Thursday, September 30, 2010

Red Mutations: First Red Factor African Grey Parrot

Hello All!

Lovely scalloped pattern. Red under wings too.
I stumbled upon these photos of a completely red African Grey Parrot and was thoroughly intrigued. So much so, in fact, that I wanted to share them with you. This bird was bred by Hennie Diedericks from South Africa.

Rosy Bourkes were also domestically bred from Normal Bourkes. Maybe someday Red Factor African Grey's will also be available as pets to people all over the world. They're certainly beautiful and desirable! I hope they retain their high level of intelligence and exceptional ability to talk just like their natural wild-colored grey cousins.

First Red Factor African Grey Parrot, 2007.
These photos also led me to search out other beautiful pink or red birds. In upcoming blogs, I'll post photos of pink birds in addition to my Rosy Bourkes and Scarlet-chested parakeets. I'm especially fond of Rose-breasted cockatoos, for instance! However, I've found many unusual varieties, all very interesting to me, and I hope they will be to you too.

Click below to view a film of this amazing red African Grey.

Eyes are dark like other African Greys.

(Update on 8/31/2017:  Apparently You Tube has removed the video link that was originally available. So, I removed it from here too. Enjoy the photos that might not be available elsewhere any longer ... ?)

Peace & Blessings!  

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Baby Bourke Parakeet Banding

Example of supplies to have ready.
Supplies Needed: Mineral oil, a plastic lid or other small container to hold a few drops, a toothpick, a paper towel and the band(s).

Cherry with her baby before banding.

This baby is about the right size for banding. Any smaller and the band will come off. Mother birds sometimes try to remove them. At nine days old, his feet are just the right size.

Bands should be slid over the three longest toes first. You will probably have to grab them on the other side of the band and push it back toward the "knee" joint. Mineral oil on the band helps this process. Some people use petroleum jelly, but I like mineral oil.  Still holding the band back on the leg, the last toe to go on is the smallest, inside toe. It's necessary to use a toothpick to pull it outside the band.

If you don't need a toothpick to get the small inside toe out of the band, the bird will probably lose the band in a day or two and you'll have to repeat the process when his foot is a little larger.

Baby is now safely home with his mom.

Happy Banding!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Newest Baby Bourke Parakeet

Our most recent baby Bourke. Two other hens are on eggs, and another is in the nest box getting ready to lay.

Healthy chick, almost ready to band.

Checked on baby when his mom exited the nestbox.

Five eggs, but only one hatched. Remaining eggs help keep a baby chick warm.
If you're new to my site, you might also enjoy seeing photos of
The link takes you to my post from last June that compares baby Bourkes, Splendids and Budgerigars.

Books below are some I'm considering. If you've read any of them, or decide to buy one, let me know what you think of it. Thanks!  Have a wonderful weekend!  

Monday, September 20, 2010

Warning - energy efficient light bulbs, especially dangerous to birds

I accidentally dropped an incandescent light bulb this morning. Thank goodness it wasn't an energy efficient bulb! The mercury in the energy efficient bulbs is dangerous to us & our pets. When broken, the mercury that's released can be especially lethal to pet birds. Disastrous!

I have 28 birds in the house right now, not counting eggs & babies in nest boxes. I'm so glad this bulb wasn't one of the energy efficient bulbs. I plan to stock up on incandescent bulbs before our gov't makes sure only the so-called energy efficient bulbs - that are not really energy efficient at all - are the only ones we can find to buy...

Dirty Electricity: It might be poisoning us. This video explains it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bourke & Splendid Updates - Successful Hatches and Not

Scarlet-chested parakeets, male on right

As you know, my two pairs of Splendids haven't raised young for the last couple of years. Their eggs have been infertile. In fact, neither of our two hens have ever raised a chick. So, with four male Splendids available, we decided to move Rudy in with Rivka and put Rainbow (the patriarch) in with our other bachelor male, his son Flip.  Rainbow Jr. is still with Jewel. 

Rivka & Rudy ... not very used to each other yet.
 I moved Rivka to another cage and nest box, in addition to giving her a new mate, hoping one or the other might stimulate her to mate. Rivka and Rudy are investigating the nest box, so we shall see. She hasn't allowed him to feed her yet, although he's tried to. I am only "cautiously" optimistic.

Cherry, a Rosy Bourke hen. One egg has hatched, see broken shell at right.

As for the Bourkes, my elderly Cherry hatched an egg this morning. Four were hers and one is a fostered egg. Since her eggs were older and I'd given up on them, I think the one that hatched is the fostered egg. She hasn't left the nest box for me to investigate, however. How do I know an egg hatched? She's covering everything, but there is a broken egg shell present ... a sure sign! It's above her head near the wall of the box. The other is an unhatched egg.

The egg Cherry fostered is actually one that a daughter of hers laid on the floor of the cage and I rescued. Later, that daughter went into the nest box and laid more eggs, so I could probably have put it in her nest box, but I trust Cherry more than I trust the younger hen. I am hopeful that the young hen will soon hatch hers.

Candy is fluffed up to cover her eggs. She's not upset.
Candy and Dolph also have eggs. They are a proven pair, so I expect their eggs to hatch in the near future. Happily, we will have more Bourke babies this year! We had many early in the year and then I closed the nest boxes for three months to let the hens rest. Subsequent clutches in the summer didn't produce anything and I thought maybe that was it for the year. Now, it looks like we may get some more baby Bourkes. Hurray!

