Hello soon to be a new bird owner ...

CarolsPatra

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Jun 5, 2021
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Hello, I'm new to this community and I need some advice. I need to take 22 year old African grey parrot "Patra" from upstate NY to San Diego, Ca in August. My mother passed last September and with so much going in her home, everybody in and out, stressed out Patra and she lost a lot of feathers. My mother's friend is now fostering Patra and her feathers are back and she seems a lot better. Here is my problem, the bird hardly knows me, and probably doesn't trust me. I don't know whether I should drive across country or fly with her. What would be better for the bird? Or is there any other reputable way to get her to California.Thanks!Carol'sPatra
 

Scott

Supporting Member
Aug 21, 2010
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San Diego, California USA, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy
Parrots
Goffins: Gabby, Abby, Squeaky, Peanut, Popcorn / Citron: Alice / Eclectus: Angel /Timneh Grey: ET / Blue Fronted Amazon: Gonzo /

RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Welcome to the forums! First, my deepest condolences for the passing of your mother.

Greys are particularly sensitive parrots, Patra probably mourning in her own way. You will probably derive much pleasure once she is in your home, as part of your mother's legacy.

The easiest way for Patra would be to fly with you in cabin. Cross country drive can be problematic finding pet friendly hotels/motels, avoiding hazardous cleaning chemicals, etc. Transporting a bird as air freight can be problematic. Airlines have temperature embargoes against shipping when hot. August still rather unpleasant and one of the hottest months in San Diego.
 

noodles123

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Jul 11, 2018
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Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
Hello and welcome! Please read my reply to the following post and then also follow the links in my reply-- they require a lot of lifestyle changes that you should know before bringing one home. http://www.parrotforums.com/questions-answers/89863-thinking-getting-cockatiel.html <- please watch the videos (in addition to following the embedded links)




My post below is long (I apologize, but there is a ton to know BEFORE you bring a bird home, so that is my copy and paste for new bird owners and it is super important not to take any of it lightly).


I think it is great that you are taking this parrot and building trust will take time...You want to move at the bird's pace- not yours (too many people rush things and set themselves back).


**whether or not your mom or friend know/knew this stuff, it's essential and ignoring advice on ptfe, scented products etc can be deadly and each exposure is permanently damaging** <- I say this because I often hear people use past treatment or experiences as a justification for continuing dangerous behaviors- so just don't fall into that mindset and you will be fine.


They are AMAZING but you have to think of them more like you would a very smart kid with a severe peanut allergy than a pet (in terms of what can harm them and the amount of stimulation they need)...Intelligence is insane but they don't trust quickly and they are very much "spectrumy" in many respects (at least, in a human home).
 
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noodles123

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2018
8,141
400
Parrots
Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
You can't use scented products or chemicals/fumes in your home (even things that smell nice to us(smoke, perfumes, air freshener, standard cleaners, vaping, burning food, incense, cigs, glue, paint, window sealing kits, polishes, aerosol sprays etc can harm your bird's sensitive respiratory system (which is dif from mammals'). Using products that heat or are heated which contain Teflon/PTFE/PFCs = very very dangerous. These off-gas and can kill a bird in under 5 minutes. Teflon/PTFE/PFOA/PFCs are most commonly found in the kitchen (pots, pans, cookie sheets, drip trays, air fryers, popcorn poppers, baking mats, crock pots, toasters, toaster ovens, popcorn poppers, waffle irons, electric skillets etc. They can also be found in space-heaters, curling irons, blow-dryers, straighteners, heat lamps, heat guns, irons, ironing board covers etc. These fumes have killed birds through closed doors and on separate floors of a home, so you should replace your cookware with stainless steel, cast iron or ceramic. You may be thinking-- well, I have used them before and my bird is fine, but they kill very inconsistently and it depends on what you are cooking, the age of the pot/pan, the specific bird etc. There was a member who lost many of her birds from a pan she had literally used for years...then one day, her husband cooked an egg (without burning or overheating) and many of them died, while the rest showed signs of respiratory distress.

You will need an avian-safe cleaner to use within your home (both on the bird cage, but also, around the house). Again, chemical cleaners cannot be used in the home unless avian safe. F10 SC (the yellow/clear concentrate) is a great, avian-safe disinfectant. Other (less effective) options include products such as "poop-off", white vinegar + water, grapefruit seed extract + water, baking soda etc. Peroxide is also fairly safe for disinfecting places like your bathroom, but you do not want your bird to come into contact with it.

