Windy City Parrot Shoppers Guide

white cockatoo flying toy airplane flanked by 2 black cockatoos
Banner cockatoo holding dollar bill in beak
lorikeet speaking into microphone held by a man's hand
cockatoo driving t-bird convertible
Cockatiel wearing old fashion flight helmet sitting on human hand that is drawing an antique airplane
$100 bill with african grey profile in center with eye patch
3 sun conure chicks
several male australian king parrots

We like when you visit us. We see no reason for you to dash off just to see what your college roommate (that you recently connected with after 22 years)
made for dinner. We’ve got more than 300 bird related videos on this site. How many cat videos can you really watch?
Personally I (mitchr) think parrots were the god-feathers of social media. I state my case here. If you must find us in any these noisy places, we’ll be the ones with poop stains on the back of our clothing.
popcorn white cockatiel on booda soft rope perch in her cage at the birdie boutique t
African Grey parrot hiding behind many bird toys in bird cage
czek man in costume training parrot in public plaza
pigeon looking ay smartphone gps
catherine tobsing & mitch rezman in the birdie boutique

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Help – My Catalina Macaw is chewing everything!

originally posted on 1/26/14

I have ordered toys from you previously. To be quite honest, I have probably ordered at least one toy from every place I’ve found online.

I have a 5 yr old Catalina Macaw that I have had since he was 6-1/2 weeks old. At 6 months old, he broke the bars of his first cage, then we got him a big “Kings Corner” Cage, and it didn’t take him long to learn how to open the latch on the door, so we have been duct-taping that for quite some time now.

Then, he learned how to maneuver his tongue just enough to get the circle to spin so that the flat/solid food doors would open, then he would push the dish out with his head and get out of his cage, go around and undo all the other doors and then walk around the top of the cage like he was saying “ha ha ha I got out…” The only toy that ever lasted is a simple metal swing that used to be covered with rope and toys and such, he destroyed those in minutes and kept the metal ring as a swing/massager for his wings and such.

ALL other toys he will either get through in an hour TOPS (and those are the really good ones that say they are “parrot proof” or “macaw proof”), the only other toys that stick around are the ones with hard wood pieces, for which he takes a little off the edge occasionally and then loses interest.


I have yet to find a B.E. that holds his attention for a relatively long time and I was hoping you could help me with this, maybe come up with something, or recommend your best?? Preferably NON-food related, as he is already about 100g over weight, he is fully-flighted, and can still fly, but I’ve already lost him once, so I’m a little hesitant to let him try flying outside again (even if it is on harness and a really long leash meant for that.

Alright, that’s all I have to say, please help if you can! Or direct me to someone you think may be able to.

Thanks! – Stephanie

Hi Stephanie – Thank you for the email

Unfortunately birds will be birds and your Catalina is behaving quite normally. That said I have a few solutions I can offer up. First duct tape is a bad idea. It has adhesive that can snag feathers. Wings can be broken in an attempt to escape the adhesion.


Safety tip: Should your bird get ensnared in adhesive – duct tape, scotch tap , fly trap, rodent trap – try personal lubricant,


catalina macaw video


editors note: when she lifts the catalina for the 1st time the macaw grabs her hand to stabilize it’s 30-inch-long-unstable-top-heavy-when-upside-down-body – she misinterprets this as a bite – saying “no bite” to a bird is ineffective. – it’s also why a large percentage of caged bird keepers fail – not knowing how to speak bird.


As for chewing up toys – if your bird was in the wild he’d fly 50 or 60 miles a day stopping as many as 30 times to “forage” for food. He’d use his beak to scrape under rocks and rotted old trees seeking food. He’s just acting out what nature is telling him to do naturally.

My advise would be to make your own toys. The don’t have to be big, fancy or colorful,. He just wants to chew. Please watch my video to show you how to make big bird toys in under 5 minutes


Make Big Bird Toys Fast & Cheap –

Because he’s a chewer I wouldn’t let him fly outside with a line – he’d chomp it off. You can do things like chase him around a blanket on the ground or up a flight of stairs for exercise.

You can also hold him by his feet and move him up & down. He’ll flap his wings in response which is another great exercise.

Hope that helps


written by mitch rezman

approved by catherine tobsing


your zygodactyl footnote



Birds are like soul mates & should find you – right?



Mitch, I learned sooooo much from you in today’s message about bird safety. I’m seeing my household with completely new eyes now. Thank you so much. We are first-time bird companions of two one-yr-old beautiful little male budgies acquired at the same time from the same breeder when they were still youngsters. They are healthy and active.


They will eat millet from my hand but I can’t seem to convince them to let me interact with them beyond that. Additionally, one of them (Pippin) is very bossy and aggressive toward the other…(Bungie). He chases him out of the feeder regularly and I’m distressed over this. The two still cuddle and interact during the day but sometimes


Pippin chases Bungie around the cage and it’s clear that it isn’t a fun game to Bungie. They have stopped sleeping together. If you could point me toward an article you’ve written about aggressive behavior, I would be so appreciative. One other thing … is a long shoestring hanging from the top of their cage a safe toy? They seem to love playing with it but I wanted to check and see if you think it’s safe. Thank you, Mitch!


