A trio of picky parrots – conure, cockatiel and parakeet are picky eaters – help!

Read in 4 minutes

From: Wanda  <xxxxxxx@gmail.com>

I have 3 birds, a conure, cockatiel and a parakeet. My birds are really fussy about their food. I feed the parakeet Hartsfield, the cockatiel is very fussy, I’m trying  to teach her to forge her food. She just throw her food out of the cage and use her dish as a toilet. The conure is very fussy too but she does look for her food until she finds what she wants.

Hi Wanda,

You didn’t mention how your birds are housed so I must assume they are each in their own cage of appropriate size. If they share a big cage or aviary, the dynamics of the situation change somewhat. 

You mentioned that you feed the parakeet Hartsfield. This is not a brand I’m familiar with nor could I find it on the internet. I believe you mean Hartz Mountain, a common brand of small bird food sold in cardboard boxes in superstores and grocery stores. I can’t recommend using that type of food because it may have been on the shelf and in warehousing for a very long time since it was packaged. The food can be old and won’t provide good nutrition for your little keet. The same is true if you are buying food for your cockatiel and conure at places that do not specialize in the freshest, healthiest bird diets. It can contain moth larvae that eat the inside of the seeds, leaving nothing for the bird and only causes seed moths to fly around your house unless you are unusually clean about removing every single seed every day. 

Any all seed diet requires supplementation or you are slowly starving the bird to death, significantly shortening its lifespan and leaving it open to opportunistic diseases. All your birds may fit into this category. More about supplements further on.

Birds that are on all seed diets can be converted to pellet diets with which no supplements are required. The conversion can be very easy with some birds but require a little longer with others. You find your birds to be picky eaters but they would convert over time. In fact, we have a plan on how to do the conversion as easily as possible. This plan happens to refer to Hagen pellets, a very good balanced option available for every size bird but the concepts are valid for any brand of pellet diet. 

Great choices in pellet diets include those available for your size birds from Higgin’s Intune line of pellets or Harrison’s Organic Non GMO pellet line. Either of these choices are available in sizes for every parrot species and they are great for foraging by hiding some in foraging toys.

We have found that Hagen Living World parakeet seed is a very excellent, fresh product that comes in factory sealed bags. It has a “use before” date, just like human foods so you know you are not feeding old, stale seed. The fresher the seed, the more nutrients it has available for the bird. Higgins Vita Seed with Probiotics is also available for your parakeet as well as your other parrots.

You didn’t mention what you are feeding the cockatiel and conure so I imagine you are feeding them seed diets as well. You’ll find a great choice for each in Hagen Living World Cockatiel blend and Hagen Living World Small Parrot blend or choose the appropriate size Vita Seed blend from the Higgins link above.

You mentioned the conure picks through the food until it finds what it wants. The problem with this is that it is only eating some of the types of seed in the food. All too often they choose the high fat seeds like sunflower, rejecting all else. Cockatiels sometimes do the same thing with their food. By choosing a no sunflower blend like  in the size for cockatiels to conures, you’ll avoid the “sunflower addict” problem and round out their nutrition. Or choose one of the other no sunflower foods for your cockatiel and conure.

You mentioned foraging and birds need to forage for some of their food. It is more like the experience they have in nature. You can use special treats, fruits, veggies and Lafebers AviCakes and Nutriberries to provide enrichment in their diet and lives.

If you do choose to stick with a seed diet, and many parrot parents do choose to do so — me included, you can add Avitech Avivita Plus multivitamin supplement or Nekton S multivitamin supplement.  If you have a specific health problem, your vet may recommend additional supplements which you will find in the Avitech and Nekton sections of the site.

Good luck and please let us know how you decide to proceed and your experiences.

written by nora caterino

Proper Bird Parrot Cage Placement

Read in 7 minutes

One of the first things I evaluate with a problem bird is their cage. Where it is located, size, shape, and how it is set up. Many behavior problems can be attributed to having your parrot in improper surroundings. Their cage should be a safe haven for them with plenty of things to keep them busy.

Type of Bird Cages

A good bird cage should be easy to keep clean, and it should not be round. The bar spacing should be appropriate for the type of bird or parrot that is housed in it. Whether or not you have a play top or a dome top is up to you. One of the best gifts you can give yourself and your parrot is a top of the line cage. When you skimp on a cage you just end up replacing it again and again. Do your research and get a cage that will last the lifetime of your parrot.

Bir Cage Placement

The cage should be placed in an area where you are sure your parrot will be able to view his surroundings safely without feeling threatened. You do not want to place a parrot directly in front of a window or in the center of a room. Our first response is to assume that they would enjoy the outside view or being right in the middle of a room so they can see everything. The truth is that this type of placement may be fine while your parrot is young. But once your parrot becomes sexually mature and aware that it is a prey animal, this type of placement will cause extreme stress upon him. Knowing this, a parrot should be placed against a solid wall, if this is not possible then the back half of the cage should be covered at all times. This will give him the sense of security that is needed.

Parrots do not live out in the open in the wild. They build nestsinside of trees or in dense forest areas. So they may live and raise young safely. Therefore we should try to mock this type of environment by placing the cage in a more indiscreet area or our homes. One where they can take pleasure in their surroundings and not feel threatened. You will need also to consider your parrots sleep requirements. Does the placement of the cage allow for the proper amounts of undisturbed quite darkness? If not do you have a sleeping cage in another room? Sleep deprivation is a problem with many parrots I see. So if your parrot is not receiving at least ten to twelve hours of rest each night you will need to re evaluate his cage placement.

Do’s and dont’s for cage placement

  • Don’t place directly in front of a window
  • Don’t place in center of a room
  • Don’t place right on the edge of a doorway
  • Don’t place next to the TV that is watched late into the niter.
  • Don’t place in the kitchen because of toxic fumes
  • Don’t place in an unfinished basement
  • Don’t place in a utility room
  • Don’t place in the garage
  • Don’t place them in your bedroom
  • Do place them in a corner of the family room with a sleeping cage in another room
  • Do place them in a frequently used office or sitting room
  • Do have a bird room if you have multiple birds
  • Do place in an alcove or visible dining room
  • Do place them against a wall
  • Do place them so they have a view of the entire room without putting them as a focal point.
  • You want your parrot to be able to observe his environment so he learns to trust his surroundings.

Bird Cage Perches

There should be three different size perches in the cage. These perches should also different textures with at least one of the perches being a rope or Booda perch. The rope perch should be the one that is placed at the highest point for sleeping. Place this perch in a U shape in an upper back corner of the cage. This is especially important if you have a feather picker. It gives a sense of safety to the parrot, plus if they turn to pick, the rope is right there and they will opt to shred that.

The other two perches should be wood or one wood one of a different texture of choice. I would also like to add that there does not have to be perches in front of every food dish. We tend to make life just a little too easy for these busy birds. Make them work a little.

Bird Cage Set up

Three different perches with the main wood one going horizontally across the middle. The rope perch should be in a U shape in an upper back corner. The third should be place just inside of the door so that when the door is opened the perch is brought out of the cage. By doing this you do not have to reach into the cage for step up commands that may be refused. When you want your parrot to come out you have him come down to this perch first, open the door once he is on it and request the step up. This is a must if your bird has aggression issues.

Bird Toys

Now it is time to add the toys. You should have at least three working toys in the cage at all times. Working toys are toys that make them work for their treats or favored foods. The other toys should be things that are easily shredded such as soft wood, paper, and leather, preferably all of the above. Good toys have many different shapes and textures for the bird to explore and destroy. Your parrot should have a minimum of ten toys in his cage at all time. You should not be able to see the parrot easily when he is in his cage. This is his home and he should feel camouflaged as he would if he was in the wild.