Some foods are toxic to them--avocado, coffee (even decaf), caffeine, rhubarb, alcohol, onions/garlic/leeks/chives, mushrooms etc. Salt is also very bad for them, as is most human food. They love it, but it's not healthy.

They should not just eat seed--you will want to feed lots of washed fresh vegetables. Fruit is fine in moderation, but too much can lead to obesity and behavioral issues due to sugar. I feed my bird a mix of high-quality seed (no sunflowers, no peanuts) and pellets (in addition to fruit/veg). ECCLECTUS PARROTS SHOULD NOT EAT PELLETS. Fruit pits are toxic, as are apple seeds. Corn cob and certain nut shells (if swallowed in big pieces) can cause blockages, so you should be very cautious if you give your bird nuts in the shell. Peanuts can harbor aspergillosis, and should be avoided altogether (even they you often see them marketed towards parrots).

It is important to make sure that your bird's toys and cage are made of safe metals. Stainless steel is safest. They can get metal poisoning from playing with or mouthing objects made of unsafe metals.
They need a set amount of sleep each night (10 hours on a schedule) and the largest cage you can manage with lots of different perches. You want to avoid the totally smooth/round ones as they can lead to a condition called bumblefoot. Never place a cage near drafts and never allow cool air to blow on a bird. They are sensitive to drafts and any temperature shift greater than 10 degrees can cause a shock to their system.

They need lots of safe toys and safe wood to chew. Not all wood is safe, so don't just assume you can give them any kind you want. Pressure blasted or chemically treated wood (e.g., lumber and many other types of wood from the hardware contains toxic chemicals or are cut from trees that are naturally toxic.

They hide illness and so you have to watch them to make sure they are eating normally and pooping normally etc. You should try to find an avian vet (certified avian) if at all possible and take your bird AT LEAST 1 x yearly for an exam. An avian vet is NOT the same as an exotics vet who sees birds--- so if a certified avian vet is available within a few hours of where you live, you will want to set up care.

All parrots can easily confuse the relationship with their human for a sexual one. You don't want this to happen, even though it seems sweet at first. Stick to petting on the head and neck only (the rest is sexual) and do not allow your bird to play in shadowy places, like boxes or under furniture, as these spaces are similar nesting sites and are hormonal triggers. NO SNUGGLE HUTS/TENTS!

Food and water should be replaced daily--- wash the containers daily. Never leave wet food out for more than a few hours (as it can lead to bacterial growth). Never try to medicate a bird via drinking water and never add vitamins to water. Vitamins can be over-dosed easily and harm a bird. Plus, when you add things to water, it makes it impossible to know how much they have gotten and it also encourages bacterial growth. Sometimes it can prevent them from drinking adequately if they don't like the flavor of whatever it is you added. Citrus and fruits high in vitamin C should be given in extreme moderation because they can cause "Iron Storage Disease" (for a cockatoo, 1 small tangerine slice 1-2 times a week was okay, according to my vet).

These birds have the intelligence of 3-4-year-old human, but they are wild animals (not domesticated like dogs). This means that they see the world (and humans) in a very unique way and so you must learn about their behavior in order to prevent problems (screaming, plucking etc). They need lots of time out of their cage daily and a lot of interaction (at least a few hours-no fewer than 3-4 daily). At the same time, you don't want to spend TOO much time with a bird of they will become overly dependent and not know what to do with themselves when you go to work etc.

Finally, baby birds are ALWAYS sweet compared to adult birds. When your bird hits puberty, expect that it will exhibit some annoying and problematic behaviors (much like a teen). A through knowledge of behavior and setting expectations at an early age will make your life easier when that time comes, but do prepare yourself and expect that things will not always be so smooth-sailing. Think about a baby human compared to a teen...

I am sure there is more...but that is a basic overview of caring for birds.

