Kamis, 28 Februari 2013

How to Catch an Emu

How to Catch an Emu

If you are ever in the situation where you are asked to capture an emu, it would be smart for you to understand the basics for the safety of yourself and the bird. Breeders and veterinarians may have to transport the large birds from time to time and based on the large size of the bird, a large trailer is required. Capturing an emu to load into a trailer is not an easy task, but it can be achieved with patience and skill and the help of an assistant.

Instructions

    1

    Focus on the task at hand and try to stay as calm as possible. Refrain from acting like you are scared of the animal. Prepare yourself by asking for the help of an assistant. Wear thick leather gloves.

    2

    Manipulate the emu into a corner or against a fence by slowly walking close behind it. Capture the emu by gently getting a hold on its two small wings. Position one hand across its back while applying downward pressure. Place the other hand around the side of the emu to get a grip on the soft skin area between the legs and hard area of the breast plate. Act gentle but be firm with the animal at the same time. Ask for help holding the bird if you are struggling.

    3

    Position yourself behind the emu and pull the bird as close to your body as possible. Position the backside of the emu between your thighs to gain control of the animal. Manipulate the position of the bird so that it can remain firmly pressed against your body.

    4

    Instruct your assistant to open the door or gate of the transport trailer. Walk slowly and carefully with the bird to the trailer.

    5

    Lift the backside of the emu as quickly as possible and push the bird firmly into the trailer. Close the gate or door as fast as possible so that the emu does not escape. Prepare yourself to exit the trailer quickly because the bird will also want to exit and can do so very quickly. Be sure the emu is secure for the trip.

How to Raise Bobwhite Quail for Beginners

How to Raise Bobwhite Quail for Beginners

Bobwhite quail are the largest type of quail in North America. The term Bobwhite quail comprises a number of quail species, recognized by their piercing calls and white facial markings. Bobwhites are also the easiest type of quail to raise, making them a perfect species for beginners. Raising Bobwhite quail is an enjoyable experience and opens the door to raising more difficult quail species in the future.

Instructions

    1

    Buy fertilized Bobwhite quail from an established breeder. Bobwhite quail lay a large number of eggs throughout the year, making them easy to find and affordable for beginners. Lay the eggs in a flat storage tray and keep the tray in a room with a temperature of approximately 60 degrees Fahrenheit to keep the embryos from growing until the incubator is ready.

    2

    Set the humidity on the incubator to 70 degrees and the temperature to 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the eggs in a single layer on each tray and shut the door. Most incubators have built-in hygrometers and thermometers, making them easy for even beginners to adjust if necessary. Turn the eggs over each day to keep the growing embryo from fusing to one side of the shell. Bobwhite quail eggs will begin to hatch after 24 days of incubation.

    3

    Fill the feed dish with quail starter and the water dish with clean water, placing one at each end of the brooder box. Brooder boxes are necessary for beginners, as they keep the chicks contained in a small area and keep them warm to prevent hypothermia. Plug in the heat lamp on the brooder box 24 hours to warm up the box before the eggs are due to hatch.

    4

    Observe the eggs carefully once they begin to hatch. Bobwhite quail are born with a small egg tooth on their beaks that help them break free of the shell. It may take up to 10 hours for each chick to free itself, so allow the birds to free themselves to keep from injuring them. It may be frightening for beginner Bobwhite raisers to see the chicks struggle, but it is a lengthy process.

    5

    Move the chicks to the brooder once they have dried after hatching. Dip your fingers into the water and wiggle them gently in front of the chicks to show them where the water is. Bobwhite quail scratch the ground in the wild as they look for food, so move your fingers through the chick starter to encourage the hatchlings to eat.

    6

    Transfer the chicks to the coop after 15 days in the brooder. Move the dishes from the brooder to the coop, placing them in opposing corners to keep the chicks from wetting their feed. Place a layer of clean straw on the floor of the coop to make comfortable nests and keep the chicks warm. It may take up to a day for the chicks to acclimate to their new environment and settle into a normal routine.

Parakeet Tricks

Parakeet Tricks

Parakeets are small birds that are curious and active. Parakeets are flock birds and need to be around other people or birds, not kept in a cage all day. One way to interact with a parakeet is by teaching it tricks. They can perform several parakeet tricks by using their personality and natural tendencies. Training sessions should be short, consistent and repetitive and rewarded with small treats such as sunflower seeds.

Talking

    Parakeets do not have a large vocabulary but can learn to say up to 100 words. They mimic sounds that they hear on a consistent basis. Talking tricks include words, singing and whistling. A way to train a parakeet to talk is by setting up a tape recorder that repeats the word or song that you want to teach and play it near its cage often.

Basic

    Parakeet tricks include stepping on and over fingers. Stepping up is when the parakeet steps onto one finger and then another. The owner alternates fingers to continue the step up motion. Other tricks include peering into teeth, kissing, climbing up an arm or the top of the owner's head.

Natural

    By nature, parakeets love to move, climb and explore. Use their natural instincts with tricks such as dancing, spinning, backflips and stretching their wings over the back. Other tricks include handshaking, high-fives and waving. Climbing tricks often include the parakeet climbing a letter, walking up stair steps or ascending a single rope. Other tricks include fetching small toys or placing them back into a box.

Acrobatics

    Some of the most fun parakeet tricks are acrobatic such as riding bikes or skateboards, playing with miniature seesaws, walking a tightrope, or playing ring toss. Other tricks include jumping through rings or crawling through tunnels made of cloth, wood, paper or metal. Parakeets can also learn to play sports such as basketball, golf or kickball. Parakeet tricks involving an obstacle course made of the parakeets toys, ladders, bells, ropes and swings are entertaining and fun.

Training Parakeets to Sing a Certain Song

Training Parakeets to Sing a Certain Song

With proper training, you can teach your parakeet to sing a certain song of your choice. Parrots are intelligent birds and can mimic sounds and words. Some species are more talkative than others, which makes it easier for them to learn songs. You may have to work a little harder if you're training a parrot that isn't on the talkative side. However, with the use of various training methods, your pet parrot will be singing that special song in no time.

Instructions

    1

    Train your parakeet to sing at an early age. Start your training in the mornings when the bird's brain is well rested. Before removing the parakeet from the cage in the morning, cover the cage with a towel at least a half an hour before removing it.

    2

    Start playing or singing the song to your parakeet while the towel is still covering the cage. Play a verse of the song, then rewind the tape and play it again. Do this two to three times, then move on to the other verses using the same pattern.

    3

    Remove the towel from the cage and take the parakeet out of the cage. Put the parakeet so that it's facing you. Play the tape and sing along with the tune. Rewind the tape after each verse, making sure to practice only five minutes at a time to avoid loss of interest.

    4

    Repeat your training each day until you see progress. Increase the amount of verses that you play each time. Reward your parakeet with treats whenever it makes any type of progress.

Birds That Live Near Ponds

Birds That Live Near Ponds

The enriched ecosystem created by ponds can attract a variety of birds, depending on geographical region, climate and time of year. Some birds are found near ponds throughout most of North America, thriving near the water where some of them swim or dive for fish.

Predatory Birds

    Birds of prey like this falcon may be attracted to animals that live near ponds.
    Birds of prey like this falcon may be attracted to animals that live near ponds.

    Predatory birds are among the most common birds seen near ponds. While they do not live exclusively near ponds, they are drawn to them for hunting. Fish, smaller birds and even mammals living in or near water make attractive targets for these giant birds that may include falcons and hawks.

Owls

    Owls are skilled nocturnal hunters.
    Owls are skilled nocturnal hunters.

    Owls are not classified as birds of prey, but they remain avid hunters. Small mammals such as mice may be attracted to the enriched environment around ponds. These small animals also attract owls, who frequently build nests near ponds.

Cranes

    Cranes frequently wade into water.
    Cranes frequently wade into water.

    Herons, egrets and cranes all look similar to one another. These tall birds have long necks and beaks and are often colored with bright markings. They typically hunt by wading into shallow water and scooping up fish with their beaks.

Blackbirds

    Blackbirds build nests in and around water.
    Blackbirds build nests in and around water.

    These small birds, which resemble sparrows, thrive in a watery environment. Blackbirds often build their nests directly above a pond and eat many insects that live nearby. Blackbird males are solid black, with orange beaks and a few orange feathers. The females are typically brown or gray.

Hummingbirds

    Hummingbirds have long beaks and are often brightly colored.
    Hummingbirds have long beaks and are often brightly colored.

    Hummingbirds eat nectar, and many of the flowers that grow near ponds provide an abundance of this sweet substance. Hummingbirds are among the smallest birds and can be as small as 5 centimeters tall. They come in a variety of colors, ranging from drab brown to a brightly-colored green and red.

Ducks and Geese

    Male mallards are brightly colored, but the females are a drab brown.
    Male mallards are brightly colored, but the females are a drab brown.