Place one of the working toys in front of the U shape perch, with the other working toy towards the front of the opposite corner. Place one of the other toys directly on the side of the U perch so that perch is surrounded by hanging toys. This allows your parrot a hiding place to feel secure. Now take paper towels, shredders, newspaper, leather, or brown paper bags and fold them up and weave into the cage bars making a little square section on the side and to the back of the U perch. Again this gives a sense of security to the parrot. Plus if you have a feather picker it gives them another option to chew instead of their feathers.

We have to remember that we took these birds from the wild and it is up to us to learn to understand their needs. Set their cage up in a way that is fun for them and keep it interesting. Busy beaks are happy beaks!

Thank You,

Michelle Karras
Published Birds USA
Slave to Twelve rescued Parrots

Comparative Human and Bird Digestive & Respiratory Systems

Read in 10 minutes

Comparative Physiology: Human and Bird

The human body uses food and liquids for energy, growth, maintenance and repair. Before it can use food and liquids for these purposes, it must go through a process called digestion, which is carried out by the digestive system. The digestive system consists of the following organs: Mouth, salivary glands, oesophagus, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, stomach, large and small intestines, duodenum, rectum and the anus.

digestive system

The process of digestion begins when a bite of food is taken. The teeth are then used to chew the food breaking it down into smaller and softer pieces. The food is also lubricated at this stage in the process by saliva produced in the salivary glands. Then, when the food is ready to be swallowed, a flap called the epiglottis blocks off the entrance to the windpipe, the soft palate rises to stop food entering the nasal cavity, and the food passes down the oesophagus, in a series of peristaltic waves, until it reaches the stomach, ready for the next stage of digestion.

The mouth of birds is distinctly different from humans. They have no teeth and their jaws are covered by a beak, which is in different forms depending on the bird. Birds, unlike humans, do not masticate or chew their food, as this is accomplished by the gizzard. The oesophagus of birds is large in diameter. Swallowing is accomplished

the same as humans, that is by peristaltic waves, which is in most birds aided by the extension of the neck.

bird digestion tutorial (raptor not parrot)

you haven’t lived until a Falcon pellets your lap

A human stomach is approximately 25 cm long. It is a J-shaped bag with strong, muscular walls which can stretch. These muscular walls contract and relax, churning the food up and making sure it is mixed very thoroughly with gastric juices. These gastric juices contain hydrochloric acid and enzymes, which, along with the churning of the stomach, eventually turn the food into a liquid called chyme. When this process has taken place, the chyme is pushed into the first part of the small intestine, the duodenum, ready for the next stage of digestion.

The human duodenum is a horseshoe shape organ, approximately 20 cm long. The purpose of the duodenum is to change the chyme into substances the body can use, with the help of different enzymes. It also neutralizes the acidic chyme making it safe to travel through the rest of the digestive system. Other organs which work with the

duodenum are the pancreas and the gall bladder. The pancreas forms the enzymes used by the duodenum, and insulin which is released straight into the bloodstream and taken to the liver. The gall bladder forms bile, which is also used by the duodenum. Once the chime has passed through the duodenum it has began to pass through the small intestine. This is a long, narrow tube, and although it is between 4 and 6 metres

long, it is coiled and looped tightly so that it fits into the abdominal space. The process of digestion is more or less finished, but the nutrients have to get out of the digestive system and into the rest of the body. This process is called absorption, and it takes

place as the digested food passes through the small intestine. Because of this it has a rich blood supply, both to nourish the small intestine, and to carry away the nutrients which are absorbed. After the chyme has passed through the small intestine, all the nutrients the body needs have been absorbed, and there is just one more stage it has to pass through before being excreted, the large intestine.

 blue & gold macaw with food particulate on beak

Blue & Gold Macaw

Birds have a duodenum and stomach similar to humans, but they also have an extra organ at this stage in digestion, the gizzard. The gizzard is similar to the stomach, but it is disc shaped and very muscular. It is responsible for breaking down food. Because of this, it sometimes contains small stones to help grind the food. A cycle of contractions forces food back and forward between the stomach, gizzard and duodenum to help mix it with enzymes. The small intestine of birds is very similar to that of humans. It is responsible for absorbing nutrients, and does so with the aid of the same enzyme as in humans, produced, produced by the pancreas.

The human large intestine is also known as the colon. It is much shorter and fatter than the small intestine-about 1m long and 6cm in diameter. All the useful material in food is absorbed before it reaches the large intestine. Only waste material and water, containing dissolved mineral salts, is left. The main function of the large intestine is to remove the water and salts from the waste. It does this in the same way as the small intestine absorbs nutrients. Once the water and mineral salts have been removed, the waste material becomes more solid, eventually forming the brown waste material called

faeces. Faeces are stored in the rectum until they are excreted through the anus.

The large intestine of bird’s primary purpose is the same as in humans. The only difference is that short villi extend into the lumen. The cloaca is the cavity in birds where the intestinal and urinary ducts end, which opens to the outside of the bird as a vent.

birds digestive tract

The parts of an animal which obtain the vital supplies of oxygen from the surroundings are called the respiratory system. In humans, the system starts at the nasal cavity inside the nose. This is both the inlet and outlet for air. Beyond this is the passageway, down the throat, which consists of the larynx and the windpipe, or trachea. These carry air down into the chest. From here the windpipe splits into two airways, called the bronchi. These carry air in and out of two lungs, which sit protected inside the rib cage of the chest.

The Human Respiratory System

Birds have a respiratory system which is functionally comparable to humans, but the structure is quite different. Air enters through the nostrils or nares of the bird and move into the nasal cavity. The nasal cavity is divided into a right and left side by a nasal septum. The septum is composed of cartilage and bone. The air then moves down the trachea, which is very similar to that of humans. It then, like humans, splits into two bronchus, going in to one of two lungs.

In the human lungs, oxygen is removed from the air and passed into the blood; the waste gas carbon dioxide leaves the blood to be eliminated in exhaled air. The airways, going into the lungs, divide into finer and finer branches, or bronchioles; the narrowest bronchioles end in alveoli. These are tiny blind ended air sacs where most of the gas exchange between air and blood takes place. The total volume of air in a pair of filled lungs is more than six litres.

 When you breathe in, muscles raise and expand the rib cage, while the diaphragm, a domed muscular sheet under the lungs, flattens. These movements increase the volume of the plearal cavity, the space in which the lungs sit, and air rushes in to equalize pressure. With the reverse movements, the volume decreases and air is pushed out.

It’s in the structure of the lung that birds differ greatly from humans. Birds lungs are very small compared to their body size, very stiff and do not become inflated. Birds also have eight air sacs (in most birds). These air sacs move air through the lungs, as they do not have a diaphragm. They do this by pressure changes in the air sacs. Many of these air sacs extend into bones. The whole structure of the respiratory system in birds is to aid them in flight. Their blood becomes oxygenated at a higher rate than humans. This helps them meet their high oxygen demand during flight. The air sacs also make the bird much lighter and make it easier to fly.

All living tissue has to be supplied with blood; it delivers nutrients and oxygen and takes away waste products. The system responsible for this is the circulatory system. This is a closed, tubular system of arteries, veins, capillaries and the heart.

To force blood through the vessels, the whole heart contracts, squeezing blood out of its internal chambers. Flap valves inside the heart mean that each side of the heart allows blood to move in only one direction. The heart is a double pump, with two pairs of pumping chambers, each having its own role. The right side pumps oxygen- depleted blood from the rest of the body to the lungs, where it gains a new oxygen supply. The blood then moves to the left of the heart, where it is pumped back out to the body. The four chambers of the heart, two atria and two ventricles, are built of cardiac muscle.

