-C- Glossary & Dictionary

    Cabbage is a good source for vitamin C and vitamin K with a small amount of other nutrients. The red variety has a greater antioxidant content than green cabbage. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower are believed to have a tremendous power to detoxify the body because they contain antioxidants called glusoinolates. Cabbage has gotten a bad rap for years and even is on some lists as being toxic or nutritionally useless for parrots. Years ago a man at one of my conferences told me that cabbage killed his parrot. Turned out that the man had fed the parrot nothing but seed for close to 15 years and was told the bird needed fresh foods. One day he fed some cabbage and the bird died the next day. I am convinced that the time-line was pure coincidence. I think that cabbage, particularly red cabbage, is a healthy food for parrots as part of a varied diet of fresh foods. My parrots have always been attracted to the color and over the years I have fed red cabbage every now and then.

    Also known as prickly pear. When I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, I was able to buy this fruit in several different markets and my parrots loved it. Perhaps it is the rich red color that intrigued them. Prickly pear is high in vitamin C and magnesium with a smattering of other nutrients.

    The cage should be thought of as the parrot’s room where he is secure and comfortable and has lots of activities. It should accommodate both the size and energy level of the bird. The cage should not be used as punishment and should not be thought of as a prison for a parrot

    (See cage territory)  

    A parrot who is comfortable only in his cage and will not readily come out without showing aggression or fear is considered to be cage-bound. Losing hand control of a parrot is the first step in losing cage control which helps to create a cage bound parrot. One of the best ways to get a cage bound out of his or her cage is by using a T-perch. Place it where the parrot can readily step out on to the perch to get a special treat from the food bowl. Once he is comfortable coming out on the perch, his caregiver can slowly walk towards the perch without making eye contact and then slowly move the T-stand away from the cage. The point is to get the bird into a neutral room where he can't see his cage and will be much easier to work with. 

    A T-stand with a food bowl and food bribes can be very helpful. The first step is to figure out what is the parrot’s absolute favorite food treat. Even if it is sunflower seed or nuts that may not be that healthy, these foods can be used. Stop feeding these treats in the food bowl in the cage and only feed them if the parrot will accept them during this training protocol or from your hand. Gradually move a T-stand closer to the cage until the parrot is used to its presence. Once the parrot accepts the T-stand comfortably, then open the cage door and move the perch of the T-stand right into the door opening. Show him the favored treats and then start placing one or two in the food bowl on the stand. Then go away — as long as you stand over him watching, it is unlikely he will come out on the stand to get the treat. It may take awhile but let him get used to sneaking out on the stand to get the treats. Once he is used to being on the stand, place only one small treat item in the bowl. Gradually and calmly move closer to him without making direct eye contact and offer him more treats from your hand. Once he becomes used to this, start picking up the stand and moving it a little bit at a time until you can actually move it into a neutral room where it will be easier to handle the parrot. 

    Know your parrot. Cage location can be very important to some parrots. For example, some (not all) African greys may be uncomfortable with their cage by the front door, next to stairs, or under a second floor where there is a lot of activity. My grey, Bongo Marie's cage was right by the front door and she loved it because nothing happened without her being able to comment on it.

    The concept that rather than establishing dominance and forcing a parrot to come out of his cage, we share the cage territory as a flock member (or flock leader) so we are not intruding on a parrot when we reach into or gain access to him in his cage. 

CAGE TERRITORY (Cage aggression, Cage control) 
    The cage and the area around it where the parrot establishes or tries to establish a territorial dominance. Being able to ask your parrot to step on your hand when he is in the cage and have him consistently and readily comply is essential to keeping him tame. Throughout the years, I have found that when people lose the ability to take their parrots out of their cages without any serious problems, it is the first step in them losing the ability to handle their parrot. This doesn't mean you are aggressive about the way they come out. It means that the bird perceives you as being a "flock member" who shares the cage territory (see Cage Sharing above) 

    A period of time where a parrot stays in his cage for one reason or another. It is a good idea to establish some time when the parrot is used to spending time in his cage even his caregiver is home. When a parrot is used to a certain amount of time in his cage, he or she will be less likely to develop issues about being in his cage. Cage time or time-out is the cage is also helpful when a parrot becomes over-stimulated and needs some time to slow down. Cage time should not be punishment but if a parrot is in overload and is acting like a jerk (technical term), he may need some Cage Time to slow down his energy. 

CAIQUE (Pionites melanocephala or P. leucogaster
    The Black-headed and White-bellied Caiques are generally high-energy acrobatic little parrots that have become very popular as companions. The Black-headed caiques are from the northern Amazon basin and the White-bellies are from the southern Amazon basin.

    To coax, to attempt to persuade by flattery or cunning. I like applying this definition of cajole to the gentle manipulation that we must use to gradually get our parrots used to new situations and objects.  

    Calcium is an essential nutrient for the health of all parrots. It is needed for proper bone growth and muscle (including heart) and nerve function. In breeding hens, the proper level of calcium is essential for egg production. Calcium can be found in the following leafy greens; collards, mustard, turnip, dandelion, bok choy, and kale. Other sources for parrots include broccoli, yogurt, cottage cheese, almonds and almond butter. Some greens such as spinach, chard, parsley, and beet greens have good amounts of calcium but it is not usable because of the oxalic acid in the food. If these foods are cooked, it makes the calcium more usable. In some situations, veterinarians may recommend a calcium supplement. It is not advised for people to provide calcium supplementation without the recommendation of their avian veterinarian because excessive calcium can also create problems. It is a good idea to have your parrot's calcium level checked once a year. Natural sunlight or full-spectrum lighting is necessary for the parrot to produce the Vitamin D3 that is needed to metabolize calcium properly. 

    Most of the foods many people feed parrots are high in phosphorus. These include beans, legumes, seeds, nuts, and grains. The proper calcium/phosphorous ratio is 2/1 so if your parrot eats a lot of phosphorous rich foods, he needs to eat twice as many high calcium foods or have an added supplement without added phosphorous. Check with your veterinarian before giving supplementation. The calcium level in a companion parrot, particularly a hen, should be checked once a year. 

    Many companion parrots call out to their "human flock" during the day. These calls include dawn calls that parrots would normally make to get the flock together to leave the roosting area to fly to the feeding/foraging habitats. With a companion parrot, these calls are usually "feed me, it's time for breakfast" communications. Other calls include greeting, farewells, and "I sure would like to be a part of what is going on" communications. (see Contact Calls) Answering these calls with a simple response can keep a parrot from screaming. Some screaming is a result of unanswered calls to the flock.

CALMING DOWN (see Empathy) 
    It is often possible to slow down a parrot's energy by slowing down your own energy.

    A hybrid cross of the Green-winged and Military macaws. 

    In birds this is feather coloration that helps conceal them from predators. Once of the classic wild bird examples in North America is the brown creeper. While most parrots seem to be brightly colored, it is amazing how easily they disappear when they fly into trees. When I was in Costa Rica, I watched a flock of about 100 canary-winged parakeets fly into a group of trees. Once they were they, the only evidence of their presence was detritus falling from the trees to the ground. (Brown creeper sculpture by Sally Blanchard) 

    According to several veterinarians that I have talked to, there has been a considerable increase in the diagnosis of cancer in companion parrots. As with humans, cancer of many types can occur almost anywhere in the body. Some are curable if discovered early and some are fatal. It seems to be more common in budgies and cockatiels, perhaps because so many mutations have been bred in captivity. Our environment can be a health minefield for parrots. The best way to keep them healthy is to keep their air clean, their water pure, and their food as natural as possible. It is my belief that the manufactured diets that are made from a “chemical soup” of artificial food coloring, chemical supplements and questionable human-banned ingredients such as menadione bisulfate complex will eventually cause health problems for our parrots.  

    Cantaloupes are the most popular melon in the United States. Nutritionally they are an excellent source of vitamin A (carotenoid and beta-carotene) and C and a good source of potassium, vitamin B6, folate and niacin. They are also a decent source for dietary fiber.

    The highest tree level of the rain forest. This continuous habitat in the crown of the rain forest has the most light. Rainwater often forms in the leaf matter at the top of the trees. Caiques live primarily in the tree canopy and a lot of behaviors indicate this. The fact that they are primarily hoppers and climbers and not excellent flyers if evidence of this. They also enjoy bathing in wet leaves and there are pools of water in the leaves of the tree canopy.

