, a number of which have spectacular colored plumage. Not known as great talkers, they are great fun to watch and play with. They are affectionate and entertaining pets. Conures do have a reputation for being loud birds and can sometimes develop biting habits. If this happens with your conure, don't panic, and don't give up. There are some steps you can take to fix the situation.

Instructions

    1

    Rule out any medical problems with a trip to your avian veterinarian. When dealing with changes in a parrot's behavior, or even before embarking on a big training program, it is always good to rule out any medical problems. The screaming and/or biting may be a symptom of a health problem, or your parrot's way of telling you that something is wrong.

    2

    Look at what happens just before your conure engages in the problematic behavior. This will give you valuable clues to what is going on. Does your conure scream when you are about to leave the house? When you come home? Does he bite when you put your hand in his cage or when you try and return him to his cage? Knowing when the bird engages in the problematic behavior will help you figure out what is causing the behavior and how to get it to stop.

    3

    Notice what you are doing after the bird bites or screams. It is possible to unintentionally reinforce bad behavior by rewarding it. If the owners respond to bad behavior by giving the parrot a lot of attention, the conure may be learning that it likes what happens after it starts screaming. Birds don't always understand human tone or body language, and so may not know if they are being yelled at or scolded, and may simply relish the fact that they are getting attention. If, for instance, the conure doesn't want to go to its cage, and if it screams enough that you let it stay out, then you have taught the parrot that it can get what it wants by screaming. Make sure that you are not accidentally training your bird to misbehave.

    4

    Train your bird using positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement involves rewarding the animal for engaging in desired behavior. Rewards can be a click from a clicker, or that combined with a favorite food treat. Negative reinforcement such as punishing when behavior is incorrect, is much less effective, and may simply result in a traumatized and scared bird, who is then more likely to bite and scream. Training a bird in desired behavior, or even training it to do tricks, and having it be able to achieve rewards and receive praise is good for the conure's overall demeanor and will improve confidence and cement the bond with the trainer. With less fear and stress in the conure's life, it is much less likely to engage in biting and screaming behaviors.

Great Blue Heron Classification

Great Blue Heron Classification

The great blue heron is a large, wading bird that is common throughout North and Central America. It stalks fish and frogs in the shallows of nearly any body of water and uses its long neck and powerful bill to snatch its prey.

Kingdom: Animalia

    Kingdom is the broadest classification assigned to living things. The kingdom Animalia contains all known animals, including the great blue heron. Animals are multicellular, do not create energy using photosynthesis and have cells that are not surrounded by a rigid cell wall.

Phylum: Chordata

    The great blue heron belongs to the phylum chordata. This phylum includes all animals with a backbone and spinal cord, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish.

Class: Aves

    The class Aves contains the birds. All birds, including the great blue heron, are distinguished from other animals by the presence of feathers on their bodies.

Order: Ciconiiformes

    The order Ciconiiformes comprises birds that have long legs and large bills, including the storks, herons, ibises and egrets. Like most members of this order, the great blue heron uses its long legs for wading in shallow water and its large bill for catching small, aquatic animals.

Family: Ardeidae

    The family Ardeidae includes the herons, egrets and bitterns. These birds are separated from the other Ciconiiformes, because they hold their neck retracted, or curved, in flight. In contrast ibises, spoonbills and storks typically fly with their necks outstretched.

Genus: Ardea

    The great blue heron is considered a "typical heron" and belongs to the genus Ardea. The primary feature distinguishing these birds from other herons is their size, as they often exceed a meter in length. Within this genus, the great blue heron belongs to the species Ardea herodias.

Senin, 29 Juli 2013

Cockatiel Training Tips

Cockatiel Training Tips

Cockatiels are naturally happy and affectionate birds, although each bird is an individual and may have habits or personality traits that could be improved. Generally speaking, training cockatiels is not difficult, and both the owner and the bird will benefit from time spent training together.

Training your Cockatiel to Stop Screaming

    It's important for owners to realize that cockatiels are naturally noisy birds, so they don't make noise to annoy you. Once you understand that a bit of noise is normal, you may find that you enjoy your cockatiel more than ever before.

    While they are noisy birds, you can teach them to stop screaming. The best way to teach a cockatiel not to scream is by not running to him and giving him what he wants when he screams. If the bird is screaming to come out of his cage and you walk over and let him out, you are teaching him that when he screams, he gets what he wants.

    If you know that your cockatiel has enough food, water, toys and is not either hot or cold or sick, you don't have to run over the to him as soon as he asks for something. Instead, you should wait for the screaming to stop, and then you should be the one who initiates the contact. If you always allow your cockatiel to dictate when you do things, he will keep screaming, because that is what works.

Training Your Cockatiel Not to Bite

    Biting is a complaint made by some cockatiel owners, but you can train your bird not to bite you anymore. A cockatiel often bites because she has been taught that biting is an effective means of getting what she wants. For instance, if you go to put your cockatiel in her cage, and she bites you because she is unhappy and you take her back out, you are reinforcing the biting. If you continue to put the bird back regardless, you are showing that you are the boss and eventually, this behavior will stop. This is more easily taught when the bird is young, but can be taught, with patience, at any age.

Reinforcing Good Behavior

    It can be easy with these birds to unknowingly reinforce bad behavior such as screaming or biting, but you should make an effort to only reinforce positive behavior. When your bird goes into the cage without biting, you can praise him or even offer a small, healthy treat. This will establish a positive connection between bird and owner where the owner is the boss.

The Habitat of the Queen Alexandra's Birdwing Butterfly

The Habitat of the Queen Alexandra's Birdwing Butterfly

The Queen Alexandra's Birdwing butterfly is the largest butterfly in the world, and also the largest winged insect. At adulthood, the larger female's head and body length reaches up to 3.2 inches and the wingspan up to 12 inches. Male Birdwing butterflies have a bright yellow body with green and blue markings, while females are mainly brown with cream and white spots, a cream body and a red tuft of fur on the thorax.

Habitat

    Queen Alexandra's Birdwing butterfly is a very rare species. Its natural habitat is in northern Papua New Guinea, in valleys just east of the Owen Stanley Mountains. It is a tropical butterfly. Its preferred natural habitat includes lowland coastal rainforest.

Food Source

    During the caterpillar stage of life these butterflies eat their own eggshells after hatching. Then they consume the aristolochia plant, also known as the pipevine plant, which contains a poison that makes them distasteful to predators. As a caterpillar, it eats constantly. It will molt several times before going into the pupa stage. During this time, of about a month, it will not eat or drink but lives in a suspended state. This rare species feeds on the nectar of flowers. Queen Alexandra's Birdwing butterfly has a proboscis with which it sucks nectar from flowers. They rarely go down to earth, but rather spend their time in the canopies of forest trees.

Reproduction

    The Queen Alexandra's Birdwing butterfly relies on the aristolochia plant to reproduce. It is the only plant in their natural habitat where they will lay eggs. When their young hatch they can feed on the plant and protect themselves from predators. This species mates once then dies. Its butterfly stage lasts only three months.

Role in the Ecosystem

    Queen Alexandra's Birdwing butterflies are very important to their habitat. Since they spend most of their time in the canopies of trees, they can reach plants that are unattainable to other insects and animals. They help to pollinate these flowering plants. In the butterfly state, their brightly colored wings warn predators that they are poisonous.

Habitat Loss

    Since the Queen Alexandra's Birdwing butterfly's habitat is so limited, it is especially vulnerable to habitat loss. Some of the threats to its natural habitat are logging, agriculture and human settlement. According to the Natural History Museum of the U.K., as of 2010 this species' natural habitat is limited to 100 square kilometers (less than 65 square miles). Collectors pose another threat. They try to capture these rare butterflies and ship them to foreign countries. A specimen is often worth thousands of dollars. According to the American Museum of Natural History, the Birdwing butterflies are endangered. It is illegal to catch and sell them.

What's in the Name

    The Queen Alexandra's Birdwing butterfly was named after Queen Alexandra of Great Britain. It was discovered in 1906 by Mr. A. S. Meek, who shot a female butterfly out of the sky. According to the Natural History Museum's website, Meek then gave the butterfly to Lord Walter Rothchild who named it after the then-queen in 1907.

Minggu, 28 Juli 2013

How to Train a Parrot to Come to You

When you call a dog to come, you wait for the dog to walk in your direction. When you call a parrot, any number of things might occur based on whether or not your pet bird is trained properly. Since the pet can fly off, and it can then take hours to return him to his cage, you want to get this right.

Instructions

    1

    Train your pet parrot in the same location. As parrots get used to the place where they're trained, they become more comfortable with you and their surroundings.

    2

    Schedule training for the same time every day, and keep distractions to a minimum. If you're focused when you train your parrot to come, your parrot remains focused on the task at hand also.

    3

    Teach the parrot the most important first command, "step up," which is the same as "come" or "sit" is to a dog. Gently slide your hand against the parrot's stomach to encourage your pet to step onto your hand.

