Saturday, July 30, 2011


The hummingbird hen is doing well. She now lands on a perch...not the one in this photo. She feeds at the flowers and from the sugar water. She doesn't "spin" in the air like she did two days ago. We are going to hold her until Monday and then probably release her in the morning. She is still favoring her left leg and we want to give her another day or two to gain strength.  She's a sweet little thing.

Peace & Blessings.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Our injured hummingbird hen is flying better. Maybe a few more days and she can safely be released. She's able to hover without going in circles and flies up to the fresh fuchsia flowers put in a vase in her cage. As of yesterday, she wasn't doing that. She still prefers the dish of sugar water, but we lifted it up off the floor for her and she seems to like flying to it now. One leg still seems a little weak, but she's stronger than she's been in the past and now flies to a perch. Hurray!

We have visitors this week and next, so blogging time is limited. Hope your summer days are pleasant wherever you are. Ours are lovely.

Blessings to you and yours.

Monday, July 25, 2011


I tried to release the little hummer hen this morning. Days ago she couldn't fly at all. Now she hovers in the cage pretty well.

Took her to the hummingbird feeder on our west deck and placed her on it. She flew across the deck about 20 feet, awkwardly bumped into the deck handrail before making it over the top. She glided down to the grass below, then lifted off and flew about 12 feet landing in tall grass at the edge of the mowed area. Any farther and she'd have been over an embankment and in forest where I couldn't rescue her.  

Another hummer followed her in her flight off the deck.  A mate, maybe? It hovered over her, while in the tall grass she struggled to fly, but couldn't get airborne again. Sad. I went down the steps and retrieved her. Back in her cage, I put her down in front of the bowl of sugar water and she drank and drank. I think she was saying, "Wow, that was a workout!"

She must need more recovery time. I sincerely hope she regains her ability to fly adequately again. She's much better than she was, but apparently not good enough to survive on her own yet.

May all your bird encounters be happy ones! 

Friday, July 22, 2011

PINK-EYED ROSY BOURKES from Rosie & Pretty Boy

The baby at the far left has pink eyes.
Notice the baby by my thumb has dark eyes. A pink-eyed
sibling has a head over his neck and the other on the left also
has pink eyes. Albino? They probably won't be white,
but I'm excited to see what they will look like.
When our tame, handfed Rosy Bourke hen, Rosie, left her nest box this morning, she came to the cage door to let me know she wanted out. That’s the first time she’s been interested in flying free since she laid her first egg, and now her three babies are over a week old.

I opened the cage door and out she came. Later, Pretty Boy followed, and as usual he did some circles around the room and flew right back into his cage. He’s such a homebody. You never have to worry about coaxing him to return to his cage. He’s an easy keeper, smile.
Since one of Rosie’s babies was nearly ready to band, I lifted them all out of the nest box to check them. I thought she’d be concerned and would fly to them immediately. I wanted a photo of her with the babies, but she visited me only briefly to give me a quick kiss before flying to say hello to all the other birds.

I banded her largest dark-eyed baby while she flitted around unconcerned about her youngsters. In spite of being hand fed herself, she's proving to be an excellent mother.

Happily, her two babies with pink eyes are doing very well. Their feet should be big enough to band in another day or two.
Laying like this, his pink eye is very visible. Eager to see
what he's going to look like as an adult bird.
Rosie’s grandmother never successfully raised her pink-eyed babies, and Rosie’s mother never produced babies with pink eyes. But, since Pretty Boy is a cousin of Rosie’s, they probably both carry that gene.

Aren’t they sweet?  I think so.

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Photos taken this morning of the little Anna's Hummingbird with an injured wing.

She can climb up the side of the cage with her wings going. Can't seem to fly very high or very far though. An outside trip proved that. We're eager to release her, as we have enough indoor birds to care for, but she's not ready. Pray she will be soon!  ;-)

Peace & Blessings.

Monday, July 18, 2011


Hi All,
Thanks for the comments on the previous post. It's very useful. I moved the little hummer into a larger cage this afternoon. I wanted to add real fuchsia flowers and they wouldn't fit in the little travel cage. Perhaps she can get pollen from them. We have lots of fuchsia's in bloom right now.

I tried offering a fruit fly and a mosquito, but she ignored them. Possibly because they weren't moving any longer. I didn't want them to fly away... Her sugar water is replaced daily.

She seems stronger today than yesterday. Maybe having more room will be a good thing.