 Double yellow had Amazon parrots in flight with wings spread fully open

Double Yellow head Amazon

Blood circulates around the body, returning to its starting point again and again. In one complete tour of the system, blood goes in turn around each of the body’s two circulation tracks: from the heart, through the lungs and back to the heart; and from the heart to the rest of the body and back. In both tracks thick-walled arteries carry blood away from the heart, and thinner walled veins carry blood back again.

The circulatory system of birds is much like that of a human. It consists of a heart, arteries, veins and capillaries. Birds, like humans, have a 4 chambered heart (2 atria and 2 ventricles), which works in exactly the same way.

The differences between the circulatory system of birds, compared to humans, is the size of their heart. Relative to body size and mass, birds have much larger hearts than humans. The relatively large hearts of birds may be necessary to meet the high blood supply needed during flight. Hummingbirds have the largest hearts of all birds (relative to body size and mass), because of the large amounts of energy used when hovering.

Bird’s hearts also tend to pump more blood per unit time than human hearts. This is known as cardiac output, and is influenced by both heart rate (beats per minute) and stroke volume (blood pumped with each beat). The reason for this is again because of the large amounts of blood supply needed during flight.

“Comparative Physiology: Human and Bird.” 123HelpMe.com. 24 Feb 2013

Light Up Your Bird Cage with Florescent Budgies a Gift from NASA

Read in 4 minutes

Okay that’s a bit of a stretch but if you could see what budgies see – not so much.

A couple weeks ago we talked about not fully understanding the effects of ultraviolet lighting on our birds. Something that not a lot of us including myself fully understand.

Leave it to NASA to set the record straight on the correlation between parrots and the center of our galaxy. Admitted science geek that I am, lots of interesting content crosses my desktop daily.

Rummaging through the archives of Science Magazine there’s an article from January 2002 entitled ”Fluorescent Signaling in Parrots” by Katherine Arnold At the University of Glasgow.

Find all our higgins bird food here

About a week later in the Journal of Nature you’ll find reports on the fluorescence that has been seen in the Galactic Center in an article by astronomer Q Daniel Wayne of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

The first article explains how ultraviolet light is absorbed by budgies (as well as other parrots) feathers on the crown and the cheeks and then the light gets re-emitted – as yellow light which is a longer wavelength.

budgies shown under ultraviolet light

Figure 1. Budgerigar’s head (A) under white light and (B) under UV illumination to induce yellow fluorescence. (C) Crown irradiated with UV light only (dashed line), resulting in human visible fluorescent emission (solid line). (D) Normalized visual difference between the emission spectrum of plumage, measured as radiant emission from feathers (solid line) and the spectral sensitivities of the four single cones classes of the budgerigar’s retina (dashed lines) (4). (Credit: K.Arnold et al., Science, 295, 92)

Basically what Ms. Arnold found was that both boy and girl budgies used the fluorescence of birds of the opposite sex and their glowing feathers that fluoresced in a light spectrum range that neither you nor I can see as an indicator for the quality of a possible mate.

Find all our higgins bird food here

Going back to the second story the geeky science astronomer guys and gals using pics that mere mortals have no access to because they have the Chandra X-ray Observatory to play with and made really cool images of the Milky Way Check it out!

This 400 by 900 light-year mosaic of several Chandra images of the central region of our Milky Way galaxy reveals hundreds of white dwarf stars, neutron stars, and black holes bathed in an incandescent fog of multimillion-degree gas. The supermassive black hole at the center of the Galaxy is located inside the bright white patch in the center of the image. The colors indicate X-ray energy bands – red (low), green (medium), and blue (high).

Now that I’ve got you spun around scientifically, what the science guys and gals are saying is, forgetting fluorescence from parrot feathers for a moment, if you look at iron atoms that happen to take up a really big portion of the Milky Way galaxy (see image above), this fluorescence happens when – following x-rays that bump into electrons knocking said electrons out of the insides of the iron atoms which somehow excites the atoms so much so they produce more energy.


fluorescent suits are NOT chick magnets – you’ve been warned
Rounding third base here: The atoms calm down emitting a fluorescent x-ray which is a longer wavelength and is basically the same process that causes budgies to glow fluorescently (I think I made that word up) in the eyes of other budgies.


Some people are able to reflect the light that lands on them, to take directions or assets or energy and focus it where it needs to be focused. This is a really valuable skill.

Even more valuable, though, is the person who glows in the dark. Not reflecting energy, but creating it. Not redirecting urgencies but generating them. The glow in the dark colleague is able to restart momentum, even when everyone else is ready to give up.

Find all our higgins bird food here

At the other end of the spectrum (ahem) is the black hole. All the energy and all the urgency merely disappears.

Your glow in the dark colleague knows that recharging is eventually necessary, but for now, it’s okay that there’s not a lot of light. The glow is enough. Seth Godin

written by mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing
approved by nora caterino

your zygodactly footnote
(no inventory of budgies in space videos so we’re going with our favorite animals in space video)

Teaching Bacon the budgie to fly with clipped wings

Read in 6 minutes

From Birdie Brunch reader Betsy Lane:

File under “the universe is too complicated to be arbitrary” which begs the question “does a dyslexic agnostic believe in dog?”

THANK YOU for today’s (9/11/16) birdy brunch!  It was perfectly timed….

Yesterday evening, a Quaker parrot landed on my friend’s head while he was out on his deck (near Lawrence and Kedzie) . I took the bird overnight and am trying to find its owner (it’s not wild). I’ve used the links in your post, as well as spreading the word on FB and among my bird-rescue friends. We can’t keep this guy (already have one bird in quarantine–now two–and a hubby recovering from pretty major spine surgery), so hopefully his rightful owner will surface soon.

Just wanted to say thanks!

That’s CRAZY in a good way – best of luck – shoot us a pic and contact info and we’ll post it on Facebook

Thank you!

quaker parrot monk parakeet eating a morel of food

Bungees & other Soft Perches

The bird is currently being fostered, and I’ve asked the foster “mom” for contact info. In the meantime, here are a few pics of the little guy. He landed on my (male) friend’s head in the 4900 block of N Francisco last Saturday late afternoon.

He ate peanuts off his head and then rode around on his shoulder for awhile (which is how they got him inside and into a cage). He was stressed but seemed healthy and really acted like someone’s pet bird as opposed to a wild one.

Hi again!

Kathy at Happe Parrots Rescue helped me with this situation. She has the contact info for the foster, and is happy to talk to you if you have a minute. (I asked her for contact info to send to you directly, but I think she was more comfortable doing it this way.)

I really hope we can find this guy a good home soon. Seems like a nice bird!

Thanks again for all the great tips in the last Birdy Brunch!!!

And thank you for a great opening act Betsy

Geek warning

Whether it’s a child learning to tie it shoes or pilot learning how to fly a 747 the four stages of learning are the same.

1) unconscious incompetency – you don’t know what you don’t know – as in “we’re going to teach you how to tie your shoes today, Susie”.

2) which now makes Susie a conscious incompetent – she now knows that she doesn’t know how to tie shoes.

3) it becomes conscious competency – you’re able to accomplish a task but you need to think about each step – “put one lace over the other – create two loops – one loop under another and pull it tight”.

4) unconscious competency is you driving a car – you’re thinking about where you have to be – paying bills – where the kids are – you’re not thinking about the mechanics of driving – they are being taken care of at some other part of your brain.

You bring a new bird home – it’s always been in a cage. Boy it would be fun to see the bird fly. The bird flies into a wall not hurting himself but you say, “they were right on the Internet you should not let your birds fly in the home, because they will fly into a wall or a mirror.”

Have you given this much thought, Martha?

Bungees & other Soft Perches

I would imagine most of you reading this are drivers. There’s probably some aspiring drivers as well. Let’s go back to that day when you got your learners permit and dad takes you out to the big parking lot.

