Selasa, 30 April 2013

Characteristics of a Cardinal

Characteristics of a Cardinal

Seven states in the U.S. have made the cardinalor more accurately, the Northern Cardinal--their state bird. The males sport vibrant red color, which is easy to spot in the wild. Their songs (duets) are sweet elements of their charm. The cardinal was originally found only in the the Southeast. Now, the Northern Cardinal's range expands north and northwest and can be found in most of the U.S.

What They Look Like

    Cardinals have a prominent crest on top of their head.
    Cardinals have a prominent crest on top of their head.

    The Northern Cardinal is approximately 8 inches in height with a short, thick bill and prominent crest. They like to sit with their long tail pointed straight down. Their wing span can reach up to 12 inches. The males have a much brighter color--a shade of red you can't miss against a blue sky or green tree. They have a reddish bill and black face. Females are pale brown with warm reddish tinges in the wings and tail. They may also have a very distinctive red crest, with the same black face and red-orange bill as the males.

Where They Live

    Cardinals don't migrate, and were traditionally more common in the southeastern U.S., but have moved north during recent decades. Cardinals like to frequent backyards, pools or shrubby wooded areas. They make open nests in dense shrubs and vines. During recent years, they have been adapting better to living in parks and suburban areas.

Singing for Supper

    A male cardinal returning to the nest for feeding time.
    A male cardinal returning to the nest for feeding time.

    Northern Cardinals are songbirds, and mated pairs sing to each other. Experts say they can sing over two dozen different melodies. Very few female North American songbirds sing like the female Cardinal. When compared to male Cardinals, the females songs are longer and sound more complex. Experts believe it helps males find the nest to return with food.

Odd Behavior

    Male and female Cardinals alike will attack their own reflection in a window, car mirror or any reflective surface, thinking it is an intruder. They may do this for hours, non-stop. This happens most frequently in spring and early summer, when they are most obsessed with defending their territory.

How to Tame Aggressive Birds

Birds can be fun pets, but when you own an aggressive bird, you may have second thoughts. Don't worry. Here is how to tame an aggressive bird.

Instructions

    1

    Catch a bird and clip its wings. Allow the bird time to get used to his new wings in his cage for a day or two.

    2

    Move the bird's cage to an empty room where there are fewer distractions. Set up the room for the bird. Place a stick or pole in the room to familiarize the bird with the room and the object. This will help the bird later.

    3

    Go into the bird's room and close the door. Open the cage door. Stay close and let the bird know you are there to help and not harm him. Allow the bird to come out of the cage if he is ready. If he is not ready to come out, give him some time each day with the cage door open. Eventually he will come out.

    4

    Let the bird walk up onto the stick that was placed in the room earlier. Let him take his time getting on and off the stick. If he won't do this, allow him to familiarize himself with the room and the stick. Let him know, in a soothing voice, that the stick will not hurt him.

    5

    Reward the bird each time he does what you want him to. When he comes out of the cage, reward him. Reward the bird when he steps on and off the stick. Continue this to reinforce what you are teaching him.

    6

    Allow the bird to step on and off your finger and then on and off your arm. Take your time. This is a big step for the bird.

How to Build Martin Houses

How to Build Martin Houses

Martins are one of the most common birds to visit backyard birdhouses. In fact, martins prefer to live in birdhouses rather than making their own nests. If you want to entice them to visit your property, one of the easiest things to do is put up a birdhouse specifically made for them. Premade martin houses are available, but they can be expensive. With a little effort and not much money, you can make your own at home.

Instructions

    1

    Cut all of your birdhouse pieces before you begin. All the piece will be cut from 1/2 inch plywood. You will need 14 cut pieces in all. The first piece will be the base and will measure 29-1/2 inches by 15-1/2 inches. You will need two side pieces measuring 18-1/2 inches by 7 inches. Next will be two pieces that are 15-1/2 inches by 7 inches for the back and the front pieces. You will need three divider pieces. The main divider should be 14-1/2 inches by 7 inches, while the two additional dividers will be 9 inches by 7inches. For the porch you will need two separate dividers, each measuring 7 inches by 5 inches. The ceiling piece will be 19-1/2 inches by 15-1/2 inches. Two roof peaks are needed. One will measure 29-1/2 inches by 11-1/2 inches and the other will be 29-1/2 inches by 12 inches. The other roof peak will be 11 inches by 11 inches. Use sand paper to smooth rough edges before beginning assembly.

    2

    Begin by using five screws to attach each of the two sides to the base. Space the sides so that there is a 5-1/2 inch space between the side and the edge of the base panel. They should be attached to the long sides of the base.

    3

    Place four holes that are 5/16 of an inch each in top of the main divider using a drill. The top is the long side of the divider. Space the holes at 2-1/4 inches and 4-1/2 inches from the edges of the divider and 1 inch down from the top.

    4

    Screw the main divider to the center of the base so that is evenly spaced between the sides. Attach the two additional dividers with screws. They should be perpendicular to the main divider, one on each side, and in the center. When you complete this step, you have a base with four compartments. Place six holes in these compartments. The holes should be 5/16 of an inch each, with one hole placed on each corner of the divider and an additional hole in between. This allows for airflow between the compartments.

    5

    Drill four more air holes into the front panel. They should be placed on the top of the panel, which is the long side and located 1 inch down. Space the holes at 2-3/4 inches and 5 inches. Drill two entrance holes in the front panel. They should be located at 2-1/16 inches and 3 inches from the side of the panel and 1 inch from the bottom. Repeat the entire step for the back panel.

    6

    Attach the side panels to the front and back. Use metal hinges to secure them so that they will open up. When you are done attaching the panels with the hinges, you will have exposed ends on the front panel. Screw an eye hook into the exposed ends. Attach the hook part of the eye hook to the side panels. This will allow you to open and clean your martin house.

    7

    Place the porch dividers on the front and back panels, making sure they are spaced between the two large entrance holes you drilled. Secure them with screws.

    8

    Cut the 11 by 11 roof peak into two separate triangular pieces by cutting it from corner to corner. Make a 2-1/8-inch hole in each peak piece. The hole should be 3 inches from the top of the peak. Cut two squares of screen and attach them over the peak holes you with staples. Attach the peaks to the short sides of the ceiling using screws. Place your ceiling onto the birdhouse and screw it into place.

    9

    Use a drill to create four holes, which are 2-1/8 inches in size. The holes should be located one over each compartment. Cut more screen and staple it in place over the holes.

    10

    Lay the smaller of the two roof panels onto the roof peaks and secure it with screws. Do the same with the larger panel on the other side of the roof peaks. Part of it will overlap the smaller roof peak. Seal the edges of your roof with caulk to prevent leaks.

    11

    Paint or stain the exterior of your birdhouse. If you choose to paint, use an oil-based, exterior paint. Allow the paint to dry completely before setting your birdhouse out.

Information on African Grey Parrot Birds & Timneh

Information on African Grey Parrot Birds & Timneh

Grey parrots, officially known as African grey parrots come in two divisions: Congo African grey and Timneh. The Congo is often recognized by the acronym CAG (Congo African Grey) and the Timneh by the acronym TAG (Timneh African grey). Both varieties of this bird make great pets. They have several distinct differences despite their overall similarities. Knowing the differences can help you choose the best variety for your home.

Size

    The Congo African grey is the larger of the two varieties. They are 12 to 14 inches from beak to tip of the tail. Both varieties of grey have short, stubby tails so their overall size is mostly body, making them look even larger than they actually are. The Timneh averages 9 to 11 inches. Congos weigh 400 to 650 grams, and Timnehs between 275 and 400 grams. Both grey varieties are emotional birds and very prone to anxiety. It is important for the owners of greys to keep a gram scale on hand to track their bird's weight to be sure it is in the proper category. Weight loss is a cause for extreme concern and owners should call a veterinarian who specializes in avian medicine (a bird vet).

Color

    While the obvious fact is both species are gray, the Congo African grey is a darker color gray. They also have a brilliant band of red on the underside of their tail. In some circles they are even known as red tailed grey. Congos also have darker tips on their feathers. Some have body feathers with intermittent red feathering, and there are very rare occurrences of all-red greys. Timnehs are overall darker gray and the underside of the tail is a very dark maroon instead of bright red. The Timneh will usually have lighter gray shading on their body. Both varieties have bare white skin circles around their eyes, making them look like they are wearing goggles.

Talking Ability

    Both varieties are extremely versatile talkers. The Congo African grey tends to lead a little in this area, but only slightly. Their vocalizations mimic human speech, and often amaze and delight their owners. They also imitate sounds around them from music to beepers, doorbells, phones and whatever else makes noise.

Socialization

    The African grey is a reserved bird until it gets to know you, but once it does, it is very affectionate and entertaining. Both varieties have the learning capability of an average 5-year-old and a similar tendency to be demanding. They need lots of toys and mental stimulation to avoid psychological problems.

