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Important Information every bird owner needs to know!
AVERAGE YEARLY COST FOR A BIRD
INTERESTING BIRD FACTS
WHAT YOU ARE NEVER TOLD



Average yearly cost to properly care for 1 medium size parrot

*Average cost based on input from local vets providing avian care but whom are not necessarily board certified. These costs can vary depending on the cost of veterinary care in your location and if further testing/care is required.

FOOD:
Nuts             $52.00
Pellet mix       $104.00
Hot food &      $104.00
                                Fruits & veges   $260.00                                   

VET: 
Basic wellness check-up (Exam*- Comp. panel* & Fecal*)
                          Exam:    $56.00*
Avian  (comp) panel:     $128.00*
Fecal (gram Stain):         $45.00*
                                                $229.00 or more

Other testing (available)
                    Chlamydia :    $46.00*
              Polyoma Virus:     $80.00*
Vaccine-Polyoma (avian):   $25.00*
                                CBC:    $57.00*
                                PBFD:    $80.00*  

           GROOMING: (every 3 months)
                      Nails:    $80.00 ($20*)
               Wing trim:    $60.00 ($15*)
               Beak trim:    $160.00 ($40*)

TOYS:  1- $20.00 toy every 2 Wks     $520.00
(rotated for fun & inspected for wear & safety)
Note: some birds will destroy a $20 toy in a few hours
& toys are a not an option they are a NECESSITY !

        INCIDENTALS:
                     cage cleaning products $250.00
                     UV lights/fixtures; Air purifiers/filters; spray bottles;
                     Cage liners; paper towels; etc.

Total:  $1719.00

Interesting Facts

  All species of parrot except budgies & cockatiels are threatened or endangered.
 Over 94 species are threatened with extinction.

  It is illegal to import wild caught birds into the U.S. under the CITES act.(Convention of International Trade on Endangered Species)

  Parrots are highly intelligent, similar to a 3 or 4 year old child.

  Parrots are flock animals and are very social.

  Parrots are not sexually dimorphic. No visible differences exist between males & females. DNA testing is routinely used to determine sex. One exception is the Eclectus. Males are green & females are red.

  All parrots are zygodactyl - 4 toes.  2 facing forward & 2 facing back.

  Parrots are able to raise food to their mouths with their feet.

  Parrots do not have vocal cords. Sound is produced in the syrinx and manipulated by changing the depth & shape of a bifurcated trachea.

  Parrots have a movable upper & lower jaw. They can open their mouths with out moving their heads

  Parrots produce very little saliva. The tongue is dry and very tactile.

  Parrots see more colors than humans. Parrots see into the ultra violet spectrum. People perceive 16 images a second. Parrots perceive 1600.

  Parrots are generally monogamous. All parrot eggs are white.

  Parrots range is size from 10grams & 3.2 inches for the Buff Face Pygmy parrot to 3.5 lbs & 3.3 ft for the Hyacinth macaw

So...you want a bird

Birds are beautiful, intelligent creatures that will never grow up and never leave home.
OK, so what’s the problem?
Birds are extremely intelligent. Birds will never grow up. They will NEVER leave home. A parrot will average 7 homes in its lifetime

                             What you are NOT told

    Birds are NOT DOMESTICATED PETS
    Birds live a LONG time
    Birds require annual VET CHECK-UPS
    Birds require an AVIAN VET
    Birds REQUIRE a lot of TIME
    Birds are DESTRUCTIVE
    Birds are LOUD
    Birds are MESSY
    Birds need SHOWERS
    Birds produce LOTS of DANDER
    Birds are high MAINTENANCE-high COST companions        Birds require ROUTINE GROOMING
    Birds need SPACE
    NOT all birds will TALK
    Birds require TOYS
    Birds generally have one FAVORITE PERSON
    Birds can BECOME AGGRESSIVE
    Birds DO NOT HAVE TO BE BABIES to Bond
                                           &
                               ALL BIRDS BITE

 Remember the cost to buy a bird is usually less than the  cost to maintain that bird for one year.

