Educational Articles

Birds + Care & Wellness

  • Macaws are the largest members of the parrot family. They are high maintenance birds that require a great deal of space to house. They also require a lot of daily affection and attention. Their vocalizations tend to be loud, harsh, penetrating squawks. Their impressively large beak can be exceedingly destructive. Some commonly kept macaws include the blue and gold macaw, scarlet macaw, severe macaw, green-winged macaw, and the hyacinth macaw. Despite the exotic appeal of macaws, they are unsuitable for many households and family situations due to their loud screeching, destructive behavior, and great need for daily attention and time out of their cages. Macaws may be purchased from pet stores or reputable breeders or adopted from rescue organizations. After bringing your new bird home, you should have it examined by a veterinarian familiar with birds to help ensure that it is healthy. Like all other pet birds, macaws require annual, routine veterinary health check-ups.

  • Meyer's parrots are generally small- to medium-sized parrots with a very outgoing personality. They are very colorful and playful parrots. A hand-tamed Meyer's parrot makes a wonderful family pet.

  • Feathers insulate to maintain body temperature and protect birds from the elements and play an important role in aerodynamics and flying. Feathers need to be removed or fall out to stimulate new feather growth. Therefore, to keep itself in fine feather, a bird needs to molt each year to get rid of old or damaged feathers. In the wild, molting corresponds with the change of seasons or the changing day length. Other factors influencing the timing of molting include temperature and available nutrition, as well as the bird’s general health and reproductive state. Pet birds are not exposed to seasonal light and daylight length fluctuations in our homes that would mimic seasons. Pet birds’ exposure to varied light cycles may lead to irregular, incomplete, long or short molts.

  • Mynah birds are best known for their ability to talk and mimic sounds. They are lively, social birds and have wonderfully outgoing personalities. A young, hand-raised mynah will be easier to tame and train compared to a wild, colony, or parent-raised bird. As with all pets, mynah birds require regular, routine veterinary checkups.

  • While sick birds can occasionally be treated by their owners at home, any bird showing signs of illness should be examined by a veterinarian. Birds that are gravely ill will require hospitalization, while those that are still eating or that are only mildly affected may be treated by their owners under their veterinarian’s direction. For your bird to have a good chance of recovery, medication(s) must be administered as directed. Most pets recover faster when kept at the upper end of their normal environmental temperature. If your bird is ill, do not change his normal day/light cycle. Sick pets need extra calories to fight illness and recover, and cage rest is often best while the bird is recuperating. A bird that is ill should be isolated from other pets, preferably in a separate room. While not often the case, some bird diseases can be transmitted to owners.

  • Birds use perches for standing, climbing, playing, rubbing, cleaning their beaks, chewing, and entertainment. Perches should vary in size so birds can firmly and comfortably grip or grasp them. Birds can get sore feet if the perch diameter is the same all the time. Perches not only serve as a place for birds to stand on but also as objects on which to chew. Wood branches or natural wood make the best perches because their varying diameters allow birds to distribute pressure to different areas on the bottom of their feet. Natural manzanita wood perches are commercially available for birds. Branches from non-toxic trees outside can also be used as perches. Perches that are chewed up and splintered need to be replaced as birds destroy them. Sandpaper perch covers are not recommended. They can cause irritation and sores to the bottom of birds’ feet. Ropes, such as hemp or untreated cotton, also make great perches. Soft, braided rope perches are a comfortable option for pet birds, especially if they are older and have arthritic feet. Natural hemp or cotton rope provides a soft surface, is easy to grip and is great for birds to chew on. Concrete perches should not be the only perches used in bird cages as they can be abrasive to the bottoms of bird feet, resulting in irritation and sore formation. Plastic perches should not be used. Larger birds may chew and splinter plastic into sharp pieces. Perches should be cleaned every time they are dirty.

  • COVID-19 is a human respiratory disease that was initially discovered late in 2019. This disease is caused by a new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, that has not previously been identified in humans. Physical distancing, or social distancing, is one of the most effective strategies available to reduce the spread of COVID-19. While physical distancing, walking your dog is fine as long as you are feeling well and can remain at least 6 feet away from other people. If you have cats, find new ways to play with them indoors. Many veterinary clinics are adjusting their policies to reflect physical distancing guidance related to COVID-19. If your pet needs veterinary care (or if you need to pick up medication, a prescription diet, etc.), call your veterinary hospital first to determine how to proceed.

  • The domestic pigeon includes over 300 breeds, all descending from the rock dove. They originated in Eurasia, but are now found all over the world. They come in many color combinations and their plumage can include anything from feathered feet to crested, maned, or hooded heads. They are generally hardy birds that are easy to tame and care for. As with any pet, pigeons require regular, routine veterinary health checkups.

  • Many birds naturally eat plants as part of their diet. Birds will chew on and possibly consume plants in the course of play and curiosity. Some plants will just make a bird sick while others can kill them. This handout catalogues many of the indoor and outdoor plants that are considered safe for birds.

  • Many birds naturally eat plants as part of their diet. Some birds will chew on and possibly consume plants out of curiosity or during play. Many toxic plants will just make a bird sick if they ingest them, but some can kill them. Fortunately, rather than ingesting plants, most birds shred and play with plants with which they come in contact. This handout catalogues many of the indoor and outdoor plants that are considered to be potentially toxic to birds.