Life Span

    Both African grey varieties mature between 4 and 5 years of age. They live as long as 100 years, and need owners who realize it is a seriously long-term commitment to own a parrot. Luckily, their personality and emotional attachment to their owners make them an enjoyable lifetime pet.

Great Blue Heron Birds and Their Inherited Traits

Great Blue Heron Birds and Their Inherited Traits

Great blue herons are large birds found along coastlines and in marshes. They are the largest of the North American herons. Great blue herons are easily identifiable by their S-shaped necks and long legs. They migrate during the winter, and they tuck their heads into an S shape when flying. The great blue heron has unique inherited traits such as a deadly, sharp beak and beautiful blue plumage.

Characteristics

    Great blue herons stand 3 to 4 feet tall and weigh between 5 and 7 pounds. Blue-gray feathers cover most of their bodies.These herons have shaggy feathers on their necks and backs. Their wing span is significant at 5 to 6 feet. The young great blue heron looks similar to the adult, but it has a dark upper bill, a gray crown and no plumes.

Life Cycle

    Female great blue herons lay three to seven eggs, usually in a tall tree. Both the male and female herons incubate the eggs, which are a pale blue. The chicks are pale gray and can hold their heads up after hatching. The heron chicks are ready to live independently after two months. Great blue herons usually live for about 15 years.

Hunting and Diet

    Great blue herons stand very still in the water, waiting for their prey. They pierce the fish with their sharp bills and swallow it whole. Great blue herons have been known to choke to death by trying to swallow fish that are too large. These birds also eat salamanders, lizards, crabs, small birds and mice. Mice make up the second largest portion of the great blue heron's diet. The great blue heron has also been known to linger at fish hatcheries, eating the dead or diseased fish on the water's surface.

Habitat

    Great blue herons are found in shallow water along coastlines. They live along marshes, ponds, rivers, lakes and saltwater shores. They nest in colonies, and their nests are made of large sticks. The floor of the nest is soft, consisting of pine needles, dry grass and twigs. Their nests are usually built in tall trees, but sometimes they are built in shrubs or along a cliff's edge. Great blue herons are creatures of habit, building their nests in the same spot from year to year.

The Behavior of Emus

The Behavior of Emus

The emu is the second largest bird in the world, and the largest in Australia. It is part of the ratite family and is a flightless bird. Emus' wings are small and do not enable flight, but their legs are long and powerful. They can maintain a speed of 30 miles an hour for a good distance. Emus, unlike other birds, have calf muscles. They can jump straight up 7 feet into the air.

Description

    Emus have feathers that are light brown and soft. The ends have dark tips. They are tall birds, with a height range of 5 to 6.5 feet. Emus weigh up to 130 lbs. These birds have sharp beaks, tiny ears and long necks. Their two sets of eyelids are for blinking and preventing dust from going in their eyes.

Eating Habits

    Emus eat both plants and animals. The types of plants they consume depends upon the season. Until the rains come, they eat acacia seeds. Then they eat caterpillars and new grass shoots. During the winter they eat the pods and leaves of Cassia. Once spring comes they eat grasshoppers, fruit and beetles. Emus usually forage during the day. One of the emu's valuable contributions to its habitat is eating fruit and leaving the whole seeds in its droppings, helping to fertilize and disperse seeds.

Habitat & Migration

    The ratite family of birds lives only in the Southern Hemisphere. Emus live only on the Australian mainland in a variety of habitats, including heartland and desert shrublands, sandplains, mallee, Eucalypti forest and woodland. Even though emus normally are loners, they do form migratory flocks to search for food. Emus living in Western Australia have seasonal migratory patterns. In the summer they travel northward, while in the winter they travel southward.

Reproduction

    Emu nest full of eggs
    Emu nest full of eggs

    Breeding for emus begins in the summer when they choose a single mate for the season. In the fall the female lays her first clutch of eggs. The male builds the nest out of grass, leaves and twigs. Over the next several days the female lays anywhere between five and 15 eggs. It is the male who incubates the eggs for the next eight weeks. He only gets up to turn the eggs. During this time he loses up to one-third of his body weight. Some females seek out another mate at this time, lay more eggs and leave the second male to incubate this clutch. Sometimes she will find another emu pair and lay her eggs in their nest. A female may lay up to three clutches in one season.

Threats

    An emu subspecies used to live on Tasmania, but soon became extinct after the arrival of Europeans in 1865. Human encroachment on their natural habitat has forced emus out of Australia's east coast where they were once prolific. At the same time, in areas once too dry for emus, agricultural development and water brought in for livestock have created new habitats for emus. Wildfires and droughts also threaten their survival.

Exotic Bird Information

Exotic Bird Information

Exotic birds are large, colorful and highly intelligent. They are popular pets for all of these reasons, but come with some considerations. Some birds are destructive and loud, especially when they learn to talk. Large birds like parrots require additional room, interaction and nutritional support, and can live up to 100 years. Any potential owner should educate themselves and prepare their home before buying an exotic bird as a pet.

Types

    There are many different types of "exotic" birds, including Amazons, McCaws, African grays, Eclectus parrots and parakeets. Although they come from a wide array of different countries, exotic birds are uniformly larger than domestic pet birds like canaries and budgies and need far different living conditions, including more interaction, more toys and much more space.

Origins

    Exotic birds hail from many different places across the globe, including the jungles of Mexico, South America, the Amazon, Africa and even Australia. Exotic birds come from habitats that are warm, rainy and filled with lush jungles. Although many exotic birds are still captured in the wild and imported as pets, bird breeding is gaining ground. If you're purchasing an exotic bird, do so from a breeder who has bred and raised the bird him or herself and can vouch for the bird's health and history. Exotic birds may cost up to $2,000 as of 2010, depending on the type of bird.

Cages

    It's important for an exotic bird's cage to reflect not only its size but also its mental capacity and curiosity. According to Windy City Parrots, a parrot cage must be large enough for the bird to spread its wings. It must also be put in a safe, social place, and allowed out of its cage, preferably with human companionship, for several hours every day. The cage must be kept clean and equipped with a roof perch and at least 10 toys, which are available at pet stores and generally include blocks of different colors, mirrors, bells and ropes for chewing. Exotic birds do not require other bird companions, but do best with plenty of human interaction.

Nutrition

    Exotic birds generally have more extensive nutritional needs than smaller birds. African grays, for example, require more calcium and Vitamin D than domestic birds do. Supplement standard bird food with fresh fruits and vegetables for exotic birds to keep them healthy.

Attention

    Since many exotic birds are parrots, they require a higher degree of human interaction and mental stimulation to keep from getting bored. Give large exotic birds several hours of personal attention every day and keep them in places where they can observe the household to keep them entertained and happy.

Senin, 29 April 2013

How to Teach an Amazon Parrot to Talk

Parrots are one of the most endearing pets a person can have. They can live for more than 30 years when cared for properly and when trained can provide joy for the entire family --parrot included. One of the first things you can do with your parrot is teach it to talk.

Instructions

    1

    Determine the person in your house who has the best relationship with your parrot. Many parrots will be a "one-person" bird--meaning it will respond to a specific person better than anyone else. This is the person who should start training the bird to speak. Once your parrot begins speaking, everything from the kids to the doorbell will be fair game for its mimicry.

    2

    Have close and regular conversation with the parrot. Let it see how your tongue and lips move. As a bird is trying to learn this new talent, it will start to play with its beak and tongue trying to copy you. It is important for it to see this as it helps it learn.

    3

    Record a simple phrase such as "Hello," on a CD. Say the same phrase to the parrot several times, then play the CD repeatedly. For your own sanity, it is best to hit "Auto Replay" when you are not home. Let the parrot hear the same word repeatedly. When you are with it, show it how to say the word as well. Keep it simple and don't give it too much to learn at first.

    4

    After it learns the first phrase, add a second track to the CD. Once again, keep it simple. Letting it learn things people are saying to it regularly allows the parrot to get constant reinforcement for its efforts. A great second word or phrase is its name; e.g., "I'm Polly."

    5

    Once the parrot masters a word, it will often incorporate it with something else it learned. So once it has mastered the first two words, you may hear it say, "Hello, I'm Polly." As its vocabulary increases, replace old recordings with new, more elaborate ones. Songs and poems are also great things to offer your parrot as it is able to repeat longer and more complex phrases. At this point, it will be picking up things you aren't teaching it, always attuned to its environment.

How Can You Tell the Gender of a Parakeet?

How Can You Tell the Gender of a Parakeet?

Parakeets, also known as budgerigars or budgies, are small parrots measuring 7 to 8 inches including their long tails. These popular pets are native to Australia and still common there in the wild but are found all over the world. Parakeets are relatively easy to care for and have lively personalities. Many can learn to mimic human speech and become good talkers. They are also easy to breed in captivity, making them inexpensive, and giving rise to a number of mutations such as blue-feathered parakeets (instead of green) and albinos. There are several ways to determine parakeets' gender.