    4

    Reward the parrot each time with its favorite treat after it successfully steps up. If you both have a stressful session and the bird doesn't respond, give a treat before putting him in his cage.

    5

    Begin training the "come here" command after you're parrot consistently obeys the "step up" command. Train in the same location and offer the parrot his favorite treat.

    6

    Expand the length the bird travels during each training session. Each time use the command "come here" and offer him a treat when he arrives at the appointed destination.

    7

    Test your parrot's ability to come in flight by using the command "come here," and then say "step up" on his approach to your hand. Reward him with his favorite treat.

How to Get a Woodpecker to Leave

How to Get a Woodpecker to Leave

A woodpecker is a type of bird that has a sharp and pointy bill, which it uses to peck or drum wood. It does this to search for insects to eat, or to create a nest for itself. Woodpeckers often damage houses or trees, and the sound of their drumming can be annoying. Both federal and state law protect woodpeckers. The law does not allow people to trap or kill woodpeckers unless they obtain a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allowing them to do so.

Instructions

    1

    Address the problem immediately. The longer you allow a woodpecker to hang around, the more difficult it is to get it to leave, because it has formed the habit of drumming there.

    2

    Draw or attach owl eyes to a balloon and hang it in the drumming area. Create or purchase a falcon in flight and attach it. All birds are afraid of falcons. Move the falcon around so the woodpecker won't realize that it's a fake. These are temporary solutions that will be effective only as long as the woodpecker believes they pose a threat.

    3

    Install netting on your siding, leaving 3 inches between the net and the siding to ensure that the woodpecker can't cause damage through the netting. Netting is effective because it is invisible from a distance, and is a long-term solution to controlling woodpeckers.

    4

    Attach a handheld windmill to the woodpecker's drumming site. Ensure that it has reflective vanes and that they move freely.

    5

    Get rid of things that attract woodpeckers, such as insects or dead trees. Use a woodpecker repellent like pentachlorophenol. This substance also protects wood and repels insects. Purchase sticky bird repellents like Roost-no-More or Bird Stop. However, sticky repellents may run in the heat. Use a chemical repellent such as Thiram or Ro-pel.

    6

    Remove the siding where the woodpecker is drumming and place soft material or insulation behind it. This is effective in deadening the sound the woodpecker makes.

    7

    Display several aluminum foil strips 2 to 3 feet above the drumming location. Hang them on strings to sway in the wind so the motion will scare the birds away.

    8

    Make a lot of noise when you hear the woodpecker drumming. Clap loudly, shout or bang on pans and boards. Play very loud music in a window near the woodpecker's location to scare it away.

    9

    Attach a mirror to the siding where the woodpecker drums. Woodpeckers get scared if they see themselves in a mirror and won't hang around.

    10

    Obtain a federal permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to kill or trap the woodpecker if all other methods fail.

India Peacock's Natural Native Foods Diet

India Peacock's Natural Native Foods Diet

Indian peafowl (Pavo cristatus) are large, semi-terrestrial birds native to Southeast Asia. Males of the species, called peacocks, are renowned for their brilliant tail plumage, which is used in courtship displays. Long revered for their plumage, peacocks are the national bird of India and are widely kept as pets. Because they are not fully domesticated, peacocks are often left to forage for their food, maintaining their natural omnivorous diet of plant and animal matter.

Seeds and Grain

    Seeds and grain make up a large part of the peafowl diet. In their native habitat among the dry deciduous forests of India, peacocks forage from a variety of plant species, including a species of cashew called mombin and acacia beans. Agricultural crops are also a food source for peacocks living near people. Peanuts, lentils, maize and wheat crops are abundant and easily raided by peacocks, garnering them a reputation as pests in certain areas, however, religious attitudes toward the species forbids preventative measures.

Fruit

    Fruit is another important component of the diet of wild peafowl. Although they often consume cultivated fruit, peacocks also eat several native varieties of fruit, such as governor's plum, garuga and Indian gooseberry. Wild fig, an introduced species, is widely naturalized in India and has since become a favorite food of peacocks in lowland areas. The rich, sweet fruit is an important and abundant source of nutrients in late summer. In the forests of Gujarat, Indian jujube constitutes a large part of the peacock diet. Because of the warm subtropical climate of India, jujube trees produce fruit year-round, making it a reliable food source for peafowl.

Animal Proteins

    Indian peafowl are not predatory birds by nature but will take advantage of animal protein whenever available. They will occasionally eat insects like locusts and crickets, as well as small reptiles such as lizards and young snakes. They will also eat mice, gophers and young rabbits, typically scavenged from the kills of predatory animals like mongoose and civets. Despite making up a small portion of the diet, animal proteins are an important part of the natural diet of peacocks in India.

What Is a Carrier Pigeon?

What Is a Carrier Pigeon?

A carrier pigeon is a domesticated rock pigeon that is trained to carry messages. All pigeons are born with the innate ability to find their way home. Some scientists suggest the magnetite found in beaks works like a compass in tandem with the earth's magnetic fields to keep the birds oriented in flight. Others believe the pigeons follow familiar landmarks, migratory instincts or sense of smell. It is agreed that homing pigeons will complete every trip without fail unless they meet with interference from things like cell towers, sunspots or storms, which can throw them off course, or are injured or killed along the way. The carrier pigeon is also generally useless on foggy or cloudy days.

Characteristics

    The carrier pigeon is predominately blue-gray with dark bands on each wing. It weights 4 to 6 ounces, is 13 to 14 inches long and has a 25-inch wing span. In the wild, it can live up to four years, though it can survive up to 30 years in captivity. It mates for life and both parents raise the chicks. With training, it is able to carry 2.5 ounces and cover distances of 99 miles round trip at speeds of up to 80 miles an hour. It dines on nuts, seed, berries and grain.

History

    The Egyptians and Persians first used carrier pigeons about 3,000 years ago. The king of Persia used them to communicate with parts of his empire. In Greece, they were used to announce the winner of the Olympics. Historically, carrier pigeons were trained to carry messages one way, toward home, after which they were transported overland to prepare for another flight. Because the pigeons naturally seek home, someone figured out that it would be smarter to put food at the desired message destination. The food would help lure them there and the natural homing instinct bring them back. The reliability of the carrier pigeon has been astounding. They were once used on mail routes and even trusted with the delivery of medication. In 1977, a carrier service was established to transport laboratory specimens between two English hospitals. Every morning until 1983, 30 carrier pigeons delivered baskets of unbreakable vials back and forth.

War Time Uses

    Before radio, carrier pigeons were frequently used on battlefields by forces needing to communicate with headquarters. During both world wars, coops for the birds were kept behind American lines. They were rigged with a bell or buzzer so the soldiers would know when the pigeon returned. Messages were retrieved and sent to designated recipients by telegraph, field phone or human messenger. Some carrier pigeons were awarded the Dickin Medal which honored the work of animals during war.

Training

    Young birds which have not yet learned to fly are kept in a closed area for approximately two weeks, where they are fed and watered in order to build an association between home and food. Once let out, they will fly further and further from the coop before they return to eat. At the point the birds are away for up to an hour, trainers begin transporting them longer and longer distances in different directions. Weekly training is advised to reinforce the home-food connection.

Sabtu, 27 Juli 2013

How to Band Pigeons

Baby pigeons are banded when they are 7 to 10 days old. The bands have number codes and initials on them that are used for identification purposes. The pigeon's band numbers are registered with a national pigeon organization that its owner belongs to. A band code will have the union's initials, the year the bird was banded, the owner's pigeon club code and the bird's identification serial number printed on it in that order. The union initials may be AU for the American Racing Pigeon Union, IF for the International Federation and CU for the Canadian Racing Pigeon Union. Non-homing pigeons are marked with NPA for the National Pigeon Association.

Instructions

    1

    Cradle the baby pigeon in the palm of your off-hand with its feet facing you. Pick up the band with your dominant hand.

    2

    Turn the band so that the numbers and letters printed on it are upside down. Gently slip the band over the three front toes of the bird until it just about reaches the leg joint.

    3

    Hold onto the band and move it slowly up towards the leg joint to make the back toe of the bird slip into the band. Carefully pull the band up to cause the back toe to come out of the band. If the back toe won't come out easily, slide the end of an adult pigeon feather under the back toe and gently use it to pry the toe out of the band.

How to Tell the Difference Between Pekin Ducks

How to Tell the Difference Between Pekin Ducks

Pekin ducks are all white with bright orange/yellow beaks and have the light orange offspring. The Pekin duck is one of the most common domestic ducks bred in the U.S. for eggs and meat. Pekin ducks are also kept as pets. Aside from seeing a female lay and sit on eggs, there are not many visible differences between the males and females. It can be difficult for even the experts to distinguish the two genders. You need to look for specific signs.