How to tame a budgie easily !



Dear Ellen


Catherine here, Mitch is off arguing – with the world.


Okay, you have a couple cute little birds that have no need for you as a playmate. Buying two birds at the same time basically means you will be the 3rd wheel. Birds of a feather flock together, and you have no feathers.


Unless you want to step up the taming, by separating them and playing with each awhile in another room, day after day, then you might have some success.


But it appears like you may have just a cute couple of birds to have fun while you watch. Instead get them a fun cage set up and play area only a couple budgies could love. Keep offering them millet in your hand, it is always fun to get visited by them.


Regarding the one bird crowding out the other, you might need to add a second food dish to make sure the less aggressive bird gets to eat. Making sure the cage is big enough to allow the birds to not be forced on each other all the time.


How To Tell If Your Budgie Is Male or Female – As Well As Age


Also some long hanging toys in the middle of the cage or hanging near a corner where a small perch can be tucked behind it for the meeker bird to go find a place to take a break.


They are not expected to cuddle and sleep together all the time. They are boys, not a pair (no do not introduce a female).


Also NO shoestrings. No string should be long enough to be able to be wrapped around their neck or body. Shorten it accordingly and if it is not completely cotton, it has to come out. Yes, they can chew the aglet tip. It is safe and birds like that part.


Hope this helps.



Which leads us to feedback from


Robin D – Queen O’ Rescue birds


Great job putting this together and so soon. I am sure your trash bins had to be emptied at least 3 times of Kleenex bits for this post.


We all know that no pet can ever be replaced. With that said, 2 serious bird people with a business called…WINDY CITY PARROT, simply have to own a Parrot, they just do.


Also selfishly, your followers need stories and videos for our Sunday Brunch. Every 30 seconds a bird’s owner dies or one is found in a closet,see where this is going?….


what robin dreams of


I believe really that 3 birds, minimum should be considered, one for each of you people there. What do you think? If Chicago does not have good rescues,scope out the Indy area and we can all have drinks in person while you look.


I know some crazy lady that has 9 birds in her flock and they are all happy, healthy and one happy clutch and the nut still is a companion and her birds still love and adore her (cept the keets, they really could care less), so yes, 3 for you I think.


We will have to take a reader’s poll, are you in? We all loved Popcorn, who wouldn’t sweet and

lovely and funny and great.


I think Popcorn would want you to really challenge yourself with something to stay busy and get you out of mourning. I mean how cool would it be if you got let’s say… a real freaked out Parrot that tried to eat your face when you got close to it, even though you adopt him.

robin demeree with 3 rescue amazons

some crazy lady that has 9 birds in her flock


Then you guys can post weekly updates to show how much progress is being made (I would edit the big cuts and

bruises). You could use your expertise, experiment a little, give a bird a good new HAPPY life and the Sunday Brunches would be spellbound and rooting for you and your body parts to stay in-tact.


That is my great advice for the day.


Note: Sharing your life with a bird will always be a double edged sword. You cry when you lose them as with any pet. As I get up in age, I start worrying about what happens when I die before them.


Yes, they are in my will, I have parents picked and a diary on each bird to hopefully help the next parent understand personality, likes and dislikes if they somehow ended up with complete strangers. Then I think about what my birds will feel when I am no longer there if I drop dead before I can re-home them before I take my last breath.


Again I say DANG maybe they should go first, because I don’t want them to feel that pain and you know that they will, and they do and they tend to hold onto pain and anger a tad longer than humans. See? Double edged sword.


Robin 🙂


senegal parrot on back


great comments Robin


you’re right and we have been talk about species preference – we’re thinking Poicephalus like Senegal or Red bellied.


We will be sticking with a single bird in that generally speaking once a household acquires a second and third bird they become zookeepers more than companions.


Yes it is a double-edged sword – currently we are working on a very large project which would detract from taking the time necessary to bring in new bird home.


we’re also waiting to see if a bird finds us 🙂




Nora’s Comments:


When my ex and I separated, I chose to leave my sun conure with him, because they were seriously bonded. But I thought “how can I write stories for Windy City Parrot’s blog if I have no bird to interact with”.


While I was shopping for a place to live, I chose a temporary set up and asked the homeowner if a small parrot would be okay. I was thinking parrotlet. She immediately says, “Well an African Grey comes with the room if you want it.”


So my Timmy who’d suffered lack of attention, poor diet and even some abuse during the last 6 years quite literally found me. He’s now happy, healthy, talking a lot and playing again. He loves me and I love him.


Yes, Mitch and Catherine, a bird will find you. If not, you guys will find the right bird.


red bellied parrots in cage
red bellied parrots – male on left


Mitch was incorrect about not being a companion anymore. OMG. I simply just have several companions now. Weeknights, I have Quincy and Allie on each shoulder, Paco on his Polly as always messing with me and Casey still sitting on one last stuffed baby, playing mother. When I put the other kids to bed, that is when Casey and I talk and play and cuddle.


