Friday, November 30, 2012

335:365 - The place to be

There was no removing him - if I tried he just flew back.
That's been his preferred hang out spot these last few days when out of his cage.

But I think we both prefer it when I have my hair tied up - it's a bit less slippery for him and there's less chance that I'll have him slide towards my face (which is why I try to remove him).

I need to remember to always put my hair in a ponytail before hanging out with the birds from now on, much to Piper's dismay.

Oh and only one more month to go in the 365 project! (And there will be alternate pictures from this photoshoot to come on the blog later on!)

What difference 6 months does!

Earlier this month, Léa turned 18 months old (or one and a half years old) and I thought it would be fun to post pictures of her in 6 months interval to see how different she looked each time!

Here she is, a few days old - she's the one who you see with the eye starting to open.

This is what she looked like when she was 6 months old - she was starting to lose a lot of coral feathers off her cap, making me wonder if she might have been, in fact, a boy...

At a year old, her cap had started to come back and her wings and ankles definitively sported more colours!

Finally, at a year and a half of age - her colours keep spreading and getting brighter!

(I changed the last picture since I first posted this entry - it was always my intention as I ran out of time when I first posted it and took a picture I had already processed. I do think this picture showcases the slight differences on her head between 12 months and 18 months more accurately.)

334:365 - Shade

I had absolutely no inspiration last night and having her lie on her back in the palm of my hand, which generally means she stays quite still, was the easiest and fastest way to get a picture last night.

I really do love how she just laid there peacefully until I was done!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Contest over at Things for Wings!

Danita is hosting a contest on her Facebook page - post a picture of your bird with a festive setting and you'll be entered into a draw to win some of her lovely toys!

Things for Wings Facebook page

The contest is open until tomorrow evening.

This is my entry -

333:365 - Joey

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My head is a perch - Take 2!

This was taken with the iPad so it isn't a high quality picture, however I'm posting it because I find it quite funny!

332:365 - Hi Petey!

He let out quite a few "Hi Petey!" just before I let him out for his phtoshoot. It was cute!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Preening Red-bellied parrots

Joey -

Pixel -


"She's talking sass to me!"

~The Boy, who, when he was trying to put Léa back in her cage was met with many noises, one which sounded like a distinct "no!" when he asked her to come him (even I heard the "no!").

That's two quotes about Léa about a similar situation...

331:365 - Shake it off

This was the first picture of the photoshoot last night.
It was also one of those pictures that you luck out when you get it; in no way was that fluffy feather staged there, she did just happen to shake it off as I pressed down on the shutter and it made for a one-of-a-kind picture.

I quite like it!


"She's talking back at me, literally! She flew somewhere and I said 'hey' and she said 'hey' back."

~The Boy talking about Léa's antics this morning.

Monday, November 26, 2012

24 hours with Léa...

..will get a toy who used to look like this -

- to look like this!

Now it might not look too bad, but there are a few empty strings I didn't manage to capture too well. The bottom of her cage was littered with pieces of hardwood beads - she definitively kept busy!

Now I'm off to cut those empty pieces of rope!

Big Cape Grin

The photo says it all!

This was an alternate from her photoshoot last week - I did get quite a few pictures I liked back then! Tonight is her night once more, we'll see if she'll be cooperating as much as she did then or if she'll be moving far too much to get a nice picture, let alone two!

330:365 - Piper

Still sporting some puffy cheeks and cute as a button!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A few more handmade toys

I didn't make as many lately as I have been very busy and consumed with other things. But sometimes stringing beads and pieces of wood in the evening has a calming effect.

For the first two toys, I used a wooden dowel base.

Toy #1 - Random pieces of wood, either natural coins, hardwood beads or blocks from Mother Pluckin' Bird Toys strung up on some seagrass cord.

Toy #2 - Mix of hardwood beads and some pine slats strung up on some cotton rope.

Toy #3 - For this one, I started with two long pieces of rope and made a knot in the middle, giving  me 4 strings of rope to work with. On each string, halfway down I added another string of cotton rope, tied in the middle of it, to give an additional 2 strings so the toy looks fuller. I used hardwood beads and, for the first time, the pieces of wood I cut not too long ago.

