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Old 11-26-2016, 12:30 PM
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Re: I Love Amazons - An On-Going Journey!

Recovering Critical Flight Feathers


Flight feathers are critical to the survival of our Amazons! In the past, we believed that everyone was talking about life in his or her natural settings and the dangers faced daily! Today, we are becoming ever more concerned about our Companion Parrots needing to fly! Our Avian Vets are seeing cardiovascular disease in ever-younger Companion Parrots. What was once the killer of older Parrots is presenting much younger than ever before.

The source is believed to be the need for our Parrots to Fly! Those huge flight muscles of the mid-chest, which drive the wings of our Parrots also drives and facilitates the health of their cardiovascular system. Ever greater numbers of Avian Vets are changing their long held position of the advantages’ of clippings Wings and are now seeing clear advantages in Fledging young Parrots and returning older Parrots to a flighted status. In the majority of Parrots, that presents the need of Recovering Critical Flight Feathers.

This next segment provides various methods from quickly recovering or allowing a Natural Recovery of Flight Feathers — Enjoy!
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  #52 (permalink)  
Old 11-26-2016, 12:31 PM
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Re: I Love Amazons - An On-Going Journey!

Recovering Critical Flight Feathers

By: Steven (SailBoat), November 2016

Whether you trim your own Amazon’s flight feathers or have a Pet /Bird Shop, a Breeder, or a Friend do the trimming, serious errors can be made in the number and length of the flight feather’s cut. Far too often, the person about to trim (cut) the flight feathers of your Amazon hasn’t a clue what they are doing and if you’re lucky, it only results is a severely trimmed parrot. Additional dangers are under-trimming flight feathers, which can result in a ‘presumed’ non-flyer surprising its owner as its flies away, far too often – forever!

In the worst case, as exampled by the ‘Quarantine Clip’ of the Import past, a single (sometimes both) Wing’s feathers are trimmed so close to their base that re-feathering is permanently lost. Even when not cut dangerously short, the cutting of all the primary and secondary flight feathers on both or only one Wing is seen as Abusive Behavior today and is not to be tolerated. This form of Abuse places the Parrot in grave danger of injury caused by the off-balance (single Wing) or total lost (both wings) of flight feathers.

Severe (very short and/or extensive) clipping of primary and/or secondary Wing feathers can cause other problems, in addition to the ‘Flies Like a Dropped Rock’ Syndrome and its inherent danger of injury. For example: Severe loss of all primary and/or secondary feathers can cause irritation of the body by the short ends of the feathers. Even sadder is the non-sequenced replacement resulting in the new growth feather being unsupported by other feathers, which during preening can result in the Parrot barbering the new growth feather or their loss caused by the feather being unsupported. Another problem is the erupting blood feather (quill) is unsupported /unprotected and therefore vulnerable. Although more common with other species, both body irritation (caused by the short-cut feathers) and excessive preening of new growth feathers could begin a behavior pattern of the Amazon barbering or plucking its feathers. However, in nearly all cases, time and feather replacement will cure both. Generally, the first year’s re-growth is the slowest and seemingly the longest (the watched tea kettle thing).

“In far too many incidents, baby Amazons that have not completed fledging are having their Wing feathers cut to ‘save the parrot’ from injuring itself or damaging blood feathers (quills). Birds must past though specific developmental stages to assure their overall health. Therefore, birds must fully-fledge, which means they must learn to be fully flighted. Their complete Cardiac and Respiratory systems are dependent on the successful completion of this stage. Successful completion of fledging will assure a healthier parrot. In addition, once the Amazon reaches the age of one year, they quickly gain in body mass, and if they had not been fully-fledged, they tend to be more timid about expanding their flight skills.”

“Proper trimming of a fully-fledged baby or fully-flighted adult Amazon is best done in stages with the trimming of a ‘select few’ inner primary flight feathers (balanced removal on both Wings) to allow the Parrot to adjust for less lift and then additional trimming until you have an Amazon that can glide safely to the ground.” At this point you must determine if you want a flightless Parrot or one that can glide down safely without lift. There are inherent dangers in maintaining your Amazon as a fully flighted, partially flighted or a flightless Parrot. You must take the time to fully understand the risks of your choice and then follow proper precautions to ensure the on-going safety of your Parrot.