I just got dang lucky is all with these new birds, or I truly have an angel with me. On weekends, I can leave Allie out downstairs ALL weekend and she and I and Casey have a slumber party. Except for bedtime, or if I am leaving my house, I NEVER shut Casey’s cage door.


She is less than 6 inches from my dining table and chairs and she has never tried to eat or chew or destroy one thing other than her toys. Allie the same way. Oh and most important, they are the quietist birds I have EVER known.


Ye, they each have a 5 min screech fest at sundown but not always. Other than that, if they do make noise it is because they want something, then they are silent. Even if my brats are having cows and yelling, how blessed am I!?! I will sleep downstairs with them Fri and Sat night’s and they LOVE that.


I never have to worry about them doing anything bad. I tried to let Paco and Quincy join in, but Quincy is a pansy ass and has to be in his cage even though he NEVER wants to go to bed and Paco has to be wherever Quincy is at all times so, their loss on the slumber party I suppose.


So that is all the news at my house. Hopefully, you will receive a cute little box in a few weeks addressed to Popcorn and it will contain a handmade item. If I bomb, well then, I will just send some Brownies for the humans and Millet for the bird baby cuz even if I cannot be an artist, I still can bake!!!


Happy Week to you!


Robin and zoo…. Xoxoxooxoxoxoo


India’s ‘Birdman’ Feeds 4,000 Parakeets A Day


Thank you so much for this truly touching story of love and trust. I CRIED. I have a red lored Amazon who can’t fly as she was caught in Mexico as a baby and they broke one of her wings in the shoulder area.


A truly horrible thing for people to do to them to keep them safe? In addition she is blind in right eye. That bird means so much to me as I know she needs me more than I need her. Last fall I adopted a male from a rescue who was so abused he is absolutely terrified of people. He has diabetes and again like Sam my female, I solely treasure his existence.


Many people I meet and I have taught have learned that parrots are probably more tuned into us than dogs or cats. They actually react to and want to be so like us. Again thank y’all so much for your wonderful sharing, guidance and understanding of our truly God given feathered babies.


Dave R, OKC, OK


Looks like you have your hands full Dave – very nice job.


Believe it or not we have a customer who rescued a Scarlet Macaw in Hawaii that had been shot I have pictures of the x-ray somewhere on the site –


Her veterinarian was forced to amputate the wing on the gunshot side. That said because you’re dealing with a bird having a broken wing and the loss of distance perspective because of one blind eye from a bird’s point of view maintaining balance and stability is of the utmost importance.


I would have very few cylindrical wooden purges in her cage and let lots of rope and flat perches especially – providing more stability for her feet.


Regarding the adopted male your best friend here is clicker training. Birds react very well to this and it gives them a higher expectation of things to do.


Please watch this video to better understand


Building Trust With Your Bird


best of luck




One more thread from Robin D


Make sure they do not have the sandpaper covers on perches they sleep on.




J More great advice thank you. I will do as you recommend as she is a total and complete different animal than the Amazons and keets. Or any I have owned. Not sure about giving up the kisses though, I taught Paco to give kisses instead of biting and it is the only thing that works lol. For now, though yes not getting near her face until she clams down!


I cannot believe birds survive this, I mean they almost starve to death so yes, I did not even think of the food until you said it and pooping. She would hold it for days! That was the first thing that she did when she went to her T-perch was to eat like a hog and hit her litter box and poop, poop, poop!

Oh, FYI huge news for me today. I received Paco’s yearly bloodwork results an hour ago, (his yearly was Monday).


Shockingly, perfect labs, skin, feathers, eyes, perfect! I was told to keep feeding the crazy way I feed because whatever I do is working EVEN allowing the Pizza, Cheescake, Bacon and various other BAD foods that I slip in at least once a week. 9/14 I was told he probably had cancer White count bad, almost certainly fatty liver disease and he would need beak and nail trims every 6 months and she would be surprised if he lived 12-24 months in reality.


cockatiel eating treat stick


She also suspected he had kidney damage from chronic dehydration. His Gizzard and intestines also had issues. Last years blood was better, but still far from perfect, white count was still bad. Today I got PERFECT WOOT! I asked on a scale of 1-10 10 being the best what she would rate his health and well being she said 10 but he is still a tad psycho lol! Of course I will continue to work with him, my goal is to get him social with me consistently then with others.


At least visit day, I was able to take him out of the cage and get him on my arms and even though we had to towel him for the rest, she was happy with his progress there. The vet said I should be proud she has seen birds never fully recover mentally from abuse and near death. So yes, today I am proud! J Cheescake and sunflower seed cake for Paco tonight lol! I make them in little ice cube trays and then they each get their own cake!


I have Zupreem pellets in all cages, Zupreem seed mix in Polly and treat cups then chops for dinner, so yes, since I know for a fact my birds love food and taste and textures, I will keep it the way I have been doing it. Also, I have not had to take Paco in in those 2 years for beak or nails as I use the Ecotrition sandpapers rolls on their T-perches and the Polly perches work for them to maintain themselves perfectly. I am so relieved that White count is spot on. Such great news!