You get the seat adjusted – the mirrors, the seatbelt. Foot on brake – put the car into drive – hands at two and ten – and you accelerate slowly. Dad calmly says “let’s try a stop.”

Which you did and somehow the airbags didn’t deploy when the two of you were thrown towards the front of the car due to near Newton’s third law (Google it)

This is when dad said, see this will never work out, you will never drive, get out, let me drive home and call it a day.

find all our hagen bird food here too

Even if you went solo you found yourself maybe coming too close to another car making a turn too fast, and it took a number of miles over a number of months or even years before you were comfortable driving.

A subtle change in our rebranding program with the new website is the retiring of the tagline Simply Everything for Exotic Birds. Which means we have a lot to sell the caged bird keeper – which we do.

The new tagline We Speak Bird @ Windy City Parrot is meant to convey that we understand how birds think and we want you to learn their thought processes.

There is and always will be the debate between clipping birds and allowing birds to be flighted. We are advocates of flighted birds BUT it’s not that simple. Parrots in the wild can fly dozens if not 100 miles or more each day seeking food.

Recently a self driving Tesla rear ended a truck killing a person. At the time the vehicle relied on cameras for positioning around other vehicles.

The forensic investigation discovered that it was a very bright day and the truck was very white so the car’s computer decided the white truck was sky. Tesla has now installed radar in the self driving cars as an added level of safety.

So here’s a hypothetical, your bird flies across a room for the very first time in flies into a wall? Is it possible for the bird to know the difference between wall and cloud or sky?

Birds don’t know what glass is. A male canary will argue with the other male canary in the mirror until it drops – which is why you never put mirrors in canary cages.

find all our hagen bird food here too

We are going to work with Bacon the way we started with our cockatiel Popcorn – who flew into a wall and landed behind a dresser less than an hour of being in our home.

Last night we clipped Bacon’s wing feathers. This accomplishes a couple of things. The birds confidence level is reduced – a good thing in this case because it’s only temporary and the chance of flying into a wall has been diminished.

That said don’t ever think for a minute a clipped bird cannot fly – you’ve been warned

Next we’ll see how much lift she has out of the cage (yes, Bacon is a girl).

your zygodactyl footnote
(I was having a problem replacing my toner cartridge and came across this video)


Bacon (the budgie) In Our House – A Blue Bird of Paradise Finds Us

Read in 7 minutes

Editor’s note: We have quietly rehomed a number of large birds found by the Chicago Police and Fire Departments over the years. We found Popcorn, (a citizen calling to say a white bird was stuck in the bushes). We post pictures to Facebook and local neighborhood groups.

Here’s the story if you’ve not seen it: read this

How To Tell If Your Budgie Is Male or Female – As Well As Age

While we were having dinner together, I casually brought up to Mitch that I took in a stray parakeet today. A man passing by saw it in a tree and asked me for a net and a ladder to catch it. I supplied him with the items, not knowing if I would ever see him again much less my ladder and net. But only 5 minutes later he returned with the bird in the net and a big smile on his face.

man with rescued blue budgie in net


He didn’t want the bird as his concern was mainly for the bird’s survival and safety as he knew it would not know how to find food in the wilds of Chicago. I think he enjoyed the chase and having saved the bird.

He gave me the bird to find it a home and left. So I put it in a small cage we keep on hand (this has happened before), gave him some fresh food and water and parked him in the shop for the night. I identified it as a boy due to its light blue cere. He was eating when I left him.

Editors note: In case you don’t know, the cere is the area on birds where the nostrils are located. In adult parakeets it has a somewhat leathery appearance while parakeets under one year of age have a smooth often pinkish-brown cere in both genders. Once the budgie reaches about one year of age, the cere will, in most mutations, turn blue in males and anywhere from dark pink to deep brown in females.

2 green budgies on branch one sleeping


A few of the mutations are a bit difficult to differentiate this way with absolute certainty, but Bacon is not a member of one of these subsets. Catherine was therefore able to easily be sure that Bacon is a male of greater than one year of age. 

So, I was concerned Mitch would grouse that now we have a parakeet to deal with for awhile since he is used to a bigger bird, but no. He perked right up at the news and went right into the shop to get it. He was gone awhile because, of course he came home with the bird and an armload of supplies and treats.

Refresher post from 2 months ago Birds are like soul mates & should find you – right?http://blog.windycityparrot.com/2016/07/07/birds-like-soul-mates-find-right/

Mitch immediately started setting up Popcorn’s old cage. Changing the light bulb, changing out old toys and perches for new ones. Then he brought over the little cage to the big cage for the transfer. Bacon (the budgies new name, LOL) was not startled enough by my tapping the cage to leave the cage so I reached in and scooped him out bare handed and deposited him in the larger cage. I felt him try to beak me but not hard, his struggles were strong but not wild. I think he may be partially tame. He did not bite.

Right now he is fully feathered so he will stay caged for his safety. He saw the Tidy Seed Feeder with food in it and he was kind of confused dancing around trying to figure out how to get the food, then just scurried over to the side of the cage, climbed down and hopped right into the feeder. Took about 2 minutes in case anyone wants to know how hard it is to get a budgie to eat out of one. LOL.

Editor’s note: BTW Bacon (who I named in about 4 minutes) the blue budgie was brought to our home. No post was found in our three Ukrainian neighborhood Facebook groups for a lost bird. No small bird missing on Parrots 911 and my guess is the bird probably escaped from a pet box store – I’ve seen their caregivers in action.

Mitch was totally jazzed. He was glowing at our new little house guest. He immediately set up the camera to record the event and I hoped the little guy was as happy to be here as we were to have him here.

Let’s talk about parakeets, a misunderstood species. You’ll look at Bacon and call it a budgie although technically it is an American “pied” parakeet with clear marking on its wings (making him a “clear flight” mutation) and unusual color markings across its abdomen.


The reason we do not outsource that advertising is, unless you’re a caged bird keeper you really don’t understand – the keeping of caged birds.

I’d like to remind the audience that there is only one species of dog but more than 10,000 species of bird. We specialize in approximately 350 species of parrots and 372 species of parakeets.

Yes Martha the budgie is a species of parakeet but there’s another several hundred dozen more that we need to chat about (roughly 372) Or so we’re told.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again “every conure is a parakeet but not every parakeet is a conure”.

So here’s this many conure species alone – you may have never heard of.

many sun conure parakeet on branch

Getting back to Bacon, I’ve had him out of the cage a couple of times during his stay.

I’ll open the door to his cage while I’m working having all the other doors closed in the room so he can’t get too far but he hasn’t shown an interest in coming out of the bird cage.

Yesterday I thought he might like to take a shower with me. I grabbed him in the cage & got him onto the shower rod but the sound of the running water spooked him and he flew directly to some crown molding.

I didn’t catch him up there. He flew off and made it to the shelf in the shower where I grabbed him.


Today I pulled him out of the cage and had him on my hand for a while. then he flew off to more crown molding (between 8 and 9 1/2 feet above the floor). I was able to trap him between the window and shutters so I returned  him to his cage where he was clearly happy to be.

In that we had a similar issue when we rescued Popcorn, if he ends up staying with us, we’re going to follow the same protocol and clip his wings one time to restrain his confidence and then give him flying lessons and teach him landing zones as his wing feathers molt out and grow back, which they will quite quickly.

To my darling wife Catherine

I know you’re concerned that budgies are not considered parrots and we were talking about a bigger bird. I think we will still eventually get one. But Bacon is a magnificent creature – and budgies are very smart.

