How To Tame Your Pet Bird

December 9, 2008 by  
Filed under Featured, Pets

Image by Arlette via Flickr
Having your own pet bird can be a very rewarding and fun experience, especially when your bird is from the parrot family, as it can live for several years. This variety of birds can also be easily tamed and taught to do tricks, as well as to talk and sing with surprising clarity. When tamed, a pet parrot can provide a life long friend and be a cherished companion. Many people who own a pet parrot enjoy teaching their bird to speak, and unlike regular pets such as cats or dogs, you will find it really brightens up your day to hear your parrot wish you a “Good Morning!”
Before you start trying to teach your bird how to talk, you must first win its confidence. The best way to do this is to help your pet get used to being around you, as well as anyone else living in your home. The easiest time to start taming your bird will be when it is aged between two and six months old, so keep this in mind, because anything older than that takes a lot more time and patience. Fully grown parrots can also be inclined to bite quite hard if you don’t take adequate care – so try not to make any sudden movements that could scare your pet, or it will defend itself by the only means it knows how, which is unfortunately by lashing out.

Stroke your pet’s head or give it a very soft scratch to help it warm up to you, while giving it food from your other hand, such as celery, corn, nuts or grapes. You should also give your bird fruit juice or milk from a small drinking cup – but never, ever let it touch your leftovers from a meal when junk food such as meat or anything with a high calorie count is involved.

If you are able to use its appetite to your advantage, taming your bird will be even easier. The method is regularly used in bird parks al over the world. When your pet hasn’t eaten in a few hours, simply set the food on a plate near you and encourage your bird to come to you for food. It will undoubtedly be nervous at first, however when it becomes used to this it will be confident when approaching you for food.

If your pet is quite untamed when you first acquired it, you should consider putting the cage next to you as you go about your day, doing regular things such as reading, surfing the internet or watching TV. This was it is only a matter of time until your pet gets used to being around you and becomes comfortable. If it is large you can also consider a little gentle rough housing, like with a kitten or puppy, giving it pats and soft scratches around its head and back. It is best to use a towel or gloves at first until it sees you as its master, just to be on the side, until it comes to expect this kind of attention from people in your household.

At least once a month you will need to check your pet bird over for abnormalities, including and ingrown nails, feathers or a beak that could need trimming. You will also need to watch out for any possible signs of liver problems, which comes in for form of a dark or swollen abdomen. Gently wash your bird’s legs with warm, never hot, water – this will get rid of any dried on gunk or droppings, then apply vaseline to make your pet’s scales soft and help kill any lice. If you are patient and kind to your pet bird you will have a beloved and loyal companion for many years to come.

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Attracting Birds Into Your Yard

November 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Pets

Blue Jay / Geai Bleu
Image by Eric Bégin via Flickr

Birds, like other creatures, can easily be drawn to your home and garden just by making food, water and shelter available – three things that all animals enjoy having access to. I’d like to share how I’ve made my own little bird friendly area in my yard that now attracts them all year long.
Firstly, you should find out which species of bird live in your region. Then you need to discover which of them will come and go depending on the season, as well as whether or not they are migrant birds, or birds who stay in the area all year long. There are a lot of ways to find this out, but the most reliable source of information is probably your local Audubon Society – they will usually have a list of birds that are local to your area, as well as plenty of information for each variety on that list.

Secondly, you  will need to find out what birds are suited to your habitat. Do you live in a heavily wooded neighborhood? Is your area near a lush green forest, or perhaps more of a desert region with palm trees? Are you located in a big city or out on a farm in the country somewhere? Different bird species live in different climates an environments, and you must take this into account when it comes to which birds you are attempting to attract to your home, as well as what bird feeders and houses you should be using. A decent field guide on the subject will come in handy, so if you get the chance you should definitely pick one up.