CAPE PARROT (Poicephalus fuscicollis
    The term "Un-cape" is a popularized name to try to clear up some of the confusion since what we knew as the Cape parrot was reclassified into two separate species, the Cape (Poicephalus robustus), and the  Brown-necked Parrot which has 2 sub-species, Gray-headed Parrot (Poicephalus fuscicollis suahelicus) and the Brown-necked Parrot (Poicephalus fuscicollis fuscicollis)  The majority of "Cape" parrots in captivity in the United States are now actually considered to be the Brown-necked nominate species and the Gray-headed Parrot subspecies since new classification has separated the Poicephalus robustus from Poicephalus fusicollis. The true Cape parrot Poicephalus robustus from South  Africa is seriously endangered due to excessive logging and the viral infection Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease. The fact that there are people who refer to the "True" Cape parrot as the Brown-headed parrot makes it even more confusing both because it sounds like the "Brown-necked Parrot" and there is already a small Poicephalus species called the Brown-headed parrot (Poicephalus cryptoxanthus)  For more information about Poicephalus on the website

    (see traveling with parrots by car) 

    Most of the parrots who are (or were) native to the Caribbean Islands are extinct, endangered, or threatened because of severe habitat destruction, hunting, capture for the pet trade and hurricanes. The beautiful Cuban Macaw extinct by the 1860s. (see Cuban Macaw and Island Species) 

CAROLINA PARAKEET (Conuropsis carolinensis)  
    Extinct North American conure. It was native to the eastern United States and occurred as far west as Kansas. The last known wild Carolina parakeet was shot in 1904 and the last captive bird, Incas, died in the Cincinnati Zoo in 1918, in the same aviary that Martha, the last Passenger pigeon died in 1914. There were undocumented sightings of the Carolina Parakeet up until the late 1930s in isolated swamp areas of Florida and Georgia, but the parakeet was declared extinct in 1939. There are several reasons that the populations of Carolina parakeets disappeared so quickly. These include habitat destruction, hunting for food, killing as an orchard pest, the use of feathers for women's hats, and more recently it has been suggested that the great populations of this parrot may have succumbed to a disease.. Rosemary Low states that if this parrot still existed, it would be classed with the Aratinga species such as the Sun and Jenday Conures. 

    Pigments that produce bright yellow, orange, and red coloration in feathers. Birds must eat plant matter to be able to synthesize these colors. 

    (Also see Outgassing) 

Carpeting isn't as dangerous as it used to be years ago. One of the worst problems was that formaldehyde was used years ago and caused problematic out-gassing fumes. As far as I know, this chemical is not longer used in carpet or in carpet pads. Because I worked in an anatomy lab, I developed a sensitivity to formaldehyde and I would get headaches in carpet, fabric and some furniture stores. This no longer happens because formaldehyde is not used in fabrics like it once was. However, because of other possible fumes, I would still be concerned in regards to new carpeting, carpet pads and adhesives. Airing the room out by opening the windows and using several fans to push as much air outside is a good idea. Although I don't recommend them around birds (or other pets and people) an ozone-based air cleaner can help remove some of the impurities in the air as long as no one is in the room. I know that some companies that clean out cars for resale and companies that clean up homes after fires, mold problems, and any other situation that creates unhealthy fumes will used these. I don't know if you can rent one or not. Vacuuming several times can also help.  I would also research the carpet brand and talk to the place where you purchased the carpet. I would imagine most carpet dealers have been asked about fumes and safety issues many times and if they are reputable, they most likely will want to answer your questions. Then just to be on the safe side, I would wait 10-14 days before placing birds in the room with a new carpet. During this process, birds could be kept in another location in the home where any fumes wouldn't get into that area. I would suggest at least 10 to 14 days before birds could be safely placed in an area with new carpeting - if you follow the guidelines above. 

    The flesh of dead animals. Although parrots are not predators, as opportunistic omnivores, they have been observed feeding on carrion.

    Famous as a vitamin A source.  You can get your parrot to eat them by fixing them in many ways including; shredding, grating, chopping, making them into strips and by feeding them raw or cooked. You can sneak them into mashes, glop, and birdy bread. Carrot greens are also full of nutrition. Feeding carrots one way or another is a must for your parrots!

C.A.S. (Certified Avian Specialist) 
    A pet industry designation for someone who has taken a four hour class and taken an open book test on bird husbandry. NOT A VETERINARIAN or for that matter, anyone who has credentials to be considered an expert unless they have other experiences and knowledge. 

    One of the levels of attention we give our parrots. Casual attention is the time we spend with our parrots with us while we participate in other activities such as conversation with others, reading, or watching TV. 

    Hybrid of scarlet and blue and gold macaws.

    Caution must be taken when cats and birds co-habitat because cat scratches can be very dangerous for birds. Most cats are fascinated by the flightiness of small birds but may not see a  medium or large parrot as prey. In fact many cats want nothing to do with medium and large sized parrots, especially if there has been any kind of an altercation. Years ago, my Double-yellow head Rascal landed on top of the cat I had then and Nimbus wouldn't even go near any of my parrots after that.

    Cat scratches can be very dangerous for parrots. Cat scratches or bites can transmit pasturella, a bacteria that can cause serious health problems and even be fatal to parrots. Call your avian veterinarian if your parrot has been scratched or bitten by a cat. 

    High in vitamin C with a good amount of vitamin K and a bit of several other nutrients. Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cabbage are believed to have a tremendous power to detoxify the body because they contain antioxidants called glusoinolates. 
Cauliflower also comes in a purple kind although it is not always easy to find. It's color is due to anthocyanin, which is a antioxidant rich flavanoid.  

    Parrots are intelligent. However, we can’t expect them to think that if they did something wrong and were punished that they will never do that again to avoid being punished again. A lot of people aren't that smart.

    Celery has some vitamin A, folate, and is an excellent source of vitamin K. Nutritional vitamin K is important for normal blod clotting. Years ago, conures were dying from problems with internal bleeding and the major cause turned out to be vitamin K deficiency. Celery is a low calorie fun food for parrots as far as chewing value. However, celery is the number 1 food in the "dirty dozen" of foods high in pesticide residue so feeding organic is highly suggested. 

    There are a variety of perches that are supposed to help keep nails trimmed. Logically most cement perches are totally illogical.  Because of the way that the foot fits on the perch, the toenails may not even touch the rough surface but the pad of the foot does, which means that rough surface can cause foot sores. Because of the way the parrot's circulatory system works, foot infections can be very dangerous. My criteria to judge whether a perch is safe for parrot feet is the following: put your hand around the perch and squeeze it as hard as you can and then slide your hand down the perch. If you end up with any abrasions on your hand, the perch will eventually create dangerous sores on your parrot's feet. The same thing is true of sandpaper perches. (see sandpaper perches) 

    The fleshy skin above the beak contains external openings that allow the parrot to breathe with their beak closed. Inside the nostrils (or nares) are little pieces of flesh that may look like a small seed stuck in them. People have noticed these and actually tried to remove these seeds, causing damage to the bird’s nostril. Check the nostrils often to make sure they are clean with no discharge. 

    If a companion parrot has become excessively afraid of everything even his previously favored person, quietly sitting in a chair leaning against the open cage without making eye contact can actually be a non-threatening invitation for these parrots to join their caregivers and they often do. This exercise often works to calm down aggressive parrots. Sometimes aggression is caused by long-term confusion and a lack of a consistent and/or dependable caregiver. Sometimes when people have tried to handle parrots in a totally inconsistent manner, they get into the habit of biting because of the confusion and it becomes patterned. The chair exercise is just a matter of calmly sitting in a chair right next to the cage reading a book or magazine without paying much attention to the parrot except for looking over and then lowering your head back to what you are reading. In the case of a phobic bird, it is best to keep the cage door open so that the parrot can come to you. With an aggressive parrot, it is wise to keep the cage door shut until the parrot calms down and loses his vigilance. While a lot of people think that you need to be "the boss" with an aggressive parrot, the truth is that since aggression is usually met with aggression and even being too direct with a parrot can be met with aggression, we need to be calm and to some degree even submissive. Staying calm and being indirect has a better chance for winning over an aggressive parrot. This technique has worked well to gradually win over many aggressive Amazons. It will not work as well when the parrot is hormonal but you can start the process during that time. This can be a very gradual process that requires a lot of patience but it can be very effective. 

     In regards to parrots, this tea aids in relaxation after stressful situations or if used before an anticipated stressful event. (It is not a good idea to give this tea before a vet visit.) Some people with parrots who get carsick report that it is very helpful if they have their parrot drink some chamomile tea before they have to ride in the car. 

CHANGE (In a Parrot's Life)  
    While some parrots are neophobic (afraid of new situations) they will have little fear if the situations and objects are presented in a safe, nurturing manner by people they trust. Gradual introduction of new toys away from the cage. 

