Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Soltia Aviary

I figured that it was time to share with you some information about the breeder I emailed back and forth a little while ago regarding a possible Red-bellied baby.

She now has her aviary website up and running and you can visit it here:

Soltia Aviary

She currently has four Brown Head babies ready for good homes, I recently got a picture of the cuties.

I actually saw those babies back in May and if I wasn't entirely set on getting a female Red-bellied at the time, I would have put a deposit on the following little guy. I mean, come on, how can you resist this face?

This little one spent a lot of my time there on me.

Now why go with a bird from her over another breeder?

Well, first off Barb was always willing to answer any questions I had. I got frequent updates and as we conversed more and more, I even got to see pictures of her other babies (which I always enjoy), including some of her baby Bronze wing Pionus (such gorgeous birds, this would be the Pionus for me if I ever went down that road) which one of whom is going to friends of mine. My visit over to her house in May wasn't exactly planned and gosh was her house clean when we got there! Her breeder pairs have quite spacious cages and are provided with good food and toys. All of the above were things I was looking for in finding a breeder and I wouldn't ever hesitate to bring a baby of hers home with me (fate decided otherwise with the RB by putting Pixel on my road..)

So yeah, if you are in Canada and are considering a Red-bellied or Brown head parrot, a Dusky or Bronze-wing Pionus, please consider going to Soltia Aviary.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Evening pictures

These were taken this evening. As always, Piper moved too much and many pictures of him were blurred, Petey made himself rather elusive (also a common thing) and Pixel decided to start playing with a piece of wood (she's starting to play more and more!).

In no particular order..

Cocky attitude

Over the past few months, Zuri has become a bit of a bully. Most of the time, he just chases the others around for the fun of making them leave; he's quite successful at this with Joey but on the rare occasion that Joey stands his ground, Zuri just leaves.

But, his attitude with Petey of late hasn't been so innocent.

He actually gets closer and closer to Petey before attempting to dive bomb him. Of course, my boyfriend or myself will intervene in these occasions, before there is any injuries (or when they happen, it's often to our hands).

In old posts, I have mentioned how mean Petey could be with the other birds; this has become less and less of a problem over these past few months. In fact, on the few occasions that Zuri has managed to successfully dive bomb Petey, I was more concerned for Petey's sake, since Zuri seems to become relentless in those moments.

He has recently turned two years old. I do feel like it might be the reason behind all of this - I do believe that he does recognize Meyer's from other Poicephalus - back when I watched my parents' Senegal and Meyer's, he would leave the Senegal alone but would try to get to the Meyer's (and she to him), specially in the first few days. When it became obvious that his position wasn't going to be taken by Itsy, he did calm down. I do wonder if at this time he's not trying to assert himself as the "top" male Meyer's between himself and Petey.

In any case, it's the first time I've actually had to dealt with a bird really going through these type of changes at the age of two - Piper and Shade's "terrible twos" went smoothly and Joey was almost 3 when I did get him (he was a bit more nippy back then I'll have to admit) and Petey was 13.

It will be interesting.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Learning by example

I did mean to provide more frequent updates.
But things being what they were of late, I didn't find myself with the time to do so.

One of the things I have noticed when I first got Pixel was how she seemed to be a bit clueless as to what toys were for. She didn't really play, she just moved from perch to perch. The one on one time she spent cuddling with me.

She's definitively no Zuri.

As I've mentioned before, she was in a room with many other birds, but I don't recall many toys around the room. I think the room itself (walls included) acted as toys. Quite frankly, I'd rather keep my walls and furniture intact so I do provide plenty of other chewing opportunities.

I'll also be honest; once my vet gave me the indication that Pixel was quite healthy, I continued quarantine for a few days and then, about a week or so after she came here, I did slowly introduce her to the others. Here is my reasoning; the blood results came back clear and however I want to look at it, even if I kept Pixel in one room where the birds weren't, they do end up sharing the same air. I honestly believed she stood more to gain by coming in contact with the others and seeing how they act then there being any chance that she would make them sick.

And observing she has been doing since. She's even started to try and play with a few items. She's quite keen on imitating her smaller brother, Joey. She's taken to shelling almonds (didn't quite seem to know what to do before) after seeing him do it and she's starting to play with smaller softer foot toys (like pieces of cork) after Joey did the same. Since then, she's moved onto trying out different other things as well.

