Friday, June 27, 2008

Possibly my longest entry ever

I'm not sure why I have so many pictures and videos from yesterday. There are a bunch I'm not even posting because this will be long enough!

First, I realized why Andreas has been sort of crabby lately: he's going through a major molt. This isn't the best picture, but you can see how the red skin is flaking off, particularly near his head. I found a piece of skin in his tank that was about the size of his belly. When I help him with the skin that's around his fingers, the skin retains the cylinder shape. I'm hoping that soon he will no longer have remnants from the colored sand they had him on in the pet store, but his tail has a long way to go yet.
We often give our empty food boxes to the parrots to destroy. This one had been on the bottom of a stand for several weeks, and yesterday Beeps decided to go down and shred it.
Here is Rocky, looking for Thomas to come home. You can see our ill-fated attempt to grow edible flowers for the lizards on the other side of the glass. Right now, it appears as though we're growing some mini maple trees!
I know I've been posting a lot of Max/lettuce pictures lately. I wish I would have caught what she did last night on video. She knows she's not supposed to go near our salads-in-progress, since she just takes the leaves and throws them on the floor. Last night, she snuck over there when my back was turned, grabbed a leaf, and ran as fast as she could to the other side of the counter. I thought she was going to throw it in the garbage, which is something she often does with things she finds on the counter, but instead she started eating the leaf.
While the humans of the house were eating dinner, the parrots of the house got busy chipping wood. I wish there were some sort of market for these tiny pieces of wood!

Rocky with a piece I thought was too thick for him (he showed me wrong):
He insists on chipping wood either on Thomas or on a towel.

Here's Beeps, chipping away. In the background is one of my favorite parrot toys. It's sucker sticks embedded in a piece of wood. This can be used as a perch or as a cage topper. Each of my parrots has at least one in their cage. Beeps has chewed away all but one stick, so I'll get him another one this weekend!
We've been doing our parrots' grooming in shifts. Part of this is due to the fact that their nails need to be trimmed at different times, and part is due to the fact that our Dremel battery does not keep its charge very long (I would have loved to get Calypso done last night). But it was Beeps and Kika who were trimmed yesterday.

Kika, in the middle of her trim:
And Beeps, right after, still in Thomas's lap. Unfortunately, the flash made him look very bright, but he'd flipped back over by the time I tried to take another picture.
After dinner, I was assembling toys to donate to the shelter where we volunteer. Even though Thomas was playing video games on the floor, Rocky climbed up on the couch next to me and played with a towel.

Then, Thomas put the video game away and we ate some strawberries for dessert. Even though Rocky spurned them the day before when I had offered them to everyone, he ate it when it came from Thomas. Of the remaining five parrots, once again only Calypso ate some.

This video was taken this morning as we were eating breakfast. We had swept up and changed the newspapers last night. However, Beeps is going through a stage where he does not want any newspaper in the tray on the stand. So, he works to throw all of the newspaper on the floor. This can be funny to watch because he's pretty small in comparison to the size of the paper, so it really takes some maneuvering on his part!

Rocky decided to take advantage of the paper on the floor to cover himself with the paper and walk around. I started calling his name towards the end of the video so that you could see him. Otherwise, it just looks like a moving piece of newspaper! Towards the middle of the video, you see Beeps walking over on the edge of the tray.


Sonja said...

It's so great that you can let all your parrots out at the same time and no one fights. I had a parrotlet once that my caique Gizmo injured severely (it was an accident, I didn't put them together on purpose). I only have two birds and both receive lots of one-on-one attention. Maybe it's an attachment thing. Have you ever had fighting issues with your flock?

Mary said...


Great point. I know personally an umbrella too that killed a timneh (escaped from his cage, bit the timneh's feet repeatedly and he bled to death), an umbrella too that bit the break off of a congo grey, and a meyer's parrot that bit the beak off of a maroon-belly conure, among others.

I am VERY careful with Daphne (budgie) because she is so much smaller than the rest and could be easily injured/killed.

The rest of my birds are around the same size so I don't have to worry as much about serious injuries. They are always supervised and I intervene if anything seems to escalate.

The only two that ever fight are Max (timneh) and Beeps (caique), and this seems to be playfighting with one of them flying away when they've had enough. Also Max will occasionally buzz Beeps, but she doesn't get close enough to cause harm and he just ducks out of the way.

We are lucky in that Rocky (severe macaw) is not bird aggressive at all -- I know several that are.

I think our guys consider themselves a flock and kind of watch out for each other. But that doesn't mean that I'm less vigilant. They are always locked in their cages when we're gone, and they're immediately removed if they go on a different bird's cage (except for Max and Calypso).

Sorry for the rambling answer! I just think that you made a great point and I wanted to make sure that anyone reading this realizes we've thought a lot about this, are very careful, and didn't just throw 6 birds together, unsupervised, come what may.

I'll probably do a longer entry on this in the coming weeks.

Thanks for the idea!

Sharon said...

Your house looks like lots of fun... especially for the birdys. I can't believe they just lay back and let you clip their toe nails not Mooky.

That Rocky is some character... so funny!

Mary said...


Thanks -- we try to make it fun for them!

What was funny when Thomas was dremeling Kika's nails, is that Rocky was the one throwing a fit. Kika made a few squawks, but then Rocky came over, screamed pretty much the whole time, and was attacking Thomas's feet. As soon as Kika was done, Rocky stopped his fit.

We thought perhaps he saw himself as her protector, and it goes once again to the flock mentality that they have. But with him, you never know what he's up to :)

DweezelJazz said...

I loved the photo showing Kika getting her nails trimmed. When we first got Jazzy I took her to the local vet - but it turns out they can hardly even identify African Greys when they see them, so they're not bird specialists. Unfortunately the fellow cut so low that they had to take J into surgery and keep her for most of the rest of the day. Since then I file Jazzy's nails with a nail file at home - most of the time she'll let me take her foot in my hand and do it that way. But the file sure goes blunt quickly!

DweezelJazz said...

oh.. I meant to say, I loved the video of Rocky playing with the towel! :)

Mary said...

DJ --

What a scary incident for you and Jazzy! I've had some bad vet experiences myself. Max is missing a toenail from the first vet we tried. We took Calypso to another vet, who advertised as being a bird specialist. We told him he was a caique, but I overheard his assistant ask him what kind of bird he was and he said, "I don't know, some kind of conure." So frustrating.

I'm glad Jazzy made it through her ordeal, though! I find it handy that Thomas can do all of their grooming.

Rocky just loves towels. He has several draped over his cage and they're his favorite toys. Strange!