BAHAMA AMAZON  (Amazona leucocephala bahamensis
    There are two populations of the Bahama Amazon; one lives on the Inagua islands and the other on the Abaco islands. The Abaco island population are most interesting because it is the only ground-nesting parrot in the western hemisphere. In fact when a fire swept through the island, the parrots survived in their limestone holes in the ground. 

BAD FOODS FOR PARROTS
    (See Foods that are Bad for Parrots) 

BALA ANT
     A large biting ant that lives in the Caribbean lowland rain forests of Costa Rica. Bala means bullet and 5 bites from one of these ants came within a heartbeat of killing Sally Blanchard in 1982. If she hadn't taken her bee sting kit with her, she would have died of anaphylactic shock in the rainforest of the La Selva Biological Station.

BANANAS
    High in potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. Not the most nutritious fruit for parrots, but some of them really love a slice of banana now and then. My parrots only like bananas when they are quite firm but others may like them a bit more mushy.

BANANA SQUASH
    A highly nutritious vegetable that parrots will usually eat readily. All of the winter squashes are a good source of beta-carotene which is converted into vitamin A during the digestion process. (see Winter Squash)

BAPPY as a Word for a Baby Parrot
    The word coined by Sally Blanchard to describe a baby companion parrot. That word was chosen because it sounded like a happy word. Some people hate the word; some people think its great. The purpose of coming up with the word was to have a word that made it clear that parrots are babies way beyond weaning and need socialization and guidance to develop properly. I decided to do this because so many people don't realize how long parrots are bappies. There was (and still is) the concept that if a parrot is weaned that it is no longer a baby, but the truth is that the bird is still a baby who needs to develop social skills often for weeks, months, or even in the case of the large macaws, a year or so after being weaned. 

BAPPY PICNIC 
    An interactive game played with a young parrot where a sheet is spread on the floor or a bed. Toys and treats are placed on the sheet. The owner then sits on the sheet playing with the parrot and all his toys. I've known a few breeders who have socialized their babies by spreading a sheet on the floor with toys and a bowl of food to encourage them to eat on their own. 

BALANCE SKILLS 
    Skills a young parrot needs to develop to be secure on his perches. One of the best ways to develop and young parrots balance skills is to have him walk from on hand to another with a twisted towel as a tightrope. Climbing skills can be taught by letting go of the towel with one hand (slowly) and having the the youngster climb up and down the towel.

BARB
    Slender structures that grow from the shaft of a feather. A flight feather contains hundreds of barbs.

BARBULES 
    Several hundred of these structures grow from each side of a barb on a feather. They interlock with hamulus which are tiny hooks. When a bird preens, they are re-locking these hooks on each barbule to maintain the strength and integrity of each feather.  

BARE-EYED COCKATOO or Lesser corella (Cacatua sanguinea
    Bare-eyed cockatoos are quite a different bird than the larger cockatoos. They are generally affectionate, high-energy birds that are not as likely to develop the severe behavioral problems that the poorly socialized and under-stimulated larger cockatoos develop. Bare-eyed cockatoos need to be kept busy and usually like to go from one thing to another fairly quickly. 
    Also referred to as the Little Corella, Bare-eyed ’toos are affectionate intelligent, high-energy, clever cockatoos. They can be good talkers if their caregivers work with them to encourage their vocabulary. In Australia, Bare-eyes occur in very large flocks and spend a great deal of time on the ground. The lack of feathers around the eye probably serves the same purpose as the black the football players put under their eyes when they play; it helps keep glare out of the eyes. Since these small cockatoos like to be on the ground, supervised floor/flat surface play on a safe, clean, defined area with verbal permission should be encouraged. I believe that because their tendency is to spend a lot of time on the ground, Bare-eyes should have a cage at least 30 inches wide with no grate on the bottom and lots of foot toys. Many of these high-energy cockatoos will love to roll playfully on the floor of their cage with or without toys. Instead of focusing on one toy for awhile like the larger cockatoos often do, the Bare-eyed tend to go from one thing to another fairly quickly. Stimulation with a wide variety of toys and play situations is essential. They love interactive play such as chasing a small whiffle ball. They also like being handled and may enjoy play wrestling with their caregivers. Bare-eyed Cockatoos are very social birds with a flock mentality; the more the merrier. With guidance and time spent with everyone, these ’toos can make a good family companion.
    Their bitey tendency is usually not aggression but needs calming down. The beak always seems to be pointy and sharp. They chew on their nails and do a lot of beak wiping on their perches, which may be a way to keep their beaks sharp. The eat roots and grubs in the wild and need a sharp beak for digging. Bare-eyed Cockatoos tend to be a bit quieter that other cockatoos but they can develop a shrill sound that needs to be worked with. A seed-only diet is a death diet for cockatoos and these little guys tend to become fat quite easily. Cockatoos also don’t do well on a total pelleted diet, and the Bare-eyes are no exception, especially manufactured diets with food coloring.  

"BAT BIRD" 
    Several different parrot species love to hang upside down in their cages or from a play gym. This is particularly true of African grey parrots and macaws.

BATHING AND/OR SHOWERING
    The process of cleaning skin and feathers usually using water. Bathing and showering are essential for the health and condition of a parrot’s skin and feathers. Caiques and some other parrots also leaf bathe by rubbing themselves through moist leaves. Cockatoos actually seem to rub objects and food through their feathers, perhaps as a displacement behavior for some natural bathing ritual. Other birds dust bathe which may help with external parasites. Sun bathing is also a favorite pastime for some birds who spread their wings and posture to take advantage of the light and warmth. There are many ways that parrots bathe or can be bathed. The key is to find the best way for your parrots. Many parrots prefer to make a choice to move into the water rather than to have someone spray them with it. Look at this photo carefully to see the bird behind the Amazons. 

BEAK  Description
    The upper and lower mandibles in front of the parrot’s mouth. The beak is used for many important purposes, the least of which is aggressive biting. The beak is not just a piece of hard plastic-like material. It is a sensitive, growing organ, and the tip has corpuscles that are encapsulated bundles of highly sensitive nerve endings. The beak’s structure is a continuation of the parrot’s skull. The upper beak covers a bone called the premaxilla, and the lower beak covers a portion of the mandible. The part that you actually see is the growing keratin covering called the rhamphotheca (ram-fo-THEE-ka, from the Greek ramphos, beak and, theka, sheath). Beak condition is influenced by nutrition, but some parrots naturally have rougher or scalier beaks than others. 

THE BEAK AS A HAND, TOOL, AND LIPS
    The beak is not a weapon - it is a combination of our lips and hands. It is an all-purpose tool used for exploration, chewing, eating, preening, caressing, gently feeding babies. These purposes have nothing to do with aggression.  If we stopped thinking of a parrot's beak as a weapon, life would be a lot better for our companion parrots. 

(the) BEAK BOOK 
    Sally Blanchard's book on understanding, preventing, and solving aggression and biting in companion parrots.

BEAK GRINDING (as a Comfort Behavior)
    Parrots often grind their upper and lower beak together as they relax to go to sleep. The common explanation is that this behavior keeps their beak trimmed. While the grinding may serve to trim the beak, since the beak has nerves that transmit pain and pleasure, this may actually be a comfort behavior to help the bird relax and prepare him for sleep. 


BEAK EXPLORATION (BEAKING) 
    The beak is normally used for a varied  of uses including chewing, exploration, preening, and as a form of affection. The beak and tongue have encapsulated nerve endings that make touching objects a way to explore them. Some time ago, an “expert” made the comment that you should never let a bird touch its beak to your skin or it would become a biter. This is one of the worst things I have ever read about parrots and has absolutely no truth to it at all. Beak exploration and biting are two different behaviors that even come from different parts of the brain!

BEAK LUNGING 
    (see Lunge biting) 

BEAK NOTCHING
    Drastic beak mutilation used as a quick-fix to prevent feather picking and, in some cases biting behavior. Should never be done! 

BEAK (BILL) WIPING 
    A displacement behavior which often indicates discomfort or aggression ...or the parrot could just be cleaning his beak by wiping it on a perch.  

BEAK WRESTLING  
    Playing with a bird by holding on to his or her beak and shaking it. During breeding season this can be viewed by the parrot as sexual behavior.

"BEAKINESS" 
    Some parrots can be very "beaky" wanting to chew on your fingers or hands a lot. The best way to deal with this is to stick a toy in their beak instead so that they learn they can chew on the toy rather than your fingers. Knotted leather works very well and for the larger birds, a knotted up washcloth also works well. 

BEANS
    There are many types of beans but they are all members of the family fabaceae (alternately Leguminosae). Some beans such as raw red beans and kidney beans can be toxic. Beans should be fed after soaking and thorough cooking as partial cooking may make them more toxic. most beans are high in phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, calcium, folate, and several of the B vitamins. They are a good source of protein but most are not a complete protein, with all of the essential amino acids. (Also see Black Beans) 

BEAUDOIN, SHARI & TERRY 
    CPQ writers and co-owners of Parrot Island, a wonderful bird shop in Eden Prairie, Minnesota 

BEDTIME RITUALS  
    With some parrots, providing fairly consistent bedtime patterns can help them settle down for sleep. This can include singing a specific song to them each night and/or covering the cage. Many companion parrots also appreciate a good head skritch or a quick cuddle before they go to sleep. 

BEEF, COOKED  (as a food for parrots)
    For the most part meat, including beef, is pretty much a NO-NO in regards to feeding to parrots, This is for pretty much the same reason as people have cut down on the amount of beef that they eat. Even the best cuts of beef are full of saturated fat and cholesterol. On the flip side, beef is also protein loaded with all of the amino acids represented so beef provides complete protein. Beef also has significant levels of niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, and selenium. Some of the high levels of iron could be problematic for parrots. These values are for lean (fat trimmed off) sirloin. I hesitate to recommend feeding beef but I think a minimal amount fed rarely (no more than 1" square for large macaws, proportionately less for smaller parrots) of well-cooked lean beef with the fat trimmed no more than a couple of times a month is not going to cause a serious problem for healthy parrots. The beef could be grilled or roasted as long as the fat is drained or removed. Beef, if fed at all, should be a very rare (but well-cooked) treat. This does not include feeding any kind of processed beef (such as cold cuts, bacon, and lunch meat often contain nitrates and other chemicals) or hamburger because of the potential for grease and contamination such as e-coli. I have never fed my parrots any meat from fast food restaurants, nor will I ever.

BEETS AND BEET GREENS
    Both the beet root and the greens are loaded with vitamin A, Vitamin K, with small amounts of other vitamins. They are also high in calcium and potassium, and magnesium. Beet greens have oxalic acid, which binds the calcium and makes it unusable. However, gentle cooking or steaming can minimize the oxalic acid and make the greens more nutritious for parrots.


 BEHAVIOR  
    The actions and reactions of animals under given circumstances. With parrots, behavior is a complex combination of nature and nurture. Companion parrots learn a great deal from our behavior, whether it is negative or positive. 

BEHAVIORAL CONSULTANTS     
    People who charge money to provide you with advice about your parrot’s behavior. Free advice on the internet is often worth what you pay for it. Whether they are worth it or not depends on their experience and knowledge. If they advise you to do anything that seems aggressive or punishing or if they just give you a series of quick-fixes, don’t follow their advice.

BEHAVIORAL DYSFUNCTION  (in Companion parrots) 
    The inability to function in an emotionally stable manner. Domestically-raised parrots who have not been properly socialized often have problems relating to life in our living room as our companions. People who are very inconsistent and/or don't provide nurturing guidance can create behavioral dysfunction in their parrots. 

BEHAVIORAL DYSFUNCTION (in the people who live with parrots) 
    Humans are an often capricious bunch and their are many times that we behave in a totally unpredictable manner, which confuses our parrots. I did a consultation with a couple who had lived with a Rose-breasted Cockatoo for a number of years. One day "out of nowhere" the bird became phobic. The man stated, "One evening my cockatoo was eating spaghetti off of my plate, and the next day he acted as if I was trying to kill him."  The evening I did the consultation, the fact that the man came home from the local bar almost unable to walk, gave me a definite clue as to why the bird was having so much trouble. According to the wife, who admitted she enjoyed social drinking at the local bar, the man's drinking had greatly increased because he had lost a promotion at work. There is no doubt that the man's erratic behavior caused by his drinking had really confused the cockatoo. 
    Parrots don't need a rigid routine but they thrive on us being dependable and somewhat predictable. When we become unpredictable, our parrots can react with all sorts of behavioral changes, including increased screaming and aggression and/or phobic behavior. These changes can vary depending on the severity of change in the behaviors of the people in their lives.  

BEHAVIORAL ENRICHMENT 
    Enrichments are anything that we can provide our parrots that will encourage activity, curiosity, and enhance their physical and emotional health. This includes a varied healthy diet, play objects (toys), lots of exercise opportunities, and quality instructional interaction from the people in their lives.

BEHAVIORAL BUTTONS  (Pushing Our) 
    What parrots learn to do to get what they want from us. One of the criteria for intelligence has to do with an animal consciously deceiving other animals. Many of our parrots know how to manipulate us and how to push our buttons, which is actually evidence of their intelligence. 

BEHAVIORAL STAGES 
    There are several developmental stages as a baby parrot grows to adulthood and then to old age. 
» The very first stage is pretty much the eat, poop, and sleep stage where a baby parrot looks and acts a bit like "a blob of silly putty."
» During the next stage, a bappy is a learning sponge as far as the development its social and survival skills. 
» Once he has learned these important skills, he goes on to the independence stage. This is an important stage and people with young parrots shouldn't take it personally if the bird seems to reject them. 
» This is a fairly long juvenile stage, which is eventually replaced by an immature stage where parrots start to exhibit sexual behaviors although they aren't really ready to breed. 
» Then there is the stage where breeding behavior starts. Of course this doesn't mean that the bird needs to breed. This is also the time when companion parrots may solicit breeding from their favorite person in the human flock. (See sexual behavior) This stage may last for years depending on the species of parrots, although if a companion parrot is managed as a buddy rather than as a mate, the breeding aspect of this state may taper off. 
» Eventually the parrot starts to reach old age where breeding behavior starts to diminish and the bird starts to exhibit the same sort of symptoms of old age that we do. (see older birds.) 
» When a parrot reaches old age, he or she may develop special needs such as help in feeding and more help in locomoting around the house.