Instructions

    1

    Take your parakeet to an avian vet for DNA testing. The vet will draw a small amount of blood from the bird's leg and test the DNA to see whether the bird is male or female. This is the surest way to determine the gender of your bird. This blood draw can be part of a well-bird visit, and the blood sample can also be used to screen for a number of health problems and genetic diseases.

    2

    Make an appointment with an avian vet for surgical sexing. The vet will anesthetize the bird and insert an endoscope into it's abdomen to check for a male or female reproductive system. While this gives a very certain answer, this method can be traumatic for the bird and requires extra post-operative care. It has largely been replaced by DNA sexing.

    3

    Examine the cere of your parakeet. The cere is the fleshy ridge just above the beak, containing the nostrils. In male budgies, the skin here is bluish, while in females, it is white, brown or tan. Males also have a more bulbous cere than females. Note that in juvenile birds, all ceres are the same color as mature female ceres. Most males will develop their blue cere around the time they are a year old. Also note that this may not apply in some color mutations of parakeet, such as albinos.

    4

    Examine the nostrils of your parakeet. Females have a very faint white circle around their nostrils. This may be very difficult to see, especially for new parakeet owners.

    5

    Note certain behavior patterns of your parakeet. Male parakeets are said to sing more than females, and females are said to bite harder than males. Of course, this depends on your having several parakeets to form a basis for comparison.

How to Quiet a Parakeet

How to Quiet a Parakeet

Parakeets are a popular choice for pet birds. Many pet owners opt for this breed because they have a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years as opposed to the 50 plus years of a parrot. Their cage does not take up a great deal of space so they make ideal pets for apartment dwellers. The parakeet can get excited or be particularly noisy during certain times of the day when living in such close quarters. Quieting the bird often comes from calming the parakeet.

Instructions

    1

    Remove any mirrors from the cage. Many bird toys include mirrors. These mirrors stimulate the birds and they often try to talk to the "bird" in the mirror.

    2

    Move the cage to a quiet place. Placing the cage in a quiet area that is free of traffic and sounds is imperative. When too many activities are going on around the bird, the bird tends to get overstimulated and this will keep it from quieting down.

    3

    Cover the bird cage with a blanket or cage cover. Covering an overactive bird can instantly calm it. Covering the bird during quiet times, such as when you are sleeping, can help the bird sleep and remain calm. This method is most effective when the entire cage is covered.

How to Train Young Homing Pigeons

Pigeons are sensitive to sound frequencies and magnetic fields. Although it is always their intent to return home, they do not always do so. As a fancier, you will need to decide where to train your pigeon--keep training conditions similar to racing conditions as much as possible.

Instructions

    1

    Purchase the eggs of young homing pigeons or buy them hatched at a young age. It's important to start with birds that have not flown yet.

    2

    Feed the young pigeons in their loft. You want them used to their home and comfortable in the loft. Keep the loft clean, cozy and attractive to the racing pigeons.

    3

    Take the pigeons out on a regular basis. The birds will fly around--this is normal activity. Pigeons will flock to the ground and possibly on the loft.

    4

    Start training the pigeons after two to three weeks. You will know when they are ready to train--the pigeons will leave for about an hour and then return home to feed.

    5

    Set up a routine of different mileage expectations. Once the birds fly for an hour and return home you can take them five miles from their home and expect positive results.

    6

    Train the pigeons one to two times a week. Do not over exercise the pigeons. You want them to have full recovery between training flights.

    7

    Chart a variety of different directions for the training exercises. The pigeons need to practice how to find their way home.

Cockatoo Species

Cockatoo Species

Cockatoos are a subfamily of parrots native to Australia and islands of southeast Asia. The subfamily is known as cacatuinae and has 21 known species of cockatoo. Cockatoos are flock birds and have highly social natures, which is why several species make suitable companion pets. The birds are also known to be among the most vocal of all parrot types.

Cockatoos and Corellas

    The largest genus within the cockatoo subfamily is cacatua, which includes over half of the known cockatoo species. The shortest of all cockatoos, the Solomon Corella, is in this genus, and grows to just 12 inches in length. The species in this group tend to be white with small areas of other colors around the eyes, on top of the head or on the chest and face. The sulphur-crested cockatoo, for example, is pure white except for a yellow crest on top of its head. Other species in this genus include the long-billed and western corellas as well as the salmon-crested, white and blue-eyed cockatoos.

Black Cockatoos

    The next largest cockatoo genus is calyptorhynchus, better known as black cockatoos. This genus includes the tallest of all cockatoos, the red-tailed black cockatoo, which grows to over 2 feet in length. Five species in total make up this genus, and all tend to be dark brown to black in color with smaller areas of bright plumage often around the tail. Species in this genus include the short-billed, long-billed, glossy and yellow-tailed black cockatoos.

Galah and Gang Gang Cockatoo

    The gang gang cockatoo is the sole member of its genus callocephalon. It is a small bird of just over a foot in length with mainly gray plumage and a distinct red head with a feathery crest. The rose-breasted cockatoo, or galah, as its more commonly known, is also the only member of its genus eolophus. It grows to around 13 inches in length and has a gray back with a rosy pink underside and throat.

Cockatiel and Palm Cockatoo

    The palm cockatoo is not the largest but is the heaviest of all cockatoos often weighing over 2 pounds. It is the sole member of the probosciger genus. It is black all over with a large crest and reddish-orange cheek markings. At the other end of the scale, the cockatiel is also not the smallest but is the lightest of all cockatoos. It can weigh as little as 2.8 ounces when fully grown. It is also one of the most colorful cockatoos with males being mostly gray but having bright yellow faces and deep red cheek spots.

Minggu, 28 April 2013

Details About Purple Martin Bird Houses

Details About Purple Martin Bird Houses

The Purple Martin is a favorite among bird watchers. Their graceful movements through the air and dive bombing antics are thrilling to watch. In the springtime, people spend countless hours hanging their birdhouses and then waiting on these large swallows to return from their winters in Brazil. Many times the Purple Martin is a no-show for their birdhouses -- usually because these birds are particular about where they nest and live. If you live east of the Rocky Mountains and take care in putting up the right type of birdhouse in the proper location, you may be lucky enough to attract a Purple Martin colony.

Bird House Size and Style

    Do not use string or wire to mount your birdhouse
    Do not use string or wire to mount your birdhouse

    For years, Native Americans hung gourds to attract and house Purple Martins, which helped take care of pesky insects in their villages. Gourds are still used by many people today. The Purple Martin Conservation Association recommends painting the gourds white or another very light color to keep the temperature cooler in the bird house. If you prefer not to use gourds, there are many other birdhouse styles that will attract the species. Each compartment floor in the birdhouse should measure 7 inches by 12 inches, and the opening to the compartment should have a diameter of 2 inches. All Purple Martin birdhouses should have small openings to allow air circulation and drainage.

Bird House Materials

    Pine needles make excellent nesting material
    Pine needles make excellent nesting material

    The Purple Martin doesn't seem to be particular about the material their home is built with. You can find birdhouses made of wood, metal, plastic, and gourds -- all of which can make these birds quite happy. The Purple Martin Conservation Association suggests that both gourds and traditional birdhouses be used to coax them into your yard.

Location and Erection

    Clean your bird houses in winter while the Martins are away
    Clean your bird houses in winter while the Martins are away

    Having the perfect Purple Martin house is not enough to attract them to your yard to stay. These aerial daredevils require lots of open territory with no trees or shrubs. The best way to hang the Purple Martin house is from a large sturdy pole in a clear or open area of your yard. The houses can be placed 10 to 20 feet from the ground. Do not hang your birdhouse with wire or string because these can injure your feathered friends or allow squirrels or other rodents to raid the birdhouse. Hang the birdhouse directly from the pole or a hook attached to the pole for best results.

Bird House Extras

    Offering an inch or two of nesting material to the bottom of your Purple Martin house may entice them to move right in. Straw and pine needles work well, but be sure to avoid using any materials that may contain chemicals. You may also use shredded newspaper combined with natural nesting materials. Specialty pet stores often sell bags of nesting material that you may opt to use instead of collecting your own.

How to Fledge Common Myna Birds

If you find a small myna bird fluttering about on the ground, you may be tempted to pick it up and take it home. That is rarely best for the bird, and in many places it is illegal. Baby birds of all species sometimes fall from their nests and hop into bushes for cover. The parents are usually near, aware of the baby bird's location, and watching for predators. Initially, remain vigilant, but do not approach unless the bird is in imminent danger of attack by another animal. If the bird is still on the ground after several hours, take action.

Instructions

    1

    Place the baby bird back in the nest only if you are confident that it is not fledging but has fallen from the nest. You will know the difference by its appearance. Baby birds too young to fledge have few if any feathers. There is no truth to the assertion that the mother bird will neglect or reject a baby bird touched by a human.