    Thousands of species of ducks and geese live in ponds across North America. The most commonly seen ducks include brightly colored mallards. Canada geese and black and white swans are also frequent fliers in ponds.

Why Does My Cockatiel Bird Act Mean?

Why Does My Cockatiel Bird Act Mean?

Often cockatiels that hiss, bite or otherwise threaten their owners see are seen as being "mean." However, this is not the case. Aggressive cockatiels are not acting with the intention to be malicious. To understand a cockatiel's actions, consider the situation from a cockatiel's point of view.

Considerations

    Aggression can be a symptom of illness or poor nutrition in a cockatiel. Take your cockatiel to your avian veterinarian immediately if they are showing signs of aggression to rule out a medical cause.

Lack of Trust

    Birds instinctually see humans as predators and do not trust them, unless they have been taught to trust humans. Trust is established with kind and friendly actions on the part of the owner such as feeding, during cage cleaning and sitting and talking to the bird.

Lack of Training

    Untrained cockatiels do not naturally know how to behave with people, instead relying on their instincts to protect themselves. Cockatiels need to learn how to act with their owners. This is done through training behaviors such as "step up" and using rewards.

Hormonal

    Hormonal cockatiels will act aggressive; this is behavior that ensures the survival of their young in the wild. Increasing the bird's daily dark hours, removing nests and getting them out and away from their cage will help decrease breeding hormones and reduce aggression.

Miscommunication

    Cockatiels and owners that simply do not understand each other often do not get along. This can be corrected by learning about normal cockatiel behaviors and communication.

The Habitat of Dusky Parrots

Dusky Parrots are one of eight species of the Pionus genus. They are medium-sized birds, averaging between 8 and 9 inches in length. A wild Dusky Pionus can live up to 25 years. As pets their lifespan is unfortunately cut to just 3 to 10 years, due to poor care, accidents and uneducated owners. Dusky Parrots are treetop dwellers from South and Central America, and are found in tropical and subtropical forested areas.

In the Wild

    In the wild, Dusky Parrots can be found in treetops as high up as 10,000 feet. They live in small groups in humid, wet upland and drier deciduous forests. They have also been seen in coastal, savanna and forested areas. In the wild, breeding season for the Dusky Pionus is February through May, and they prefer to nest in dead trees. There isn't a lot of research on what Pionus eat in the wild, but because their beaks are small, they aren't capable of shelling seeds with tough skins. Per STARescue, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bird rescue, they likely eat flower buds, soft plant pods and small fruits.

Habitat for Pets

    A parrot-sized cage with half-inch bar spacing is sufficient for a Dusky Pionus. The cage should be placed against a wall and away from windows if possible. Medium-sized bird toys should be placed on the inside cage bars and include a variety that allows the bird to chew, tear, preen and forage. Use real wood perches that naturally file the bird's nails. To be safe, buy perches from a bird store to ensure they are chemical free. It's also recommended to block off a corner of the cage with toys, ropes, a bird blanket and peacock feathers or a dark-colored feather boa to work as a camouflage so the parrot has a place to hide when it wants to be alone.

In the Aviary

    Dusky Parrots can become aggressive if housed with other bird species. They do not do well in the cold, and cannot be housed anywhere the temperature falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. An aviary should be set up to resemble the wild habitat as closely as possible. Since the Dusky Pionus are natural tree dwellers, trees should be incorporated into the aviary. Additionally, there should be plenty of items for climbing and foraging. During nesting season, add nesting material. Also consider including a waterfall and misting system for a natural water supply. The diet should include items they can find in the wild, such as plant vegetation, fruits, vegetables and small soft-shelled seeds. An aviary can be as large or small as you want. However, it's important to allow your bird to fly freely in this habitat. According to AvianWeb, the aviary should be large enough to allow for full expansion of the parrot's wings.

Breeding

    The Pionus is difficult to breed in captivity, but with an appropriate breeding habitat there is a better chance of success. Brady suggests a 4-foot wide by 4-foot tall cage that is at least 6 to 8 feet long. A collapsible cage is also recommended for easy cleaning, as the cage will need weekly cleanings that can be hindered by baby chicks. To the cage add a nesting box, placed at the highest point, shredded paper or nesting material and sticks purchased from a bird store. Place the cage in a quiet part of the house, a spot with minimal traffic, little noise and dimmed lighting. If lighting is an issue, place the cage against a wall, and cover the sides with a dark blanket, leaving the front uncovered. Provide plenty of nesting-appropriate foods during the breeding season. Scrambled eggs, including the shells, are an excellent source of calcium for the female.

Rabu, 27 Februari 2013

What Sounds Does a Nightingale Make?

What Sounds Does a Nightingale Make?

Often appearing in poetry, the nightingale received its name and fame for its nocturnal songs. However, they sing during the day as well. These little birds lead a solitary life, spending most of the year in the forests of Europe and Asian before migrating to Africa for the winter.

Description

    Easily mistaken for a robin because of its brown color and size, the nightingale grows to an average height of approximately 15 cm, weighs between 15 and 22 grams and has a thin beak. The nightingale displays no distinguishing markings on its body, but it can be identified by its red-sided tail. Its wingspan stretches between 20 and 22 cm, though the bird spends most of its time on the ground or in low bushes. Strong, long legs support the little bird.

Nesting

    Nightingales mate during the spring and build their nest in dense thickets, low to the ground or even on the ground. They use grass, leaves and twigs to construct their cup-shaped nests. In the nest the female bird generally lays between two and five eggs. The eggs are pale blue or blue green in color with reddish brown speckles and mottling. The egg hatches in approximately two weeks. At 11 days old the young begin to fly. Within the next three weeks the young will leave the nest for good. A nightingale's life spans between one and three years.

Song

    Nightingales sing just before sunrise in order to announce and defend their territory. The quiet of this time of night allows their sounds to travel long distances, alerting any neighboring birds of their presence. Males also take advantage of the nightly quiet to attract a mate with their singing. Nightingales make a whistling crescendo sound when they sing. In 1832, English poet John Clare described the nightingale's sounds with the following words: chew, chee, cheer, up, chjeer, tweet, jug, wew, chur, woo and it.

Food

    Nightingales eat both plants and animals making them omnivorous birds. They sustain themselves on seeds, nuts, fruits such as berries, and insects such as ants and beetles. The nightingale's small size makes it food for many predators. Mammals such as rats, foxes and cats as wells as lizards and snakes feed on these birds. Some large birds of prey also hunt nightingales.

Life Span of a Cockatoo

Life Span of a Cockatoo

Cockatoos are a unique bird in the sense that they can be found out in the wild, while thriving in captivity at zoos as well. In addition, people can have cockatoos as pets. These charming birds have a long life span, averaging between 40 and 60 years. People who purchase them as pets must know that raising a cockatoo is a major, lifelong commitment.

Basic Facts

    Cockatoos are most commonly thought of as a large white bird, which may have the capability to speak with its owner. However, cockatoos come in a variety of shapes and sizes. A cockatoo can range from a couple ounces to a couple pounds in weight, and from 1-foot to 2.5-feet tall. Cockatoos will live for about 40 to 60 years, but some cockatoos in captivity have been known to live for 100 years. A cockatoo is considered an adult once it is three or four years old.

Personalities

    Cockatoo personalities are mysterious to scientists and bird enthusiasts alike. Some cockatoos can be destructive, while other cockatoos are fun-loving, obedient and gentle. Cockatoos are known for being manipulative and contemplative; they have a tendency to change moods very quickly, from going quiet and pensive to screaming in fits seconds later. Cockatoos have a desire to be pampered and cuddled and can get their feelings hurt; if their feelings become hurt, cockatoos may become aggressive.

Training

    If a person has a desire to keep a cockatoo as a pet, it is important that the cockatoo has extensive training. Cockatoos make great pets for humans, but they do require time outside their cage to play and cuddle. In order to allow cockatoos to have this change of scenery they need, they must know the proper way to behave in a person's house. Cockatoos require a lot of personal attention and are prone to neurotic tendencies such as self-mutilation if they do not get the attention they require.

Types of Cockatoos

    One of the most well-known cockatoo species is the Umbrella Cockatoo, which is the white cockatoo with a yellow crest. However, there are about 17 different cockatoo species. Other cockatoo species include the Goffin Cockatoo, which has a small white crest different than many of the other cockatoos. Another type of cockatoo is the Moluccan Cockatoo, which is a salmon-pink colored cockatoo. The Palm Cockatoo is exceptionally unique as it has black feathers and looks quite different from the other cockatoos.

Selasa, 26 Februari 2013

Types of Woodpeckers in Washington

Types of Woodpeckers in Washington

The state of Washington has vast areas of natural woodland which make for ideal habitat for many species, including woodpeckers. The state is home to 13 species of woodpecker from five different genera of the Picidae family. Woodpeckers get their name from the habit of pecking against tree trunks to find insects to eat.