BELL PEPPERS
    Bell peppers are high in vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, with a good amount of fiber, vitamin K, manganese, and folate. They have a minimal amount of iron. Many parrots like the crunch of bell peppers - the red and yellow ones are sweeter than the green ones.

BERRIES
    There are many varieties of berries and all of the provide great nutrition for parrots. See the individual berry for more information. Please note that just about all berries will give your parrot reddish poop so don't be alarmed by the color change if you have fed berries. 

BETRAYAL OF TRUST 
    Mutual trust is essential for a good relationship with a companion parrot. Anything that undermines a parrot’s trust in his or her caregiver can be perceived by the parrot as a betrayal of trust. This can cause aggression caused from confusion and/or extreme fearful or phobic behavior if the betrayal of trust is severe.

BIO-FLAVANOIDS 
    There is a great deal of both interest and controversy in regards to these plant compounds because of their possible nutritional role as antioxidants and their possible function in the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Many people who have studied nutrition believe that bio-flavanoids are an essential part of a parrot's diet that are not found in manufactured or pelleted parrot diets. 

BIRD BREAD
    There are dozens of ways to make Birdy Bread and several companies produce Bird Bread just for parrots. The advantage is that so many nutritious foods can be added to the bread. When I make my Birdy Bread I use an organic mix and add carrot/sweet potato baby food, plain non-fat yogurt, organic applesauce for the fluid, then I grate carrots, sweet potatoes or winter squash, shave off some of the fine broccoli flowers, add a few chopped nuts, and other healthy foods that I have available. Sometimes I mix in some almond butter. I bake it for about 25 minutes. The moister it is, the longer I cook it. It never comes out the same but my parrots don't seem to care about that, they gobble it down. I cut it in cubes and freeze the leftovers in zip-lock bags. 

BIRD-PROOFING 
    One of the reasons we love our parrots is because they are so curious and clever. Sometimes that sense of exploration can get them into trouble. Over my 35 years with parrots, I have heard of so many ways that parrots have become injured or even killed because people didn't use common sense in making their environment safe. If a parrot can reach an electric cord, it will eventually explore it with its beak. If there are toxic plants or metals nearby, they will eventually explore them. If a older home has lead-based paint on the trim or cupboards and a parrot can reach them, it will eventually chew on that wood with its toxic paint. The list goes on. Keep the toilet lid down. Bird-proof any part of your home that your parrots can reach and keep them safe. 

BIRD ROOM 
    A room that is separate from the activities of the parrot’s caregivers. Most companion parrots are much happier if they are where the action of their human flock is.

BIRD SHOWS
    Although they don't seem to be as popular as they once were, there are still bird shows where parrots compete with other parrots for configuration, color, feather condition and other physical characteristics. The best birds receive awards. The most prevalent birds at these shows are the smaller birds that have been bred in captivity for many years, including Cockatiels, English Budgies, Lovebirds, Finches, and Canaries. These shows are a place to see the latest mutations. An example is the Rosella mutation shown below.

BIRD SITTING  
    A bird sitter should know enough about parrots to assess health, recognize emergencies and provide proper care of the birds that they are watching. Leave a bird sitter with all important information about your parrot/s such as names, favorite foods, words spoken, weird habits, and tameness. Also leave veterinarian's name and number plus permission to take the bird to the vet if necessary and the number you can be reached at while you are gone. If you are having a new person bird sit or have a new bird sitting situation, have the person come to your home to meet and learn about your parrots before you leave. 

BIRD SHOPS/STORES (judging quality)
    Generally speaking a bird shop that I consider to be of high quality exhibits certain characteristics. Of course, the first is that they are very concerned about the physical and emotional care of their parrots. A good bird shop may look messy by the end of the day but the mess is not allowed to collect for days at a time. The store feeds a varied diet to their parrots and doesn't feed pellets or anything else as a total diet. The staff is interested in educating their customers so that they have the information they need or another information source to do a good job with their parrots. A good store will carry a vast array of products but will not carry products that are obviously dangerous or useless. I love a store with a great toy wall! One of the factors that will really impress me is when a bird shop will refuse to sell a parrot to a person that they have reason to believe will not take good care of that parrot.  I really enjoy visiting a bird shop with a great toy wall.

BIRD WATCHING
    One of the most popular hobbies in America, it involves watching birds in your back yard, in the area you live, and/or all over the country or world. I believe that the more a person understands about wild birds, the more they will understand their companion parrots. I was a passionate bird watcher long before I had parrots and I think that this gave me a unique perspective. I always thought of parrots as coming from various parts of the world as opposed to a local pet shop. 

BITEY (nippy) 
    (see Beak exploration and "Beakiness")

BITING DISTRACTION
    Some parrots get into the habit of biting or trying to bite at certain times. For example, some parrots bite when they think that they are going to be taken back to their cage. People often allow this behavior to become a pattern by responding in the same way. The best way to change the parrot's behavior is for the person to change their behavior and catch the bird off guard. Sometimes it is as simple as holding up your other hand. The pattern is changed and the parrothas to stop his normal behavior to figure out what is going on. If he has also been patterned to step on a person's hand, he will often comply. The caregiver should be careful that their distraction is not threatening. The purpose is simply to distract the parrot from behaving in an established negative pattern. 

BLACK AND WHITE THINKING 
    Generalizations, stereotypical thinking which states that all parrots of a certain species are alike or that certain parrots always do the same thing. Stereotypical thinking is of no help and may even create more problems.

BLACK BEANS
    Most beans have a lot of good things going for them but Black Beans seem to be the 'super' bean. Beans should always be soaked and well-cooked before feeding. Black beans are a highly nutritious bean. They are high in folate and thiamin - 2 important vitamins that are in the "B group". They have some iron (20% human dv (daily value)%) that might be a problem for some birds. They also have a good amount of phosphorous so to keep with the 2:1 calcium/phosphorous level, the should be balanced with something with a good amount of calcium. When I feed beans, I usually add some chopped greens to them before I feed. Sometimes I also add a dollop of low-fat yogurt. Black beans seem to have a good proportion of all of the necessary amino acids to make them a high quality complete protein. Beans are high in fiber and black beans have a good amount of Omega-3 essential fatty acid. They are also high in antioxidants and phytonutrients which are not considered in most manufactured diets. Black beans are a good addition to a parrot's diet especially for the quality protein level. I personally can't eat black beans. I learned that before they were so popular here in the U.S. on a trip to Costa Rica where they served them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner almost every day for two weeks. They really tear up my intestines even with Beano - I can eat most other beans with little or no concerns. It took me awhile to realize that my parrots prefer them really smashed up with the other foods

BLACKBERRIES
        Very high in antioxidants. Blackberries have one of the highest ratings for oxygen radical absorbency capacity (ORAC) and they also have tannin, which can block the absorbency of iron. Since high iron levels can be problematic for parrots, the tannin in black berries is a positive for their health.

BLACK-BILLED AMAZON (Amazona agilis
    Sometimes called the Jamaican Black-billed Amazon. This parrot is rare if non-existent in American aviculture. Perhaps being so plain looking saved this bird from the excessive exploitation of the bird trade. However the bird is listed as vulnerable due to deforestation and hurricane damage. 

BLACK-CAPPED CONURE (Pyrrhura rupicola
    Literally a handful, these ususally delightful little parrots are packed with adorableness. Their natural habitat is the western Amazon basin from Peru to Bolivia. Most handfed Black-capped conures love cuddling and are very playful. I have really fallen for a little Black-capped Conure named Tia. She defines the word "cute." Like most Pyrrhura conures, Black-caps are little birds with big personalities. These diminutive dynamos are quieter than the bigger conures but they seem to have a few similar personality traits. They are acrobatic, playful and generally "full of themselves." They like to keep busy with lots of little tasks. This is another bird who seems to think that the people in his life are there to serve as a personal playgym. Don’t let their little beak fool you. Pyrrhura conures can become nippy and guidance is just as important for them as it is for bigger parrots. They can often stay affectionate with several people in their human flock if everyone handles them. These adventuresome birds need close supervision when they are out of their cages. I have met several of these little explorers who have gotten themselves into trouble because of their intense curiosity.

BLACK CURRANTS
    Currants were very popular in the United States until the early 1900s where farming was outlawed because it was considered to be a threat to the growth of white pines and the logging industry. However, they were commonly grown and a very popular berry in the United Kingdom. I remember eating them when I lived in London during my teens. I also remember that black currant juice made hot tea very tasty.  Many candies and jams were made with black currants. In the last several years many states have changed the law and some are now producing them but it is still illegal to grow them commercially in some states. Their levels of antioxidants and phytonutrients are higher than many of the berry type fruits that we rely on for nutrition - including blueberries and cranberries. They are also loaded with vitamin C, and have good amounts of  vitamin B6, vitamin E, potassium, copper and soluble fiber.

BLACK RASPBERRIES
    Black raspberries are smaller than blackberries and are hollow. When they are picked the core of the black raspberry stays on the plant. They are also packed with nutrition particularly containing a high level of antioxidants. As with other berries, they are a very healthy food for parrots.

BLIND PARROTS 
    I have met quite a few blind parrots in my life and they do quite well if people take their special needs into consideration. Some parrots are actually hatched without eyes, others have had disease or injury, and older parrots often develop cataracts. If people use consistent words to announce to the bird what they plan to do, the parrot will not be startled by their actions. The cage should remain pretty much the same with any additions being carefully "shown" to the bird by touching his beak to the new item. 

BLOOD DONOR PARROTS
    When my Bare-eyed cockatoo, Roxi-anne, had to have her leg amputated, we searched for a healthy Bare-eye to donate blood for transfusions. There was a Moluccan who lived at U.C. Davis Veterinary School who provided blood transfusions for many birds but the vets preferred to find a bird who was more closely related to her. Through Feathered Follies, we found a couple who allowed their wonderful Bare-eyed, Bogus, donate blood for Roxi-anne. 


BLOOD FEATHER  
    An emerging growing feather. Usually one of the long shafted tail or wing feathers but can also occur on the crest and sometimes other parts of the body. Blood feathers are normal but a damaged blood feather can create problems. Many will stop bleeding on their own. Caregivers can use corn starch which can also stop the bleeding. Only a serious blood feather that keeps bleeding needs to be pulled. 

BLOOD SUGAR
    Occasionally a parrot who has become very stressed may faint or become unconscious based on their blood sugar becoming too low. This happened to a Mealy Amazon I was grooming. Her caregiver was sure that her bird would experience trauma if handled by anyone else and this fear transferred to the bird. When I finished the grooming, she swooped the Amazon up to place her in her carrier. When she tried to put the bird in the carrier, the bird's wing got caught in the door. The woman became even more upset, which further upset the parrot and she passed out. I had heard about this happening due to low blood sugar before and insisted that the woman get away from the bird. Within less than a minute, the parrot recovered and I slowly moved her into the travel cage. I called my vet because I wanted him to see the Amazon as soon as possible to reassure the woman that her bird was OK. To me this was a classic example of a parrot having a strong fear response to the panic of their caregiver. I think that when a parrot is bonded to a person, the bird looks to that person for security and to know if everything is OK. When a person panics during a routine situation, the parrot will also panic. I can remember several times when I used to groom parrots on a regular basis that I insisted that their caregivers leave the room because the person was exhibiting such negative energy, sometimes because they were so concerned about their parrot

BLOSSOM-HEADED PARAKEET (Psittacula roseata)
    The blossom-headed parakeet is endemic to northeast India into Southeast Asia.This ringneck family parakeet is often confused with the plum-headed parakeet. The male plum-headed parakeet has a deeper red on its head, while the male blossom-head parakeet's head is pink. Another difference is that the blossom-head has yellow tail tips and the plum-head has white tips on its tail. 
    I have to admit that in my limited experience with these beautiful birds, I haven’t really learned the subtle differences between the two species, especially in regards to personality. In the late 1970s, I purchased what was sold to me as a wild-caught Plum-headed parakeet but had no success in winning his trust. He did become more beautiful as I converted him to a more nutritious diet. Since then I have met a few Plum-head and/or Blossom-head parakeets who were quite tame as companions. Again the key is the level of early and sustained attention. 

BLOW DRYER 
    Some people like to use blow dryers after they give their parrots a bath. This should be ok as long as they keep the heat quite low. Changing a parrot’s temperature too quickly can cause health problems. Whenever I use a blow dryer, I always keep my other hand right next to the parrot so I can keep track of the heat level.

BLUEBERRIES
    Another berry with extremely high nutritional benefits including tannins and resveratrol, which is now being touted as one of the major cancer fighting ingredients. Blueberries are also high in vitamin A, vitamin K, and various B vitamins. 

BLUE AND GOLD MACAW  (Ara ararauna
    The blue and gold is the most popular companion macaw and with good reason. When raised properly with quality early socialization, these intelligent macaws are inquisitive and can form a trusting bond with their caregivers. They are considered to be the best talker of the macaws and I have met quite a few of them with extensive vocabularies. Their native habitat extends over much or northern South America and although they are not considered threatened, populations are declining in some areas of their range. 
    The Blue and Gold macaw has been holding its own as the most popular companion macaw for many years. When they are well socialized, they are exceptional birds. If their potential is developed, they are intelligent, highly affectionate, and a consummate companion. They tend to be the most outgoing clowns of the large macaws. Some can be excellent talker with clear enunciation. I once bird sat for a young Blue and gold who did a whole repertoire around his caregivers arguing — some of the words were clean, the rest was enthusiastic gibberish. The woman’s voice with whiny and manipulative and the man’s voice was loud and arrogant. Blue and golds are very good learners, especially when they have a good teacher. They can be extremely interactive and they enjoy time spent in your face — especially learning new behaviors.
    They love game playing and will come up with their own games to play with you. They also love ambient attention with you nearby involved in something else but taking the time to stop to talk to them from time to time about what they are doing. As with many macaws, Blue and golds love to play games. Years ago I visited a woman who had a Blue and gold. The woman and I were talking and the macaw was sitting quietly on my knee behaving herself. Suddenly without any warning, the macaw threw her head up into my face and squawked loudly. There was no aggression and it was clear to me it was one of those macaw games ... perhaps a test to see if I would freak out? How can you not? It was such a surprise. If you do freak out, she is likely to continue to play this game just about every time you relax. I presume if you showed no reaction, she would stop but that is next to impossible. I thought about it for awhile, and decided to play her game with her. She was quietly sitting on my knee and I suddenly threw my face at her and yelled, BOO! I thought she was going to jump off of my knee but, in truth, she really liked that I returned her game and we became great friends.
    While many people think that Blue and Golds don’t need as large a cage as the other large macaws, these birds usually have a lot of energy that dictates as large a cage as possible. A good size playgym or two (they love hanging playgyms!) is also very important for these playful acrobatic macaws.  

