Hello!

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Wow it’s almost been a month since my last post!
Life has been hectic. Since school ended I sleep ridiculous amounts, and then have to go to work. I am going to try to put myself onto a better schedule though, for both me and the birds!

The birds are fine. Kyoko has been more aggressive with Douglas lately, so I can never have her out when I just want to party with Douglas. His wings are starting to grow back, so I am impatiently waiting until he can start flying again!

Besides that it has been summer. It’s been overly warm, so we haven’t been able to go outside (since I work at 5:00 before it starts to cool down with the evening sun). Hopefully the weather will start to agree with us, and we can catch some more rays. Douglas has an Adventure Pack travel cage. I love them, but sadly not a lot of people carry them. I managed to get this one off of a friend on Avian avenue… just need to get one for Kyoko now! (she is  in a small hamster cage.. lol)

My birds now eat Harrison’s which is very exciting! Going to finish up the last of the Pretty Bird Gold and switch to Harrison’s full time. Might buy a small bag of Pretty Bird Gold (or Hagen’s Tropimix… which I can get at a local pet store) and use that for foraging… unsure yet!

Here is us sharing dinner a few nights ago. It was pasta with some white cream sauce (very little… I didn’t have a lot left). I decided to share with the birdies. Douglas kept trying to eat my mushrooms, but I wouldn’t let him… then he’d growl at me LOL. what a brat! I let him share my pasta, and he still wants more!

 

And now I leave you with a cute picture of wet Dougie.

Hopefully I’ll start blogging more soon :)

Silly Douglas

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Telling that story about spiking Kyoko made me think about what Douglas would have done. Kyoko was pretty shocked, but everyone around us was laughing (I was mortified) and as I cradled my little girl, she started laughing too. So everything was fine.

But Douglas? He wouldn’t let me get off that lightly!

Whenever I preen him, and accidentally touch a blood feather, he will growl and give me a little nip. If i pull away before he can get me, he’ll run after me until he gets me, haha!

If he hurts himself… like if he fell off a perch while playing. He’d run up to me with his wing lifted (always the right one) and start whining like a dog. I will always respond with “awwwwww Douglasssssss!” and he would respond by whining like a hurt puppy.

He’s so silly.

Funny Moments

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Do you ever have some moments in your life that you can remember at any time, and it will ALWAYS produce a strong response from you? I have two of those with Kyoko.

First one (some of you may not find this as funny as I did…)
Last Christmas, my family and I were playing X-Box Kinect. I was playing a game where you slap balls that come flying at you away to score goals. So i was playing a ferocious game with my brother when suddenly Kyoko decided to come recall to my hand without me calling her. And SMACK! I literally spiked her to the ground! I felt so bad, and she was so indignant over the situation, like “DID YOU JUST DO THAT?” She was fine. Or else I wouldn’t be laughing… but it was just SO FUNNY. OMG. I still laugh so hard every time I think about it!!!!

Second one, this was way back when, when Kyoko was still a baby. She was just learning to perch, and one of my favourite bird stores had a cute swing on sale. It was a cotton snuggly ring, and it was a small. So I ordered it. Sadly, when I did order it, when they meant small, they meant extra-small.. like parrotlet sized! I decided to hang it in her cage anyways, so she can snuggle against it or play with it. Now, Kyoko was JUST learning to perch, so I thought this was hilarious… but as soon as I put the swing in, she tried VERY hard to sit inside of it. But she was just too big, and she kept trying and trying. It was so funny, and it broke my little heart…

So I went out to buy her a more appropriate sized one. Amazingly, it is still her favourite swing to this day :)

Judgements in the Parrot World

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It might just be me, but I find that bird people (and I suppose all online animal enthusiasts) are very judgemental to people they do not know personally! Since the only record of these people I have is what I see them post, I try not to be judgemental… people have different situations and beliefs and reasonings that I cannot know or predict. But some people.. yikes! I feel so bad for them, that if it were me, I’d be crying.

But amazingly.. the things they are often criticized for, I do also!

For example, I’ve been called lazy, ignorant, cruel, and selfish for having Douglas clipped. This is the first time I’ve clipped him, and I did because his hormones were raging and he was attacking Kyoko. Of course, a lot of people deal with that situation, but not my exact situation. Do they know I pretty much live in a dorm room with two birds? Do they know that it’s hard to keep them separated? But i’m still called all those nasty words regardless, albeit indirectly.