Happy Happy that paco may live to continue to drive me insane for a very long time! Great right?!


written by robin demeree

approved by everyone



your zygodactyl footnote




Are feral parrots Americans or immigrants?

I was going to post some evergreen content to keep it short and sweet for the holiday weekend. I will keep it short and sweet but brain farts will be brain farts.


There’s all this talk of immigration in Congress – something I try not to involve myself in. But I do know of feral parrot flocks around the country which I’ll identify shortly.


This holiday weekend is all about independence and people in America. But what about the animals?


America is host to more than 6 million feral pigs

3 feral pis

hey congress guys

why aren’t you counting the 6 million undocumented alien pigs?


Thinking of them begs the question should we treat them (feral animals) as American citizens because they have been here for a while. Or apply immigrant status among the various species?


Let’s say I find an injured Quaker parrot in Hyde Park around the University of Chicago Hospital. Is the bird entitled to free emergency medical treatment or as an immigrant will not be admitted to the hospital?


If you’re lucky enough to be near any of these feral flocks like the ones here in Chicago, you can hear the birds squawking. They are South American birds. Are the squawks in Spanish or English – can someone tell me this?


Is Spanish the Quaker’s native language?

Are they all squawking spanglish?


Editor’s note: the bird should’ve been removed from his shoulder at the first nip – shoulder riding is an earned privileged.


Birds do not understand the meaning of “No”, positive reinforcement is always best.


Before I share with you some wonderful videos and images of feral parrots in the US, I found it interesting to learn that there are other feral species found in the strangest places.


He’s running off the road Martha…


over 1000 feral Rhesus monkeys reside in Florida

feral rhesus monkey family

do the young ones deserve a tax payer paid education?


at least 40 feral guinea pigs

reside in Nu’uanu on the Hawaiian island of Oahu

2 feral guinea pigs

should free exercise wheels

be made available to these US citizens?


Enjoy the videos and the rest of your holiday weekend.

Independent Lens
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill | Trailer | PBS
Wild Parrots in the Bronx
Wild Parrots Agoura Hills CA close-up HD
written by mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing
approved by nora caterino
your zygodactyl footnote

How do you put the “social” in bird food?

We talked about birds being the godfeathers of social media. Birds are flock animals. Your bird was born expecting to be in a flock. When the bird comes in your home you become its flock.

We have interactions with caged bird keepers from around the planet every day. “He won’t eat that” “I’ve tried that” “I just can’t get him off of his sunflower seed diet” (yes we actually hear that a lot – sigh)


Wild Cockatiels in nature

And so we’ll talk about food in a minute because you can’t talk about feeding your bird without talking about the social interactions your bird is seeking at feeding time.

We are not talking about finches or budgies in this discussion. Popcorn always got her own dish served on the landing door of her cage. It came with the plates we humans were going to eat from.

Inevitably she would fly over and start nibbling on the food at the edges of our plates even though her dish was filled with the identical food. We would mindlessly shoo her off our dining room table and she would fly back. This life with a bird.


Popcorn was also a foodie. She would eat anything. Just about every bird food we offered her, although she got selective about some of the sizes of the seeds in a mix she was food agnostic for the most part.


Parrots in India


We had a Ripped Bag of Harrison’s lifetime fine granules – we put them in a little forging toy and she went right through them. We’ve posted countless videos of her sharing my lunch.


Popcorn the cockatiel hamming it up


The tail I’m trying to weave here for you is that for birds, unless they get a little hungry in the middle of the night, food is a social event. Social means flock activity, you are there flock thus buying the most expensive bird food available on the Internet then giddly filling up the a feeding dish in the cage, you find yourself disappointed in the next morning when the new bird food clearly had not been touched.


How many of you that have bigger birds that are struggling to get them to eat new and more healthful foods are not including them in your mealtimes?


HUGE SWARM of BUDGIES in Australia


You don’t have to have the bird jumping across your dinner table that is annoying. But keeping a small cage or stand in a dining area signals to the bird that we all eat together. Your bird can be rewarded positively with millet and a few sunflower seeds for behaving itself – staying on its plate stand.


If you are letting your bird out of its cage when you get home from work, changing its food and water before birdie bedtime and when you get up in the morning repeating the process while the bird remains isolated from family activities may be the reason your bird is reluctant to try new food – human or commercially available bird food.


We also want to look at how are birds eat. Do we know how they eat. You watch this. Do you try to understand your birds behavior? Do you offer larger pieces of bird food to larger birds like African grays and blue and gold macaws who like to eat with their feet?


Does your bird like to dunk its food but it drives you crazy because the water gets dirty so fast and you’re not there to change it. You could add a Lixit water bottle but a hidden gem of ours in the food category is a line of pellets for my brand named Scenic.