The healthiest method of regaining flight feathers is the natural method in which the adult Amazon, through its own sequential re-establishment, replaces its Wing and Tail feathers. This process can take up to and in some cases beyond three years to replace ‘all’ of its flight feathers. For reasons like re-flighting an adult Amazon, the flight feathers may need to be replaced quicker. For that requirement, I prefer the following method.

NOTE: I do not approve of the Forced Removal of feathers for the sole purpose of enhancing the appearance of the Parrot. Nor do I approve of the ‘extensive’ Forced Removal of feathers to provide for a rapid replacement of feathers. Extensive removal of feathers places the Parrot under extreme stress, creates demands for high levels of nutrition not normally available in a basic diet, and weakens the Parrot’s immune system during and immediately after full replacement. Forced removal of a cut or damaged flight feather to return flight should only be undertaken by an individual with the depth of knowledge for the proper sequencing and informed healthcare of the Parrot during that process.

Sequential Recovery of Critical Flight Feathers:

Whether you’re on the side of a Fully Flighted, a Glider, or a Non-Flighted parrot, there may come a time when recovering critical flight feathers become a necessary.

“Start by having your Avian Veterinarian pluck, two (side-by-side) Wing feathers from each wing closest to existing feathers or the Parrots body. These four feathers will grow out full in about four weeks. Then two more neighboring feathers can be plucked from each Wing after the first ones are completely finished growing. Remember that the feathers will have to be very carefully protected when the blood feathers (quills) are still erupting and growing to length. This means no attempts to fly ending in a crash and a safe environment with limited chance for ‘overload’ flapping, which would place blood feathers (quills) at risk.

There are two Schools of Thought on whether to begin with the two furthest back Primary feathers on each Wing or the two longest at the front of the Wing. This determination depends more on the clip already done, the activity level of the Parrot, the type of Parrot, etc…

Commonly, your Avian Veterinarian will administer a non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug after the procedure and then send you home with a medication to keep the inflammation down (normally in a droplet form).

Extra nutrition is critical when force growing new feathers in this fashion. Depending on the time of year in which you are forcing the growth of new feathers, your Parrot will likely be activity growing several /many other feathers as part of its normally scheduled replacement and molt. This entire discussion ‘assumes’ that you are already feeding your Amazon a healthy /varied diet. If your Parrot shows signs of stress, is molting, or has a weaken immune system you should consider adding Spirulina (flakes are best, but powder will work) and Bee Pollen in granular form, adding both to the Parrot’s food (not water) before beginning. Wet food is best, since both substances will stick to moist food. Sprinkle a small amount (like salt & peppering) is adequate to build-up their positive benefits over several weeks. This will boost your Parrot’s immune system and definitely aid with strong feather growth. This should be continued until all forced feathers are fully in-place.”

In a normal year, a healthy adult Amazon losses and replaces 25 to 35 percent of its flight feathers, and in the right conditions, (generally outdoors with a light breeze) an adult can glide and gain limited height with only 30 to 40 percent of its primary Wing flight feathers at full length. Please remember that the Tail is a ‘Flight Structure’ and combined with the limited presents of wing flight feathers can produce a glide and/or lift condition.

Source: EB Carvens, The Amazona Society


Amazon's Have More Fun!

Last edited by SailBoat; 11-26-2016 at 05:31 PM.
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  #53 (permalink)  
Old 11-26-2016, 10:06 PM
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Re: I Love Amazons - An On-Going Journey!

Special Needs Parrots – Limited Sight and a New Home!

There is no question that the most difficult place for anyone, whether Human or Parrot is too lose your family, enter a new home and have limited vision! Although this segment spends extensive time regarding the New Home, it also includes additional comment regarding including a limited sight Amazon. This segment also sends the read back to earlier segments for more in depth information.

Those who take on the responsibility of bring a Special Needs Parrot into their Home have my full respect! The greatest advice I can provide them is profound in its simplicity: Slow Down!

The extent and complexity of the information provided thus far should also be seen as supporting and intertwined. As this Thread continues to grow that reality will become ever more obvious! Enjoy!
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  #54 (permalink)  
Old 11-26-2016, 10:08 PM
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Re: I Love Amazons - An On-Going Journey!

Special Needs Parrots — Limited Sight and a New Home!