In the photo she is laying down, but I'd just moved her into the new cage and she's still unsure about it. She can pull herself up to the low perches. The red lid holds sugar water and the blue one plain water. I had a water bottle on the small cage, but she never went near it. This seemed like a friendlier option. She still has a water bottle on the other end of the cage, however.  

The small cage sat on my kitchen table and she could see the other hummingbirds through the window. Having her there was a bit inconvenient as we're going to have visitors in a few days, so the larger cage is now in the living room. She can hear and see other birds, just not the hummers...

I might return her to the kitchen if she's still with us after all the company leaves. God willing, however, by then she will be flying free! Smile.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Hello All,

This little hummer was rescued last night from a cat. Her wing is injured and she can't fly without falling to the ground. She is eating the sugar water mixture we gave her: 4 parts water to 1 part sugar, boiled and cooled. An essential red lid provides it. 

Anna's Hummingbird hen with an injured wing.
She was rescued from under the foot of a cat last night.
Any suggestions on helping her recover? I know they also eat small insects. My husband suggested aphids, but we don't have any. I read that fruit flies are a good source of protein for hummers. Now, where did I toss that banana skin?

We do have very small moths and can probably find a mosquito or two for her, especially since our baby Swallows have all left the bird houses and none are staying close to our home any longer. Wish the parents would decide on a second clutch, but that never seems to happen with Swallows like it does with parakeets.

Although we have several varieties of hummingbirds at our feeders right now, I believe this one is an Anna's hummingbird. This variety doesn't migrate and remains in Oregon all year long. That's a positive in her favor if she never flies again and can't leave ... she won't have an urge to migrate.

The bird's coloration is that of a hen or a very young Anna's hummingbird. Males get their irredescent red throats when they mature. Young male birds look like the hens. I hope this bird is actually a youngster and not a hen who left a nest. She doesn't seem to be afraid of us, a possible sign that she's young, or just used to seeing us around the feeders. They will sometimes land on our hands as we carry the cleaned and refilled feeders back outside.

This morning my husband was the first one into the kitchen where the bird slept last night. He came back to tell me that the hummingbird hadn't made it. That she was dead.

"That's odd," I said. "She didn't seem to have any major injuries, just an injured wing."

"Well, she's laying stiff, and her beak is in the sugar water like she drowned in it." He took my hand and we both went back to the kitchen.

The bird was sitting on her perch, looking sedate and comfortable.

If you haven't heard about "torpor" in hummingbirds, you should know about it. When hummingbirds sleep, they go into a hibernation-like state called torpor (pronounced TOR-per). This is a really deep sleep. They may appear dead, but aren't. So, if you find an unresponsive hummingbird, don't toss it in a garbage can! Leave it alone, even if hanging upside down. However, if it's in danger from a cat or something else, you can move it to a safe place and watch it, releasing it when it wakes up.  

We hope this bird will fully recover and can be released. It's illegal in the U.S. to keep a migratory bird, and just because this one doesn't migrate, they might still want to fine us for having it. If she can't recover enough to fly, perhaps there's a bird rescue facility we can locate, or get a permit for her ...? I'll have to look into it. Unless a bird sanctuary takes her, we may have a resident hummingbird for the duration of her life. I've seen videos of tame hummingbirds, but never one that couldn't fly. It's sad and I hope she fully recovers and can be released. If not, I guess I'll have to think of a name for her. Any suggestions?

Peace to you on this lovely Saturday.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Rosie has just returned to her brood. I added millet to her box
when I thought she looked thin. She ate it until the eggs hatched.
Now she relies only on her mate for food. Possibly because the
twice regurgitated food is richer and finer for her youngsters.
Our handfed Rosy Bourke hen, dubbed Rosie, hatched all three of her eggs. Two of the babies are a surprise. They have pink eyes.

Rosie, and her mate, Pretty Boy, are first cousins. Her father and his mother are siblings. Their mothers have never produced babies with pink eyes. But, their shared grandmother, Cherry, produced a baby with pink eyes one year. It only survived for a week. 

Three huddled together for warmth. Hatched
Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Photo taken
on Friday.
For Rosie to produce two pink-eyed babies in her very first clutch was unexpected. I hope they're healthy and will continue to grow. I once owned a pair of white faced Bourkes with pink eyes. I'd no idea how old they were and the hen died about six months after their purchase. I traded the male for a Splendid parakeet, and he did later reproduce for his new owner.I don't think any of his offspring had pink eyes, however.