Pied Woodpeckers

    Washington is home to five species of the genus Picoides, or pied woodpeckers. It includes the state's smallest species, the downy woodpecker, which is black and white in color. Males of the species have small red patches on the back of their heads. The hairy woodpecker looks like a larger version of the downy; both are common residents of the state. The white-headed woodpecker has a fully black body and a white head, and males have a red crown. The American three-toed is black and white with a yellow crown. Like the white-headed, it is a rare resident of eastern Washington. The black-backed is also rare and is mostly black in color with a yellow crown in males.

Sapsuckers

    Sapsuckers are a type of woodpecker that, instead of tapping tree trunks to find insects, actually make holes in the tree for the sap. The birds then come back to the hole later to feed on the sap and the insects attracted to the sweet substance. The state is home to four sapsucker species. Williamson's sapsucker is black and white with a yellow bellow and red throat. The yellow-bellied sapsucker is a rare visitor to the state appearing around winter time. The red-naped sapsucker is common in eastern Washington, while the red-breasted is most common in the western part of the state.

Melanerpine Woodpeckers

    The state is home to two species in the Melanerpes genus of woodpeckers, both of which are most common in the east of the state. Lewis's woodpecker is a large bird with a greenish-black back, gray stomach and red face. It is common in the eastern parts of the state and less so in the west. The acorn woodpecker is mainly black with a gray mottled belly, white face and red crown. It is a rare resident in small parts of eastern Washington.

Pileated and Flicker Woodpeckers

    Washington's two other woodpecker species include North America's largest, the pileated woodpecker. It is a large, slender bird with black and white plumage and a distinctive, pointed red crown. The pileated is most common in the western areas of the state and less so in the east. The northern flicker, unlike most woodpeckers, is brown, not black. It is less colorful than most species, but males do have red patches on their cheeks. It is common throughout the state.

How to Raise Domestic Turkeys

How to Raise Domestic Turkeys

Raising turkeys at home is an effective way to bring in extra money, or to inexpensively provide yourself and your family with home-raised turkey meat. This is especially useful during the holiday season, when you will be able to feed yourself and make money selling your turkeys for others to enjoy. Raising turkeys requires dedication and may be time-consuming, but the end result is worth your hard work and patience.

Instructions

Brooding Box

    1

    Put newly hatched poults -- or young turkeys -- into a brooder that is approximately 24 inches wide, 48 inches long and 15 inches high. Cover the bottom with paper towels and scatter the feed onto the paper towels so the poults can eat on their own and get used to eating. After a few days, feed the poults with a small chick feeder. You should have one feeder for every 25 poults.

    2

    Keep a lamp above the poults with a bulb wattage between 75 and 100 watts, but do not use a fluorescent bulb. The temperature should be between 90 and 100 degrees for the first week. According to the Porter Turkeys website, using a red heat lamp can help prevent cannibalism amongst young poults. Hang it above the middle of the brooder, approximately eight inches from the brooder floor.

    3

    Place drinking water for the poults in a corner away from the heat lamp so that it does not get too warm.

Food and Water

    4

    Administer water to young poults under four weeks of age using a chicken feeder. After this point, you can use a water can-pan with a wire guard.

    5

    Feed the poults a starter feed that contains 30 percent protein in starter rations for the first eight weeks. After 14 weeks of age, start feeding the turkeys small grains, corn and oats. After 20 weeks, feed the turkeys a mash and grain mixture. Turkeys can also graze in an open pasture.

    6

    Avoid commercial-grade feeding programs unless you desire bigger size over better quality meat; commercial grade can increase the size of your turkeys, but it decreases the quality of the meat.

    7

    Make sure the poults and older turkeys have constant access to food and water. Some turkeys may die if their food is not consistently in front of them, because they may not realize that it is there.

Cannibalism and Disease

    8

    Do not overcrowd your turkeys. Provide a space for the turkeys to roam, such as a large pen or a pasture, once they start to roost. This will help decrease instances of disease and cannibalism.

    9

    Isolate ill birds from others to decrease the risk of the illness being transmitted between birds.

    10

    Change the litter in the pen often, or keep the pen in an area with ample sunlight, in order to reduce the risk of coccidiosis, which is a disease that grows in moist litter.

    11

    Allow turkeys to have a space to get away from heat, light and other birds. Feeding your turkeys consistently will also reduce the chances of cannibalism.

    12

    Debeak your poults when they are still young. This procedure removes a portion of the tip of the turkey's beak to lessen the chance of pecking and cannibalism among birds.

How to Potty Train a Parakeet

The parakeet is a friendly and entertaining bird. However, nobody wants to be the one holding the bird when it decides to take a bathroom break. It can lead to messy and sometimes embarrassing situations. Fortunately, with some time and patience a parakeet can be potty trained. By following a few simple steps and with lots of repetition, you can dramatically decrease the amount of messes on your shoulder.

Instructions

    1

    Decide on a training spot. Most people choose to do it over a trash can or to have a spot set aside with newspapers.

    2

    Hold your parakeet over the training spot. Give him a vocal command of your choice. You can say something like, "Go potty" or simply "Potty."

    3

    Continue to hold the parakeet over the training spot until he does his business. Once he has finished, reward him with praise, a treat or favorite toy. Figure out which of these elicits the best response from your bird.

    4

    Repeat this every time you take your parakeet out of the cage. Do not hold him without taking him to the training spot first. Eventually your bird will learn what you want. If you think your parakeet is getting ready to use the bathroom while you are holding him, (if it lifts its tail or squats down) quickly take him to the training spot and let him do his business there. Remember to always reward your bird. If you are consistent, your parakeet will, for the most part, be accident-free.

Senin, 25 Februari 2013

How to Train Red-Bellied Parrots

How to Train Red-Bellied Parrots

Red-bellied parrots are a small (about 9 inches long) parrot native to eastern Africa. They have brown heads, greyish-brown wings and green legs. Males have the eponymous bright red-orange belly, while on the females it is a duller greenish-brown. Red-bellies are members of the poicephalus group of parrots, like senegals and Meyers parrots. They have a playful and sweet temperament, and make good pets. Natural mimics, they are relatively easy to train.

Instructions

Training Your Red-Bellied Parrot

    1

    Take advantage of the red-bellied parrots natural strengths. While every parrot is an individual, different species do tend to have different characteristics. When training your bird, utilize the natural tendencies of its species to choose your training goals. Red-bellied parrots are natural mimics, often learning to repeat phrases and gestures from a very young age without any training. Use this ability to teach your parrot what you want it to do, and then firmly establish the behavior with the techniques of positive reinforcement. While they can learn some vocal mimicry, poicephalus parrots are not known for being the best talkers; you may want to concentrate on whistling and acrobatic tricks.

    2

    Use positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is the best way to get an animal to do what you want. Never punish a parrot; they are not likely to understand what is going on and will just become stressed and even hostile. Instead, reward the parrot when it does what you want. Using small food treats is the best way to reward a parrot; praise and encouragement also are good, and can be combined with a training clicker to augment the reward with a distinctive sound. The parrot will associate the click with praise and treats, and so it will become an extra tool for reinforcing good behavior.

    3

    Train your parrot to do a complicated trick not all at once, but break it down into a series of smaller tasks. If you want to teach your red-bellied parrot to put a ring on top of a peg, a common parrot trick, dont expect the bird to get it all at once. First, teach the parrot that you want him to approach the ring when you put it down or offer it. Give him clicks or treats for getting close and eventually for touching it. Then do this until the parrot learns to pick it up. Once this is done, get your parrot to bring it over near the peg; when he moves in the right direction, respond with clicks and praise. Finally, teach him that when the ring is near the peg, you want him to put it on the peg. Once all the parts are understood, you can begin to chain them together, offering praise only when two, then three, and finally all steps of the trick are accomplished.

How to Tell Female From Male Finches

How to Tell Female From Male Finches

Whether you are breeding finches or selecting only finches of a single sex for your aviary, sexing finches is a valuable skill. There are many different varieties of finches, and what you need to look for varies from species to species. While some finch species clearly are distinguishable from each other, others have more subtle markings and require a careful examination.

Instructions

Zebra Finches

    1

    Look at the beak. Male zebra finches have a dark orange or red beak, while females have orange beaks. If the the zebra finch is entirely white, it can be sexed only by the beak.

    2

    Listen for the song. Males sing, while females do not.

    3

    Inspect the coloration. Males have a black bar on their chest, orange cheeks and brown flanks with white spots. Females lack these markings.

Saffron Finches

    4

    Look at the bird's coloration. Male saffron finches have a more yellow cast to their feathers.

    5

    Look at the hue of the bird. The male saffron finch is slightly brighter than the female.

    6

    Look at the orange spot on the bird's forehead. Male saffron birds have spots that are larger and brighter than those of the females.