A flock of cockatoos in our yard


Here is some of the 411 on Scenic bird food pellets


Scenic™ Bird Food is a complete formulated diet for exotic hookbill and softbill birds such as macaws, cockatoos, parrots, lories, budgies, mynahs, toucans, and finches. Scenic Bird Food has improved the feeding protocols, nutrition, health, and reproduction of rare and endangered birds maintained in captivity throughout the world, including the Black Palm Cockatoo (San Diego Zoo) and Buffon’s Macaw (Not to be confused with the military macaw).


Available in a variety of shapes, flavors, and sizes, Scenic Bird Food can be fed to a myriad of different bird species at all stages of life. Read more here


What they don’t say on their site anywhere, although we talk about it on ours is that the pellets don’t break down when they get wet making them ideal for food dunker’s.


Flock of Eclectus Parrots in Numfor

Are you making food fun? Are you hiding food in discoverable places. Do you ever try to take food that your bird won’t eat and pretend that you eat it because birds always want would you want – right?

What about that human food thing? I made it clear that chops can be fun but there a lot of work in wasteful. Even a small chop mix can way is much or more than a sun conure.

We also need to keep things in perspective. If your bird is on a nutritious commercial bird food diet – the amount of human food that actually going to ingest is minimal. Thus Catherine and I eat fairly healthy Sundays a big bowl of French fries or onion rings might show up for lunch.


Wild african grey parrot flock


Popcorn always liked crispy things – she liked toast, she did not like bread. We never felt

a French fry with a breading from an onion ring would really harm her nutritionally. When we traveled her cage was right between and behind us.

We could be eating sh*t & shineola on toast and she would not shut up until we figured out how to make whatever it was stick between the bars of her travel cage – so we could enjoy some silence.


food for your bird should be thought of as nutritional – social – mental(ly stimulating)


written by mitch rezman

approved by catherine tobsing

approved by nora caterino


your zygodactyl footnote

It’s rare I suggest a bird blog because there are

so few that meet our standards. I’m pleased to introduce

Kathy LaFollett who writes the blog.


2 umbrella cockatoos


Her latest post resonated with me as it’s about

flock eating and is named Food and Project Management


Why do you want to put Jello on your bird’s food?

Popcorn update

Thursday (6/9/16) she was very low energy and didn’t leave her cage after opening the door. The very first thing I do every morning is replace her water with freshwater after scrubbing out her food dish to avoid bacteria.

We are now introducing a milk thistle liver detox into her water. I place the eight drops in the bottom of a dry dish and add a couple of ounces of water to make sure the milk thistle solution gets dissolved. Then I add a half an ice cube to keep the water fresh until the mid-day replacement. (It gets replaced again at birdie bedtime).

Popocrn our white cockatiel on coffee table

Do you know how much water your bird drinks? Do you know how to measure it? I use the counting method. Popcorn normally takes 2 to 3 beak fulls of water every morning. Today she took nine triple her normal intake.

She’s panting and her abdomen is a bit swollen so we ran her to the vet. She’s losing weight down to 96 g which is very light for her.

She sitting on a hot water bottle in her well heated cage with a light off and I’m going to watch her through the night at some point possibly having to make the decision to put her down.

It sounds cruel but I’m a huge quality-of-life guy. Today apparently in veterinary medicine hospice has become a national trend.

I’ve hospiced a human – because I had to. I will not allow a pet to suffer as long as I know we’ve done everything we possibly could to keep it healthy.

Agree or disagree – we all have to do what is right for ourselves.

crazy bird feeder station on pulleys

I put her down (6/9/16) 12:58 cst – she’ll be buried next to Sunshine our Ringneck who passed mothers day 2007 under 3 large oak trees next to our new wild bird feeding station.

From Jeanette Hi

Is it safe for my Blue Front Amazon to share my fruit, yogurt, seed, and granola breakfast if I put collagen hysolysate on it?

So here’s the thing – Jeanette

That depends – how do we know your Amazon parrot is lacking in collagen hysolysate?

Although callogen fibers are found in a bird’s skin

From a paper named Avian Integument produced by Eastern Kentucky University

For many birds, skin coloration is the result of optical interactions with biological nanostructures or, in other words, the microscopic structure of skin. Such structural colors occur in the skin, bill (ramphotheca), legs and feet (podotheca) in about 129 avian genera in 50 families from 16 avian orders. Structurally colored skin is present in more than 250 bird species, or about 2.5% of all bird species.

Examination of the color, anatomy, and nanostructure of structurally colored skin, ramphotheca (beak), and podotheca (the horny integument covering unfeathered portions of the legs and toes of most birds) (from several different species of birds indicates that color, including ultraviolet, dark blue, light blue, green and yellow hues, is produced by coherent scattering (i.e., constructive interference) of light from arrays of parallel collagen fibers in the skin (dermis) . Scattering, in this case, simply means that light deviates from a straight path.

That’s natural collagen but based upon what the man made substance is according to Bob Busscher president of Great Lakes Gelatin,

they carefully source grass-fed beef hides for the raw material for their bovine products. The split hides (under the hair where the collagen lies) are put into an alkaline solution and held for a number of days where the material is broken down…………………..

jello parrot cake

Next it’s acid back washed and pumped into cooking kettles which separate tallow, skin, and collagen.