I do have a video of the two of them spending some time together doing similar things.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Someone likes egg yolk!

One of the things that came out of Pixel's blood work is that she needs a bit more protein in her diet. I've been trying to introduce more in different fashion but she is a bit of a picky eater.

This morning I tried giving her a bit of the egg I cooked for myself (soft boiled). She refused right off the bat, so I proceeded to eat it in front of her, hoping that this would give her an incentive to try it..well, it kinda worked. She didn't want to have much to do with the egg white, although she did nibble on it a bit but she licked the yolk of off the piece clean.

I'm hoping that having her see what the others eat down the line will help her eat other things as well; it has worked so far with some of my birds that didn't want anything to do with fresh foods when I got them. That and being always offered the fresh food.

Pixel - Day 4 (June 14th 2010)


She said peak-a-boo! I was playing with her (or mimicking her head movements) and that got her all excited and she let out that gem in the sweetest possible voice (yes, I’ll admit I’m smitten). I believe she also said “Stewie”, which I’ll try to convert to “Sweetie”.

She’s no longer hesitating to come and see me. She’ll readily come off the cage onto my finger. I also had her on my shoulder in the evening which meant I had to thoroughly clean myself before going to see the other birds.

I had also written to the breeder yesterday asking if she could give me the hatchdate based on the band information (remember, same breeder as Joey and Zuri). She got back to me this morning (definitively faster than when I tried to figure out Zuri’s hatchdate) and Pixie was hatched on September 26th, 2004, so she’s not quite 6 years old yet.

I am very happy with the way she has progressed in just three complete days (not going to count Friday here). She actually let me put her on her back in my hand, without trying to grab any fingers. I am still unable to do this with Zuri and it took me quite a bit to get to do it with Joey (and even there, I don’t try it always as he’s not always willing to cooperate).

Just keeping my fingers crossed that the blood test results come back tomorrow with no major problems.

Some pictures from day 4

Grooming - you can see that her eyes are definitively not an as vibrant orange-red as her brother (who has very striking eyes)

This will be it for the day to day updates.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pixel - Day 3 (June 13th, 2010)

Bribery, thy name is almonds!

I was still looking for a favorite food which could act as some type of bribery item to get Pixie to come closer to us. I think I found it in the form of an almond. When presented to her, her eyes pinned in what looked like thrilled expectations, there was no question that this was indeed an edible item. She took it with no hesitation and destroyed it in mere seconds. For the second one, I tried to have her actually move towards me (whereas the first one was offered right to her) and she was a bit more reluctant to get it, but ultimately decided that it was well worth the effort.

I forgot to mention that this happened out of her cage. Another big positive which happened today was that she willingly stepped up on my finger from inside her cage without any hesitation. Up until today she wanted nothing to do with it, choosing to come out by her own means when she truly felt like it.

Also, she has a few toys to her disposition in the cage, mostly things to destroy but made of different materials. I also have a bucket of foot toys and I took one out, a shreaddable item, for her to play with. She seemed quite interested, although the actual play time was rather brief. I do have hope that she has some idea on how to play with things so getting her to actively play with more toys shouldn’t be too difficult.

Finally, once the other birds went in for the night and I devoted an hour or so to her. Since she was still somewhat shy, I went to my usual post when spending time around her which is on my bed, reading. The boy came and joined me and read as well. During that last half hour, she started making cooing noises, all rather cute. She came closer to us, as she’s been doing for a bit, but each time we move to get closer, she moves away. You see that she wants to be close but doesn’t quite know how close and how to achieve this yet. Well, during the last 15 minutes of her time out, she started turning her head and scratching it on the edge of the cage. I couldn’t help it anymore, I got up to scratch her head. She went up the ladder of the playtop portion of her cage, but still presented her head to me so for 15 minutes I stood there scratching her head and was she ever so sweet about it. Then it was time to go in and once I put her on a perch, I went to get a final almond to give her and she stepped right back up (ignored the almond) and did the head gesture wanting to feed me.

I guess she’s finally starting to settle in.

All in all, a good day of progress.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pixel - Day 2 (June 12th, 2010)

She seems a bit more shy today. She came out of her cage a few times but spent most of it inside (I left the door open quite a bit to let her in/out as she pleased).

