Archive for the ‘Photos of Stewie’ Category

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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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Heisenberg Paradox of Parrot Body Language

January 3, 2010

For a while now I’ve been trying to put together photos of different types of body language my parrots exhibit to show people what an angry parrot looks like, a scared bird, a happy parrot, etc.

In trying to study and document Stewie’s body language, however, I invariably have to introduce additional stimulus that completely changes the nature of that which I am trying to document.

Without fail, as soon as I point the camera at Stewie he starts biting whatever he’s standing on. It’s a displaced aggression thing — he really does not like the camera. So instead of pictures of a sun conure showing flight intent or a bird happily preening and welcoming scritches, I end up with a lot of photos of the top of his head and him furiously gnawing on his perch.

Stewie Chewing on Bottlebrush

Since I can’t provide any useful photos of my birds’ body language, you might want to check out Barbara Heidenreich’s Parrot Body Language DVD, which shows you how to tune-in to what your bird might be telling you non-verbally.

*Yes, I know I’m misusing the Uncertainty Principle, but c’mon it’s a Parrot Blog! 😉

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Scritches for Everyone!

July 31, 2009

After a whole year of watching Mika enjoying head scratches, Stewie has decided that he’s going to allow me to touch him. Not just touch him, but rub his neck and pinch the keratin off his new feathers! Pin feathers are itchy and uncomfortable and, in the wild, parrots engage in allopreening to help each other get rid of the hard substance that protects the feathers as they grow in.

In our homes, where they don’t have other parrots to preen them, they have two options: either live with the icky pin feathers and wait for them to fall off on their own, or let the humans help.

For two years, Stewie has not wanted me to touch him. He was all about preening me — trying remove moles from my neck, pulling on hairs, removing errant schmutz — but has not wanted my hands on him. Don’t get me wrong, Stewie is very affectionate. He gives me kisses, lets me smother him with kisses, crawls into my shirt… but he let me know that he doesn’t like hands coming at him or touching him and I always respect his personal space. Not respecting his no-touching rule would mean getting bitten, but more than that it’s a matter of maintaining trust and open communication. No hands invading where they aren’t wanted.

But for some reason in the last couple of days, Stewie has welcome neck and head rubs, scritches and help with his pins. Not sure why I even tried — I stopped trying to touch him long ago — but something about how he was all fluffy with his head down just said “scritches please”. After all, that’s the position Mika adopts when she want scritches.

Breaking pin feathers is a delicate operation; even if you’re careful, you could rub that feather the wrong way, which hurts. But Stewie has been very tolerant and patient with me.

Because of the fact that Stewie is kind of a bitey bird, I’m careful to watch his body language very carefully and always stop long before I think he’s getting antsy. I only break up two or three feathers at a time, at most and then take a break. When Mika is done with scritches, she just pushes me away, but I think that if I were to irritate Stewie he’d let me know a little more forcefully.

This foray into helping Stewie preen is a huge leap for us. These types of breakthroughs… with a bird who was aggressive and distrustful for months after I got him … is really the best part of working with parrots.

Scritches for everyone!

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Frivolous Photo Friday

March 6, 2009

This is Stewie. Inside my shirt. It’s his new favorite hangout.

Stewie in My Shirt

That is all.

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Wet Birdie Wednesday

March 4, 2009

Nothing sillier than a wet parrot 🙂

Here’s Mika looking like a wet chicken after a shower:

Wet Mika Bird

Here’s Stewie sporting a faux-hawk.

Wet Stewie

Mika loves her showers, always getting good and soaked, while Stewie prefers a more gentle misting (or a bath in his water bowl).

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Shhh, Don’t Tell Him Snap Peas are Vegetables

June 25, 2008

Stewie is eagerly eating his treat… a snap pea! (Shh, he doesn’t seem to realize that peas are veggies). So far, beside corn, these are the only fresh veggies he likes — and both are kinda high in sugar, more like fruit than veggies in terms of nutritional value — but I’ll take what I can get, considering that Stewie was on a very seed heavy diet when I first got him.

Stewie with a snap pea Stewie with his snap pea

So far, Mika doesn’t appear to show any interest in fresh food whatsoever, but she does seem to enjoy the Just Veggies brand of dried peas. Interestingly enough, Stewie does not like the dried peas, although he does like some other types of dried veggies, especially the dried carrots that come in the Just Veggies dried vegetable mix.

Mika eating peas

If I remember correctly (and it’s possible I’m deluding myself on this detail), Stewie was pretty easy to convert to pellets, and he took to a couple different kinds of fruit after a while, although fresh vegetables continue to be a challenge.

At least he’ll taste most things I offer him now (especially if he thinks I’m eating it too).

Mika, on the other hand, seems like she’s going to be much more stubborn about giving up her seed addiction. The food she came with does contain high-quality pellets, but as far as I can tell, she doesn’t actually eat them — she just picks through the mix to eat the sunflower and pumpkin seeds. And she won’t even try anything new, not even “treats” that Stewie only gets as rare rewards.

When it comes to converting birds to a healthier and varied diet, patience, persistence and creativity are key. Stewie recently started really loving his Beak Appetite, something he wouldn’t eat when I first introduced it to him, so there is hope to changing their minds. Just gotta keep trying…

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Mr. Monk and the Sun Conure

January 30, 2008

I’m watching TV today — an episode of Monk (Mr. Monk and the Red Herring) — and imagine my surprise when they feature a sun conure! On the show, Monk goes to a pet store and notices a bird. The geeky pet store clerk says, “You can have him for free. We can’t get rid of him, people keep returning him.” When asked what’s wrong with the bird, the guy says “he depresses people: he doesn’t talk, he just sits there and cleans himself.”

Aughh!!! This is such a huge pet peeve of mine (pun totally intended). An animal is not a toaster oven!! You don’t just return them because they aren’t as “fun” as you thought they’d be. When bringing home a new pet, you make a commitment to him/her. You don’t just exchange it.

This attitude isn’t just writers’ license on a television show; I see people say things like that all the time on the Internet. “Oh, he didn’t bond with my wife, he likes me better, so we’re thinking of returning him and getting a different bird.” Ugh!

Makes me very unhappy. Some people take the decision to bring home a bird much too lightly. (Good reasons NOT to get a parrot)

Oh, and that cage the bird was in (in the fictional pet store) was WAY too small. A conure cage should be at least 20″ in the shortest dimension. Stewie’s cage is 21″w x 32″l x 35″h and I’m actually of the opinion that it’s a little too small (even though I can fit my whole body in it). Once you put toys and perches in a cage, it really starts looking small, fast.

Here’s what a cage that size looks like; notice the conure standing on the door.

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