Thirdly, now that you know what birds live in your local area and could be drawn to your yard, what do you do? You start setting up bird feeders! Birds of course have no need for feeders, they get by fine on their own, but if you want to see them then you need to set them up near to your house; this means you will need to choose the right feeders, both for the birds and for your home’s looks – there are plenty of different ones to choose from. The best way to handle it is to set up a number of different feeders with various foods in them; try everything from a tube feeder with sunflower seeds to a hanging tray of fruit or a small bird house with millet.

Fourth, whichever kind of bird feeders you decide to set up, ensure that they will be safe from potential predators – especially cats as they are the number one killer of birds. Make sure that your feeders are safe from cats, but also if you have a cat consider keeping it indoors; even a bell wont save every bird. If there are squirrels in your neighborhood ensure that your feeders are set up so that they cant get to your bird food, or buy squirrel proof feeders.

Fifth, remember that water is important for your feathered friends. Not only do they need water to survive, but they also love to bath and play in it! Even if you don’t want to set up bird feeders you can still attract plenty of birds to your yard with a nice fountain or bird bath. If you have the option, choose a fountain with moving water as it will attract more birds, as well as other native wildlife, than the still water of a bird bath will.

Sixth, you need to make sure your bird visitors have shelter. The joy of watching birds go about there day in their little houses, perform mating rituals and take care of their young is unmatched, and you will need bird houses to make sure you get to witness it. Keep in mind that not all birds will use bird houses, however, and that you will need to pick out bird houses that suit the species in your local area.

Seventh, you will need to landscape your yard to appeal to birds from your area; try using native plants. You will be able to find a list of suitable plants from either your local plant nursery or arbor society.

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Bird Feeding From Windowalert

September 18, 2008 by  
Filed under Pets

Bird - Robin Red Breast Eating Bird Seed
Image by S and C via Flickr
Bird feeding depends on the kind of bird you want to feed. The same as people, who eat various kinds of food to keep healthy and strong, birds also like some variety in their diets. Bird foods can range from birdseed to suet for insect eating species, to nectar for humming birds. Black sunflower seeds are also very good for a number of birds and are sure to draw a wide variety to your yard. You could also consider leaving out a little thistle seed and mullet, which have plenty of fat in them.

WindowAlert has a wide range of bird foods that include good quality seed, suet as well as cute and decorative foods. You can pick from different kinds of seeds depending on which species you want to feed it to. It also has a wide combination of high quality seeds without any filler, as this prevents wastage and wont attract any undesirable wildlife.

The decorative and cute food from WindowAlert are available in festive floral designs which attract a variety of birds. They contain sunflower, back oil, red millet and white millet. They also offer seeds for wild birds that can attract rare breeds to your garden – they aren’t only great for attracting new friends however, as they also make the perfect gift for bird enthusiasts.

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Bird Watching for Beginners

September 15, 2008 by  
Filed under Gardening

Bird watching is when someone takes the time to actively watch birds, and is often referred to as “birding”. It is a much loved pass time and hobby for a good number of people, and according to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service there are over 51.3 million bird watchers, (or “birders”,) in America alone – a number which is on the rise. Birding gives a person a chance to spend some time outdoors and appreciate nature while admiring different birds. Bird watching lets you not only look at birds but also listen to them, often times you will find that you hear the bird long before you actually see it. It is a great pass time for anybody who really enjoys a challenge, but also likes to relax while engaging in their hobby. Relaxing and experiencing a challenge might sound like they don’t fit together, but consider crossword puzzles or chess, and you might start to understand the appeal of birding.

There are a few tools that you will need as a beginner birder. The first thing is definitely a very good book on the subject, or a few if you have the desire to read up on the subject. Choose one in which you can easily find what bird you are looking for, as it will help you identify birds as you spot them. There are plenty of great reference books to pick from, so pick the one that appeals most to you. (Your local bookstore owner will be able to help you with this task.) Next you need to get a few pens and a blank notebook – this way you can keep a journal, which is the best way to keep notes on which birds you have seen, where you saw them, as well as some details on their behaviors. After that you will want to invest in a good pair of binoculars; keep in mind that you get what you pay for, so you shouldn’t be cheap in this department if you are serious about bird watching. The majority of birders use either a seven or an 8 power magnification, along with a 32 to 42 objective lens. These numbers read as 8 x 32, and will suit you perfectly. If you wear glasses you should consider looking for binoculars with a long eye relief, as these provide the best view. There are plenty of other things you can invest in, but these tools will give you all you need to get going with bird watching right away.