By: Steven (SailBoat), November 2016


Recently, I was contacted regarding an Amazon that has lost sight in one of its eyes and was also presenting signs of depression resulting from the combined lost of sight and its home. When a combination of losing half of one’s sight is pared with the loss of one’s home would bring about depression in most Humans, why not in an Amazon. To address the many needs of this Amazon, I when back and found selections of past writings and combined them for this Parrot’s new owner. For everyone else, enjoy.

There is this almost universal want not to acknowledge a beloved Parrot as Special Needs. As if by not acknowledging this reality, it will simply not be or somehow magically go away. If your Amazon has Special Needs, it will always be important to classify your Amazon as a Special Needs Parrot. To that end, I would recommend an Internet Word Search using: “Special Needs Parrot” and “Special Needs Birds”. My reasoning in requesting this action is to provide an understanding of what other families are doing to support their beloved Parrots. At this point, please consider it as a knowledge source for future reference.

If your Amazon has limited sight, it will be very important to introduce New Things slowly. Stuff just showing-up can be unsettling for a Parrot with limited sight. The best way is to include your Parrot in the assembly of a new cage, play stand, etc. Yes, like working with a two year-old Human, it would be much faster to do it by your self, but speed is not the goal! With toys and other things, having them show-up in the general open area away from your Amazon and slowly working their way to your Amazon prevents the new item seen as a threat. I believe in the ‘Real Estate Agent’s’ approach of touring your home at least once a month with your Parrot. Introduce everything to him, pictures, tables, chairs, TV, radio, etc, etc, etc… Anytime, anything new comes into the home or something has been moved use both methods of introduction. Even four years from now! The tour of the house should be a common event, completed regularly!

Remember that the vast majority of mid to large Parrots are Social, not Flock Birds. This means that they develop Strong Social Bonds with members with in their group and it is a very important part of their comfort zone to know that their group is safe. As a new Parrot enters your family, you’re new Parrot will be faced with developing a NEW Group Bond, including all of your family members, it is very important to target those things that will grow Social Bonds and avoid those things that would harm that growth. Consider how a young child would react if suddenly torn from its family and thrust into a totally different family.

I believe strongly that the new Parrot will need a very extensive Medical Examination including full blood testing and a DNA Sex Test as part of that blood testing. The Avian Veterinarian will need to also check your Parrot’s stool as part of this testing. Commonly, an Amazon will provide a fresh sample during the Avian Veterinarian visit (by luck or good fortune, mine have always provided such a sample for the Avian Veterinarian). It will be very important to know if your Parrot is a Boy or a Girl. The Diet for a Girl is a little different from a Boy and knowing, which you have will allow you to target that small difference. In addition, Boy’s could face some additional behavior issues during Hormonal Season. Also remember to get your Parrot's weight checked. If for some really good reason, the Avian Veterinarian visit is not completed with in the first couple of days, and you are a single Parrot home, target a Avian Veterinarian visit in the first two months, this to allow time for your Parrot to adjust to his NEW social group and for you to save up the money to cover the Avian Veterinarian’s cost. If you have other Parrots, before you come home with a new arrival, please visit the Avian Veterinarian first and remember to keep the new arrival separated from the flock for three or more weeks at a very minimum. If you have existing Parrots, I view it as mandatory to complete an extensive medical examination and the test results reviewed prior to the new Parrot coming into your home!

Since, most households are somewhat handy, lets get started ASAP in moving your Amazon away from dowels and on to natural wood perches. For medium and larger Parrots, target natural perch sizes starting in the 1-1/2" (38 mm) and range in diameter variations and surfaces over their length up to 4" (100 mm), staying away from fruit trees and any grove trees. Look for hard woods, like Maple or Oak. Remove the bark and ‘lightly’ sand the surface. Do Not Use Dead Wood Branches! Any ‘sandpaper’ dowels must go, ASAP, for the reasons in my segment "Getting to the Foot of the Problem". Although I like soft Pine for toys, using natural Pine branches presents too many problems in preparation, so avoid them in this application. Late Fall, Winter and ‘very’ early Spring (prior to leafing) is a great time of year to trim branches, since the sap is out of them. Commonly these will not be the final choice of perches for your parrot, but to keep costs low at this point, what is nearby will work. If you order a play stand, request natural perches in place of dowels and also be specific regarding the diameter. First, vary the diameters in the perches you have and, Second, the larger the Parrot, the larger diameter group. The more variation in diameter as part of any single branch, the better it is for your Parrot.