Owl Finches

    7

    Wait until the birds are old enough for their full color to come in. The sexes are largely indistinguishable until they are adolescents.

    8

    Look at the lower breast bar that runs across the owl finch's chest. The breast bar on a male owl finch is thicker than the one on the female finch.

    9

    Look at the white area on the owl finch's face. The male's face is a brighter shade of white and the white area is a little larger than that of females.

How to Locate a Hummingbird Nest

The female hummingbird builds the nest and is responsible for the feeding while the male hummingbird has no part in it. The female searches for items that will work best to build the nest such as spider webs, soft parts of plants, moss, and lichens. They choose places to build the nest that are well hidden from predators and camouflaged. The nest is no bigger than a walnut shell which is about one and a half inches in diameter. Locating a hummingbird nest may be challenging.

Instructions

    1

    Look in a tall tree where the branches meet. Hummingbirds will choose a place in the tree where the branches make a shape of a Y to help stabilize them. They will also be located in the tree where there are plenty of leaves above to protect them from rain and sun. Hummingbirds may also build their nests in tall bushes. Their nest would be near the top of the bush.

    2

    Determine if there is water nearby such as a river or lake. The female hummingbird tends to build nests close to water where temperatures are not so hot. Temperatures hotter than 96 degrees can destroy the hummingbird eggs.

    3

    Notice if the nest is made of moss and lichens. The female hummingbird chooses to use soft sticky items that will hold a nest together and protect the eggs. They also use parts of spider webs, plant fibers, and willows.

    4

    Find an old hummingbird nest. You will find others nearby since the female chooses to stay in an area that has worked for her once before. Some hummingbirds will choose to build a nest on top of the old one, close to the old one, or may even re-use the old nest.

    5

    Look around a building or house. A female hummingbird may also choose to build her nest on a wedge of a building or house in an area that is protected by wind and high enough from predators.

Anti-Biting Tools for Cockatoos

Anti-Biting Tools for Cockatoos

Hostile behavior in pet birds, such as biting, lunging at you or attacking you, can be the result of inexperienced bird owners. New owners typically do not understand that cockatoos require consistent daily attention, that a cockatoo will favor just one person in the home or that the cockatoo will pick up on negative unwanted behavior from its human companion. Animal Behaviorist Larry Lachman states that two of the most common triggers of aggression in birds is frustration of not having its needs met and social learning and modeling. You must find the root cause for aggression in order to stop your cockatoo's biting.

Social Reinforcement

    Social learning and modeling occurs when human companions or other birds model positive or negative behavior. Perhaps you thought your cockatoo's playful attempt to bite your husband at breakfast was funny, but the painful nip at dinner hurt. Because you laughed at breakfast, and screamed at dinner when your bird bit you, your cockatoo learned that biting gets attention. Reinforcing positive modeling can be used as a tool to correct inappropriate behavior. By ignoring the bite or automatically placing your cockatoo in its cage every time it bites, your cockatoo will lose its appeal to bite because your bird will not get the attention it seeks.

Establish Consistent Rules and Patterns

    Any change in your bird's routine can cause your bird to become aggressive, if not done properly. Cockatoos are a lot like children, and need consistent rules and patterns. Avoid rapid change whenever possible; make changes gradually over time instead of immediately. Keep a consistent food schedule and be punctual. If your bird eats dinner with you every day at 6 p.m., don't expect your bird to understand why you have a dinner date and haven't bothered to feed it. Parrots are creatures of pattern, and any rapid change in your cockatoo's routine can cause behavior problems, states the Animal Hospital website.

Retraining

    If biting has become severe enough that blood has been drawn, it is time to retrain your cockatoo to accept human handling. Start by retraining your bird to use the step up/down command with a towel or glove to handle your bird instead of your fingers. Place the glove or towel on your hand, and use it to protect your hand from biting. This type of retraining can last several weeks or until your bird no longer tries to bite your fingers upon stepping up or down. Avoid going into the cage with your hand to retrieve your bird. If your bird wants out, it needs to come out of its cage on its own through an open cage door. Reteaching step-up/down commands and allowing your bird to come out of its cage by itself will help decrease biting significantly.

Restoring Dominance in Your Home

    According to Dr. Lachman, parrots are naturally dominant creatures, and unless you take steps to set yourself at a higher dominant level than your parrot, you will have behavioral issues. Remove any perches from the cage that are taller than you, and do not allow your bird to play on top of its cage or to sit on your shoulder or head, as this tells your bird it's dominant in the flock. Avoid leaving your bird unsupervised around children, and never allow your bird to perch on a child's head or shoulders. Large parrots such as the cockatoo see children as lower class citizens and will dominate them, states Dr. Lachman.

Warnings

    Never scream or punish your parrot for biting. Dr. Lachman states that punishing your parrot for biting will only make the biting worse. For many birds, screaming after you have been bitten is like pouring gasoline on an already-lit fire. If you light your cockatoo's fire by screaming, hitting or punishing your bird, the biting will increase in strength and quantity, says Dr Lachman. It can be difficult not to scream out in pain when a bird bites you, but you must do your best not to react.

What Eats Great Blue Herons?

What Eats Great Blue Herons?

Great blue herons (Ardea herodias) are found all over North America. There is an all-white form that lives in Florida and the Caribbean called the great white heron, but it is actually the same species. Blue herons primarily eat fish and are commonly found near ponds and marshes.

Egg Predators

    Ravens can quickly steal eggs from unsupervised heron nests.
    Ravens can quickly steal eggs from unsupervised heron nests.

    Crows and ravens are very smart and commonly steal eggs from heron nests while parents are away hunting.

Chicks

    Raccoons will eat eggs or chicks left unattended.
    Raccoons will eat eggs or chicks left unattended.

    Unsupervised chicks, like eggs, are an easy meal for predators like raccoons and red-tailed hawks.

Adults

    Bears are large enough to take down an adult blue heron if they choose.
    Bears are large enough to take down an adult blue heron if they choose.

    Great blue herons are the largest species of heron, but a hungry bear or eagle can still make a meal of one. Adult herons will usually leave an area where an adult or chick has been killed.

What Does It Mean When an African Grey Growls?

What Does It Mean When an African Grey Growls?

A growl or hiss from an animal can be a pretty intimidating and unpleasant sound. Across the board, the vocalization usually indicates that an animal is either frightened or defensive -- and sometimes both. African grey parrots are no exception to growling when they have reason to be upset.

Big Growlers

    African grey parrots are often big and noisy growlers -- especially if they started their lives in wild environments. African greys that have had positive and close contact with human beings for their entire lives are not as growl-happy as their wild counterparts.

"Get Away From Me"

    When an African grey parrot growls at someone, he essentially is saying, "Back off and leave me alone immediately." Growling means the bird is scared or nervous. If you're ever in the company of a growling African grey, it's crucial to stay away. If you get too close to a growler, he may opt to protect himself from you -- if for whatever reason he believes you're a threat -- by biting. Not good at all. Respect a growling parrot's wishes and leave him alone. Be safe and never put your hands on a growling bird.

Analysis

    Since African grey parrots tend to growl when they're terrified, it's up to you to determine the source of his fear -- and then promptly manage or eliminate it. Perhaps the sounds coming from outside are jarring and unfamiliar to him, whether from cars, passersby or a street festival in your neighborhood. He may feel uneasy if your large dog is peering curiously at him from outside the cage. Bring your African grey back to comfort by doing away with his fear factor.

Attack Signs

    If a growling African grey parrot is on the verge of physically attacking someone, he may make it obvious through body language. He may puff out his plumage to appear larger and more menacing. He also may expand and contract his pupils. Defensive parrots also often push out their wings -- almost as if they are putting them on display for you. If you can point out the signs of an upset African grey, you can avoid putting yourself in hazardous situations.

Minggu, 24 Februari 2013

How to Get a Parakeet to Sit Wherever You Want

How to Get a Parakeet to Sit Wherever You Want

A parakeet, or budgie, is a popular pet due to its social nature. Parakeets, part of the parrot family, are small- to medium-size birds that are full of energy and love attention. To get the best experience of having a parakeet as a pet, owners need to train their parakeets and bond with them. You can even train your parakeet to sit wherever you like, whether it be on your finger or in places around your home.

Instructions

    1

    Earn your parakeet's trust. Talk softly, keep his environment calm and make slow movements around his cage.

    2

    Place your hand slowly inside the cage for a few minutes at a time so he can see that you are not going to harm him. Hold a treat in front of him and let him eat it from your hand.

    3

    Point your index finger out and hold it in front of your parakeet to try to get him to perch on your finger. Be patient since this may take several attempts before he climbs onto your finger.

    4

    Try to bring your parakeet out of his cage slowly. If he jumps off, start over and try again until he is comfortable coming out of the cage.