If bacon is here to stay, I see a long-lasting, loving relationship for the three of us because the 3 of us have one thing in common. We speak bird.

written by mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing
approved by nora caterino

your zygodactyl footnote

Growing list of every parrot & parakeet species on the planet

Read in 8 minutes

It is our understanding there are approximately 10,000 species of birds on the planet. We know that the single species – human – is really good at killing other species and alarming amount of birds are rapidly on the way to extinction.

At Windy City Parrot we have chosen to provide care for pet birds classified as parrots and parakeets. The numbers bouncing around the Internet inferred that there’s about 350 species of parrots and 370 species of parakeets.

That’s not including hornbills, soft bills and wax bills. Thus we try to hone our own knowledge base focusing on a little under 1000 feathered species. A pet project of mine is to actually create a list of all known birds falling under the soft bill – hook bill – hard bill and wax bill family.

I’m a database guy so I thought I would start a list. This has been a pet project of mine and it is ongoing.

You may have thought that you’ve heard the names of a lot of parrot species – until you read this (partial) list.

Just short of 500 (still plucking dupes too:-)

FYI – here’s a list of conure species we’re working on we will eventually merge  into the list below – and remember:

“every conure is a parakeet and also a parrot but not every parakeet or parrot is a conure”

THE list:

Adelaide Rosella, Platycercus (elegans) adelaidae
Alexandrine Parakeet aka Indian Ringneck Parrot
Amazonian Parrotlet,
Andean Parakeet
Antipodes Parakeet
Austral Conure or Parakeet
Australian King Parrot
Australian Ringneck,
Azure Rumped Parrot, aka Mueller’s Parrot
Bald Parrot,
Barred Parakeet
Black Lory
Black-backed Parrotlet
Black-billed Amazon
Black-capped Conure/Parakeet, aka Rock
Black-capped Lory, Chalcopsitta atra
Black-cheeked Lovebird
Black-collared Lovebird
Black-eared Parrot, aka Black-wingged Parrot
Black-eared Parrotlet
Black-fronted Parakeet(extinct)
Black-headed Parrot
Black-lored Parrot
Black-winged Lory
Black-winged Lovebird
Blaze-winged Conure/Parakeet
Blossom-headed Parakeet
Blue Lorikeet
Blue-and-yellow Macaw
Blue-backed Parrot
Blue-banded Grass Parakeet
Blue-bellied Parrot
Blue-cheeked Amazon
Blue-collared Parrot
Blue-crested Lory
Blue-crowned Green Parrot
Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot
Blue-crowned Lorikeet/Lory
Blue-crowned Parakeet/Conure, aka Sharp-billed Conure
Blue-crowned Parrot
Blue-crowned Racket-tail/Racquet-tail
Blue-eared Lory
Blue-eyed Cockatoo
Blue-fronted Amazon
Blue-fronted Lorikeet
Blue-fronted Parrotlet
Blue-headed Macaw
Blue-headed Parrot
Blue-headed Racket-tail/Racquet-tail
Blue-naped Parrot
Blue-necked Lory
Blue-rumped Parrot
Blue-streaked Lory
Blue-throated Macaw
Blue-throated Parakeet
Blue-winged Macaw
Blue-winged Parakeet
Blue-winged Parrot
Blue-winged Parrotlet
Blue-winged Racket-tail, aka Sulu Racquet-tail
Bourke’s Parrot/Parakeet
Brehm’s Tiger Parrot
Broad-billed Parrot (extinct)
Bronze-winged Parrot/Parakeet, aka Bronze-winged Conure
Brown Lory
Brown-backed Parrotlet
Brown-eared Conure/Parakeet
Brown-hooded Parrot, Pyrilia haematotis
Brown-necked Parrot
Brown-throated Parakeet
Budgerigar aka Australia, American or English Parakeet/Budgie
Buff-faced Pygmy Parrot
Burrowing Parrot
Buru Racquet-tail
Caatinga Parakeet
Caica Parrot
Caica Parrot
Canary-winged Parakeet
Cape Parrot
Cardinal Lory
Carolina Parakeet (extinct)
Ceram Lory
Ceylon Hanging Parrot
Chatham Parakeet
Chattering Lory
Chestnut-fronted Macaw
Cliff Parakeet
Cobalt-winged Parakeet
Collared Lory
Congo African Grey,
Cream-streaked Lory
Crimson Rosella
Crimson Shining Parrot
Crimson-bellied Parakeet
Crimson-fronted Parakeet
Cuban Amazon
Cuban Parakeet
Cuban Red Macaw
Derbyan Parakeet aka Lord Derby’s Parakeet
Diademed Amazon
Double-eyed Fig Parrot
Duchess Lorikeet
Ducorp’s Cockatoo aka Soloman Island Cockatoo
Dufresne’s Amazon
Dusky Lory
Dusky Parrot, Pionus fuscus
Dusky-billed Parrotlet
Dusky-headed Parakeet
Duyvenbodie’s Lory
Eastern Ground Parrot
Eastern Rosella, Platycercus eximius
Echo Parakeet, Psittacula eques
Eclectus Parrot, aka Solomon Island Eclectus
Edwards’ Fig Parrot aka Scarlet Cheek Fig Parrot
El Oro Parakeet
Elegant Parrot
Emerald Parakeet
Fairy Lorikeet
Festive Amazon
Fiery-shouldered Parakeet
Finsch’s Pygmy Parrot
Fischer’s Lovebird
Flame-winged Parakeet
Gang-gang Cockatoo
Geelvink Pygmy Parrot
Glossy Black Cockatoo
Golden Parakeet
Golden-capped Conure
Golden-capped Parakeet
Golden-collared Macaw
Golden-crowned Conure
Golden-mantled Racquet-tail
Golden-plumed Conure
Golden-plumed Parakeet
Golden-shouldered Parrot
Golden-tailed Parrotlet
Golden-winged Parakeet
Goldie’s Lorikeet
Gran Sabana Conure
Great Green Macaw
Great-billed Parrot
Greater Streaked Lory
Greater Vasa Parrot
Green Conure
Green Parakeet
Green Racket-tail/Racquet-tail
Green Rosella
Green-cheeked Conure
Green-cheeked Parakeet
Green-fronted Hanging Parrot
Green-rumped Parrotlet
Green-winged Macaw
Grey-cheeked Parakeet
Grey-headed Lovebird
Grey-headed Parakeet
Grey-hooded Parakeet
Guadeloupe Amazon (extinct)
Half-masked Lory
Half-moon Conure
Hispaniolan Amazon
Hispaniolan Conure
Hispaniolan Parakeet
Hoffmann’s Conure
Hooded Parrot
Horned Parakeet
Hyacinth Macaw
Imperial Amazon
Indigo Lory
Indigo-winged Parrot
Iris Lorikeet
Jamaican Conure
Jandaya Parakeet
Jaraquiel Conure
Jardine’s Parrot
Jenday Conure
Jonquil parrot
Josephine’s Lorikeet
Kākā, aka New Zealand Kākā
Kakapo, aka Owl Parrot, Strigops
Kākāriki, aka Yellow-crowned Parakeet
Kawall’s Amazon
Krieg’s Conure/Parakeet
Large Fig Parrot
Layard’s Parakeet
Layard’s Parakeet
Lear’s Macaw
Lesser Vasa Parrot
Lilac-collared Geoffroy’s Parrot
Lilac-collared Song Parrot
Lilac-crowned Amazon
Lilac-crowned Amazon
Lilac-tailed Parrotlet
Lilian’s Lovebird
Little Corella
Little Lorikeet
Long-billed Black Cockatoo
Long-billed Corella
Long-tailed Parakeet
Lord Derby’s parakeet
Louisiana Conure
Luzon Parrot
Luzon Racquet-tail
Macquarie Parakeet
Madarasz’s Tiger Parrot