Since, your Amazon may have been getting a minimum amount of sleep, it will be very important to ensure that the sleeping area it is as dark and as quiet as possible. First, see above regarding new things. Ensure that your Amazon's cover is a darker, thicker material, and adjust the sound of the TV lower at night, targeting ten plus hour of sleep at first and then adjust to the current Sun based day. At this point, unless a behavior or medical problem surfaces let’s not make too many changes. As most homes are active, your Parrot will catch a nap or two during the day, while you’re out. During the day, keep a radio on low volume. A lite musical station of your liking will be fine. Not Hard Rock, etc… the goal is a relaxed time period for your new Parrot.
I like a very healthy direction in any Parrot's Diet. Use the information in an earlier segment provided to make adjustments to your Parrot’s current diet. Remember that Amazon’s are Social Parrots and ‘EATING’ is part of that social stuff. If he sees you eating something, he is much more likely to try it. A Healthy Diet for your Parrot will also be a Healthy Diet for your family as well. Your Avian Veterinarian will be able to better determine if your Amazon is over-weight or not, once his examination and weighting is completed.
Let's remember that your Amazon is faced with a New Home and lots of New Things already and there is no need to add more stress to his life. I would target the perches first and then move on to the other changes. The combination of the wrong type of cage and life on dowels has me deeply concerned for the health of any Parrot’s feet. Since, our Parrots are spending the vast majority of their day on their feet, properly sized natural perches are critical to their health and happiness.
Please remember that Amazons do not always connect our Heads with our Hands, this is even more so with a Parrot that has limited sight. Our Hands could be seen as a Predator, like a Snake. Keep your Hands closer to your Head /Body to allow the connection to be made. I do not mean that you should get your Face into his Face, but to help him connect them to you.

Slow Down, remember if your Amazon has limited sight, he cannot see as well as you and he has been separated from his group and has not yet made the tie with his new family. He is going to be a very Loving Amazon, let’s give him the time to become that Parrot.

Last edited by SailBoat; 11-26-2016 at 10:10 PM.
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  #55 (permalink)  
Old 11-27-2016, 11:24 AM
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Re: I Love Amazons - An On-Going Journey!

How Much Chocolate Will It Take To Kill My Parrot?

How much Chocolate will it take to kill my Parrot? Although the likelihood of saying this or getting this question asked would ‘hopefully’ be rare. Sadly there are loving owners around the World that are feeding Parrots Chocolate, and every month Parrots are being rushed to their Avian Veterinarians for emergency care resulting from the toxic killer that resides within Chocolate.

Although, our Avian Vets see Pets year around suffering the results of Chocolate toxicity there are periods during the year that see a clear spike in this type of toxicity. Without surprise, it is around the Holidays! So, while we are in the center of the most active time of year for this type of toxicity, it makes sense to take a deeper look into the Toxic Effects of Chocolate.

I hope you find this segment informative and supportive should you be asked such a question during the Holidays.



How Much Chocolate Will It Take To Kill My Parrot?

By: Steven (SailBoat), November 2016

The discussion of whether or not Chocolate should be provided to a Parrot has been stirred around since Parrots and Chocolate became common in our households. In the very early days, Chocolate was very expensive, a Luxury, and therefore not provided. As the costs fell and it became more common, from time to time, Chocolate found its way to our Pets. The high dosage of Sugar was the first sign that Chocolate and our Pets was not a good combination, since it commonly resulted in an overly active Pet.

As Vet care progressed and support by scientific evacuation of what was good and what was dangerous to feed our pets progressed. It was found that not only the high levels of Sugar, a leading cause of over-weight and over-active behavioral issues, but that Chocolate, metabolite Theobromide (an Alkaloid) was very toxic to both Mammals (Dogs & Cats) and Birds. Dark Chocolate, which contains high levels of Cacao are the most dangerous with milk Chocolate having lower levels, but still toxic to Mammals and Birds. In addition, Chocolate is high in Caloric and very low in Nutrient Value, and is difficult for the Parrot to excrete, which can result in the buildup and dead from toxic levels.

Chocolate, metabolite Theobromide can adversely affect the Heart, Air Sacks (Lungs), Kidney and Central Nervous System. Symptoms of Chocolate toxicity can include: Excitement, Tremors, Seizures, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Abnormal Heart Rate /Rhythm, Drunken like acts /movement, Hyperthermia, and Coma. Chocolate toxicity can be fatal.