    2

    Pick the bird up gently if you conclude it has been abandoned and place it in a large, clean margarine tub, plastic bowl or other suitable, circular container. Place toilet paper or tissue paper inside and fluff it up, making a soft "nest" for the bird. Place the bowl inside a large shoebox or in a clean, dry, glass aquarium.

    3

    Make sure you keep the "nest" clean. Replace the tissue paper or toilet paper often. Keep the nest in a room away from household companion animals and children to avoid subjecting the bird to noise, excessive movement or other perceived threats.

    4

    Monitor the temperature of the bird's environment and keep the bird warm. Its immediate environment must be between 92 and 94 degrees Fahrenheit until it is 2 weeks old, the website Myna Bird notes. Reduce the heat to 86 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit thereafter. Use a 40-watt light bulb set about a foot away from the bird, or place a heating pad set on low-medium under the shoebox or inside the aquarium. Single-use heating pads---available at most drugstores---which heat up when exposed to air, will also work to keep the environment warm, but they last only six to eight hours.

    5

    Feed the bird very little amounts of food often. Do not give it milk, which can be fatal, according to Marathon Baby Bird Center. Soak a few pellets of bird feed, dog food or ground-up cooked turkey in warm water. Place a pea-sized dab of food in the bird's mouth. Be sure it swallows the food before giving it more. Feed the bird in this manner every 30 minutes until its eyes open and feathers appear. Follow this routine from dawn to late evening. Baby birds sleep through the night.

    6

    Reduce hand-feedings to about every two to three hours after the bird's eyes are open and feathers are apparent. If the bird does not open its mouth, tap gently on top of its beak.

    7

    Place the bird in a cage when it is about 4 to 5 weeks old and fully feathered. Use a dog crate or two laundry baskets fashioned into a makeshift cage. Put one on top of the other and provide a branch for a perch. Make available fresh water, moist food and a bowl of myna pellets. Provide a safe place to fly, such as a screened-in porch. The bird is a fledgling when it is fully feathered, eats on its own, and is beginning to try out its wings.

    8

    Release the bird---only when it can fly---near where you found it, and be sure no predators are near. Watch from a distance to be sure the bird can fly from branch to branch and gain altitude with ease.

Why Feathers Are Important to Birds

Why Feathers Are Important to Birds

Feathers are one of the most characteristic feature of birds. The basic appeal of any bird is enhanced by its plumage. They may come in different forms, but no bird is devoid of this essential body part. Most birds are similar when it comes to the structure of their feathers. However, nature has provided birds of different species with certain modifications in the structure of feathers with the aim of adapting to their surroundings. Eagles utilize their feathers for soaring high in the sky; while the feathers of the American dipper facilitate its motion in water.

Types of Feathers

    Birds are bestowed with varied kinds of feathers, each having its own distinct function. Contour feathers cover the body of the bird, shielding it against the cold and seepage of water. Feathers present on the wings and tail of birds are known as flight feathers. True to their name, these feathers aid in flight. Semiplumes are feathers positioned amongst the contour feathers. They help to support the wings and also aid in insulating the bird's body. Birds also have another set of feathers known as down feathers, which aid in the trapping of air, thereby helping in insulation.

    Filoplumes are located around the contour feathers. Birds also have bristle feathers located around the beak and eyes. These feathers serve to protect the eyes, while those around the beak help to propel insects towards the mouth. In some birds, such as woodpeckers, bristles are presents around the nostrils to prevent tiny wood pieces from entering into the nostrils.

Assistance in Flying

    There would be no birds flying in the sky without the existence of feathers. The flight feathers are mainly involved in this function. The structure of these feathers showcases shorter vanes on the sides and longer vanes at the back, which in turn aid in the generation of an airfoil along with the wings. The swift movement of air over the feathers is responsible for providing the essential lift to the bird. Apart from facilitating flying, flight feathers also play a vital role in steering and halting.

Trapping of Body Heat

    Feathers are essential for birds in order to help them adapt to their habitats, thus making their survival easier. Apart from aiding flight, insulation is another key role performed by feathers. The small closely positioned feathers of a penguin trap the body heat, which is why the bird is able to survive in the icy cold waters and climate.

Waterproofing

    The feathers on the outside of the body stop the entry of water, keeping the bird dry. Preening is another activity that is responsible for keeping the feathers of birds dry. An oil producing gland positioned at the bottom of the tail in birds provides the necessary oil for waterproofing. This oil is easily spread over the feathers with the help of their beaks. The powder generated by the powder down feathers amongst pigeons and herons also serves the same purpose.

Mating and Self Defense

    As in the case of the peacock, birds are known to utilize the beauty of their plumage to attract a potential mate for copulation. On the other hand, birds such as the willow ptarmigans have the potential to alter the color of their feathers in coordination with the surroundings that acts as a camouflage protection against prey.

About the Zebra Finch

The zebra finch is a small Australian bird related to sparrows and thrushes. It is a colorful songbird, which, for its looks and song, is commonly domesticated as a pet. The birds are sociable and can be trained to eat from the hand. Zebra finches are easy to tame if training begins from a young age.

Description

    The zebra finch is a small bird species. It grows to 4 to 4.5 inches in height and weighs around one-half ounce, on average. It is mainly gray in color with black and white zebra-like stripes on the rump and tail feathers. Female birds tend to be less colorful than the males. Both sexes have chestnut-colored patches on the sides with white spots. The males have reddish chestnut markings on the cheeks. Both males and females have red eyes and beaks.

Habitat and Range

    The birds live throughout most of Australia, except for the more coastal regions, and have also been introduced to parts of Indonesia. Zebra finches live in large flocks in the wild of up to 100 birds. They live in a variety of habitats including sparse woodlands, grasslands and desert regions. The birds are also common in areas that have been cleared of trees and vegetation for human commercial purposes.

Diet and Predators

    The beaks of zebra finches are adapted to de-husk a variety of seed types that make up the bulk of the bird's diet. Fruit and vegetables are also included in the bird's diets, but to a far lesser degree. The birds do also eat insects but this is mainly during the mating season in order to help produce healthy young. The eggs of zebra finches are often at risk from small mammals. The birds themselves are common prey for a range of small carnivorous marsupials, snakes and birds of prey.

Life Cycle

    The birds can breed year-round but breeding is most common after periods of high volume rainfall. Pairs of zebra finches mate for life, but infidelity does occur occasionally. The average clutch of eggs is four to six, which both parents take turns incubating. Both the male and female feed the chicks and protect the nest from predators. The chicks are ready to leave the nest after around five weeks. In the wild the finches live up to two to three years but can survive up to 12 in captivity.

Can I Leave My Parakeet on the Patio?

Can I Leave My Parakeet on the Patio?

Bird owners commonly want to mimic their pet's natural habitat. When creating a cage setup for a parakeet, this is an excellent strategy. However, parakeets that are kept as pets are domesticated and not suited for life in the wild. Though bird owners may mistakenly believe their birds will enjoy fresh air or the sounds of other birds on the patio, leaving your parakeet unattended outside is extremely dangerous.

Temperature Control

    Parakeets, like most animals, are adapted to living in a limited range of climates. Because parakeets are tropical birds, they enjoy warmer temperatures. However, they cannot tolerate extended periods of being in direct sun. Parakeets left outside in their cages have no way of escaping intense sunlight and may die of heat exhaustion or respiratory problems. Conversely, many areas in the U.S. are too cold throughout most of the year for parakeets to be left outside. While it's fine to allow your parakeet some supervised fresh air, it should never be left outside unattended and should not be taken outside for extended periods of time, even with supervision.

Risk of Predation

    In the wild, parakeets live in large flocks that help to protect them from predators. A pet parakeet, however, does not have the benefit of flockmates or flying and is therefore at a higher risk of predation. Even if your parakeet is in a cage, predators can still get to it. Snakes can slither in between the bars and some very large birds of prey can pick up your parakeet's entire cage. Other animals may attack your parakeet without killing it. Further, insects like mosquitoes, fire ants and wasps can sting and bite your parakeet. Because your parakeet cannot escape, it is left defenseless against these predators.

Escape

    Some very well-trained parakeets never try to escape and are tightly bonded to their owners. However, even these parakeets will try to escape if left outside without a cage. You should never, under any circumstances, leave your parakeet unattended outside without a cage, even for a few seconds. Some parakeets may escape even if they are in a cage by chewing through the bars, knocking over the cage or as a result of another animal bumping the cage. The sounds and smells of the outdoors encourage escape behavior, and domesticated parakeets cannot survive in most areas of the U.S. if they do escape.

Stress

    Parakeets are sensitive animals that startle easily. In many cases, the sounds and smells of the outdoors may be stressful to them, particularly when they have no way of escaping. Large birds of prey, loud flocks of birds and noises from cars are all intimidating to parakeets. In extreme cases, stress can cause health problems in your bird. Stress almost always causes behavioral problems. If you want to take your bird outside, remain with it so that your parakeet does not feel defenseless against a scary and unfamiliar world.

