Friday, July 31, 2009

Bird Ownership Weekend

The Austin Parrot Society in conjunction with Austin Avian Rescue are holding the first ever Bird Ownership Weekend!

Sat 22nd 12pm: Bird Ownership Class covering everything from cages and diet to enrichment and training. This will be presented by Emily Strong of From Beaks to Barks Pet Sitting and Jamie Powell of The Austin Parrot Society.

Sun 23rd 12pm: Dr Christina Morelli will talk on a variety of topics surrounding avian veterinary care.

Both events are free to attend, but we do request that you make a donation to Austin Avian Rescue.

There will be a raffle on both days with all ticket money going to Austin Avian Rescue. Prizes include DVDs from Barbara Heidenreich and Bird Bread from Jolley Feathers

Please email to register your interest and receive the free companion material to the Bird Ownership Class.
It is important that you contact us so we can get an idea of how many people will turn up.

The event is being held at J&M Aviary, 8647 Highway 290 W, Austin, TX

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Austin Parrot Society May Meeting

The May meeting is just a week or so away and the evite has been sent! And sent again because I messed up the date :(

This month's meeting will focus on the extremely important subject of avian first aid.

Topics will include:
What to have in your avian first aid kit
Basic first aid
What to do in a medical emergency

The meeting will be at J&M Aviary at 12pm on the 17th of May.
I look forward to seeing you all there!

If you are not already on the mailing list and would like to be added, send an email to

Friday, May 1, 2009

Last Months Meeting Pics, Cage Mix and Flu

Hello All!

Last months meeting was extremely enjoyable and I think we all learned a little more about foraging, diet and got some great ideas for foraging toys... the best part was we got to make some toys to take home for our birds!

The foraging toy workshop was so successful and so many people asked to do it again, that I thought we might make it a quarterly event.
I encourage folks to get creative and next time bring some examples of toys you came up with so we can share design ideas!

I took some photos of the group and am posting them here for all to enjoy...

Emily Strong of From Beaks to Barks Pet Sitting gave a presentation on making your own foraging toys

Emily shows some of the foraging toys she has created

Making foraging toys is a great way to have family members of all ages get involved in parrot care

One of the best parts of the meeting was the sharing of information between members

Part of making foraging toys successful is making the food you put in them enriching to your birds.
I personally have tried a variety of "cage mixes" for foraging toys, but none have been quite what I wanted. I have been looking for a 100% certified organic, allergen free mix with a nice balance of grains, fruits, veggies, nuts and herbs/spices for quite some time to no avail.

Wings of Love Bird Haven has decided to help fill this need by developing it's own mix which it is going to sell at cost to a small number of interested bird owners. They have kindly extended this offer to the members of the Austin Parrot Society.

One of the great things about this mix is not only is it made from 100% certified ingredients, but it contains no common allergens (that means no soy, peanuts, corn, wheat etc), it is also low in protein which makes it a great part of the diet for Eclectus and other birds with protein sensitivities. We often give our birds too much protein when you add up pellets, cage mix, training treats and foraging treats.
Cost per pound will be $10, which is not bad when you consider that the closest thing to this on the market at the moment is $8.25 per pound and is not made from 100% certified organic ingredients and contains some allergens.. and then there is shipping costs on top of that.
I will be sending out an email to the group with an ingredients list and further details on ordering.

Finally a note on next months meeting.
At the moment, this meeting is still on. But whether or not it goes on as planned depends a lot on how the H1N1 flu progresses in the state.
As parrot owners we not only have concern for the humans who may catch this, but must consider our birds as well. This new strain has an avian component to it's make up and I do not believe it is known yet whether there is the possibility for our birds to get it.
I urge every one to take care, follow CDC guidelines to prevent transmission and hope we all stay healthy!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Foraging Toy Workshop: 04/19/2009

This month's Austin Parrot Society meeting will be hands on!
Emily Strong of From Beaks To Barks Pet Sitting will be presenting a foraging toy mini workshop!

Foraging is a hugely important part of our birds daily lives in the wild, and by providing these opportunities in our homes we can help prevent and treat not only boredom, but also behavioral and health issues.
Providing these opportunities does not have to take a lot of time or money and a lot of really fun foraging toys can be made from things found in the house that would normally go in the trash/recycling, and in just a few minutes.

Some foraging toy making supplies will be provided, but we encourage everyone to at the very least bring the following:
Some of your bird's dry diet or treats
A bag to take home your newly made toys to your birds!

If you would like to bring supplies for you to use, or to share with others that is welcome also. Good things to bring include:
Toilet Paper/Kitchen Towel rolls
Cardboard/Boxboard Boxes
Brown Paper Bags
Popsicle Sticks
Rafia Finger Traps
Tamale Wrappers
Bird Safe Beads/Buttons/Foot Toys
Broken down parts of toy (Please make sure these are disinfected hard plastic only if they are to share with the others... wood etc is fine to bring so long as you use it for just your own birds... this is to prevent possible spread of disease)

I expect this meeting to be a lot of fun and very educational for us all... even the most experienced foraging toy maker can learn something new from anothers ideas!

If you did not receive an evite for this event, or would like to be invited and join the mailing list then please drop me an email to

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Second Meeting of The Austin Parrot Society

Hello everyone!

I want to thank all those who made it to the meeting. A lot of new people who were not at the first meeting, which was nice to see, but we hope those who came to the first one come back again. We had lovely weather and Jerry et al at J&M were gracious hosts.
Unfortunately the planned guest speakers fell through, so I pulled out the one topic I know I can present on short notice: Disaster Preparedness.
I think a lot of information was shared and the main point (that we all MUST be prepared) was taken in by all, which for me as a disaster management worker with humans and animals, was the most important thing.
So the people who were not able to attend don't miss out on the good information, I have posted the Parrot Disaster Kit I developed with Code 3 Associates below. If you have any questions about this or other disaster or preparedness related issues please get a hold of me via either the or my personal email ( and I would be happy to address them.