As discussed in an earlier post about that first pink-eyed baby, it also had a very dark stomach, indicative of an internal organ problem. These are so newly hatched, and Rosie is so protective, that I've not examined them closely enough to determine if they do too. I'm optimistic that they are okay.

Look closely at baby in my hand. Egg tooth is touching
my finger. Eyes are still closed and both slightly bulge
outward on both sides of head. See that they are pink. No
dark coloration. Compare them to photo below.

The largest, and first baby hatched, has dark eyes. His head is at far left with one dark eye visible. Crop is full. The other two babies' eyes are harder to find in photo because they're pink, lacking the melanin of their sibling. The one in the middle is actually facing us and his head forms a "v" toward us. Both eyes are visible at each side of his head.

Peace & Blessings.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rosy Bourke Hens and Black Spots

On Jul 6, 2011  Thomas wrote: "Why do my female rosie bourkes have black spots all over their backs?"

Here's my response:  

Female Rosy Bourkes are usually darker than the males, especially their faces. However, there is a wide variation of color possible in Rosies since all of them are descended from Normal Bourkes (the wild color in Australia). If your birds are receiving adequate nutrition, the dark spots are not unusual. My hens aren't completely pink on their backs either. The dark edges on some of their feathers may not show up in the photos, but they're there. The males are less likely to have this, but can.

A young bird of a different color. See comment attached to
this blog for information on pied colors, different than this one.
Occasionally, we will get a baby that isn't truly pink or rosie. They can be "pied" and I've also heard people refer to "rainbow" Bourkes. Here is one of ours.

It's unlikely the dark color on your hens is caused by a deficiency, but all birds can show feather damage if they suffer an illness or go through a period of time where they receive inadequate food. Starving birds don't produce healthy feathers. I discussed stress bars on feathers in an earlier article. Here's a link to it. 

Rosy hens are likely to have darker areas on their backs, and it's not at all unusual. One of my hens suffered egg binding and lost feathers due to a treatment with mineral oil that saved her life. The feathers came back very dark. A few months later, after another molt,  they were pink again. Here is a link to that post.  
After losing feathers damaged by mineral oil, they grew back
in dark. This is Sugar about a year ago.

This is Sugar after molting off the darker feathers.
They came back in as they were before being damaged
and then regrowing in darker.

 These are before and after photos of Sugar, who suffered egg binding and survived.

Currently, she's on eggs again without any problems. Trust me ... this REALLY IS the same bird.

Peace & Blessings,

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Compliment and More on Raising Bourkes

Rhett & Cherry's babies on 7-10-2011.
I must share this wonderful comment from "Inkophile" with my other readers. It made my day and put a big grin on my face! She or he said:

"Your birds are gorgeous and charm me every time I read about them. In addition your writing inspires me to do the best for my birds. I hope downsizing won't have a negative impact on the frequency of your posts. I really look forward to them."

Thank you, thank you!

Actually, the frequency of my posts has lessened because I'm working hard to finish editing a new suspense novel, "Cast Me Not Away."  Cape Arago Press is willing to publish it, and if I go with them it will be out sooner than if I seek an agent and allow her to shop it to larger publishing houses. That typically means two years or more before publication.

I also want to compile my blog information into a book on "Parakeets of the Smaller Variety," and include Turks and Elegants besides Bourkes, Budgies and Scarlet-chested parakeets.  It's assembled, but needs more work too. That one should appear here eventually. Smile.

Meanwhile, I'll try to give more updates. I opened the blog this morning to talk about my tame Rosie, who is on eggs due to hatch this week. However, I've not checked to see if they're fertile. It's her first clutch and I've left her mostly undisturbed.
Fuchsia and Flame with two nest box choices.

My other very tame pair, Fuchsia and Flame, aren't going into the nest box, so I gave them a second one. Actually, Rosie, moved into their cage and made it plain to me that she wanted the box they had, so I gave it to her. Moved both pairs. So, Rosie and her mate, Pretty Boy, are very happy.

Flame and Fuchsia appear less so. When I open their nest box lid (it sits outside the cage), Fuchsia will come through the hole and hop out on my hand, but she won't go inside when the lid is down. Maybe she doesn't like the dark? So, the other box I gave her is an open tissue box with pine shavings in it. It's open at the top and side. She's gone inside that one. It's low tech, but she seems to like it! Smile.

Meanwhile, their grandmother, Cherry, has three youngsters nearly ready to leave the nest. Even as tiny babies, I could put my hand in Cherry's nest box and lift them out without upsetting her. They are banded and have been handled a lot. Cherry and Rhett (formerly with Scarlett who died), are laid back and relaxed parents. They aren't hand tamed, but unafraid of me no matter what I do.

