The mother hen of pandemonium aviaries has given a talk at the TED x event!!
Hope everyone is having a glorious weekend and here is a quote to ponder.
“There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before.” ~Robert Wilson
Endemic to China and Indonesia, this fifteen inch parrot is named for its moustache-like markings and usually lives for twenty years or more. Males are easily distinguishable by their red beaks, while females have duller feathers and black beaks. Younger birds are more difficult to sex because both males and females have a pinkish beak. Some specialists claim that the female can be distinguished by her more evenly curved head, while males have flatter foreheads.
Miko, our first Moustache parakeet, loves almonds. His loud screams let us know if he hasn’t had his daily almond fix. Should we ever run out of almonds, Miko alone would convince us to run to the supermarket. Miko would love a human to sponsor his almond addiction.
Moustache Parakeets have a reputation for intelligence and playfulness, and they need a good sized aviary and plenty of toys to keep them occupied. Although they are not as noisy as Ringnecks, they have been described as “feisty.” They are also quite outgoing and will try new food that other birds won’t touch. They speak more clearly than Ringnecks, although not as fluently as larger parrots. In the wild this bird is often seen in flocks of twenty or more. Observers often hear these flocks before they can be seen, a testament to their loud voices.
Moustaches mature at between two and three years old. Courtship starts in late winter, with hens begging males to feed them. Breeding between December and April, females lay a clutch of two to four eggs and incubate them for twenty days. Young Moustaches fledge in fifty days. Adults love seeds, and will eat spinach, kale, and dandelions. Apples and grapes are among favorite treats.
Crimson Wing Parakeet
Crimson wings are a beautiful species with bright green body plumage. Both the males and females have red on their wings, but the males also have a black ‘cape’ on their backs. The first crimson wing to come to us, Arwin, belong to a woman who was dying of cancer. When Prince was gifted to Pandemonium as a mate for Arwin,. she fell head-over-heels in love with him and pursued him until he fell for her. They now are very much in love. He feeds her; she looks at him with admiration in her eyes. It’s the classic story of a girl chasing the guy until the guy finally catches her.Crimson Wings are endangered in their native Australia. We would enjoy having young Crimson Wings around, but this couple is probably too old to have babies. Arwin once laid a clutch of eggs and did a great job of incubating, but none hatched.
We rescued our first Bourkes after they had spent months at a humane society, unable to find homes. These seven inch parakeets are natives of Australia, and their endearing personalities make them very compatible with other birds. While many species pick on smaller birds, Bourkes live harmoniously with canaries and finches. They are quite social, enjoying the company of other birds and people. Although they are not known for talking, they do have a set of melodious chirps and whistles. Rosy Bourkes love to munch on sunflower seeds, kale, and chopped apples. In the wild they like to forage through the acacia scrublands of central Australia, so they prefer dry climates. Males and females appear quite similar, but a mature male Bourke has a blue band above his cere, the skin at the base of his upper beak.
Established pairs will breed at any time of the year, with a normal clutch numbering between four and six eggs. The hen will incubate her eggs for about twenty days. The male does not stay in the same nest box during incubation, but he makes frequent visits to dote on her and feed her. She is usually quite reluctant to leave the nest. Hatchlings begin to leave the nest after four weeks, and by eight weeks they are fully independent of their parents. Young birds leaving the nest are often clumsy fliers and sometimes collide with walls on their first few flight attempts.
Plum Headed Parrot:Psittacula cyanocephalaThe Plum-head parakeet is a native of India (subcontinental area) and its bright purple face coloration certainly lives up to its name. Two of our Plum heads came to us from Denver, Colorado and, instead of being shipped to San Jose, California, they went to San Jose, Costa Rica! After a week of phone calls and confusion, we welcomed two new parakeets, Costa and Rica, into our flock.
Pandemonium’s first Plum-head came from a humane society whose facility was not equipped to house exotic birds. After we got the call that this bird needed a home, we sprang into action. Because did not know much about them at the time, we had the bird DNA sexed– though we now know that we could have known she was female from her blue-grey facial coloration (males have a red-purple face).
Plum-heads used to be popular companion birds because of their compact size and mild, endearing personalities. However, this changed after Wild Bird Act of 1992; because they could no longer freely import stock, breeders stopped keeping birds that were not either high in cost, like macaws, or easy to breed, like budgies and canaries. Plum-heads form long-term breeding pairs; the mate maintain life long loyality to to one another. As with many species, the female incubates the eggs, but male watches out for predators and other dangers outside the cavity nest.
Like all birds, Plum-heads require abundant sunshine– we’ve found that ours prefer an eastern exposure. These birds are fairly hardy; they are able to survive temperatures below freezing as long as they don’t last more than a couple days, though they do need wind protection.
As we learned from experience, Plum-heads are very intelligent, inquisitive birds. Once, while doing foraging enrichment for large birds near their enclosures, we noticed the Plum-heads were watching the foraging very carefully. Intrigued, we offered them the same foraging toys and, to our amazement, they knew exactly how to get to the treats. Plum-heads require large amounts of stimuli to keep them entertained and mentally and emotionally healthy.