Songbird Gifts

Songbird Gifts

While we often take songbirds for granted, we usually miss their cheerful chirps and whistles on days of bad weather or low temperatures. The musical songs of these birds provide us with the first glimpse of spring and when their songs become few late in the year, we know that winter is just around the corner. One way to recognize their contributions all year long is through an assortment of gifts for the bird lovers among us.

Attracting Songbirds

    Perhaps some of the best gifts would be bird feeders, birdbaths and birdhouses. These houses and feeders will attract these feathered singers and provide hours of listening pleasure. Birdbaths provide both decoration and a gathering place for these songsters. Cages can also be purchased for some of these feeders to protect them from squirrels and other predators. Specialized feeders that attract only a single species may also be of interest, and don't forget nesting materials.

Visual Aids

    In addition to listening to their cheerful songs, your bird lover will appreciate a gift of binoculars to identify his favorites and watch their antics. Bird identification books will be appreciated as will birdhouse cameras. Audio tapes and CDs of bird songs will help identify their calls. Wall posters will not only provide room decoration but will also give identifying characteristics. Small pocket guides that can be carried easily will also make good gifts.

Household Gifts

    The true songbird enthusiast will appreciate wall hangings and ceramic representations of area songbirds. Distinctive table lamps will be a welcome addition to the bird lover's dwelling. Ceramic figurines of these songbirds will provide color to any room. Games featuring songbirds will provide hours of family fun. There are also alarm clocks that use bird calls to rouse a person and an assortment of coasters and refrigerator magnets that highlight these songsters.

Miscellaneous Gifts

    Songbird-themed T-shirts and sweatshirt will definitely delight the enthusiast as will coffee mugs, coasters and refrigerator magnets. Canvas totes covered with colorful songbirds will carry things in style, and canvas shoes sprinkled with songbirds are sure to catch attention. Key chains are useful items as are songbird notes and stationery. You can even give a gift of songbird stamps to complete the possibilities.

Sabtu, 27 April 2013

How to Interact With a Mature Sun Conure

How to Interact With a Mature Sun Conure

The sun conure is a loving, inquisitive, happy, friendly parrot that bonds fiercely with its owner and thrives on attention. Sun conures enjoy the company of other conures but they can also crave interaction with their favorite people. They can learn to talk over time and with persistence. They especially seem to enjoy listening to humans speak. They are quite fond of imitating sounds, such as whistles.

Instructions

    1

    Offer the new adult conure a treat to gain his trust. At first simply hold the treat through the cage bars. A piece of fruit or tiny vegetable is ideal. You can also purchase parrot treats. Speak softly to the sun conure as he reaches for the food. Offer words of encouragement. Once the sun conure takes the treat from you praise him for being such a good bird. Stay beside the cage while your sun conure eats the treat.

    2

    Let the sun conure out of his cage to climb on top of the cage and watch you from a distance. Spend a great deal of time in the same room with your sun conure going through basic everyday tasks. Speak to the bird throughout the day in an encouraging voice. Your bird will learn to adore listening to you and a relationship of trust will quickly be formed.

    3

    Hold a treat out to your sun conure while he sits on his cage. When the bird takes the treat offer praise. Once he takes the treat without reservation, try to reach out and gently stroke his chest. If the bird allows this contact, gently nudge him at the base of his legs and say, "Up." If a bond has formed, an adult sun conure will generally step onto your finger. Simply hold the sun conure for a while and talk to him. Stepping onto your finger shows that your sun conure trusts you.

    4

    Walk around holding the sun conure once he readily steps up onto your hand. Show him around the house. Soon your sun conure will begin to climb your arm and might even sit on your shoulder. Continue to try touching your sun conure's chest but move around his body now. Soon the sun conure will let you touch all parts of his body. Sun conures especially enjoy having their beaks and feet played with.

    5

    Purchase a wide variety of bird toys. Sun conures love to swing, so purchase a swing for inside the cage and one that you can hang from the doorway in the house. Swing your little bird and he will have a blast. Purchase bells and teach your sun conure to ring them. First you ring one, and then show your sun conure how to pick up the bell. Sun conures are excellent mimics and will readily ring the bells right alongside you. Sun conures also adore looking at themselves in a mirror.

    6

    Take the sun conure into the shower with you once he is completely tame. Make sure the thermostat is set to at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit so the bird does not catch a chill. Mount a suction cup parrot shower perch in the shower. Set the sun conure on the shower perch and turn the water on. Sun conures adore shower mist and they especially enjoy showering with their favorite person.

How to Make Money Raising Bobwhite Quail

How to Make Money Raising Bobwhite Quail

Bobwhite quail is becoming a profitable business. This bird is very low in fat content and is a popular meat for many people. Due to the growing popularity of the bird as an alternative to other meats, there is profitability in raising bobwhite quail. There are expenses that will need to be paid before profits can be seen, but the ultimate profits will outweigh the expenses in the end.

Instructions

    1

    Buy day-old chicks. Though many quail farmers that raise bobwhite quail will breed the birds, it is a difficult process and incubation can easily fail. Starting out it is easier to buy the day-old chicks and leave the incubation process on others.

    2

    Get the brooder ready beforehand. The brooder should be tested to ensure that it is at an appropriately warm temperature and that it stays at that temperature. The brooder should allow the chicks room to get out of direct heat, but also should be enclosed so that the chicks cannot get lost and will not get a draft. A draft can kill the bobwhite quail chicks, so make sure there are no possible drafts near the brooder by placing it away from windows and doors. The temperature should start at 100 degrees and move down weekly in increments of 5 degrees until the fifth week when it reaches 80 degrees.

    3

    Ensure that the brooder is cleaned regularly. There should be litter placed on the bottom of the brooder which absorbs liquid and is changed regularly to avoid wet litter.

    4

    Ensure that there is enough feed and water for the chicks in the brooder and that the food is placed near the heat source to avoid chilling the chicks when eating. The chicks eat game bird starter feeds, which can be found in bird stores around the country.

    5

    Debeak the quail. They can turn to cannibalism when left alone and crowded. Debeaking keeps the baby quails from eating each other. It can be done using nail clippers and cutting off one fourth of the upper beak. Be careful not to crack the beak.

    6

    Allow the chicks to grow and after about 5 weeks, move the chicks to an outdoor area. This should be fenced off to keep the quail from wandering off.

    7

    Sell the birds when they are large enough to be used for food. Each state has different laws about how to sell the bobwhite quails, whether licenses are needed and other information, so make sure all of the state requirements are met before selling the birds.

Jumat, 26 April 2013

How to Repel Seagulls at the Beach

How to Repel Seagulls at the Beach

Seagulls aren't there to ruin your beach experience, but it sometimes seems that way. Seagulls are searching for litter and garbage to eat. The best way to repel them is to keep the beach clean and free of trash. In addition to that, there are several temporary solutions to keep seagulls away without hurting them.

Instructions

    1

    Choose the lowest point of the beach on which to spread your blanket. Seagulls prefer to sit on the highest point of an area to roost.

    2

    Set a campfire on the beach. The smoke from the fire will repel the seagulls. Don't cook food on the campfire; the smell will only attract more seagulls. (Check that your beach allows fires.)

    3

    Clear the area of all garbage and food. Throw trash in garbage cans located far from where you're sitting. Seagulls fly to the beach in search of food.

    4

    Light small fireworks. The sound of the fireworks will scare the seagulls. Check local ordinances for the legality of lighting fireworks at your beach. If fireworks aren't allowed, strike two metal objects together. The clanging sound will scare the seagulls.

    5

    Blow a whistle in short, loud bursts. Run toward the seagulls while blowing the whistle. You'll look as if you're a large predator and will be seen as a threat. The seagulls will fly away.

    6

    Place seagull spikes around the area in which you're sitting. Seagull spikes are nonlethal; seagulls just don't like sitting in-between them.

How Can I Calm My New Nanday Conure?

Nanday conures are generally calm and friendly birds. But in a new environment, the bird may display signs of stress that can include screaming, pacing and plucking out its own feathers. Removing sources of stress, offering toys to chew and climb on, providing quiet and gentle interaction with the bird and feeding quality nutrition can help your new nanday conure adjust to its new home.

Instructions

    1

    Place the parrot's cage in a quiet, dark room. Nanday conures require 10 to 12 hours of quality sleep at night. Move the bird's cage to a place where it won't be disturbed for at least 10 hours at night.

    2

    Sit in the room near the bird's cage to read, pay bills or do other quiet chores so the bird can get used to you. Socialization is critical to keep a conure happy. Birds left alone in the cage for long periods of time will become agitated and bored.

    3

    Gradually increase interaction with the bird. Nanday conures want to be part of the family and will want to interact with you. Slowly begin allowing the conure out of the cage as it becomes accustomed to you. Birds need to be allowed to socialize and exercise outside of the cage on a daily basis.