    Using cues for pre-taught behaviors to distract a parrot from negative behaviors. 

    Chard is one of the greens with high vitamin A, C, and K plus several minerals. However it has oxalic acid, which binds the calcium and makes it unusable. It is recommended that if you feed chard, it should go through a quick boil to free the oxalic acid.

    Most cheese is very high in soduim and because parrots lack the enzymes to break down lactose, it is not very healthy for parrots. However, for some reason, parrots love cheese and a very small amount (½" square to no more than a 1" square piece for macaws once a week or less) of low salt cheese is not harmful. I occasionally feed a bit of cottage cheese with fruit (no sugar) and my parrots love it but I wouldn't feed it too often (more than every couple of weeks.)  (see Milk and milk Products)

  The "Dirty Thirty" from the following website 'Teens Turning Green':  http://www.teensturninggreen.org/get-educated/dirty-thirty.html

    Function: Used to control sweat and odor in the underarms by slowing down the production of sweat. Present in: Antiperspirants. Banned by EU. Health concerns: Linked to the development of Alzheimer’s Disease; may be linked to breast cancer; probable neurotoxin; possible nervous system, respiratory, and developmental toxin.
  2. BENZYL ACETATE  Function: Solvent; hidden within “fragrance.” Present in: Many cosmetics and personal care products, read labels. Health concerns: Linked to pancreatic cancer; easily absorbs into skin causing quick systemic effects; animal studies show hyperemia of the lungs; possible gastrointestinal, liver, and respiratory toxicant; possible neurotoxin.  
  3. BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE and BENZETHONIUM CHLORIDE Function: Antimicrobial agent, deodorant, preservative, biocide. Present in: Moisturizer, sunscreen, facial cleanser, acne treatment, pain relief. Restricted in Japan and Canada. Health concerns: Immune system toxicant; may trigger asthma; possible organ system toxicant; animal studies show endocrine disruption and brain, nervous system, respiratory and blood effects; possible carcinogen.
  4. BRONOPOL Function: Preservative. Present in: Moisturizer, body wash, facial cleanser, makeup remover, anti-aging products. Restricted in Canada. Health concerns: Immune system toxicant; lung and skin toxicant; animal studies show endocrine disruption and gastrointestinal, brain and nervous system effects; irritant.  
  5. BUTYL ACETATE  Function: Solvent in polishes and treatments, prevents chipping. Present in: Nail polish and nail treatments. Health concerns: Repeated exposure causes skin dryness and cracking; vapors may induce drowsiness or dizziness; flammable.
  6. BUTYLATED HYDROXYTOLUENE (BHT)/ BUTYLATED HYDROXYANISOLE (BHA) Function: Anti-Oxidant; slows down the rate at which product ingredients change in color. Present in: Many cosmetics and personal care products, read labels. Banned by EU. Health Concerns: Immune system toxicant; endocrine disruptor; probable human carcinogen; animal studies show brain, liver, neurotoxin, reproductive and respiratory toxicant.
  7. ETHOXYLATED INGREDIENTS: CETEARETH/PEG COMPOUNDS  Function: Surfactant, emulsifying or cleansing agent, penetration enhancer. Present in: Many cosmetics and personal care products, read labels. Health concerns: Animal studies show brain, nervous system and sense organ effects; irritant; reproductive and skin toxin, alters skin structure, allowing other chemicals to penetrate deep into the skin and increasing the amounts of other chemicals that reach the bloodstream; may contain harmful impurities.  
  8. COAL TAR Function: Controls itching and eczema, softens and promotes the dissolution of hard, scaly, rough skin, also used in hair dyes. Present in: Shampoo and Hair Dye. Banned by Canada and EU. Health concerns: Known human carcinogen; skin and respiratory toxicant.
  9. COCAMIDE DEA/ LAURAMIDE DEA Function: used as foaming agents in shampoos and bath products, and as emulsifying agents in cosmetics; foaming and cleansing agents for “mouth feel.” Present in: Many cosmetics and personal care products, read labels. Health concerns: Human immune system toxicant; forms carcinogenic nitrosamine compounds if mixed with nitrosating agents; animal studies show sense organ effects and skin irritation; may contain harmful impurities.
  10. DIETHANOLAMINE (DEA) Function: pH adjuster. Present in: Sunscreen, moisturizer, foundation, hair color. Health concerns: Skin and immune system toxicant; possible carcinogen; irritant; animal studies show endocrine disruption and neuro developmental, brain and nervous system effects; may trigger asthma.
  11. ETHYL ACETATE  Function: Solvent. Present in: Nail polish products, mascara, tooth whitening, perfume. Health concerns: Probable neurotoxin; possible nervous system toxin; possible carcinogen; irritant; highly flammable
  12. FORMALDEHYDE Function: Disinfectant, germicide, fungicide, preservative. Present in: Deodorant, nail polish, soap, shampoo, shaving cream. Restricted in Canada. Banned by EU. Health concerns: Immune system, repertory, hematological, and skin toxicant; probable carcinogen and cardiovascular toxicant; can damage DNA; may trigger asthma; animal studies show sense organ, brain, and nervous system effects; possible human development toxicant.
  13. FORMALDEHYDE-RELEASING PRESERVATIVES ( QUATERNIUM-15, DMDM HYDANTOIN, DIAZOLIDINYL UREA AND  IMIDAZOLIDINYL UREA, DEA, MEA, TEA)   Function: Anti-microbial preservative. Present in: Many cosmetics and personal care products, read labels. Health concerns: Forms nitrosamines when in the presence of amines such as MEA, DEA and TEA; probable immune system, blood, cardiovascular and skin toxicant; possible carcinogen; animal studies show endocrine disruption, nervous system and organ system effects; may contain harmful impurities.
  14. FRAGRANCE (PARFUM) Function: Deodorant, masking, perfuming. Present in: Many cosmetics and personal care products, read labels. Health concerns: Immune system toxicant; possible neurotoxin; can contain between 10 and 300 different chemicals, many of which have never been tested for safety; see phthalates. Labeling can be confusing. If uncertain, check with manufacture.
  15. HYDROQUINONE  Function: Antioxidant, fragrance ingredient, skin bleaching agent, hair colorant. Present in: Skin fading/lightener, facial moisturizer, anti-aging, sunscreen, hair color, facial cleanser and moisturizer. Restricted in Canada. Health concerns: Immune system and respiratory toxicant; probable neurotoxin; possible carcinogen; irritant; animal studies show endocrine disruption.
  16. IODOPROPYNYL BUTYLCARBAMATE   Function: Preservative. Present in: Many cosmetics and personal care products, read labels. Restricted in Japan. Health concerns: Human toxicant; possible liver immune system toxin; allergenic.
  17. LEAD and LEAD COMPOUNDSFunction: Colorant. Present in: Hair dye, hair products. Traces found in some red lipstick. Restricted in Canada.  Health concerns: Probable carcinogen; developmental, respiratory, gastrointestinal and reproductive toxicant; reduced fertility; animal studies show metabolic, brain and nervous system effects; suspected nano-scale ingredients with potential to absorb into the skin
  18. METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE (MI/MCI) and METHYLCHLOROISOTHAIZOLINONE   Function: Preservative. Present in: Many cosmetics and personal care products, read labels. Restricted in Canada and Japan. Health concerns: Immune system toxicant; animal studies show restricted growth of the axons and dendrites of immature nerves, neurotoxicity and positive mutation results; can lead to a malfunction in the way neurons communicate with each other; especially detrimental to  a developing nervous system.
  19. OXYBENZONE (BENZPENONE-3)  Function: Sunscreen Agent; Ultraviolet Light Absorber, UV Absorber; UV Filter. Present in: Sunscreens and makeup. Health concerns: Associated with photoallergic reactions and immunotoxicity.  Probable carcinogen and endocrine disrupter; Enhanced skin absorption and bioaccumulates to dangerous levels; biochemical cellular changes.  Developmental and reproductive toxicity.
  20. PARABENS (METHYL, ETHYL, PROPYL AND BUTYL) Function: Preservative and anti-bacterial agent. Present in: Many cosmetics and personal care products, read labels. Health concerns: May alter hormone levels, possibly increasing risk for certain types of cancer, impaired fertility, or alteration of the development of a fetus or young child; studies have found parabens in breast tumors; probable skin toxicant; animal studies show brain and nervous system effects.
  21. PETROLATUM (PETROLEUM)  Function: Forms barrier on skin; makes lipsticks shine and creams smoother; inexpensive skin softener. Present in: Many cosmetics and personal care products, read labels. Banned by EU. Health concerns: May be contaminated with impurities, linked to cancer or other significant health problems.
  22. PHTHALATES (DIBUTYL PHTHALATES)  Function: Fragrance ingredient, plasticizer, solvent. Present in: Many cosmetics and personal care products, read labels. Banned in EU. Health concerns: Immune system toxicant; developmental and reproductive toxin; respiratory toxicant; probable neurotoxin; possible carcinogen and endocrine disruptor; bio-accumulative in wildlife.
  23. P-PHENYLENEDIAMINE (PPD)  Function: Hair colorant. Present in: Hair dye, shampoo, hair spray. Restricted in Canada. Health concerns: Immune system and respiratory toxicant; probable neurotoxin; eczema; possible nervous system, skin, kidney and liver toxicant; irritant; may trigger asthma and gastritis; shown to cause cancer in animal studies.  
  24. PROPYLENE GLYCOL  Function: Solvent, penetration enhancer, conditions skin, controls viscosity and keeps products from melting in high or freezing when it is cold. Present in: Many cosmetics and personal care products, read labels. Health concerns: Alters skin structure, allowing other chemicals to penetrate deep into the skin and increasing the amounts of other chemicals that reach the bloodstream; animal studies show reproductive effects, positive mutation results, brain and nervous system effects and endocrine disruption.
  25. SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE  Function: Surfactant, penetration enhancer. Present in: Many cosmetics and personal care products, read labels. Health concerns: Alters skin structure, allowing other chemicals to penetrate deep into the skin, increasing the amounts of other chemicals that reach the bloodstream; Irritant; animal studies show sense organ effects.
  26. TALC   Function: Absorbs moisture, anti-caking agent, bulking agent. Present in: Blush, powder, eye shadow, baby powder, deodorant. Health concerns:  Carcinogen; link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer; talc particles are similar to asbestos particles and data suggests that it can cause tumors in the lungs; probable respiratory toxin;
  27. TOLUENE  Function: Antioxidant, solvent to improve adhesion and gloss. Present in: Nail polish and hair dye. Health concerns: Liver toxin; probable developmental, nervous system and respiratory toxin; possible cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, renal and sense organ toxin; possible carcinogen and reproductive toxin; irritant; highly flammable;
  28. TRICLOSAN  Function: Anti-bacterial agent, deodorant, preservative, biocide. Reduces and controls bacterial contamination on the hands and on treated products. Present in: Antibacterial soaps, deodorants, toothpastes, mouthwashes, face wash and cleaning supplies. Restricted in Japan and Canada. Health concerns: Probable endocrine disrupter and carcinogen; easily bio-accumulates to dangerous levels; irritant; animal studies show reproductive and other broad systematic effects; potentially contaminated with impurities linked to cancer and other significant health problems; studies have shown it can actually induce cell death when used in mouth washes.
  29. TREITHANOLAMINE (TEA)  Function: Fragrance ingredient, pH adjuster, surfactant. Present in: Hand & body lotion, shaving creams, soap, shampoo, bath powders and moisturizer. Health concerns: Immune system toxicant; possible carcinogen; animal studies show endocrine disruption; may trigger asthma; forms carcinogenic nitrosamine compounds if mixed with nitrosating agents.
  30. 1,4 DIOXANE  Function: Penetration enhancer. Present in: Body lotion, moisturizers, sunless tanning products, baby soap, anti-aging products. Health concerns: EPA classifies it as a probable carcinogen found in 46 of 100 personal care products marketed as organic or natural, and the National Toxicology Program considers it a known animal carcinogen.  Acute (short-term) inhalation exposure to high levels of 1,4 dioxane has caused vertigo, drowsiness, headache, anorexia and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs of humans.  It may also irritate the skin. 