BLUE-CHEEKED AMAZON (Amazona dufresniana)  
    Also known as the Dufresne's Amazon.  This beautiful Amazona is from Venezuela, the Guianas and northern Brazil. Rare in captivity. 

BLUE-CROWNED CONURE (Aratinga acuticaudata
    It is my opinion that Blue-crowned conures are one of the best companion parrots if their needs are met properly. While not considered a good talker, some Blue-crowns who get a lot of individual attention surprise their caregivers by learning an assortment of words and expressions. They are native to a large area in South America from Columbia to northern Argentina. 
    Many of the wild-caught Blue-crowned conures that I tamed became wonderful companions for people. I think that well-socialized hand-feds are one of the best kept secrets of the companion parrot world. I am convinced that the Blue-crowned conure is potentially one of the best all-round parrot companions. Their personality has always seemed more like a small macaw than a conure to me. With quality behavioral maintenance, the ones I have known have been very steady and are devoted to their human flock. They often stay tame to several members in the family if everyone gives them attention. They tend not to be as noisy as some other conures and many are good talkers. Acrobatic and playful, these conures are just plain cute! 

BLUE-FRONTED AMAZON (Amazona aestiva aestiva
 BLUE-FRONTED AMAZON, YELLOW-WINGED AMAZON (Amazona aestiva xanthopterex
    In a survey from the Companion Parrot Quarterly, the results showed that the Blue-fronted Amazon was the most popular companion Amazon. The subspecies (Amazona aestiva xanthopterix), which is often referred to as the yellow-winged Amazon can be a very flashy bird. Its range is throughout many areas of northern South America. Blue-fronts can be very inquisitive and playful, but because of their excitability quality guidance is essential. Often, there is a considerable variance in the coloration, size and personality of Amazona aestiva individuals. So much so that when they were imported into Europe in the early 1800s, people considered many of the variations to be different species. The Blue-front that most of us are familiar with in the United States is sometimes referred to as the Yellow-winged Amazon ... subspecies xanthopteryx (xantho translates as yellow and opteryx as wing) Blue-fronts are incredibly sweet babies. Most are very acrobatic and usually exceptionally playful. One of my all-time favorite parrots is Bosco who belonged to an employee. He was a delight and learned almost anything I taught him from behaviors to songs. I still miss interacting with him. With proper guidance and understanding of their moods and excitable energy, Blue-fronts can stay gentle as they mature. Many of them are good talkers, singers, and whistlers. They can remain very loyal to the people in their human flock.
    Blue-fronts can be one of the more excitable Amazons but learning to read their body language will give a caregiver warning before the bird goes into overload. Loyalty can translate into one-person protection, territoriality, and aggression. This is most problematic if the Amazon has formed a strong mate bond with one person. The best way to prevent this is for everyone in the household to handle the bird and develop his or her own relationship with the bird. The trade-off for talking ability can be a higher noise level but screaming can be managed by redirecting their bird into more positive learned behaviors. People also need to understand that a certain amount of screaming is perfectly acceptable either as a flock communication or because the Amazon is happy to be alive! Some of this screaming can be redirected into singing, talking or whistling with behavioral guidance.    The nominate species of the Blue-fronted Amazon is generally a smaller, more compact parrot than the xanthopterex sub-species. It is also quite rare in American aviculture. Perhaps this is true because they are generally less flashy than the "yellow-winged" blue-front and may have been bred with the xanthopterex to produce a flashier bird. The Amazona aestiva aestiva was never imported in great numbers and the somewhat mellower Amazon seems to quite rare in the U.S. but I do see them occasionally in Canada. They are somewhat smaller, shorter and stockier than the Yellow-winged Blue-front and lack the amount of yellow on the wing. The few wild-caught individuals I tamed years ago were generally mild-mannered little guys and not nearly as excitable as the xanthopteryx. For a year or so, I lived with a true Blue-front (aestiva aestiva). She came to me somewhat shy and phobic. I worked with her for that time and was able to turn her into a friendly little parrot who enjoyed gentle handling. She remained somewhat insecure but was fine if her environment was consistent and nurturing. I found a good home for her with a woman and her daughter.  

BLUE-HEADED PIONUS  (Pionus menstruus
    The Blue-headed Pionus is endemic to parts of Central and northern South America. Well-raised Blue-heads are generally independent birds with an inquisitive, playful nature. Pionus are not always cuddly parrots but they usually love a good head skritch. The Blue-head is probably the best known Pionus and considered to be one of the best companions in the family. The first Blue-headed Pionus I met was actually in Costa Rica. He lived temporarily at the Tropical research station at La Selva. Though this area was not within his natural range, the possibility was that someone had gotten him as a baby, brought him to the area and he had escaped and flown into the research station. He arrived a few weeks before my visit and was a really friendly little fellow who spoke a few words in Spanish. The person who was taking care of him named him gallospintos (beans and rice) after the main dish served to both the eco-tourists at the station and the bird. He was still pretty ratty looking, so I was surprised at how beautiful they are when I saw a well-fed domestically-raised baby. The almost weaned babies I met at breeder Rita Shimniok’s house were absolutely fearless explorers of the unknown who loved handling from anyone. 

BLUE-THROATED MACAW  (Ara glaucogularis
    This is a macaw that is considered severely threatened in its native habitat of north-central Bolivia. Conservations efforts are trying to save these macaws both in the wild and in aviculture. For many years, Blue-throats were referred to as Caninde macaws. People who live with Blue-throated macaws declare that they are exceptional, if not somewhat excitable, companion macaws. One of their most notable traits is that when they are excited, their faces blush with red. 
    Up until a few years ago, I had only seen a few of these macaws. For a long time, people confused them with being small Blue and Golds but they are actually quite a different macaw both in appearance and personality. I was delighted by a young handicapped Blue-throat named Icarus who lived with Kathleen Smith, a woman I visited in Florida. Ick (for short) is a delightful, energetic macaw who, despite a skeletal problem in his hips, is full of mischief and has no idea his is handicapped. 
    Although the Blue-throated Macaw has been uncommon as companions, many more are now available. Originally many were produced at a large bird farm in Florida. Unfortunately socialization was not important there so quite a few Blue-throats came into the market with problems. Since I moved to Colorado, I have met quite a few of these macaws and I find them to be highly energetic, acrobatic, and a bit stubborn at times. I spent close to an hour watching a group of three youngsters playing

BOBBIE  
    The companion human from Sally's "If Parrots had People for Pets" cartoon in the PBR/CPQ/CPOM

BODINI'S AMAZON (Amazona festiva bodini
    A sub-species of the Festive Amazon and is found near the Orinoco river of Venezuela. The Bodini's main feature is bright rump feathers. I believe that these parrots are very underrated as human companions. Every one that I have met has been an exceptional companion and an excellent talker. These gorgeous Amazons are uncommon as companions. Their most notable feature is the intense patch of red feathers on their backs. I think they are one of the best kept secrets of the parrot world. I have met about a dozen of these unique parrots and most of them have been very good talkers. 
    Until the last few years all of the Festive/Bodini’s I met were parrots that were over thirty but I have seen several babies in the last decade. I have yet to hear much of a complaint when I talk to someone who lives with a Festive or a Bodini’s. One older adopted Festive had a hysterical vocabulary. He said some of the funniest phrases I have ever heard a bird speak. He was very tame to the man but could be a bit aggressive towards his wife. If I was 20 years younger, there is no doubt in my mind that I would have a Bodini’s or Festive Amazon in my life.

BODY FLUFF 
    When a parrot quickly fluffs his whole body and his feathers with one great shake, it often means he is through with what he is doing and ready to go on to something else. However, if a parrot's feathers are fluffed for more that a few minutes or remain fluffed with other signs of illness, the caregiver needs to consult with an avian veterinarian.

BODY LANGUAGE 
    Facial expressions and the movement of body and feathers can be used to communicate and we can interpret a parrot’s mood and/or intentions. However, body language that indicates certain behavior in one parrot may not indicate the same exact behavior in another parrot. For example, is the Red-lored Amazon below showing aggression by ruffling his head feathers or is he soliciting a good head skritch? This is why we need to pay close attention to our birds to know what they are actually trying to communicate with their body language.

BOINGG 
    Wonderful hanging and climbing perch first devised by a woman named Cheryl McMillen who made them so tight they seemed to last forever. Many companies have made them since but very few are as well-made as hers were. Be sure and keep the unraveled strings trimmed so your parrot doesn't get caught up in them.

BOK CHOY
    Bok Choy or Chinese cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin A, C and K and contains calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium.  

BOND (parrot/human or human/parrot) 
    The cohesive mutual connection based on trust between a parrot and a person. I once heard a woman emphatically state that she hated the word "bond" in regards to parrots. However for a companion parrot, a healthy (non-sexual) 'buddy bond" with a human being is essential. (see Buddy Bond) 


BONGO MARIE 
    Sally Blanchard’s brilliant African grey parrot who lived with her for almost 25 years. She was very ill when Sally first got her and it was amazing that as sick as she was, that she lived as long as she did. Sally has many wonderful stories about Bongo Marie and loves to tell them at seminars. It is unlikely that Sally would have become so involved in parrots if it wasn't for her relationship with Bongo Marie.


 

BONGO MARIE & THE CORNISH GAME HEN  
    A famous parrot story originally in the Pet Bird Report (in the early 1990s that has even been written about in a book by Eugene Linden and then republished in the Reader's Digest and Time Magazine.

THE STORY
    I am convinced after living with Bongo Marie for close to 25 years that she had a sense of humor. Her laughter was almost always appropriate. It seems to me as if some African greys have a superiority complex; as if they think they are better than other parrots they live with. 
    Certainly Bongo Marie has always acted as if Paco, my female double yellow head Amazon, was not her equal – as if green was an inferior color. Perhaps that is why it took such a long time after I got her to get her to eat greens; she had heard you are what you eat. Both Paco and Bongo Marie had lived with me for about 20 years and they were never friends. Bongo occasionally called Paco’s name until Paco responds. Then the grey told the Amazon to "Be Quiet!"
    Several years ago, Bongo Marie’s cage was right next to the dining room table and Paco’s cage was right near the door. I was fixing dinner and had just taken a Cornish game hen out of the oven and was poised to carve a piece of the breast meat. Bongo Marie slid down the side of her cage and eyed my dinner quizzically. Suddenly, she threw her head up and in a frantic questioning voice exclaimed, "OH NO, PACO!?!?!" After I stopped laughing, I explained to her that the bird on the platter was not Paco, "Look Bongo Marie – that’s not Paco. Paco is right over there." She looked towards Paco and in a very indignant voice said, "oh no," as if she was disappointed. Then she laughed hysterically with her very maniacal laugh as if to let me know she had been joking all of the time! 



BOOSEY, EDWARD J. 
The English author of several books about aviculture, captive breeding and the 'pet' potential of various birds. Parrots, Cockatoos, & Macaws was published in 1956, as was Foreign Bird Keeping. I have reprinted several of his species profiles on the Parrot History section of this website.



BORNA VIRUS  
    Borna virus, PDD, Wasting or all of the other names this terrible disease has been called was originally thought to be a disease of macaws (Macaw Wasting Disease) because they symptoms were first seen in a group of macaws in the late 1970s. It was not too long before it was found in many other parrot species. There is certainly a lot more information about it than there used to be when it was a real mystery disease - since they have now identified the pathogen that causes it, there will be more advances made in diagnosing it and hopefully even treating it. The fact that there is now a test that can diagnose the disease is a major breakthrough since the only way it could be absolutely determined previously was through necropsy. The main problem with this disease is that it causes an inability to swallow and properly digest food causing the eventual wasting away of the parrot. Eventually the walls of the Proventriculus to become thin and fragile that they no longer metabolizing nutrients. Often the first symptoms of the disease are related to body condition and motor skills such as balance. The term PDD stands for Proventricular dilatation disease. PDD caused by the Borna Virus is considered to be one of most difficult challenges for avian research and captive breeding of parrots. In November 2010, there was a presentation about the Borna Virus and an opportunity for anyone who brought their bird to have it tested for this disease. 



BOTTLE FED
    A method of handfeeding using a squeeze type bottle. This is a positive way of feeding bappies unless the same squeeze bottle is used indiscriminately to feed many parrots from unrelated clutches and/or the food is forced into the back of the parrot’s throat in a non-nurturing manner (called power feeding). One of the major problems that I have seen with feeding babies with a squeeze bottle is that the same bottle is used to feed several baby parrots. This essentially means that if one baby parrot has a health problem, it can be transmitted to all of the other babies fed with that bottle.



BOURKE'S PARAKEET (Neopsephotus Bourkii
    Originally considered to be an "aviary bird," Bourkes are now considered to be good companions if hand-raised and kept tame. The Rosy Bourke is a common and popular mutation of the Bourke's parakeet. Although they are commonly bred in captivity, the Bourke's is a CITES II endangered species in their native habitats in southwestern and central Australia. Several years ago, I had a client with several pet birds ranging from a cockatiel to a cockatoo. However, she stated emphatically that her favorite was a delightful hand-raised Rosy Bourke who spent much of his time hanging off of her blouse cooing sweet nothings at her. The bird loved to have his head skritched, ate food from her fingers, and preened her hair. Since I met her Bourke’s, no one can convince me that these sweet little birds are just aviary birds. 

BOWLS AND CROCKS (food and water)  
    I think that cages should have 3-4 bowls. One for water, one for dry foods, one for wet foods, and possibly one as a toy box to hold foot toys.

