Monday, February 23, 2015

Did Ancient Cultures Keep Pet Birds? Yes! Yes! Yes!

This was too good not to share.

My pet Rosy Bourkes. received an inquiry about where to find info on pet birds kept by ancient cultures. My husband, author E.G. Lewis, is a guru on ancient Roman culture and he answered for me. If you're also interested in pet birds kept in first century Rome ... here you go:

"My wife forwarded your request to me since her post on the Splendid Bourke Bird Blog was derived from one I did for my Sowing the Seeds Blog, here: 
As you read it, you will notice that some of the conclusions are based on logical assumptions as much as anything else. The Bible references, Job for instance, assumes that if someone asks, “Can you make a pet of him like a bird?” it must have been a common practice. Alexander the Great’s connection to parrots is well documented. I conduct most of my research via the internet., but I can offer a few print sources.

The Amores by Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso…commonly known as Ovid. In Book II, Elegy VI, he laments the death of his lover’s pet parrot. A hard copy would probably be available at your local library. If you simply need the quote, it can be found here: You can also download a copy at the site.

 Gaius Valerius Catullus, another Roman poet, mention his love’s pet sparrow in section 2-3. It can be accessed here:

Here is one book I came across: Parrot Culture: Our 2500-Year-Long Fascination with the World's Most Talkative Bird, By Bruce Boehrer,  University of Pennsylvania Press.  It is available on Amazon as a used hardback for $2-$4. It is also available on Google books.

Finally, I’ll suggest another internet resource:  is a site entirely devoted to the Roman Empire. If you want to take the time to search out a page that deals with day-to-day Roman life, etc., or you can post a question and hopefully get several responses. I’ve used them for my novels when I can’t find an answer anywhere else."
Lastly, this is Gail again, here is a link to my husband's site on He has nine books in print and as ebooks. Some are also now in audio. Blessings, Gail  
Author, E.G. Lewis. -- My husband, Ed,
with  our wonderful Chinook.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Exotic Bird Expertise ... Visit the Label List of Topics

NOTE: To find a topic that interests you, or to get questions answered, please scroll to the Label List in the Lower Right Column and select a topic to bring up many previous posts. If you have a problem, you can write to me at  (Be sure to make birds plural). Peace & Blessings.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Exotic Bird Update From a Busy Writer Behind on Blogging

I can't believe the entire month has gone by and I've not posted anything. Going to squeak in a post on the last day of January just so the month's count won't be zero.
I'm busy editing two books. Cast Me Not Away should be perfect by the time it reaches print ... can't believe how long this book is taking. Began it in Nov., 2009. It's written, but being chopped and edited like crazy.  Zara Heritage is my pseudonym ... my real name belongs to so many others.

Potential Cover

Potential Cover

My Small Exotic Birds book is on hold until the novel above is finally done!  Which cover do you like best?
Meanwhile, all my breeder pairs want nest boxes. It's been sunny and warm as it usually gets every February on the Southern Oregon Coast. It's happening a little early this year. However, I'm making them wait a while longer. All our hens were allowed three clutches through Spring and Summer  and need a good long rest. Rosie raised 12 healthy babies last year, more than any of the others in 2014. We shall see what happens this year.
I've added a Lutino Bourke hen and am eager to hopefully see babies from her. Isn't she pretty? So is the mate I hope she will accept. Sweetheart is 3 years old. If 18-month-old Sunny absolutely refuses him, I do have a handsome male hatched early last summer, but he's still young.

Sunny and Sweetheart. Hopefully to become a mated pair.

Everyone have a wonderful 2015. May all your birds bring you joy, and if you're raising exotic birds, may all their eggs hatch and their offspring become beautiful, healthy birds.

Peace and Blessings for 2015.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Bourke Parakeet Visits -- Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Bird Lovers Everywhere!

Newly weaned Rosy Bourke Parakeet babies.

A Rosy and a white-faced opaline fallow Bourke.

Some of our sweetest Rosy Bourkes have come to say hello. Rosie Bird posts video's on You Tube. This video of our tamest members went up today.

May 2015 give you many blessings with healthy,
happy birds to bring cheer into your life.
Peace & Blessings!

Monday, November 24, 2014

MITES ON BIRDS - A Question & Answer

Flame and Fuchsia, Rosy Bourke Parakeets

We get many questions and I try to answer every one. I'm remiss, however, about posting them here. Someday I'll go collect more and post others. Meanwhile, this one arrived today.