I’ve been told indirectly that I shouldn’t own birds, because I often can’t afford to take my birds to the vet for yearly examinations. I have money saved for emergencies (although right now that is depleted… due to a recent emergency with someone else’s bird), but being a student, I can’t afford to spend $500 each on both of my birds to find out things that I already know. Mind you, if my birds were acting strange, or out of the ordinary, I would not hesitate to take them to the vet.

I’ve also been told multiple times that it is selfish to keep two birds that dislike each other in such a small space. But at the same time, it is mean of me to rehome them… not sure how to fix that situation then.

Recently, a thread on a parrot forum was brought up about a high school project to collect bugs and pin them. I pretty much do this for a living, since I work at the Royal Ontario Museum. There is a room with THOUSANDS of skin specimens of birds alone, and MILLIONS of other ones kicking around the museum… heck, i even saw a closet sized space with hundreds of jars with at least 20 bats in them each!  So I guess I am a monster eh?
Well now a days we don’t often kill birds for skins. They are usually birds that died from natural causes. But bugs are still often collected as well as other animals. I had a school project where we went around a field to collect bugs and we killed them and then learned to properly pin them. Is it terrible cruel that I didn’t even blink an eye, or hesitate at this? (Actually pinning was pretty gross). Heck! I even know how to skin a bird (i hope i never need to do that!) But all these things, that are advancements in science, are seen as cruel… evil… unnecessary…

Right now, I am working on barcoding the DNA of about 300 specimens from New Guinea, in order to see how birds are related, whether they need to be divided into subspecies… and basically I am just barcoding birds to be added to the Tree of Life. (Check out the project HERE. This is my project database here… BARCODE OF LIFE DATABASE.) I suppose it isn’t something that NEEDS to be discovered… but it is a large thing in evolutionary biology to show how every living organism in life is related phylogenetically. But there are also benefits to barcoding and taking samples from the wild…

FOR EXAMPLE: The Spix Macaw. Since all the babies currently in captivity are very closed related (inbreeding, etc.) in order to create offspring that survive and are healthy, scientists barcode the DNA of all the parrots, and try to  match up the two parrots that are the most genetically diverse. Sure, it’s not QUITE the same thing… but the point is, because I do what I do, does not make me an evil animal killer/hater.

What else.. I’ve also been shamed for not trying harder to feed pure organic food. It’s frowned upon that I keep my birds banded. The list goes on (although the worst rep i get is for having a clipped bird).

So… basically… according to most of the parrot people out there.. I’m a cruel cruel, ignorant bird owner that is lazy and selfish.. hehe.

It’s all about portions!

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The weather has been BEAUTIFUL here lately! Almost like summer! Which means the bugs are back!

Last summer I had some big issues with fruit flies (As always) as I give my birds a LOT of fresh food! And since it is in my bedroom… not a lot of fun!

Unfortunately, my schedule is not as open as it was last year (meaning i’m usually gone in the morning about 2 hours after the birds and I wake up), which doesn’t give us a lot of time for the birds to eat their breakfast before I need to go to school/work. So i’m hoping that I can PORTION my meals so the birds will finish up all of it by either a) the time i leave, or b) a few hours later (so it doesn’t spoil and wilt in the heat). I make sure not to served anything COOKED in the morning, as that spoils faster. I try to feed fresh veggies, as they tend to stay longer when out of the fridge and in the cage.

Then at night, I feed their mashed/cooked food. So now I need to REALLY think about portions, as I ALWAYS over portion my bird’s food! It is also recommended that you feed your birds twice a day, but my schedule is all over the place, so I always have a bowl of pellets in their cages, just in case.

What are your thoughts on portioning?

You Can’t Keep Your Pet? Really?

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~By a Shelter Director

Our society needs a huge “Wake-up” call. As a shelter manager, I am going to share a little insight with you all…a “view from the inside” – if you will.

First off, any of you whom have surrendered a pet to a shelter or humane society should be made to work in the “back” of an animal shelter – for just ONE DAY.

Maybe if you saw the life drain from those sad, lost, confused eyes, you’d stop flagging the ads on here and help these animals find homes. That puppy you just dropped off will most-likely end up in my shelter when it’s no longer a cute little puppy anymore. Just so you know, there’s a 90% chance that your dog will never walk out back out, once entered in to the shelter system…Purebred or not! About 25% of all of the dogs that are “owner surrenders” or “strays” that come into a shelter are purebred dogs.

The most common excuses: “We’re moving and can’t take our dog (or cat).” Really? Where are you moving to that doesn’t allow pets?

Or they say “The dog got bigger than we thought it would”. How big did you think a German Shepherd would get?

