-O- Glossary & Dictionary of Parrot Information, plus Ornithologyical and Avicultural Terms
(THE) OASIS PARROT SANCTUARY
A reputable parrot sanctuary about 60 miles from Tucson, Arizona.
OBESITY IN PARROTS
Some parrot family birds such Budgerigars, Rose-breasted Cockatoos, other cockatoos, and Amazons heave a tendency for obesity. This is particularly true when they are fed a diet high in human fast food, seeds, nuts, and other fats. Both budgies and galahs are also prone to fatty tumors.
"OK" COMMAND (see Verbal Commands)
A command or verbal cue to let a parrot know that you are giving him permission to do something he is not normally allowed to do.
A totally arbitrary term, usually used to describe companion parrots who are over the age of twenty. They are generally considered to be older parrots although their potential life-span is much greater. I don't believe that a medium or large parrots should be referred to as an older parrot until they are in their forties or fifties.
OMELETS FOR PARROTS
Eggs should only be fed in moderation and should be very well-cooked because of the potential of salmonella. Every once and awhile I over cook a small omelet in canola oil and put a mixture of chopped veggies and plain yogurt inside. Sometimes, I add a bit of salsa to it to spice it up. Then I cut it into size appropriate portions for my parrots and they love it.
An animal who eats almost anything. Most parrot-family birds are considered to be Opportunistic Omnivores. This means they will eat almost anything edible they come across while they are foraging for food.
If allowed to, some parrots will become “one-person birds.” They will form such a strong (see strangers also) bond to one person that they want nothing to do with anyone else. In some cases, a one-person bird will become aggressive to other people in the human flock. Early and continuing socialization to a number of people can prevent a parrot from being a one-person bird. There may be a favored person but with good behavioral guidance, the parrot is much less likely to exhibit aggressive behavior towards other people. A lot of people presume that Amazon parrots will become one-person birds that it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more accurate generalization is that Amazon parrots are more defined by the concept; "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with."
A behavioral theory developed by B. F. Skinner that dates back to the early 1930s. Part of the concept of current operant conditioning practice involves using a food reward to get a parrot to learn new behaviors. For example, operant conditioning is used to train performing birds in bird shows. The bird’s food is closely measured to keep him in a state of hunger before a show. When he performs a trick properly, he is given food as a reward to teach him to associate that trick behavior with the food reward. This type of training may be successful for trick birds and companion parrots but the trust-destroying concept of food deprivation has no place in companion parrot training.
An animal who takes advantage of almost all food sources in its environment and eats almost anything that doesn’t eat him first. Most parrots are opportunistic omnivores.
OPTIMIZING THE ENVIRONMENT
Making sure that all aspects of a parrot’s physical environment and emotional care are the best possible
While oranges are acidic and probably should not be fed everyday, they are still a very
healthy food for parrots in moderation. Citrus can help metabolize iron in the bird's system so it is wise not to feed citrus at the same time as any foods that are high in iron.
ORANGE-FRONTED CONURE (Aratinga canicularis)
Also known as the Half-moon Conure. I have limited experience with this petite conure. I worked mostly with imported birds over twenty years ago when they were inexpensive and relatively common. The ones that I worked with were busy little jewels who were easy to tame and once tamed, they stayed very loving to their caregivers. I have only had the pleasure of meeting one or two hand-feds and these were high activity, playful, acrobatic and curious companions who, although they didn’t always enunciate properly, had decent vocabularies.
ORANGE-WINGED AMAZON (Amazona amazonica)
Wild-caught birds didn’t seem to adjust as well to captivity as some of the other imported Amazons and looked scruffy from the bad diet fed in quarantine stations. One of the first parrots I ever worked with was a wild-caught, semi-tame, cage bound Orange-wing. He was not in very good condition because he had been on a terrible diet. I was not too impressed with his appearance. When I met the first hand-fed youngster, I was amazed at how stunning he was. When these Amazons are on a nutritious diet they shimmer. Orange-wings can have a delightful, out-going personality with medium excitability. As with most Amazons, their body language is readable as far as predicting over-excitement or pre-aggression signals. Orange-wings form a ruff with the feathers on the back of their head when they are curious or excited. These Amazons can be a bit noisy but guidelines can be established for a quieter companion.