BOXES AS NEST CAVITIES
    Several breeders that I have known keep their baby parrots in cardboard boxes with a towel over the top and paper towels on the bottom. They are easy to clean because if  they get too dirty, you just move the baby to a new box and throw the old one away. It also simulates a dark tree cavity and the light reaching the baby can be increased or decreased according to how much of the box is covered with the towel. It is certainly more natural than keeping baby parrots in well-lit aquariums, which flies in the face of biological fact. There are no parrot species that naturally keep their babies in an enclosure that lets a lot of ight in from all sides and the top; this is just one of those things that got started in aviculture that makes absolutely no sense.

BRAIN (bird) 
    We now know that this is a compliment and not the insult that some people used to think it was ... thanks to Alex and Dr. Pepperberg!

BRAZIL NUTS 
    When fed in moderation, Brazil Nuts are a good source of fiber, fat, and several minerals (particularly potassium), vitamin E and a few B vitamins. Macaws need to have some nuts on a daily basis in their diet, while nuts should be limited in the diet of other parrots who have a tendency for obesity such as Amazons and cockatoos. 

BREAD
    There are some whole grain, low salt, low sugar breads that are quite healthy for parrots. I buy Ezekiel Sprouted Whole Grain Bread. I keep it in the freezer to keep it fresh. I mix almond butter with sweet potato baby food or a nature organic jam (without sugar or artificial sweeteners) and spread the mixture on a slice of the toasted bread and then cut it into pieces that are proportionate to the size and appetites of my parrots. It is definitely one of my parrots favorite treats! I also toast this bread and break it up in my "Glop (also see Bird Bread)

BREED AND SPECIES
     Our dogs and cats can be correctly referred to as breeds as in Airedale or Siamese. That is because all domesticated dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) are the same species and all domesticated cats (Felis catus) are the same species. For example, despite their difference in size a Chihuahua and a Great Dane are the same species; they are different breeds. In the world of cats, a Maine Coon and an American shorthair are different breeds but are the same species. It is incorrect to refer to parrots as breeds because each is actually a different species. An African grey is not a breed, it is a species (Psittacus erithacus) and it is a different species than a double-yellow headed Amazon (Amazona oratrix), etc.

(THE) BRICK WALL 
    The metaphor used in the theory of Nurturing Guidance to describe the artificial environment a parrot lives in as a human companion. This is fully described in Sally's Companion Parrot Handbook

BROAD-BILLED PARROT  (Lophopsittacus mauritianus
    A stocky parrot that lived on the island of Mauritius and became extinct. They were probably flightless and when pigs, rats and other animals that ate their eggs and young were introduced to the island, this species had no chance for survival. The Broad-billed parrot was similar in several ways to the black cockatoos of Austral-Asia. This parrot was last observed in 1638. 

BROCCOLI  
    A popular cruciferous vegetable from the Kale family, broccoli is loaded with vitamin A, beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin C, and various B vitamins. It is considered to be a serious immune system builder and cancer-fighting vegetable. This is one of several vegetables that should be in your parrot's diet. Broccoli is a good food for smaller parrot-family birds since they usually like to graze on the flowerets. My parrots will eat it as broccoli but it is not their favorite veggie. I put it in just about everything else that I know that they will eat including my "Glop" and my Bird Bread.

BRONZE-WINGED PIONUS (Pionus chalcopteru
    If these Pionus are on a good diet, their colors are absolutely breath-taking. They are from the Andes of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and furthest northwest Venezuela. These gorgeous parrots are usually easy going and are popular as human companions. When these parrots are well-fed and receive quality care, they are one of the most beautiful parrots I have ever seen. Take time to count the colors in these beauties — especially in good lighting. I have been told that the hens are gentler than the males but I don’t know this to be a fact and it could be on an individual basis. The Bronze-wing that I spent the most time with was very sweet and gentle with children who didn’t move very fast. She could also develop a bit of an attitude when she was being asked to do something that she didn’t want to do (but then, um, the woman she lived with worked with me and often had the same attitude.)  

BROTOGERIS
   Brotogeris is a genus of South American parrot family birds that includes the Grey-cheeked Parakeet, the Orange-chinned Parakeet and the Canary-winged BeeBee 

BROWN-HEADED PARROTS (Poicephalus cryptoxanthus
    This member of the Senegal family is full of surprises. Although on first look, they don't seem to be very colorful, when they open their wings, the inside color is a gorgeous yellow. The species name cryptoxanthus translates as hidden yellow. Most people who breed or live with these parrots report that they tend to be mild-mannered and gentle, while also showing a playful nature. I had very little experience with domestically-raised Brown-heads until I moved to Colorado. I thought that they were cute but had no idea how cute they could be. I have been very impressed with the nature of these parrots after meeting several of them through Avalon Aviary. Years ago I tamed a couple of wild-caught Brown-heads and found them much easier to work with than the other members of the Poicephalus family.  
    One of the Brown-heads I worked with years ago had turned quite nippy at a young age but his breeder was one of those that thought early socialization was a waste of time. It is my belief that this is why the bird turned so nippy and not some inherent species trait. This has become even more apparent to me since I have had the opportunity to bird sit several of these little guys since I moved to Colorado. I have fallen in love with the Brown-headed species. They may seem somewhat nondescript but when they open their wings, they dazzle you with bright yellow on the inside of their wings and their personality is anything but nondescript. From my experience, I would say that they seem to be the most mellow of all of the Poicephalus that I have met (Senegal, Red-belly, Meyer’s, Jardine’s) perhaps with the exception of the Cape parrot, which is still fairly uncommon as a companion.
    I have had some in-depth experience with Brown-heads since I bird sit for a few of them from time to time. One of them loves play on the hanging gyms that I have but when he gets tired of that, he flies over and lands on my shoulder and whispers in my ear. I also met one of the cutest Brown-headed Parrots when I was in Canada. The breeder told me that out of all the Poicephalus that she raised, she thought that the Brown-head was the most steady and had the potential to be the best companion parrot.I have fallen in love with Brown-headed parrots and think that they are the ideal companion for people who want a smaller parrot with a lot of personality that is fairly easy to manage. Thier species name is description - crypto translates as hidden and xanthus translates as yellow — so the species name cryptoxanthus means hidden yellow referring to the yellow in the inside of their wings.

BRUSH-TONGUED PARROTS 
    This is a term used to describe Lories and the Lorikeets because their tongues have little "hairs" on them to allow them to eat pollen and nectar from flowers.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS
    When I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, I would drive down to Carmel every month or so to visit my grandmother. There were some wonderful vegetable/fruit stands on the way and I would often stop to buy produce for both my parrots and my grandmother. One of the great things you could get in season were Brussel sprouts still on the stalk. I would hang them next to a hanging playgym and my parrots would go nuts foraging for the actual sprouts, especially the Amazons. They also loved al dente steamed Brussels sprouts. They loved to hold one in their feet and peel and eat the different levels. Brussels sprouts are one of the cruciferous veggies and are a good source for vitamin K with a small amount of several other nutrients. As withe other cruciferous vegetables, they are also considered to contain high levels of phytonutrients, ahich are claimed to lower cancer risks. 

BUDDY BOND
    A healthy mutual bond with a parrot involves guidance and friendship. The more instructional interaction parrots receive from the people in their lives and they more people play fun games with their parrots, the more likely they will bond to these people as a friend instead of a mate.

BUDGERIGAR (Melopsittacus undulatus
    Although the budgie is one of many birds referred to as a parakeet, it should be called a budgie or a budgerigar to distinguish it from many other parakeets in the world of aviculture. These high-energy little gems (originally from Australia) are perhaps the most popular companion parrot-family bird in the world. As far as I know, the record for the most words and parrot family bird says is still held by a budgerigar. Budgerigars or Budgies (more commonly but erroneously referred to as parakeets) are pretty much what the breeder and caregiver make them. Unfortunately, aspects of the pet trade are really screwing up this potentially delightful little species by turning it into a dime store throw-away species. Many of these birds being sold through the pet industry are now produced with little concern for genetics or hardiness. Their potential life-span has been shortened considerable by this push ‘em out mentality. Poorly bred birds have a tendency towards fatty tumors, particularly on a seed-only diet. If you can truly find a healthy hand-fed baby budge from a legitimate breeder or bird shop, the bird has the potential to be an incredible companion. They can be affectionate, clever, curious, little dynamos. Be sure to buy one that is weaned to pellets and veggies as Budgies can be very difficult to convert from a rigid see-only diet, which is a death diet for Budgies. They do not do well on total pellets, especially ones with coloring. 
    A survey that I did through the Pet Bird Report showed that a great number of the subscribers started out with Budgies as children. That’s the way I started and Mickey Finn was not just my pet. Everyone in the family adored him. He was talkative, loved to dive bomb us, and loved to have his head skritched. One day he was on my grandmother’s shoulder as she walked out the front door, he said, "Shut the door stupid, the bird’s out." My grandmother turned around and quickly went back into the house. My father must have said that to my brother and me at least a hundred times. While Budgies are often considered a child’s first bird, they can be a wonderful companion for the whole family. Not only that, a Budgie holds the record for the most words spoken. Don’t ever say, "I just have a Budgie". When done right, these are remarkable companion birds and certainly nothing to apologize about ... I have heard far too many people say that they "just have a parakeet."  

BUDGERIGAR BABIES
    Unfortunately, these delightful little birds have been production-raised for so long that it may be difficult to find a budgie without a tendency for fatty tumors or one that potentially has a lifespan over 5 years. If you can find a breeder who is actually concerned about the birds they breed, that is the place to buy a budgie. 

BUFFON'S MACAW (Great-green Macaw) (Ara ambiguus)  
    Also referred to as the Great Green Macaw. Uncommon as a companion macaw, the endangered Buffon's is from Central America to northern South America. These macaws reportedly have a less excitable personality that some of the others. As with several macaws, their faces blush when they are excited. 

BURRITO (for parrots)
    I like to experiment with healthy foods to give my parrots variety in their diets. One of there favorites is the Birdy Burritos that I make them. The filling is whatever nutritious foods I have handy. Usually this consists of grated and/or finely chopped veggies such as carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and collard greens or kale. I mix this up with some non-fat yogurt, and a little almond butter to hold it together. Sometimes I put a little low salt cheese into the mix (cheese should be limited in a parrot diet). Then I put it in the center of a whole wheat tortilla or a spinach wrap and then cook it into the microwave for 45 seconds or so. I let it cool and then slice it into appropriate portions to feed my parrots. Look under 'Recipes' for more of my parrot concoctions.

BURSA OF FABRICIUS 
    Young parrots are said to have an immature immune system. A gland, called the Bursa of Fabricius, is a pouch on the wall of the cloaca found only in young birds. This gland carries out a task called Cloacal Sippping – it brings in elements of the environement to help develop the immunesystem This gland atrophies as the bird matures. Along with the thymus, these glands help to form and stimulate the cells of the immune system. It is thought that these glands secrete hormones that stimulate the production of antibodies to infections. Once the bird matures, the immune system of the bird becomes mature and the Bursa of Fabricius is no longer needed to produce extra antibodies and the gland is absorbed back into the cloacal wall. At this time, it is assumed that the young parrots immune system is developed. 

BUTLER, PAUL    
    Working with RARE in the Caribbean, Paul Butler helped to set up programs based on national pride to protect and preserve the wildlife in several island countries. The theory was to help the native people develop a pride in the natural assets of their country so they will help protect them. This pride campaign used preachers, schools and just about anyone that was interested in helping to acquaint the people of St. Lucia to save and protect the severely endangered St. Lucia Amazon. After this program was successful, Paul Butler moved on to the island of St. Vincent where he helped develop national pride in their native Amazon. Eventually the Island of Dominica worked to save the Imperial Amazon and named it their national bird.  Working with RARE, Paul Butler helped native populations conserve their endemic parrots and these parrots have continued to thrive and increase their populations. I have met Paul Butler and heard him speak twice and it is clear to me why he was able to influence people in such a positive way; his enthusiasm, energy, and passion is infectious. Many conservations efforts have followed a great deal of Paul Butler's groundbreaking work in the Caribbean and Central America to help wildlife in other parts of the world. A good example is Indonesian Parrot Project. (see Indonesian Parrot Project) 

BUTTER
    Butter is an absolute NO-NO in feeding parrots because it is very high in saturated fats and cholesterol. 

BUTTERNUT SQUASH
    A highly nutritious vegetable with lots of vitamin A. My parrots love baked winter squash whether it is acorn, butternut, pumpkin or any of the other winter squashes. (see Winter Squash) 

BY-PRODUCTS IN PET FOODS
    We tend to trust the pet food industry without thinking much about what is really in the foods. But does the pet food industry deserve our trust? By-products whether they are chicken, beef, cow, horse, fish meal, or any other source, are the parts or an animal that are not used for human consumption. These include the head, lips, beaks, digestive innards which probably contain poop, other innards, skin, bones, and feet. They are all put into a vat and mixed together to be purchased by a pet food manufactures. This has always seemed like a breeding ground for severe bacterial contamination. If the bacterial contaminants are removed, the by-products will contain the anti-bacterial agents used to control them. This also presents health problems for animals. By-products can also contain chemicals used to euthanize the animals such as sodium pentobarbital. There were (and perhaps still are) pet food manufacturers that use euthanized dogs and cats. Dead animals of all kinds including sick ones and discarded pets, are 'rendered" and sold to manufactures for animal feeds, including pet foods. It is not illegal to do so in the United States. Some pet foods also use rotten meat from the supermarkets, grease from restaurants, meat from diseased animals, road kill, and something called AD (which is animal digest, which is feces and urine.) 
I read my pet food products very carefully. Statitstics show that almost 50% of dog death in dogs over 10 years die from cancer. Will we ever  know about what is really in our pet foods and how dangerous the additives are? It is unlikely. The Animal Protection Institute say, "of the more than 8,600 recognized food additives today, no toxicity information is available for 46% of them." This is also true of highly processed pelleted diets that are full of synthetic chemical nutrition and other problematic ingredients. Cancer has also increased in companion parrots. (also see food additives)



BAHAMA AMAZON  (Amazona leucocephala bahamensis
    There are two populations of the Bahama Amazon; one lives on the Inagua islands and the other on the Abaco islands. The Abaco island population are most interesting because it is the only ground-nesting parrot in the western hemisphere. In fact when a fire swept through the island, the parrots survived in their limestone holes in the ground. 