                 *NEVER- NEVER BUY AN UNWEANED BIRD



NEWS & VIEWS

 Jan '15   BABY BIRDS: are sweet and cuddly. I hear too often "I want a baby so it will bond with me". Raising a baby parrot is no gaurantee of a bond. It is a lot of work and takes a lot of time. It is time that creates the bond. Sure they depend on you but once that dependency on hand feeding is done, all bets are off. They still need you to provide food and water but now they are eating on their own. Finally and Ahhh..reality check. No more measuring, mixing, checking temperatures, feeding, cleaning up. Just food & pellets in a bowl. Walk away. Still want to hand feed? Still want that bond with your bird? Give it TIME!

 Feb '13  INSTANT GRATIFICATION: and I pay the price. You humans always want it now.  Just because you see me right now, or have the money right now, or have the time right now doesn't mean you should get me RIGHT NOW.
 The number one given reason I go from home to home to home is "I just don't have the time".
You see me, you want me. First- see what it takes to care for me. You have money. Save it- until you have done your research. (you may find your money is better spent on something else). You've got time? Take that time to learn about properly caring for me. Not from the breeder or the person or the store wanting to sell me. But long time bird people, rescues or sanctuaries and you may learn you don't have THAT MUCH TIME!
Are you willing and able to commit your entire life to me? I AM a Life Time Commitment.  

 Oct  '12   MY BIRD CAN'T FLY: I know I am a bird and this is what we do. I also know we must be taught to fly and funny as this sounds - taught to land. So you human guys never taught me to fly. You probably never gave me the opportunity but sooner or later nature will.
 Fancy you: putting me outside on a perch or on your arm or carrying me to the car. Oh sure it's OK because "I don't know how to fly" - "I've never tried to fly". But you just wait.... that little breeze tickles the undersides of my wings. Or a hawk, a sound, a sudden movement startles me and there go my wings. Just doing what they are supposed to do. Flapping and I realize - I'm airborne. Before you realize what just happened - I'm outta your reach. I'm scared, excited and I am as shocked as you are! But I am NOT going to stop flapping. I am going to flap harder & then, I'm gone. Where to? I don't know. And since I don't know where I am going, I have no idea how to get back. The real kicker here is I have no idea how to land so I just keep going. I keep going until I run out of energy or hit something. Now what? Will I freeze to death? Will I starve to death? Will I keep some other animal from starving.
Will I be found? DOUBTFUL ....All because...My bird can't fly.

 June'12   GOOD INFORMATION: to have. This may seem basic and obvious but it never surprises me how little is known about a parrot's past. Agreeing to take a parrot is just the beginning. Whether coming from a breeder, re-homing or from a friend, it is important to know the history and background of your bird. Hatch date (age), how it was weaned, band #, medical history, veterinarian and if possible sex. Who was the main caregiver? How many homes and the details of those homes. Was there exposure to other animals, other birds, other people, kids, and the age of the kids. What was the routine, time in and out of the cage? What foods, pellets, nuts and toys did this parrot get? How much, what type and how often and when was it fed? Was the parrot kept in a cage? What kind, size, material and where was that cage located. Did the bird have a play stand, foot-toys, music or TV? When it comes to your parrot there is no such thing as too much information. Sure some of them can talk but I doubt they'll tell you all this. What ever information you can get, write it down. Any information you can provide, write it down so your parrot will have some history for it's next home. Face the facts, you may be the best home this parrot has ever had but probably not the last.

6Jan12     MY LIFE: will most likely be longer than yours. What will happen to me when you're gone? What happens to me when you are too old or are no longer able to take care of me? Are  you going to make sure I am properly taken care of ?... OR... do I become someone else's problem? You may think a family member wants me, think again. If a family member or friend wants a bird, they're going to get one, not wait until you die to get yours. Let's face it, most people looking for birds want babies because they are led to believe babies are better. I'm no baby. The parrot pet trade has exploded over the last ten years with thousands of parrot mills and individual breeders out to make a quick buck by supplying uninformed Joe-public with baby birds.  SO... we're back to "WHAT HAPPENS TO ME?"
  Just like retirement, you need to plan. Find a place for me - NOW. Start a nest egg (tee-hee) for me - NOW.
     Know where I'm going when you are gone.