Collagen hydrolysate: The collagen is stored in a holding tank at a higher temperature to reduce the molecular weight cleaving the amino acid bonds. This process is called hydrolysis.

Important Note: Remember not to get too carried away with gelatin. Adding too much too quickly can cause digestive issues: bloating, loss of appetite, stomach ache are just a few side effect. Learn more @

Personally I see no reason to introduce manmade collagen hydrolysate to any bird especially reading about what it’s made from.

That said anyone who knows me knows that I test for everything. If you feel your bird has deficiencies my advice would be to seek an avian veterinarian and have a complete blood panel perfomed to see what nutrients your bird may be exiguous [ig-zig-yoo-uh s] in – perhaps even some collagen.


Susi N J · Friends with Benny B

commented on a Facebook post – on my personal time line in response to this video

“Becurse you teach him. Kills the bird giving it human food. So please stop. Give it a favorit snack instead. Be consentstant”


1) that statement is a bit over the top – Goldenfeast bird food is 100% human grade food

2) she has cancer and has had more blood work ups than I care to count – the data on the blood work ups we did for 9 consecutive weeks dispute her health is is any way compromised by her diet which is probably 10% snatched form our dinner plates.

3) the only thing we have added to her diet since the diagnosis is way more millet than she’s ever gotten (like giving sick kids milkshakes)

4) Vets and many experts today like Patrica Sund recommend chops for birds made entirely of human food – when you get a moment please checkout my blog

Trick question “is a banana human food or animal food?” email with the right answer and get a coupon for $5 off your next order (please allow 48 – 72 hours)

April Emery

Hi guys

You know I follow and love your blog and I want to offer a hint about pellets.

I have two young parakeets that love their seeds but I have been determined to get them to at least add pellets to that diet even though after two years I’m pretty convinced that they will never give up all seed.

They eat Harrison’s Adult Lifetime Super Fine which I had chosen after lots of research. And yes, the SUPER fine is very hard to find! They will eat it out of my hand like a treat so I know they recognize it as food and like it.

But mixed in with their seed, I still feel they mostly eat around it! But here’s my hint: they love it crushed to a powder! Once when I could only get the “fine”, which is too big for parakeets, I had to break it up for them and they liked to eat the powdery bits best.

So in addition to always putting the superfine in with their seed, at least once a day I offer them the powdered form, in our case in a little hand held shell. It’s “together time” well spent and they eat so much! I just put a teaspoonful on a small plate and crush it with the bottom of a glass.

This might be a good way to introduce pellets as food to the average bird that is usually not the foodie that Popcorn is. She is exceptional that she ate it right away! (You know we are all holding good thoughts for her.) And you might want to try powder for her if she gets finiky.

But my girls will also only eat Nutriberries broken apart in my hand – otherwise they are just balls to drop or throw. They can manage Avicakes in the forager but that is a seldom treat

I just don’t know about all that molasses (just sugar) and they pick out the seeds and drop the pellets anyway, being too smart for Avicakes. They’re too smart in general – we just try to keep up!

April your comments

are invaluable! We will pass this content onto everyone who enjoys our Birdie Brunch.

Your Harrison’s method is very efficient – Lafebers will tell you that roughly 50% of their Nutriberries/Avicakes is the anticipated waste factor.


written by mitch rezman

approved by catherine tobsing

approved by nora caterino

your zygodcatyl footnote

Yellow-Naped Amazon Parrots Arguing

like a married couple. Parrot Mountain in Gatlinburg, Tn

The challenge of caring for a one-eyed African grey


I am truly enjoying your email newsletters. Very informative.

Need some of your advise, I have a Timneh African Gray named “Saber”, now I think about 30 years old. I ended up buying him from when he was about 3-4 years old. For several months I would visit the pet shop and always stopped by Sabers cage to play and talk with him.

One day I noticed he was up for sale, and the pet shop owner said that his owner, an elderly lady had passed away, and her family brought the bird to the pet shop for boarding until they decided what to do.timneh African grey parrot on playstand

They then called and said they didn’t want the bird anymore. The shop put it up for sale. That’s when I decided to buy him. I was told he was about 3-4 yrs old. He’s always been a sweet cuddly bird, I taught him songs and lots of words.

He would cuddle and sit on my shoulder everywhere I went. I could easily clip his toe nails by myself, and clip his wings as needed and even let me file his beak when to sharp. Never once did he ever bite.

So now Saber is getting in his golden years. Last year he lost vision in his right eye. A cloud like glaucoma covers his eye. Vet says nothing you can really do for that. He still sees well through his left eye. After he lost his vision, he has become very noisy, he lunges at me like he wants to bite me, he won’t stay on his outside perches.

Roscoe – Timneh African Grey Parrot, Talking


He jumps down and then doesn’t want to come back onto his perch or in his cage. He has bitten me real bad twice this past year. He almost severed my small toe on my foot. Had to go to emergency for treatment, and he bit me on my hand and left bad scars.