The organizations I mentioned during the talk were Code 3 Associates and United Animal Nations
I would also recommend the following sites for disaster preparedness and planning information:
Storm Prediction Center

The next meeting will be Sunday April 19th (we'll be meeting the third Sunday of every month), starting around 12pm and ending around 2pm at J&M Aviary.
I am working on a guest speaker again, and hopefully it will go smoother this time! However, if there are any members who feel they have something to contribute to the group, please feel free to contact me about being a speaker one month.

I look forward to seeing you all there at the meeting... look for the evite a couple of weeks before!


Avian Disaster Kit

By being prepared and able to react quickly in the face of approaching disaster you are able to keep you, your family and your animals out of danger.

If it is not safe for you or your children it is not safe for your animals to stay behind during an evacuation. Take your animals with you and be prepared to do so. Each animal in your family should have a disaster kit. The following is a list of things to build an Avian Disaster kit.

Food and Water

Food; two weeks supply – pelleted diets, seeds, dried fruits/veggies and nuts – in airtight container, rotated every 3 months

Small tubs of fruit salad in own juice is great as they provide fresh fruit and fluids but keep a long time.

Certain Baby foods are also good as they are mushy which is a comfort food for birds. Be careful as to vitamin and mineral supplementation which may be too high for a bird

Your birds favorite teats – rotated every 3 mo

Water; two week supply – estimate 1 to 2 quarts per day for drinking, bathing and cleaning

Food and water dishes – have extra and non breakable

Restraint and ID

ID - band number or microchip – have this information on your paperwork

Towels - wrap the avian in

Portable cage with perches - marked with your contact info

Recent photographs - including you or family member in picture

Wire, pliers, and duct tape – to repair portable cage

Wire cutters - to remove a stuck bird in an emergency


Newspapers for lining the cage

Paper towels

Dish soap


Garbage bags

Care and Comfort

Blanket or sheet to cover cage


Hot water bottle

Flashlight w/extra batteries

Grooming supplies

Spray bottle for misting

Battery Powered fan - a small one can be attached to the cage and make the difference on a hot day

Records and medications

Vet phone number

Copies of proof of ownership papers

Copies of medical records

Medication – two week supply of any medication the bird is on

First aid Kit –

First aid book for Birds

3 X 5 conforming bandages

4 X 4 gauze pads

Graze rolls

Antiseptic wipes

Triple antibiotic cream




Instant cold pack

Disposable gloves

Two rolls of vet wrap

Items in addition to basic kit


Blunt nose scissors

Styptic powder

Cornflower – to stop bleeding on wings or soft tissue

Hemostat - for pulling broken blood feathers

Cotton swabs

Feeding syringes - incase hand feeding is needed)

NOTE: Birds are better being transported in the plastic animal kennels with a low perch, however this is not suitable for any longer than a day at the very most as most birds can chew through the plastic in short order.

Similarly cages (either small regular ones or collapsible travel ones) are dangerous for travel as the bird can easily panic and break wings or get them stuck in the bars.

Two cages are best, a travel cage and a collapsible wire one for when the destination has been reached.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Next Meeting Of The Austin Parrot Society Is On The 22nd

The next meeting of the Austin Parrot Society will be on Saturday 22nd March at Noon (folks seemed generally happy with Sundays, but wanted it a little earler). I would like to try and make the meeting a regular third Sunday in the month if possible.

Jerry at J&M Aviary has been very generous and has offered either an outdoor or indoor meeting area for free. So we have a new home and a nice opportunity to support a local avian rescue. J&M also has a store, so take the chance to pick up a new toy or bag of treats for your feathered friend before or after the meeting.
I will be headed out there this Sunday to work out which venue will be best for us at the next meeting.

I am currently talking with a local vet about speaking at the next meeting, hopefully we will be able to get schedules organized in time (we are playing phone tag at the moment), but rest assured I have back up plans from within the ranks of our amazingly diverse membership, so learning something new will be a guarantee!
If you know of someone who can teach us parrot owners something new, and who may be interested in coming and talking to us at a meeting, please let me know.

I look forward to seeing you all on the 22nd

If you are reading this and would like to receive emails with updates and news from the Austin Parrot Society then please contact us at

Monday, February 23, 2009

Notes From the First Meeting of the Austin Parrot Society

Well folks we did it! We successfully had our first meeting, and I for one had a great time.
I want to thank everyone who showed up and put up with the disorganization... I think in the end, everything went pretty well!

I have been over the suggestions and expectations that everyone turned in and it seems that the following were the main threads in common:

Networking with other parrot owners and having a support group
Resource sharing (recipes, toys, supplies etc)
Supporting good avian causes
Solving behavioral problems
Toy making group
Species specific education
General education on all aspects of care

We also had most people interested in being a part of at least one co-op (I'll be passing on these people's info and preferences to Emily)

With these suggested topics of interest I think we have some very good topics for future meetings.

I am planning on starting organizing our next meeting in the next couple of days, but would love some input from everyone.

1) Was the time good, or should we meet a little earlier/later?
2) Would members prefer if we met South, North or Alternate wherever possible?
3) Is Sunday a good day for everyone?

Finally I wanted to include a reminder about some of the links and information in the hand out.

Barbara Heidenreich's positive reinforcement workshop is May 14th, support rescue parrots and learn how to train your own in a positive way

The Feather Distribution Project

Good Bird Inc information, dvds, books etc on positive reinforcement

Susan Friedman and information on the Living and Learning with Parrots course... a must do for parrot owners who want to understand why their bird does what it does

I look forward to your input and can't wait to see you at the next meeting!