    An exotic fruit with excellent vitamin C, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, thiamine, and potassium with several other nutrients to a lesser degree. Mark Twain called the cherimoya "the most delicious fruit known to men.

    Plump, rich, sweet cherries are one of just about everyone's favorite fruits. Cherries are not a major source of any particular vitamin or minerals but they have some of just about every needed one of them. Most parrots love cherries. I usually cut them in half and remove the pit before I begrudgingly share them with my parrots. I mourn the end of cherry season here in Colorado. 

CHERRY-HEADED CONURE (Aratinga erythrogenys
    Also called the red-masked conure and the red-headed Conure, these parrots are from Ecuador and Peru. Before importation stopped, these personable birds were imported by the thousands and could cost less than $50-70.00. Consequently many of them were purchased by people who had no idea what to do with them. In the late 1980s when I lived in Alameda, California, my car mechanic had two Cherry-heads and got tired of their noise, so he let them go. These and other Cherry-heads formed a small flock in Alameda and later seemed to join a group of a dozen or so in Berkeley. It is my belief that several of these parrots eventually made it across the Bay to become part of the flock that became The Parrots of Telegraph Hill. However, there were some people who did get what these great little birds were all about and turned them into the delightful companions that they could become. I worked with quite a few of Cherry-heads and when I slowed down my energy and skritched their heads, they were quickly putty in my hands. Some of them could learn to trust me in 15 minutes or less. One of the most wonderful parrot-family parrots that I have ever met was a Cherry-head named Elvis who had lived with a woman in her early 60s for several years. I was asked to do a consultation by woman's daughter when the bird started acting up a bit, which turned out to be a minor, easily solved problem. I loved this conure. He danced like Elvis and sang a good part of "Hound Dog" and a few other Elvis songs. He was absolute evidence as to how charming these birds can be. Feral populations of Cherry-heads are common in warm weather areas in several areas of the country. 

    A bird's gotta chew what a bird's gotta chew! Chewing is an essential part of most parrots' lives. Providing them with lots of chewing toys, veggie tanned leather, and safe woods, will help keep them from chewing things in the house that you don't want destroyed.  

    Not just for Chia pets, this small seed (and the oil from it) is a good source for Essential Fatty Acids. Who knew?? (see Essential Fatty Acids) Can be purchased in health food stores.

CHICKEN (as a food for parrots)
    Lean well-cooked lean chicken can be a healthy source of protein for parrots if fed in moderation. It should always be very well cooked (because of the possibility of salmonella) and the white meat is healthier than the dark meat. Moderation depends on the size of the parrot. If I bake a chicken or fix chicken breasts, I will cut off about a square inch or so for each of my parrots. If I add some kind of sauce when I bake the chicken, the pieces I give the parrots don't usually have the sauce on them. Chicken is a good source of protein, niacin, vitamin B6, and Omega 3 fatty acids.
    Years ago I had a client who totally misunderstood the concept of  "well-cooked lean chicken in moderation." A few months she called me to tell me that her African grey was feather picking with some severity. She didn't live far away so I went over to check the grey out. The bird wasn't in her cage when I arrived. The woman told me that she was in the kitchen eating her chicken. When I walked into the kitchen, I found the bird head first in the cavity of a greasy grocery store rotisserie chicken. The grey was having a ball but over the last few months her feathers and skin had become so greasy that the bird's skin was inflamed and water baths had barely cut the grease on the parrot's body.  

    See By-products

 A chimera is an animal with characteristics of both genders (or in mythology, one that has the characteristics of different species such as a fire-breathing combination of snake, lion, and goat.)  With most species (including humans) it is difficult to visually identify a chimera. Some chimeras could also be called hermaphrodites in that the single animal has characteristics of both genders. However, since the genders of most parrots are monomorphic (meaning the male and female are usually similar) chimeras in most parrots may remain unknown. However because Eclectus are sexually dimorphic (the male and female have obvious differences in their external characteristics) a chimera, although very rare, is obvious. The Eclectus shown below has female characteristics on one half and male characteristics of the other.

    Some parrots are mistrustful of children because of their high energy level. However if the introduction is supervised and the child can lower his or her energy, most tame parrots will  accept children as friends.

    When I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, I used to shop at a Chinese market that carried many organic and/or exotic fruits and vegetables. I used to go in once a week and buy a smattering of different kinds of produce to try out on my parrots. I usually went to the same woman to check-out because she knew I had parrots and understood why I usually bought small amounts - often only one of anything. Although my parrots are usually fond of regular green beans, they loved Chinese long beans. I think at least part of the reason was their toy value because they were up to a foot long and curled around as they ate them.  I could also bend the beans and tie them into loose knots or weave them through the cage bars. I have to really search for them here in northern Colorado.

    The internal nares in the roof of a bird’s mouth. Veterinarians often check this area to help determine the nutritional status of a parrot. Vitamin A deficiency can often be determined by the presence of small white bumps on the choanae and/or the lack of the hair-like papillae. 