Handsome Petey

I am really liking that I'm able to get more and more pictures of Petey where he's posing very nicely!

Léa's new favorite hang out spot

That would be the top of her cage. I think she likes it a lot up there, regardless of the lack of toys and such, because it's difficult for us to get her to step up from up there if she's not in a cooperating mood, seeing how the cage is slightly taller than the Boy or I...and if she heads for the middle, then she's out of reach.

So far, I can manage to get her off if I have a pumpkin seed in my hand and get her to fly to me. I would say the lure of the pumpkin seed has always worked (so far) for me.

Another thing that she loves about that spot is that she generally gets to go in the evening, as we are preparing the other cages for the night and the Boy, out of habit, will put the cloth pins we use to tie the sheets we use to cover the cages right on top there and she loves to try and destroy them. She absolutely loves when he forgets she's there and gets to play with the forbidden item (which we promptly take away).

329:365 - Pixel

She's been all over the place lately; either being the sweetest one and better behaved than all the others OR the worst, and trying to attack Shade (which I normally see coming and manage to intervene, although this might mean that I might get hurt - but better I get a bitten finger than have another bird harmed from a bite).

Here, she was being quite sweet and very cooperative.

328:365 - Getting ready

He was on the move a lot during his photoshoot - here he was getting ready to fly onto something else, my guess was the net across the room.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Preening time

I'm sitting on the computer with Zuri on my head and Piper on my shoulder and both have decided to preen my hair from whatever end they are located.

Zuri does it a bit more roughly and Piper is ever so gentle.

Maybe it's their way to pay back for all the recent head scratches they've received!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thursday, November 22, 2012

We have a chunky monkey

His name is Petey. For a while now he's been the the heaviest of the small Pois, and generally his weight is around 130g.

Tonight he weighed 139g.

Guess he liked his dinner!

Weird birds

This afternoon has been a weird one.

I had Léa out and she was being a bit more bratty than her usual self. She's really full on in her testing phase and I'm afraid that due to a lot of things that have been happening lately, that my patience is limited and I'm exhausted and I think she's feeding into that. She's trying to push the boundaries with biting - mind you, nothing to break the skin and it's got me wondering if she's not trying to play a bit harder than she used to. In any case, she tried one time too many this afternoon and when she got my sternest "NO", she walked away and then came back and sweet and cuddly requesting head. 

As for the Littles, the Boy sent me this message while he was with them earlier - "They are very odd today."

There might be something in the air driving them that way, and, as I said, I'm feeling it as well.

The time I've booked off in December can't come soon enough....

326:365 - Interest

The Boy had just opened the closet in the birdroom to retrieve some clips, which immediately got Léa's interest. In fact, a few seconds after I managed to get this picture, she flew off to his head to be closer to the action. Lots of interest in the elusive and secret closet...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mr. Bright Eyes

Nemo is back for a two week stay or so.
He arrived last Sunday, but I didn't get around to taking pictures until today so I didn't post until now.

He's already laughed quite a bit at the Boy's expense and requested his fair share of kisses and head scratches from me. Wonder who his favorite person is...

325:365 - Preening

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

324:365 - He heard the Boy's voice

And he immediately was on stand by mode, waiting for the door to open with his favorite person coming through it!

323:365 - Concentration

I have a little catching up to do with the 365 pictures but I wasn't really in the mood to blog at all these last few days. In fact, I'm forcing myself to post this so I don't accumulate too much of a backlog.

Monday, November 19, 2012

There is one thing I can do with Petey...

...and it's to bounce him up and down while he's on a perch. He loves it and put his whole body into it. And if he wants to go faster, he'll bop faster until I match his speed and then all is good...and it's even better if I sing something upbeat at the same time.

At least we have one common activity.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


My latest toy making craze has left me with with nearly empty bins, namely the one in which I had piles of pine slats which I had ordered a while ago.

Seeing how those should be easy enough to make, I always thought that down the line I'd invest in a saw and drill press and make them myself. Unfortunately, we are still far away from being able to set up such a work station but, if I am to continue to make some homemade toys, I needed more pine slats.

And this is where the generosity of Crystal from Crystal's Bird Toys come in.