Until last year, I always removed nest boxes in the Fall, cleaned them and put them away until Spring. However, after an unproductive summer last year, I discovered that my birds did well breeding in the Fall. Perhaps they will do the same this year. 

May all your eggs hatch and your birds never stop singing. Peace & Love. 

Busy with Book Blast - Need to publish a Bourke Book

Books make great gifts!
Cape Arago Press  has suggested I gather my experience together in a book on Bourkes & Splendids. I'm very tempted to do so. What do you think? Any chance there would be a few buyers out there?

Here are photos of the "Book Blast" at Pony Village Mall in North Bend, Oregon last Saturday. This project has kept my husband and me very busy for several weeks. It was his brain child and required a lot of time and effort.

Twenty-five authors were present to meet & greet...sign & sell.  E.G. Lewis has three wonderful novels and we managed to sell several. Amazingly, most of our sales were to people who had either already read WITNESS and DISCIPLE from his tradmarked "Seeds of Christianity" series, so they bought PROMISES; or were recommending the books to friends who came with them. Everyone who has read them, raves about them...

The books are available at, Barnes & Noble or any bookseller site, including my husband's publisher, Cape Arago Press.  Ed writes as E. G. Lewis.

Love, Peace and Blessings to all of you.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Flame - An Alert, Playful Bourke Parakeet

I took this photo by holding the camera out in front of me.

As I write this, Flame has discovered that I have new glasses. His favorite thing is to fly to my shoulder and when I turn my head to speak to him, he pecks at my glasses.

Now, he's throwing his head back and staring at me, unsure what to do. He's flown away several times and returned for another look. He knows it's me, but he's not happy with the new look.

Where's his familiar toy?  Smiles...

Currently sitting at my computer making signs for a Book Blast at Pony Village Mall in North Bend, Oregon on Saturday, Sept. 18, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Approximately 25 authors will be there, including my husband and me. We'll be selling novels WITNESS, DISCIPLE and PROMISES both as hard copies and as eBooks on CD.   For Novel Information click here.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Bourke Parakeets as Pets – Taming Parakeets

Young Bourkes tame down as easily as young Budgerigars. I’ve read accounts that even if they’ve been living in an aviary for a year, they will still tame down if handled properly. This is less likely with budgies. No matter what bird you get, the younger they are, the easier they will be to tame.

Each individual bird has a personality all its own, however, and variances in ability to tame them exists.

If your young Bourke was parent fed and weaned, it won’t be as immediately friendly as a bird that was hand fed by a person. Don’t let that stop you from attempting to tame the bird. When it first comes into your home, give it a few days to calm down and adapt. Speak softly to it through the cage. Allow it to get used to you and your voice. Spend only about 15 minutes working with it the first time you take it out. The timeframe can get gradually longer as the bird seems less frightened of you.

When you first attempt to tame the bird, you need to be in a safe, enclosed area. No window glass or mirrors should be present that the bird will assuredly fly into, possibly injuring itself. Read my earlier post on safety and preventing injuries. If the room can be darkened, that may help you, but what works best for budgies isn’t as effective with Bourkes that are used to being active in the evening when the light is dim.

The bird will be stressed and need rest after your attempts to tame it. Remember to keep the first sessions short. When the bird flies from you, retrieve it, but don’t grab it and get bitten. The best way is to put the back of your flat hand in front of the bird’s chest and slowly push upward forcing the bird to step up. Always talk softly in a friendly voice to the bird. Keep attempting this until the bird is tired and stops flying away from you. It is best not to let it rest between your attempts. It is necessary to follow it all around the room, retrieving it from curtain rods, chair backs, etc. It won’t step up at first, but eventually it will. When it does, continue talking softly to it, telling it what a good bird it is for standing on your hand. Over time you can use a single finger in this same way, but a flat hand at first is probably less frightening to the bird. When it’s on your hand, lift it up a few inches from your face, look it in the eyes, and speak with a smile in your voice. Birds are visual creatures and looking the bird in the eyes is something they relate to and expect when being communicated with.

Some people prefer to clip a bird’s wings so that it cannot fly away. You can do this and it won’t hurt the bird. The feathers eventually grow back. However, I don’t find it necessary to cut wing feathers. Even with their wings clipped, birds are still able to do some flying and often flop onto the floor…hopefully on a carpet and not tile. Also, it seems to me that birds whose wings are clipped will resent that treatment and not soon forget it. I want a tame bird that will honestly feel affection for me, so I avoid clipping wings.

Once your young Bourke is sitting on your finger, continue talking “sweetly” to it. Slowly walk it back to its cage and put your hand and the bird inside. It helps if you are fortunate to have a large cage door. Gently, press the bird’s perch against its chest until it steps off your hand and onto the perch.

With enough daily attention, you may one day have a Bourke who will fly to you when called and possibly even bathe on your hand as you hold it next to a small stream of water from your faucet. Be sure to frequently repeat its name so that it learns to recognize it.

Be certain there is always fresh, cool water available, especially after your Bourke has been flying around outside its cage. After your first few training sessions, your bird will be hot, tired and stressed.