    Chocolate is a NO-NO food for parrots because it have high levels of theobromine. Parrots don't metabolize this alkaloid well and it remains in their system for up to 24 hours. It acts as a stimulant and can cause heart failure in parrots. Chocolate is also toxic to dogs, cats, horses, and some humans (especially the elderly if they consume great quantities.)

    This is a chemical additive in chicken feed used to accelerate growth. This additive is in the following manufactured diets for parrots.; Brown's Zoo Vital Parrot Daily Diet, Caitec Oven Fresh Bites, Kaytee Exact Rainbow, Kaytee Exact Organic, Lafebers Pellets, Lafebers Nutriberries, Lafebers Nutri-Meals, all Pretty Bird Foods including Pretty Bird Gold,  Roudybush, Scenic Bird Food, Zu Preem Natural, Zu Preem Fruit Blend

    Second-hand smoke is deadly to people but it is double deadly to parrots because every breathe they take is processed in their respiratory system twice.Years ago I watched a necropsy of a Timneh African grey who sat on his caregiver's shoulder all evening watching television and smoking. The entire respiratory system was black. 

    There is increasing belief that cinnamon is a very healthy spice. It is thought that true cinnamon, Cinnamomum cassia works in several ways. It may have anti-oxidant, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and is considered to help maintain blood sugar levels. It is now being promoted as a very healthy food supplement with many advantages. It also has some nutritive value with vitamin A, niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), and pyridoxine (vitamin B6). I often sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on several of the recipes I make for my parrots, especially if I feed them sweet potatoes or squash as an ingredient. As with many foods, it is most likely wise not to think that if a little is good that more is better so I would recommend using cinnamon in your parrots' diet in moderation until more is known. 

    Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. CITES is an international agreement between governments whose aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Many parrots are now CITES appendix 1, which means that international trade is illegal

CITRON-CRESTED COCKATOO (Cacatua sulphurea citrinocristata)  
    A medium sized cockatoo. They are from Sumba and the Lesser Sunda Islands in Indonesia and are critically endangered in the wild due to habitat destruction and capture for the pet trade. Although they have not been as popular as companions as several other cockatoos, there are those who believe that he citron-crested cockatoos are less noisy and make wonderful companions. I would agree with this after meeting several of these cockatoos in their homes. 

    Some parrots will grab a person's finger and put a bit of pressure on the finger - not hard enough to be very painful or to cause any injury - as a warning. Usually it means they want to be left alone or are not comfortable with what you are doing. Jerking your hand away or ignoring this clamp bite may result in a tru bite. When my grey, Whodee first came to live with me, I gave him a few hours to settle into his cage and surroundings. Then I lowered my energy and reached my hand into his cage and placed it gently against his belly. He reached down with his beak and clamped it on my finger. I left my had there without jerking it away or pushing it into him maintaining my lowered energy and not looking at him directly. At that point, he let go of my finger and stepped on my hand. Thishappened because, with my lowered energy and indirect eye contact he sensed no fear or aggression from me and therefore trusted meenough to just step on my hand. Another way that the clamp warning bite comes into play is to let use know we may be doing something that they don't like or makes them uncomfortable. If we take clamp bite as aggression, we may respond in a way that encourages a real bite. My caique, Spike loves to be gently "mauled" and during these playtimes, if I am doing something he doesn't like at the time, he will give me a short pinch to let me know to stop. I pay attention and I say "OK" and go on to something he is comfortable with. This way he doesn't have to go beyond the clamp bite to communicate more aggressively.

    Two famous clay licks are found at Manu and Tambopata in Peru. Both have facilities for eco-tourism to see the vast number of birdsthat come to these mineral rich cliffs to feed on the clay. The macaws and other parrots eat the clay to supplement calcium and other minerals in their diets. It is also thought that the ingredients in the clay may help neutralize the toxins in other foods that they eat. 

    An old training method of operant conditioning that uses the sound of a clicker as a bridge between stimulus and behavior. While this method may be successful in training specific behaviors and tricks, it rarely takes into consideration the many variables in the personalities of companion parrots and the people in their lives. If you do choose to clicker train your parrots, be sure and keep it fun. The more fun working with a parrot is, the more the interaction builds mutual trust.

    Having ladders in the cage or for supervised play outside of the cage can provide excellent exercise for companion parrots

    The vat where the bodily wastes (solid and liquid) are stored until the parrot evacuates them. Sperm and ovum also pass through the cloaca on the way out of the body during breeding. The word cloaca comes from Latin for sewer. 

    When tissue from the cloaca prolapses through the vent. This can create a serious health problem and is especially problematic for large cockatoos. 

     When a baby parrot is in the nest or aviary, the gland on the side of the cloaca (the 'vat' at the end of the digestive system) called the Bursa of Fabricius actually “sips” in aspects of the environment to assist the development of the immune system. If the baby’s area is filthy, the immune system may be overwhelmed and the baby will most likely become ill. On the other hand if the baby’s area is compulsively clean, the immune system will not develop properly because there is nothing to guage in the development of the immune system. It is essential to establish a balance to create a healthy parrot. Once the baby's immune system has developed, the Bursa of Fabricius dissolves into the cloacal wall.

    An aviary that considers its parrot population to be complete and that does not allow new birds on the premises for any reason. A truly closed aviary will not allow visitors into the aviary or nursery areas without extreme, but necessary, quarantine procedures.   

    The total number of eggs laid  and babies raised by a hen during one nesting period. Below is a clutch of Red-fronted Macaw.. They are in the bin to be transported where they will be fed, socialized, and hugged a bit. 


    Cobalt oxide is an inorganic compound metallic pigment that provides blue coloring in porcelains and glass. Warning! Harmful if swallowed or inhaled. Causes irritation to skin, eyes, and respiratory tract. May cause allergic skin or respiratory reaction. Chronic exposure may affect thyroid, lungs, heart and kidneys. Causes abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, flushing of the face and ears, mild hypotension, rash, and ringing in the ears. May have cumulative toxic action where elimination cannot keep pace with absorption. Large amounts depress erythrocyte production. Cobalt oxide is listed in the ingredients of Scenic Bird Foods.

    I used to give my parrots coconuts but either I didn't know how to pick them anymore or I couldn't find ones that had the firm meatthat they likedso much. They are not particularly healthy with a high level of saturated fats. They are not a good source for any vitamin but have some amount of several minerals with a high level of manganese. Occasionally I will still get one and it seems to be as much of a toy as it is a food for them. 

The value of coconut water and coconut oil can be quite controversial with coconut water being touted as an excellent source of electrolytes and the oil being promoted as a source of essential fatty acids. However, there is a lot of disagreement about whether coconut oil is a truly healthy food or a one with high levels of saturated fat.  

    Term used (usually by breeders) to identify male birds. 

COCKATIEL (Nymphicus hollandicus
    A potentially delightful little parrot-family bird that is considered to be the smallest cockatoo. The cockatiel is a very sociable bird that occurs in huge flocks in Australia. Cockatiels are one of the few parrot-family birds that may actually have some of the traits of a domesticated bird they have been so extensively bred in captivity. There are many mutations that have been developed over many of their years in captivity. Cockatiels are busy little parrots that like to be part of their human's social situation. They can stay tame to people even if they are kept with other cockatiels. Some of the +
males can become excellent talkers and many are terrific whistlers. If a previously well-behaved cockatiel starts acting up, 9 out of 10 times it is based on a decrease in attention. It really helps if the caregivers just set aside 10 or 20 minutes a day to give their cockatiel focused, in your face attention.

    Cockatiels are indeterminate egg layers which means if people remove the eggs their hen 'tiel lays, the bird will continue to lay eggs until they have laid the number eggs to complete their clutch. Therefore it makes sense to leave their eggs in their cages until they lose interest in them. It seems that cockatiels have the greatest propensity for problems with excessive egg laying out of all of the companion parrot-family birds. In the wild, a hen cockatiel will produce 1-2 clutches a year with from 2-8 eggs. This would be normal for cockatiels in aviaries or companion cockatiels. If a cockatiel lays more eggs than this, you need to consult with your avian veterinarian. It is also a good idea to have your 'tiels calcium level checked at least once a year. When a 'tiel lays more often or more eggs, it can rob the bird of calcium and either create incomplete eggs or cause serious health problems, including strokes and even death. If the hen lacks the calcium to build a proper egg it can result in egg yolk peritonitis, a fatal condition if not treated immediately. There are two basic reasons. The first is that the shell doesn't form properly and has a leathery shell. Eggs are pushed down the reproductive system through muscle contraction and a "leathery" egg can't be pushed successfully down the oviduct to the cloaca to be laid. Also if the cockatiel is calcium deficient, even if the egg is formed properly, the muscles may not be able to contract to get the egg laid. If the egg is formed but the bird is unable to lay the egg, this could result in what is called egg binding, which can also be serious health problem and could even result in the bird's death. 

