Is this thing on?

A long delay, but I finally have my new computer and all of my bookmarks back up and running!

It’s been a fairly normal winter as far as the finches are concerned. I have spent a lot of time recording the firefinches and finally have some good clips to sort through and edit before I can upload them to their page. I haven’t been able to find much information on them, but they are delightful little birds. I don’t think the pair I have want to be a pair though. They get along well enough but spend a lot of time ignoring each other. Or I should say the female is NOT impressed. The male is an absolute acrobat. I cannot believe the wide range of noises that he makes. He is the one that interacts the most, often calling back to me if I whistle. They are both very calm (for finches) and curious. I set my cell phone on top of their cage and the male immediately went to the top branch and turned his head sideways to see what it was. He finds feathers or strings and dances for the female while singing. She flies away as soon as he comes near. They do cuddle up together when they are sleeping a lot of the time though. Who knows, maybe one day she will come around. I finally have them eating their egg food at least!

On the 11th my last remaining gouldian hen died suddenly. Old age I would imagine. She was a good finch. I was surprised though because my last remaining gouldian male is the one I am expecting to lose next. He is still blind and starting to get a little thinner now. He still gets around the cage ok for the most part but is now starting to sit on the floor instead of wasting energy trying to find the perches again until he gets hungry or thirsty. If I see him, I usually just reach in and set him back on his favorite perch. I’ve done it so often now that he doesn’t even get as disorientated and instead goes straight over to his bowl and sits on the edge of it. He seems to get his bearings from that bowl and then he is ok. I actually put my “mean” CFW zebra male in with him. Amazingly they get along great. I can’t put the CFW in with any other bird even though I don’t have any more females in sight. He goes on the attack instantly. They don’t cuddle together like the female did that was in with him before, but often sit by each other. Every now and then the zebra sings to him in dominance and the gouldian just holds his ground and pecks at him. I don’t know if he would act the same if he could see but the zebra isn’t used to that reaction so he backs off.

Charlie 2 is back in the owl flight with mixed results…
I had a bowl in there up high for him to sleep in since he has a little trouble perching with one leg. Then they thought they should all fight over it, so I tried adding another one. This worked great for a while. I had one pair in each bowl. Then they decided that they were nests. This created a round of fighting and territorial behavior that is every bit as aggravating as zebra finches. Charlie 2 is now at the bottom of the pecking order and sometimes the other male will bother him, but those females were every bit as aggressive. Or sometimes it would be pair against pair. More like 2 against 1 since Charlie isn’t having any part of it. Pipsqueak got an open wound on her face. I took the bowls out. Then they decided that they platform would become their new nest area and they fought over that instead. So I took that out too. Now they are all calmed down and not fighting as badly although they still chase each other every now and then. Usually they are just performing flight patterns. Charlie is doing ok at night without his bowl.

Grassy still does not think that the CFW zebra or owls should be allowed to talk. He is in the other room and makes his cranky chatter when he hears them. Talk about holding a grudge! He doesn’t respond the same way if Chopper talks and I’m not quite sure why he expanded his disgust to the owls because he has never even seen them. I guess their voices remind him of the zebra.

Chopper and Maynard are still best buds. 2010 makes Maynards 11th year! I love that little bird. He is still hanging in there but has slowed down a lot. I’ve had to convert his cage into a handicap cage. He doesn’t fly anymore and falls when he tries. I put foam under his paper so he has a crash pad and arranged the perches so that he can get around. His worst time was at night. He’d fall over and over, so I created a sleeping area for him out of a rice krispie treat box. He loves it! Now he spends a lot of time in there just looking out. Chopper thinks it’s a pretty great thing too. He wants it to have bedding though so I gave him some Kleenex so he would stop ripping holes in the paper at the bottom of the cage.

All of the other birds are ok too. Bali is doing just fine on his own. The birds in the double flight are all peaceful. One of the society hens has over preened her friend so she is a bit bald. Weird that only the fawn hens have done this out of all of them I have owned.

My last Gouldian Hen

The New Firefinches

So far the Firefinches do not have much to say. In fact I was starting to wonder if I bought real birds or fakes as they did not even soil their travel boxes on the way home. They do not move when I get the food and water out.