At the point of a mid to large intake of Chocolate, your Avian Vet may choose to induce vomiting or perform gastric lavage. Treatment may include administration of Activated Charcoal and aggressive supportive care with Fluid Therapy and Medications. Each Avian Vet will likely have different treatment method(s) depending on how soon the Parrot is seen after ingestion, how much was ingested and the health and age of the Parrot.

So, how much chocolate can I feed my Parrot before it Seizures, Strokes, suffers a Heart Attack, becomes seriously ill or dies depends on many variables like; the type of Chocolate, the species (size) of Parrot, it’s health, it’s age, it’s diet, the strength of it’s Immune System, etc., etc., etc…. Like the killing toxins in avocado and caffeine; Chocolate will cause your Parrot to become immediately ill or die, or more likely silently build-up and without notice, you’re at the Avian Veterinarian’s with a very sick or dying Parrot. Chocolate can kill your Parrot!


Everything that eats can be classified, to one level or another, as a scavenger, which results in lots of questionable stuff entering one’s system. Luckily, there are very few things out there that will kill in tiny amounts. Therefore, most stuff passes through the system and is left behind as waste. However, several toxins have a sinister, nastier side; they like to hideout in the body for days, weeks, months, or even years, building-up with time and volume. And, at some point, sooner or later, a specific level is past and you have a seriously ill or dying Parrot.

Fact: Chocolate contains a toxin, a metabolite Theobromide (an Alkaloid) that will cause Parrots to become seriously ill and/or kill them.


There exists a problem when mixing a Fact and Humans. By telling a customer, client, subscriber, member, friend, or bystander that a very small amount of Chocolate will cause serious illness or kill their Parrot sets the stage for a “Fool’s Disproving” of the Fact. The “Fool’s Disproving” starts with their Parrot eating a ‘bit’ of Chocolate and it does not get sick or die that day. Their seriously faulty concussion; the information (Fact) is wrong. The dangerous result is that they tell themselves and their friends that: The Experts Are Wrong!

If that same ‘bit’ of Chocolate did each and every time result in sudden illness or death, there would never be a need for a segment like this one on the deadly dangers of Chocolate. Sadly, Toxin related illness and deaths more commonly occur with the build-up of the Toxin over longer periods of time, masking its deadly results until it’s too late. Sadder still, rarely does the owner connects the illness or death of their beloved Parrot to ‘their’ providing the Toxin.

Whether by accident or by your choice, each time your Parrot ingests Chocolate is setting the stage for its serious illness or death. How much Chocolate will it take to Kill my Parrot? Why would you want for find that out? Chocolate kills!


Sources: Exotic Pet Veterinarians Online, The Amazon Society, Sally Blanchard, and Liz Wilson

Last edited by SailBoat; 11-27-2016 at 07:33 PM.
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  #56 (permalink)  
Old 11-30-2016, 12:21 PM
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Re: I Love Amazons - An On-Going Journey!

Developing Strong Bonds — Pinfeathers

The reality is that our healthy mid — large Parrots loss feathers year around! In addition, there are a couple of periods in which they also loss a much larger number of body and foundation (downy) feathers to adjust for the major changes in weather conditions. In all cases, an opportunity is available to develop stronger Trust Bond between our Parrots and their Humans.

This next segment, targets the opportunity that their replacement feathers provides us Humans to grow /develop our bond /relationship with our Amazons!

So, whether your Bird Room and/or Home looks like your Amazon exploded or just a couple of feathers, - see it as an opportunity to better your relationship! Enjoy!




Developing Strong Bonds — Pinfeathers

By: Steven (SailBoat), November 2016

As the next year appears in front of us, our healthy Parrot’s bodies are in the early to mid-stages of preparing to push lots of new feathers. During the late Fall and early Winter, they have added a little weight, which is a combination of both more foundation (downy) feathers and some body weight. The body weight in preparation for the upcoming mating season and more foundation feathers to protect them against the lower temperatures associated with Winter. Later, as we enter the early days of 2017, our Parrots will than prepare for the late Spring with the upcoming loss of their added Winter plumage and the addition of new flight, body and foundation feathers, which both events provide us a perfect time to enhance our flock’s relationships.