    4

    Fill the conure's cage with chew toys and toys for climbing. The bird requires exercise and entertainment to feel happy. Conures prefer toys that make noise and are brightly colored. These birds are extremely intelligent and require that new toys be introduced on a regular basis to prevent boredom.

    5

    Feed the nanday conure an organic pellet-based diet free from chemicals, sugars and added coloring. A healthy, organic diet will help relieve stress. Also offer fresh organic fruits and veggies every day. Variety in the diet is important, so offer fruits and vegetables in many forms, raw, cooked, chopped and pureed. Choose foods in many colors: conures like dices apples, grapes, pomegranates and any orange fruit. For vegetables, offer broccoli and carrots. You can also occasionally throw in a bit of cheese or boiled egg.

    6

    Ignore the bird's screaming. Frightened or bored birds will often scream. Don't let the bird out of the cage while screaming or you will encourage it to scream for attention. Don't punish or yell at the bird when it screams or you will further frighten it and cause it to mistrust you. Ignoring screaming is the best way to deal with the behavior.

    7

    Play soothing music in the room with the bird. Some parrot owners have found playing lullabies for birds will help calm them.

How to use a tabletop incubator

How to use a tabletop incubator

A tabletop incubator holds about 50 chicken eggs, and can hold up to 150 quail eggs. The incubator can be used to hatch a variety of eggs, including chicken, guinea, duck, quail and turkey. Using the tabletop incubator to hatch chicken eggs will be the basis for this article, but the same techniques with minor changes apply to hatching eggs of most other bird species.

Instructions

    1

    Place the tabletop incubator in a location that does not have drastic external temperature changes, because the incubator may not adjust quickly enough. This primarily means to keep it out of direct sunlight and out of the direct path of a heating or air-conditioning vent.

    2

    Fill the appropriate water reservoirs to provide humidity in the incubator. A commercial tabletop incubator should have instructions directing which reservoirs to use during the incubation period. A homemade incubator with one reservoir may take some trial and error. The incubator should have a temperature of 99 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity of 50 percent to 65 percent.

    3

    Turn on the tabletop incubator the day before you plan to begin using it. This will enable the environment in the incubator to stabilize before the introduction of the eggs.

    4

    Write the numbers 1, 2 and 3 with a pencil on each egg's shell as you put the eggs in the incubator. Space the numbers equally around the eggs. The numbers will serve as a guide when you turn the eggs, so it's a good idea to place the eggs in the incubator with the 1's facing up.

    5

    Turn the eggs to the next number three times a day. This rotation mimics the hen's rolling the eggs to keep the yolks from attaching to the insides of the shells.

    6

    Add water as necessary to keep the reservoirs full and the humidity at the proper level. Not enough humidity can cause chicks to stick to the shells of the eggs and reduce the number of successful hatches.

    7

    Stop turning the eggs four days before the scheduled hatch. Chicken eggs hatch at 21 days; turkey eggs and guinea eggs hatch at 28 days. Duck eggs and quail eggs hatch at different times depending on the specific breed. Quail eggs usually hatch in 22 to 25 days, and duck eggs in 28 to 35 days.

    8

    Increase the relative humidity in the incubator to 65 percent to 75 percent two days before the scheduled hatch. You do this by increasing the surface area of the water reservoirs. A commercial incubator usually has channels to fill on the bottom. On a homemade incubator, increase the humidity by adding a second reservoir or placing a sponge that sticks out of the water in the existing reservoir.

    9
    Young chick
    Young chick

    Leave the hatched chicks in the incubator until they are dry, then move the dry chicks to a brooder. Remove the empty shells as well if you are removing the dry chicks while the hatch is in progress. The eggs should all hatch within 24 hours of one another.

    10

    Thoroughly clean the tabletop incubator with a solution of bleach and water to prepare for the next batch of hatching eggs.

Kamis, 25 April 2013

How to Tell if I Have Black Copper Maran Chickens

How to Tell if I Have Black Copper Maran Chickens

Black Copper Maran chickens are a rare breed of poultry that were originally bred in France. This unique bird is much sought after for its dark-colored eggs, as well as its succulent meat. Quiet and docile, Black Copper Marans are an active breed that you can easily identify from several physical characteristics that distinguish them from other chickens.

Instructions

    1

    Examine the complex colors of the male Maran's feathers. The upper portion of its body, including the head, back and the sides of the neck, will have copper-colored feathers, while the lower body will be black, interspersed with a few reddish-brown feathers.

    2

    Observe the color of the female Maran's feathers. Its head and neck will be copper-colored, while the rest of the body is covered with black feathers.

    3

    Check the color of the eggs laid by the Black Copper Maran chicken. The color of this bird's egg will be a dark chocolate brown.

    4

    Observe the texture of the plumage. Black Copper Maran chickens have a compact and silky plumage.

The History of Sparrows

The History of Sparrows

Today, house sparrows are the most abundant songbirds in North America, according to the Sails website and the Audubon Society of Omaha. However, less than 200 years ago, there were no sparrows on the continent. European settlers introduced the birds to the United States where their populations rapidly increased. Today, the house sparrow population has begun to decline in some areas but they are still the most heavily populated songbird in the country.

Meaning of Sparrow

    According to the Columbia Encyclopedia, the word "sparrow" was originally used to describe any small bird by the ancient Greeks. Sparrow is also used to refer to small birds throughout many religious scriptures. Today, sparrow refers to the small birds that are members of the finch family. The house sparrows common to the United States are typically brown and gray in color, with small beaks adapted to eating seeds. They were named after the popular English sparrow and the European tree sparrow because of their resemblance to these birds.

European Origins

    The modern house sparrow originated in the Mediterranean region of Europe and eventually spread throughout most of the European continent, according to the Audubon Society of Omaha's website. By the time of its introduction to the United States and Canada, the common house sparrow was found throughout Europe, Eurasia, North Africa and the Middle East, according to the Sialis website.

Historical Reasoning for Introducing the House Sparrow

    There are many accounts of why the decision was made to bring the house sparrow to North America. Some believe the bird was introduced to the United States and Canada to bring wildlife that was familiar and comforting to the European settlers of the two countries, according to the Sialis website. The Audubon Society of Omaha points to a more economical reasoning behind bringing the house sparrow over from Europe. Green worms were eating much of the foliage of Central Park in New York City, and many experts felt the house sparrow would dine on the worms. Others felt house sparrows would be effective at eating grains from the horse manure building up in American cities, helping the manure decompose more rapidly. Still, others felt the house sparrows would help eliminate bugs eating through much of North America's crops.

Introduction to North America

    The first house sparrows were brought to Brooklyn, New York, in 1851, according to the Audubon Society of Omaha. Sialis points out that these original eight birds died before they reproduced in the United States. The following year another 25 pairs of birds were purchased from England in an effort to reintroduce them to New York City. Repeated introduction throughout New York and the Eastern United States led to the birds' adaptation to the differing climate in America. As their popularity grew, they were rapidly introduced throughout the United States in cities like Houston; San Francisco; St. Paul, Minnesota; Cincinnati; and Montreal.

Overabundance of House Sparrows

    This rapid introduction in the United States and Canada led to an overpopulation of the songbirds within 25 years, according to the Audubon Society of Omaha. There were other problems associated with the abundance of house sparrows in North America, as well. These birds formed a natural conflict with bluebirds, chasing them away from their nests in many areas. They also chased away other insect-eating birds and began to feed on the grain meant to feed the livestock on many farms. Today, there is still an overabundance of house sparrows in America, though the population has begun to decline, according to Sialis. The organization's website states that currently there are over 150 million house sparrows throughout the continental 48 states of the United States.

How to Make a Cockatiel Sing

Cockatiels are small, friendly parrots ideal for both the novice and expert bird owner. While their size is petite, their intelligence is grand. Some cockatiels learn tricks and how to speak and some may even be taught to sing by whistling familiar tunes. Teaching a cockatiel to sing requires patience, persistence and a cockatiel with a willingness to learn -- and even then not all have the capability to sing. By implementing a few training strategies and working diligently with your bird, you are guaranteed to have a well-trained, happier and more social bird whether it sings or not.

Instructions

    1

    Prepare your cockatiel for singing by setting up a training area. Use an area that is free of toys, food and other distractions. You may leave the bird in its cage and remove distracting items from that area, or simply create a training area and remove your bird from the cage and place it there. Make sure the area is safe and well-lit to encourage the cockatiel to learn.

    2

    Repeat the song you wish your cockatiel to sing during each training session. Whistle the song or play tapes of other cockatiels singing that song. Be sure that if you whistle the song you are consistently doing it the same each time. Repeat the song as many times as you can, either by whistling or by replaying the recording, during the training session. Limit training sessions to 10 to 20 minutes each time, and have several training sessions throughout the day.