In exchange for my photography services whenever she'll have more new toys to take pictures of for her website, she has let me use her saw and drill press. So yesterday, after buying a few 2x3x4s and 1x1x4s at Home Depot, I spent an evening at her place sawing and drilling.

This is what I got after all of my hard labour -

Bin containing the pieces from the 2x3x4. There is two full sets of rows below the last partial one at the top.

I cut the slats in two different thickness; the thicker one being around 1/4".

Bin containing the pieces from the 1x1x4. There is one full set of rows underneath the one at the top.

I also cut these in two different thickness trying to have the thicker ones be around 1/4" as well.

In the end, I did end up with less than I imagined at first, but there was no way I could have processed any more than I did last night. These should provide me material for a few toys and then I guess I'll have to start over again. But it does give an insight in all the hard work the smaller bird toy business do and a bigger appreciation for their finished product.

Thanks again Crystal!

322:365 - Sleepy Pixel

As always, looking very dignified even when tired and sleepy!

Exuberant exit

When Léa thinks that her time to come out of her cage has long gone and that we *finally* get to her, her exits from the cage are something...

Given that she and I are still working on having her nicely step up once again onto my hand from her cage, and that generally weekday mornings she comes out with the Boy, I let him get her out this morning and I didn't feel like getting slapped in the face by Léa rushing and flying out of her cage (the new huge door on her Expandable Habitat cage has greatly increased her confidence in exiting this way...)

I remained in the orange room while the Boy proceeded to uncover her cage and let her out. It seems that this morning she had bounds of energy and gave him an exit that is normally reserved for me - I heard plenty of wing flaps and the sound of Léa almost taunting him (which she doesn't do with me at least). She repeated "Léa" and "viens-t-en" plenty of times. She was saying it while high on the ropes and nets in the birdroom and if the Boy got remotely close, she would fly to another location and start over.

Amusing for me, if only because I wasn't the one she was doing this to...and definitively something we will have to work on with her.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

321:365 - Posing Shade

As the Boy pointed out while I was taking her picture, Shade was nicely posing the whole time.
I do think it's in line with what I talked about in my previous post - she was not going to be difficult while I still wasn't myself.

They know

I have posted in the past how the birds, Shade in particular, seemed receptive to when I don't feel well and, on such occasions, are more cuddly and better behaved.

Yesterday, they showed that once more.

My grandmother passed away earlier in the day. Needless to say when I got home I was grief stricken, although I knew it was just a matter of time for it to happen. Generally the birds are crazy in the afternoon - yesterday, not so much. Not once did any of the Littles do anything that needed an intervention. Piper and Shade were on my shoulders, snuggling close, the Red-bellied parrots were standing on the computer desk, either preening or taking a nap, Zuri kept to himself on the atom and Petey kept quietly to the Boy's side.

I can't say how much I appreciated how calm they remained and their demeanour actually helped me calm down as well.

Friday, November 16, 2012

320:365 - Bat Jo

He has actually mastered the art of appearing/disappearing without you knowing, if that is what he wants...he's a master creeper.

Why use the actual perch on the Wingdow..

...when you can climb and perch on top?

Léa showcasing how not to use the Wingdow.
She generally does this if she had spent some time on it and we are only watching her and she decides she wants to be noticed.

It generally gets her moved to a stand with no more interaction in the first few minutes so that she doesn't see it as us rewarding that initial "naughty" action.

Sleepy birds - day 2

Once again, most of the Littles that are with me in the orange room are zonked out and napping.

And, once again, Joey isn't part of them.

This morning, he's really trying to milk that for all it's worth, trying to soak in as much one-on-one attention as he can. And while I've given him lots of head scratches, there is also a few messages I'd like to answer so, in between scratching sessions, I try to type a little, only to have an insisting Joey creep up and try to remind me that he's still around.

Guess it's back to giving more head scratches!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Another proud moment

Again, in line with Léa's progress towards coming back to stepping up when requested by me in a more consistent fashion.

One thing that has eluded us these past few weeks has been stepping up from the floor - which generally I have found to be a situation where a bird who generally doesn't want to step up will more likely do so. In her case - no. She had a blast running and hopping away and it really very much looked like a game for her - would we follow or not? And if not, she would, after a while, do something naughty to make sure we did go after her.