BAD FOODS FOR PARROTS
    (See Foods that are Bad for Parrots) 

BALA ANT
     A large biting ant that lives in the Caribbean lowland rain forests of Costa Rica. Bala means bullet and 5 bites from one of these ants came within a heartbeat of killing Sally Blanchard in 1982. If she hadn't taken her bee sting kit with her, she would have died of anaphylactic shock in the rainforest of the La Selva Biological Station.

BANANAS
    High in potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. Not the most nutritious fruit for parrots, but some of them really love a slice of banana now and then. My parrots only like bananas when they are quite firm but others may like them a bit more mushy.

BANANA SQUASH
    A highly nutritious vegetable that parrots will usually eat readily. All of the winter squashes are a good source of beta-carotene which is converted into vitamin A during the digestion process. (see Winter Squash)

BAPPY as a Word for a Baby Parrot
    The word coined by Sally Blanchard to describe a baby companion parrot. That word was chosen because it sounded like a happy word. Some people hate the word; some people think its great. The purpose of coming up with the word was to have a word that made it clear that parrots are babies way beyond weaning and need socialization and guidance to develop properly. I decided to do this because so many people don't realize how long parrots are bappies. There was (and still is) the concept that if a parrot is weaned that it is no longer a baby, but the truth is that the bird is still a baby who needs to develop social skills often for weeks, months, or even in the case of the large macaws, a year or so after being weaned. 

BAPPY PICNIC 
    An interactive game played with a young parrot where a sheet is spread on the floor or a bed. Toys and treats are placed on the sheet. The owner then sits on the sheet playing with the parrot and all his toys. I've known a few breeders who have socialized their babies by spreading a sheet on the floor with toys and a bowl of food to encourage them to eat on their own. 

BALANCE SKILLS 
    Skills a young parrot needs to develop to be secure on his perches. One of the best ways to develop and young parrots balance skills is to have him walk from on hand to another with a twisted towel as a tightrope. Climbing skills can be taught by letting go of the towel with one hand (slowly) and having the the youngster climb up and down the towel.

BARB
    Slender structures that grow from the shaft of a feather. A flight feather contains hundreds of barbs.

BARBULES 
    Several hundred of these structures grow from each side of a barb on a feather. They interlock with hamulus which are tiny hooks. When a bird preens, they are re-locking these hooks on each barbule to maintain the strength and integrity of each feather.  

BARE-EYED COCKATOO or Lesser corella (Cacatua sanguinea
    Bare-eyed cockatoos are quite a different bird than the larger cockatoos. They are generally affectionate, high-energy birds that are not as likely to develop the severe behavioral problems that the poorly socialized and under-stimulated larger cockatoos develop. Bare-eyed cockatoos need to be kept busy and usually like to go from one thing to another fairly quickly. 
    Also referred to as the Little Corella, Bare-eyed ’toos are affectionate intelligent, high-energy, clever cockatoos. They can be good talkers if their caregivers work with them to encourage their vocabulary. In Australia, Bare-eyes occur in very large flocks and spend a great deal of time on the ground. The lack of feathers around the eye probably serves the same purpose as the black the football players put under their eyes when they play; it helps keep glare out of the eyes. Since these small cockatoos like to be on the ground, supervised floor/flat surface play on a safe, clean, defined area with verbal permission should be encouraged. I believe that because their tendency is to spend a lot of time on the ground, Bare-eyes should have a cage at least 30 inches wide with no grate on the bottom and lots of foot toys. Many of these high-energy cockatoos will love to roll playfully on the floor of their cage with or without toys. Instead of focusing on one toy for awhile like the larger cockatoos often do, the Bare-eyed tend to go from one thing to another fairly quickly. Stimulation with a wide variety of toys and play situations is essential. They love interactive play such as chasing a small whiffle ball. They also like being handled and may enjoy play wrestling with their caregivers. Bare-eyed Cockatoos are very social birds with a flock mentality; the more the merrier. With guidance and time spent with everyone, these ’toos can make a good family companion.
    Their bitey tendency is usually not aggression but needs calming down. The beak always seems to be pointy and sharp. They chew on their nails and do a lot of beak wiping on their perches, which may be a way to keep their beaks sharp. The eat roots and grubs in the wild and need a sharp beak for digging. Bare-eyed Cockatoos tend to be a bit quieter that other cockatoos but they can develop a shrill sound that needs to be worked with. A seed-only diet is a death diet for cockatoos and these little guys tend to become fat quite easily. Cockatoos also don’t do well on a total pelleted diet, and the Bare-eyes are no exception, especially manufactured diets with food coloring.  

"BAT BIRD" 
    Several different parrot species love to hang upside down in their cages or from a play gym. This is particularly true of African grey parrots and macaws.

BATHING AND/OR SHOWERING
    The process of cleaning skin and feathers usually using water. Bathing and showering are essential for the health and condition of a parrot’s skin and feathers. Caiques and some other parrots also leaf bathe by rubbing themselves through moist leaves. Cockatoos actually seem to rub objects and food through their feathers, perhaps as a displacement behavior for some natural bathing ritual. Other birds dust bathe which may help with external parasites. Sun bathing is also a favorite pastime for some birds who spread their wings and posture to take advantage of the light and warmth. There are many ways that parrots bathe or can be bathed. The key is to find the best way for your parrots. Many parrots prefer to make a choice to move into the water rather than to have someone spray them with it. Look at this photo carefully to see the bird behind the Amazons. 

BEAK  Description
    The upper and lower mandibles in front of the parrot’s mouth. The beak is used for many important purposes, the least of which is aggressive biting. The beak is not just a piece of hard plastic-like material. It is a sensitive, growing organ, and the tip has corpuscles that are encapsulated bundles of highly sensitive nerve endings. The beak’s structure is a continuation of the parrot’s skull. The upper beak covers a bone called the premaxilla, and the lower beak covers a portion of the mandible. The part that you actually see is the growing keratin covering called the rhamphotheca (ram-fo-THEE-ka, from the Greek ramphos, beak and, theka, sheath). Beak condition is influenced by nutrition, but some parrots naturally have rougher or scalier beaks than others. 

THE BEAK AS A HAND, TOOL, AND LIPS
    The beak is not a weapon - it is a combination of our lips and hands. It is an all-purpose tool used for exploration, chewing, eating, preening, caressing, gently feeding babies. These purposes have nothing to do with aggression.  If we stopped thinking of a parrot's beak as a weapon, life would be a lot better for our companion parrots. 

(the) BEAK BOOK 
    Sally Blanchard's book on understanding, preventing, and solving aggression and biting in companion parrots.

BEAK GRINDING (as a Comfort Behavior)
    Parrots often grind their upper and lower beak together as they relax to go to sleep. The common explanation is that this behavior keeps their beak trimmed. While the grinding may serve to trim the beak, since the beak has nerves that transmit pain and pleasure, this may actually be a comfort behavior to help the bird relax and prepare him for sleep. 


BEAK EXPLORATION (BEAKING) 
    The beak is normally used for a varied  of uses including chewing, exploration, preening, and as a form of affection. The beak and tongue have encapsulated nerve endings that make touching objects a way to explore them. Some time ago, an “expert” made the comment that you should never let a bird touch its beak to your skin or it would become a biter. This is one of the worst things I have ever read about parrots and has absolutely no truth to it at all. Beak exploration and biting are two different behaviors that even come from different parts of the brain!

BEAK LUNGING 
    (see Lunge biting) 

BEAK NOTCHING
    Drastic beak mutilation used as a quick-fix to prevent feather picking and, in some cases biting behavior. Should never be done! 

BEAK (BILL) WIPING 
    A displacement behavior which often indicates discomfort or aggression ...or the parrot could just be cleaning his beak by wiping it on a perch.  

BEAK WRESTLING  
    Playing with a bird by holding on to his or her beak and shaking it. During breeding season this can be viewed by the parrot as sexual behavior.

"BEAKINESS" 
    Some parrots can be very "beaky" wanting to chew on your fingers or hands a lot. The best way to deal with this is to stick a toy in their beak instead so that they learn they can chew on the toy rather than your fingers. Knotted leather works very well and for the larger birds, a knotted up washcloth also works well. 

BEANS
    There are many types of beans but they are all members of the family fabaceae (alternately Leguminosae). Some beans such as raw red beans and kidney beans can be toxic. Beans should be fed after soaking and thorough cooking as partial cooking may make them more toxic. most beans are high in phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, calcium, folate, and several of the B vitamins. They are a good source of protein but most are not a complete protein, with all of the essential amino acids. (Also see Black Beans) 

BEAUDOIN, SHARI & TERRY 
    CPQ writers and co-owners of Parrot Island, a wonderful bird shop in Eden Prairie, Minnesota 

BEDTIME RITUALS  
    With some parrots, providing fairly consistent bedtime patterns can help them settle down for sleep. This can include singing a specific song to them each night and/or covering the cage. Many companion parrots also appreciate a good head skritch or a quick cuddle before they go to sleep. 

BEEF, COOKED  (as a food for parrots)
    For the most part meat, including beef, is pretty much a NO-NO in regards to feeding to parrots, This is for pretty much the same reason as people have cut down on the amount of beef that they eat. Even the best cuts of beef are full of saturated fat and cholesterol. On the flip side, beef is also protein loaded with all of the amino acids represented so beef provides complete protein. Beef also has significant levels of niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, and selenium. Some of the high levels of iron could be problematic for parrots. These values are for lean (fat trimmed off) sirloin. I hesitate to recommend feeding beef but I think a minimal amount fed rarely (no more than 1" square for large macaws, proportionately less for smaller parrots) of well-cooked lean beef with the fat trimmed no more than a couple of times a month is not going to cause a serious problem for healthy parrots. The beef could be grilled or roasted as long as the fat is drained or removed. Beef, if fed at all, should be a very rare (but well-cooked) treat. This does not include feeding any kind of processed beef (such as cold cuts, bacon, and lunch meat often contain nitrates and other chemicals) or hamburger because of the potential for grease and contamination such as e-coli. I have never fed my parrots any meat from fast food restaurants, nor will I ever.

BEETS AND BEET GREENS
    Both the beet root and the greens are loaded with vitamin A, Vitamin K, with small amounts of other vitamins. They are also high in calcium and potassium, and magnesium. Beet greens have oxalic acid, which binds the calcium and makes it unusable. However, gentle cooking or steaming can minimize the oxalic acid and make the greens more nutritious for parrots.


 BEHAVIOR  
    The actions and reactions of animals under given circumstances. With parrots, behavior is a complex combination of nature and nurture. Companion parrots learn a great deal from our behavior, whether it is negative or positive. 

BEHAVIORAL CONSULTANTS     
    People who charge money to provide you with advice about your parrot’s behavior. Free advice on the internet is often worth what you pay for it. Whether they are worth it or not depends on their experience and knowledge. If they advise you to do anything that seems aggressive or punishing or if they just give you a series of quick-fixes, don’t follow their advice.

BEHAVIORAL DYSFUNCTION  (in Companion parrots) 
    The inability to function in an emotionally stable manner. Domestically-raised parrots who have not been properly socialized often have problems relating to life in our living room as our companions. People who are very inconsistent and/or don't provide nurturing guidance can create behavioral dysfunction in their parrots. 

BEHAVIORAL DYSFUNCTION (in the people who live with parrots) 
    Humans are an often capricious bunch and their are many times that we behave in a totally unpredictable manner, which confuses our parrots. I did a consultation with a couple who had lived with a Rose-breasted Cockatoo for a number of years. One day "out of nowhere" the bird became phobic. The man stated, "One evening my cockatoo was eating spaghetti off of my plate, and the next day he acted as if I was trying to kill him."  The evening I did the consultation, the fact that the man came home from the local bar almost unable to walk, gave me a definite clue as to why the bird was having so much trouble. According to the wife, who admitted she enjoyed social drinking at the local bar, the man's drinking had greatly increased because he had lost a promotion at work. There is no doubt that the man's erratic behavior caused by his drinking had really confused the cockatoo. 
    Parrots don't need a rigid routine but they thrive on us being dependable and somewhat predictable. When we become unpredictable, our parrots can react with all sorts of behavioral changes, including increased screaming and aggression and/or phobic behavior. These changes can vary depending on the severity of change in the behaviors of the people in their lives.  

BEHAVIORAL ENRICHMENT 
    Enrichments are anything that we can provide our parrots that will encourage activity, curiosity, and enhance their physical and emotional health. This includes a varied healthy diet, play objects (toys), lots of exercise opportunities, and quality instructional interaction from the people in their lives.

BEHAVIORAL BUTTONS  (Pushing Our) 
    What parrots learn to do to get what they want from us. One of the criteria for intelligence has to do with an animal consciously deceiving other animals. Many of our parrots know how to manipulate us and how to push our buttons, which is actually evidence of their intelligence. 

BEHAVIORAL STAGES 
    There are several developmental stages as a baby parrot grows to adulthood and then to old age. 
» The very first stage is pretty much the eat, poop, and sleep stage where a baby parrot looks and acts a bit like "a blob of silly putty."
» During the next stage, a bappy is a learning sponge as far as the development its social and survival skills. 
» Once he has learned these important skills, he goes on to the independence stage. This is an important stage and people with young parrots shouldn't take it personally if the bird seems to reject them. 
» This is a fairly long juvenile stage, which is eventually replaced by an immature stage where parrots start to exhibit sexual behaviors although they aren't really ready to breed. 
» Then there is the stage where breeding behavior starts. Of course this doesn't mean that the bird needs to breed. This is also the time when companion parrots may solicit breeding from their favorite person in the human flock. (See sexual behavior) This stage may last for years depending on the species of parrots, although if a companion parrot is managed as a buddy rather than as a mate, the breeding aspect of this state may taper off. 
» Eventually the parrot starts to reach old age where breeding behavior starts to diminish and the bird starts to exhibit the same sort of symptoms of old age that we do. (see older birds.) 
» When a parrot reaches old age, he or she may develop special needs such as help in feeding and more help in locomoting around the house.