However, she did eat a bit more of the pellets than she did yesterday. She also tried the piece of toast I give all my birds in the morning as well as the piece of peach which was the breakfast fruit of the day. I also saw her drink quite a bit and her droppings are a more normal colour, compared to the bright orange they were yesterday (a result of the pellets she previously ate).
I’m letting her go at her own pace though. I plan to read to her tonight once the other birds are in for the night (I spend an extra half hour – hour with her once the others are in). I want her to slowly get used to my presence and to come and see me when she feels like it. This is a lot of new stuff and there is no point to rush things.

Some pictures taken that day.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pixel - Day 1 (June 11th, 2010)

I figured I’d go into a more expletive post about each day spent with Pixel (aka Pixie, which is the name I want to try out for now).

The first day started with my boyfriend picking her up from her previous home and then picking me up from work so we could bring her to the vet for our 4 o’clock appointment. Talk about putting all possible trauma in one day…First, having a stranger you’ve only met once come to get you while a member of the household who doesn’t normally deal with you helps him put you in a carrier. How nice, right? Apparently she was very sweet and stepped up when my boyfriend asked her’s when she realized he tried putting her in a carrier that things got a bit more complicated. It didn’t help that each time another bird in the room would fly she would try to take off as well. In the end, he did manage to get her in the carrier by letting her calm down and by having his hand slightly over her back to guide her in the carrier. I find it awesome she let him put his hand there, I wouldn’t dream doing that with Zuri or Petey..On the drive to get me from work, she apparently was rather quiet, scratching the carrier door in the same fashion as Joey (might be sibling thing) but not nearly as much as Joey would and whistling softly. While they waited for me in front of my building, the boy managed to give her a head and tummy scratch.

Once at the vet, while waiting in the waiting room she started making soft sounds which kinda sounded like “Hello”. Very cute. I kept her in the carrier once we got in the examination room, wanting the vet to be the “bad guy” taking her out to be poked and prodded. Trauma #2. All and all, she did pretty well and although the vet did tell me that I was not getting a bird in pristine condition, at least I knew I was getting a sweet bird and she was worth the effort to bring her health right back up, as it’s most likely nothing we can not fix.

Trauma #3 – coming back “home” with said strangers which picked you up from your previous home, brought you to a person which examined you in every fashion and now you are ending up in a completely new environment. She’s being quarantined in our bedroom, I set up my larger cage (Hagen Manor, look it up if you want the exact dimensions) so that she would have extra space since she would most likely be spending a bit more time in her cage. The first hour or so she spent in the top right corner, hanging from the cage bars. It was a sad sight, given all the extra space she had with nice perches. My boyfriend added that this is how she was perching when he first entered the room to get her and based on our previous visit, I think I remembered something similar. However, after that first hour was up, she had moved down to food bowl (just perching on the rim) and then to the rope perch and grapevine perch I provided. She moved around the cage, exploring. At one point I spent a bit more time in the room with her (while my other birds were having dinner) and opened the door to the cage. She remained in and I didn’t force her to come out. Once my other birds went in for the night, I went back to the bedroom and opened the door once again – after about 20 minutes, she came out on her own after having a nice drink of water. Since I haven’t really seen her eat and there wasn’t much evidence of her eating at the bottom of the cage (other than the hot peppers which are part of the pellet mix I gave her) I gave her a bit of millet while she was on top of the cage and she ate a bit of it. She had seemed interested in the fresh food I provided earlier (the same stuff I give my other birds) but she didn’t seem to know what to do with it – I’m sure with time she’ll come around to eating it (it has worked with my other birds who didn’t know what to do with fresh food when I got them).

Anyways, at one point she actually gestured she wanted to come over and see me but didn’t quite know how to proceed – I went to pick her up and she stepped up right away.

There was a lot more progress than I had expected in a short amount of hours – specially if you consider how the afternoon started. However, I wanted the vet visit out of the way to begin with so now it should all be good stuff to come, once she’s truly comfortable.

Some might call it fate…

On June 11, 2010 I passed the doorway to my home with a female Red-bellied parrot.

She is not, however, a baby bird. She was hatched in 2004 so would most likely be 6 and I’ll most likely be able to confirm her hatchdate since she originally came from the same breeder as Joey and Zuri and based on the information I have got from a fellow owner of a Red-bellied parrot which came from that same breeder, she only had the one pair of Red-bellied parrots.

She is named Stewie and I have known of her existence for a while.

