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The Ringneck (Rose-ringed) Parakeet – A Great Pet and Unlikely NYC Resident – Part 1

The adaptable Ringneck Parakeet (Psittacula krameri) has been introduced to more far-flung places – Egypt, Macao, Singapore, Zanzibar, Great Britain, and California, to name a few – than perhaps any other parrot. To this impressive list I would like to add a population that is little-known and quite unexpected – the tiny flock that lives in New York City.

From Indian Woodlands to Bronx Streets

Rose-ringed ParaakeetAfter catching glimpses of the phantom Ringnecks while birding along the Bronx River as a youth (and doubting what I had seen), I lost track of them until I began working as a bird keeper at the Bronx Zoo.  Shortly thereafter I came upon an injured Ringneck and began seeing the flock of 10-15 birds regularly.  The individual I cared for was missing several toes and showed other signs of battling the long, cold NY winters, but was otherwise in fine shape. Read More »

The Bird Room – A Treat for Birds of all Kinds (and their owners!)

Nothing is more pleasing to aviculturists than an entire room in which their birds can really stretch their wings and legs.  Birds housed in such circumstances will exhibit a range of behaviors that are only hinted at in small quarters, and their chances of successfully breeding will skyrocket.

Bird Room Basics

Simply put, a bird room is a room which is outfitted especially for birds – essentially a giant cage.  The first I saw were re-converted attics in small private houses. One held Canaries, the other was give over to a colony of Gouldian Finches…both behaved so differently from caged individuals that they appeared to be of entirely different species.  Each room was a carnival of color, song, activity and begging nestlings.  The individual birds were in great condition and color, and far more vigorous and alert than those I cared for at the local pet store. Read More »

Parrot Owners Take Note – Study Confirms Bored Chickens Pluck and Peck

A great deal of research goes into the husbandry of domestic fowl, some of which has important implications for pet bird owners as well.  In scanning the literature, I recently came across the following important study.

How Does One Keep a Chicken Busy?

The European Zoological Nutrition Center reports that the wild relatives of domestic chickens (I’m assuming Red or Green Jungle Fowl) spend at least 60% of their day foraging for food.  Domestic chickens, however, are fed high energy foods in easy-access feeders and usually take but a few minutes to meet their daily needs.  That leaves the bored fowl a good 16 hours in which to get into trouble – which they do quite handily by pecking at their own and their neighbors’ feathers and skin. Read More »

New Parrot Products – Food, Exercise and Mental Challenges in One Package

Parrots, be they Budgies, Cockatiels, Lovebirds or Macaws, must be kept busy and challenged by their environments if they are to become well-adjusted pets.  One of the best ways to tempt them to explore and try new activities is via a tasty reward.  Several of our new products offer exciting possibilities in this area, and lots of fun for you and your pet as well.

Edible Nests (Snak Shak) and Perches

http://www.thatpetplace.com/images/presentation/245188.jpgFew parrots can resist the urge to “improve” a potential nesting hole – the Snak Shak Bird House is all the more attractive as it is comprised of honey and alfalfa.  Available in 2 sizes, the Snak Shak will interest all small to medium sized parrots and may even help to spur real nesting behavior.

Our edible perches are available in straight and vine-like styles.  As the perches are consumed, they change size and shape, causing the parrot to engage in a variety of acrobatics in order to both remain on the perch and eat it at the same time – great fun!<!–more–>

Enrichment Pods

Designed along the lines of similar items used in zoos, Enrichment Pods are more in the nature of “enrichment activities” than toys, although they certainly will entertain you and your pet.  All are re-fillable and suited for Budgies, Cockatiels, Lovebirds and similarly-sized pets.

The Hide-and-Go-Treat and Forage Frenzy challenge parrots to find and then figure out how to remove favorite treats while the Polly Puzzler requires birds to match wooden blocks or treats to the properly-shaped hole.

Planet Pleasures Ecologically-Friendly Toys

Our Fair Trade manufactured Planet Pleasures Toys are made of palm leaf, coconut shell, bamboo, oyster shell and other durable, natural materials.  Constructed so as to provide an interesting, complex surface, they will keep your parrots busy for hours.  The Coco Rocket is designed for especially enthusiastic chewers, but the Bamboo Man, Birdie Bouquet and Hula Skirt can all stand up to a great deal of abuse.

Further Reading

Please see Behavioral Enrichment for Parrots for more thoughts on this important topic.

Parrots that are accustomed to working for treats on a regular basis are easier to train than bored birds.  Check out this amusing Cockatoo video and see what’s possible.



Feeding Wild Birds during Snowstorms – Tips and Stories – Part 1

I’ve known Red-winged Blackbirds to return to NYC as early as Groundhog Day, February 2nd.  I’ve not yet had a chance to check yet, but if they’re already back this year they will be sorely disappointed by the weather.  Snow poses greater hardships on most birds than does cold weather – with internal body temperatures of up to 110 F and the ability to trap air within the feathers as insulation, non-migrants do just fine when temperatures drop.  Snow, however, covers food and forces birds to expend a great deal of energy foraging.  Read More »

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