    5

    Work on getting your parakeet to sit on various objects, such as the couch, floor, chair or on a perch just outside the cage.

    6

    Sit your parakeet where you would like him to sit for a short time every day until he gets used to sitting there. This will help teach him where he is allowed to sit when outside of the cage.

Different Looks Between Cockerels & Pullets

Different Looks Between Cockerels & Pullets

Distinguishing cockerels from pullets is vital if you wish to keep your own hens, as only pullets will provide you with eggs. Determining the sex of young chickens can be somewhat difficult, but there are a number of general guidelines that will help you determine if a young chicken is a cockerel or a pullet.

Warnings

    The first-time chicken buyer may have a very difficult time in distinguishing cockerels and pullets. Pullets are generally more valuable than cockerels for their egg-laying services. If you are buying chickens for eggs, only pullets are necessary and even if you wish to breed more chicks, only one male is required for every dozen females. Note that it may be very difficult to keep cockerels in an urban environment, due to the loud calls that they make in the morning.

Feathers at One Week

    Very young pullets appear more developed than very young cockerels. At just one week of age, pullets already show significant traces of feathers, including wing and tail feathers. On the other hand, cockerels of the same age have barely any feathering at all and a very small, rounded tail. A soft, downy fluff usually still completely covers one-week-old cockerels.

Feathers at Six Weeks

    At six weeks of age, cockerels are still less feathered than pullets. On the legs and back, and especially on the tail and wings, you will see pointy feathers and quills, as well as some traces of down rather than complete feathers. Pullets have all of their feathers and look almost like a fully developed hen at the age of six weeks.

Other Characteristics at Six Weeks

    Cockerels are generally larger than pullets at six weeks of age. although their feathers are still less developed. They are taller than pullets, due to their thicker and longer legs, which start to develop spurs at this time. In addition, they will have started to develop a larger, redder comb on the neck and top of the head -- a pullet's comb will still be mostly yellow at six weeks. In addition, a cockerel's head will be larger and more angular than a pullet's small, round head. Furthermore, a cockerel's tail will appear curved and stumpy rather than the straight tails on the pullets.

Behavior

    Cockerels at six weeks of age will begin to behave differently than pullets -- they are generally braver, friendlier and more assertive. One way of telling them apart is to sail a hat or other object over the head of the chicken -- pullets will cower in fear while cockerels will stand more erect and try to "challenge" the hat.

How to Raise and Release White Homing Pigeons

How to Raise and Release White Homing Pigeons

White homing pigeons are a breed of rock dove, and are frequently released at the end of weddings as a symbol of peace and love. Since homing pigeons are trained to return to their coop, releasing them during daylight wedding ceremonies allows them time to return to the coop, saving their owners money that might be spent replacing birds that go astray. Because the genetics of white-pigeon breeding is slightly less straightforward than it is for other types of pigeons, the best way to raise and release your own white homing pigeons is to buy them directly from a breeder and train them to roost in your coop.

Instructions

    1

    Provide a coop large enough to hold the number of pigeons you expect to raise. A coop can be as simple as a large bird cage for one to two pigeons, or a storage shed for a large flock. The basic requirements are flat ledges or boxes for the birds to nest on or in, a roof that keeps their nesting area dry, access to fresh air and sunlight -- typically a mesh wall so the birds can look out -- and access for you to clean out the cages several times a year.

    2

    Provide fresh water, pigeon feed and pigeon grit to your birds. Place the containers off the floor so the birds don't defecate in them. For pigeons to drink properly, provide a water container that holds the water at a depth of at least 1 1/2 inches.

    3

    Purchase your birds when they are young, after they have finished weaning. To properly attach them to your property, choose birds that have never homed to another coop before. If they are young enough and have not homed anywhere else before, they will consider your coop "home" when released.

    4

    Train your birds to return to your coop by first releasing them within sight of your coop and then gradually widening the distance of release.

    5

    Release your birds for homing only during the day, on sunny days with fair weather. Solar storms may interfere with pigeons' homing ability, so check the solar forecast as well.

Sabtu, 23 Februari 2013

How to Catch a Bird With a Box

How to Catch a Bird With a Box

Whether a bird is trapped inside of your house or has made its home in your yard, removing it in a humane way can be tricky. Birds can be extremely fast, and most birds hold a cautious temperament. One effective way to trap a bird is to catch it inside of a box. Obviously, most birds would not approach a box if you were around, so the device is rigged in a way that allows you to watch the box from a distance and spring the trap once the bird is finally inside.

Instructions

    1

    Tie your string around the stick. You want the string to be several feet long so you can hold the string and still hide from the bird.

    2

    Lay down a piece of of plywood that is about the same size as the box that you are using. This will be helpful in moving the bird once it is caught.

    3

    Lay down the box over the plywood, face down, and lift up one side. Place your stick standing up under this side of the box so that the box is resting its weight on the stick as well as the opposite edge of the box.

    4

    Scatter some bird feed or other types of food, like bread, under the box. This will attract the bird.

    5

    Wait for the bird to enter the box and then spring the trap. Pull the string the moment the bird is in the center of the box. To trigger the trap, pull the sting; the stick will get pulled out and the side of the box that it was holding up will fall down, enclosing the bird under the box.

    6

    Lift up the plywood base while still keeping the box face down to transport the bird to its new location.

How to Teach Your Parakeet to Come to Your Finger

How to Teach Your Parakeet to Come to Your Finger

If you have a pet parakeet, you might already realize what an intelligent, sophisticated animal you have in your home. Owning a parakeet takes a great deal of responsibility, and it's not a task for the casual pet owner. After doing lots of research, consulting with your veterinarian and thinking through your decision, you may come to the conclusion that you can provide a parakeet with a loving home and proper environment. Part of owning a parakeet is learning to train it, such as teaching your parakeet how to come to your finger.

Instructions

    1

    Place your hand in view of your parakeet outside the cage. The parakeet may be afraid of your hand, which means it won't want to come to your finger. You need to introduce your hand gradually.

    2

    Talk to your parakeet while it can see your hand. Move your hand slowly closer until it's on the opposite side of the cage as your parakeet. Be gentle and keep talking soothingly.

    3

    Continue with this training for four to seven days. Keep going if your parakeet is not yet calm around your hand.

    4

    Add a new training lesson for the next four to seven days. Slowly open the cage and place your hand inside it. Do not move toward your parakeet or make sudden movements.

    5

    Hold a treat near a perch inside the parakeet's cage. Wait patiently until your parakeet comes to get the treat. Again, use slow movements. Do this for three to five days. Use treats you already know your parakeet enjoys. This training session teaches your parakeet to trust your hand.

    6

    Put your hand inside the cage and extend your index finger. Push very gently against your parakeet's abdomen above the feet. This can cause the parakeet to move onto your hand. Use slow movements and have lots of patience. It can take a few tries. Offer a treat with the opposite hand to help encourage your parakeet to perch on your finger.

    7

    Reward your parakeet with a treat once on your finger. Do this twice a day until your parakeet gets onto your finger with no hesitation.

    8

    Pull your parakeet out of the cage once it will stay. Use a treat to distract the parakeet while you pull out your hand. This will likely be a long process and will take several attempts. Keep practicing each day, and eventually your parakeet will be able to come to your finger when you put your hand in the cage and will sit still as you pull your hand out of the cage.

How to Train a Girl Parakeet to Talk

How to Train a Girl Parakeet to Talk

Parakeets are small, brightly colored parrots that come in a variety of color mutations. Also referred to as budgerigars or budgies, parakeets are popular pet birds. In addition to their reputation for playful antics, vibrant coloring and affectionate personality, they are also well known for their talking ability. Parakeets talk in fast, high-pitched voices that can be hard to understand sometimes. Males are said to talk better then females, but with patience and persistence, you too can teach your female parakeet to talk.

Instructions

    1

    Select a word or short phrase you wish your female parakeet to say. Generally it is good to associate a word with an action that you do daily. For example, saying "Good Morning" as you take the cage cover off the cage each morning, or saying "Yummy" as you feed your bird.

    2

    Repeat the word or phrase several times throughout the day while interacting with your parakeet. Keep your tone of voice bright and vibrant, as if you were rewarding good behavior. Parrots respond better to positive tones of voice and are more apt to repeat words said with emphasis.

    3

    Listen to your bird carefully. Birds that are beginning to talk will practice their words, sometimes sounding like they are mumbling. Reward any noises you interpret as the beginning of a word.

    4

    Reward your bird the first time you hear it utter the learned phrase. You can reward with verbal praise, or by giving your bird her favorite treat.

    5

    Repeat Steps 1 to 4 each time you wish to introduce a new phrase into your bird's vocabulary. Remember the amount of time it takes for your parakeet to learn a new word varies from bird to bird, so be patient.