I heard the male singing a nice little song at the show. When I sit near their new cage and watch them, the male will twitch his tail back and forth in that waxbill way and move his feet left and right, without actually hopping. The female just holds still and watches me back. The male has made a few peeps when I startled him by dumping him out of his travel box, and also when I cleaned the cage for the first time. Other than that, they are still settling in.

I will keep them isolated away from my other birds for at least a month and then I hope to introduce them to the double flight as they are supposed to be a peaceful species and I currently have all passive birds housed in there.
Masked Firefinches

Rocky Mountain Bird Expo 11-09

Saturday I braved the weather and headed to Denver to go to the Rocky Mountain Bird Expo, to see all the birds, vendors, and to talk with the bird people!

While I am not a member of this club, I do enjoy going to the shows and expos that they have put on. My favorite part of the expo is to see all of the different birds. There were many different finches, button quail, doves, budgies, lovebirds, all different assorted parrots and cockatoos, and also a few softbills. There was a Hyacinth Macaw and also a Black Palm Cockatoo, which I was lucky enough to get to hold. He was such a gentleman, a very sweet and well socialized bird.

I went with the intention of restocking a few of my supplements and possibly getting a new pair of gouldians.

Aspen Leaf Aviaries had a set up there and as usual I gravitated to their stand. They had the gouldians I was looking for. I was drawn to an extra cute young hen. She was bouncing all over the cage with her friends and the males next door. They all looked very healthy. They also had Lavendars, Orange Cheeks, Red Cheeks, Cut Throats, Zebras, Societies, Shaft Tails, Firefinches etc. While I enjoyed a chat with the owner, I kept my eye on a pair of Masked Firefinches, along with the extra cute Gouldian.

I had no serious intentions of buying any birds. Well. We all know how that works.

I am now the proud owner of a pair of gorgeous Masked Firefinches. Although I’m still not sure how I passed up the extra cuteness of the Gouldian. I went with two people that prodded me into the Firefinches. Their reasoning was that I have never had that species before. The owners’ reasoning was that gouldians are not a rare bird, and that I can get a pair of them whenever I would like.

Overall it was a great way to spend the afternoon!

11-09 Expo 11-09 Expo 11-09 Expo Black Palm Cockatoo

Fall Cleaning

Last weekend I did a major bird cage cleaning because once winter hits I probably won’t be outside pressure washing the bird cages. All of my cages are pretty easy to clean except for the ones that have the grates built in at the bottom of the cage as the floor. At any rate I caught all of my birds and inspected them for weight loss, trimmed toenails, and gave all a drop of Scatt.

I tried to put the CFW male back in the big double flight since my last female zebra finch passed on, but he spent the next few hours dominating the cage and terrorizing all of the occupants. To add to that he was also trying to attack the female grassfinch. Apparently the battles that happened almost a year ago are still fresh in the grassfinch and CFW’s minds because to this day they curse each other across the room. I wasn’t sure if he would apply this logic to ALL grassfinches or just the male, but apparently he doesn’t like any of them now.

Chopper was the same way (BOSSY and MEAN), but in his old age he has become friends with Maynard the society finch, in the retirement cage.

At this point in the game, I’m not sure I want to have any more zebra finches. They are wonderful little birds, but I’ve had too many that are terrors to the other calmer finches.

Charlie 2 is doing much better in his bigger cage now. I wrapped the middle of the perches with Vet Wrap to give him extra grip if he needs it. I also added a softer foam padding to one of the sections. This gives him 3 choices to sit on. I gave him a little bowl to rest in, but so far he has not used it. I just keep his food and water bowls on the floor and this arrangement seems to be working out pretty good so far.

The wound on his leg is completely healed up and now he is just learning to get along. I notice him putting his foot more in the middle of his body to compensate his balance and he still tries to hop around when he hears the others in their active flying states. When he gets going too fast he flicks out his wing to catch his balance.

Charlie 2 Recovering Charlie 2 Recovering

Naughty Little Owl

Charlie 2 escaped again. This time I couldn’t find him for about 15 minutes. He flew out the of the room, down the hallway and around the corner, into another room and settled into a pile of clothes on the floor. I was looking for him around the other bird cages but he didn’t want anything to do with cages.

Since he has been injured, I’ve kept him in a small covered hospital cage to minimize his movements and allow his leg time to heal. When I clean his cage out at night and catch him to check on his leg, I place him into another small holding cage.