Magdalena Conure
Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, aka Leadbeater’s Cockatoo
Malabar Parakeet
Malherbe’s Parakeet
Malherbe’s Parakeet
Mallee Ringneck
Maroon Shining Parrot
Maroon-bellied Conure
Maroon-bellied Conure/Parakeet
Maroon-fronted Parrot
Maroon-tailed Conure
Maroon-tailed Parakeet
Martinique Amazon, Amazona martinica (extinct)
Masked Shining parrot
Mauritius Grey Parrot
Mauritius Parakeet
Mealy Amazon
Mealy Amazon
Meek’s Lorikeet
Mexican Parrotlet
Meyer’s Parrot
Military Macaw
Mindanao Lorikeet
Mindanao Racquet-tail
Mitred Conure
Mitred Parakeet
Modest Tiger Parrot
Moluccan Hanging Parrot
Moluccan King Parrot, aka King Parrot
Monk Parakeet, aka Quaker Parrot
Montane Racket-tail
Mountain Parakeet
Mulga Parrot
Mulga parrot
Musk Lorikeet
Nanday Conure
Nanday Parakeet
New Caledonian Lorikeet
Newton’s Parakeet
Niam-niam Parrot
Nicobar Parakeet
Nicobar parakeet
Night Parrot
Norfolk Parakeet
Northern Rosella
Oceanic Eclectus Parrot (extinct)
Olive-headed Lorikeet
Olive-shouldered Parrot
Olive-throated Conure
Olive-throated Parakeet
Orange-bellied Parrot
Orange-billed Lorikeet
Orange-breasted Fig Parrot
Orange-cheeked Parrot
Orange-chinned Parakeet
Orange-fronted Conure
Orange-fronted Parakeet
Orange-winged Amazon
Ornate Lorikeet
Ouvea Parakeet, aka Malherbe’s Parakeet
Pacific Black-tailed Conure
Pacific Parakeet
Pacific Parrotlet
Painted Conure
Painted Parakeet
Painted Tiger Parrot
Pale-headed Rosella
Palm Cockatoo
Palm Lorikeet
Pantchenko’s Conure
Papuan Hanging Parrot
Papuan King Parrot
Papuan Lorikeet
Paradise Parrot
Patagonian Conure
Peach-faced Lovebird
Peach-fronted Conure
Peach-fronted Parakeet
Pearly Conure
Pearly Parakeet
Peruvian Black-winged Parrot
Pesquet’s Parrot
Peter’s Conure
Petz Conure
Philippine Green Parrot
Philippine Hanging Parrot
Pileated Parrot
Plain Parakeet
Plum-faced Lorikeet
Plum-headed Parakeet
Pohnpei Lorikeet
Port Lincoln Parrot
Potoo, Nyctibius
Prince Lucien’s Conure
Princess Parrot
Puerto Rican Amazon
Purple-bellied Lory
Purple-crowned Lorikeet
Purple-naped Lory
Pygmy Hanging Parrot
Pygmy Lorikeet
Quaker Parrot
Queen of Bavaria Conure
Rainbow Lorikeet
Raja Lory Black Lory
Red Lory
Red Shining Parrot
Red-and-blue Lory
Red-and-green Macaw
Red-bellied Macaw
Red-bellied Parrot
Red-breasted Parakeet
Red-breasted Pygmy Parrot
Red-browed Amazon
Red-capped Parrot
Red-cheeked Parrot
Red-chinned Lorikeet
Red-crowned Amazon
Red-crowned Parakeet, aka Red-front Parakeet
Red-eared Conure
Red-eared Parakeet
Red-faced Parrot
Red-fan Parrot
Red-flanked Lorikeet
Red-fronted Conure
Red-fronted Lorikeet
Red-fronted Lory
Red-fronted Macaw
Red-fronted Parrot
Red-fronted Parrotlet
Red-headed Lovebird
Red-lored Amazon
Red-masked Conure
Red-masked Parakeet
Red-necked Amazon
Red-quilled Lory
Red-rumped Conure
Red-rumped Parrot
Red-shouldered Macaw
Red-speckled Conure
Red-spectacled Amazon
Red-tailed Amazon
Red-tailed Black Cockatoo
Red-tailed Parrot
Red-throated Conure
Red-throated Lorikeet
Red-throated Parakeet
Red-vented Cockatoo
Red-winged Parrot
Reddish-bellied Conure/Parakeet
Regent Parrot
Regent Parrot
Reischek’s Parakeet
Rennell Parrot
Réunion Parakeet (extinct)
Rimatara Lorikeet
Rock Conure
Rock Parrot
Rodrigues Parrot
Rose-crowned Conure
Rose-faced Parrot
Rose-faced Parrot
Rose-headed Conure
Rose-headed Parakeet
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Rufous-fronted Parakeet
Rüppell’s Parrot
Rusty-faced Parrot
Saffron-headed Parrot
Saint Croix Macaw
Saint Lucia Amazon
Saint Vincent Amazon
Salmon-crested Cockatoo, aka Molucan Cockatoo
Salvadori’s Fig Parrot
Samoan Lory
Sandia Conure
Sandia Conure
Sangihe Hanging Parrot
Santa Cruz Conure
Santa Marta Conure
Santa Marta Parakeet
Santarem Conure
Sapphire-rumped Parrotlet
Scaly-breasted Conure/Parakeet
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet
Scaly-headed Parrot
Scaly-naped Amazon
Scarlet Macaw, Ara macao
Scarlet-chested Parrot
Scarlet-fronted Parakeet
Senegal Parrot
Seram Lory
Seychelles Parakeet (extinct)
Sharp-tailed Conure
Short-billed Black Cockatoo
Short-tailed Parrot
Simeulue parrot
Simple Parrot
Singing Parrot
Slaty-headed Parakeet
Slender-billed Conure
Slender-billed Parakeet
Society Parakeet
Socorro Conure
Socorro Parakeet
Solomon Lory
Song Parrot
Sordid Conure
Souance’s Conure
Speckle-faced Parrot
Spectacled Parrotlet
Spix’s Macaw
Spot-winged Parrotlet
St. Lucia Amazon
St. Thomas Conure
St. Vincent Amazon
Stephen’s Lorikeet
Striated Lorikeet
Sula Hanging Parrot
Sulawesi Hanging Parrot
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Sulphur-winged Parakeet
Sulu Racquet-tail
Sun Conure
Sun Conure
Superb Parrot
Swift Parrot
Swift Parrot
Tahitian Lory or Tahiti Lorikeet
Tanimbar Cockatoo
Tepui Parrotlet
Thick-billed Parrot
Timneh African Grey Parrot
Tres Marías Amazon
Tucuman Parrot
Tui Parakeet
Turquoise Parrot
Turquoise-fronted Amazon
Ultramarine Lorikeet
Varied Lorikeet
Vernal Hanging Parrot
Vinaceous Amazon
Vinaceous-breasted Amazon
Violet-necked Lory
Vulturine Parrot
Wagler’s Conure
Wallace’s Hanging Parrot
Weddell’s Conure
Western Corella
Western Ground Parrot
Western rosella
White Cockatoo
White-bellied Parrot
White-breasted Parakeet
White-capped parrot
White-crowned parrot
White-eared Conure
White-eared Parakeet
White-eyed Conure
White-eyed Parakeet
White-fronted Amazon
White-naped Lory
White-necked Conure
White-necked Parakeet
Wied’s Parrotlet
Yellow Rosella
Yellow-and-green Lorikeet
Yellow-bibbed Lory
Yellow-billed Amazon
Yellow-billed Lorikeet
Yellow-breasted Pygmy Parrot
Yellow-breasted Racket-tail
Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrot
Yellow-chevroned Parakeet
Yellow-collared Lovebird
Yellow-crested Cockatoo
Yellow-crowned Amazon
Yellow-eared Conure
Yellow-eared Parrot
Yellow-faced Parrot
Yellow-faced Parrotlet
Yellow-fronted Parakeet
Yellow-fronted Parrot
Yellow-headed Amazon
Yellow-lored Amazon
Yellow-naped Amazon
Yellow-shouldered Amazon
Yellow-sided Conure
Yellow-streaked Lory
Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo
Yellow-throated Hanging Parrot
Yellowish-breasted Racquet-tail
Yucatán Amazon

Growing Compilation by Mitch Rezman
and the Windy City Parrot Team

Why Is My Baby Senegal Parrot Plucking It’s Feathers?