I mention this because I was a little worried about Rosie, who was hand fed and very tame. She seems very thin, as hens usually are when feeding their young. But, she's still on eggs. I decided to put a piece of spray millet in her box with her. This encourages the hens to eat more. They depend a lot on their mate and maybe young Pretty Boy wasn't carrying through well enough. When I put my hand in her box, she screeched and leaped at it. Weird. Normally my most affectionate bird, Rosie's motherly hormones have kicked in and she's going to protect those eggs!

She did, however, eat the millet. So, I'll keep giving her more.  Smile.
Bonnie on three eggs so far (recently laid). Her box opening slides up.
Mate is Clyde, who is a nearly complete dark rose color.
We bought him at a bird show in Hillsboro, Oregon.

Sugar is on four eggs. Notice blue on her rump, like Bonnie's.
They're sisters. Sugar's mate is Spice (or Spicy), a hand fed Normal Bourke.

My favorite bird is hand fed Rosie. She's on her first clutch of three eggs.
Notice she doesn't have a blue rump like her aunts, Bonnie & Sugar.
Her mate is Pretty Boy, actually a cousin out of Bonnie & Clyde.
He's a dark solid rose color, unlike her light pink.
These hens all keep their nest boxes very clean. Only after the eggs hatch will there be anything that soils them. Of all the Bourkes and Splendids I've had, only one ever soiled her box. That was Scarlett who never seemed strong and healthy. I think the extra effort to leave her box was more than she was willing to do. Scarlett only raised one baby, who never raised young of her own and died at only three years of age. She wasn't healthy either, like her mother. We had her autopsied and the bird vet said she died of obesity ... a fatty liver, etc. I've been careful to give them all less corn and spray millet since then, and provide more greens and vegies.

Scarlett did, however, foster two other babies at two separate times, and I think the last one was too much for her. She was a sweet bird we bought with Rhett, but she never seemed robust like all our others. Then, there's Rhett, who is still fathering and raising baby birds over ten years later.

May all your birds (indoors or out, tame or wild) remain healthy and bring you much joy. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bourke Parakeets. These Four are Sold. Bye, Bye Birdie.

If you've followed my blog, you'll remember that I'm downsizing. Not getting out of the bird business ... I love them too much for that. Simply cutting back. The major pet store chain that used to buy all the baby Bourke and Splendid parakeets available is affected by our poor economy too. Like everyone else. Sad.

Two very successful breeding pairs going to a new home.
Divided cage separates a Rosy Bourke pair and
a Normal Bourke pair only for transportation.
I've kept my oldest pairs and my tame pairs. Their youngsters will go to a local pet store, or friends and acquaintances who want them. Currently, I have three babies in the nest and three more hens on eggs. That satisfies my desire to raise them, and is a sustainable flock. Instead of 12 pairs, I now have five pairs and two extra birds. Twelve total birds is much easier to care for than 24 or more. I may even let one or two more pairs go eventually.

Rhett & Cherry's baby Bourkes on
Meanwhile, Rhett (my very first Bourke!) is a father again. He and Cherry have three healthy babies. He lost his first mate, Scarlett, and Cherry lost her mate, Bing. Since they've been together, they've produced countless beautiful baby Bourkes.

My favorite Splendid (Scarlet-chested) parakeet, Rainbow -- son of Merlin and Millet -- is looking for another hen. He's been a father before and lost his mate, Jewel. The newest hen, Rivkah, has never had fertile eggs, and I'd like to find him a more successful mate. I'm sure that would make him happier too. ;-)

Rainbow, a male Splendid, or Scarlet-chested parakeet.
His scarlet chest is hidden.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Swallow and Hummingbird Update. They Finally Arrived!

On the Southern Oregon Coast, we finally have our usual number of Hummingbirds and Tree Swallows. They were very late in arriving, and had us worried. It is probably due to the cold, wet weather we've had for so long. It wasn't much of a Spring, and although Summer is supposed to be here, it's still cooler than typical this time of year, with more rain.

Yet, the hummers are emptying our feeders rapidly and Swallows have set up house-keeping in three of our seven bird houses. They have reduced the mosquitoe population to almost none. Bless them! (the birds, not the mosquitoes). Smile.

We also have gorgeous black and orange Grosbeaks at our feeders. They arrived late too.

Bless you and your love of birds.