Friday, June 29, 2007

Spring Drought

It's been very hot here for the past week, with no
relief in sight. And it isn't even officially summer

We're in a moderate drought status, and talk of rain
now comes easily into conversations with strangers.
My birds, of course, are oblivious to all this.
Their environment is cool, they have abundant food
and water, plenty of toys for amusement, and a staff
person to cater to their every desire.

But something in their physiology responds to what's
going on outside. They've all been molting more than
usual this season. I come home and there are
feathers all over the floor, as if a wild animal had
caught one of my babies and left behind only
feathers. But all the birds are intact, with bits of
down feathers and the occasional flight or contour
feather falling out.

The new feather sheaths are itchy and prickly, so I
have to be very careful about helping them preen
themselves. Once false move in the wrong place and
I'll re-learn a valuable lesson.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Eggs, Eggs, Eggs

This morning Sugar Franklin presented me with her third egg since Saturday. I've taken her in for four hormone shots already this spring, and I thought she was over for the season. She lays them in her food cup, using the pellets as a sort of nesting material, I guess.

People wonder why I worry about her laying eggs. The eggs aren't fertile, and laying can be hard on her little body. Deplete her levels of calcium, danger of becoming egg bound, and so on.

Of course, she's quite full of herself. She'll rip the flesh from my hand if I dare stick my hand in her cage but otherwise prances around like she's the first and only creature to give birth.

So I put her fresh pellets in another dish. I rearrange things in her cage to off-set her sense of safety, and I put her to bed early. Today I've got a call into the vet to see if she needs another hormone shot.
sigh . . .

I made orange cupcakes on Sunday, and Charli's been in heaven with the bites of cake I give her. I think oranges are her most favorite food, though almonds come in a close second. And blueberries. And peanuts.

What do the Bobbsey Twins and Sugar Franklin love the most? Almonds and peanuts. Vegetables, they seem to think, are to be avoided at all costs lest a molecule come near their beaks. Unless, of course, it's mashed potatoes or birdie bird stuffed full of mixed vegetables and squash baby food and crushed nuts.

When I die I’m coming back as my birds.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Sugar's Upcoming Appointment

Tomorrow I'm taking Sugar Franklin to the vet for a follow-up visit. She's had an impacted preen gland, which I only noticed by accident. If I hadn't noticed, I wonder how long it would have been before it began obvious. It hasn't seemed to hurt her or bother her in any way, though she was furious and quite indignant when I examined it. It hadn't seemed to affect her preening activity at all.

And she was even more angry and more indignant when I dared allow the avian vet to examine her. The vet gave me some medicated pads with which I was to daily dab at the gland, since there seemed to be some slight discharge. A week later, after daily dabbing, I took Sugar back for the first follow-up. The swelling had gone down a lot.

Now, a month later, her preen gland is back to normal -- well, as far as I can tell. Sugar has been preening as normal.

Last night, about an hour after I covered her, she made several whimpering chirps. I peered at her under the cover, and she was fine. Perhaps she was having a bad dream.

I definitely think parrots dream. There was a period when Charli was still a baby that she would settle in for a nap and practice talking. It was so cute and endearing I could barely stand it.