Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bourke Parakeets on Eggs

Fuchsia is on three eggs so far...

Fuchsia's box opens on top. Lid is hinged to open to the right.

Fuchsia asks, "Who's peeking in at me?"
Rosie, below, is also covering three eggs as of today with more to come.

Rosie's box has a sliding door in front. She's chosen a spot off
to one corner of the box. Her entrance opening is at the
upper left corner, unfortunately not shown in this photo.
It helps to have tame hens. They don't get frightened when I take pictures of them. However, even Bourkes that haven't been hand fed will typically remain in their nest when you peek in at them. Most Bourke mothers are reliable and will stay with their nest. Cherry is one of those. However, she and her mate, Rhett, are getting up in years and I wonder if they will reproduce again this year. Cherry has been in her box, but no eggs yet.
Our outdoor wild bird feeders. Aren't the daffodils lovely?
This year the feeders are popular with chipmunks and
deer...even more so than with migrating birds. Smile.
Peace and Blessings.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mating Rosy Bourke Parakeets, a Video

This is Flame and Fuchsia, our highly successful breeding pair of Rosy Bourke parakeets. It's their third season together and they've raised many young birds. They're good parents and very fond of each other.

I took the video. My husband did the editing and added the music. It's also on YouTube.

Peace and Blessings.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Installing Parakeet Nest Boxes

Three nest boxes went up on Sunday. Before that, however, the cages came down and were thoroughly cleaned, including laundering the skirts, and cleaning nearby windows, walls and counter. Smile. Boxes are also clean and have new pine shavings inside.

Removing Duct tape that covered the hole after a nest box
came down last year.  Clean and ready, they're going back up.

Husband preparing nest box opening as Rosie watches eagerly.

The side of a cardboard box between cages keeps males from strutting and warning one another away instead of focusing on their mates. I leave it off except when they're preparing to mate or raise young.

Clyde sitting outside his nest box while Rosie is inside, just four days after the boxes went up.
I expect that she will be the first to lay and hatch eggs.

Rosie in a box with a sliding door on the side.
She's rearranging the pine shavings to her liking.

Fuchsia has been quickly in and out of her box. However, Cherry, who is much older than the other hens, has peeked in but not ventured inside yet. She and Rhett are interested, but for several years now I have wondered whether it would be their last year to reproduce. They've surprised me by continuing as long as they have. I limit them to one or two clutches a season because of their advanced age.

Flame and Fuchsia immediately after the box was attached.
Actually, Fuchsia kept landing on my husband's arm and
tried to see into the box while he tried to install it.

Fuchsia getting a closer look at the box opening. Taken
before she'd been inside. She has been since.

Three boxes on four cages. Two in front, one off to right side.
Birds in lower right are young and still unmatched, or unmated.

Limit the number of clutches you allow your birds to have in a 12-month cycle. Bourkes go right back to lay more eggs shortly after their last clutch has left the nest, and often even before they are completely weaned (eating on their own). Dad's take over the feeding when Mom goes back into the nest to start another clutch.

Young birds can tolerate three clutches a year if adequately fed and watered. Laying hens drink lots of water, so keep it fresh and readily available, both for drinking and bathing. Clean boxes between clutches if you can. I've even removed eggs, cleaned a box and put them back without a problem. Better to get it cleaned as soon as the babies leave it, however -- before new eggs are laid.

Although I clean cages often, once a year I take them down, let the birds out and clean EVERYTHING in or on the cages. Also clean all around them...counters, walls and windows. Skirts designed to catch extra seed are shaken out and laundered before being put back. I like to have everything very clean before the birds go back to raising their families. Odds are, I'll do this process again in the Fall.

Peace and Blessings.
May all your eggs hatch and your birds produce beautiful, healthy babies!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Hummingbirds, an Observation on Torpor

Dusk and time to replenish for the night.
You probably already know that hummingbirds survive cold nights by lowering their metabolic rate to conserve energy. This results in a state of torpor that makes them unresponsive. Except that they hold tightly to a branch, they may appear dead. In fact, if found on the ground someone might think they are dead. Don't toss one into a trash receptacle!

It may take up to an hour for a hummingbird to awaken from a state of torpor. But this post isn't to discuss the whys and wherefores for torpor. There are many other sites that cover that topic. This is about hummingbird behavior.

One morning I awoke to see a hummingbird in torpor sitting on our feeding. This had never happened before and I assume he arrived late while migrating, was very hungry and as it grew dark he had no time to search out a safer place to sleep. Although on the north side of our house, this feeder is in a sheltered corner.

The sheltered feeder where a hummer spent the night in torpor.
He slept later than others, but was left undisturbed.
I left the hummer alone, but watched as other hummers awakened and came to the feeder while he continued to remain immobile, unmoving and unaware. All seemed curious about him, but none disturbed him. This amazed me since typically one hummingbird decides a feeder is his and attempts to intimidate and chase away all others. All the visiting birds scrutinized the statue-like bird, but none of them touched or threatened him.

Hummingbird protocol? An unwritten law that you don't disturb a fellow bird during torpor? Probably.

If you want to know more about hummingbird torpor, I found this site enlightening.

A Link to "Lisa's Garden" about hummingbird torpor

Not the best choice in feeders.
Compare these two hummingbird feeders. The one below and to the right has a perch that circles the entire feeder. That is one advantage, but there's more. It also separates so that every bit of it can be cleaned. The one at the left (with birds) does not entirely come apart and it's impossible to get into every area to adequately clean it.

A recommended feeder that unscrews completely to allow
thorough cleaning of every nook and cranny.

Since mold is a problem in our area, a feeder that comes completely apart for thorough cleaning is very important. I recommend only hummingbird feeders that dismantle completely to allow every part to be cleaned between each refilling.

Peace and Blessings.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Blogspot Search Window Not Working

It was called to my attention that the Search Window is not working on this blog. Sure enough, it didn't work for me either, so I removed and reloaded it. Still does not work, although it used to. Apparently Blogspot has a problem. I will try to contact them and reload it when fixed. Hopefully, the links at bottom of posts will take you to other topics like it.

Sorry for the inconvenience to all I've suggested search for a topic. Meanwhile, look at the ARCHIVE LIST by month for topic titles or try the LABELS LIST. Thanks!

Peace and Blessings.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Zinc Poisoning in Birds

Received a sad email today. One of the 2012 hand fed Rosy Bourkes sold to a sweet couple in Salem, OR became ill suddenly. They took him to an avian vet, but he died in the waiting room. An autopsy identified zinc poisoning as the probable cause.

Though rare, birds--particularly small ones--are very susceptible to zinc poisoning. It doesn't take much to cause toxicity. Bourke parakeets don't chew as much as many of the other parakeets, but one toy with exposed zinc on a chain or bell can be harmful. Saying that, my birds all have swings with bells. However, they've had them for years, so I suspect they're safe.

A good resource on possible locations of zinc in the home is given at the Winged Wisdom website. No need to repeat what they've already written. Here is a link. It is worth reading.

Winged Wisdom Link on Zinc Poisoning

One other note...we have sorrow in our home too. Our malamute/lab mix of 14 years died last week. Haven't felt much like doing anything since then. He was a much-loved member of our family, from a seven-week-old puppy to a grand old dog. Miss him terribly.

Peace and Blessings.
Younger days...running free and happy on an Oregon beach.