    If you see your cockatiel straining and there are no droppings or no egg within 15 minutes and other signs of egg binding mentioned below occur, you need to take the bird to an avian veterinarian immediately on an emergency basis. A small bird like a cockatiel can die within 45 minutes if untreated. Don't try home remedies; this situation needs the care of a competent avian veterinarian. Other symptoms that indicate egg binding may include squatting and straining on the bottom of the cage, tail wagging or bobbing, abdominal distention, panting or labored breathing, and inability to use the legs to perch or even stand up because of the egg pressing on nerves. 
    If your cockatiel has had previous problems, take her to the vet immediately if you notice any indication of egg laying behavior. Prevention is the best way to keep these problems from happening. A hen cockatiel with a healthy level of calcium who gets good exercise is less likely to have these problems, although this is not an absolute guarantee. 
    When a cockatiel continually lays too many eggs or has had problems producing and laying eggs, an avian veterinarian may want to give the bird a lupron injection. It is best to talk with your avian veterinarian before giving your parrot a calcium supplement since too much calcium can also be a problem. If the problem continues beyond what is normal, in extreme situations, the only hope for the cockatiel's health and life is a hysterectomy. (see Egg Laying: Ways to Stop Excessive Egg Laying and other information under Eggs) 

COCKATOO (Cacatua, Callocephalon, Calyptorhynchus, Eolophus, Probosciger)  
    There is quite a range in the size and coloration of the parrots in the cockatoo family. Cockatoos are from parts of Australasia, primarily Australia, New Guinea, several Indonesian islands, east to the Soloman Islands and north to the Philippines. Some cockatoo family species are still quite common while others are severely endangered. (Cockatoo Species Profiles) 

     One of the most nutritious greens to feed your parrots. They are high in vitamin A, folates, vitamin K, vitamin C, and calcium (without the oxalic acid that blocks calcium use in spinach, chard and parsley) There are several ways to feed greens. If your parrot won't eat them if you put them in a dish or hang them from the cage bars (my parrot's favorite ways to eat them), chop them up and put them in birdy bread or glop. You can also put them in a flat pan with about an inch of water for your parrot to take a leaf bath. You can also use collards as a wrap for foods that your parrots really love. I sometimes spread almond butter on the collards and although my birds will scrape some of the almond butter off to eat it but they also eat a some of the greens. 

     It is my belief that collars for feather pickers are both over recommended and overused. They act as a quick-fix that does prevent a parrot from feather picking when the collar is on. However, unless the picking has a specific cause such as an injury, insect bite, or curable illness, once the collar is removed the feather picking usually resumes if the actual cause has not been addressed. Collars don't teach a parrot anything about not picking. The problems with collars include the inability to eat using the foot, throwing the bird off-balance, making the bird far less independent and far more vulnerable. Parrots are not comfortable in collars. There are certainly times when a collar is necessary. These include an injury that will not heal if the bird messes with it and a parrot that is mutilating its skin.  An example occurred recently when a friend called me on a Sunday night and told me that her Quaker had a sore on its leg and was bothering it. She was rightfully concerned that the bird might cause serious injury to his leg. Apparently the bird's band had gotten caught on something which ripped the skin a bit. Since there was no veterinarian with bird knowledge available for miles, I told her how to build a collar until she could get to an avian veterinarian the next day. Several years ago I worked with a macaw who was recently adopted. He had been plucking in his former home and the vet had been placed in a thick leather collar that was riveted shut around the bird's neck. The bird could barely balance on his perch and had a great deal of trouble eating. I got some heavy duty wire cutters and removed the collar. In the time I knew the people who had him, he never started feather picking again. My advice is to question whether a collar is really necessary given the pros and cons.

    Describes people who have several to many parrots for the purpose of having them rather than for reasons involving emotional bonding and/or their proper care. I remember years ago a woman told me that she frequently bought birds of species she didn't have so that she could experience that kind of bird for awhile. This statement always disturbed me because she never intended for any of these parrots to become a part of her life. Since that time I have met several people that just keep buying birds and are often more interested in the unusual and expensive "trophy" birds if they have the money to buy them. 

COLOR (Communication with) 
    Almost all of the various colors on a parrot’s body are there for communication or camouflage  

    Droppings in a parrot on a healthy diet are usually the color of what the bird has eaten. Yellow-orange foods such as carrots, winter squash and sweet potatoes can make the dropping yellowish brown. Berries and beets can make them red. When you find a dropping with an unusual color, remember what you fed them a short time before. I don't recommend pelleted diets with food coloring for a variety of significant reasons. One is that it is difficult to notice significant changes in droppings that could signal a health problem.  

    When a companion parrot leans forward and flutters his wings, it is a pre-flight posture that often is a request for attention from the caregiver. It often translates as "come pick me up."

    Used to describe behaviors that feel good. Some of these behaviors have an alternative reason such as the maintenance of the feathers and the body. In some cases, such as beak grinding before sleep, the bird may be grinding the upper and lower beak together because it feels good but keeping the beak trimmed is the practical result of this pleasurable behavior. With cockatoos, the relaxed bird usually fluffs the feathers around his or her beak at the same time. 

    Whenever you work, play or enjoy your parrot’s company, it is important to know that both of your are comfortable with each other at the time. One ABSOLUTE behavioral principle when comes to companion parrots is that “parrots are more comfortable with people who are comfortable with them.”

    See cause and effect logic

    Sally Blanchard's book on living with Amazon parrots as companions. Now available as a .PDF

    Sally Blanchard's book on living with caiques as companions. Now available as a .pdf download 

    Sally Blanchard's book on living with cockatoos as companions. Now available as a .pdf 

    Companion parrot has a more politically correct sound than pet parrot to it because it seems to define a much more benevolent and humane relationship. 

    Sally Blanchard's highly respected in-print book on living with companion parrots

    The second incarnation of Sally Blanchard's parrot magazine. The first was the Pet Bird Report and now since the magazine is on-line,the magazine is called the Companion Parrot On-line Magazine. The CPQ transitioned gradually from the Pet Bird Report and made the complete transition with Issue #53.

    If we glare at a parrot and encompass them so that they can’t escape from us, we are being excessively confrontational. The parrot is going to either try to get away from you, respond with great fear and probably become aggressive with you because of that fear. An example of confrontation that can make a parrot really uncomfortable is for someone to chase them around the floor from above. Years ago, I was visiting a woman who had to take her African grey to the vet. The vet's routine was to put parrots on the floor, turn the lights down and chase them with a towel to catch them. The concept was that he could sneak up on the parrot this way. The theory was faulty. Parrots are prey animals and have eyes in the sides of their head; they are not easy to sneak up on. I was shocked because this clearly was traumatic for the African grey. I suggested that he kneel down and approach the parrot calmly from the front and the bird would be far less traumatized. I caught the bird in this manner and handed it to the vet. I have no idea if the vet followed my advice in the future?

    The ability to get along and relate to each other successfully. No matter how hard we try some individual parrots will not get along with each other and seem to be more 'combatible' than compatible.

    Light-sensitive cells on the retina of the eye that are responsible for visual acuity and the ability to see color. Cones are sensitive to light levels and are the reason that parrots don't see colors in low light. However in good lighting, there color vision surpasses ours because they have 4 cones and we only have 3.

    One of the reasons I am so adamant about using verbal commands (cues), is because when they are used consistently with a parrot, the bird knows what is expected behavior. They also create consistency in the caregiver, which makes the person's behavior much less confusing to the parrot. 

    The preservation of the flora and fauna of the world and their natural environments. Since mankind has shown little concern for the fate of the planet and all of its co-inhabitants for hundreds of years, conservation is an all encompassing concept that includes, but is not limited to; air and water pollution, automobile emissions, harmful chemicals in farming, rainforest slash and burn land clearing, overpopulation, over-hunting of threatened species, massive pollution of the ocean, and much more. Concern for the environment should be a consideration for everyone. The rainforests of the world are disappearing at an alarming rate and the earth depends on them for proper carbon dioxide and oxygen balance. Pick an aspect were you can help. The efforts of many people can make a difference.

    As a parrot product consumer, we need to read labels and recognize facts before we believe the marketing claims of a product. For example, most pelleted diets are recommended by their manufacturers as “total diets.” In my opinion, this is because they want 100% of your dollars spent on food. 