9Aug11 FEED ME: I can live on seeds and poor quality pellets. I can live on people food. I can even survive on dog food for awhile. I can't make my meals. I need you for that. I need you to teach me what is healthy and what is a treat. I need you to provide me with the best possible diet. I'll be happy to eat your junk food. Like any kid I'll eat most things that are not good for me and smile and thank you for it. BUT you're killing me...do not give me what I want.. Give me what I need. I need veges, beans, legumes and a little bit of fruit. The healthier you eat, the healthier I eat. Don't get me wrong our diet can be healthy and tasty. We can even share an occasional pizza or hot wing but let's save that for special occasions.
Now when it comes to pellets I need quality. Sure that premixed stuff looks good to you but look at all the sunflower seeds and peanuts in there. Not to mention dried fruit? Who knows what kind of toxins are growing on the peanuts & sunflower seeds and how old this stuff was before it was mixed & packaged. I deserve a huge cage, I deserve outdoor time. I deserve toys. I deserve your time. Heck, I need all these thing but if you can only provide one best thing make that one best thing my diet.
 
June11 no-"R"-birds was Squawktalk:  We had a major computer crash. Squawktalk was the parrot club supporting "no-"R"-birds" and when we lost our system we chose a direct web-site for "no-"R"-birds" parrot sanctuary
  We continue to provide support and information to the parrot community as well as the general public. To give proper information so you can provide your bird with a happy, healthy environment and a permanent loving home.
 And although we are a parrot sanctuary we cannot take in every bird we are asked to. We will continue to assist with placement but must limit our intake of birds.
  The sad reality is that by the time we are contacted, the bird has suffered abuse. Has medical or social issues or both. We made the choice a few years ago to take in only the most needy of cases. Because there are so many of these birds out there with no place to go we will consider only the most dire of cases for sanctuary. We continue to help with behavior issues and will do what ever we can to keep you and your bird in a safe and happy relationship.

29Nov10 ROUTINE GROOMING: I need a trim once in a while. My nails grow and you complain to me that they hurt. No joke Sherlock. How do you think I feel? You can always put me down but I am left to deal with the un-natural position those long nails force my feet into when I perch. I'm the one that gets sores & tender spots from simply perching. Dare I mention the possibility of broken and even torn off toes. We've talked about wings in FLIGHTED or CLIPPED but there may come a time my beak will need to be trimmed or shaped. You can be taught to properly trim my nails & wings but I beg you to leave the beak trim to an experienced groomer or knowledgeable avian veterinarian.
 
17July10: COMFORTABLE TEMPERATURES: For the most part if you are comfortable I am comfortable. You think of me as a rain forest animal. I live in deserts, on cliffs, in mountains, valleys, plains & even in cities. OH, and yes the rain forest too. With proper acclimation I can endure a wide range of temperatures. I can survive in temps from the low 50's to the upper 90's but not comfortably. I can survive longer in colder temperatures than hot. Step into my toes and provide me with the temperatures that you would like. But do not put me in a draft. Warm blowing air from a heat vent for example is dangerous for me & can dehydrate me very quickly. Just as the hot sun passing thru a window can do. The cold breeze from an air conditioner can freeze me to the bone in just a few minutes. I depend on you for food, water, toys...everything, please don't let me get too cold or too hot.

10April10: MONTHLY WEIGHTS: Can alert you to medical issues before your bird starts to look or act ill. Feathers hide a lot including an over or under weight bird. Because we see our birds everyday it is nearly impossible to see fluctuations in weight. Handling your bird everyday is no better an indicator. The best and most accurate gage of weight in a bird is a good quality gram scale. A base line weight must be established. A physical exam by an avian vet will ensure your bird is healthy and at an appropriate "starting weight".
 Weigh your bird 3 times a week keeping a written record. The best time to get a weight is in the morning before breakfast and after the morning poop. Weigh your bird at the same time and use the same gram scale. Fluctuations in weight may occur with normal hormonal changes, changes in seasons & changes in diet. Weight should fluctuate no more than 1% to 1.5% from your birds established baseline. This is a good general rule but acceptable fluctuations can vary with species & individual birds. Talk to your avian vet.