Here is an excerpt from another post (which you may want to reference when shopping/ calling about Teflon:
The most insidious is the Teflon/ptfe/pfoa/pfcs because you have to call the company to verify that anything that heats or is intended to be heated does not contain these substances ("PTFE free" doesn't mean PFC free and so there are a lot of marketing gimmicks out there to make people buy what seems like healthier cook-ware, even though it still contains a version of the same chemicals). Also-- these chemicals can be woven into fabric, mixed into metal during the moulding process, applied as a powder, applied as a clear-coat, or mixed with a colored coating. You cannot assume that you will be able to identify them visually, so, when you call, you must provide all abbreviations and full names + spellings of each chemical compound (and then they usually give you "the run around" for a week or so IF they ever answer your questions at all---because sometimes it's a "trade secret"). It's all very sketchy and DuPont (manufacturer of Teflon) claims that off-gassing only occurs at really high temperatures, but there have been numerous documented/scientific and anecdotal reports of birds passing away at temperatures in the 300 F range (and again, it kills through closed doors and on different floors).
FYI- Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
A perfluorinated compound (PFC)
Teflon (a common brand-name of non-stick cookware containing these chemicals)
10- 12 hours nightly for sleep, so if you get up at 6 and make a bunch of noise, you will wake the bird up (even if they are still covered). If they wake up at 6, bed should be between 6-8. You want to keep it around the same time if possible (because that's how it is in nature).
OH-- something I didn't mention in my last post-- stainless steel is really one of the only safe metals for them. Research the heck out of your cage and make sure that if it uses a powder-coating it is truly non-toxic. Birds can get metal poisoning from playing with sketchy toys (many made in China do not adhere to best practices) and just mouthing things like money, bolts, locks etc can cause toxic impacts...A man I know allowed his bird to play with un-used toothbrushes and (unbeknownst to him) there were small copper bits that held the bristles in place-- this nearly killed his bird even though the bird didn't actually swallow the pieces. Copper, zinc, nickel, some iron, lead etc are all toxic. Chicken wire and most screens= bad news.
 
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CarolsPatra

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Jun 5, 2021
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Hey Scott,
Thanks for the information! I looked at your profile and noticed you're an airline pilot. What is the best airline to work with when it comes traveling with birds? How is the TSA screening process? I think Patra would try to take one of my fingers if I have to take her out of the cage in an airport , lol seriously. I'm in Chula Vista, Do you know of any avian veterinarian you would recommend in SD? Kelcey
 

Scott

Supporting Member
Aug 21, 2010
32,675
7,884
San Diego, California USA, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy
Parrots
Goffins: Gabby, Abby, Squeaky, Peanut, Popcorn / Citron: Alice / Eclectus: Angel /Timneh Grey: ET / Blue Fronted Amazon: Gonzo /

RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Hey Scott,
Thanks for the information! I looked at your profile and noticed you're an airline pilot. What is the best airline to work with when it comes traveling with birds? How is the TSA screening process? I think Patra would try to take one of my fingers if I have to take her out of the cage in an airport , lol seriously. I'm in Chula Vista, Do you know of any avian veterinarian you would recommend in SD? Kelcey

I'm retired now but still try to keep up with events and procedures! From what I've heard, United and Delta best for shipping birds as freight. If you want to take Patra in the cabin with you, it almost doesn't matter which airline because she'll be under your control. Probably want nonstop flight but might be difficult from upstate NY to SAN. Plenty of service from JFK and Newark. TSA must assess your bird and may want you to remove her from carrier while the enclosure is X-Rayed. Alternate procedure permits inspection in closed room, but they may still insist she be removed while carrier and your hands swabbed for explosives.

Best avian vets near central San Diego:

Jeff Jenkins: https://www.drexotic.com/about/jeffrey-r-jenkins-d-v-m/
Very well known and accomplished, check out his bio! I've used him a few times, office just northeast of I-5/I-8. My current avian vet has practice in Encinitas and was mentored by Jenkins.

Todd Cecil: Have not used his services but highly qualified. Offices in Chula Vista and La Mesa. https://pescsandiego.com/services/avian-exotic-medicine
 

noodles123

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2018
8,141
400
Parrots
Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
I had to fly Noodles in cargo once and it was hard on her. She made it and seemed fine (very frazzled, but fine), however, she got sick with a number of bacterial infections right after due to the stress of a new environment , coupled with the stress of flying etc etc.

When they get stressed, they can get sick. I would avoid flying if you can, and if not, I would just be sure to already have an avian vet set-up ahead of time in the event of an emergency. They hide illness vary well-- so if you see anything odd, you need to take it very seriously. This will be harder because you don't necessarily know what is normal for this bird yet.


You are going to have to fly yours--- in all likelihood-- but that means setting the bird up for success in terms of the container, weather etc etc..Even with the best airline, it isn't easy on them...The extreme noise, unfamiliarity etc etc... If this bird is scared SUPER easily...you might want an alternative, as no one is in cargo monitoring their conditions and a very high strung bird can have a stroke or heart attack in extremely stressful situations (not just flying, but at vet visits etc). If someone semi-familiar could fly with the bird (like, as in, buying a seat for the bird) that would be less stressful but still frightening).


