Friday, July 29, 2011

Macaw acrobat

Rocky and Thomas, working on their routine:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My breakfast thief

It's not just Thomas who has to share his breakfast with Brian; he's taken to eating my apples:
I'm more than happy to share; he's got a tiny beak.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mr. Pea

We can't get over how much Basil loves peas!  In fact, we've started calling him "Mr. Pea."  He gets so excited when he sees us with peas, and waits excitedly until we give him some.  He doesn't let any go to waste.
Luckily my favorite farmer had peas for sale this morning, so Basil will be happy for the next week or so, if I can ration them properly.  It's hard not to give him unlimited access, but peas by themselves are certainly not a balanced diet.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Stella vs. bottle cap

Over the weekend, I had thrown a beer cap into the garbage.  It bounced out and landed on the floor.  Before I could pick it up, Stella flew down and started playing like this:
This kept her occupied for a good 10 minutes.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Baby robins have been abundant in my yard!  This guy was about to fly up to the bird bath:
And this tiny fledgling, still full of down, was being fed by his parents (I was watching that through the binoculars instead of taking pictures!):
I think this is probably a baby house finch, though I'm not positive.
This continuing hot weather means our bird bath is well-occupied!

Preening chain

Brian preens Thomas; Thomas preens Max.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

More bird bath and a backyard visitor

If you're sick of seeing pictures of my backyard birds, skip this post!  It continues to be ridiculously hot, so tons of birds are visiting the bird bath for a drink and to cool down.

I think these are two juvenile house finches:
I loved this angle, with their shadows:
Later, a mourning dove arrived:
Then things got a bit more crowded:
By chance, I caught this robin on the ground, thinking about coming up:
He did, displacing the mourning dove:
The record for birds we've seen on the bath at once is four (tied many times -- maybe someday we'll hit five!):
The robins aren't always the best sharers (hmmm... sounds like my greys):
But the house finch was undaunted and flew around to the other side of the bath, away from that particular robin:
The goldfinch are notoriously hard for me to photograph as they spook when they see movement in the house, but this appears to be a juvenile, so perhaps he isn't as careful as the adults.
Later in the evening, the greys were in the kitchen when they simultaneously let out their alarm call and flew as quickly as they could into the living room.  I looked outside, but couldn't see anything, so I reassured them all was safe and brought them back to the kitchen.  They then alarm-called again and flew off.  I could finally see why: my neighbor's dog had gotten into our fenced backyard!
They must have caught a glimpse of him and he was behind the shed when I looked for whatever had scared them.

I talked with my neighbor and she said he is a notorious escape artist.  Apparently he had been in our backyard last week sometime -- they can't figure out how he's getting in as the fence appears to be secure.  He's a rescue and they think he honed his escape skills as a puppy when he was allowed to roam free.

Luckily, no harm done, and he made it back home.  I just have to hope he didn't leave any deposits in our yard when Thomas mows the lawn next.

Basil and pellets

As reported yesterday, Basil continues to eat his Harrison's pellets.  In the morning, he'll go inside, grab a pellet, and then come back to his door to eat.
Just like with the peas.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Basil and the ball

I don't write much about Basil as he is very easy-going and doesn't get into trouble; therefore, he does not provide exciting material like the greys and Rocky.  I am planning on starting to clicker train him shortly, so I will probably chronicle that.  He is not hand tame, and I'd like to work with him to develop a stress-free way to move him around.  Right now, he pretty much stays on or in his cage the entire day, coming out when I open the door and going inside when I ask him to.

One thing that is very different about him than from my other parrots is that he tends to sit there (apparently content) and wait for something to happen, as opposed to initiating experiences.  If I place a foot toy on top of his cage, it will sit there for weeks; if I offer him that same foot toy, he will happily play with it, like he did with this ball:
I don't think it ever occurs to him to leave his cage, unless something scares him.  In that case, he flies circles around the room and lands back on his cage.  This is in opposition to my parrots who are almost always off exploring.

In another interesting departure from my parrots, when I offer them a toy, they almost always grab it with their beaks; Basil almost always uses his foot.  Then he'll bring it up to his beak:
He has gotten to the point where he'll take wood slices from the top of his cage and chip them up; he just hasn't yet applied that concept to other toys.

In other (but slightly related) Basil news, I had converted him to Goldenfeast Goldenobles pellets a few months back.  He loves them!  However, I recently found out that Goldenfeast was going to no longer produce this pellet.  I bought several containers in order to buy myself some time to convert him to something else, preferably Harrison's, since that's what the other birds eat.

I'd put Goldenobles, 3 Harrison's power treats, and 10 Harrison's pepper pellets in his cage every morning.  He'd eat all of the Goldenobles and leave all of the Harrison's.  One day, after filling his pellet dish, I offered him his dish while he was perched on his cage door.  To my shock, he grabbed (and ate) a Harrison's pellet.  He relished this pellet, so I expected he'd eat more during the day, but I returned to find a dish with 3 power treats and 9 pepper pellets remaining.  He still had only eaten the Goldenobles!