    Simple notes, calls, or vocalizations between pairs, families, and members of a parrot flock, used to stay in touch and to communicate. Observations in the wild show that some flocks of a species of parrots have their own dialect. Answering your parrot's contact call with a simple response, can help prevent some screaming. (see Call to the Flock) 

    Feathers that form the outline of the bird’s body, wings and tail and give the bird shape.

    While the two birds below may look like the same bird, they are two different species from two different familes of birds from two different continents. The bird on the left is the Yellow-throated Longclaw from Africa and is related to pipits and wagtails while the bird on the right is the Western Meadowlark, which is a North American bird related to blackbirds. These two birds are an example of convergent evolution. This is where two unrelated species evolve to had similar characteristics to fit in with their environments.  

    I am convinced that just about every parrot can be converted to a healthier diet if his or her caregivers perseveres. Instead of giving up after trying a new food one or two times, caregivers need to find a way that their parrot will eat healthy fresh foods. It is uneducated and/or lazy people who keep their parrots on substandard seed or even pellet only diets and excuse it by declaring, “My bird won’t eat that.” after they try a new food once or twice. The following are techniques that work:

    » The major reason most people don’t succeed in changing their birds’ diets is their lack of patience. They give up way too soon. Don’t expect miracles within a few days or even weeks. The most effective caregiver knows he needs to make a lifetime change
 in the parrot’s diet. Instead of thinking, "I want my bird to eat this right now or else," think more realistically — "In a year my parrot will be eating healthier foods and every step I take to improve his diet from now until then will insure that this becomes true." 
    » A seed-only, or predominantly seed, diet is nutritional abuse. Feeding only seed is a "death" diet no matter what anyone says in their seed mix advertising or packaging. Parrot owners should not rely on the nutrition provided by seed as the base of their bird’s diet. A quality seed mix can be a part of a healthy, varied diet but should never be considered the main source of nutrition. Converting parrots from a predominantly seed diet to nutritious fresh foods and mashes combined with a quality manufactured extruded or pelleted parrot diet as from 25 to 35% of the parrot's diet with lots of fresh foods is essential to a parrot’s health. The ONLY manufactured parrot diet that I recommend is Totally Organics. 
     » Before starting any conversion process with a parrot, have his health checked by his avian vet. Have the veterinarian weigh him and ask what should be a healthy weight range for a parrot his size. Going by a species weight chart may not accurately reflect your parrot’s ideal size. Keep track of his weight on a regular basis as you work to change his diet. Either weigh him on a scale or, less effectively, check his weight daily by feeling his keel bone.
    » Don’t ever cold turkey a parrot — instead, change the diet slowly by gradually replacing the less healthy foods with more healthy foods. Make changes gradually, especially if a parrot has been on a seriously deficient, seed-only diet. Depriving a nutritionally compromised bird can stress him and make him ill. 
    » Make sure your parrot is getting enough to eat during the conversion process. There is a "Catch 22" — a parrot who is suffering from malnutrition will have health problems that may be aggravated by changing his diet, but if you don’t change his diet, he will continue to have health problems. For example, a parrot with liver problems related to malnutrition will most likely become sicker if he does not get enough to eat. The key is to gradually replace the unhealthy foods with healthier foods without compromising a parrot’s need for nourishment. 
    » Pet parrots seem to reflect our food likes and dislikes. If you make an excited fuss about it every time you give your parrot a piece of pizza, he will probably love pizza. (What parrot won’t eat pizza?) On the other hand, if you frown and make an "ugh" sound every time you try to get him to eat broccoli, it is doubtful that he will eat it no matter how often he is exposed to this nutritious vegetable. I always smile when I give my parrots a new food and they are often quite adventurous in trying them. 
    » Parrots should not be in control of what they eat. The idea that they will automatically eat what is good for them is a myth. While there is truth to the belief that wild parrots seasonally eat what is available and therefore eat the proper diet, companion parrots have to be exposed to healthy foods on a regular basis for them to select what they need. Because parrots can’t whip up a nutritious meal for themselves, they need us to make intelligent dietary choices for them. We also must be vigilant that the nutritious foods we buy and prepare for our parrots actually get into their digestive system.
    » Starchy and sweet foods such as corn, grapes, and apples are not the healthiest foods, but real seed junkies may learn to eat them more readily as a transition to broccoli, sweet potatoes, winter squash, carrots, collard greens, and healthier foods.    
    » Parrots have incredible color perception and can see in the ultraviolet range. They are attracted to the color, shape, and texture of foods, so you need to provide a variety of healthy foods until you find a way he will eat them. For example, carrots can be fed raw, cooked, by themselves or in mashes, whole, diced, sliced, in strips, mashed, grated, pureed, juiced, and so on.
    » Have fun — make food into toys. Lace greens in the cage bars. Make birdie bread, mashes and/or wrap foods in other foods — my parrots like a little nonfat cheese squished in with their pellets. Put veggies and fruits on kabobs. Put mashes in whole grain tortillas. Wrap greens around other foods that your parrots love like little dolmas (stuffed grape leaves). Place large leaves of sopping wet greens (collards, turnip, mustard, or kale) on the top of the cage. Many birds enjoy leaf bathing and may eat the greens at the same time.
    » When introducing manufactured diet, mix several quality pellet brands (stick with the most natural ones without food coloring) together in a bowl to give the parrot something to reject. Food rejection seems to be important to parrots. 
    » Plan on wasting food! Parrots are messy eaters and will usually waste a lot of food, especially when you are trying to get them to eat new foods. I don’t ever feel guilty since my dogs have always eaten the leftover glop and veggies either when it falls to the floor or when they happily lick the bowls.
    » Parrots are social eaters. Sample nutritious foods as you feed them to your parrot. Smile and act like you genuinely love the food even if you don’t. If he is bonded to you, he will usually eat what you eat or what someone feeds you in front of him. Use the Model/Rival technique — have another person feed you in front of your bird to intrigue him into eating nutritious foods. -    » Let him eat healthy food with you. Some parrots are more likely to eat new foods if they are fed away from the cage in a social eating situation. A T-stand by the table works great. 
    » The model/rival concept can work quite well. This involves the least favored person feeding a nutritionally sound bite of food to the parrot's favorit person in front of the parrot. In the beginning the favored person eats the food with expressions of pleasure such as "Yum - this is really good!" After doing this a few times, the parrots should start to show interest and the favored person only eats part of the tidbit and offers the rest to the parrot. Eventually the parrot will eat just about anything that the least favored person feeds to the most favored person after that person shares the food with their bird. 
    » Pay attention to your parrot’s preference and habits. Feed the most nutritious foods when he is the hungriest. Some parrots eat best in the morning; others eat best in the early evening. Most are likely to try new foods when you are eating with them.
    » Be creative. It may take weeks or even months! If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try, and try again! 

COOPER'S HAWK (Accipiter cooperii
    A major bird predator. These raptors have been known to swoop down and kill parrots who are outside and not in an aviary. Some people refuse to believe this really happens but I have seen a Cooper's hawk attack a conure and have heard about enough similar situations that I caution people about having parrots outside when there are Cooper's or Sharp-shinned hawks in the area. Falcons can also be bird killers. Raptors like the red-tailed hawk and other Buteos are usually small mammal hunters and rarely go after birds. Great horned owls can also attack and kill parrots if they are outside at dusk or at night. 

    The simultaneous raising of parrot chicks by their natural parrot parents and people.It is difficult to impossible with some species and some individual breeding pairs but several breeders have done this successfully. There have been a few articles about co-parenting in the Pet Bird Report and the Companion Parrot Quarterly. 

    Dietary copper is another trace mineral that is needed as a "helper" to many enzymes and it is also needed for the proper production of red blood cells and keeping blood vessels, nerves, immune system, and bones healthy.  Sources for copper that our parrots can eat include whole grains, beans, nuts, and dark leafy greens. Don't supplement copper as it is one of the minerals that can be poisonous if the bird receives too much to process properly.

   (Descrpiton from Wikipedia) Some caution is required in handling copper sulfate, as it is toxic and acidic, and it can pose health risks to living organisms. Copper sulfate is an irritant. The usual routes by which humans can receive toxic exposure to copper sulfate are through eye or skin contact, as well as by inhaling powders and dusts. Skin contact may result in itching or eczema. Eye contact with copper sulfate can cause conjunctivitis, inflammation of the eyelid lining, ulcertaiong and clouding of the cornea. Upon acute oral exposure, copper sulfate turns to be only moderately toxic. According to studies, the lowest dose of copper sulfate that had a toxic impact on humans is 11 mg/kg. Because of its irritating effect on the gastrointestinal tract, vomiting is automatically triggered in case of the ingestion of copper sulfate. However, if copper sulfate is retained in the stomach, the symptoms can be severe. After 1–12 grams of copper sulfate are swallowed, such poisoning signs may occur as a metallic taste in the mouth, burning pain in the chest, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, discontinued urination, which leads to yellowing of the skin. In case of copper sulfate poisoning, injury to the brain, stomach, liver, kidneys may also occur. Used as an herbicide, fungicide and a pesticide. 