Instructions

    1

    Look for a large feather on the duck's tail that is unmistakeably curled up. That feather, a drake feather, distinguishes the duck as a male.

    2

    Look on the duck's back, underneath its wings. If you find a black feather among the Pekin duck's other white feathers, that is another sign it is a male.

    3

    Listen to its quacking. The female, when it becomes an adult, has a much louder voice than the male.

    4

    Hold the duck firmly and turn it upside down to expose its genital area. Theanimalnet.com says female ducks will have cone-like genitals. This step, called venting, is difficult and is only recommended to be done by experts and those with experience raising and handling ducks.

Birds That Can Mimic Any Sound

Birds That Can Mimic Any Sound

Mimicry is fundamental to learning songs and sounds. Fledgling wild birds begin to mimic their parents and others of their species from an early age. Certain bird species learn to mimic the sound of other bird species. Wild birds mimic in order to attract mates and as a survival strategy. A bird's ability to understand and speak the language of another species can be of value in nature.

African Grey Parrot

    These medium-sized parrots from the rainforests of West and Central Africa are highly sought after as companion birds because of their ability to mimic. A parrot mimics the voice of its owner because the sounds interest it and because it receives attention by making these sounds. African grey parrots can mimic up to 2,000 different words and sounds and they are often exact enough to fool their owners. These parrots typically mimic sounds they hear on a regular basis, such as doorbells, telephones and the barking of dogs.

Lyrebird

    The lyrebird is native to southeastern Australia. Male lyrebirds partake in a bizarre courtship ritual in which they construct a dirt mound in the middle of an area of forest. The courting bird then impresses his would-be mate by mimicking a huge variety of sounds. The lyrebird mimics not only the individual songs of other bird species but any sound it has heard, including the noise made by chainsaws and the sounds of falling trees. Individual lyrebirds which live near people are able to mimic trains, fire alarms, vehicles, crying infants and adult human speech.

Indian Mynah

    Indian mynahs, which are native of India, Thailand, China and Sri Lanka, are highly sought after for their ability to mimic sounds and voices. The greater Indian hill mynah and the Java hill mynah are recognized as the most proficient talkers among the 12 subspecies of mynahs. Both races are able to speak with the same tone and clarity of speech as the humans they are mimicking. For this reason, both subspecies were captured in huge numbers for the pet trade. Of the two races, the Java hill mynah has the more powerful voice.

Mockingbird

    The mockingbird's scientific name translates into "many-tongued mimic." These little North American songbirds are able to perfectly mimic at least three dozen other bird species and numerous animals as well. The mockingbird can also mimic certain musical instruments, bells and the sound of doors opening.

Jumat, 26 Juli 2013

Teaching Your Parrot to Talk

Many parrot species are known to be excellent talkers. Some can mimic sounds and words with little effort, while others needs daily training sessions with their owners. When your parrot greets you for the first time with a hearty salutation, there is a satisfaction that cannot be described as anything but thrilling.

The Best Talkers

    African greys often have an amazing ability to talk. They can mimic voices and sounds to the point that many people are often convinced there is someone in the house, or that the phone is ringing. Amazon and Jardine's parrots are similar in their ability.
    Some cockatoo subspecies are known to be talkers, others say only a few words.
    The little Budgie can learn to form complete sentences. Listen carefully, as their voices are high-pitched. A famous talker is Victor the budgie, who has a vocabulary of more than 1,000 words (see Resources).
    Eclectus parrots, macaws, pionus, quaker parakeets, ringneck parakeets, some conures and cockatiels are all capable of mimicry. Each has their own voice and training needs. For additional information on parrot species who may talk, see Resources.

Training Tips

    One of the most important things to remember when training your parrot to talk is that it may never do so. Not all parrots will talk, even those who are known for this ability. Males of some species are more likely than females to talk.
    A quiet room without distractions is the best tool for teaching your parrot specific words or phrases. Limit training time. Depending on the species of parrot, he may become bored very easily.
    The best method for training your parrot to talk is to use words that are connected to an action. When you enter your bird's room say, "Hello." When you are holding or petting him, say, "I love you." When he drops a treat say, "Uh oh!" It is a lot like teaching a child to talk; they learn more easily both from hearing you say something and associating it with what you are doing.
    Many parrots pick up the sound of your telephone, fax and doorbell without much trouble. This can be quite confusing for you, but also rather charming. Teaching him to sing or whistle is best done in a quiet room because he needs to really listen and have the sounds repeated over and over.

Things to Avoid

    Be careful what you and your family members say around your parrot. If you regularly swear in the vicinity of an adept talker, you may hear that word for the next 40 years. If you are in the habit of yelling, or if your kids like to shriek through the house, he probably will pick those noises up quickly, and they may become his favorite sounds to make, forever.
    If you house your parrot with another parrot whose species is known for screaming, like a macaw, some conures or a cockatiel, you will most likely have a second parrot who screams.

How to Raise Grouse

How to Raise Grouse

Grouse are popular game birds. Approximately the same size as chickens, they are easily identified by their feathered nostrils and legs, which are feathered on the toes. Though many have tried to raise grouse domestically, only a few people have actually achieved any measure of success. The difficulty seems to be in the replication of the natural living conditions, which have evolved to enable the birds to survive in relative isolation. Not a good choice for beginning bird breeders, the grouse (particularly the Ruffed) can be raised in captivity if you're willing to do a bit of extra work.

Instructions

    1

    Construct or purchase two buildings for your grouse-raising operation--one for hatching and housing the young and one for adult grouse. Juveniles should be kept off the ground to avoid unnecessary contact with possible parasites, soil-borne bacteria, rodents and potentially harmful insects. Adults can be placed upon clean ground that has not been used in recent history for the care and keeping of any other live birds.

    2

    Purchase your pens. Juvenile grouse require pens that are 4 feet long and 2 feet wide with bottoms covered in inch by inch galvanized or plastic-coated wire. This will allow for easy cleaning of waste products. Pens should be located at least 3 feet off the ground to discourage potential predators.

    3

    Cover the floor of the adult enclosure with 6 inches of clean sand as this will discourage many of the earth-borne vectors from carrying parasites and harmful bacteria into the building. Install plenty of perches, nesting boxes, feeders and water dispensers. Install partitions so it will be easy to separate the males and the females and then cover the entire structure with a solid roof to protect both the birds and their food supply from weather. Part of the adult structure should be enclosed with chicken wire while part of the structure should have solid walls, giving the birds a choice of where they would like to spend their time.

    4

    Feed young birds commercial game bird food specifically formulated for growing chicks. Line the feeding dish with paper towels and sprinkle the food across the tissue. As the chicks move past the towels, the paper will shift a bit, shaking the food slightly. This will attract the attention of any nearby birds and they will snatch the food, thinking it is alive. Within two weeks all of the chicks will eat from the feeder without the use of the paper towels.

    5

    Supplement the diet of your grouse by offering the occasional handful of nuts, leafy greens, chopped dandelions, mealworms or pieces of fresh fruit, but be careful not to go overboard as this can actually harm their health.

    6

    Watch your grouse when they reach sexual maturity. You will observe an elaborate and impressive set of courtship rituals from sunrise until sunset, particularly on the part of the males. Search your females for the hens that have been busy scratching out a nest in the sand. Place a female who seems ready into the established ''home turf'' of a strutting male, but do not leave them unsupervised as the female may violently reject the male, in which case you should separate them and try another hen. If the male is not rejected, leave the pair together for a few hours.

    7

    Wait one week after what you believe to have been a successful mating. The hen will begin to lay eggs at the rate of one to two per day if the courtship went as planned, until the clutch reaches between 5 and 12 eggs. The hen will then sit on the clutch for 21 to 30 days, when the eggs hatch into chicks. You should remove the eggs a few days before they are due to hatch and place them in an incubator to reduce the possibility of the chicks coming into contact with any parasites the mother may be carrying.

    8

    Place the babies in a high-walled wading pool or large box lined with clean paper. Keep the newly hatched grouse warm. They do well at approximately 95 degrees F. The temperature can be gradually lowered by 5 degrees per week to help the babies acclimatize.

    9

    Clean the paper the babies are being kept on three or four times a day until they have grown enough to be moved into their wire-bottom pens. Also, check the chicks feet each day to ensure there is no build-up of waste products clinging to the foot. If you do find manure on the bird, simply wipe it away with a bit of damp paper towel.

    10

    Separate the grouse and move them to the adult building when they reach 4 to 5 months of age and their respective genders are easy to identify. A number of females can generally live together or with one male among them, but any surplus males must be moved out of the flock, or the flock must be sub-divided to avoid bouts of aggression among the birds.

Types of Ostrich Feathers

Types of Ostrich Feathers

The ostrich is the world's largest bird, reaching up to seven or eight feet in height. It is a flightless winged creature that roams the landscape of Africa. Ostrich feathers have become a world commodity; they are plucked, dyed and sold to be used as household dusters, centerpieces and fashion accessories. If you are interested in buying ostrich feathers, it is important to know the different types that are available.