In all the years he never was a mean bird, until last year. Before he would stay outside his cage all day long and play, then just go in at dinner time or when ready to sleep. I am at a loss, and don’t know what I can do to make him more comfortable and easier to manage. He still has a few more decades of life in him and want to be able to enjoy him like before. Do you have any suggestions or ideas. I’ve attached a picture of my baby Saber. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Elisa & Saber

Dear Elisa & Saber

Thanks for writing to us. Saber has been through a trauma of losing half his vision. Birds use their eyes to see potential threats; it’s in their instinct. He likely is feeling that he can’t protect himself like he used to. Because you two were so bonded, he may also feel as if his partial blindness prevents him from protecting you, his perceived mate.

Jake..My talking African Grey Timneh

Think of losing half your sight and how it might change how you react to life. One supplement you might find helpful is AviCalm by Avitech.

Also, his age may be a factor. You didn’t mention if he is more moody during spring or during his molts, but those can be times that any mature bird can feel grumpy.

In most cases, a bird will give a warning or sign before biting. You should study his body language and learn his warning sign to avoid any more serious bites.

At times a bonded bird will bite to warn of perceived danger such as a loud noise; however, this usually appears much earlier in life. The blindness may make him much more aware of things he doesn’t understand and therefore considers danger.


Hi Elisa & Saber

mitchr here

I can’t speak to whether there has been any research done on one eyed birds. We do know that birds can see the ultraviolet part of the spectrum but humans cannot. Your bird might have lost part or all of his abilities, and the world looks much different.

Losing an eye be it a mammal or an avian species seriously reduces our ability to judge distance. Birds, the only animals of flight rely on the most minute measurements of distance – all you have to do is watch a bird land on a small perch breaking from 15 miles an hour 20 in a millisecond.

African Grey Parrots in the Wild


Your African grey has lost that ability meaning it does not know the distance of anything in front of it thus anything in front of it’s good eye can be frightening and a threat.

We also need to address the issue of the pineal gland that is attached to the eye. The pineal gland takes light information and translates into “feel good” information – the quality and the amount of light.


Speaking about the amount of light we don’t know if the loss of sight has broken down the circadian clocks in the birds instinct. Parrots have the ability to know precisely what time it is and noticed seasonal changes in the lighting as long as their circadian clocks are working properly – but we don’t know that they are.

Moving forward I’m going to suggest three things you can introduce to Saber’s life.

It’s never a bad time to start clicker training – view this video and you’ll see what I mean.

Building Trust With Your Bird
Find All Bird Training Supplies Here


It will help Saber focus.

Use millet sprays – keep them around all the time. There is not a bird I know that doesn’t like millet. Serving it on the spray puts 6 inches between her beak and your hand.

We’ve always advocated “stick” training your bird. Having a random perch or a broom handle that your bird can step up on puts distance between the beak and the hand making for a less adversarial relationship.

I hope some of that helps please keep us in the loop and let us know about her progress

Second topic and answer

I guess I answered to wrong address. I have been sprouting micro stuff from China Prairie company in Ca. Anyway my Quaker doesn’t even bother with the healthy parts just the seeds and of course I give him pellets during the day (not that he eats them !) also he’s very picky and even when I cut veggies up tiny he hardly eats them unless handfed. So should I continue sprouting and do u have an organic micro grain mix? At least my Kiwi likes nuts and fruit! ( cut up Tony’s) Would feel guilty only giving seeds although I know he likes them.

Thanks, Sandy & Barry Fiedler

mok-parakeets-splashing in puddle

Dear Sandy & Barry

If your bird is not eating the sprouts and never has then put yourself out of your misery and stop sprouting. Not all birds care for sprouts.

If you do want a sprouting mix, these can be used. Higgins Soak & SproutorTotally Organics TOPS Soak or Dry seed mix

If you are trying to get your Quaker to eat fresh veggies and fruits then they need to have a dish put in its cage EVERY DAY. They may ignore it for a month but if you don’t do it daily, the bird may never bother.

To make it very easy, just get a bag of frozen mixed vegetables from the grocery store. Poor into a plastic container in your freezer, put in the door of the freezer for ease of use.

EVERY DAY, pour a tablespoon or so if the veggies into a dish. No need to heat, let them thaw at room temp; they will last longer.

ADD, a small slice of apple, maybe a grape cut in half, a small slice of banana or something. (NO citrus)

Put the dish in your bird’s cage and leave it until before birdie bedtime and remove it. At some point the bird will give it a try.

Soft mashed cooked beans, mashed cooked carrots, scrambled eggs, a bit of whole grain bread, a crunchy leaf of romaine lettuce, oatmeal, a few noodles, all of these are good to help start your bird into eating a more varied diet. (If using perishable foods like eggs or meat, only leave for an hour or so, then remove)

Yes, you will be tossing it all out at the end of the day, but when they bird starts trying something you will cry victory.

What Kinds of Fresh & Prepared Foods Do Parrots Eat? : Exotic Pets

Also, because birds are very social creatures, trying letting the bird see you eating some of these foods (or at least making a believable show of pretending to eat) and make a BIG deal about how great they are, with lots of drama, smiles, yums, and other emotional show of enjoyment.