“We don’t have time for her”. Really? I work a 10-12 hour day and still have time for my 6 dogs!

“She’s tearing up our yard”. How about making her a part of your family?

“We just don’t want to have to stress about finding a place for her & we know she’ll get adopted, she’s a good dog”. Odds are, your pet won’t get adopted & how stressful do you think it is for your pet?

Did you know…

  • Your pet has 72 hours to find a new family from the moment you drop it off? Sometimes a little longer if the shelter isn’t fulland your dog/cat manages to stay completely healthy.
  • If it sniffles, it is euthanized.
  • Your pet will be confined to a small run/kennel in a roomwith other barking & crying animals.
  • It will have to relieve itself where it eats and sleeps.
  • It will be depressed and will cry constantly for you.
  • If your pet is lucky, there will be enough volunteers in that dayto take him/her for a walk.
  • If not, your pet won’t get any attention besides having a bowl of food slid under the kennel door and the waste sprayed out of it’s pen with a high-powered hose.
  • If your dog is big, black or any of the “Bully” breeds (pit bull, rottie, mastiff, etc) it was pretty much dead when you walked it through the front door.
  • If your cat is scared and doesn’t act friendly enough, or if it catches a cold (which most of them ‘do’), it will be put to sleep.

Those dogs & cats just don’t get adopted. In most cases, it doesn’t matter how ‘sweet’ or ‘well behaved’ they are. If your pet doesn’t get adopted within it’s 72 hours and the shelter is full, it will be destroyed. If the shelter isn’t full and your pet is good enough,and of a desirable enough breed it may get a stay of execution,but not for long.

Most dogs get very kennel protective after about a week and aredestroyed for showing aggression. Even the sweetest dogs will turn in this environment.

If your pet makes it over all of those hurdles chances are it will get kennel cough or an upper respiratory infection and will be destroyed because the shelter gets paid a fee to euthanize each animal and making money is better than spending money to take this animal to the vet.

Here’s a little euthanasia 101 for those of you that have never witnessed a perfectly healthy, scared animal being “put-down”.

First, your pet will be taken from its kennel on a leash. They always look like they think they are going for a walk…happy, wagging their tails…until they get to “The Room”, every one of them freaks out and puts on the brakes when they get to the door.It must smell like death or they can feel the sad souls that are left in there. It’s strange, but it happens with every one of them.

Your dog or cat will be restrained, held down by 1 or 2 shelter workers, depending on the size and how freaked out they are.Then a shelter worker who we call a “euthanasia tech (not a vet)”finds a vein in the front leg and injects a lethal dose of the “pink stuff”.

Hopefully your pet doesn’t panic from being restrained and jerks.I’ve seen the needles tear out of a leg and been covered with the resulting blood…the yelps and screams are deafening.

They all don’t just “go to sleep”, sometimes they spasm for a while,gasp for air and defecate on themselves.

You see, shelters are trying to make money to pay employee pay checks and then, there’s the board of directors…who need to be paid too!

Consequently, corners are cut, & we don’t spend our funds totranquilize the animal before injecting them with the lethal drug,we just put the burning lethal drug in their vein and let them suffer until dead.

If it were not a business for profit, we’d do it humanely and hire alicensed vet do this procedure. That way, the animal would be sedated or tranquilized and THEN euthanized.

But to do this procedure correctly would only cost more money…so we don’t necessarily do what is right for the animal, we do what’s expedient so we can continue to make a buck!

Shelters do not have to have a vet perform their euthanasia procedures. Oftentimes, they are untrained personnel administering lethal injections. So… that employee may take 50 pokes with a needle and 3 hours to get inside the vein.

In the end, your pet’s corpse will be stacked like firewood in a large freezer, usually in the back of the building with all of the other animals that were killed. There they will sit until being picked up like garbage.

What happens next? Cremated? Taken to the dump? Rendered into pet food? Or used for schools to dissect and experiment on?

You’ll never know and it probably won’t even cross your mind. After all, it was just an animal and you can always buy another one, right?!

I hope that those of you who still have a beating heart and have read this are bawling your eyes out and can’t get the pictures out of your head. I deal with this everyday. I hate my job, I hate that it exists & I hate that it will always be there unless you people make changes and start educating yourselves, your children, the public.Do the research, do your homework, and know exactly what you are getting into before getting a pet. These shelters and humane societies exist because people just do not care about animals anymore. And PLEASE stop breeding!

Animals were not intended to be disposable but somehow that is what they’ve become.