BELL PEPPERS
    Bell peppers are high in vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, with a good amount of fiber, vitamin K, manganese, and folate. They have a minimal amount of iron. Many parrots like the crunch of bell peppers - the red and yellow ones are sweeter than the green ones.

BERRIES
    There are many varieties of berries and all of the provide great nutrition for parrots. See the individual berry for more information. Please note that just about all berries will give your parrot reddish poop so don't be alarmed by the color change if you have fed berries. 

BETRAYAL OF TRUST 
    Mutual trust is essential for a good relationship with a companion parrot. Anything that undermines a parrot’s trust in his or her caregiver can be perceived by the parrot as a betrayal of trust. This can cause aggression caused from confusion and/or extreme fearful or phobic behavior if the betrayal of trust is severe.

BIO-FLAVANOIDS 
    There is a great deal of both interest and controversy in regards to these plant compounds because of their possible nutritional role as antioxidants and their possible function in the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Many people who have studied nutrition believe that bio-flavanoids are an essential part of a parrot's diet that are not found in manufactured or pelleted parrot diets. 

BIRD BREAD
    There are dozens of ways to make Birdy Bread and several companies produce Bird Bread just for parrots. The advantage is that so many nutritious foods can be added to the bread. When I make my Birdy Bread I use an organic mix and add carrot/sweet potato baby food, plain non-fat yogurt, organic applesauce for the fluid, then I grate carrots, sweet potatoes or winter squash, shave off some of the fine broccoli flowers, add a few chopped nuts, and other healthy foods that I have available. Sometimes I mix in some almond butter. I bake it for about 25 minutes. The moister it is, the longer I cook it. It never comes out the same but my parrots don't seem to care about that, they gobble it down. I cut it in cubes and freeze the leftovers in zip-lock bags. 

BIRD-PROOFING 
    One of the reasons we love our parrots is because they are so curious and clever. Sometimes that sense of exploration can get them into trouble. Over my 35 years with parrots, I have heard of so many ways that parrots have become injured or even killed because people didn't use common sense in making their environment safe. If a parrot can reach an electric cord, it will eventually explore it with its beak. If there are toxic plants or metals nearby, they will eventually explore them. If a older home has lead-based paint on the trim or cupboards and a parrot can reach them, it will eventually chew on that wood with its toxic paint. The list goes on. Keep the toilet lid down. Bird-proof any part of your home that your parrots can reach and keep them safe. 

BIRD ROOM 
    A room that is separate from the activities of the parrot’s caregivers. Most companion parrots are much happier if they are where the action of their human flock is.

BIRD SHOWS
    Although they don't seem to be as popular as they once were, there are still bird shows where parrots compete with other parrots for configuration, color, feather condition and other physical characteristics. The best birds receive awards. The most prevalent birds at these shows are the smaller birds that have been bred in captivity for many years, including Cockatiels, English Budgies, Lovebirds, Finches, and Canaries. These shows are a place to see the latest mutations. An example is the Rosella mutation shown below.

BIRD SITTING  
    A bird sitter should know enough about parrots to assess health, recognize emergencies and provide proper care of the birds that they are watching. Leave a bird sitter with all important information about your parrot/s such as names, favorite foods, words spoken, weird habits, and tameness. Also leave veterinarian's name and number plus permission to take the bird to the vet if necessary and the number you can be reached at while you are gone. If you are having a new person bird sit or have a new bird sitting situation, have the person come to your home to meet and learn about your parrots before you leave. 

BIRD SHOPS/STORES (judging quality)
    Generally speaking a bird shop that I consider to be of high quality exhibits certain characteristics. Of course, the first is that they are very concerned about the physical and emotional care of their parrots. A good bird shop may look messy by the end of the day but the mess is not allowed to collect for days at a time. The store feeds a varied diet to their parrots and doesn't feed pellets or anything else as a total diet. The staff is interested in educating their customers so that they have the information they need or another information source to do a good job with their parrots. A good store will carry a vast array of products but will not carry products that are obviously dangerous or useless. I love a store with a great toy wall! One of the factors that will really impress me is when a bird shop will refuse to sell a parrot to a person that they have reason to believe will not take good care of that parrot.  I really enjoy visiting a bird shop with a great toy wall.

BIRD WATCHING
    One of the most popular hobbies in America, it involves watching birds in your back yard, in the area you live, and/or all over the country or world. I believe that the more a person understands about wild birds, the more they will understand their companion parrots. I was a passionate bird watcher long before I had parrots and I think that this gave me a unique perspective. I always thought of parrots as coming from various parts of the world as opposed to a local pet shop. 

BITEY (nippy) 
    (see Beak exploration and "Beakiness")

BITING DISTRACTION
    Some parrots get into the habit of biting or trying to bite at certain times. For example, some parrots bite when they think that they are going to be taken back to their cage. People often allow this behavior to become a pattern by responding in the same way. The best way to change the parrot's behavior is for the person to change their behavior and catch the bird off guard. Sometimes it is as simple as holding up your other hand. The pattern is changed and the parrothas to stop his normal behavior to figure out what is going on. If he has also been patterned to step on a person's hand, he will often comply. The caregiver should be careful that their distraction is not threatening. The purpose is simply to distract the parrot from behaving in an established negative pattern. 

BLACK AND WHITE THINKING 
    Generalizations, stereotypical thinking which states that all parrots of a certain species are alike or that certain parrots always do the same thing. Stereotypical thinking is of no help and may even create more problems.

BLACK BEANS
    Most beans have a lot of good things going for them but Black Beans seem to be the 'super' bean. Beans should always be soaked and well-cooked before feeding. Black beans are a highly nutritious bean. They are high in folate and thiamin - 2 important vitamins that are in the "B group". They have some iron (20% human dv (daily value)%) that might be a problem for some birds. They also have a good amount of phosphorous so to keep with the 2:1 calcium/phosphorous level, the should be balanced with something with a good amount of calcium. When I feed beans, I usually add some chopped greens to them before I feed. Sometimes I also add a dollop of low-fat yogurt. Black beans seem to have a good proportion of all of the necessary amino acids to make them a high quality complete protein. Beans are high in fiber and black beans have a good amount of Omega-3 essential fatty acid. They are also high in antioxidants and phytonutrients which are not considered in most manufactured diets. Black beans are a good addition to a parrot's diet especially for the quality protein level. I personally can't eat black beans. I learned that before they were so popular here in the U.S. on a trip to Costa Rica where they served them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner almost every day for two weeks. They really tear up my intestines even with Beano - I can eat most other beans with little or no concerns. It took me awhile to realize that my parrots prefer them really smashed up with the other foods

BLACKBERRIES
        Very high in antioxidants. Blackberries have one of the highest ratings for oxygen radical absorbency capacity (ORAC) and they also have tannin, which can block the absorbency of iron. Since high iron levels can be problematic for parrots, the tannin in black berries is a positive for their health.

BLACK-BILLED AMAZON (Amazona agilis
    Sometimes called the Jamaican Black-billed Amazon. This parrot is rare if non-existent in American aviculture. Perhaps being so plain looking saved this bird from the excessive exploitation of the bird trade. However the bird is listed as vulnerable due to deforestation and hurricane damage. 

BLACK-CAPPED CONURE (Pyrrhura rupicola
    Literally a handful, these ususally delightful little parrots are packed with adorableness. Their natural habitat is the western Amazon basin from Peru to Bolivia. Most handfed Black-capped conures love cuddling and are very playful. I have really fallen for a little Black-capped Conure named Tia. She defines the word "cute." Like most Pyrrhura conures, Black-caps are little birds with big personalities. These diminutive dynamos are quieter than the bigger conures but they seem to have a few similar personality traits. They are acrobatic, playful and generally "full of themselves." They like to keep busy with lots of little tasks. This is another bird who seems to think that the people in his life are there to serve as a personal playgym. Don’t let their little beak fool you. Pyrrhura conures can become nippy and guidance is just as important for them as it is for bigger parrots. They can often stay affectionate with several people in their human flock if everyone handles them. These adventuresome birds need close supervision when they are out of their cages. I have met several of these little explorers who have gotten themselves into trouble because of their intense curiosity.

BLACK CURRANTS
    Currants were very popular in the United States until the early 1900s where farming was outlawed because it was considered to be a threat to the growth of white pines and the logging industry. However, they were commonly grown and a very popular berry in the United Kingdom. I remember eating them when I lived in London during my teens. I also remember that black currant juice made hot tea very tasty.  Many candies and jams were made with black currants. In the last several years many states have changed the law and some are now producing them but it is still illegal to grow them commercially in some states. Their levels of antioxidants and phytonutrients are higher than many of the berry type fruits that we rely on for nutrition - including blueberries and cranberries. They are also loaded with vitamin C, and have good amounts of  vitamin B6, vitamin E, potassium, copper and soluble fiber.

BLACK RASPBERRIES
    Black raspberries are smaller than blackberries and are hollow. When they are picked the core of the black raspberry stays on the plant. They are also packed with nutrition particularly containing a high level of antioxidants. As with other berries, they are a very healthy food for parrots.

BLIND PARROTS 
    I have met quite a few blind parrots in my life and they do quite well if people take their special needs into consideration. Some parrots are actually hatched without eyes, others have had disease or injury, and older parrots often develop cataracts. If people use consistent words to announce to the bird what they plan to do, the parrot will not be startled by their actions. The cage should remain pretty much the same with any additions being carefully "shown" to the bird by touching his beak to the new item. 

BLOOD DONOR PARROTS
    When my Bare-eyed cockatoo, Roxi-anne, had to have her leg amputated, we searched for a healthy Bare-eye to donate blood for transfusions. There was a Moluccan who lived at U.C. Davis Veterinary School who provided blood transfusions for many birds but the vets preferred to find a bird who was more closely related to her. Through Feathered Follies, we found a couple who allowed their wonderful Bare-eyed, Bogus, donate blood for Roxi-anne. 


BLOOD FEATHER  
    An emerging growing feather. Usually one of the long shafted tail or wing feathers but can also occur on the crest and sometimes other parts of the body. Blood feathers are normal but a damaged blood feather can create problems. Many will stop bleeding on their own. Caregivers can use corn starch which can also stop the bleeding. Only a serious blood feather that keeps bleeding needs to be pulled. 

BLOOD SUGAR
    Occasionally a parrot who has become very stressed may faint or become unconscious based on their blood sugar becoming too low. This happened to a Mealy Amazon I was grooming. Her caregiver was sure that her bird would experience trauma if handled by anyone else and this fear transferred to the bird. When I finished the grooming, she swooped the Amazon up to place her in her carrier. When she tried to put the bird in the carrier, the bird's wing got caught in the door. The woman became even more upset, which further upset the parrot and she passed out. I had heard about this happening due to low blood sugar before and insisted that the woman get away from the bird. Within less than a minute, the parrot recovered and I slowly moved her into the travel cage. I called my vet because I wanted him to see the Amazon as soon as possible to reassure the woman that her bird was OK. To me this was a classic example of a parrot having a strong fear response to the panic of their caregiver. I think that when a parrot is bonded to a person, the bird looks to that person for security and to know if everything is OK. When a person panics during a routine situation, the parrot will also panic. I can remember several times when I used to groom parrots on a regular basis that I insisted that their caregivers leave the room because the person was exhibiting such negative energy, sometimes because they were so concerned about their parrot

BLOSSOM-HEADED PARAKEET (Psittacula roseata)
    The blossom-headed parakeet is endemic to northeast India into Southeast Asia.This ringneck family parakeet is often confused with the plum-headed parakeet. The male plum-headed parakeet has a deeper red on its head, while the male blossom-head parakeet's head is pink. Another difference is that the blossom-head has yellow tail tips and the plum-head has white tips on its tail. 
    I have to admit that in my limited experience with these beautiful birds, I haven’t really learned the subtle differences between the two species, especially in regards to personality. In the late 1970s, I purchased what was sold to me as a wild-caught Plum-headed parakeet but had no success in winning his trust. He did become more beautiful as I converted him to a more nutritious diet. Since then I have met a few Plum-head and/or Blossom-head parakeets who were quite tame as companions. Again the key is the level of early and sustained attention. 

BLOW DRYER 
    Some people like to use blow dryers after they give their parrots a bath. This should be ok as long as they keep the heat quite low. Changing a parrot’s temperature too quickly can cause health problems. Whenever I use a blow dryer, I always keep my other hand right next to the parrot so I can keep track of the heat level.

BLUEBERRIES
    Another berry with extremely high nutritional benefits including tannins and resveratrol, which is now being touted as one of the major cancer fighting ingredients. Blueberries are also high in vitamin A, vitamin K, and various B vitamins. 

BLUE AND GOLD MACAW  (Ara ararauna
    The blue and gold is the most popular companion macaw and with good reason. When raised properly with quality early socialization, these intelligent macaws are inquisitive and can form a trusting bond with their caregivers. They are considered to be the best talker of the macaws and I have met quite a few of them with extensive vocabularies. Their native habitat extends over much or northern South America and although they are not considered threatened, populations are declining in some areas of their range. 
    The Blue and Gold macaw has been holding its own as the most popular companion macaw for many years. When they are well socialized, they are exceptional birds. If their potential is developed, they are intelligent, highly affectionate, and a consummate companion. They tend to be the most outgoing clowns of the large macaws. Some can be excellent talker with clear enunciation. I once bird sat for a young Blue and gold who did a whole repertoire around his caregivers arguing — some of the words were clean, the rest was enthusiastic gibberish. The woman’s voice with whiny and manipulative and the man’s voice was loud and arrogant. Blue and golds are very good learners, especially when they have a good teacher. They can be extremely interactive and they enjoy time spent in your face — especially learning new behaviors.
    They love game playing and will come up with their own games to play with you. They also love ambient attention with you nearby involved in something else but taking the time to stop to talk to them from time to time about what they are doing. As with many macaws, Blue and golds love to play games. Years ago I visited a woman who had a Blue and gold. The woman and I were talking and the macaw was sitting quietly on my knee behaving herself. Suddenly without any warning, the macaw threw her head up into my face and squawked loudly. There was no aggression and it was clear to me it was one of those macaw games ... perhaps a test to see if I would freak out? How can you not? It was such a surprise. If you do freak out, she is likely to continue to play this game just about every time you relax. I presume if you showed no reaction, she would stop but that is next to impossible. I thought about it for awhile, and decided to play her game with her. She was quietly sitting on my knee and I suddenly threw my face at her and yelled, BOO! I thought she was going to jump off of my knee but, in truth, she really liked that I returned her game and we became great friends.
    While many people think that Blue and Golds don’t need as large a cage as the other large macaws, these birds usually have a lot of energy that dictates as large a cage as possible. A good size playgym or two (they love hanging playgyms!) is also very important for these playful acrobatic macaws.  