Now that you have got your equipment and are ready to start birding, you will need to know how to go about it. The best spot is probably your very own garden! This way you can learn how to use your new book to quickly look up different birds, as well as what you should be taking notes on and how to use your binoculars effectively. Plus, your yard is sure to attract plenty of different species of birds, many of which will be just as beautiful and interesting as those you will see later on out in the wild. Be sure to consider the time of day and the season, as this information can prove invaluable when understand what species of bird you should be looking for in the future.

Once you are familiar with your equipment and have taken the time to practice a little bit in your own backyard, you will be ready to spread your wings, so to speak! There are many opportunities both alone or in organized groups if you would prefer to join one of those. There are plenty of resources available to you regarding these groups, as well as trips, holidays and different kinds of birds available to you, both online and off. Your local Audubon Society is the best place to start, as well as checking out any bird watching magazines at a nearby library.

Bird watching can be a fantastic and fun pass time for anybody who is a fan of our feathered friends; be it by yourself in your own garden or with friends on holiday, there is always time for a little birding; so enjoy it!

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Bird Watching For Beginners: How To Identify Birds

August 29, 2008 by  
Filed under Featured

If you like to watch birds, then it most likely that you will want to know how to identify different species. Although it can be very exciting to identify birds, it can also be a very difficult task, especially at first – this can get a lot of new birders very frustrated. If you own a field guide this process will be significantly less painful, however you will also need to have some knowledge already to be able to use your field guide – so, if you are new to birding then these tips should help you get started and avoid that frustration.

First Tip – Pay attention to the size of the bird you are hoping to identify, as it naturally plays a very important part in the process. Does it look to be the same size as a flamingo, a rooster, the size of a pigeon, or maybe an eagle? You will also need to consider whether or not its body appears to be long, short, thin, or round. It’s whole body should be observed, and this includes the size of the bird’s tail, beak and wings. All of these are vital in being able to easily identify the species, which you will find very rewarding once achieved.

Second Tip – Pay attention to coloring. Making sure that you take accurate notes on a bird’s colors is an important of the identification process. Gradually you will get a natural idea of what colors certain birds typically are, and will be able to tell them apart simply by that – although you should keep in mind that colors can trip you up sometimes. Lighting can play a part in how the bird looks, so make sure that you check the colors of specific body parts; especially the wings, the legs and whether or not the bird has any distinctive markings anywhere on its body.

Third Tip – Where are you situated? Your location can be a great help in identifying birds. Have a look at your surroundings and consider where you are. Would you say that it was a forest? A desert? Perhaps in your own garden? There will be birds that are native to whichever type of habitat you are located in. Take notes on whether or not the bird is in water, and if it is, is it paddling or swimming? What about trees? Does it seem to climb it, or just fly up? Does its tail move in any noticeable way? All of these notes will be vital when it comes time to look up what species you have been seen, so pay very careful attention to avoid missing any important details.

Fourth And Final Tip – Keep your ears open. One of the most important things that a beginner birder can do to help them learn how to identify different species of birds is simply to listen. Each bird has its own unique sound, and in time you will come to learn how to identify many species just by their songs. If you listen hard enough it is sometimes possible to find birds that you would have missed had you only been using your eyes – and while you wont be able to identify a bird you cant see, it may help you to locate them.

If you keep all of these things in mind when you take your first bird hunting trip you will have much more fun as you can avoid the normal frustration beginners tend to experience.