Well a few minutes ago she flew to the floor. And not only did she step up on my hand without any issues, she asked to be stepped up by lifting one of her feet.

Made my day!

Sleepy birds

On week day mornings, I watch over the little ones in the morning - well except Petey who's free in the birdroom - in the orange room.

Generally they are a little subdued, since I wake them up at 5:30am, but by the end of their time out of their cage, they are fully awake.

With the days getting shorter, this has changed a bit; often they'll be napping while out.

Today is no exception for most of them - in fact all of them but one.


He's gotten more insistent to get even closer to me (trying to get on me as opposed to only perching on the computer desk in front of me) and this morning, he's clowning it up - playing with toys and flipping himself on his back. He's clearly fully awake, and yet, he's the one who seems to find it hardest to "get up".

But he's still making most of his time out in the morning!

319:365 - Zuri

He was moving a lot last night, but I think this came out in focus and he's nicely posing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The food has been bagged...

The food showcased in my "November's Cooking for the birds" post has been divided, bagged and sent to the freezer.

There are 36 dinner portion bags in the picture. If we also take into consideration that I had taken out 4 meals out of the container before I finally proceeded to bag everything, the whole batch of food gave me a total of 40 dinner portions.

That's not bad for a day's work or so!

Toy placement makes a difference

This is how I first set up Léa's new cage -

You can see to the right a big toy hanging right next to the side panel; it's Léa's Big Beak Bop toy from Crystal's Bird Toys. I had placed it in between her water bowl and her dry food bowl and installed a rope perch close by to make it easy to chew on the toy, but it didn't really work; she seems to favour the left side of the cage.

The toy that is in the back right hand corner doesn't look quite as full anymore and most of what is left on the strands of leather is hanging below the skywalk perch so this weekend, I decided to swap what was left of that toy with the Big Beak Bop.

Turns out, placement is everything it seems.

Here she is hanging out on the Big Beak Bop. Before she saw me and the camera, she was actually playing with the toy while standing where she is in the picture. It just seems that she couldn't cooperate for the camera..

So far, she's destroyed one or two of the thinner blocks of wood - not that they are very thin, but thinner than the blocks that are showing in the picture. I'm quite curious as to whether or not she'll think those pieces of wood are too thick and I guess time will tell.

But at least she's playing with it!

318:365 - Posing Petey

He just kept this pose the whole time! He even started on the crawler (net) and had the exact same pose. Unfortunately those didn't come out very sharp and he was then moved to the atom.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

In black & white

I generally don't convert many pictures of the Pois to black and white as it really doesn't do them any justice (and I personally think they look a little weird). However, this picture of Léa and I had a terrible orange tone to it, mostly due to the orangeness of the room, and being unable to get the tones right, I just decided that black and white would be no worse - and it actually worked out in the end!

317:365 Watchful Piper

Keeping an eye on things from up in the net!

Monday, November 12, 2012

What do you do when you have a day off?

Make more bird toys of course!

I actually started this monster of a toy last night; the Boy had finally found the chunks of cholla that were hidden in a bag in the garage and I figured I'd incorporate them in a toy somehow. The toy starts with 4 strands, eventually each strand gets divided into three and each of those individual strands get a piece of rope added to create a total of three strands at the end. The base is made of cotton rope, and there are many many hardwood beads in there as well as coins of cottonwood and chunky willow (on top of the chunks of cholla of course).

I'm quite proud of it and it's very heavy!

But I didn't stop there. Last time I blogged about homemade toys, I posted a picture of a toy I made from a leather butterfly base, well I finished one I had started and completed two more as well!

One thing I was really starting to run low on was foot toys - so guess what else I made?

I used a lot of leather lace as a base on these, it works really really well! The cotton rope was a bit more tricky, given it's bigger diameter and smaller holes in the beads.

Finally, I had a few very easy toys left; filling up some skewers!

Mother Pluckin' corkscrew skewers -

Expandable Habitats regular skewers (small and medium lengths) -

The smaller one was filled using mostly pieces I've salvaged off some of the corkscrew skewers. The small guys don't really like wood slats that are cut along the grain so I'll give them to Léa to see if she'll be as picky. All the corkscrew are now filled with pine slats that were cut against the grain - which are much easier to destroy!