Read in 7 minutes

From: DEBBIE C <dcrxxxxxxx@xxxx.com>

Date: Fri, Aug 12, 2016 at 8:14 PM
Subject: Senegal baby plucking feathers
To: mitch@windycityparrot.com

Hello Mitch,

I have a Senegal baby parrot, four months old. It is pulling its feathers out. I have had Senegal parrots before, and I never had a plucking problem with them. This bird has everything.

I don’t understand why it pulls out its own feathers? It is breaking my heart. I would appreciate Any advice, & help that you can give me.

Thank you sincerely. 

Debbie C

Dear Debbie,

Nora here. Mitch is tied up with tweaking the new Windy City Parrot website so he asked me to help you.

editor’s note: we do have a remarkable team 🙂

Plucking feathers is usually caused by stress or boredom. Both of these issues should not already be a problem in the case of such a young bird. Weaning and moving to a new home is, of course somewhat stressful, but life is so new for such a young baby.

Since I don’t have a picture of the parrot to see, I have to ask how you know it is plucking? Have you seen it actually pull feathers out possibly making a soft squeak while plucking?  Please read the Blog post  on determining true plucking from over-grooming or molting by clicking on this link.

senegal parrot on back on human hand

However, there could be some stresses involved in moving into the new home. Do you have young children or other pets that could be causing stress for the baby? Is he eating well? Does he have a pellet or seed and supplement diet? Is he eating people food too? Are you aware of the human food items that should never be giving to a parrot? If not, you want to be sure to read “What is bad for my parrot to smell and eat?

Did the pet shop give you a well parrot certificate indicating the baby had seen an  avian vet and received a clean bill of health? If not, you should locate a qualified AVIAN vet (not just an animal vet who also will see parrots) and explain the problem as well as everything about his diet and home life.

There are two benefits to this: not only will this rule out any health issues but you will also establish a relationship with a qualified avian vet who will have records and knowledge of your parrot in case he ever becomes ill, injured and for yearly well parrot check ups. The vet will likely want to perform some blood testing to be sure everything is in balance. S/he may want to perform a mouth swab culture and tests the baby’s poop to ensure there are no parasites or bacterial/viruses indicated. S/he’ll weigh your bird to be certain it is within normal range at this point in life. Should any problems be identified you’ll receive proper medication and treatment plan. Skin problems or allergic reactions can be identified and treated.

Should any health issues be found, proper medication and treatment can be an important part of stopping the feather plucking.  If no health issues are present, you’ll rest comfortably knowing that the issue is not caused by health.

Exotic Birds: Senegal Parrot

Because you got your Senegal from a pet shop, you did not get an opportunity to see the parent parrots. There are unethical breeders out there who over-breed and keep birds that are not good parent candidates in their breeding programs out of greed or lack of knowledge. While to my knowledge there has been no gene identified that passes along feather plucking, it is an accepted fact that parrots that pluck can have babies that pluck. Also, over breeding or poor selection or care of breeder birds result in babies that pluck or have less than the sweet personalities that are traits of babies produced by top quality parents.

Since weaning and joining a new family is stressful and you think the bird is plucking, I suggest you add two supplements to your bird’s diet. The first is Avitech Avicalm Calming Bird Supplement. This can help your baby deal with the stresses he is experiencing and the second product is Avitech Feather In Anti Pick Treatment. It is a mix of ingredients that are to be mixed with water and used in your own clean unused spray bottle, spraying only at times the baby has plenty of time to dry before bedtime. These should be used along with a good avian multivitamin if you are feeding a seed based diet; pellet diets have complete nutrition and a multivitamin isn’t usually necessary unless your vet recommends you use one.



If one of one or both of the parents were pluckers it is possible that the period of time your baby was with the parents, if any, he could have had the tiny down feathers sometimes present at birth plucked. Plucking produces slight pain and therefore releases certain brain chemicals that cause the release of endorphin’s that actually make the bird feel good. This can cause a bird to become an endorphin “junkie”, wanting to cause this slightly euphoric feeling to recur again and again.

Be sure your baby Senegal is not being stressed by children or other pets, yet has its cage located in a central part of the home so he can see what is going on, against a wall. Don’t place the cage directly in front of a large window because he doesn’t understand the protection glass provides and can be stressed by fear, thinking that the predators outdoors such as hawks, cats, dogs, snakes and other common predators found near the home can get in.

Don’t dote on him just because he is so cute and so new. He will be part of our family for many years to come. Since he is already having a desire to pluck and when life goes on and you don’t have time to spend as much time with him, he may feel sad and pluck even more.

Be sure his cage has lots of toys, interesting food items served in interesting ways such as in hanging kabobs and treats hidden in foraging toys, plenty of perches and everything needed to keep him from being bored. Because he is so young he’ll enjoy some foot toys probably as well as a wide spectrum of other types of toys. He is young and play isn’t really an instinct so be sure you teach him how to play and have fun with toys. Have toys of different textures and materials, preening toys, swings, perches of different materials and textures. A busy parrot has little time to pluck. Or be bored.

Playing with a Foot Toy

There are so many reasons a parrot can begin plucking that Mitch developed a wonderful questionnaire to help the Windy City Parrot team help people who have plucking parrots. If your avian vet finds nothing wrong that could cause plucking, the parrot has lots of foraging and preening opportunities to distract it from its own feathers, it isn’t near any large windows but is in the center of family activity, and no ideas presented here help after giving it a bit of time then please fill out the questionnaire, email it to us and we will do our best to help you further.

I do hope this helps your baby Senegal and you.

written by nora caterino
approved by mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing




Please forgive us for any broken links, extra white spaces or missing images you encounter in our website and blog.

We are still working through and correcting the result of technical issues that arose during the deployment of our new and (soon to truly be completely improved website.

If you find an issue please click “contact a Human” (above) to earn 50 points.

your zygodactyl footnote


Why Is My Bird Suddenly Biting Me?

Read in 8 minutes

Aug 01, 2016 11:39 am

Joanne (jojodauxxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxx.net)

I am so torn by my birds recent behavior. While I was cleaning his cage this morning, I let him roam. He was well behaved. He started pecking at the carpet and I said “No” in a stern voice. Of course he fluffed up and waddled around.

When I finished, I gave him his bath which he loved. He just goes to the top of his cage and I spray and sing to him. After that, I got the cape I usually wear when holding him. He got all excited and came right up to my shoulder. He nuzzled and kiss my ear many times.

Then I sat down and just moved a charging cable away so he wouldn’t be tempted to chew on it. Well, as soon as I did that he lunged at my forearm! He didn’t break skin but it hurt. Last week for no reason, I went to pick him up from the floor just to bring him higher on a chair by me, and he latched onto my left index finger and bit hard. Still healing from that incident.

I am really concerned about this behavior. I inherited Banjo back in 2012. after his owner passed. He was 8 years old at the time. I would hate to surrender him but I just can’t trust him. Oh, he also bit clear through my right ear about a year ago. That time he did’t want to go back to his cage.

Hope you can give me some advice.

Joanne 🙁


Hi Joanne,

Thanks for contacting us and I’m sorry to hear your bird has been behaving badly.