BLUE-CHEEKED AMAZON (Amazona dufresniana)  
    Also known as the Dufresne's Amazon.  This beautiful Amazona is from Venezuela, the Guianas and northern Brazil. Rare in captivity. 

BLUE-CROWNED CONURE (Aratinga acuticaudata
    It is my opinion that Blue-crowned conures are one of the best companion parrots if their needs are met properly. While not considered a good talker, some Blue-crowns who get a lot of individual attention surprise their caregivers by learning an assortment of words and expressions. They are native to a large area in South America from Columbia to northern Argentina. 
    Many of the wild-caught Blue-crowned conures that I tamed became wonderful companions for people. I think that well-socialized hand-feds are one of the best kept secrets of the companion parrot world. I am convinced that the Blue-crowned conure is potentially one of the best all-round parrot companions. Their personality has always seemed more like a small macaw than a conure to me. With quality behavioral maintenance, the ones I have known have been very steady and are devoted to their human flock. They often stay tame to several members in the family if everyone gives them attention. They tend not to be as noisy as some other conures and many are good talkers. Acrobatic and playful, these conures are just plain cute! 

BLUE-FRONTED AMAZON (Amazona aestiva aestiva
 BLUE-FRONTED AMAZON, YELLOW-WINGED AMAZON (Amazona aestiva xanthopterex
    In a survey from the Companion Parrot Quarterly, the results showed that the Blue-fronted Amazon was the most popular companion Amazon. The subspecies (Amazona aestiva xanthopterix), which is often referred to as the yellow-winged Amazon can be a very flashy bird. Its range is throughout many areas of northern South America. Blue-fronts can be very inquisitive and playful, but because of their excitability quality guidance is essential. Often, there is a considerable variance in the coloration, size and personality of Amazona aestiva individuals. So much so that when they were imported into Europe in the early 1800s, people considered many of the variations to be different species. The Blue-front that most of us are familiar with in the United States is sometimes referred to as the Yellow-winged Amazon ... subspecies xanthopteryx (xantho translates as yellow and opteryx as wing) Blue-fronts are incredibly sweet babies. Most are very acrobatic and usually exceptionally playful. One of my all-time favorite parrots is Bosco who belonged to an employee. He was a delight and learned almost anything I taught him from behaviors to songs. I still miss interacting with him. With proper guidance and understanding of their moods and excitable energy, Blue-fronts can stay gentle as they mature. Many of them are good talkers, singers, and whistlers. They can remain very loyal to the people in their human flock.
    Blue-fronts can be one of the more excitable Amazons but learning to read their body language will give a caregiver warning before the bird goes into overload. Loyalty can translate into one-person protection, territoriality, and aggression. This is most problematic if the Amazon has formed a strong mate bond with one person. The best way to prevent this is for everyone in the household to handle the bird and develop his or her own relationship with the bird. The trade-off for talking ability can be a higher noise level but screaming can be managed by redirecting their bird into more positive learned behaviors. People also need to understand that a certain amount of screaming is perfectly acceptable either as a flock communication or because the Amazon is happy to be alive! Some of this screaming can be redirected into singing, talking or whistling with behavioral guidance.    The nominate species of the Blue-fronted Amazon is generally a smaller, more compact parrot than the xanthopterex sub-species. It is also quite rare in American aviculture. Perhaps this is true because they are generally less flashy than the "yellow-winged" blue-front and may have been bred with the xanthopterex to produce a flashier bird. The Amazona aestiva aestiva was never imported in great numbers and the somewhat mellower Amazon seems to quite rare in the U.S. but I do see them occasionally in Canada. They are somewhat smaller, shorter and stockier than the Yellow-winged Blue-front and lack the amount of yellow on the wing. The few wild-caught individuals I tamed years ago were generally mild-mannered little guys and not nearly as excitable as the xanthopteryx. For a year or so, I lived with a true Blue-front (aestiva aestiva). She came to me somewhat shy and phobic. I worked with her for that time and was able to turn her into a friendly little parrot who enjoyed gentle handling. She remained somewhat insecure but was fine if her environment was consistent and nurturing. I found a good home for her with a woman and her daughter.  

BLUE-HEADED PIONUS  (Pionus menstruus
    The Blue-headed Pionus is endemic to parts of Central and northern South America. Well-raised Blue-heads are generally independent birds with an inquisitive, playful nature. Pionus are not always cuddly parrots but they usually love a good head skritch. The Blue-head is probably the best known Pionus and considered to be one of the best companions in the family. The first Blue-headed Pionus I met was actually in Costa Rica. He lived temporarily at the Tropical research station at La Selva. Though this area was not within his natural range, the possibility was that someone had gotten him as a baby, brought him to the area and he had escaped and flown into the research station. He arrived a few weeks before my visit and was a really friendly little fellow who spoke a few words in Spanish. The person who was taking care of him named him gallospintos (beans and rice) after the main dish served to both the eco-tourists at the station and the bird. He was still pretty ratty looking, so I was surprised at how beautiful they are when I saw a well-fed domestically-raised baby. The almost weaned babies I met at breeder Rita Shimniok’s house were absolutely fearless explorers of the unknown who loved handling from anyone. 

BLUE-THROATED MACAW  (Ara glaucogularis
    This is a macaw that is considered severely threatened in its native habitat of north-central Bolivia. Conservations efforts are trying to save these macaws both in the wild and in aviculture. For many years, Blue-throats were referred to as Caninde macaws. People who live with Blue-throated macaws declare that they are exceptional, if not somewhat excitable, companion macaws. One of their most notable traits is that when they are excited, their faces blush with red. 
    Up until a few years ago, I had only seen a few of these macaws. For a long time, people confused them with being small Blue and Golds but they are actually quite a different macaw both in appearance and personality. I was delighted by a young handicapped Blue-throat named Icarus who lived with Kathleen Smith, a woman I visited in Florida. Ick (for short) is a delightful, energetic macaw who, despite a skeletal problem in his hips, is full of mischief and has no idea his is handicapped. 
    Although the Blue-throated Macaw has been uncommon as companions, many more are now available. Originally many were produced at a large bird farm in Florida. Unfortunately socialization was not important there so quite a few Blue-throats came into the market with problems. Since I moved to Colorado, I have met quite a few of these macaws and I find them to be highly energetic, acrobatic, and a bit stubborn at times. I spent close to an hour watching a group of three youngsters playing

BOBBIE  
    The companion human from Sally's "If Parrots had People for Pets" cartoon in the PBR/CPQ/CPOM

BODINI'S AMAZON (Amazona festiva bodini
    A sub-species of the Festive Amazon and is found near the Orinoco river of Venezuela. The Bodini's main feature is bright rump feathers. I believe that these parrots are very underrated as human companions. Every one that I have met has been an exceptional companion and an excellent talker. These gorgeous Amazons are uncommon as companions. Their most notable feature is the intense patch of red feathers on their backs. I think they are one of the best kept secrets of the parrot world. I have met about a dozen of these unique parrots and most of them have been very good talkers. 
    Until the last few years all of the Festive/Bodini’s I met were parrots that were over thirty but I have seen several babies in the last decade. I have yet to hear much of a complaint when I talk to someone who lives with a Festive or a Bodini’s. One older adopted Festive had a hysterical vocabulary. He said some of the funniest phrases I have ever heard a bird speak. He was very tame to the man but could be a bit aggressive towards his wife. If I was 20 years younger, there is no doubt in my mind that I would have a Bodini’s or Festive Amazon in my life.

BODY FLUFF 
    When a parrot quickly fluffs his whole body and his feathers with one great shake, it often means he is through with what he is doing and ready to go on to something else. However, if a parrot's feathers are fluffed for more that a few minutes or remain fluffed with other signs of illness, the caregiver needs to consult with an avian veterinarian.

BODY LANGUAGE 
    Facial expressions and the movement of body and feathers can be used to communicate and we can interpret a parrot’s mood and/or intentions. However, body language that indicates certain behavior in one parrot may not indicate the same exact behavior in another parrot. For example, is the Red-lored Amazon below showing aggression by ruffling his head feathers or is he soliciting a good head skritch? This is why we need to pay close attention to our birds to know what they are actually trying to communicate with their body language.

BOINGG 
    Wonderful hanging and climbing perch first devised by a woman named Cheryl McMillen who made them so tight they seemed to last forever. Many companies have made them since but very few are as well-made as hers were. Be sure and keep the unraveled strings trimmed so your parrot doesn't get caught up in them.

BOK CHOY
    Bok Choy or Chinese cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin A, C and K and contains calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium.  

BOND (parrot/human or human/parrot) 
    The cohesive mutual connection based on trust between a parrot and a person. I once heard a woman emphatically state that she hated the word "bond" in regards to parrots. However for a companion parrot, a healthy (non-sexual) 'buddy bond" with a human being is essential. (see Buddy Bond) 


BONGO MARIE 
    Sally Blanchard’s brilliant African grey parrot who lived with her for almost 25 years. She was very ill when Sally first got her and it was amazing that as sick as she was, that she lived as long as she did. Sally has many wonderful stories about Bongo Marie and loves to tell them at seminars. It is unlikely that Sally would have become so involved in parrots if it wasn't for her relationship with Bongo Marie.


 

BONGO MARIE & THE CORNISH GAME HEN  
    A famous parrot story originally in the Pet Bird Report (in the early 1990s that has even been written about in a book by Eugene Linden and then republished in the Reader's Digest and Time Magazine.

THE STORY
    I am convinced after living with Bongo Marie for close to 25 years that she had a sense of humor. Her laughter was almost always appropriate. It seems to me as if some African greys have a superiority complex; as if they think they are better than other parrots they live with. 
    Certainly Bongo Marie has always acted as if Paco, my female double yellow head Amazon, was not her equal – as if green was an inferior color. Perhaps that is why it took such a long time after I got her to get her to eat greens; she had heard you are what you eat. Both Paco and Bongo Marie had lived with me for about 20 years and they were never friends. Bongo occasionally called Paco’s name until Paco responds. Then the grey told the Amazon to "Be Quiet!"
    Several years ago, Bongo Marie’s cage was right next to the dining room table and Paco’s cage was right near the door. I was fixing dinner and had just taken a Cornish game hen out of the oven and was poised to carve a piece of the breast meat. Bongo Marie slid down the side of her cage and eyed my dinner quizzically. Suddenly, she threw her head up and in a frantic questioning voice exclaimed, "OH NO, PACO!?!?!" After I stopped laughing, I explained to her that the bird on the platter was not Paco, "Look Bongo Marie – that’s not Paco. Paco is right over there." She looked towards Paco and in a very indignant voice said, "oh no," as if she was disappointed. Then she laughed hysterically with her very maniacal laugh as if to let me know she had been joking all of the time! 



BOOSEY, EDWARD J. 
The English author of several books about aviculture, captive breeding and the 'pet' potential of various birds. Parrots, Cockatoos, & Macaws was published in 1956, as was Foreign Bird Keeping. I have reprinted several of his species profiles on the Parrot History section of this website.



BORNA VIRUS  
    Borna virus, PDD, Wasting or all of the other names this terrible disease has been called was originally thought to be a disease of macaws (Macaw Wasting Disease) because they symptoms were first seen in a group of macaws in the late 1970s. It was not too long before it was found in many other parrot species. There is certainly a lot more information about it than there used to be when it was a real mystery disease - since they have now identified the pathogen that causes it, there will be more advances made in diagnosing it and hopefully even treating it. The fact that there is now a test that can diagnose the disease is a major breakthrough since the only way it could be absolutely determined previously was through necropsy. The main problem with this disease is that it causes an inability to swallow and properly digest food causing the eventual wasting away of the parrot. Eventually the walls of the Proventriculus to become thin and fragile that they no longer metabolizing nutrients. Often the first symptoms of the disease are related to body condition and motor skills such as balance. The term PDD stands for Proventricular dilatation disease. PDD caused by the Borna Virus is considered to be one of most difficult challenges for avian research and captive breeding of parrots. In November 2010, there was a presentation about the Borna Virus and an opportunity for anyone who brought their bird to have it tested for this disease. 



BOTTLE FED
    A method of handfeeding using a squeeze type bottle. This is a positive way of feeding bappies unless the same squeeze bottle is used indiscriminately to feed many parrots from unrelated clutches and/or the food is forced into the back of the parrot’s throat in a non-nurturing manner (called power feeding). One of the major problems that I have seen with feeding babies with a squeeze bottle is that the same bottle is used to feed several baby parrots. This essentially means that if one baby parrot has a health problem, it can be transmitted to all of the other babies fed with that bottle.



BOURKE'S PARAKEET (Neopsephotus Bourkii
    Originally considered to be an "aviary bird," Bourkes are now considered to be good companions if hand-raised and kept tame. The Rosy Bourke is a common and popular mutation of the Bourke's parakeet. Although they are commonly bred in captivity, the Bourke's is a CITES II endangered species in their native habitats in southwestern and central Australia. Several years ago, I had a client with several pet birds ranging from a cockatiel to a cockatoo. However, she stated emphatically that her favorite was a delightful hand-raised Rosy Bourke who spent much of his time hanging off of her blouse cooing sweet nothings at her. The bird loved to have his head skritched, ate food from her fingers, and preened her hair. Since I met her Bourke’s, no one can convince me that these sweet little birds are just aviary birds. 

BOWLS AND CROCKS (food and water)  
    I think that cages should have 3-4 bowls. One for water, one for dry foods, one for wet foods, and possibly one as a toy box to hold foot toys.