Will your Amazon allow you to help uncoat his pinfeathers? Surprisingly, some will and some will not! Generally, if your Amazon allows you to touch and scratch him on his head and neck. He should allow /want you to help preen his pinfeathers. This is most true for those areas that he cannot preen for himself. Family members of an Amazon’s social group will preen each other in those areas that they cannot preen for themselves; all we are doing is joining the group and at the same time strengthen our relationship.

If you can touch the feathers on his head and neck, it should not be a big jump to help with preening. A major error can be made here by trying to remove the covering too early. The new pinfeather’s (also referred to as a blood feather) base is highly sensitive and will cause discomfort if there is an attempt to remove the soft covering too early. If you have developed the ‘feel’ for the condition of the covering (hard /flakily vs. soft /malleable) and therefore preen only when it is ready to flake apart with ease, there will not be any discomfort for the Amazon, only happiness.

Remember that molting is not a comfortable time for our Amazons and shorter tempers exist, but it’s a very important time too further developed /enhance the Trust Bonds between both of you. If you can scratch him, stay with that until a ready covering presents itself. It’s a ‘Practiced Art’ that has its root’s in trust and developing a strong Trust Bond. Push too much and you will be bitten, never try and you miss-out on developing a deeper bond. Preening pinfeathers is an Art that for some humans and Parrots comes naturally, for the rest of us it comes with time and practice.

It is very important to remember that our beloved Amazons are first prey! Not to be overly graphic, but the neck is the primary location of attack by apredator. Scratching and other hand contact with your Parrot requires an on-going trust development. While working with an Amazon, I prefer to keep my arms and hands closer to my body, therefore providing a clear connection between my hands /arms and my face. This way the Parrot learns /remembers to connect your hands and arms with your face, which they more naturally and quickly identify. Resulting from our overwhelming size difference, and propensity to change colors (clothing), Parrots do not immediately associate the rest of our body with our face. Therefore, it is very easy for them to not associate our hands to our face. In fact, hands and arms could just as easily be identified as a predator, for example: a Snake.

Developing a Trust Bond with your Amazon takes time, and Humans far too often expect immediate results for something that commonly takes months and even years. Target step-by-step positive experiences and allow the relations to develop with time. Stealing a few words from a not too old of a song: “Slow-down, You move to Fast, You gotta to keep the moment lasten.”

When people bring an adult Amazon into their home, they’re far too impatient, wanting to closely interact with the new family member. Commonly, no one has educated them on the need to, everyday for the rest of their life, continue to work on the Trust Bond, consequently dissatisfaction can set in and the Parrot is far too soon placed in yet another short-term home. Slow-Down and take the time to both enjoy and continue to develop a lasting Trust Bond! This also works wonders with Human -to- Human relationships as well,

For those of us who have been blessed with living with an Amazon for a much longer time, we tend to forget those first few awkward years. In addition, being ‘Amazon Snobs’, we have spent the time to learn from our Amazons and our Human experts. For those ‘Love-At-First-Sight’ relationships, the Trust Bond was developed near instantaneously. For the rest of the World working with a new arrival, first target building a Trust Bond with every contact and the rest will come with time.

Preening will greatly strengthen your relationship, so take your time, preen at every opportunity; the rewards are well worth the effort! As the relationship develops, it will not be long before your Amazon is seeking you out for a good preening session.


NOTE: My comments regarding predator /prey relationships, is a reminder that our Parrot’s instinctive reactions are still in place. The instinctive reaction maybe transferred, but the reaction to a perceived threat remains fully intact.


Sources: Sally Blanchard, Companion Parrot Handbook and Gary Gallerstein D.V.M., The Complete Pet Bird Owner’s Handbook

Last edited by SailBoat; 11-30-2016 at 12:25 PM.
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  #57 (permalink)  
Old 11-30-2016, 10:37 PM
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Re: I Love Amazons - An On-Going Journey!

I don't want to interrupt such an informative thread - but could you elaborate on when it might be good to force new feathers? I ask because Gus, who is a macaw and has great big old feathers, came to us with a rather aggressive clip. It doesn't matter for flying, because his bones are wrong - but the cut feathers have big, open, sharp looking edges and I wonder if they bother him, because he barbers off feathers under his wing and has, I think, a bare spot. Pulling out feathers sounds so drastic, but if the cut ends are causing him to pluck...that's a bad habit...
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  #58 (permalink)  
Old 11-30-2016, 11:39 PM
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Re: I Love Amazons - An On-Going Journey!

