Archive for the ‘Photos of Mika’ Category

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We almost forgot… Happy Pi Day*!

March 14, 2012

It’s National Pi Day: 3.14 (but only in the United States, where we list dates backwards).

This is a Pi squared.

Last year we listed 3.14 reasons why pi(onus) are awesome. Here is my list of why I love my Mika girl:

  1. She’s nuts! Yesterday I walked in the door listening to my iPod and she flipped out. She spent the next 30 minutes flying after and arguing with it, even after I had turned it off and tried to put it away.
  2. When I drape my hand over the edge of her playtop and she runs up and pushes her head into my fingers demanding scritches.
  3. She never bites me, even when I’m doing something to her that she clearly doesn’t like (which lately involves me trying to remove her, for the zillionth time that day, from the top of the fridge).
    3.14 — dat delicious pi smell!

* We’re wishing you a happy “Pi Day”. Every day is a “happy pi” day 🙂

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Tactile Enrichment

March 8, 2012

Tactile enrichment? I’ll show you how to do tactile enrichment …

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To Mika, all bits of paper are bird toys.

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Kris Porter’s Fantastic Foraging Blocks Are Here!

November 19, 2011

Last week, Kris Porter of ParrotEnrichment.com asked if we’d give some feedback on a new foraging toy she has developed. Of course we jumped at the chance! (Are you kidding? A foraging toy developed by the guru of parrot enrichment? Yes, please!)

The box arrived Thursday night and we couldn’t wait to open it. Check out the “unboxing”.

Look, ma! A new box. Let me help you open it!
Unboxing Kris Porter's Fantastic Foraging Blocks

Yay! It’s full of paper! Paper is my favorite!

Unboxing Kris Porter's Fantastic Foraging Blocks

Ooh! A wooden toy?

Unboxing Kris Porter's Fantastic Foraging Blocks

It’s a 2″x 2″ column of untreated pine with peek-a-boo holes drilled through, as well as cuts in different directions creating little ledges to interest busy beaks and wedge treats into. 

Another one!

Unboxing Kris Porter's Fantastic Foraging Blocks

And more!

Unboxing Kris Porter's Fantastic Foraging Blocks

Some of the blocks came “plain” and some were decorated with vine stars and colored buttons (that hid pre-inserted treats behind them).

Let me dig through that box. I think there may be more!

Unboxing Kris Porter's Fantastic Foraging Blocks

Wow! Look at these toys. It’s like an early Christmas!

Unboxing Kris Porter's Fantastic Foraging Blocks

The toys came in two sizes. The small blocks were 2″x 2″. The medium blocks were 2″x 4″.

Let’s check it out!

Unboxing Kris Porter's Fantastic Foraging Blocks

Ahem, ma, I’m out of focus!

I think I spot something!

Unboxing Kris Porter's Fantastic Foraging Blocks

Bingo! It’s an almond! My favorite!

Unboxing Kris Porter's Fantastic Foraging Blocks

Nom nom nom…

Trying out Unboxing Kris Porter's Fantastic Foraging Blocks

So that was our unboxing event. For more about these “Fantastic Foraging Blocks”, and what Stewie thought of them, check out our review.

Update: The Fantastic Foraging blocks, in three sizes, are now available for purchase on Kris Porter’s site.

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They Learn the Darndest Things…

August 15, 2010

The other day I was feeling like I needed more snuggle time with Mika. So a little bit before their regular bedtime, I put an almond in Stewie’s cage and put him away for the night, thinking this would give me extra time to hang out with my pionus girl.

However, as soon as Mika saw Stewie in his cage enjoying his almond, she ran inside and sat on her roosting perch… and waited for her almond.

My birds are usually cooperative when I need them to go inside. I just make sure they see me put a high-value treat in their cage, and they go in by themselves.

Apparently Mika has the routine down so well that a treat inside Stewie’s cage is a signal to her that she should go inside her cage also.

And thus my plans to snuggle with Mika were foiled by her being way too cooperative about going back in her cage.