I continued this for a few days, with the same result.  Yesterday, I returned home and found that he'd eaten all of the Harrison's!  (I don't count the Goldenobles so I have no idea how many he ate.)  It's all or nothing with this guy!


Sometime earlier this week, I had placed Max on Stella's stand.  Well, not exactly Stella's stand, since, unlike their cages, the stands technically belong to everyone.  However, Stella has claimed this stand and she's the bird who's on here 95+% of the time.

Max had been bothering Beeps on the other side of the kitchen, so I had placed her here, to distract her.  Stella had flown to Thomas's shoulder, and he placed her on the same stand as Max.

There seemed to be a bit of confusion about this, from both sides:
Finally, one or both of them flew off.  Of course, they got the lecture about life being more pleasant for them if they'd get along, but they do not seem to take us seriously on this topic!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Typical Rocky

In case anyone was wondering, Rocky continues his one-macaw assault on my safety.  However, I continue to outsmart him by carrying a stick with me and being aware of where he is to thwart any planned attacks.

You'd think that after 5 years in my house, he'd acquiesce and learn to live with me, but he is as adamant as ever about getting me out of the house so he can have Thomas to himself.  He is fighting a losing battle.

His tactics include opening his beak and threatening to bite:
As well as showing me how big and scary he is:
He is definitely very determined.  Too bad he hasn't chosen to use this personality trait for good!

Nosy Stella

I have always considered Max to be our nosiest parrot, but I think that Stella may have taken that title.  Max had been happily playing on the table.  As soon as she noticed this, Stella had to fly over and try to land exactly where Max was, displacing her to the chair:
Later, Thomas was bending down to get something out of the fridge; Stella had to fly over, landing on his shoulder, to see what was inside:
It's been so hot, so Thomas had our temperature gun out, investigating the temperature variation in our house.  Of course Stella was curious, so she flew over and wound up getting measured herself:
So far, Thomas has been unsuccessful in convincing her to get a hobby that doesn't involve being so nosy!

Brian continues to be adorable

We continue to be entranced by Brian.  Almost every day he does something new, says a new word, and just proves to be a delight.

Right before I took this picture, he was preening Thomas's meager beard:
Lately he's been coming over and making himself as tall as he can, stretching up.  We've been putting our noses down and he likes to stand nose to beak for a few minutes.  Then he usually starts preening our faces.

He was preening my coffee cup, but moved his head to come over to me when he saw the camera:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Morning snack

I ran a bit longer than Thomas today, so Rocky got to experience, for a moment, his dream of having Thomas all to himself.  They breakfasted together:
He's perched on Brian's cage, eating budgie seed.  Of course he would not eat budgie seed for the camera as he had to threaten me instead.  Brian was on the table, eating toast. 

I let the rest of the birds out of their cages and we had a pleasant morning.  Even Rocky enjoyed himself, despite my presence.

Baby robin update

It looks like two baby robins hatched out of the second clutch (three hatched from the first clutch.)  They look like they might be getting ready to fledge soon:
Unfortunately, it also looks like some staining happened on our house, so we'll have to see if we can take care of that once the babies are gone.
So cute!

Preying on each other

The parrots are prey animals that need to watch out for predators -- in my house they apparently also need to be on alert for each other.

Max had been on the counter helping herself to some of our dinner.  Since Stella wants to know what Max is doing and then copy her, she flew over and tried to land right on Max, who was eating.  Luckily for Max, her prey instincts were working, so she flew away in time; however, she lost her potato:
Thomas gave it back to her and she was able to continue eating on the stand:
There was plenty of room for both of them on the counter!  It doesn't have to be this way!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bird bath soap opera

It's been ridiculously hot, which means the outside birds have appreciated our bird bath.

I'm pretty sure this was a baby mourning dove:
A few minutes later, there was a robin:
And then a grackle, bathing:
Two robins; one bathing, the other waiting her turn:
I think this is a grackle, coming in for a landing?  Or maybe taking off?:
One robin on the bird bath; another waiting her turn on the ground:
This little guy had the skinniest legs ever!  I'm thinking maybe a juvenile?
This baby was hanging out on the patio, trying to decide whether or not to bathe:
It was worth the effort to fly up! As you'll see, she stuck around for a long time:
Adult robin and baby robin.  I imagine they are trying to scare the other one off so they can have the bird bath to themselves!  The baby appears to be the aggressor here:
And the adult responds:
Perhaps a peaceful understanding has been reached:
But then, a female house finch appears!
She needs a drink, as the robins continue to hang out in the water:
Three robins and a house finch!
Someone coming in for a landing -- based on the next picture, I think it's another robin:
Because now there's three robins again, and the house finch is back!  (I double checked the order of these photos and it's correct):
Back to two wet robins:
I really need to get one of those motion-activated cameras.  So interesting to watch!

Later, we noticed a mourning dove near our patio:
She kept holding her wing up, like this:
I was going to call the wildlife center if she was still doing this, but 30 minutes later, she'd gone.  Maybe just stretching?  Her wing did not always stay like this, as you can see from the first picture.  I read that they will sometimes do this to distract predators from their nest and/or young, but I didn't see any evidence of that at all.  Interesting.