He has figured out that he can sometimes squeeze past my hands and sneak out of the bottom of the door when I raise it to try and catch him. In fact this is why he has escaped a few times, because I’ve been depending on him to be afraid of my hand and go the opposite direction. Instead he jumps right on my fingers and comes toward me in order to go under the door.

I have to laugh because If I block the doorway with my other hand so he can’t squeeze out, he remains sitting on my fingers and looks at the exit instead of trying to get away.

It’s amazing to me how quickly they adapt. In the past 2 weeks he has gone from a panic state every time someone entered the room, to sitting calmly and peeking out the cage to see what I am doing. This is how most of the birds I have had act. When they are in the flight cages they revert to wilder behavior, but when I have had them in smaller cages next to an area that I often use they quickly calm down and expect me to be there. The only exception to this has been the orange cheeks. They are the flightiest birds I have ever been around.

Today he will get a bigger cage and more room to fly around. I’m going to do some bird chores today and rearrange a few things.

The End of an Era

Baby Dee

It’s been over a week now

and my little owl is doing great!

He has been coming out of his skin wanting to be in a bigger cage and he proved this by escaping from me and flying all over the house last night.

The wound is healing very nicely so far and there have been no signs of infection. He is also doing very well with his balance now and can perch a lot easier than at first.

The scab on the end is starting to fall off and there is new pink healthy skin underneath. I think I will come up with a handicapped finch cage and move him into there soon. As soon as he heals up I will put him back with his mate and if all goes well I’m hoping I can put him back in the owl flight with no major problems, except for a few modifications to make things easier for him.

Owl Update

Charlie 2 made it through the night and is actually singing today. He is just very off balance right now. I plan to keep him in this small cage to keep him quiet until he heals up a little bit more. There is some bruising around the area.

Freaky Accident

Tonight I discovered that Charlie 2’s leg band had somehow worked its way up his leg and over his thigh and his leg was horribly swollen on either side of the band. He couldn’t bend his leg and upon further investigation after I caught him, I saw that the leg was also broken. The band was not this way the night before and he was fine this morning so it had to have happened sometime during the day. Of course I wasn’t home.

This was a two person job because there was absolutely nothing I could do about it on my own. Luckily I had help. I was able to hold him while my help tried to remove the band.

It is hard to hold a bird for a long time. You cannot put much pressure across the chest because of the location of the air sacs in the body and there is a chance you can suffocate the bird. I had a grip on either side of his head and if the neck is stretched slightly usually the bird relaxes and lets you hold them without squirming too much. Charlie 2 did pretty well considering how bad his injury was.

That band was hard to remove because of the swelling. It was nearly impossible to get anything close to it that would allow it to be cut or spread back apart but finally we were able to get it off.

Of course once nothing was holding the leg together it flopped. The bone was broken and sticking through the skin. I put him in a small holding cage to give him a break and try to figure out my next move and calm my nerves a bit. Owl finches are not the calmest birds so of course every time he heard a new sound he flapped around in his cage and his leg was further injured. I knew I could not leave it as it was and there was really no way to try and set it so I decided to amputate.

I gathered some peroxide, kwik stop styptic powder, sharp medical scissors, clean cloths, etc. and had help for this part as well.

Since the leg was so badly damaged there was only a small bit of muscle holding the leg. We were able to disinfect it as much as possible and then trimmed through the rest with the scissors. He jumped a bit, but continued to hold very still. I packed the wound full of the styptic powder and put pressure on it until I was able to get it to stop bleeding, but I knew if he bumped it and knocked it off it would start bleeding again.

I put him in a small travel cage with shallow dishes of food and water with Guardian Angel on the floor and kept him covered. I checked him throughout the evening to make sure it didn’t start bleeding again. He mainly was acting a little shocked, but wanted to perch. With his balance now off, he was rather clumsy, but he actually seemed a lot more comfortable than he previously was.

From everything I have read, finches do surprisingly well with injuries like this one.

Now I just have to keep my fingers crossed and keep a close eye for any sign of infection.

A Double Loss

This morning one of my old gouldian hens was sitting on the floor. I removed her from the double flight and placed her in a smaller cage, but did not expect her to make it through the day. She did not.

The weird thing was that one of my youngest male societies died unexpectedly during the day as well. He was such a sweetie and would often eat out of my hand.

Gouldian Hen Male Society