Drab

    An ostrich drab feather can range from under 10 to over 22 inches in length. This type of feather comes from an ostrich's shoulder. The drab's stem, also called the quill, is thin and narrow. The fibers, or feather hairs, of drabs are thin, short and stiff. Ostrich drabs are dyed different colors and can be used to decorate art projects, floral arrangements or costumes.

Plume

    Plumes are elegant feathers that come from an ostrich's wing. Plumes have stems about a pencil width thick and feather tips that gracefully dip downwards. Plume feathers are fuller when compared to drab feathers, and they are longer, from 20 to 30 inches in length. Ostrich plumes, like drabs and other types of ostrich feathers, are dyed different colors for commercial use. Plumes are typically used in decorative centerpieces, as well as in feather gowns and hats. Feminas are a type of plume feather.

Spad

    The ostrich spad is a type of ostrich feather from the tail part of the bird. The spad can be 18 to 28 inches long. These feathers are thin and not as attractive or as full-looking as drabs and plumes. Commercial manufacturers steam and trim spad feathers to look like drab feathers. You can use spad feathers to decorate arts and crafts or circus costumes. You can also purchase women's hats that are decorated with ostrich spad feathers.

Nandu

    The ostrich nandu (or nondu) is a type of spad feather. The nandu feather is trimmed and reworked into a spear shape. The nandu's sheared quality and pointy tip make it narrower in size than plumes and drabs. You can use this type of feather as an accessory in Halloween or Mardi Gras costumes and masks.

How to Stop My Eclectus Parrot From Biting

Of the many varieties of exotic pets, birds are probably one of the most common. There are many popular species of pet birds, including cockatiels, cockatoos and macaws. Another more uncommon species is the eclectus parrot.



Perhaps the most significant complaint among eclectus owners is that the bird often bites. While there are many possible reasons for a bird to bite, teaching it that biting is not acceptable is a straightforward task.

Instructions

    1

    Learn when a bite is imminent. Different birds have different "warning signs" that they are feeling particularly frightened or aggressive. These often include flaring the wings or tail, a horizontal stance on the perch, and dilating the pupils. Knowing these danger signs can save you from a painful bite.

    2

    Do not overreact to a bite. Give a firm "No" and shake your arm to distract the bird and break its grip.

    3

    Never physically punish a bird for biting. Parrots are sensitive creatures, and can quickly become timid and frightened of people, making biting even more likely.

    4

    Establish dominance over your parrot. Parrots often bite to establish their position in the family. To discourage this, make sure that all perches and cages are at chest level or below. Clip its wings as well.

    5

    Teach the bird that biting is unacceptable. Parrots are social creatures, and therefore probably the most effective negative reinforcement of biting is to temporarily remove the bird from its social setting. Place the bird alone in a dark room immediately following a bite. However, do not leave it alone for more than 15 minutes before restoring it to its cage. It may only take a few times before the lesson is learned.

Types of Birds: Doves

Types of Birds: Doves

Doves and pigeons are actually the same species: the terms are used interchangeably to describe the birds of the Columbidae family. The physical features of doves are a small, round head with a slim beak and short neck; a stout, rounded body with soft feathers; scaly, short legs and tapered wings. Doves and pigeons are also characterized by the cooing call that they make .

Species

    According to the American Dove Association, around 300 species of doves live throughout all regions of the world. Non-domesticated doves are called "wild" or "exotic" and include species such as the Cape dove, mourning dove, passenger pigeon, pheasant pigeon and zebra dove. There are two species which are considered to be domesticated: the ringneck dove and the diamond dove. Most people associate doves with the white dove used as the symbol of peace, which is actually a variety of Ringneck dove rather than a distinct species.

Keeping Doves

    To legally keep doves as pets, permits are required under Federal Law which are issue through the Fish and Game Department. Doves and pigeons caught from the wild should not be turned into pets; domesticated or semi-domesticated birds should be obtained from a breeder. Since doves are wild birds, they are best kept in the largest-sized aviary possible rather than confined to a small cage. The aviary should be in a sheltered, well-insulated but draft-free location which has sun on it during parts of the day. Earth, pebble or cement floors are appropriate for dove-keeping aviaries.

Nutrition

    Doves are predominantly seed-eaters and the best thing to feed them is cockatiel, wild-bird or finch seed mix. For additional nutrition, a semi-soft variety of dog food that has been run through a food-processor should also be added to the seed mix daily. Mealworms, vegetables, mashed boiled egg, grated cheese, cooked rice, peanut butter and pieces of apple can also be given as an occasional treat. A combination of brewer's yeast and cod liver oil added to the seed once every week will also ensure that the birds are receiving adequate vitamins.

Disease and Ailments

    Watering droppings, wheezing, eye or nasal discharge, missing feathers, a fluffed-up or languid appearance are all indications that a dove is ill. If any of these symptoms are present, the sick bird should be isolated, handfed and taken to an avian veterinarian as soon as possible. Diseases common to dove species include salmonella, trichomiasis, coccidiosis, diarrhea, pneumonia, calcium deficiency and worms. Lice, mites and other parasites may also infect doves, with wild birds or new birds to the flock being the common transmitters.

Kamis, 25 Juli 2013

How to Tame a Conure

How to Tame a Conure

You've just brought your new conure parrot home and now you want to tame it. Conure parrots are naturally sweet and affectionate birds; they enjoy company and are tamed quickly. While your new parrot may feel overwhelmed by its new cage and environment, it will soon acclimate itself as you spend more time with it and build a trusting relationship.

Instructions

    1

    Prepare your bathroom. Bathrooms give you enough space to tame your parrot. Cover all mirrors in the bathroom and ensure that any windows are closed. Draw any shades, as well.

    2

    Bring the cage into the bathroom. Set the cage on a flat surface, such as the bathroom counter. Shut the bathroom door.

    3

    Calm your parrot. Moving your parrot's cage may startle it. Reward your parrot with a cracker or a grape to calm it down. Speak soothingly to the parrot as you slowly open the door of its cage and place the treat in its food bowl. Keep the cage door open.

    4

    Allow your parrot to eat its treat and get comfortable. Talk to the parrot as it eats the treat. Speak in a soft, low voice.

    5

    Coax the parrot onto the handheld perch. Pet stores sell handheld perches specifically designed for training and taking your bird out of its cage. Grasp the handheld perch in your hand; slowly place your hand in the cage. Gently poke your parrot in the chest with the perch, which will encourage it to hop on. Tell the parrot to "get on the perch" in a soft voice. Continue poking the bird and saying the command until your bird hops onto the perch.

    6

    Take a break. Once the parrot hops on the handheld perch without hesitating, take a break. Without removing your parrot from the cage, reward it with a cracker or a grape. Then get the parrot to hop onto the perch installed in the cage. Place another treat in the food bowl.

    7

    Get your parrot out of the cage. Once your parrot is comfortable hopping onto the handheld perch, slowly bring it out of the cage. Keep your hand steady so the bird isn't startled. Speak softly and encouragingly to the bird.

    8

    Allow your bird to observe its surroundings. Give your bird time to grow comfortable with the bathroom. Reward good behavior with another treat. Place the treat in your free hand and allow the bird to pick it up and eat it.

    9

    Place the bird back in the cage. Coax it onto the perch installed in the cage. Reward good behavior with a treat.

How to Discipline a Parakeet

How to Discipline a Parakeet

Parakeets, frequently referred to as budgies, are small members of the parrot order Psittaciformes. They are intelligent, highly social and can bond to human owners with proper training and handling. Because they tend to exhibit extremely obnoxious behaviors such as screaming and biting, it's important to know how to properly discipline a parakeet. By interacting with your parakeet in a way that encourages good behavior, you can form a lifelong bond with your bird.

Instructions

    1

    Feed your parakeet a treat every time it behaves appropriately to encourage good behavior. When it perches on your hand, greats you without screaming or calmly walks around outside its cage, speak calmly and softly to it. Squawking and biting are instinctive behaviors. To stop them, parakeets must be given an alternative behavior. When your parakeet begins to associate good behavior with receiving food, it has an incentive to continue the good behavior.

    2

    Ignore inappropriate behavior. Never reward screaming by taking your bird out of its cage or yelling at it. For parakeets, almost any attention is good attention, and if you attempt to punish the behavior, it will simply do it more often. If you are holding your parakeet and it bites you, immediately place it back in its cage. Close the cage door and leave the room. Return again in a few minutes and pick the parakeet up. If it doesn't bite, give it a treat.

    3

    Remove stimuli that encourage bad behavior. Parakeets thrive in calm environments, so put your parakeet in a location where there isn't loud noise from cars, televisions, computers or phones. Cover your bird's cage with a drape at night. This helps to calm the bird, which can eliminate many unwanted behaviors.