Another thing--MAKE SURE your flight is non-stop and make sure the natural temperatures/weather are decent (a delay or long layover can be very bad)--- I called so many places to verify and was told that the cabin was climate controlled etc etc (and that Delta was the best-- confirmed by a bird rescue, breeder, vets etc)...Noodles came into the airport cold and damp...and that was with most reputable pet airline for shipping birds....The person at pick-up acted like she wasn't aware of any climate control (she may not have known, but she warned me that they had sat out on the tarmac for a minute, so might be a little cold and wet...not okay,,,)....The damp factor was because it was raining and cold and they did little to protect her. Heat can be damaging too..Her feet were VERY cold...and again, this was one of the only airlines known for transporting birds "safely" at the time. That is why many rescues and breeders etc refuse to ship (I had no choice). You can do it, but don't put all of your trust in them...Don't do connecting flights ever and make sure you aren't shipping between below 65 F and above 80 f...in my opinion..
Noodles' flight was on a 50-55 degree rainy day (unexpected). It was not ideal at all and I wouldn't do it again unless it was absolutely essential.


You might consider pet transport services as well...but transport services that know birds...AC drafts, direct air blowing on a bird= no good. They cant thermo-regulate like we do. Similarly, car air fresheners kill birds often...
 
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Scott

Supporting Member
Aug 21, 2010
32,675
7,884
San Diego, California USA, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy
Parrots
Goffins: Gabby, Abby, Squeaky, Peanut, Popcorn / Citron: Alice / Eclectus: Angel /Timneh Grey: ET / Blue Fronted Amazon: Gonzo /

RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
If I'm understandng correctly, Kelcey, you plan to fly with Patra. That means clearing TSA and accompanying her with below-seat carrier. Environmental concerns less of a factor but you'll want to check with individual airline and TSA for potential removal from cage. TSA will not place live animals through high-dose luggage X-Ray machines but must verify carrier is safe. Terrorists have placed explosives inside live passengers and materials can be moulded into exotic shapes for disguising inside mundane objects.
 

fiddlejen

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Mar 28, 2019
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Sunny the Sun Conure (sept '18, gotcha 3/'19). Mr Jefferson Budgie & Mrs Calliope Budgie (albino) (nov'18 & jan'19). Summer 2021 Baby Budgies: Riker (Green); Patchouli, Keye, & Tiny (blue greywings).
Hey Scott I wonder (and of course this can add to expense) but rather than as a Carry-On, can she Buy a Seat for the bird? As one would do for a precious musical instrument. And then strap the bird-carrier into the seat next to her? She would still have to clear TSA screening, of course -- perhaps allow a much longer time at the airport for this!! -- but it could allow for a larger, more comfortable carrier for the bird. ? Just a thought?
 

Scott

Supporting Member
Aug 21, 2010
32,675
7,884
San Diego, California USA, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy
Parrots
Goffins: Gabby, Abby, Squeaky, Peanut, Popcorn / Citron: Alice / Eclectus: Angel /Timneh Grey: ET / Blue Fronted Amazon: Gonzo /

RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Hey Scott I wonder (and of course this can add to expense) but rather than as a Carry-On, can she Buy a Seat for the bird? As one would do for a precious musical instrument. And then strap the bird-carrier into the seat next to her? She would still have to clear TSA screening, of course -- perhaps allow a much longer time at the airport for this!! -- but it could allow for a larger, more comfortable carrier for the bird. ? Just a thought?

That's an excellent idea! Strict rules apply to "cargo" carried in passenger seats, but as you note musical instruments are exempt and typically secured with seat belt extender(s). I have not heard of placing large cage with bird (or any animal) in a seat, so best to check with individual airline. If approved, coordination with TSA necessary to permit oversized carry-on.

I had one experience flying a bird without cage! Falcons are mascots of U.S.A.F Academy and are permitted to fly with foot tethered to handler's arm. You know I had to visit before departure and observed gorgeous bird perched atop protective newspaper. Handler was sitting in aisle seat, entire row occupied by curious passengers. The officer stated bird tends to lean forward during takeoff acceleration but otherwise seemingly bored by the experience.

File image, but illustrative of size and setup:
20180417-ya17xcclb-0040.jpg
 

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