Quote: Originally Posted by Kentuckienne View Post
I don't want to interrupt such an informative thread - but could you elaborate on when it might be good to force new feathers? I ask because Gus, who is a macaw and has great big old feathers, came to us with a rather aggressive clip. It doesn't matter for flying, because his bones are wrong - but the cut feathers have big, open, sharp looking edges and I wonder if they bother him, because he barbers off feathers under his wing and has, I think, a bare spot. Pulling out feathers sounds so drastic, but if the cut ends are causing him to pluck...that's a bad habit...

Pulling out feathers is honestly drastic! I only recommend it 'if' the existing cut feather(s) are causing an irritation of the Parrot's body. This requires a very close inspection of the area that the feather or feathers near the body looking for signs of damage to those body /downy feathers. This is an indication that the cut feather(s) is moving against those body /downy feathers and 'possible' irritation the body itself.

Barbering has several causes and in this 'specific' discussion it has to do with the interaction of that cut feather with other a joining /lapping feathers on either side.

The first step is to closing examine the area that cut feathers sit near /along the body and look for the signs of damage to the feathers below.

The second step is to inspect the wing feathers on either side of the cut feather for signs of interaction. This interaction normally presents as a drag (cut) line on those feathers at the point where the cut feather interacts with those feathers.

The third step is a discussion with your AV regarding the health of your MAC and a judgement as to whether the removal of that feather(s) is of benefit. Remember that replacing feathers requires energy that a Parrot struggling with Health issue may not have available.

As indicated, I believe in allowing damaged /cut feathers to be replaces as part of the Parrot's natural process. So, only if the above steps indicate a clear problem and your AV agrees, should a cut feather be removed.

I hope that this helps!

Last edited by SailBoat; 12-01-2016 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 12-04-2016, 01:13 PM
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Re: I Love Amazons - An On-Going Journey!

Twelve Hours of Quiet Sleep and Darkness –

For decades, and likely as long as electric lighting has invaded our houses, the question of how much Quiet and Dark Sleep our Companion Amazons should be getting has been subject for discussions and disagreements.

With the arrival of Avian Sciences and individuals with a deep Love for Parrots tied with they’re Analytical Minds, we have foundations that can be referenced. From the Avian Sciences: The Association of Avian Veterinarians’ Yearly Studies. And, from the Companion Parrot Authors who are of ‘High Standings’ within the Association of Avian Veterinarians, we have Authors like Sally Blanchard, Liz Wilson and EB Carvens. And as a group, they have like recommendations.

This segment was driven by a question for a very young lady that, like near all young lady’s, was not going to be satisfied by a too quickly formulated Adult Answer. Enjoy!
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Old 12-04-2016, 01:15 PM
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Re: I Love Amazons - An On-Going Journey!

Continuation from above:


Twelve Hours of Quiet Sleep and Darkness -

By: Steven (SailBoat), December 2016

One of the most common problems found in rescued and re-homed Amazons, but also one of the sources for Behavioral Problems with all Parrots is: The Sleep Deprived Parrot.

For a very long time, the leading thinkers and practitioners in the field of Parrot Behaviorism have strongly recommended twelve hours of quiet sleep and darkness, ‘Every Day’, as one of the very first steps in Treating and Calming Stressed Parrots.

I have been a strong advocate of this tool and took it as a fundamental Fact-Of-Life with all Amazon. Well, from the mouth of a six year old, came a very strong retort to that position. As ‘She’ so clearly pointed-out, why does he need to sleep so long, has he been bad? All the other Birds outside are still up? And, ‘She’ was 100% correct. In early May, all the Birds outside were still busy taking care of the end-of-the-day and our poor Amazon was covered for the night!

The fact is; in late Spring, here in the Great White North, we are experiencing just short of 15 hours of sun light in early May. And, it will top out at just short of 16 hours of sunlight in late June. Since, the vast majority of Amazons reside inside of the 45th Parallel in either the North or South Hemisphere; they are all spending part of the year with much greater amounts of daylight than 12 hours.

Faced with this reality, what should my answer be? It would have been simple to provide a quick short Adult Style Answer. But to this Six Year Old, well that’s a very different story, isn’t it! -‘BUT, WHY?’–


So Why Do Our Parrots Really Need Twelve Hours of Quiet Sleep and Darkness? — “The Resetting of an Amazon’s Internal Clock!”