I first saw Stewie in a pet store in 2008. By then she already had her adult plumage, being 3 or 4 years old. I had recently got Joey and fell in love with the quirks which make Red-bellieds different from other Poicephalus (they all have their thing which makes them different). I was very tempted to buy her, got ever more tempted each time I dropped by the pet store to see if she was still there, but I refused to (and still do) buy a parrot from a pet store given the outrageous mark-up and the fact that I do not want to help another bird get into the system (by filling up a spot which just became available). So I resisted and one day she was no longer there. To be honest, I was sad – yes I was no longer tempted but part of me really wanted her.

However it wasn’t the last I heard of Stewie; later in 2008, her new owner joined a few bird forums I also happen to be a member of and we talked for a bit. I was happy I got to hear more about her and he had actually suggested at one point that he would consider me as a new home for Stewie if he ever needed to rehome her. But after a while, he dissapeared from those forums for some years, or we just happened to not be on at the same time (as I can go months without going on a forum sometimes).

Then in May of this year I got an email from him asking if I was still interested in Stewie. He found himself in need to rehome a few of his birds for personal reasons and remembered I had showed interest in Stewie. Timing was a little off at that point but a few weeks later on a Saturday my boyfriend and I went to visit. Stewie proved to be quite adorable, however, the state of some of her feathers (more so why they were the way they were) amongst other things made me reticient to just accept taking her in without previously having her checked by my vet. I made an appointment the following Monday and this also delayed us getting her since the closest available time slot was nearly two weeks away.

From the previous visit, I had remembered her feathers on her chest to be rather ratty looking – the vet aggreed with me. However, she didn’t think, after examination, that there was anything really wrong physically with Stewie. To be on the safe side, I had a full blood panel done and will receive the results shortly. I very much suspect that the poor feather condition might be attributed to stress – while it was clear that her former owner loves his birds, he kept them cageless in his living room converted to bird room – this might have been too much for Stewie in my opinion. Had it been her alone, fine. Her with similar type birds, fine again. She was in there with a number of different species, ranging from Lovebird to a Sulfur Crested Cockatoo. From what we could see, she spent her time on a ciment perch or on a grate-type barrier. My vet also agrees that this might explain the poor feathers. While he also gave his birds pellets, what we saw was only the Zupreem fruit blend and I doubt this is the best thing available. So I’ll have to convert her to a better diet and I’m sure this will bring back some luster to hear feathers, combined with a few showers. For now, she’s being held in quarantine in my bedroom and will remain so until my vet gives me the ok.

As much as I have been searching for a baby these last few months, this was mostly due to me not being able to find an adult to rehome (or one which I wanted to take on), when I knew Stewie was looking for a new home I couldn’t resist. It seems like the fact that the clutch of babies I was so desperately hoping would contain a female and didn’t in the end might have been all males for a reason – because Stewie was coming along. Although we do have some work to do to get her back to top shape, she has shown so far a very sweet disposition (to which even my vet agrees) and I’m sure with a proper diet, living quarters (with her OWN space and toys) and frequent shower/baths, she’ll be good in no time.

One thing will have to go though…her name. I just can’t have a female bird name “Stewie” (I really despise the name). I have something in mind, will have to see if it sticks…

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Joey with one of the new Rosie toys. Forgot to include this in the previous post but I figured it was a picture deserving of it's own post.

More toys!

Well it's become apparent I'm not too good at updating this blog regularly.
I often have ideas but don't have the time to write anything when they hit me and then forget about it.

Anyways, over the last month or so I continued to order things from "Les Jouets Rosie" and haven't posted about them. One of these shipment came last week, the other..I can't remember, but apparently kept most of the toys ordered in the shipping box (clue that I have too many toys at the moment that I don't care to take out new ones immediately?).

In any case, here are some toys that came with that first shipment. I think it included two orders. On top of the toys pictured, I had a few grapevine perches (which the birds seem to love and so do I), some food crocks for Joey and Petey, some food (organic seed mix to sprout and some pellets) and a toy which is already in Shade's cage.

Toys from the first shipment

And here are some toys I ordered recently, all of them from the Rosie collection.

I also ordered one of the toy buckets she sells, which includes a lot of foot toys. It's proven rather difficult to take a picture of. I also have ordered an additional grapevine perch, two additional food crocks like I did previously for Joey and Petey, this time for Zuri and to have an extra on hand, as well as an extra double wood perch wrapped in cotton rope, from the Rosie collection (a favorite here as well).