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Paradise Tanager: The Brilliant Bird of Many Colors

August 21, 2008 by  
Filed under Nature

Turquoise Tanager (Tangara mexicana), National...
Image via Wikipedia
The Paradise Tanager‘s scientific name is the Tangara Chilensis, and it is recognizable by its splendid bright colors. It is a medium sized song bird and it lives in the forests of South America. Its colors are like no other bird, with seven different shades all over its body which make it stand out amongst the trees. Its head is a bright, almost neon, green, and its belly is a dark, rich, sea green. The bird’s tail and wings tend to be tipped with a fantastic, bright yellow, and the lower end of its back is typically a dark, blood red. The Paradise Tanager’s shoulders are also a pitch black, and is often how bird watchers are able to quickly identify the species.

Both the female and male of this particular species are very similar in appearance, which makes it quite hard to tell them apart at first sight. If you wish to know the gender of one of these birds you will need to watch how it behaves. The male tends to sing more frequently, and obviously if you found one has laid eggs you know it must be the female! When mating, Tanagers prefer to set up their nest high up in the trees out of the reach of potential predators, and in a humid atmosphere – this helps their eggs develop well. A female bird will lay between two and three eggs at a time, and it will only be a matter of two weeks before they hatch.

Living all over South America, the Paradise Tanager tends to stay mostly in the Amazon Basin and the surrounding areas, including Brazil, Venezuela, Peru and of course Columbia. Strangely, the bird is not typically found in the Amazon’s south, only the north, and generally within the forest or at its more humid edges. It seems that the Tanager is most often found in the forest itself, and thrives best in this area. It is a very rare bird, and sadly is currently on a list of threatened species.

The size of the Paradise Tanager is roughly 13 to 15 cm in length, or around 6 to 8 inches – meaning that it may be kept as a pet bird if you own a large cage and can provide it with plenty of water. Because their natural habitat is in the Amazon, these birds should live on a diet of fresh and tropical fruits and nuts if they are being kept in captivity. You can feed them bananas, pears, figs and slice of orange. The bird will be happiest if it is also regularly offered a selection of small insects, including crickets, meal worms and fruit flies. If you take proper care of your pet it will be a life long friend, however they do require several hours of attention a day to remain healthy, so it is ill advised to keep, or especially breed, them in captivity.

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Designing A Bird House

June 7, 2008 by  
Filed under Gardening

Garden bird house
Image by Vilseskogen via Flickr
A growing number of bird lovers are not only enjoying the fun of bird watching, which is generally done from a distance, but also expanding on their hobby by designing and then building their own bird houses to draw feathered friends right into their own backyards. When you are designing your own bird house it does not have to be a very expensive process, and if you like woodworking and DIY projects then it can be a really fun activity for a free weekend or a day off – plus you can get your kids involved when it comes to decorating!

There are a number of pre made kits which are perfect if you are a new bird house builder to help you get started, but if you are used to DIY projects then you can always create your own from scratch. This requires a bit of pre planning and creating a design that you can follow, then all you need to do is purchase the materials you need and put them together. Luckily most hardware stores will have everything you need, and it is a good chance to use your power tools.

If you need some inspiration for your new project, there are countless websites that you can take a look at that will suggest some good ideas as well as offer tips on the design process and construction. There are also several books and magazines available on the subject, with some focussing on specific species of birds such as swallows or titmice; these often suggest on incorporating a pre made nesting box into your bird house.

It is very important when building a bird house to take into account which type of bird you are building it for. The design will depend on a number of different factors, including the size of the bird, how they tend to nest and whether the prefer to do so in groups like sparrows. You must also ensure that your bird house is not only weather proof but also safe from any potential predators, as birds need to feel safe before they are willing to set up a nest – a small hole just big enough for the birds, (but not anything else,) to get in and out is ideal. You will also need to see to it that your house is high enough up to not be disturbed by pets such as dogs or cats, and is not in direct sunlight. (This is very bad for the birds and their young.)

Most birds will prefer a bird house that feels like a hole in a tree; so you want your bird house to feel safe and be comfortable and warm, as well as free of dust and dampness – and of course safe from any potential predators. Using natural materials will help your feathered friends feel at home, so try to find some coconut fibers, plenty of twigs and dry grass, as this will encourage breeding. Weather proofing your house is also a good idea, just be sure that your water proof paint is non toxic and safe for birds – you also wont want any loose bits on your house as they can come off during storms or strong winds.