7March10: SMOKING/NICOTINE: Does your bird smoke? If you do, so does your bird. Smoke & nicotine are especially harmful to your bird. Smoking outside reduces the exposure but does not eliminate it. The residual from smoking settles in hair, clothing and on the skin. Every time a smoker touches, cuddles & skirches a bird there is exposure. One of the most direct & harmful transfers of nicotine comes from the hands. From your hands to their feathers & skin. Parrot skin is very thin & chemicals are quickly absorbed. When preening anything that is on the feathers is transfered directly to the tongue & mouth. You can minimize the exposure for you bird by smoking outside, changing your shirt & washing your hands prior to handling your parrot but unfortunately if you smoke so does your bird.

14Jan10: WATER BOTTLES: Yes they are nice and they serve a purpose. The up-side is keeping your parrot's drinking water clean. Do not confuse clean with fresh.
 The the down-side of a water bottle? It is too easy to fill it and forget it. Sure we look at it every day and if there is water in it we think it is fine. It is not fine. Your parrot needs clean -FRESH- water every day. The water bottle must be cleaned every day and refilled with fresh water. The entire bottle must be sanitized no less than once a week. This includes the entire tube portion.
 If your parrot makes "soup" in the water bowl then converting to a water bottle may be a good option for providing a clean source of water thru out the day.
 If it takes a couple of water changes every day to keep your parrot supplied with clean fresh water it is probably easier than cleaning the tube, the washer, the bottle, the cap & refilling everyday & sanitizing regularly. You make the choice but please choose to provide clean fresh water for you parrot at all times. 

 10Dec09: MAKE ME A BREEDER: - please DON'T:You think getting me a mate is going to calm me down, think again. If I choose to mate with another bird and yes it will be my choice, I surely won't want you intruding much less being around. When my hormones kick in it's all about natural drives. Building & guarding my nest. Protecting my territory & my mate and when those eggs hatch I go into high gear. (Reminder about nature: you are the predator here)  Male or female it doesn't matter because when it comes to breeding and raising our young we take it very seriously.
 If I am acting out something is definitely missing. That something is most likely your attention and some mental stimulation. You want me to be a better bird, be a better friend. Spend time with me, earn my trust & I will teach you about real companionship.

 29Nov09: CAGE SIZE & OUT of CAGE TIME: it is often said if the bird can spread its wings & not touch the sides of the cage it is large enough. Unfortunately few companion birds are lucky enough to get even this much room. When it comes to bird cages BIGGER is better. Just be sure the bar spacing is appropriate for your species of bird. For purposes of discussion lets trade places with our bird. Now find a room where when you spread your arms so you can just touch the walls. Chances are you are now in a closet or a very small bathroom. Can you imagine spending hours in here? How about days, months OR the rest of your life!
 Most well adjusted social birds are birds that spend hours outside of the cage. Interacting with family, exploring or just hanging out. They are as free as we can make them. We owe them this much freedom at a minimum and when they must be returned to a cage make it as large & comfortable as possible. hmmm..have you forgotten that closet you were just in? 

2Nov09: A PRETTY - TALKER: I want a bird that talks. I want a bird because they are so colorful.
 There is nothing more captivating than a bright, beautiful, colorful bird. Nothing more exciting or magical than hearing a bird talk. But these are NOT reasons to get a bird.
 The bird you got that was talking up a storm may turn quiet. The bird you got that never uttered a sound before just may talk YOUR head off. That beautifully feathered bird just might start pulling feathers or the naked little "chicken" you brought home may turn into a wonderfully feathered eye catching beauty.
 There are no guarantees when it comes to a parrot. Nutrition, environment, mental stimulation, health, species & age all play a part in what your bird was, is or becomes.
 There are many reasons a parrot will lose it's home. Not living up to your expectations should not be one of them.