How to Decorate the Outside of a Tree for Birds

How to Decorate the Outside of a Tree for Birds

Many of us love to watch birds fly to bird feeders by the windows and hop around, chirping at other birds and grabbing seeds to eat. Watch them long enough and you can start telling them apart by physical and personal characteristics. Before long, you'll give each of them a name and wonder where they are if they don't show up. The winter season is a great time to give a helping hand to our feathered friends by decorating trees by our windows with special edible treats so they can get past winter's harsh times.

Instructions

Decorating Your Tree for Birds

    1
    Some feeders look like small, painted wooden houses.
    Some feeders look like small, painted wooden houses.

    Keep birds happy and well fed all year long by hanging assorted bird feeders in trees on lower level branches. During winter, birds have a harder time finding food, so be especially creative in providing food. Clean and paint your wooden bird feeders and add little painted decorations to make them cheery. Stay away from steel and bare wire feeders as birds can get their feet frozen to cold steel. Choose bird feed for the types of birds flying around in your part of the country. Hang feeders high enough from the ground to keep birds safe from predators, but use a long rope or chain to make it hard for squirrels to get into the feeders. Provide them with their own peanut-in-a-shell stash somewhere else.

    2
    Use small versions of this fixture for the end of the string.
    Use small versions of this fixture for the end of the string.

    Prepare added treats that you can create with kids. This project becomes more enjoyable as they learn to appreciate wildlife and caring for the birds. Find pine cones laying around in your area or purchase them from a craft store. Add peanut butter to the inside of the cones, add a little birdseed for enticement, and then string each cone to a tree branch. Be sure to redo these as needed as birds will visit them often. Make it easy to remove the strings from the tree by adding a small lobster-claw fixture on the end of the string and wrapping the strings around the branch, and then opening and closing the claw and hook in the string as needed.

    3
    Decorate a tree outside.
    Decorate a tree outside.

    Use a needle with an eye large enough to thread the string through, and make decorative strands of dried berries, popcorn, raisins and other dried fruits. Make the strand heavy enough so that it doesn't float around in the wind but not so heavy that it sags. Again, use the same type of lobster claw hardware at each end of the string. Other types of whimsical items to thread are donut chunks, slices of fresh fruit, peanuts in their shells, and anything else edible your birds might like. Hang as many pine cones and suet balls as you can, using bright ribbons instead of strings.

    4
    Make a wreath like this using real berries, dried fruits and nuts, and hang it in your tree.
    Make a wreath like this using real berries, dried fruits and nuts, and hang it in your tree.

    Create wreaths using fir boughs and add on your pine cones with peanut butter and birdseed, attached dried berries and nuts, and any other foods easy for the birds to pick off with their beaks. Hang those from tree branches and make sure they are attached securely. Keep hanging items high enough from roaming deer that want to get in on the action. Replenish your decorations as often as possible to provide your bird menagerie a constant source of food and good health.

Rabu, 24 Juli 2013

How to Attach a Birdhouse to a T-Post

How to Attach a Birdhouse to a T-Post

Birdhouses offer bird watchers the opportunity to view all of the daily activities birds are engaged in -- from eating to raising a family. Not all birds have the same height and location preference when it comes to their homes, but they all need housing. Woodpeckers and house wrens are most attracted to post-style housing. However, decorative birdhouses are fun to place in gardens and backyards, too.

Instructions

Attaching the Mounting Base

    1

    Trim the plywood into the exact dimensions and shape of the birdhouse, so that none of the plywood extends beyond the base of the birdhouse. This keeps cats and other predators from gaining access to the birdhouse entrance.

    2

    Sand down any rough edges and leave the wood untreated.

    3

    Center the plywood base onto the T-post so that it is flush and even with the top of the T-post.
    Using the nails and hammer, nail three to four nails through the plywood and down through the post until the nails are flush with the surface of the plywood.

    4

    Slide your hand across the top of the plywood to ensure all nails are hammered flush.

    5

    Center the birdhouse onto the plywood base attached to the T-post and open the back of the birdhouse.

Attaching the Birdhouse

    6

    Screw two to three 1-inch screws into the bottom of the birdhouse and into the plywood beneath.

    7

    Run your hand or finger across each screw to ensure the head of the screw is flush with the inside bottom of the birdhouse.

    8

    Add nesting material if the species calls for it and close the back of the birdhouse.

    9

    Ensure that the birdhouse is safe from predators. For example, consider using post guards to prevent cats from climbing the post.

Can Cockatiels Share Cages?

Can Cockatiels Share Cages?

Cockatiels are a very popular pet bird because they are easy to breed, easy to care for and provide great companionship to people. In fact, cockatiels are the second most commonly owned pet caged bird behind the common pet parakeet. Cockatiels are able to share cages with each other, but it is not a process that can be rushed. Rushing the process can cause illnesses to be spread amongst the birds, which can lead to medical problems and possibly death.

Quarantine

    When first introducing a new bird into a home, that bird should be quarantined from other birds for at least 30 days. Most veterinarians will recommend a 90-day quarantine period to ensure that no illnesses slip by undetected. The quarantine is necessary because birds can mask symptoms of illnesses for long periods of time and could infect other birds if they are ill. All contact between birds should be prohibited, which includes sharing toys, water and feeding equipment and food items.

Post-Quarantine Period

    Once the new cockatiel has survived the quarantine period without any signs of illness, the process of introducing the bird to other birds can begin. A bird owner should take the new bird to an avian veterinarian to ensure that it does have a clean bill of health before introducing to other birds. The flight feathers should also be clipped by the avian veterinarian to make it easier for owners to train their birds. Proper training will help all the birds live together peacefully.

Socialization Period

    Introduce the new cockatiel to the current cockatiel resident or residents to start a socialization process that can lead to them sharing a cage. Begin by placing both cages near each other. After a few days, owners should let both birds out of their cages at the same time. Hopefully they will start to play and interact together. When you begin to notice the birds interacting together and enjoying each other's company, leave the bird cage doors open. The birds should start spending time together in one cage. Once this takes place, you can start to keep them in one cage as long as they are not showing aggressive physical behavior towards each other.

Signs of Incompatibility

    Generally speaking, cockatiels are social birds that are going to want to spend time with one another. However, no matter what is done, some cockatiels will not get along. Hissing, screaming, biting, tail bending, feather pulling, lunging and other aggressive behaviors should be considered signs of incompatibility. If these aggressive behaviors continue, the two birds need to live in separate cages and their social time together should occur when they play outside of their cages.

Birds of Prey in North Carolina

Birds of Prey in North Carolina

North Carolina is home to 28 bird of prey species, ranging from large eagles to small, lightweight kites. The varied habitats and small wildlife attract many birds of prey to the state. Using sharp eyesight and flying abilities, most birds of prey are efficient and deadly hunters, often attacking from above or taking smaller birds in flight. The state has two vulture species: the turkey and the black, but both are mainly scavengers, not hunters.

Owls

    North Carolina is home to nine species of owl. The largest is the great horned owl which grows to 26 inches in length with a 62-inch wingspan. The state's smallest owl species is the northern saw-wheat owl. It grows to 8 inches in length with a wingspan of 21 inches. The eastern screech owl is almost as small, but has a slightly longer wingspan. The other owl species in the state are the snowy, barn, barred, burrowing, long eared, and short eared.

Eagles

    The state is home to two species of eagle, the bald and the golden. The bald eagle is the larger of the two, growing to 35 inches in length with a wingspan of 90 inches. It is an endangered species that is steadily coming back in population numbers. The golden eagle grows to 33 inches in length and has a slightly shorter wingspan of 87 inches. Unlike the bald eagle, the species is generally common throughout much of its range.

Hawks

    North Carolina is home to nine species commonly referred to as hawks. The largest native hawk species is the osprey, or fish hawk as it is sometimes known. It grows to 26 inches in length with a wingspan of 67 inches. The state's smallest species is the sharp-shinned hawk. It grows to just 13 inches in length with a wingspan of 26 inches. The other native species are the broad-winged, Cooper's, northern goshawk, red-shouldered, red-tailed, rough-legged and Swainson's hawks.

Falcons and Kites

    The state is home to eight other birds of prey that tend to be among the smallest. Three species of kite can be seen in the state including the swallow-tail, white-tailed and Mississippi species. North Carolina is also home to four falcon species including the peregrine, gyrfalcon, merlin and the American kestrel. The northern harrier is also present in the state and is a small hawk known for flying in circles as it hunts and having an owl-like face.

How Do You Control Carrier Pigeons?

How Do You Control Carrier Pigeons?

Carrier pigeons, sometimes called homing pigeons, have been used for centuries to carry letters and objects. They are used for these missions because they have a unique ability to find their way back home after a trip.This instinct is attributed to their sense of smell and hearing as well as their sense of the magnetic field of Earth. They even learn to recognize landmarks, such as a building, to help guide them home. If you are raising carrier pigeons, you need to provide a comfortable home environment to control their desire to return home.