First, let me say I feel badly that I didn’t get back to you faster. As you may know, we have just launched the new improved (or will be very soon) Windy City Parrot website and I have to admit that in the press to finish I wasn’t as rapid with responses as normal. I do apologize to both you and your bird.

I see several possibilities as to exactly why you were bitten. But I could probably help you better if I knew more about the bird and you. Would you mind answering a few questions to help me help you??

Here we go…..

  • The first question of course is his species, so what type of parrot is he?
  • Has the bird seen an avian vet since you inherited him?
  • Did he come to you with any records of hatch date, preferred foods, normal schedule?
  • Did he go through a period of mourning for the person he lost during the first months he was with you?
  • What was the family composition from which he came? Include how many people lived in house with him, other pets etc. What is the family composition in your home including other pets?
  • How would you rate his level of tameness, desire to play with and interact with humans? Has he been trained to respond to any “manners” commands.

Step-up is a basic “manners” command

  • Tell me about the average daily schedule. When does he wake up? How many hours does he get out of cage time and how many hours does he get quality time with you outside the cage? When is bedtime? Is he covered at night? How do you make him feel secure during his sleep? How many hours of nighttime sleep does he get UNDISTURBED? Does he exhibit any sleep issues such as night frights? I want to learn his habits.
  • Tell me about his cage, size, perches (number and TYPE), playtop if an, any play stand, outdoor cage, etc. Where is the cage located in your home? Is it directly in front of a large window or sliding glass door? Is it in the center of family activity or isolated in a corner?
  • Where does he like to spend his in cage time and where in the cage does he like to sleep.Does he have a spot in the cage where he can “hide” when he wants privacy, perhaps behind a grouping of toys?  
  • Does he have a “bed” like a pet tent or snuggle hut (some species love these, others don’t) I want to learn all about how many toys he has in the cage, perches, as much as possible about what his personal home is like.

Some birds like the security of a Snuggle Hut


Find All Birdie Bed Time Products Here

  • What does he eat during an average day? Please be specific as to food or pellet type, human foods, supplements, eating with people or only in cage. What about snacks and treats?  The more info the better.
  • How does he react to new toys? Does he accept new toys quickly or wait 2 weeks or more to accept a new one?
  • Does he actively play, exercise, flap his wings sometimes, wander around on the floor a while perhaps following you? How much quality one-on-one time does he spend with you in an average day and when does this usually happen.

Does he accept new toys like this Amazon?

  • If there are other family members, how does he react around them? What about strangers entering the home? Does he accept them or become aggressive and perhaps nippy?
  • You refer to him in the “masculine” voice. How do you know he is male? Has he been DNA tested at some time? At his age (young adult), it could be critical to know the gender for absolute certain but I’ll explain why and how to inexpensively learn gender when I reply to you after learning more about you and him.

I know this sounds like a lot of info to provide but if you just answer each one, perhaps including a photo of the cage with toys, the bird, and write a sentence or two about each question I’ll have enough information to really help you.

But we aren’t quite finished just yet….. I’d like you to think back to the time he bit your ear. What time of year did it happen and was he perhaps molting at the time? What happened IMMEDIATELY before the bite? Think not just of you and him but outside noises, activities by others in the home, a car backfiring nearby, anything you can recall happening in the 60 seconds before the bite. Also did you notice a warning of any type.

Think of the recent nip and provide me the same information.

I truly look forward to hearing from you with detailed info so that I can provide you a response that is accurate and helpful.

I promise that upon receiving your reply you will get a rapid response either in a personal email, or in the next Sunday Birdie Brunch — or both. I didn’t find an account for you on our website so you want to be sure to signup for our opt-in weekly Sunday Birdie Brunch.

Create an account (I noticed you don’t have one currently) and you’ll get 100 points just for creating your account as a new customer. You can spend points just like money on things your parrot will love.

Then login to the website and on the homepage you’ll learn how you can earn points for having created a new customer account, or earn points just for logging in and other things. It’s a limited time offer and points can be used just like money to pay for items you want or need from our website.

You’ll get an opportunity to sign up for Sunday Birdie Brunch through the screen you will encounter that invites you to sign up.

We plan to provide a truly awesome website learning and shopping experience once we get these technical bugs caused by the website migration. We want to help you with your problem with you parrot and also enjoy a long happy relationship providing you with a knowledge base, blog and other tools to help you learn to make living with a companion parrot safe, fun and easy for both you and your bird.

Nora, Feature Writer, Website Admin Asst.

Unfortunately, I have not learned the answers to these questions from Joanne but I do hope to hear from her soon.

This is a great example for others who need assistance from Windy City Parrot regarding their parrot-related problems to use as a guide to providing the info we need to best help you. 

written by nora caterino
approved by mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing

Banjo, the African Grey

Read in 4 minutes

I have an African Grey who simply loves only me. However, when I let him out of his cage to wonder around, he insists on biting my woodwork! Is there anything I can do to stop this behavior? When he does this, I put him back in his cage. He really doesn’t want to go, and ruffles his feathers.



Dear Catherine,

Thanks so very much for your quick response.

I don’t let Banjo out of his cage everyday. Usually once or twice a week. I have a cat, too and simply can’t trust them unsupervised. He doesn’t care for my significant other either. He really only like women, especially me. I am surprised that he took to me so well. I inherited him at age 8, and that was 4 years ago. He’s bitten me a couple of times, but only because I had the cell phone up to my ear and him on the other shoulder. He’s so very jealous I guess of anything else near my ear except him. He calls me “mommy”, too. So sweet!

I’m gonna try the nutri berry & cracker idea. I do have a large plastic peanut that I can hide huts in. He has toys in his cage which he plays with ofter. Love to come out of cage for a bath once a week, too. I just spray him with luke warm water. He always goes to the top of his cage for that and flaps & flaps his wings. He doesn’t know that he can frly. His wings have never been clipped. He just waddles around like a little old man.

The woodwork is by the refrigerator. No he really doesn’t have to go that far if I can divert him. I’ll try. He wonders around and usually end up there. Now today I had him out but sat on the floor with him, and he just stayed close to me. He scraps his feet on the floor like he’s playing a banjo, hence his name. Not once id he try to go for the woodwork. I also put 2 new toys in his cage. Let’s see. I’ll give it a try. Thanks again.


Dear Joanne

Sounds like you have a wonderful relationship with your Grey. And you want to keep it that way. Putting the bird back in the cage after it tries to chew your woodwork or does something else that you don’t want him to is not the best response.

Your bird does not understand the relation between the two events. All he knows is he has come out and while he is doing so, gets grabbed and caged. I can understand his frustration. And yours.

Where is the cage in relation to the woodwork? Does he have to pass it to get to you or his stand, toys? If so, can you rearrange the room so he bypasses the woodwork?

Is he out a bit and then wanders over to the woodwork? Does he comes out and zero in on the woodwork?

What does he have to do when he is out of the cage? Ideally you should have something set up for him to go right to when he is out. A stand with toys, a special toy box filed with surprises? Like a small child a parrot will look for something interesting. You need to provide that.

When he is let out pick him up and set him on a stand with something fun to nibble or play with. By pass the woodwork. He should everytime he comes out be diverted to a stand or play area with fun stuff, not just the way it was left the day before and the day before that. Wrap a nutra-berrie in paper and leave in a food dish, leave a paper towel wrapped cracker.

Distract, distract, distract. You may also want to try Clicker Training. You devise fun little games and tricks for your bird that he will soon look forward to being rewarded for and not give the woodwork a second look.

Also keep in mind, that a pet that wants attention will do things that make you react to them and that you do react by coming over and picking up the bird, so it then becomes the bird training you.

We wish you the best


your zygodactyl footnote