BOXES AS NEST CAVITIES
    Several breeders that I have known keep their baby parrots in cardboard boxes with a towel over the top and paper towels on the bottom. They are easy to clean because if  they get too dirty, you just move the baby to a new box and throw the old one away. It also simulates a dark tree cavity and the light reaching the baby can be increased or decreased according to how much of the box is covered with the towel. It is certainly more natural than keeping baby parrots in well-lit aquariums, which flies in the face of biological fact. There are no parrot species that naturally keep their babies in an enclosure that lets a lot of ight in from all sides and the top; this is just one of those things that got started in aviculture that makes absolutely no sense.

BRAIN (bird) 
    We now know that this is a compliment and not the insult that some people used to think it was ... thanks to Alex and Dr. Pepperberg!

BRAZIL NUTS 
    When fed in moderation, Brazil Nuts are a good source of fiber, fat, and several minerals (particularly potassium), vitamin E and a few B vitamins. Macaws need to have some nuts on a daily basis in their diet, while nuts should be limited in the diet of other parrots who have a tendency for obesity such as Amazons and cockatoos. 

BREAD
    There are some whole grain, low salt, low sugar breads that are quite healthy for parrots. I buy Ezekiel Sprouted Whole Grain Bread. I keep it in the freezer to keep it fresh. I mix almond butter with sweet potato baby food or a nature organic jam (without sugar or artificial sweeteners) and spread the mixture on a slice of the toasted bread and then cut it into pieces that are proportionate to the size and appetites of my parrots. It is definitely one of my parrots favorite treats! I also toast this bread and break it up in my "Glop (also see Bird Bread)

BREED AND SPECIES
     Our dogs and cats can be correctly referred to as breeds as in Airedale or Siamese. That is because all domesticated dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) are the same species and all domesticated cats (Felis catus) are the same species. For example, despite their difference in size a Chihuahua and a Great Dane are the same species; they are different breeds. In the world of cats, a Maine Coon and an American shorthair are different breeds but are the same species. It is incorrect to refer to parrots as breeds because each is actually a different species. An African grey is not a breed, it is a species (Psittacus erithacus) and it is a different species than a double-yellow headed Amazon (Amazona oratrix), etc.

(THE) BRICK WALL 
    The metaphor used in the theory of Nurturing Guidance to describe the artificial environment a parrot lives in as a human companion. This is fully described in Sally's Companion Parrot Handbook

BROAD-BILLED PARROT  (Lophopsittacus mauritianus
    A stocky parrot that lived on the island of Mauritius and became extinct. They were probably flightless and when pigs, rats and other animals that ate their eggs and young were introduced to the island, this species had no chance for survival. The Broad-billed parrot was similar in several ways to the black cockatoos of Austral-Asia. This parrot was last observed in 1638. 

BROCCOLI  
    A popular cruciferous vegetable from the Kale family, broccoli is loaded with vitamin A, beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin C, and various B vitamins. It is considered to be a serious immune system builder and cancer-fighting vegetable. This is one of several vegetables that should be in your parrot's diet. Broccoli is a good food for smaller parrot-family birds since they usually like to graze on the flowerets. My parrots will eat it as broccoli but it is not their favorite veggie. I put it in just about everything else that I know that they will eat including my "Glop" and my Bird Bread.

BRONZE-WINGED PIONUS (Pionus chalcopteru
    If these Pionus are on a good diet, their colors are absolutely breath-taking. They are from the Andes of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and furthest northwest Venezuela. These gorgeous parrots are usually easy going and are popular as human companions. When these parrots are well-fed and receive quality care, they are one of the most beautiful parrots I have ever seen. Take time to count the colors in these beauties — especially in good lighting. I have been told that the hens are gentler than the males but I don’t know this to be a fact and it could be on an individual basis. The Bronze-wing that I spent the most time with was very sweet and gentle with children who didn’t move very fast. She could also develop a bit of an attitude when she was being asked to do something that she didn’t want to do (but then, um, the woman she lived with worked with me and often had the same attitude.)  

BROTOGERIS
   Brotogeris is a genus of South American parrot family birds that includes the Grey-cheeked Parakeet, the Orange-chinned Parakeet and the Canary-winged BeeBee 

BROWN-HEADED PARROTS (Poicephalus cryptoxanthus
    This member of the Senegal family is full of surprises. Although on first look, they don't seem to be very colorful, when they open their wings, the inside color is a gorgeous yellow. The species name cryptoxanthus translates as hidden yellow. Most people who breed or live with these parrots report that they tend to be mild-mannered and gentle, while also showing a playful nature. I had very little experience with domestically-raised Brown-heads until I moved to Colorado. I thought that they were cute but had no idea how cute they could be. I have been very impressed with the nature of these parrots after meeting several of them through Avalon Aviary. Years ago I tamed a couple of wild-caught Brown-heads and found them much easier to work with than the other members of the Poicephalus family.  
    One of the Brown-heads I worked with years ago had turned quite nippy at a young age but his breeder was one of those that thought early socialization was a waste of time. It is my belief that this is why the bird turned so nippy and not some inherent species trait. This has become even more apparent to me since I have had the opportunity to bird sit several of these little guys since I moved to Colorado. I have fallen in love with the Brown-headed species. They may seem somewhat nondescript but when they open their wings, they dazzle you with bright yellow on the inside of their wings and their personality is anything but nondescript. From my experience, I would say that they seem to be the most mellow of all of the Poicephalus that I have met (Senegal, Red-belly, Meyer’s, Jardine’s) perhaps with the exception of the Cape parrot, which is still fairly uncommon as a companion.
    I have had some in-depth experience with Brown-heads since I bird sit for a few of them from time to time. One of them loves play on the hanging gyms that I have but when he gets tired of that, he flies over and lands on my shoulder and whispers in my ear. I also met one of the cutest Brown-headed Parrots when I was in Canada. The breeder told me that out of all the Poicephalus that she raised, she thought that the Brown-head was the most steady and had the potential to be the best companion parrot.I have fallen in love with Brown-headed parrots and think that they are the ideal companion for people who want a smaller parrot with a lot of personality that is fairly easy to manage. Thier species name is description - crypto translates as hidden and xanthus translates as yellow — so the species name cryptoxanthus means hidden yellow referring to the yellow in the inside of their wings.

BRUSH-TONGUED PARROTS 
    This is a term used to describe Lories and the Lorikeets because their tongues have little "hairs" on them to allow them to eat pollen and nectar from flowers.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS
    When I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, I would drive down to Carmel every month or so to visit my grandmother. There were some wonderful vegetable/fruit stands on the way and I would often stop to buy produce for both my parrots and my grandmother. One of the great things you could get in season were Brussel sprouts still on the stalk. I would hang them next to a hanging playgym and my parrots would go nuts foraging for the actual sprouts, especially the Amazons. They also loved al dente steamed Brussels sprouts. They loved to hold one in their feet and peel and eat the different levels. Brussels sprouts are one of the cruciferous veggies and are a good source for vitamin K with a small amount of several other nutrients. As withe other cruciferous vegetables, they are also considered to contain high levels of phytonutrients, ahich are claimed to lower cancer risks. 

BUDDY BOND
    A healthy mutual bond with a parrot involves guidance and friendship. The more instructional interaction parrots receive from the people in their lives and they more people play fun games with their parrots, the more likely they will bond to these people as a friend instead of a mate.

BUDGERIGAR (Melopsittacus undulatus
    Although the budgie is one of many birds referred to as a parakeet, it should be called a budgie or a budgerigar to distinguish it from many other parakeets in the world of aviculture. These high-energy little gems (originally from Australia) are perhaps the most popular companion parrot-family bird in the world. As far as I know, the record for the most words and parrot family bird says is still held by a budgerigar. Budgerigars or Budgies (more commonly but erroneously referred to as parakeets) are pretty much what the breeder and caregiver make them. Unfortunately, aspects of the pet trade are really screwing up this potentially delightful little species by turning it into a dime store throw-away species. Many of these birds being sold through the pet industry are now produced with little concern for genetics or hardiness. Their potential life-span has been shortened considerable by this push ‘em out mentality. Poorly bred birds have a tendency towards fatty tumors, particularly on a seed-only diet. If you can truly find a healthy hand-fed baby budge from a legitimate breeder or bird shop, the bird has the potential to be an incredible companion. They can be affectionate, clever, curious, little dynamos. Be sure to buy one that is weaned to pellets and veggies as Budgies can be very difficult to convert from a rigid see-only diet, which is a death diet for Budgies. They do not do well on total pellets, especially ones with coloring. 
    A survey that I did through the Pet Bird Report showed that a great number of the subscribers started out with Budgies as children. That’s the way I started and Mickey Finn was not just my pet. Everyone in the family adored him. He was talkative, loved to dive bomb us, and loved to have his head skritched. One day he was on my grandmother’s shoulder as she walked out the front door, he said, "Shut the door stupid, the bird’s out." My grandmother turned around and quickly went back into the house. My father must have said that to my brother and me at least a hundred times. While Budgies are often considered a child’s first bird, they can be a wonderful companion for the whole family. Not only that, a Budgie holds the record for the most words spoken. Don’t ever say, "I just have a Budgie". When done right, these are remarkable companion birds and certainly nothing to apologize about ... I have heard far too many people say that they "just have a parakeet."  

BUDGERIGAR BABIES
    Unfortunately, these delightful little birds have been production-raised for so long that it may be difficult to find a budgie without a tendency for fatty tumors or one that potentially has a lifespan over 5 years. If you can find a breeder who is actually concerned about the birds they breed, that is the place to buy a budgie. 

BUFFON'S MACAW (Great-green Macaw) (Ara ambiguus)  
    Also referred to as the Great Green Macaw. Uncommon as a companion macaw, the endangered Buffon's is from Central America to northern South America. These macaws reportedly have a less excitable personality that some of the others. As with several macaws, their faces blush when they are excited. 

BURRITO (for parrots)
    I like to experiment with healthy foods to give my parrots variety in their diets. One of there favorites is the Birdy Burritos that I make them. The filling is whatever nutritious foods I have handy. Usually this consists of grated and/or finely chopped veggies such as carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and collard greens or kale. I mix this up with some non-fat yogurt, and a little almond butter to hold it together. Sometimes I put a little low salt cheese into the mix (cheese should be limited in a parrot diet). Then I put it in the center of a whole wheat tortilla or a spinach wrap and then cook it into the microwave for 45 seconds or so. I let it cool and then slice it into appropriate portions to feed my parrots. Look under 'Recipes' for more of my parrot concoctions.

BURSA OF FABRICIUS 
    Young parrots are said to have an immature immune system. A gland, called the Bursa of Fabricius, is a pouch on the wall of the cloaca found only in young birds. This gland carries out a task called Cloacal Sippping – it brings in elements of the environement to help develop the immunesystem This gland atrophies as the bird matures. Along with the thymus, these glands help to form and stimulate the cells of the immune system. It is thought that these glands secrete hormones that stimulate the production of antibodies to infections. Once the bird matures, the immune system of the bird becomes mature and the Bursa of Fabricius is no longer needed to produce extra antibodies and the gland is absorbed back into the cloacal wall. At this time, it is assumed that the young parrots immune system is developed. 

BUTLER, PAUL    
    Working with RARE in the Caribbean, Paul Butler helped to set up programs based on national pride to protect and preserve the wildlife in several island countries. The theory was to help the native people develop a pride in the natural assets of their country so they will help protect them. This pride campaign used preachers, schools and just about anyone that was interested in helping to acquaint the people of St. Lucia to save and protect the severely endangered St. Lucia Amazon. After this program was successful, Paul Butler moved on to the island of St. Vincent where he helped develop national pride in their native Amazon. Eventually the Island of Dominica worked to save the Imperial Amazon and named it their national bird.  Working with RARE, Paul Butler helped native populations conserve their endemic parrots and these parrots have continued to thrive and increase their populations. I have met Paul Butler and heard him speak twice and it is clear to me why he was able to influence people in such a positive way; his enthusiasm, energy, and passion is infectious. Many conservations efforts have followed a great deal of Paul Butler's groundbreaking work in the Caribbean and Central America to help wildlife in other parts of the world. A good example is Indonesian Parrot Project. (see Indonesian Parrot Project) 

BUTTER
    Butter is an absolute NO-NO in feeding parrots because it is very high in saturated fats and cholesterol. 

BUTTERNUT SQUASH
    A highly nutritious vegetable with lots of vitamin A. My parrots love baked winter squash whether it is acorn, butternut, pumpkin or any of the other winter squashes. (see Winter Squash) 

BY-PRODUCTS IN PET FOODS
    We tend to trust the pet food industry without thinking much about what is really in the foods. But does the pet food industry deserve our trust? By-products whether they are chicken, beef, cow, horse, fish meal, or any other source, are the parts or an animal that are not used for human consumption. These include the head, lips, beaks, digestive innards which probably contain poop, other innards, skin, bones, and feet. They are all put into a vat and mixed together to be purchased by a pet food manufactures. This has always seemed like a breeding ground for severe bacterial contamination. If the bacterial contaminants are removed, the by-products will contain the anti-bacterial agents used to control them. This also presents health problems for animals. By-products can also contain chemicals used to euthanize the animals such as sodium pentobarbital. There were (and perhaps still are) pet food manufacturers that use euthanized dogs and cats. Dead animals of all kinds including sick ones and discarded pets, are 'rendered" and sold to manufactures for animal feeds, including pet foods. It is not illegal to do so in the United States. Some pet foods also use rotten meat from the supermarkets, grease from restaurants, meat from diseased animals, road kill, and something called AD (which is animal digest, which is feces and urine.) 
I read my pet food products very carefully. Statitstics show that almost 50% of dog death in dogs over 10 years die from cancer. Will we ever  know about what is really in our pet foods and how dangerous the additives are? It is unlikely. The Animal Protection Institute say, "of the more than 8,600 recognized food additives today, no toxicity information is available for 46% of them." This is also true of highly processed pelleted diets that are full of synthetic chemical nutrition and other problematic ingredients. Cancer has also increased in companion parrots. (also see food additives)




More

LINKS


                                                      WISHLIST

                                                      VIEWED PRODUCTS