Characteristics of Male Cockatiel Birds

Characteristics of Male Cockatiel Birds

Cockatiels originated in the outback region of Australia, where they still live as wild birds. In the USA, their bright colorations and attitudes have made them popular pets. Although male and female cockatiels make equally good pets, males have more dramatic coloration and personalities.

Coloration

    Male cockatiels have bright orange cheeks and bright yellow faces. Females are generally more dully colored. The tail feathers of a male cockatiel are typically long, with base coats that range from dark gray to white.

Size

    Male cockatiels are generally the same size as females. These birds grow to an average size of 12.8 inches from nose to tail and weigh 2.8 to 4.4 ounces, depending on their breed. Bird size and weight is a strong indicator of health, as male cockatiels tend to lose weight when they're sick or stressed.

Behavior

    Male cockatiels are very vocal, and can sometimes mimic sounds and words. They begin to whistle and interact with people at around six months of age. They often pull their wings back when whistling to attract a mate, or tap on bars and food dishes to get attention.

Personality

    Cockatiels are social and gentle birds. They are easy to breed and train in captivity, and adapt easily to life with other bird species. Male cockatiels live happily as pets for up to 15 years.

How to Teach Birds to Sing

How to Teach Birds to Sing

Birds that are bred specifically to be pets often do not gain the ability to sing. Birds naturally learn to sing through hearing other birds sing. Through proper training and repetition, certain birds can learn how to sing. Bird owners can buy commercial compact discs that are designed to help with the training process of teaching birds how to sing. The CDs feature birds singing their songs and each CD is designed for a specific breed of bird. However, CDs alone will not train a bird to sing. With patience and practice, many birds will eventually respond to the CDs and their owners.

Instructions

    1

    Place the bird cage and CD player in a quiet room without a lot of distractions.

    2

    Situate the bird. Keep the bird in its cage. Some bird owners recommend placing a cover on the cage during training sessions. This helps keep the bird focused to what you are playing. Other owners prefer face-to-face time with their birds during training sessions. Try both ways to see which one is most effective for you.

    3

    Turn the CD player on. Press play and allow the bird to listen to the sounds. The type of singing that your bird will learn depends on your bird's breed. For example, if you want to teach your canary to sing, you would play a CD that features the sounds of canaries singing. Stop the CD and encourage the bird to repeat the sounds. Play the audio again and encourage the bird to repeat. Continue this process every day for 10 minutes a day. Reward the bird with a treat any time it responds to the training. If the bird begins to show signs of distress, stop the session and attempt another one after a couple of days.

    4

    Encourage the bird to sing without the training audio. Speak to the bird just as you do during the training sessions. Use a calm, gentle voice. Eventually, the bird should begin to respond to the training, as well as your voice, and start to sing. Continue the training sessions even after the bird has begun to sing on its own.

How to Train Finches

How to Train Finches

Finches come in a wide variety of species that sport various colors and personalities. They hail from all over the world and each species has its own unique personality traits. Many people keep finches for their sheer beauty; others enjoy their singing and some desire to train them as a small friendly companion. Certain species are more apt to train easier then others. For better success, select species that have been domesticated for many years and also pick finches that have a calm demeanor. Many zebra finches, canaries and green singing finches are known to be tame and can even perform tricks.

Instructions

    1

    Move slowly around the finch. All species of finches have a strong flight instinct. They tend to be jumpy and easily afraid by sudden movements. Slow movement can mesmerize and calm them which aids in training.

    2

    Stare at the bird's feet or above its head. Never look the finch in the eye. Finches find eye contact to be frightening and intimidating. They think eye contact is a signal for danger and will fly off to remove themselves from the perceived threat.

    3

    Talk in a low, soothing voice. Never yell around your finch. Begin to whistle softly ever time you enter the room where the finch is housed. Whistle softly and use the same tune each time. This lets the finch know you are arriving and to expect you. It also lets the finch know when you are leaving the room. Soon the finch will begin to anxiously await your arrival by sitting close to the bars of the cage and watching.

    4

    Sit beside the bird cage quietly, talking in a soft voice to your finch. Watch the bird's actions closely. Sing softly to the finch. Try to spend time just being in the same room beside the finch so it becomes familiar with you and knows that you will never harm it.

    5

    Release the bird from its cage once a calm acceptance has been attained. This acceptance will normally happen after you've spent six to eight weeks with the finch daily. Cover all windows and mirrors so the bird does not fly into them.

    Place a perch outside the cage door so the bird can slowly leave the cage and sit outside on the perch. Never reach into the cage and grab the finch. Leave the door open and let the finch exit when it feels comfortable. Set up several perches around the room so the finch has places to alight on and explore with its newfound freedom.

    6

    Lure the finch back into its cage using treats such as dried fruit, silk worms or other canned insects. Never chase the finch back into its cage. Simply set tasty treats in its food dish. Always call the bird gently as you place the treats into its food dish. When the finch goes into the cage to eat, close the cage door slowly.

    7

    Call the finch the next time it is outside of the cage, but this time, hold a treat out and call it to your hand. When the finch alights on your hand, allow it to have the tasty treat.

    Once this trick is established, begin calling the bird and letting it land on your head or shoulder to receive the treat. Soon you will be able to open your pocket and place a treat within for the finch to nestle into your pocket and enjoy. Now the bird successfully comes when called and will allow you to handle it. The finch should also allow you to gently pet its breast. Do not try to pet the bird's head until firm trust is established but reach up slowly and stroke its tiny breast.

A Good First Bird for a Falconer

A Good First Bird for a Falconer

Starting out in the sport of falconry is not a simple process. It requires professional training, written exams and legal permits. In most of the U.S. these permits are available at a state level, with the beginner permit being called an apprentice permit. In most states these permits restrict a beginner to just two bird species: the red-tailed hawk and the American Kestrel. These two birds are the most suitable for new falconers.

Size

    The red-tailed hawk is by far the larger of the two starter birds. It grows to 22 inches in height, with a 56-inch wingspan, and weighs up to 3 pounds. American kestrels are 10 inches shorter, with a wingspan more than half the size, and reach around 6 ounces. The American kestrel is therefore less imposing as a falconer's first bird. Less confident apprentices might prefer the smaller bird, while those who are more adventurous can try the larger hawk.

Quarry

    The red-tailed hawk, being larger, offers a wider range of hunting options. It can be used for small rodents, rabbits, jackrabbits, ducks and occasionally pheasants. The larger the bird, the more successful it is with bigger prey. American kestrels are more limited with what they can hunt. Usually small rodents such as mice and rats, as well as sparrows and starlings are the extent of a kestrel's prey size range. Red-tailed hawks are therefore ideal for larger prey hunting, but if small prey is the target, the kestrel is better suited.

Weight Control

    Weight control is important in falconry, as a balance needs to be struck between how much the birds are fed and the exercise they are given. Over- or under-feeding the birds can be seriously detrimental to their health. Being larger, the red-tailed hawk is a little more hardy and is more tolerant to inaccuracy in feeding level. American kestrels leave less room for error, with slight levels of under-feeding creating the real possibility of the bird starving to death. The red-tailed hawk is therefore easier to care for in this respect.

Ease of Training

    The two birds are different in the ease of general training. Falcons are never fully domesticated, but some species are easier to control and are less aggressive. The red-tailed hawk is easier to train and is the calmer of the two starter birds. This makes it better for more nervous beginners. The American kestrel is harder to train and requires more attention. Confident beginners who relish the challenge will likely prefer the kestrel.

The Classification of the Red-Tailed Hawk

The Classification of the Red-Tailed Hawk

The red-tailed hawk is the most common hawk in North America. These large birds have keen eyesight and are efficient hunters. They have a colorful tail, and range in size from 18 to 26 inches with a wing span of 38 to 43 inches.

Specifications

    The red-tailed hawk belongs to the Accipitridae family, which also includes the eagle, other hawks and Old World vultures. Buteo is the genus or species of the red-tailed hawk, which are generally medium- to large-sized hawks. Scientifically, the red-tailed hawk is of the Aves class, falconiformes order and of the jamaicensis species.

Characteristics

    With a wingspan up to 4 feet, this hawk weighs about 2 to 4 lbs. They are stocky birds with brown plumage on their backs and lighter colors on the breasts. Their fan tails are red, giving them their name.

Life Span/Habitat

    The red-tailed hawk lives in forests, prairies and deserts but is commonly seen on wires and telephone poles in open spaces looking for prey. Their lifespan can be up to 21 years in the wild and up to 29 years in captivity.

Jumat, 22 Februari 2013

How to Train a Bird to Stop Biting

How to Train a Bird to Stop Biting

Birds bite for many reasons: because of their diet, disease or illness, learned behavior. It is important to treat the underlying causes of the biting first, if there are any, before attempting to correct biting behavior. Baby birds tend to explore their surroundings with their mouths just like human babies. This is when learned behavior can occur. You may scream "ouch" or even laugh when the baby bites you. Unfortunately, by doing so you are only encouraging the bird to bite you more. The correct way to handle a bite is to not respond at all, and then immediately place the bird in its cage. The bird will correlate biting with returning to its cage, and the biting will eventually stop.