Instructions

    1

    Install the coop in an area that has plenty of fresh air and partial shade. Ideally, to house two carrier pigeons, the coop should be at least 4 feet square with a wire front and a roof. Attach food and water dispensers and one perch for every two pigeons. Expand the coop and provide more supplies as you add more pigeons. Clean the coop regularly.

    2

    Attach an aluminum band around the pigeon's shank (ankle) when it is 10 days old. The band should include an identification number and the current year. When picking up a pigeon, clasp your hands around the breast and wings and press a thumb gently -- but firmly - into its back. This will help you control the bird's wings and prevent injuries.

    3

    Keep young pigeons inside their coop for several months to help them become attached to their home. When training carrier pigeons, release them from specific landmarks and measure the distance from their coop. After they return, record the distance and time it takes for them to fly home. Start with short distances and increase the distance as the training progresses. Eventually the pigeon will know how to find home from great distances. It can then be used as a carrier.

How to Train African Gray Parrots to Speak

How to Train African Gray Parrots to Speak

One of the parrot's most amazing abilities is their ability to not only mimic humans, but have an understanding of what words mean. African Gray parrots are known to be one of the best talkers, with the ability to learn thousands of words and even put them together to convey different needs or emotions.

Instructions

    1

    Teach your parrot to trust you as the flock leader. Parrots will mimic the sounds of their flock in order to communicate, and as the flock leader you will be in charge of what sounds are used.

    To become the flock leader you must earn your parrot's complete trust, and also trust your parrot. Keep your parrot's eye level below your own at all times to show your status as the "higher up."

    2

    Talk to and around your parrot as often as possible. If you have specific words you would like your parrot to say, say them often. Use them in the context you want your parrot to use them in. (For example, say hello every time anyone enters the room if you would like your parrot to greet people.)

    You should talk to your parrot every day, while he is in his cage and while he is out. The more often parrots hear words, the sooner they will begin to mimic them.

    3

    Play recordings of words while you are gone. You can record tapes of yourself speaking, or buy prerecorded CDs.

    Remember, though this is a good way to reinforce words you would like your parrot to use, it should not take the place of you speaking to your parrot yourself. A parrot has no reason to want to interact with a radio, and so they are very unlikely to respond to it.

    4

    Listen to your parrot when you are out of the room. Some parrots become shy and practice words until they are confident using them in front of others. If you hear your parrot trying to say a word, say the word in response to encourage your parrot's efforts. Soon, your parrot will be confident enough to use the word in front of others.

Selasa, 23 Juli 2013

How to Care for Breeding Society Finches

Society finches are known for their social and easy-going nature. This makes them ideal in breeding pairs, especially for beginner or novice breeders. In fact, one of the most common problems breeders face is keeping the birds separated from one another. They commonly make a habit of all roosting in one nest box together, and therefore they tend to neglect the eggs that are laid. This is why many breeders recommend that you limit the number of society finches in each cage to four birds or less for optimal breeding success.

Instructions

    1

    House your finches in large box style cages constructed from either stainless steel or wood. Ideally, try to find a cage that has one open side because they are easier to clean. Make sure your softwood perches are spaced far apart in the cage. Hang separate dishes above the perches for food, supplemental foods, water and fresh greens. Keep the cage in an area where it will be protected from drafts, cold or hot air, direct sunlight and fumes. Position the grit paper on the bottom of the cage and sprinkle ground eggshells and charcoal onto it.

    2

    Hang the next box on the outside of the cage. Cover the floor of the nesting box with sisal and dry grass.

    3

    Feed breeding finches a canary seed blend including millet and cereal seeds. Keep fresh water available at all times. Provide fresh greens like chickweed and spinach as well.

    4

    Offer your society finches daily nutritional supplemental foods like egg food, sprouted seed, chopped apples and pears, broccoli florets and carrot tops. Hang a cuttlebone in the cage.

    5

    Keep the temperature at 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the room twice daily with a thermometer to verify the temperature. Position a full-color spectrum light directly above the cage, and set its timer to shut off after 10 hours.

    6

    Clean out the hanging dishes every day. Replace ground up shells and charcoal on the floor of the cage every two days. Change out the grit paper once every seven days. Fill a spray bottle with hot water and a mild antibacterial soap. Spray the surfaces of the cage, then wipe the cage with paper towels until it is clean and dry.

How to Train Blue & Gold Macaws

How to Train Blue & Gold Macaws

The blue and gold macaw or blue and yellow macaw is a large-sized member of the intelligent, colorful parrot family, with a lifespan that can reach over 50 years. Native to the Central and South American rain forests where their bright plumage is excellent camouflage, macaws are kept as pets throughout the world, according to Australia's Perth Zoo. All of these facts make the macaw an excellent species to train, providing you and the parrot with hours of entertainment and bonding experiences as you grow old together. Like most species, including humans, training is best started early in life, but the birds can learn at any age.

Instructions

Bond and Socialize

    1

    Clip the outer primary flight feathers of the bird's wings, which will grow back. Have a vet take care of this for you if you are new to the process.

    2

    Choose a softly lit and quiet room with carpeting or rugs to avoid distractions and keep the bird (especially a youngster) from crash-landing during lessons.

    3

    Talk to the bird in a soft voice and hushed tones throughout your training session to maintain the calm while letting it get used to you, advises Avian Web.

    4

    Don a sturdy pair of gloves while training your bird. Protect your forearms with a long-sleeved shirt and keep your face out of striking distance until you are certain the macaw is comfortable with you.

    5

    Open the bird's cage door and offer a treat. Offer the treat from your hand or place it on a perch stick held in your hand to avoid the blue and gold macaw's strong beak. Purchase a tall perch stand for this step in the training, as the safest option to avoid a sharp beak.

Train to Step Up

    6

    Repeatedly offer small food bites with the treat, placed farther away on the perch, to encourage the bird to climb on in order to reach the treat, says Jill M. Patt, DVM. Patiently repeat this step until your macaw feels safe and natural climbing onto the perch stick and settling there for a short time.

    7

    Pet your bird's head gently when you feel safe doing so. Give it another treat or scratch behind its neck in the place where its parents preened and groomed it. Say "I love you" while doing this to create positive associations and begin language learning. Repeat until comfortable.

    8

    Pick up your macaw and place it on your shoulder or forearm or the perch outside but near its cage. Repeat this and all steps often -- in short sessions -- throughout the day.

Establish Safe Areas

    9

    Pick up the macaw gently with cupped hands when it flies off and floats to the ground due to clipped wings.

    10

    Place your bird back on the perch or your forearm or back in the cage. Pet and talk to it gently all the while. Repeat often each day to establish trust with your bird and reinforce the lesson that the safe zones, where it should spend most of its time, are your shoulder, your arm, the perch near its cage and the cage itself.

    11

    Conduct repeated 5-minute training and bonding sessions soon after waking and before going to sleep. Schedule the same times each day to keep your bird's interest and build trust. Add midmorning or midevening sessions if possible.

Teach to Talk

    12

    Speak, sing and whistle to your bird as much as possible and it will begin to talk back to you.

    13

    Choose a name for your macaw that has vowel sounds with a hard consonant beginning or ending each syllable so it can more easily learn and pronounce it.

    14

    Say your bird's name to it clearly and repeatedly, with upbeat emphasis, while giving a treat and at feeding times.

    15

    Notice how your macaw seems to ask for food, or other key things, in its native tongue. Say the English word back to your macaw at those times while pointing at the item, much like human parents do when teaching babies to talk. Say "good morning" and "good night" at appropriate times and your bird will soon understand and respond or repeat.

    16

    Associate words with actions. Say the word "scratch" when you scratch your bird's neck. Repeat, and as your macaw picks up these words, add more. End these specific vocabulary-teaching sessions as your bird begins to pick up words "on the fly" while you are just going about normal daily activities.

Discourage and Replace Negative Behavior

    17

    Teach your macaw as you would a toddler, advises Liz Wilson, CVT. Give praise and positive reinforcement when it does something good. Tell it "no" in a stern voice, and then ignore and withdraw attention -- which is similar to giving a very short "time out" -- when your macaw does something undesirable.

    18

    Continue normal activity after the short interval, repeating the "time out" the moment your bird starts the undesirable act again.

    19

    Replace undesired actions with better ones. Give your macaw a toy to chomp on when it begins loud squawking, for example.

How to Teach a Cockatiel Bird to Talk

How to Teach a Cockatiel Bird to Talk

Cockatiels can mimic human speech the same way they mimic the calls of other birds in the wild. Repeating a phrase or sound over the course of weeks to months will train the bird to "talk," or attempt to recreate the sounds that it hears. The average cockatiel can be trained to mimic sounds in about four weeks.