When you set about building your bird house you will find that it can be great fun to involve your friends or family, both young and old. Consider signing up for some online forums to talk with other bird enthusiasts and share your ideas – they will be able to offer you valuable tips and advice. You will find making your own bird house very rewarding, especially once you find a pair of birds have chosen it for their nest.

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Basking In The Backyard Heat with Gazebo Bird Feeders

March 18, 2008 by  
Filed under Gardening

Summer is everybody’s favorite time of year, second only to Christmas! It brings about visions of backyard barbecues, cold drinks, swimming, camping and water fights to keep cool. It is also the perfect time to relax with friends and family while you admire all of the birds in your yard, attracted by your feeders.

For a long time only hobbyists were using bird feeders, however they are now on every nature lover and bird enthusiasts list of interests; another reason why setting one up in your own backyard can be a truly thrilling experience. It is also sure to excite your friends and family, as bird watching is a great activity for people from all age groups.

The whole bird feeder “fad” is not only based on the standard creation of feeders, but also on the different styles, functions and services of the devices – this is why today you can find plenty of different varieties of bird feeders in a number of attractive styles.

The structure of your bird feeder is very important so make sure to keep that in mind before you start as it will effect the over all quality of your feeder as well as what kind of seeds you use with it.

A lot has been written about the various kinds of bird feeding, but there are still plenty of areas where information is sorely lacking. What many people fail to realize is that bird feeding has a lot to do with what style of bird feeder you are using as well as the kind of seed.

If you choose to use a very festive and creative bird feeder in your backyard you are not only creating an attractive edition to your property, but you will also lure many different species of bird, which in themselves will be adding a very attractive feature to your home.

For those of you who enjoy bird watching, utilizing a bird feeder in your own yard will bring great joy, as it will greatly increase the number of feathered friends to visit you. If you are lucky enough to have, or be able to build, a gazebo bird feeder, then the number of birds you see in your yard will amaze you.

Bird feeders come in a number of different styles, but one of the most good looking remains the gazebo bird feeder; it is without a doubt one of the most popular designs.

A lot like regular gazebos, these bird feeders are especially designed to accommodate for various kinds of seed and other bird feeds. With the pretty coloring, gazebo bird feeders provide plenty of space and shelter as well as a food supply for your feathered friends, all in an attractive design that will add class to your garden. As you would have guessed from the name, these bird feeders are designed to be reminiscent of regular gazebos and are just as comfortable for birds as they are for people to gather in.

In order to really appreciate gazebo bird feeders one has to understand their benefits over more traditional designs, these include;

Space – Gazebo bird feeders provide the most space out of all the designs you might choose from, and allows you to use up to 2 pounds of the bird feed you prefer. Because of this you wont need to be checking the feeder constantly to ensure that there is still food left for visiting birds – there will be plenty of seeds to last for days at a time.

Durability – Because of the amount of weight that gazebo bird feeders can support you don’t have to worry about them being damaged in the same way a smaller and weaker feeder might be. Most of these feeders can even have a steel cable attached to provide extra support, also this is rarely needed. They are one of the safest and most reliable varieties of bird feeder on the market.

Safety – Gazebo  bird feeders have long been admired for their lock design, which makes use of a twist locking facet, connecting it safely to a set feed container with a well style feeding dish.

Good Looks – Besides the obvious fact that these are very attractive bird feeders, you might also be interested to know that gazebo feeders come in a very wide range of diverse styles, including stained glass and wood. This means that you can pick the ideal design to compliment your garden without having to compromise; chic or contemporary, there is something for every home.

No Spills, No Mess – Thanks to the space allowed in a gazebo bird feeder, as well as the clever design, you wont have to worry about mess. This means no spilt seeds sprouting up unwanted plants in your yard around the feeder. Because most people favor seeds over other varieties of bird foods, many people have this problem – but the lock in design means that birds wont be able to spill seeds, so your yard is perfectly safe.