    3

    Whistle the tune of the song you want your cockatiel to sing as you work around your house. Whistle the tune as you change the bird's cage, refresh its food and water, or just as a quick interaction as you are passing by. The more the cockatiel hears the song, the more likely it is to pick up the tune and mimic it.

    4

    Reward your cockatiel each time it makes a step in the right direction, whether it is during a training session or just during everyday life. If the bird sings a note of the song, give it a favorite treat. If the bird tries to sing the song, praise it and offer a treat or scratch its head. Positive recognition of the bird's correct behavior reinforces the training and encourages it to proceed and try to sing more.

    5

    Whistle along with your cockatiel when it begins to sing a tune. This encourages it to sing by making this a fun, playful interaction between the two of you. It also reinforces the training and keeps the bird singing the song properly for years to come.

How to Hatch a Pekin Duck Egg

How to Hatch a Pekin Duck Egg

The Pekin is a large breed of duck with white feathers. Pekins were developed for meat and egg production and as a result they will not sit on their eggs. An incubator is required to hatch fertile Pekin eggs. After 28 days in the incubator, the eggs will begin to hatch.

Instructions

    1

    Plug the incubator into a power source.

    2

    Set the temperature of the incubator to 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit, and its humidity level to 55 percent. Let the temperature and humidity stabilize for two days before using it.

    3

    Use a flashlight to candle eggs and inspect for defects. Look for cracks, double embryos and any over-sized or odd-shaped eggs. Discard any defective eggs.

    4

    Place inspected eggs into the incubator. Rotate eggs at least four times a day.

    5

    After 25 days, move eggs to hatching trays.

    6

    Set the hatcher temperature to 99 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity to 65 percent. Once the eggs begin to hatch, raise the humidity to 80 percent. Near the end of the hatch lower the humidity to 70 percent and the temperature to 97 degrees Fahrenheit.

    7

    Remove ducks from hatcher once 95 percent of them are dry.

Making Purple Martin Birdhouses

Making Purple Martin Birdhouses

According to Birds & Blooms, gourds have been used by Native Americans for centuries to construct purple martin birdhouses. Gourds are available at farmers' markets and hobby stores. The key step in making an efficient and safe gourd birdhouse for purple martins is to make sure the entrance hole in the gourd is crescent shaped so that it will allow only purple martins to enter.

Instructions

Making Purple Martin Birdhouses

    1
    Bottle gourd example.
    Bottle gourd example.

    Select a thick-walled, dried, bottle gourd that is at least 8 inches long and no longer than 13 inches.

    2
    Bleach kills any bacteria from spores that commonly grow on dried gourds
    Bleach kills any bacteria from spores that commonly grow on dried gourds

    Wash the gourd using a solution of one part bleach with 10 parts water and dry it with a towel.

    3
    Gourds can be dried in or outdoors.
    Gourds can be dried in or outdoors.

    Let the gourd dry in a sunny area of your yardsuspended from a clothesline, for examplefor three to six months. Alternatively, dry the gourd indoors by laying it on newspaper or cardboard in a dry, warm spot. To avoid flat spots, change the position of the gourd at least twice a day.

    4
    Bottleneck gourds provide ample nesting space.
    Bottleneck gourds provide ample nesting space.

    Shake your gourd and listen for the rattling sound of seeds. If you hear that sound then your gourd is dried enough to make your birdhouse.

    5
    Use a blow dryer to dry the gourd faster.
    Use a blow dryer to dry the gourd faster.

    Soak the gourd for approximately 15 minutes in your kitchen sink in hot soapy water. Remove it from the water and with a butter knife scrape off the mold and the thin layer of outer skin. Dry it with a towel and hang it in a warm dry area for at least four hours.

    6
    Hold your gourd by its stem and let it hang naturally to judge where to mark the hole.
    Hold your gourd by its stem and let it hang naturally to judge where to mark the hole.

    Mark the area for the entrance hole in the lower part of the gourd that sticks out the most. The hole should be in the center rather than too high up or too low to the ground.

    7

    Taking a small piece of cardboard draw the shape of a crescent with a 1 1/2-inch radius and 1 3/16 inches wide. Trace this pattern with the horizontal line ending at the center mark you made with your pencil. This will be your entrance hole.

    8
    Plastic cylinder with lid
    Plastic cylinder with lid

    Next mark with your pencil on the opposite side of the gourd an access hole for cleaning approximately 2 to 3 inches above the center line that you made for the entrance hole. Once cut this will allow you access to clean out your gourd and later be able to do nest checks without disturbing your feathered tenants.

    9

    Use a jigsaw to cut the crescent hole in the front of the gourd. Using the keyhole saw, cut the clean-out access hole in the back of the gourd. Remove any seeds or pulp from inside the gourd.

    10
    Any type of power drill will be effective.
    Any type of power drill will be effective.

    Drill six drainage holes into the bottom of the gourd using the 5/16-inch drill bit. Using the same drill bit, drill two holes approximately two inches south of the stem for ventilation and to make it easier to hang your gourd birdhouse.

    11
    Do not rinse the gourd after soaking in the copper sulfate.
    Do not rinse the gourd after soaking in the copper sulfate.

    Add 1 lb. of copper sulfate to 5 gallons of warm water and soak the gourd for at least 20 minutes. You can weigh the gourd down by placing a rock inside it when placing it in the bucket.

    12
    User friendly adhesive caulk comes in a smaller size than shown.
    User friendly adhesive caulk comes in a smaller size than shown.

    Allow the gourd to dry completely and then attach the clean-out access cylinder with lid using the adhesive caulk. Wet your finger and smooth the caulk flat leaving now raised ridges.

    13
    Use mask to prevent inhalation of spores released by sanding the surface of the gourd.
    Use mask to prevent inhalation of spores released by sanding the surface of the gourd.

    Using fine sand paper and wearing your respiratory mask sand your gourd smooth.

    14
    Use any size paint brush that is comfortable to you.
    Use any size paint brush that is comfortable to you.

    Paint the gourd with an oil based primer and exterior enamel white paint using a nylon paint brush. Allow it to dry completely.

    15
    Purple martins require large flying space near their nests
    Purple martins require large flying space near their nests

    Hang your birdhouse 30 to 120 feet away from any human dwelling to allow space for your purple martins.

What Adaptations Allow Bald Eagles to Survive?

What Adaptations Allow Bald Eagles to Survive?

A symbol of strength and power, the bald eagle represents the United States as its national symbol. The raptor has evolved to become an ultimate predator. A powerful flyer, it sports a 7-foot-wide wingspan. Its has superior eyesight and razor-sharp, hooked talons. Its curved beak can rip through the toughest meat with ease. Its adaptations give the bird the ability to survive in the roughest outdoor conditions.

Talons

    Bald eagles reside near large bodies of waters such as lakes and rivers.The birds enjoy hunting fish as the staple of their diet, but they will also dine on carrion, waterfowl or small prey. The bald eagle will fly over the water until it spots fish. It swoops to right above the water, submerges its feet and grabs the fish with its strong talons. The talons curve, which allows the eagle to grasp the slippery fish and lift it from the water while still flying. The soles of its feet have raised, rough projectiles that also help hold its prey firmly in place.

Flight Ability

    The eagle's impressive wingspan allows it to fly at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. It floats across the air thermals; the vertically spiraling columns of warm air allow the bird to fly effortlessly. The bird uses virtually no energy when flying. Its hollow skeleton also helps the bird fly. Despite its impressive size, the bald eagle usually weighs less than16 lbs. when fully grown. Its wide tail works as a rudder system and allows the bird to maneuver and switch direction quickly when hunting. The strength of the bird allows it to dive toward the ground at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. Its powerful wings allow it to quickly regain altitude once it has captured its intended target.

Eyesight

    The bald eagle boasts eyesight that is three to five times stronger than a human's sight, according to the Learning Technology Center of Vanderbilt University. The bird's large eyes and abundant cones within the retina allow it to see well at night. It can also see forward and to the side without turning its head or eyes due to an additional fovea within its eye; humans only have one fovea so they can only see forward. The bird's eyes hardly move within their sockets, but the bird compensates by being able to rotate its head 270 degrees. The bald eagle also has transparent eyelids, which helps protect their sight.

Beak and Life

    The eagle does not chew its food. It uses its excessively sharp and powerful beak to tear strips of meat that it swallows whole. The bird's beak breaks through bone with ease. The bird will swallow the bones of the animal. After the food has digested and passed into the bird's system, it will eventually hack up a pellet that contains the bones and byproducts that the bird could not digest. The bald eagle lives up to 30 years in the wild. It will choose a mate for life. The pair will lay one set of one to three eggs in the spring.

How to Get Pet Birds to Calm Down

How to Get Pet Birds to Calm Down

Like every all other living creature, sometimes your pet bird may have a bad moment. Whether your bird is upset over too much noise or not enough sleep, there are a few different ways of handling your bird's behavior if you want to calm it down. However, when you try to calm down an upset bird, you must use caution and avoid upsetting it even more. As you become a more experienced bird owner, you'll be able to calm your bird down quickly.