Duchess and her daughters, Lady Gouldian finches.
Hi Gail,
I have a Bourke's parakeet with scaly face mites, a.k.a. knemidokoptes infestation. He was diagnosed today at the veterinarian. She put him, and my two others Bourke's on Stronghold medicine.
I give one dose to each bird today, then after two weeks I give the second dose. She's concerned he isn't getting enough vitamin A, so I'm adding a liquid multivitamin on their food. The peas they like the best so I drop some on top of those. They have more dandruff than usual and have been molting (or losing) feathers. This is my first experience with mites! Have you had this problem before? Any suggestions?
Thank you,
Hello Melissa,
Years ago I leaned into a nest box to inspect the babies and later noticed a tickle at my forehead. I looked in mirror and saw teensy black spots moving there. Ick! I'd probably let my head touch the edge of the box's lid when I opened it. I looked at the nest box closely and sure enough, that's where they came from... there were lots of them on the box lid. I was not happy.
No mites on these healthy Rosy Bourke Parakeet babies.
Unfortunately, the vets in our area don't know anything about birds, only dogs and cats or one or two treat horses and cows. Our closest avian vet is many, many hours away, although I made the trip once and she is very nice ... she's the only avian vet I know of in our whole state. :-(
After careful investigation, I ordered a concentrated mite spray on the internet. Our Grange had some kinds, but they didn't have good reviews, whereas this one did. When it arrived I diluted per directions and put it in a small bottle that had had eye glass cleaner in it. It gave a fine mist. Used a directed, it was touted to not hurt baby birds in the nest. I removed all food and water, then sprayed everyone, even those in the nests. Cleaned the cages and waited a short while for everything to be very dry before returning food and water.
Fortunately, it took care of the mites and I've never seen any since. What kind of mites they were, I've no clue. I still have the concentrate in case it's ever needed again.
Two things I'd recommend for your birds if you're not already doing it. Buy fresh Kale and give it frequently. We chop ours up and put it in empty lids. We store the extra leaves in the fridge for up to a week, and can chop a little every day for the birds. It's rich in Vitamin A.
Maybe even more valuable are the rabbit salt blocks. They have iodine and Vitamin D. The birds will use them as needed just as they use cuttlebone. A lifetime breeder, who gave talks to bird specialists all over the world before he decided he was too old to keep traveling, told me about this. Since I added them a few years ago, my birds' production of babies has increased ... that's an indication of good health. The salt blocks will damage wire cages, so keep each in a plastic dish or lay them on newspaper like I do.
The dander and molting could be expected from a mite infestation. Once they’re gone, and given a healthy diet, your birds should gradually return to their former splendor.
Peace & Blessings,

The mite medicine that worked for us.
Remove all food and water before using it.
It must  be diluted and misted on birds, cage, etc.
This was covered in an earlier blog post last April. Here is the text from that post:
"Mites transfer to other birds easily.  I assume that, like cat lice, they can't survive on people or other animals.
I had mites occur once to my flock years ago. I bought a mite spray at our Grange that didn't work well (it was 8in1). Also, it was necessary to avoid the head and eyes. It said nothing about what to do for babies in the nest, and I had many of them at the time. 

What DID work was "Avian Insect Liquidator" by VETAFARM. It's a concentrate, and when mixed according to directions, it's approved for spraying into a nest box, even on newly hatched chicks. It costs more for a bottle, but is a concentrate and makes a lot. I mixed the concentrate into a tiny spray bottle because it only takes a small amount. I reused a spray bottle that previously had eyeglass cleaner in it. It is small and emits a fine spray.  
That mixture worked wonders right away. I had to order it online, but it came quickly. It was ordered through All Bird Products, Inc. The 100ml bottle makes two liters and I still have the concentrate these many years later.  I've never had a reoccurrence of the problem."

Mites sap a bird's energy and are harmful, especially to baby birds and should be taken care of as quickly as feasible.  

A young Opaline Fallow Pink Rosy Bourke Parakeet.
Peace & Blessings!


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Hand Feeding Baby Rosy Bourke Parakeets, and a Link to Video with Tips & Tricks

Hand feed, or allow parents to feed?

Four newly hatched Rosy Bourke Parakeets.
Best to wait and allow the parents to feed them
until the young are about two weeks of age.

These two hand fed birds are learning to eat on their own.
Offer lots of choices for them, especially spray millet.

Bourke Parakeets are easier than most birds to hand tame while young. Even those left in a cage all the time will become quite friendly, coming up to the cage bars when you talk to them.

If you can hand feed your baby birds, however, they will become remarkable pets, sweeter and more affectionate than those that are hand tamed. It is labor intensive and requires a great deal of care.

Click below for Video on You Tube of me hand feeding Rosy Bourke babies:  

Two hand fed baby Rosy Bourke Parakeets.

Mother Rosy Bourke in nest box with her youngsters.

Four Baby Rosy Bourkes being parent fed.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Bird Toy Warning

This warning and photo came to us via Face Book. I cannot validate it, but do know that China has poisoned dogs and cats in the USA via pet food with Melamine in it. It tests like protein, but isn't. As my husband said, "If they'd put chicken droppings in the pet food, it would test as protein too and wouldn't poison pets. Dishonest and wouldn't provide any nutrition, but at least it wouldn't have killed them." Not just dishonest and greedy, but cruel.

It would not surprise me if Chinese bird toys are a risk too.