    Copper Sulfate is listed as an ingredient of Kaytee Exact Rainbow, all Pretty Bird Manufactured Diets, Scenic Bird Food, ZuPreem Natural,  ZuPreem Avian Entrees, ZuPreem Bird Cookies and ZuPreem FruitBlend parrot diets.

    Several cockatoos are also referred to as corellas, including the Bare-eyed cockatoo and slender-billed cockatoo. Ducorp’s, Red-vented Philippine cockatoo, and Goffin’s cockatoos are also considered to be corellas.These birds are generally high-energy, acrobatic cockatoos who like to go from one thing to another fairly quickly instead of concentrating on one activity for a longer period of time.

    Most parrots love corn on the cob because it is both a yummy food and food as a toy. Corn is not the most nutritious vegetable but if you are dealing with a parrot that has been weaned to nothing but seed and/or pellets, corn is an excellent food to help transition them to healthier veggies. Fresh corn does have a bit of several vitamins (C, thiamin, folate) and minerals but is not an excellent cource of any in particular. I love corn season when the corn is fresh and very flavorful and so do my parrots. The day when I realize that corn season is over is a sad day for me and my parrots; they love their corn wheels! I do give them corn from time to time the rest of the year but there is no doubt that, just as I do, they know the difference between fresh corn and frozen corn. 

Now if corn doesn't say it is organic or sustainably-farmed – it is most likely GMO which is genetically altered.
    Corn is a common base for several manufactured bird diets. Unfotrunately more and more parrots are developing allergies to corn so it may not be the best food to feed if your parrots is exhibiting any physical signs that the bird has allergies. These symptoms can range from respiratory distress to feather picking behaviors. The best way to find out if your parrot has a corn allergy is to remove andything that has corn in it from the birds' diet for a long enough period of time to see if there is an improvement in the problems. 

    I recommend butcher paper or newspaper if there is a grate in the bottom of the cage. Walnut shell, corn cob, and other similiar sub-stratas that give people the illusion that the cage is clean, can actually develop high levels of mold and fungus in a short time and are therefore, not recommended. This is particularly true if people don't clean the droppings and food waste on a daily basis. There are also numerous situations where parrots have ingested these materials.

    A great place in Central America to go bird watching for parrots. Costa Rica has created more National parks than any other country in Central America and has had a relatively stable government for many years. The Scarlet Macaw used to be fairly common in Costa Rica but has now been extirpated from much of its former range. I was lucky enough to see a pair at their nesting tree. The tree in Palo Verde National Park was protected by an armed guard. During my visit, one of the birds came out of the tree cavity and flew off. Shortly after the mate flew out and you could hear them squawking as the bright red macaws flew together over the lush green valley. It was spectacular and one of the highlights of my life.

COSTUME JEWELRY (for home-made toys) 
    Over the years, I have talked with several people who have given their parrots jewelry items to play with. What may seem like a way to save money on toys can actually prove quite dangerous for parrots. Unless you can be absolutely sure that the materials you are using are 100% bird safe, don't use costume jewelry for bird toys. These items can be full of materials that may be dangerous and toxic for your parrots.  

    Some people think it is necessary to cover a parrot’s cage at night; others disagree. If there is a good reason for you and your parrots, go ahead and do it. However it will not be any easier for the parrot to go to sleep if he is in the living room while you are watching television. I only cover my Amazon Paco’s cage because she insists on letting me know when the sun comes up if I don’t. I am a night person and don't want to get up at sunrise!

    Small feathers that cover the top of the wing and the tail and protect the emerging retrices or long flight and tail feathers. 

    Polly may want a cracker, but since most crackers are manufactured with salt, fat, enriched processed wheat and even sugar, Polly shouldn't have most crackers! Read the labels and look in the health food sections for whole wheat crackers that may actually be healthy for parrots.

    High in vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese and fiber, cranberries are also believed to have antibiotic properties, especially in preventing the bacteria e-coli from adhering to cells in the body. 

    Nursery or area in the wild where young birds are gathered together for parental or flock care. Rose-breasted cockatoos are raised in a creche.

    Term used to describe birds who are active at dawn and dusk. A few parrots seem to be crepuscular including the Patagonian conure and the Great-billed Parrot. 

    Feathers on the top of the head that are raised or can be raised to communicate. Cockatoos are not the only parrots with crests as several other parrots can raise feathers on their heads in one way or another including macaws, slender-billed conures, hawkheads, and some Amazons

    Term used to denote a species in imminent danger of extinction. The Puerto Rican Amazon is an example of a critically endangered parrot. However, there is now an intense conservation to effort to increase its population. 

    Enlargement of the esophagus most evident in the front neck region. This elastic pouch is used as a storage area for food before it is gradually digested. In young parrots, the crop is large in order to store the food a baby needs until his parents can bring him more to eat. As the parrot matures, the crop becomes less elastic. Most people think the crop is located only in the front and lower throat area of the parrot, but seeing a parrot who has wet feathers and a full crop will show that the crop may actually extend around the sides of the throat and even down the back 

    Some baby parrots need help supporting their pendulous crop, especially after handfeeding. Crop bras were devised for this purpose.

    This is a common problem due to inexperienced handfeeders who don’t understand the importance of checking the heat of theformula. The temperature of handfeeding formula should be around 104o to 106o - never higher than about 108 Babies may not eat food that is under 104o. A temperature of 110o or over can burn the crop. Crop burns can be serious and can actually result in fatality if they are not treated immediately. Some serious crop burns can cause long-term damage to the crop and the digestive system. Be sure and stir formula thoroughly to avoid hot spots that could cause burning. Use a digital thermometer to make sure that the formula is the proper temperature. Do no attempt to hand feed a baby parrot if you have no experience doing it properly. Any store or aviary that sends novice hand-feeders home with an unweaned baby maybe jeopardizing that baby and probably doesn't give a damn what happens to the bird once it leaves their establishment. When cooking mixes for adult parrots, be sure to keep the temperature below 105o.  

    These vegetables include bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kale.  These vegetables are often referred to as "super-veggies" because they contain high levels of nutrients, including phytonutrients that are claimed to lower cancer risks. Some of these vegetables are also good sources for vitamin A, C, and K.

(see Camouflage)  

CUBAN AMAZON (Amazona leucocephala
    When I saw my first Cuban Amazon, I was surprised that they were a fairly small Amazon. These are gorgeous little birds with a great personality. Although they are uncommon as companions and very expensive, they have become more popular as more are being bred in captivity. However, they are endangered and CITES Appendix 1, which means that international trade in them is illegal and people have to have a permit for them to cross state lines.

CUBAN MACAW (Ara tricolor
    One of the smaller macaws (18-20"). This macaw was native to Cuba but has been extinct since the 1860s. The reasons this beautiful macaw became extinct were habitat destruction, hunting for food, and capture as pets.  

    Cucumbers are considered to be a digestive aid in humans, I couldn't find any information as to their value to parrot diet. Being mostly water, they don't have much in the way of vitamins and minerals with only a decent amount of vitamin K. If you feed cucumbers to your parrot, wash them thoroughly but don't peel them since any nutrition that they have is in the skin. Cucumbers may be one of those foods to feed for "rip them up fun" rather than nutrition.

    Gentle play wrestling with parrots;  Amazons, macaws, cockatoos, caiques, and conures particularly love this type of interaction. It should be limited and also should be stopped if the parrot goes into “overload” behavior. "Raspberry belly" can also be a part of cuddle wrestling.

    Cuddling sometimes is fine but excessive cuddling can lead to sexual bonding. Cuddling should only be a small part of interaction with a companion parrot.

    A term often used in breeding for animals or birds who are separated from the others because they do not exhibit the characteristics the breeder is trying to achieve. For example, in the breeding of cockatiel mutations, birds that do not have the desired physical characteristics are usually sold into the pet trade rather than kept for future breeding. 

Another exotic fruit being referred to as a "superfruit" because of its high level of antioxidants, capuacu is from the rainforests of Brazil. It is about the size of a football, cupuacu is available as a juice and not a fresh fruit. It also has good levels of vitamins A, C. and several B.

CURIOSITY (Development of )
    An essential part of raising an emotionally healthy, well-socialized parrot chick is to expose them to many safe situations and objects to encourage their curiosity.




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