Instructions

    1

    Talk to to the bird constantly, and repeat the word that you want the cockatiel to learn. The bird will gain trust and comfort with the owner and is more apt to learn. Reward the bird when it repeats the word to speed up the learning process. Continued rewards will also keep the cockatiel's attention.

    2

    Speak the sound or phrase into a voice recorder, and then play the recording back in a loop. As with intensive personal interaction, this is a very effective method to get the bird to talk. Hearing repetitive words nonstop can have the bird repeating them within days, especially if it is an adolescent. The word or phrase should be short and not contain the 'S' sound; cockatiels have trouble, as do most birds, with repeating the 'S' sound.

    3

    Place the cockatiel in an environment where the sound or phrase is repeated often. If the bird is taken to an office where people are answering phones, for instance, it will surely mimic the greeting that it hears repeatedly in a workday. Many environments have similar repetitive sounds that the bird can learn, given adequate exposure.

List of Hawk Breeds

List of Hawk Breeds

The term "hawk" refers to various birds of prey. Many birds from the sub-family Accipitrinae may be called a hawk however a "true" hawk is any bird of the genus Accipiter. Generally hawks have slim bodies with broad round wings and long tails. Sharp talons and hooked beaks help hawks to kill their prey. Hawks are known to have very good eyesight and are among the most intelligent of bird species.

Genus: Accipitrinae

    An early falconry costume.
    An early falconry costume.

    Accipitrinae, plural for Accipiter, is the genus which includes "true" hawks. This genus also includes eagles, buzzards and vultures. These woodland birds capture their prey by bolting suddenly from concealed perches. With vision significantly more acute than humans, they are a popular genus to tame and train for sport, also known as falconry.

    Species of Accipitrinae include the crested goshawk, red-chested goshawk, Chinese goshawk, Fiji goshawk, New Britain goshawk, chestnut-flanked sparrowhawk, small sparrowhawk, Chilean hawk, and besra, as well as many others.

Genus: Micronisus

    Micronisus is a genus with only one type of hawk.
    Micronisus is a genus with only one type of hawk.

    The Gabar goshawk is an African bird of prey found in many countries across Africa and the Middle East.

Genus: Melierax

    The pale chanting goshawk lives in Africa.
    The pale chanting goshawk lives in Africa.

    The genus Melierax, in the Accipitridae family, contains four species of hawk. The dark chanting goshawk is a grey-colored hawk from Sub-Saharan Africa and derives its name from its unique vocalizations. The pale chanting goshawk and eastern chanting goshawk are also named for the distinct sounds that they make. The pale chanting goshawk is whiter in color while the eastern chanting goshawk has a bluish hue. The Gabar goshawk is cross listed between both the Melierax and the Micronisus genus.

Genus: Urotriorchis

    The long-tailed hawk is the only member of the genus Urotriorchis. Its diet consists of primarily squirrels and small birds although it can also hunt chickens, which it finds in African villages near the forests where it lives. The long-tailed hawk breaks its prey's neck when it attacks.

Genus: Erythrotriorchis

    There are two species in the genus Erythrotriorchis and both reside in Southern Pacific regions. The chestnut-shouldered goshawk habitat spans Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The red goshawk is among the rarest of Australian birds of prey, as well as one of the oldest birds of prey in Northern Australia. Its diet consists mainly of other birds.

Genus: Megatriorchis

    A bird of prey with its wings spread.
    A bird of prey with its wings spread.

    Doria's goshawk is the only raptor, or bird of prey, in the genus Megatriorchis. It is one of the largest hawks with a length of 69 cm. It lives in the lowland rain forests of New Guinea and Batanta Island.

How to Train Birds to Sing Differently

How to Train Birds to Sing Differently

Birds such as the winter wren, brown thrasher or red-eyed vireo sing multitudes of songs in the wilderness to send warning messages to competitors and woo potential mates. Because of these characteristics, both wild and domesticated male birds are more genetically predisposed for training to sing than females. If you have one as a pet, you may want to train it to sing or whistle a tune. Canaries, cockatiels and parrots especially have the capability to learn different songs with patient training.

Instructions

    1

    Separate the bird that you'd like to train from any other birds you have. Place the bird in a separate, small wire cage (or larger cage if it's a parrot) away from direct sunlight; this makes the bird more inclined to listen to sounds instead of getting distracted by its peers.

    2

    Whistle or play on either a bird organ or flute a short tune, six times in a row. Alternatively, purchase a CD of your bird's species singing, which can also be used for training (see Resources).

    Play these notes within hearing distance of the bird. Repeat this step five to six times a day from morning to evening for canaries and cockatiels, and two times a day at 10-minute intervals for parrots. No matter the species, repetition is the key to helping your bird learn each note so that it can reproduce the song correctly. Depending on the complexity of the tune, it can take several months for the bird to perfect the notes. Songs with a running scale are generally easier for the birds to learn.

    3

    Reward your pet with hempseed or its favorite treat when it starts mimicking the song correctly. When it hits a wrong note, look at it sternly and scold it (a simple "No!" will do) or blow on its feathers. Once your bird has successfully mastered the notes, repeat this process for each song you'd like your bird to sing.

    4

    Place the trained bird inside of a larger cage to teach other birds to sing once it's successfully learned a few songs. The younger ones within the cage will learn to sing the same notes with minimal distractions.

Racing Homing Pigeons

Racing Homing Pigeons

Scientists still haven't discovered exactly how homing pigeons are able to figure out where their homes are. Mankind has been exploiting this ability for thousands of years, including having pigeon races. But pigeons don't fly around a race track. Here is how a typical race is held.

Instructions

    1

    Choose your racing pigeon or pigeons. They have to be over 6 months old.

    2

    Register all of your potential racers with the local pigeon racing club that is sponsoring the particular race you want to your birds to compete in. You can find local clubs through the American Pigeon Racing Union (see Resources below).

    3

    Attach the racing antenna to where the pigeon has been trained to perch on his loft. This antenna is vital: it's the finish line that stops the timer in your pigeon's leg band (see Step 5). Be sure you have a pigeon timer clock.

    4

    Place the homing pigeons in individual carrying cases and drive them to the racing club meeting point. There, you fill out paperwork, pay the entrance fee and hand your birds over to the race officials. The average race is 400 miles.

    5

    Attach the rubber-banded racing timer to the pigeon's right leg. The timer is called an Eletronic Timing System, and contains a little chip to record how long it takes your pigeon to get home. The winner is the pigeon who gets home in the shortest amount of time. Each band has a serial number, which is the pigeon's "name" throughout the competition.

    6

    Go home. Meanwhile, all of the pigeons will be taken in a big truck to the starting point of the race and released.

    7
    A pigeon timing clock

    Remove the timing band off of the pigeon's leg after she gets home and crosses the antenna. Put the band into the pigeon timing clock.

    8

    Take the clock and results back your pigeon racing club, where the results will be determined and you'll find out if you have a winner.

Difference Between Chickens and Hens

Difference Between Chickens and Hens

Hens are mature female chickens. Chicken refers to any type of domestic fowl that developed from species of jungle fowl. This includes roosters, the mature males, and cockerels, young males. It also includes young females called pullets and castrated males called capons. There are a number of differences between hens and chickens.

Egg Laying

    Hens are designed to lay eggs while roosters provide sperm to fertilize the eggs. Commercially raised hens lay an average of 265 to 280 eggs per year. The breed of hen determines the egg color. White hens often lay white eggs while brown or black hens lay brown eggs.

Hen Reproductive Tract -- Ovary

    The hen reproductive tract consists of the ovary and the oviduct. Usually only the left ovary and oviduct are functional. The ovary is a cluster of developing egg yolks. The ovary of young hens contains 10 of thousands of potential egg yolks.

Hen Reproductive Tract --- Oviduct

    The ovary releases the yolk into the oviduct. The oviduct has four major sections. The infundibulum picks up the yolk. If the rooster has mated with the hen, the egg is fertilized at this point. The yolk moves to the magnum where the egg white is added. Then the isthmus adds the shell membranes. The shell gland or uterus adds the shell. It takes 25 to 26 hours to form an egg.

Rooster Reproductive Tract

    The reproductive tract of the rooster is much different than the track of the hen. The testes produce the sperm. The testes are located inside the body near the kidneys. Sperm production continues throughout the life of the rooster although roosters often become less fertile with age. The ductus deferens, a small tube, carries the sperm to the outer opening called the cloaca.

External Characteristics

    Roosters have a larger body size than hens. Rooster combs and wattles are larger than the combs and wattles on hens. Roosters have long, pointed feathers around the neck, shoulder and tail, and hens do not. In breeds with multiple colors, the roosters usually have a greater variety of colors than hens. The spurs on the legs of roosters are larger and more developed than the spurs on hens. By six months of age, roosters crow.

Capons

    Capons differ greatly from hens. A capon is a castrated male chicken. The testes are surgically removed from the young cockerels. Capons tend to grow more slowly and deposit more fat than roosters. This results in tender and juicy meat.