If you are looking for an attractive and practical solution, then a gazebo bird feeder is probably the perfect thing for you.

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Birding Tips On Better Wild Bird Watching for Birders

September 16, 2007 by  
Filed under Featured, Nature

LONDON - JULY 23:  Parakeets feed from a bird ...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife
Birds can be real fun, and bird watching is definitely a great way to experience nature and the outdoors, either alone or with friends. Plus, you will get to see all of the birds that are local to each area you choose to go bird watching in.
When you notice birds in the sky, pecking at the dirt, or doing what birds generally do, even if it doesn’t seem particularly interesting, you will actually find that it can be very fun and calming to observe – this fun can be improved upon by going bird watching! Bird watching is often referred to as “birding”, and is becoming an increasingly popular hobby with more people becoming interested all the time. A lot of these new bird enthusiasts have found that being out in nature is a refreshing and relaxing experience in a fast paced world, and also gives us a greater appreciation of our feathered friends. Many people have also started to pay more attention to the preservation of the environment because of this new found appreciation for nature.

Before you go on your first bird watching trip you should make sure to research some of the basic tips that can help you have a good day and not be disappointed. Setting up your own bird feeder, house or bath in your garden is a good idea, but there are several species of birds you will have to travel to see as they will not leave their natural habitats. You should also be prepared to get up early, as dawn is by far the best time to engage in birding; this is because birds are most active at this time, regardless of where you are located.

After an early night and a good solid sleep you will have to be willing to get up bright and early to be in position by dawn. This way you can be in a good spot before the birds start to become active, and they will not notice you arriving and be unnerved. In the three or four hours leading up to dawn you will notice the most bird watching action, and you will be shocked at just how many you can see compared to other times of day – just don’t arrive late as you will see far less action. Another good idea is to avoid any brightly colored clothing. Take cover in the bushes and wear clothes in earthy tones that will hep you to blend in with your surroundings. This just means wearing natural colors, you don’t need to go full camo – just try to make the birds comfortable by not letting them know that you are there. (Although if this is a hobby you plan to spend many hours on for years to come camouflage gear could be considered, it just isn’t necessary for beginners.)

Another vital element of bird watching is keeping your noise to a minimum. This doesn’t just include talking to anyone who might have joined you birding, but also moving around very slowly, carefully and quietly as well. If you are with another person talking wont only scare the birds in the area away but it can also block out any noise that they might be making, and you could easily miss them. If you need to talk to your companion or companions, do so in a very low whisper, or alternatively consider developing a simple system of hand gestures to convey your message – just don’t flail about wildly, as this will naturally scare the birds away even faster than talking would do. Trying to hide behind large objects like trees, boulders and bushes can be a very good idea, as well as a shadowy spot – if birds notice your silhouette moving they will panic and fly away.

If you stay on the path you will make less noise and be less noticeable than if you try to get too close and start disturbing the foliage. Another thing to remember is to never try to scare a bird out of hiding, or let any young children with you chase them – this will panic them and not only will it scare them away, but it is also cruel. The best way to bird watch is by allowing them to come to you, and finding a good spot where you are comfortable and can remain still. Having a bird feeder near by will also make birds less nervous as they eat, and they will be far more likely to come over to you.

Make sure that you do not venture too close to birds, particularly during the summer and spring time as this is their mating season – also stay well away from any nests you might spot. It is best to stay a safe distance back and use a good pair of binoculars or alternatively, if you plan on this being a long term hobby, you might consider investing in a spotting scope in order to see the birds as clearly as possible.

If you are a big fan of nature then birding could be the best hobby for you. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and by watching birds you can find new challenges, as well as a relaxing way to spend time outside. It is very easy to start, you can just set up some bird feeders in your own garden, and perhaps some houses to encourage nesting. Of course you will have to go on trips to find new and different varieties of birds, but seeing them come and go from your own home can be a most thrilling experience for any bird enthusiast, or even those who just enjoy their beauty.

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