Unlike modern Humans, our Parrot’s day truly does end with the onset of darkness. During the longer nights of Winter, they naturally sleep longer and during the shorter days of Summer, they naturally sleep less. OK, so there goes the whole fact based thing of Parrots needing Twelve Hours of quiet sleep and darkness. Or does it?

It is only with the ‘Light-Up-The-Night presents of Humans that problems for our Parrots develop. With the ‘Time Shifting’ of most Homes, there is only a ‘few hours’ - each night that the home is in fact dark, let alone quiet. Night after night, week after week, and month after month of four -to- six hours of quiet sleep and darkness (and sometimes even less) will have even the most passive Amazon, IN-YOUR-FACE!

In addition, it is very important to remember that less then twelve hours of darkness sets the Parrot’s Hormonal Pattern into motion, where as the natural Sun’s Day schedule keeps it linked to a more Natural schedule. When it falls under eight hours, it is the starting point of development of a: The Sleep Deprived Amazon. The result of keeping your Amazon in a World of limited darkness is a never ending Hormone Season and all the ‘FUN’ that accompanies that environment.

How many hours of quiet sleep and darkness is your Parrot getting? Next time you are faced with a Behavioral Problem; first check how much ‘REAL’ quiet and dark sleeping time your Parrot is truly getting. You may be very surprised just how little good sleep your Parrot may in fact be getting. It just may be that you deserve to have your Amazon, IN-YOUR-FACE!


Is there an alterative to only Twelve Hours or Quiet Sleep and Darkness?

This is one of the subjects that have a number of sources and reasons for the differences in recommendations. With that in mind, here is my take on this subject, Using the Goal of Matching the Schedule of the Sun's Day in your Area.

But, at its ‘extreme’ that could mean that at one time of the calendar year, your Parrot will be sleeping for possible twenty plus hours and at the other, less than four hours. Clearly this would be in the far North or far South.

With that reality behind us, the actual Sun’s Day would be similar to that of the Natural Range that our Parrots are found! That would find the majority of our Parrots experiencing between eight and twelve hours of sleep depending the time of year. But, this does not mean that you get to choose! This schedule means that during your regions natural Summer, its eight hours, but in the Winter is twelve hours.

It is important to understand that if you follow this schedule, 'at least' two months (possible more or less) each year your Parrot will slide into and out of a Natural Mating (Hormonal) Season.

If you follow a schedule that is based around an unnatural Sun’s day, which you choose to create, you will have a Parrot that will either have very long and inconsistent Hormonal season(s) (attached to short sleep periods) or, a very short and inconsistent Hormonal season(s) (attached to a long sleep periods).

The twelve ‘or more’ hours of Sleep is commonly used to ‘halt’ a Continuous Hormonal Event and/or Behavior Problems; resulting from very short sleep schedule, as a means of resetting the Parrot's internal Clock. After the reset, the Parrot is, with the passing of time, returned to a natural Sun's day schedule.

The short answer: Follow a natural Sun's day in your area will provide you a healthier happier Parrot that will naturally have a fairly consistent Hormonal Schedule. For those who live North or South of the half waypoint between the Equator and the Polar regions, your will need to adjust accordingly!


Quoting “Loko:” a member of the Parrot Forums as part of a Thread entitled: Sleep.

“They should definitely get more than that (six hours of sleep), and it has the potential to at the least make them cranky at the worst compromise their immune system and get sick. Naturally Birds go to sleep with the sunset and up with the sunrise. Mine goes to bed around 5:45 pm and gets up about 6 - 7:00 am. At the least 8, but 10 or 12 is better. IMO; he doesn’t need to nap or anything in the day.”


NOTE: As an expansion on the statement above, regarding not “needing to nap or anything in the day,” likely refers too: With a proper sleep pattern, your Parrot will not require naps during the day to offset the lost sleep at night. That being true, even with proper Sun Day’s sleep cycle, Parrot in their natural settings will choose to nap during the day.

Sources: Association of Avian Vetrainians.org, The Amazon Society, Sally Blanchard, Liz Wilson, EB Carvens, and members of the Parrot Forum: GalveriaGila and Loko.

Last edited by SailBoat; 12-04-2016 at 01:29 PM.
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