Foods claiming to be organic must be free of artificial food additives, and are often processed with fewer artificial methods, materials and conditions, such as chemical ripening, food irradiation, and genetically modified ingredients. Pesticides are allowed so long as they are not synthetic.(From Wikipedia) Harrison's Bird Pellets is not actually an organic food. Only the base foods are organic; other than that it contains synthetic food vitamins.
The intense and phobic fear of birds. Most phobias are irrational in that they go beyond a normal mistrust in protentially frightening situations. Most of these people are most afaid of birds flying at them. Perhaps they saw Alfred Hitchcok's The Birds, whern they were young and impressionable. Having parrots, I have personally experienced 3 major situations with people with true orniphobia.
When I was about 7-8 years old, my parents had a couple come for dinner. The man was some important person from my father's job. My brother and I were usually allowed to say hello and then we had to go to our rooms. We usually took our Budgie, Mickey out of his cage to kiss him good night and then put him back in his cage. Usually he behaved but that evening he decided to fly around the room. Turned out the woman guest was terrified of birds and started screaming as if she was being attacked by vampires. We tried to catch him but he decided to play and we were jumping around the furniture so it was a game for us to. Finally my father caught him and put him back in his cage but the woman insisted that he put Micky where she couldn't see him as far away as possible so he came upstairs with us. The woman didn't relax for the rest of the evening.
When my double yellow-head Paco first came to live with me, I had a friend who was so bird phobic that she wouldn't come into my house. One day she asked me if I would help her get over her irrational fear of birds. She wanted to start out by coming into my house with Paco's cage covered. That went ok and gradually we went to her sitting in the house with Paco's cage uncovered, then with Paco on the cage, then with me handling Paco. With in a few weeks, she was actually handling Paco. Eventually, she gave Paco a special invitation to come to dinner (I could bring her and have dinner too) and set a special place for Paco at the table. Phobia cured!
My third situation was on an airplane. I was moving to California and my grey, Bongo Marie, was in a carrier under the seat in front of me on the airplane. I was in an aisle seat and Bongo made a little chirpy noise. The woman in the middle seat asked if there was a bird under my seat. Within a fraction of a second she practically jumped over to me screaming to the flight attendant that she couldn't stay on the flight with a bird on the plane. The flight attendant managed to calm her down. I was agreeable and the attendant found Bongo and I a seat in the very back of the plane. While some orniphobics may be able to tolerate a bird in the room, it would be very unusual for a person with a real bird phobic to even have a bird near them.
The scientific study of birds
A biologist who specializes in the study of birds.
Many man made products such as carpets, paneling, plastics, floor time adhesives, and upholstery fabrics contain chemicals that are added as preservatives, stiffeners, etc. These chemicals may outgass and remain toxic for a period of time after they are in the home. Check with the seller and/or manufacturers for information about their products and if they are safe in your home while they continue to outgass. For example, when you install new carpeting in home with birds, it is best to find them another place to stay for 2 weeks or more. If possible, have the company you buy your carpet from unroll the carpet for as long as possible before you have it placed in your home. Please see information on new carpeting in the C Glossary Also please see information on Ozone Air Cleaners at the bottom of this page.
OUTSIDE AVIARIES FOR COMPANION PARROTS
A safe outdoor enclosure for parrots where they can receive some fresh air natural and indirect sunlight. People should use common sense in placing birds outdoors even if they are in a proper aviary. Your bird getting out is not the only possible problem. Discuss the size of the space between bars with the seller to make sure that critters can't get in or reach in through the cage bars. There have been many recorded Raccoon attacks where these animals have been able to reach in through the bars and injure and even kill the parrots. Keep the bottom of the aviary clean to avoid rodents coming into the aviary.They can frighten a parrot and can carry dangerous disease. The best time for parrots to be outside is from about 9 am to dusk. but if there is no covered top on the aviary, you should provide shade protection. If you build your own aviary, the spaces in chain link can be a problem. Most wire is galvanized, chain link included, and is coated with zinc, wbich presents a problem because it can be toxic if a parrot chews on it. Stainless steel, even though it is more expensive, is the safest choice for an aviary.