This often raises a bird’s curiosity to want to find out what’s so great. If the bird eats from your hand, then offer the same good item to him and see if he will try it. This sometimes works wonders.

I hope that helps. Thank you – catherine tobsing
approved by nora caterino
approved by mitch rezman

your zygodactyl footnote



Is a seed diet really bad for your bird?

There’s a lot of talk today in the caged bird keeper community about how bad seeds are for our birds. We should be introducing bird chops to our our birds. If you are not familiar with bird chop – you mix up about a pound of fresh lettuce, beans and vegetables and fruit and serve to your bird.

Most birds will eat less than 1% of that 1 pound of chop which is why we let Popcorn just steal some nibbles from our plates – as long as she does not walk across our plates.

Then there’s the whole pellet argument. Pellets are engineered foods. They pack the most nutrition per kilo/calorie if you will – than any other form of food. We love seeing birds on pellets because we know that they don’t require additional vitamin supplementation which is usually the case with seeds.

rock parakeet Australia

buy volkman bird food @ windy city Parrot

Hagen Tropimix is a wonderful blend of fruits veggies, seeds and pellets where all of the seeds have had their hulls removed so it’s a very clean blend with minimal waste, virtually 100% of the mix can be eaten. Pellets are less messy than seeds, then again there are no pellet trees in the rain forest.

We get a lot of request to talk about certain species which we try to do – last week it was Caiques. We’ve done posts on Amazons and on Lories but when I mention Australian grass parakeets most people say, “huh”?

The Bourkes parakeet is the exception in coloration in that Rosy Bourke’s have a brilliant pinkish tone – the other six species – Blue-winged parakeet – Elegant parakeet aka Rock parakeet – Orange-bellied parakeet – Scarlet-chested parakeet – Turquoisine parakeet – have grass green backs which helps them camouflage well.

Blue-winged Parrot (Neophema chrysostoma), Mortimer Bay, Tasmania, Australia.JJ Harrison (

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The flip-side is their colors are anything but boring. And I’m using them in this discussion to talk about seeds because the Australian grass parakeets feed entirely on the ground and mostly on (grass) seeds. They have lovely voices and rarely get into trouble.

Is not to say that we are suggesting that you don’t even try to convert them to pellets – just making the point that sometimes seeds are okay although you always want to introduce some form of vitamin and fresh food supplementation.

These small birds don’t have the red bull type of personality budgies do (Who are a cousin to grass parakeets) with all sorts of activity, they’re are a little more laid-back. Because they have short legs and small feet it’s best to leave them fully flighted because they are not built for lots of climbing. The tiny beaks have a hard time gripping many surfaces.


The most commonly known of these pet birds is the Bourkes parakeet which is relatively small, very calm and usually quite tame.

Is this where we segway into what seeds are best, Mitch? For that I will let all of you decide. I will start by delving in to some bird food lines one at a time

Our bird food category is a robust 42 subcategories so I know it spins some people around, especially the newbies. We going to start with the Volkman Seed Company.

This company has been producing birdseed since 1863 and we feel it’s one of the cleanest caged bird seeds available today. They are located in California’s sunny San Joaquin Valley, one of the world’s most fertile agricultural regions for premium-quality fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and seeds.

In addition to serving caged bird keepers you will find their seed in veterinary schools, clinics, zoos and aviaries.

One important note: Volkman is now using NON GMO white corn in their parrot food mixes.

buy volkman bird food @ windy city Parrot

Seeds are tested in an independent lab for the possible presence of E. coli and Streptococcus, then super cleaned, CO2 flushed, and packed in air-barrier bags to seal in freshness.

Volkman mixes contain over 50 essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids bonded to pre-hulled seeds. Fruits and vegetables are human grade and seeds are germination tested for freshness. They use no dog food, cat food, meat, poultry or fish by-products, animal fats, chemical preservatives or artificial food colors.

We’re offering 31 SKUs of Volkman from their Avian Science Line which are nutritionally balanced bird diets fortified with vitamins, minerals, bonded amino acids and select grains.

Scarlet Chested Parakeet - Neophema splendida. Taken at Cincinnati Zoo. Photo by Greg Hume

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Meaning we have it available for finches, canaries, macaws, cockatoos, and everything in between, including a special non vitamin fortified blend for Eclectus parrots. All mixes contain exceptionally clean, all-natural, human-grade ingredients. And a tradition of trust for generations of healthy birds.

The Featherglow line is a group of specialty mixes and treats incorporating a wide variety of shapes, colors, and textures, including American-made pellets, and convenient Soak ‘n Serve or Soak ‘n Cook entrees. Volkman calls Featherglow “The Smart Solution for Brighter Birds”.

And they are all packed in re-sealable zip-lock poly bags for added convenience and use multi-layer lined bulk bags for added freshness. They were also the first bird company to introduce nitrogen-flushed bags for extended shelf-life.

written by mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing
approved by nora caterinao

your zygodactyl footnote in

buy volkman bird food @ windy city Parrot