I have two bird ladders that are colored with dyes that run when wet. I'd have been happy to buy them as plain wood without the dyes, which look very much like those in the photo above. I've decided to remove the ladders from my cages. From now on, no painted or dyed wooden toys from China for any of my birds. Better safe than sorry.

One removed. One more to go.
This one was recently cleaned and dyes ran badly.

Zinc and lead are both dangerous for birds. How can we know if paint from outside the USA is lead free?

I almost hate to take this away from her. She likes it.

Fortunately Bourke Parakeets do very little chewing.
However, this ladder is coming out anyway.

All my cages have one or more of
these hard plastic mirror & bead toys.
All the birds use them to play with
the beads and even sleep on them.
It might be that hard plastic bird toys are safest, along with plain wooden dowels for perches. No dyed or painted things.

Peace & Blessings.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Lovely Linnie Aviary

Our beautiful, sweet Cremino Lineolated Parakeet came from  Lovely Linnie Aviary. Susan Kruger is a bird breeder located in Springfield, Oregon. Her charming aviary and flight are, indeed, very lovely.

The entrance to her delightfully cozy aviary.
Surrounded by forest. Notice the skylight in the roof.
Susan invites you to look inside.

Aviary at one end with workspace and viewing area
at opposite end where we're standing.
Birds are through this door.
Opposite end of room with workspace, some smaller cages
and a comfy chair for peacefully enjoying the birds.
Lineolated Parakeets enjoying millet.

Sliding windows let in a cool breeze on warm days.

Tools for maintaining a clean aviary.

View of the skylight from inside flight.
A side window could be a hazard for flying birds,
but a skylight requires them to fly upward, so less dangerous.

Yummy greens grow in hanging pot.

They can't all be Linnies. She has cute owl finches too,
and also a pair of Rosy Bourkes, not pictured.

A few of her Lovely Linnies.

Lots of things to climb and play on.

Friendly Linnies enjoy visits.

More come to look at us as we look at them.

Looking upward at the flight from inside the work area.

A useful work space.

This pretty pair live in the house with Susan and her family.

Linnie poster provides color descriptions.
It is on the wall in the aviary

A view of the left side of the flight.

Pretty handy, attractive storage.

If interested in buying a Linnie, contact Susan Krueger at:
Peace & Blessings.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Rosy Bourke Parakeet Video and Recent Update

Rosie Bird has many videos downloaded on You Tube. The most recent is attached below this post.
We allowed Rosie and Pretty Boy three clutches this year. Rosie laid four eggs each time, hatched and raised all four every time. Twelve baby Rosy Bourkes from my sweetest hen, Rosie. Not all birds are as consistently successful as she is.
This year in her first clutch she had two Opaline Fallow Bourkes, so I decided to hand feed them rather than her third clutch, as typically done in the past. I kept those two very sweet, tame Opaline Fallow Rosy Bourkes as future breeders. There is one of both sexes and their new names are Songster and Peaches. As you may guess, he sings and wolf whistles beautifully.
Rosie's second clutch of four were all lovely Rosy or Opaline Rosy Bourkes, but no Fallows with red eyes. In her third clutch there was one Opaline Fallow.
The video below shows four of Rosie's sweet babies. Two are from her first clutch and the two I'm hand feeding are from her third clutch. All ten of her sweet offspring have been sold and have gone to new homes. The last two, very sweet hand feds shown in the video left today. We met both buyers in Reedsport. One of our babies will live in Florence, Oregon and the other in Forest Grove, Oregon.

Bourkes are among the cleanest and quietest of birds. I highly recommend them. Although I love Linnies, cockatiels and finches of all varieties, Bourkes remain my favorite Small Exotic Bird.

Peace & Blessings!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Amazing Praying Parrot

A bird brain? Don't think so ... he's brilliant.
Catholics should especially appreciate this.
Love it!

Peace & Blessings to All.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Lineolated Parakeets, Two Youngsters Added to the Flock

On Sept. 2, 2014, I brought home two very young Lineolated Parakeets from two breeders in Eugene and Springfield, Oregon, USA.

Cobalt blue on left is male. Creamino on right is a hen.

Trying to name them has been fun. For a little while I called them Angel and Sparkle. Later thought about Sunshine and Stormy, but I once had a pair of cockatiels by that name and it did not feel right. Wanted them to have their own unique names. Of all the combinations tried, I decided on Summer and Winter.
Aren't they a pretty pair?

Within two days Summer and Winter were inseparable.

Below are photos of their parents. I want to be certain to remember each bird's color history.

These are Winter's parents, a mauve (gray) and a cobalt blue.
Summer's parents are a lutino and a cobalt blue.
Look how bright yellow! Brighter than Summer.

Summer's parents again. One peeking out of nest box at right.

I have many videos on YouTube under "Rosie Birds." Rosie Bird is my alter ego, just like  Below is a video recently uploaded starring these two Linnies. There are many more videos there, especially about Rosy Bourke Parakeets. Our Bourkes, by the way, are very interested in these young Linnies, especially the hens with babies of their own.