Hello, Frank Indiviglio here. Although a few commonly-kept finches dominate the pet trade, an amazing range of unusual species are available. Many are delicate and rarely seen, but quite a few are just as hardy as the ever-popular Zebra Finch. Today I’d like to introduce some of my favorite less-commonly-kept finches, each of which is special in its own way – the Red Avadavat, Gray-Headed Silverbill and the Star, Masked and Spice Finches. All are hardy, breed well, and may be housed in large indoor cages or outdoor aviaries. I’ll cover husbandry details in future articles; until then, please write in with any questions. Read More »
Monthly Archives: March 2011
Hello, Frank Indiviglio here. It’s well known that birds exhibit an extraordinary degree of care and protectiveness towards their chicks…having been attacked by avian parents ranging from owls to ostriches, I can vouch for this firsthand! As impressive as this may be, most folks tend to accept it as a matter of course – the survival of the species, after all, depends upon the new generation. However, an amazing new study at the University of Bristol (UK) has revealed that female domestic chickens actually seem to exhibit empathy – that is, the ability to share and be affected by the emotional state of another individual. Read More »
Hello, Frank Indiviglio here. Today I’d like to highlight an interesting new idea that could be of great benefit to parrots and parrot owners everywhere. A petition posted on the Causes.com website asks the Animal Planet Network to air shows concerning the potential problems involved in parrot ownership, with a view towards reaching people before they purchase a parrot. I was made aware of this important effort via George Sommer’s wonderful weekly column From the Parrot’s Beak. George’s updates, carried by the Boston Fish and Bird Examiner, are packed with husbandry tips, stories, links to conservation articles and much more –I heartily recommend signing up for his email mailing list. Read More »
Hello, Frank Indiviglio here. A ThatBirdBlog reader in Bangkok, Thailand recently contacted me concerning the hand-rearing of Zebra Dove nestling whose parents had been attacked by a crow. The incident reminded me that spring is on the way, and with it will come a number of calls concerning young pigeons and doves (or “squabs”), that have fallen from their nests or have otherwise become orphaned. Those who keep pigeons and doves as pets, or who “fly” them as a hobby, are also sometimes called upon to raise abandoned nestlings.
Pigeons and doves depart radically from other birds when it comes to rearing their chicks. Rather than providing them with insects or fruit, breeding adults produce a semi-solid nestling food known as pigeon milk or crop milk. While not related to mammalian milk, there certainly are some parallels.
The “milk” is secreted from the lining of the crop, which is a food storage organ located at the end of the esophagus (base of the throat) of most birds. It is higher in protein (38%) and fat (58%) than both cow and human milk, and allows for very rapid growth. Crop milk also contains several vitamins and minerals, and is produced by both males and females. Read More »
Hello, Frank Indiviglio here. A great deal has been written on the value of large outdoor aviaries to parrot breeders. I agree, but this need not prevent those without access to outdoor facilities from experimenting. Well-habituated pairs of African Gray, Amazon and other fair-sized parrots have nested in spacious, indoor cages.
Simulating Seasonal Changes
Birds housed outdoors are often stimulated to come into breeding condition by natural fluctuations in temperature, humidity and day length. While seasonal changes will exert some effect on indoor birds, it is important for us to step in and “help nature along” when it comes to house-bound birds. Read More »