Instructions

    1

    Observe your bird's environment. If the environment is loud, hectic or stressful, place your bird in another room or area of the house that is quiet. Putting the bird in a quiet area helps by removing it from potential stress-causing noise. Loud noises and too much commotion can upset birds. When a bird is upset, it often acts out. Different bird breeds act out in different ways; some breeds become aggressive while others become frightened.

    2

    Speak soothingly to your bird. Sit down next to your bird's cage and speak in a low, quiet voice. Do not try to pet it or make physical contact. Say the bird's name and quietly continue talking to it for a few minutes. If your bird is frightened or upset, speaking in a low, quiet voice lets the bird know you are there but does not irritate it.

    3

    Leave the bird alone. Many bird breeds simply need to be left alone when they are upset. Provoking the bird only agitates it more. If you see that your bird is upset, walk away from the cage. If the bird is out, place the bird in its cage and leave it alone for awhile.

Sounds to Call a Cockatiel

Sounds to Call a Cockatiel

Cockatiels are intelligent enough to be trained to respond to short commands. Since the bird learns to associate a command with an action, a trainer has the ability to be creative in the types of commands used. In order for the command to work reliably, however, the exact same command needs to be used consistently. Rewarding the bird is also vital to the learning process.

"Step Up" Command

    The "step up" command is most commonly used among cockatiel trainers. The key to training the cockatiel is using a system of positive reinforcement and repetition. Every time the cockatiel steps up on to the hand or finger, repeat the command "step up" or "up." Immediately follow that command with a positive reward, which is either a loving pet on the head, a gentle vocal praise or a treat.

"Up"

    The "up" command is a shortened version of the "step up" command. By using a common sound to command the cockatiel, this makes it easier for veterinarians and friends to interact with the bird. Although it seems as if the "step up" and "up" commands are interchangeable, a cockatiel is able to learn the difference if the commands represent different actions.

Other Sounds

    Specific whistles are also able to be used to teach commands to the bird. Another sound that is used is a clicking or clucking sound, which is made using the tongue. In fact, any sound from the cockatiel's name to a noise such as ringing a bell or a clicker training tool is able to be associated with an action. Once the cockatiel associates the action with the command, offer the command and then reward the action.

Considerations

    Teaching a cockatiel a new command is a multistep process that takes many attempts to perfect. Never hit, yell or roughly handle a cockatiel to make her perform; this only frightens the bird and destroys trust. Positive reinforcement and rewards produce a happy bird in just a few 3- to 5-minute sessions a day.

How to Raise Quail Chicks

How to Raise Quail Chicks

Baby quail hatch from the egg fully capable of eating and drinking. Quail mothers and fathers are excellent parents. The female genuinely enjoys sitting upon the eggs until they hatch. She will rarely abandon the nest for any reason. Quail eggs are often incubated in large-scale breeding facilities if the female quail should perish or she simply will not take care of the eggs herself. Hobbyists can also purchase quail eggs from breeding farms to artificially incubate and hand raise the hatchlings.

Instructions

    1

    Place the newly hatched baby quail in an aquarium or cardboard box. Place indoor/outdoor carpet or rubber shelf liner in the bottom of the aquarium, plastic tub or cardboard box so the baby quails do not splay. Baby quail cannot stand on a smooth surface because their small legs often slide out from under them. Continuous splaying of the legs can cause irreversible damage to the quail. Replace the carpet or rubber shelf liner with pine shavings when the baby quail are five days old.

    2

    Suspend a 60-watt lightbulb above the baby quail. Suspend the light at least 36 inches above the hatchlings. Keep the light on 24 hours a day so the baby quail do not become chilled.

    3

    Place two bricks into the quails' cage. The bricks will become warm and the baby quail will snuggle against them.

    4

    Maintain a temperature of 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit for the first weeks of the baby quails' life, according to the Game Bird and Conservationists Gazette. The quail can be removed from the heat when they are fully feathered.

    5

    Feed the baby quail starter quail feed. Starter quail feed is available at most farm and garden supply stores. Provide small, shallow bowls for the baby quail to consume food at their leisure. Keep the feed clean and free from feces. Feed starter quail feed until the young quail reach 8 weeks of age and than switch to adult quail feed.

    6

    Water the baby quail using a test tube water dispenser. The small water dispensers are available at most pet stores. Never use water bowls because the baby quail can easily become wet and chilled, which can result in their death. They can also drown in water bowls.

    7

    Move baby quail to outdoor cages when they reach 5 to 7 weeks of age and are fully feathered. Once the quail are moved outside they can be cared for the same as adult quail.

Rabu, 24 April 2013

Boarding Parakeets

Boarding Parakeets

Boarding pets is a popular choice for pet owners unable to tend an animal for a given period. When the pet is a parakeet, owners need to be mindful about where to board the bird. Parakeets have specific needs. While numerous boarding aviaries cater to parrots, choosing the appropriate venue for a parakeet requires solid planning and careful selection.

Personality

    Parakeets are very social and require a great deal of personal interaction. They also need flying freedom and space. Consider your bird's personality when choosing a place to board him. If the bird is accustomed to a great deal of social activity, choose a boarder that will keep the amount of interaction on par with what the bird is accustomed to. Taking note of the unique aspects of the bird can facilitate a smoother transition during boarding.

Facility

    When choosing the boarder, pay close attention to its care standards. Parakeets, like any bird in the parrot family, are vulnerable to certain diseases and skin conditions. Visit the prospective boarding aviary. Taking a tour provides an opportunity to monitor the boarder's cleanliness and maintenance standards.

Costs

    Like most things, bird boarding facilities can range from inexpensive to pricey. Many non-profit organizations that function as boarders typically request donations of suggested amounts. A typical amount is $10 a day, as of October 2011. Costs fluctuate based on the size of the bird and the specifics of its individual care. When communicating with prospective boarders, ask for an itemized list of costs. That way you can budget accordingly.

Final Points

    One key to choosing a good boarder for a parakeet is making sure that the bird feels at home. Parakeets are very sensitive to environmental shifts. A parakeet that receives a large amount of social interaction should receive an equal amount at a boarding facility. If the bird's environment is consistent, the likelihood of a successful boarding experience increases. A responsible parakeet boarder knows the breed well enough to cater to the bird's habits and anticipate its additional needs.

How to Keep a Duck Flock

How to Keep a Duck Flock

Ducks are waterfowl that are kept in flocks for a variety of reasons. Some farmers raise ducks for their eggs, while others keep flocks of ducks to sell for their meat. Others who keep ducks are waterfowl enthusiasts who enjoy watching a flock live and interact around a body of water on their property. Termed domestic duck keeping, many duck owners also keep the birds as pets. For whatever reason a flock of ducks is kept, providing their basic needs will help ensure the health and longevity of each duck.

Instructions

    1

    Decide on the type of duck you would like in your flock. Different species are bred for specific purposes. Pekin and Cayuga ducks are often raised for their meat, and khaki Campbells and runners are known for the quality of their eggs. Mallards, Muscovies and crested ducks are good choices for domestic ducks. However, most duck species can be kept together as ornamental or domesticated ducks if you prefer to have a mixed flock.

    2

    Prepare a shelter for your ducks before purchasing them. They need a covered pen to provide shade and shelter from inclement weather. A duck pen or chicken coop will work well.

    3
    Ducks are easily domesticated and enjoy being fed by people.
    Ducks are easily domesticated and enjoy being fed by people.

    Provide a water source for your ducks. Although they do not require a pond or lake to thrive, ducks enjoy swimming and spending time in the water. If your property does not have a body of water on it, a large-sized child's pool will give your flock a place to gather and swim.

    4

    Plan to keep your duck flock safe from predators. You will need to provide fencing around the area where your birds will gather if there are animals nearby that could hurt them, such as dogs, cats, foxes and coyotes.

    5
    When kept safe and comfortable, ducks will reproduce and expand the flock.
    When kept safe and comfortable, ducks will reproduce and expand the flock.

    Purchase your ducks from a reputable breeder. This will ensure that you acquire healthy birds that will easily reproduce. You can start your flock with a pair of grown ducks, or purchase several ducklings that consists of one drake and several females. Whichever you decide, this will be the beginning of an established breeding flock.

    6

    Supplement your flock's diet with duck food, called pellets. Although ducks eat plants, insects, slugs and even small fish, providing duck food will ensure they get a nutritionally complete diet. You can find a variety of duck pellets at a farm supply store.

    7

    Provide hidden areas and privacy so your ducks will feel secure to begin to reproduce. Ducks will build nests under bushes, trees and shrubs and behind buildings and brush. Start your flock in areas close to such nesting places or add bushy plants and shrubbery to your property. Stay away from the mother ducks when they lay their eggs and begin to nest. When the mother ducks are sitting on their eggs, they do not like humans near their nests.