 21Sept09: WHEN A VET IS JUST A VET: One of the biggest challenges for parrot people is finding a vet for their companion. It is not a requirement that the vet be certified avian but it is essential for your vet to know parrots. Parrots have specific needs requiring a professional with hands-on bird experience as well as an education pertaining specifically to parrots. Exotic certified is NOT avian nor does avian certification guarantee the proper or best care for your bird. As the caretaker of a parrot it is your responsibility to demand & provide the best possible care for your companion. This means educating yourself & sometimes educating the veterinarian community. You know your bird best. If you are not comfortable with the handling or care you parrot is receiving you need to question the care & handling. Any competent professional will welcome & answer your questions. If you have a vet that has a parrot, has a specific interest in parrots, actively seeks to keep current in avian welfare, has a parrot clientele, and you like them, chances are you've found your vet. Your vet should, at the minimum,  give your parrot a thorough exam and provide you with an examination check list. The AAV has put together an excellent protocol form. It is easy to read & easy to use and a great tool for you and your vet. Copies are available thru "Association of Avian Veterinarians" or contact us for a form.

 21July09: LOSS OF A COMPANION: If you are a bird person this can be quite devastating. The reasons can be quite different but the emotion still cuts deep. In most any case a necropsy is vital. As the care giver to a bird you need to know if it was something that could have been prevented so the mistake is not repeated. It may be environmental or it may be communicable. Are you at risk? If you have multiple birds are they at risk? What about other pets?
 The findings can be an emotional pillow for you and a source of information for the veterinarian-avian community. Even if no definitive cause is found a good avian veterinarian expands his knowledge base and that  benefits current parrots, wild and companion as well as all future parrots.
It is with great sadness we mourn the loss of our two eclectus'- Matilda & Travis. May they fly free over the rainbow bridge.

16June09: CAN I PET THE BIRD? Most often the answer is no. First off, you or anyone that wants to engage a bird must earn the trust of that bird. How would you like a complete stranger in your space, poking at you or trying to touch you? How comfortable are you with a stranger giving you a hug?
 I can not stress enough that parrots are NOT cats & dogs. They are NOT domesticated animals. They have NOT been bred for temperament or compatibility. Most parrots excluding parakeets & cockateils are 1 or 2 generations from the wild. To a parrot we are a predator and as a predator we must earn their trust.
 Some birds are more trusting & comfortable with strangers. But more often they are wary & if pushed and not allowed to retreat or escape, will bite. (another topic soon: teaching your bird to bite)
 You are the first line of defense for your bird. If for any reason you are uncomfortable with someone who wants to touch your bird - just say No. If you bird shows signs of discomfort or agitation - just say No.
 The more comfortable and secure you keep your bird the more trust you build with your bird. The more trust your bird has with you the more he trusts that you will let no harm come to him, even with strangers.

23March09: HORMONES: This is generally the season & if you're lucky you'll experience it only once a year.  Do not punish your bird, after all you made the choice to get the bird. These poor creatures are probably just as confused as you are. Your sweet, cuddly, lovable bird has turned into a marching, flying, stalking horror. This is NORMAL. If you have not experienced this with your bird consider yourself fortunate...for now.
All birds are different and may display all-none or some of the affects of raging hormones and to different degrees. SO, What can you do?
1st avoid all situations that will result in harm to you or your bird. Meaning do not punish them and do not force issues that agitate or excite your bird. Remove items & materials that can be used for nesting or nest building. Limit your birds daylight exposure to 8-10 hours. Increase vegetables while reducing or limiting proteins & carbs. These are just a few of the simple changes that may help both you and your companion get thru this difficult time.
 PLEASE remember. This is temporary. It is a cycle and it will end. Do not encourage mating behaviors such as regurgitation. Refrain from stroking, petting or rubbing your bird's back and the area at the base of the tail feathers. This is birdie foreplay. Avoid cuddling in blankets or in any fashion that covers or "wraps" your bird as it may be interpreted as a nest or invitation to mate by your bird. It is best to restrict your love and affection to head scratches & sweet talk.
FYI.. you can increase both the intensity & length of your birds hormonal cycle. This is not good for you or your bird and if you tease them long & hard enough they do get even.