One of the saddest beliefs in aviculture is the nonsense that if you give a baby parrot "too much” attention, it will become over-dependent. It is a baby!!! and consequently needs quality socialization to learn its social and survival skills. Actually, it is the lack of sufficient attention that creates the insecurity that makes a parrot over-dependent. Cuddling is OK as long as it is also accompanied by lots of interactive instruction. (see Interactive Instruction)
Excited and often aggressive behavior resulting when a parrot becomes overstimulated. In some situations, an over-excited parrot can become aggressive. Many years ago, I had clients with a yellow-naped Amazon. They loved to play 'keep-away' with him by rolling a ball back and forth on the floor. He would chase the ball back and forth as they rolled it. Sometimes he would catch it and then bring the ball to one of them. After playing this game for awhile, he would go into overload and instead of grabbing the ball, he grabbed and bit one of their hands. They had stopped playing the game. I told them that they could keep playing the game but they had to watch him carefully for the signs of overload, which included eye pinning and focusing on their hands more than the rolling ball.
OVER THE COUNTER MEDICATIONS
There is no place in parrot care for any “medications” used without a veterinarian’s prescription or recommendation. Such products as Marvel Aid similar products can actually create situations where an avian veterinarian may have difficulty making a proper diagnosis. Several companies within the pet industry still manufacture useless and/or dangerous products and will continue to do so as long as people remain ignorant enough to buy them. (see Marvel Aid)
The organ in a hen’s reproduction system that produces and stores ovum before they become eggs. Only the left ovary is functional. (See Sexual Organs)
This is a chemical found in some foods to a varying degree. Very high levels of oxalic acid can make some foods toxic. An example is rhubarb leaves, which should NEVER be fed to parrots (or humans for that matter.) In spinach, beet greens, beets, parsley, and chard, the oxalic acid binds the usable calcium so the parrots can't metabolize it. If greens are cooked, it greatly lowers the level of oxalic acid. My parrots love cooked beets but don't care for greens when they are cooked and mushy. Other greens have low levels or no oxalic acid. These include collards, turnip, mustard greens and kale. While it is OK to feed some greens with oxalic acid, very high levels in the diet can create health problems, therefore it is best to feed greens with low levels of oxalic acid.
OZONE-GENERATING AIR CLEANERS
These types of air-cleaners are not recommended for use in parrot environments.
The below information is from http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/hpguide.html
Ion generators act by charging the particles in a room so that they are attracted to walls, floors, tabletops, draperies, occupants, etc. Abrasion can result in these particles being resuspended into the air. In some cases, these devices contain a collector to attract the charged particles back to the unit. While ion generators may remove small particles (e.g., those in tobacco smoke) from the indoor air, they do not remove gases or odors and may be relatively ineffective in removing large particles such as pollen and house dust allergens. Although some have suggested that these devices provide a benefit by rectifying a hypothesized ion imbalance, no controlled studies have confirmed this effect.
Ozone, a lung irritant, is produced indirectly by ion generators and some other electronic air cleaners and directly by ozone generators. While indirect ozone production is of concern, there is even greater concern with the direct, and purposeful introduction of a lung irritant into indoor air. There is no difference, despite some marketers' claims, between ozone in smog outdoors and ozone produced by these devices. Under certain use conditions, ion generators and other ozone generating air cleaners can produce levels of this lung irritant significantly above levels thought harmful to human health. A small percentage of air cleaners that claim a health benefit may be regulated by the FDA as a medical device. The Food and Drug Administration has set a limit of 0.05 parts per million of ozone for medical devices. Although ozone can be used in reducing odors and pollutants in unoccupied spaces (such as removing smoke odors from homes involved in fires) the levels needed to achieve this are above those generally thought to be safe for humans.