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Finches Use “Parrot Toys” Too!

Zebra Finch

Most bird fanciers are aware of the vigor with which many parrots use toys (or turn household items, jewelry, etc. into “toys”!). Providing opportunities for play and exploration is, in fact, vital to the health of these active, inquisitive birds. However, we sometimes tend to overlook other pet bird species in the matter of toys.

My experience with pet and wild birds has convinced me that this is a mistake. I have observed a number of species engaging in behavior that, if not truly “play”, is certainly very close – little green herons “hunting” leaves, fledgling cardinals pulling at flowers and dropping them to the ground, etc. And anyone who saw the National Geographic Magazine photo of a wild raven sliding down a snow bank on its back cannot but conclude that it was truly “playing”. Most of these activities help birds in developing skills that they will need for survival (although I cannot yet explain the sow bank photo in that light!). In captivity, they also provide valuable mental and physical stimulation.

Finches of all types are particularly quick to use toys, even those designed with other birds in mind. They notice anything new in their cage, and are soon pecking, flying and perching on or about the novel item. They take quickly to ladders, toys that house hidden treats, nests constructed of grasses (which they usually try to shred in short order) and love to peck at bells.

Many parrot toys are quite suitable for finches and will be well used, even if not in the manner intended by the manufacturer. When purchasing toys made for larger birds, please be sure to check that your finches cannot injure themselves by becoming lodge themselves within any holes or openings. There are many options available – a few suggestions follow:
Heart Ring of Rings

About Frank Indiviglio

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I believe that I was born with an intense interest in animals, as neither I nor any of my family can recall a time when I was not fascinated by creatures large and small. One might imagine this to be an unfortunate set of circumstances for a person born and raised in the Bronx, but, in actuality, quite the opposite was true. Most importantly, my family encouraged both my interest and the extensive menagerie that sprung from it. My mother and grandmother somehow found ways to cope with the skunks, flying squirrels, octopus, caimans and countless other odd creatures that routinely arrived un-announced at our front door. Assisting in hand-feeding hatchling praying mantises and in eradicating hoards of mosquitoes (I once thought I had discovered “fresh-water brine shrimp” and stocked my tanks with thousands of mosquito larvae!) became second nature to them. My mother went on to become a serious naturalist, and has helped thousands learn about wildlife in her 16 years as a volunteer at the Bronx Zoo. My grandfather actively conspired in my zoo-buildings efforts, regularly appearing with chipmunks, boa constrictors, turtles rescued from the Fulton Fish Market and, especially, unusual marine creatures. It was his passion for seahorses that led me to write a book about them years later. Thank you very much, for a complete biography of my experience click here.
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