Instructions

    1

    Push into your bird's beak and the bird will release you from its bite. Pushing into the bird's beak instead of pulling away will also prevent your skin from tearing.

    2

    Put the bird in its cage immediately after it bites you, and close the cage door. Leave the bird in the cage for a set amount of time. The amount of time will depend on the owner and the type of bird it is. A good amount of time is anywhere from 10 minutes for a small bird to an hour for larger parrots, for each bite.

    3

    Repeat steps 1 through 2 every time the bird bites you. Avoid responding to the bite by saying "ow," "ouch" or talking to the bird in anyway, either when it bites or attempts to bite you.

    4

    Spend at least 30 minutes every day with your bird. This will lessen the chances of the bird biting you, because your bird will become accustomed to being handled.

Teaching Birds to Talk

Teaching Birds to Talk

Species

    Teaching a bird to talk starts with assessing how verbal your species of bird is likely to be. Some species can be taught to speak many words fairly easily, such as macaws and African grey parrots. Budgies and cockatiels may only pick up half a dozen words, or may only learn to imitate a specific whistle. Mynahs and crows may also be taught to speak a few words or to imitate other animal sounds.

Individuals

    Individuals within breeds vary, too. Most larger birds in the parrot family can learn to speak, but the speaking talents of smaller species-- especially budgies and cockatiels--are more variable. It's difficult to assess whether an individual bird will speak by the way he behaves in a pet store. You may bring home a quiet bird, only to find he is excellent at imitation once he's in a more quiet environment.

Bonding

    The most important step in teaching a bird to talk is to bond with her and make her feel comfortable. You can buy tapes and CDs that promise to train your bird to talk, but interaction with a live and loving human will almost always get a better response. Speak to your bird in a friendly and upbeat tone of voice.

First Words

    Choose simple words or phrases, such as "hello" or the bird's name to start with. Saying short words or phrases with enthusiasm will be most likely to catch a bird's attention. If you try a few different words, see which one seems most interesting to your bird and stick with that word or phrase. Once the bird begins attempting to repeat the word back to you, repeat that word often to make the learning stick.

Practice

    The best way to encourage a bird to pick up more words is to set aside some training time at a regular time every day. You may have to repeat one word or phrase often for a few months until the bird is comfortable with it. Once that's accomplished, try introducing a new word. Remember to reward your bird with a food treat or a new toy when he successfully learns a new word.

A Parakeet's Singing Behavior

A Parakeet's Singing Behavior

A small and common parrot often seen in American households as pets, the parakeet is known for his cheerful, active personality. There are over 120 different species and sub-species of parakeet, though the Budgie is one of the most common as a pet. All are very social birds, frequently communicating through a variety of noises and sounds. When a parakeet decides to sing, this behavior is often directly related to his surroundings.

Individual Singing

    Though all parakeets chirp, screech, and imitate noises, it is generally just the males that engage in sustained singing. When male parakeets sing individually, it is usually a form of play and entertainment. If another male parakeet is nearby, singing may be a way of trying to show off. Parakeets will also sing when trying to impress and court members of the opposite sex. A solitary parakeet might even sing to himself when he's bored.

Group Singing

    In the wild, parakeets will also sing together. Often, the birds will start singing to each other as soon as they wake in the morning, a behavior that encourages other birds to wake up as well and to start looking out for predators. Parakeets also will sing together at dusk in order to ensure that the entire flock is present, at nighttime to indicate that it's safe to go to sleep, and during the day when it's time to move to a new location. Often, younger birds will learn and mimic singing sounds from older parakeets.

Sounds

    Solo parakeets will create new and unique songs that are often made up of a combination of different parakeet noises. Anything from tweets to trills to screeches can be included in parakeet song, as well as croaks and imitations of other sounds in the parakeet's environment. Singing is decipherable from other parakeet noises because it is sustained and often performed when a bird is comfortable and feels safe.

Movements

    Beyond just vocalizations, parakeets also incorporate bodily movements into each song. Head-bobbing and eye-dilation are common when a parakeet is singing, as well as other movements unique to each individual bird. Some owners have even noticed domesticated parakeets ringing bells and incorporating toys as part of a song.

The Migration of Yellow California Finches

The Migration of Yellow California Finches

Yellow California finches, also called lesser goldfinches or American goldfinches, migrate every year. With their yellow-gold color and well-known warble, these birds range all across the United States, with those in the lower regions migrating up to Canada for breeding season.

Length of Migration

    Migration is from California to the interior of British Columbia generally, between 800 and 900 miles on average. The migration happens in a haphazard way, with the grouping moving together but not staying on one direct flight path. The finches also hesitate to travel over large areas of water, and the flock will occasionally move around a large lake, straight or channel if they can. Some American goldfinches and lesser goldfinches continue to reside in California year-round however, especially in the northern part of the state.

Breeding

    The nesting season of California finches is from late June toward early July. This coincides with their migratory arrival in Southern Canada and the availability of food for the chicks. Every season each bird finds another to create a monogamous couple to raise the young.

Time of the Year

    Goldfinches reside in California during the winter months due to the lack of food in their breeding areas. They group together in large bunches when in California. This is generally between the middle of fall to late spring. They then move north to the Canadian border where they pair off.

Locations

    Although American goldfinches and lesser goldfinches are found throughout the United States, different regions have different migratory patterns and some stay in one location year-round.

Plumage

    California yellow finches have winter plumage while living south -- duller than the breeding colors and with more browns. However, as they begin to migrate north to the lower regions of Canada, goldfinches undergo a transformation by completely molting and growing out their breeding plumage, which is a bright yellow and crisp black. However, as they migrate back toward California in the fall, they molt completely a second time, to regain their winter plumage -- the only one in the finch family to do so. All others only have one molt in the fall.

Kamis, 21 Februari 2013

How to Build an African Grey Aviary

How to Build an African Grey Aviary

The African grey parrot is a highly intelligent bird native to central Africa. Its amazing mimicking capabilities and gentle nature have made it a popular pet parrot species. House your African grey in the natural surroundings of an indoor aviary. An indoor aviary offers more space than a cage, and also allows flight. By building an aviary within the confines of your home, you can ensure the safety and well-being of your bird and also provide it with companionship.

Instructions

    1

    Decide on the appropriate location to build the aviary. Ideally, it should be in a corner of your house that has two walls. In this way, the two existing walls can double up as the aviary walls.

    2

    Use 2-by-4 wooden posts to prepare the frame. Cut the posts with a saw to create a rectangular-shaped frame for the base, front, one side wall and ceiling of the aviary. Connect the posts to each other and the walls with 3-inch screws and a screwdriver. Attach 2-by-4 crossbeam supports to the base and ceiling frames for a sturdy structure. Although the aviary size is dependent on available space, it should be rectangular in shape, 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide on each side.

    3

    Create panels for the floor, side and ceiling with nontoxic hardwood such as redwood. Cut the panels and fix them to the frame with 3-inch screws. Convert the side panel into a door to enable your entry into the aviary. Connect the door to the frame by attaching hinges at the top and bottom. For additional safety, fix a barrel bolt to the door and the frame.

    4

    Cover the floor panel with linoleum or melamine sheets. Spread wood glue on the sheet and on the wood panel, and gently press them together to attach. This flooring can be easily cleaned when it gets dirty.

    5

    Fix Plexiglas to the front frame with screw-on mirror clips. Cover the ceiling frame with 12-gauge galvanized wire, to create the roof. Secure the galvanized wire with a staple gun. The wire ceiling also doubles as a source of ventilation.

    6

    Attach screw-on perches to the inside walls of the aviary. Fix natural branches such as citrus, ash, birch, magnolia, willow and apple to the sides. The uneven surface of these perches provides the desired foot and toe traction for your bird.

Chicken Coops & Respiratory Disease

Chicken Coops & Respiratory Disease

If you have chickens on your farm or in your backyard, there are health risks you should be aware of that can affect your entire family. Chicken droppings can cause respiratory disease both in those directly involved in the daily care of the birds, as well as the occasional handler.

Types

    There are two types of respiratory diseases that are associated with handling bird droppings: histoplasmosis and psittacosis.

Cause

    People become infected by inhaling fungi spores that grow in the droppings. The spores become airborne when droppings are removed during coop cleaning.

Identification

    A person infected with either of these diseases, will exhibit flu-like symptoms. If left untreated, the diseases may progress to pneumonia and even death. Those who are infected with histoplasmosis may also become blind.

Solution

    It is important to regularly clean out chicken coops when droppings are fresh. The spores from the fungi are more readily dispersed once the droppings dry out.