13Jan09: FLIGHTED or CLIPPED? This is definitely a personal preference & there are pros & cons either way.
 Every bird should be allowed to fledge as a baby. Flight is a huge confidence builder for a bird and every bird should know what it is to fly.
 If you choose flighted you must also be aware of the hazards of flight. Ceiling fans, mirrors, windows and hanging light fixtures are just a few and that ever so dangerous open door. Many birds have been lost due to flying away.
 Clipping a bird should only be done by the experienced. Secondary flight feathers should never be cut & enough wing should be left to allow the bird to glide to the ground but not enough for them to take flight. Clipping a bird in as individual as a hair cut is to you or I. What works for one bird may not work for another. Consideration to size, species, environment & past flight experience is key to properly trimming a birds wings. The choice is yours and so is the responsibility.

30Dec08: SOMETHING is WRONG: My bird isn't acting the same. My bird is on the bottom of the cage. My bird looks different. My bird smells funny.
 You know your bird best. If you notice anything different or odd or feel that something is wrong with your bird, you're probably right.
 Now you think...it will get better tomorrow or It's not that bad or a vet visit is going to be expensive.
REMEMBER: by the time your bird shows signs of illness it's already very sick. Don't wait. Tomorrow may be too late. Get your bird to an avian vet or one with bird experience.


03Sept08: FREE BIRD? No such thing. Even if offered a bird for FREE the cost to set-up & maintain is high. Parakeet or macaw your FREE bird requires a complete medical exam. Birds can carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans (zoonotic). Any responsible bird owner will want to have their new companion checked to confirm health, for possible zoonotic diseases & to establish a base line.
 Rarely do you get a FREE bird that comes with a cage. If you do, chances are the cage is not adequate for the bird. Most are way too small. Construction is poor. They're worn. Plan on paying as much or more for a proper cage as the retail cost of your FREE bird.
 Wow! We just got started. What about bowls, food, toys, play stands, lighting...OK you're starting to get the picture. So what am I saying? If you can't afford to provide these basics and Yes, toys are a basic when it comes to birds, then you can NOT afford to have a bird.   There are no FREE birds.

14July08: WHAT AM I? I am not a toy or a children's pet and I am not an ornament for display. Nor am I a possession. I am a companion. I have my own personality and I am as unique as you are. I prefer to pick my own friends, whether two legged or feathered. I can accept and adapt to most any situation with the proper guidance, boundaries and patience.
 You are crazy to think any child or even most teenagers are capable of caring for me. Think! Hmmm..the needs of a toddler. How many sub-adults do you know who are mentally and emotionally ready to care for a toddler? Now how about 24 hours a day-every day-for years because I will never grow up. There are few adults willing or able to commit to this.
 I will live 15-80 years, maybe more and I will never leave home. I will test the limits, try the patients, push the buttons, and frazzle the most capable of adults.  After all I am a parrot.

5July08: PREDATOR vs PREY: I am food. I am the hunted. I am on the menu for snakes, lizards, other birds, monkeys, cats, oh so many to list and even man. You kill me for food and because you perceive me as a threat to your crops. You kill me so you can take my babies & then I am expected to love you as a pet. Lets talk "hard wired". Nature has hard-wired me to survive. All predators have eyes in the front of their head. This includes you -Man- therefore you are a predator, yet I try to understand you and accept you as my flock. I am still afraid and fear you so be patient with me and please don't ever punish me. I do not understand punishment but I can learn to trust. We must trust each other and trust takes time.

1July08: I NEED MY REST! 10 hours, maybe even 12. That is what I need. I have the mentality of a 3-4 yr. old and the attitude of a 2-3 yr old and just like your kiddos, rest is essential. I am talking restful sleep in a quiet, dark, comfortable location. Not where the TV is on, music is playing or where chattering & activity by you or others is taking place.
  Want the world to know your business? Let me sleep in your bedroom....0ut of the mouth of babes & birds.
 Think about my night time location. Am I exposed to car lights thru-out the night? In the path of people or pet traffic? My eyes are closed, you think I am sleeping but you'd be wrong most the time. In fact I am a prey animal (more on this soon) and I am programmed for survival, to always be on guard for predators. Night just brings out a whole different set of predators and without the security of my flock I am on constant guard, catching short naps around the clock. So give me 10-12 hours of peace to sleep.