Pullets

    Young female chickens are pullets. Pullets have not reached sexual maturity and do not produce eggs. Usually pullets begin laying eggs at 18 to 20 weeks. At that point, they are called hens.

Senin, 22 Juli 2013

Cockatiels: Information on Training & Talking

Cockatiels: Information on Training & Talking

The cockatiel is a species of bird from Australia. The small birds are part of the parrot family and are very vocal. In the wild, they travel in small groups and nest in tree cavities. They prefer seeds from weeds, fruit and grain. The cockatiel made its first appearance in Europe around 1840, and has since been a popular domestic pet. Training a cockatiel means getting to know the pet's unique personality.

Screaming Cockatiels

    A cockatiel is reminiscent of a human infant. If they scream and get what they want, they continue to scream for self-satisfaction. A cockatiel scream is a loud, ear-shattering sound. The birds are noisy animals, but some of their noise can be curbed through training. Keep the cockatiel in good health and give it adequate nutrition. When physical issues are resolved, train the cockatiel by ignoring his screaming. When he stops screaming for attention, initiate interaction. This method teaches the bird that screaming does no good and a quieter chirp is more appropriate.

Biting Cockatiels

    If the bird bites, he is defensive. Give the bird time to adjust to the family from inside the cage. Keep the cage in a high traffic area, but leave the door closed. Sit near the bird for five to 10 minutes, talking and whistling calmly. When the bird edges closer to you, offer treats through the cage slots. Eventually open the door and offer treats through the open door. This method builds trust in the bird and he will stop biting because he no longer views you as a threat.

Feather Plucking

    Cockatiels pluck their own feathers from their bodies when they are stressed or scared. This habit is obvious and looks different from normal molting, where birds lose their feathers naturally. The bird plucks its own feathers if it is ignored or left alone for long periods of time. To train your cockatiel to stop this behavior, sit with your bird for longer periods of time and talk with her softly. If you can hold your bird, take her to a quiet area and spend time talking to her in a soft voice. If the plucking doesn't stop, contact an avian veterinarian.

Talking Birds

    Cockatiels are not parrots. They cannot be specifically trained to say phrases on command. They are smart enough, however, to repeat sounds they find entertaining. Male cockatiels are more likely to talk than females, and the ability to talk is a talent in the cockatiel, not a natural occurrence. Simply talk to your bird often and he will imitate the sounds he finds pleasing.

Nightingale Characteristics

The nightingale is a small songbird known for its distinctive pleasant vocalizations. The bird's song has caused it to be mentioned in poems by John Keats and also influenced Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky's "The Nightingale." It is a member of the Turdidae family and related to other songbirds like thrushes, blackbirds and robins.

Physical Description

    In contrast to its colorful song, the bird itself is somewhat plain in appearance. It grows to just over 6 inches tall with a wingspan of around 9 inches and weighs up to 3/4 oz. It is a slender bird with thin, short legs and a short, pointed beak. The bird is brown in color with a slightly lighter colored underside. Male and female appear identical except males are slightly larger on average.

Range and Habitat

    The nightingale has a wide range due to its migration patterns. During the summer it is found in parts of Europe such as France, Italy and the U.K. as well as in areas of Asia. In the winter months the birds migrate to the tropics and are found in several African countries such as Kenya and Egypt. It is a shy bird and prefers to live in places with plenty of cover such as thick woodland with dense undergrowth. Activity by grazing animals such as deer clearing the undergrowth contributes to declining nightingale numbers.

Diet and Predators

    The nightingale is mainly an insectivore, eating small insects such as ants, beetles, larvae, spiders and worms. Seasonally, during the fall, the birds also eat a small amount of fruit and berries. The birds avoid predators by hiding in trees and thick shrubs and also tend not to vocalize much after dark unless they're attracting a mate. Other than the risk from domestic cats the main predator of the nightingale is the tawny owl.

Life Cycle

    During the mating season the male birds sing regularly to attract females with the older males having the most complex songs. The breeding season is May through June with the female laying around four to five eggs per season. Both parents protect the eggs with incubation taking around two weeks. The chicks are fed by both parents and able to leave the nest after around 13 days. The birds reach sexual maturity at about a year old and live for around three to four years on average.

How to Discourage Mockingbirds

How to Discourage Mockingbirds

Mockingbirds are well-known for their ability to mimic the sound of insects, amphibians and other birds. They can be amusing to listen to them, but after consistently hearing the same sound, amusement can quickly turn into annoyance. They also have a tendency to drive away other birds and animals. Discouraging them may not always be an easy task, so you may have to use a variety of methods to achieve your goal.

Instructions

    1

    Use a garden hose to spray water into the trees where the mockingbirds build their nest. Do this at least two times a day or whenever necessary. This method is an effective way to discourage mockingbirds when used consistently.

    2

    Play scary sounds to discourage mockingbirds. Put in a tape of a thunderstorm or a screaming blue jay. Turn the volume up loud enough so that the sound can travel to where the mockingbird is. This will scare them away from your home.

    3

    Purchase bird control devices to deter mockingbirds. These devices continuously alter the pitch, frequency, timing and intensity of sounds. This will prevent the clever birds from getting used to the repetitive sounds.

How to Prevent Starling Taking Over Nest Boxes

European starlings, as their name suggests, were introduced to the Americas from Europe in the 1890s. According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the starling population of the United States is estimated at 150 million. These birds are very aggressive at feeders and nest sites and have adapted well to living in close proximity with humans. If you don't take steps to prevent it, they're likely to take over the nest boxes and bird feeders you may have put out for other species.

Instructions

    1

    Avoid attracting starlings in the first place by putting out foods, such as black sunflower seeds, that are difficult for them to eat. (Starlings have difficulty cracking the shells to get at the sunflower seeds).
    Also, feeders that require birds to hang on the bottom of the feeder are a difficult obstacle for starlings.

    2

    Make the "neighborhood" unfriendly to starlings by depriving them of nearby nesting spots. Install bird netting underneath open rafters and place metal, wood, foam or other materials on ledges and over gutters at a 60-degree angle.

    3

    Ensure that your nest boxes have entrance holes smaller than 1 1/2 inches across. This alone is usually enough to keep starlings out. If a nest box has an entry hole that's too large, or if flickers have enlarged the entry hole until it's big enough to let starlings in, add a new front to the box that has a hole of the appropriate size.

    4

    Remove the perches on your bird feeders and nest boxes if present. Starlings need the perches, but most species do not; the only bird you're helping by providing a perch is the starling.

    5

    Watch your nest box frequently during breeding season (anywhere from February to July). If you see signs that starlings are building a nest in the box, remove the material. You might also plug the entry hole for a few days, then reopen it once the starlings have moved on or lost interest.

    6

    Take your nest boxes down every year or board over their entrance holes after breeding season. Don't put them back up again until you notice the native species you're hoping to attract have returned.

What Is a Mallard Duck?

What Is a Mallard Duck?

Many domesticated animals descend from a specific species; for example, dogs are descended from gray wolves. This is the case with domestic duck breeds, which are almost all descended from the wild mallard duck. It is one of the most widespread duck species in the world and is commonly hunted in most of its range.

Description

    Mallard ducks grow to from 20-to-26 inches in length, with a wingspan of 32-to-37 inches and weigh around 35-to-45 ozs. The male mallard is a colorful bird with a metallic green head, rusty-colored chest and gray body. Females are more subdued in color with a mottled light brown plumage all over. The duck's long, broad body with short legs and webbed feet give it a distinctive waddling gait. The bills of both sexes are yellowish-orange and their legs and feet are reddish-orange.

Habitat and Range

    Mallards live throughout the northern hemisphere, with the exception of the most northerly Arctic regions. It has also made its way into parts of southern Asia, South America, Africa and Australia. It is a migratory bird that can be found further north in summer and flies south in winter. The bird is highly adaptable and will exploit almost any freshwater wetland habitat, natural or man-made. The ducks can also spend time in brackish or even saltwater areas.

Diet and Predators

    The mallard is an omnivore and will eat a wide range of foods. Aquatic plants, seeds and acorns are all common foods. Human crops are also exploited by the ducks when the chance arises. Insects, worms, fish and amphibians are all part of the mallard's diet as well. The mallard is clumsy when it walks and as it takes off, leaving it vulnerable to any number of predators. Large snakes, foxes, raccoons and birds of prey all pose a risk to adults. The small chicks are at risk from predatory fish and snapping turtles.

Life Cycle

    Mallards form breeding pairs several months before the mating season and will often display courtship behavior throughout the winter. The female lays between nine and 13 eggs in a vegetation-lined ground depression. The female is left to incubate the eggs alone, which takes around 26 to 28 days. After 13 to 16 hours, the newly hatched chicks are able to walk and will follow the mother down to the water and never will return to the nest. The ducklings follow the mother in a line. In the wild, mallards can live for five to 10 years on average.