Prevention

    When cleaning out a chicken coop, use the right equipment to reduce exposure to disease causing organisms. Misting the coop with a hose before excrement removal to reduce dust and airborne spores. Wearing a full-face respirator is advisable, as a dust mask does not afford the same protection.

Disposal

    Chicken droppings should be disposed of properly, which includes either burying the waste or incinerating it.

How to Hatch Turkey Eggs

How to Hatch Turkey Eggs

Raising turkeys for the dinner table or simply for enjoyment has become a popular pastime on numerous hobby farms. Often the need to incubate turkey eggs artificially becomes necessary when raising the birds. Many turkey mothers are notorious for being poor at sitting on the eggs so removal becomes paramount to insure hatching. Hens often abandon eggs and they must be gathered to hatch. Many times people simply want to increase their hen's egg production so they remove the egg clutch for artificial incubation.

Instructions

    1

    Gather the turkey eggs and place them in a cool, dark place for 5 to 7 days. Place the eggs so the broad end is facing upward. Using a cardboard chicken egg carton works to hold the larger turkey eggs.

    2

    Place the incubator in a room where the temperature is maintained from 70 to 75 degrees F. Do not sit the incubator by a window or any other location where sunlight can shine on it and raise the inside incubating temperature. Make sure the incubator is located away from heat ducts and doors that can create a draft.

    3

    Disinfect the incubator using a solution of 10 percent bleach mixed with 90 percent water. Wipe all areas that the eggs will touch using the solution on a cloth.

    4

    Plug the incubator in. Fill it with the required water for the unit. Set the incubator temperature to hold between 98 to 100 degrees F. Set the humidity level for 55 percent.

    5

    Disinfect the turkey eggs prior to placing them in the incubator. Dip the eggs into an egg sanitant. Egg sanitant can be purchased at most farm supply stores. Follow the directions on the label prior to using.

    6

    Gently place the turkey eggs into the incubator. Turn the eggs three or more times per day until the eggs reach 17 days old. Most incubators automatically turn the eggs but many older or simple models do not offer this feature and the eggs must be turned by hand.

    7

    Candle the eggs after they have been in the incubator for one week. Hold the egg gently up to a light source such as a flashlight, light bulb or candle to determine if the egg is fertile and there is a baby poult developing. If the egg is not fertile then discard. Place all fertile eggs promptly back into the incubator.

    8

    Watch the eggs closely on day 25. Around day 25 the eggs will begin to pip as the poults works to leave the egg. Raise the humidity level to 75 percent in the incubator to help the poults leave the egg. Hatching should occur by day 28.

How to Raise Day-Old Chickens

How to Raise Day-Old Chickens

Raising young chicks from a day old can be both rewarding and challenging. Young chicks must be in a brooder or an enclosed area with a special brooder lamp, which keeps the chicks warm and draft-free. If you do not keep your chicks at a consistently warm temperature, they will get too cold and die; likewise, if you keep them too warm, they will overheat and die.



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Instructions

    1

    Add a layer of fresh pine shavings to the floor of brooder enclosure.

    2

    Hang the brooder light over the center of brooder and turn it on.

    3

    Place a thermometer on the floor of brooder and check the temperature. The temperature should read 95 degrees Fahrenheit. If not, adjust the brooder lamp until the brooder is a constant 95 degrees Fahrenheit, at the center of the brooder.

    4

    Fill chick feeder with chick food and place water into the chick waterer. Install both in the brooder.

    5

    Add chicks.

    6

    Reduce heat by 5 degrees Fahrenheit each week, by raising the brooder lamp a little higher.

    7

    Move the chicks to a coop and turn off the light, once the temperature of the brooder is down to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to Breed Archangel Pigeons

The colorful archangel is a type of fancy pigeon, best known for the metallic sheen of its feathers. Archangels are small pigeons and slim in appearance. Archangel pigeons are bred principally for their colors and there are at least 50 color and pattern combinations available. Despite the many color combinations, gold and copper are the basic ground colors. The colors on the archangel's wing shield are typically blue, black and white. Choose your breeding birds carefully and feed them a high quality diet.

Instructions

    1

    Join a pigeon club or society and attend their meetings so that you can learn as much as possible about pigeon keeping and breeding.

    2

    Obtain a loft 25 feet long by 10 feet deep and 8 feet height. The individual breeding cages will be placed within this loft.

    3

    Obtain a cage that is 2.5 feet long by 2 feet wide and 2 feet high for each pair of breeding archangel pairs.

    4

    Obtain a second loft 10 feet long by 7 feet wide and 8 feet high for growing pigeons and nonbreeding adults.

    5

    Supply liberal amounts of cool, clean water. Add vitamins that have been prepared for avians, or birds, to the water. Add these vitamins every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

    6

    Supply a high quality food in the form of chicken feed, barley, millet, wheat, peas and corn.

    7

    Supply a commercial grit. Brands that contain charcoal are ideal. The archangel pigeon, as with all pigeons, requires grit to assist with the digestion of food.

    8

    Secure a ledge in each breeding cage. Place a nest bowl on each ledge. Supply the pigeons with straw as nesting material.

    9

    Treat the pigeons with a commercial pest powder to rid the birds of lice and ticks.

    10

    Choose adult breeding birds that possess the physical characteristics you desire.

    11

    Have a veterinarian examine the birds that you choose to breed, to ensure they are healthy and are free of viruses and other serious diseases.

    12

    Place the pairs together once the weather has warmed up. In California, Florida and other areas where it is warm all year long, archangel pigeons will breed at any time. Mating typically occurs a few days after the male and female have been placed together.

    13

    Observe the female about ten days after mating, at which time she will begin to lay her eggs. These eggs will hatch within 17 to 18 days.

Life Cycle of Peregrine Falcons

Life Cycle of Peregrine Falcons

The peregrine falcon, or Falco peregrinus, is a species of falcon native to many parts of the world. The peregrine falcon can be found on every continent except Antarctica. It migrates to South America during the winter months. Peregrine falcons are also referred to as "duck hawks."

Mating

    Peregrine falcons usually become sexually mature at about 2 years of age. The male peregrine falcon often attracts females to nesting sights using a courtship display in the air. Peregrine falcons usually mate for life and return to the same nesting area each breeding season.

Nesting

    The peregrine falcon nest is referred to as a "scrape." Female peregrine falcons build their nests on the edges of cliffs, bridges or buildings. Sometimes, female peregrine falcons use old raven nests as their own. After mating, females usually lay two to five eggs. The eggs are red/brown in color with brown spots.

Fledglings

    Baby peregrine falcons emerge from their nests about 30 days after the eggs are laid. They weigh about 1.5 ounces. They are covered in soft down that is off-white in color. Their eyes are open. They are completely dependent upon their mother for food and protection. Usually only 10 percent of baby peregrine falcons live to be adults.

Young Falcons

    Within their first seven days of life, peregrine falcons usually double in size. They grow feathers when they are about 20 to 30 days old. They begin to fly at about 35 to 45 days old. Young peregrine falcons begin hunting at about 2 months old. They often cannot catch large prey like adult falcons. Instead, young falcons often feed on flying insects.

Adults

    The lengths of adult peregrine falcons range from roughly 14 inches to slightly over 19 inches, and they vary in weight from 19 to 55 pounds. Adult peregrine falcons hunt other birds, including geese and songbirds. They also eat small mammals such as bats. Peregrine falcons can live to be about 15 years old in the wild.

How to Treat Fire Ants Around Quail

How to Treat Fire Ants Around Quail

Signs of fire ant infestation are numerous mounds of loose soil similar to gopher holes. Worker fire ants are orange or dark brown in color. They are highly aggressive and will swarm out their nest when it is disturbed and sting relentlessly. Fire ants can kill quail chicks as well as weak adult birds. You can safely use bait granules to kill off fire ants and protect your birds.

Instructions

    1

    Find and mark off the fire ant mounds. Fire ant mounds look like large piles of loose dirt and are most often located on higher ground, around shrubs, trees and flower beds. Walk through your yard in small strips or sections while you look. When you find one, insert a small surveyor flag into the ground near the mound so you can keep track of them.

    2

    Observe the fire ant feeding patterns. Place pieces of hot dog around the yard during days with mild weather. Watch for the fire ants to swarm the hot dog. The days you see the ants feeding is when you want to spread the poison bait granules.

    3

    Mix a 3/4-pound bag of hydramethylnon baited granules with 3/4-pound bag of methprene baited granules in a bucket with a shovel. Pour the mixture into an ant bait broadcaster or a lawn hopper spreader. Spread the granules evenly over the flagged ant mounds and the areas you placed the hot dog and have seen them feed. The ant colonies should die off within six weeks.

    4

    Reapply the poison ant bait granules whenever you see another ant mound appear. You can also drench the mounds by pouring a bucket full of three gallons boiling water into it if a mound appears just after rainfall to kill off the ants without having to reapply the poison bait.