Related: How to Get a Parrot Back Into His Cage

Mika enjoying an almond

Mika eating an almond in her cage

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Short Update on Mika’s Flying Progress

June 14, 2010

In my last post, I wrote about Mika’s progress learning how to fly. It’s been two weeks and I haven’t repeated the exercise of luring her with her favorite junk food, but she has undertaken a couple more attempts at landing somewhere specific… with mixed results. Just goes to show that a parrot learning to fly with purpose isn’t just about having that “ah-ha” moment, but that practice makes perfect (or at least: practice makes better).

On two occasions I watched her try to land on my desk, but she had way too much momentum (and height); as a consequence, she didn’t get anywhere near the desk but simply flew over it, made a big loop and landed back on top of her cage. At least she always has her back-up plan (e.g., if she doesn’t get to where she intended to go, she always feels comfortable enough to fly back to her cage now. That’s good!)

Once she tried to fly to the back of the couch (something she did successfully three times in a row a week ago), but instead she landed on a lamp. It was a good landing, except that landing on lamps is a bad idea (had it been turned on, it would’ve been hot!) A second time, she landed on the flap of a cardboard box (a few inches shy of the back of the couch) — not sure if that’s where she intended to land, but cardboard box flaps are not very stable, so they don’t make good landing spots. These are things that she just needs to learn with experience, but I want to make sure that she doesn’t have too many experiences landing on unstable/slippery/uncomfortable surfaces as she’s starting to learn because I worry about these experiences undermining her confidence at this stage in the game.

But much like the parent of a toddler learning to walk, I think I just need to let go a bit and let her do this.

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Making Our Own Parrot Toys

April 4, 2010

We have a contractor friend who was kind enough to offer to cut up pieces of his leftover untreated pine two-by-fours when I mentioned that I could use pine scraps for parrot toys. I picked up a small bag of them yesterday and restrung a $15 toy Mika had shredded in a few days. (This was a toy hung on the outside of her cage, which means she had limited access to it. It would’ve lasted even less time if it had been on the inside of her cage.)

I was too lazy and impatient to dye the wood pieces before stringing them up. So here’s the end result:

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This toy is held together by bird-safe leather “laces” (vegetable-dyed thin strips of leather) and has pine slats, wooden beads/small bits of plastic straws to separate the slats, and plastic whiffle balls.

Here’s Mika checking it out:
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If it doesn’t hold her interest, I may need to dye the wooden slats — I do think bright color has a lot to do with why birds are interested in some toys.

This is our first foray into making a bird toy of this size (although I have replaced parts here and there) so I stuck pretty closely to a toy design that was already a big hit. As time allows, I’ll work on creating more toys from the wooden slats. We still have a lot of pieces left, but do need to drill holes into them and probably dye them.

If you’re on a budget and want to make your own wooden bird toys, run down to the hardware store and get some untreated lumber, find a way to cut them into thin pieces, dye them (optional), and then string them up with bird-safe materials.

Create more visual interest and variety with:

As with ANY toy parts, make sure that the components are safe. Be careful about choking or strangulation hazards, opportunities for birds to get themselves caught on or trapped in anything, metal poisoning, etc.

Also check out these posts about “foraging” toys:

Do you make your own bird toys? What kinds of toys are your parrots’ favorites? Share your tips for awesome DIY parrot toys in the comments.

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Annual Well-Birdie Visit to the Avian Vet

February 7, 2010

Vet tripLast week, Stewie and Mika went to the vet for their annual checkup. Stewie posted about his trip on Facebook resulting in a long comment thread about everybirdie’s vet-visiting habits. Among most of Stewie’s bird friends, the consensus matches the advice you’ll find on boards and parrot organizations: a routine checkup every year is the norm. We do blood work every year during this check-up, though some only do it every other year.

Even if you don’t take your birds for regular check ups (although we advise you do), it’s very important to at least know who your local avian vets are. Because parrots hide their illness until they are very sick, by the time you notice that your bird is ill you may have very little time to act. If you suspect your bird is ill, you don’t want to waste valuable time trying to figure out which of your local vets have bird experience. You’ll want to have a relationship with your avian vet(s) so you can call them up if you suspect an issue (or just have a question that requires real expertise… the internet is not the answer to everything 😉 )
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