A Summer Letter From Sheldon

Written By: B.D. Butler - Jul• 26•16

Dear Birds,

cleoThe summer has begun, very slowly it seems.  Time has gone by since the last time we really had any issues, especially having moved into a much larger house. Let’s just be honest, shall we?  Having you in your bird room has been total heaven, of course except when those instances I walk by you when you are on your parrot stands and you insist on flinging food at my head. I find it rude, not only because it frightens me but because it makes a mess!

Our owners work very hard at keeping the Manor clean and you’re not helping.  I’m not trying to damper your artistic vision but trying to become the next Picasso by tossing your food at my head or the wall isn’t going to work. I’ve heard humans refer to parrots as a “blender with the top off” but this is getting ridiculous.

sheldon.dogsIn previous letters I have addressed your calling my name and scolding me, but with the two Miniature Schnauzers who also live here, it’s getting confusing.  They don’t know you’re kidding.  Yelling, “No!” and “Come here” or “Wanna go outside” would be confusing for the average dog.  Maybe you’re playing your mind games again, and possibly on purpose. Either way, not cool.

So in closing this letter to you Dexter, Cooper, Cleo and little Hugo I would appreciate keeping your vocalizations to something directed at the masters of the Manor and also please stop using my head as target practice.  I don’t appreciate fresh vegetables and fruits getting intermingled with my fur.

Until next time,


Digital Enrichment

Written By: B.D. Butler - May• 04•16
I got YouTube here.

I got YouTube here.

In today’s world, things are a lot more hectic than they used to be.  Oprah taught us the term multi-tasking and we excel at doing just that.  Sometimes I wonder where the time goes and wish there were more hours in a day to get things done. That includes keeping my parrots happy.  I strive very hard at keeping new toys in their cages, rearranging perches to keep things new and offering enrichment opportunities when I can.  This includes a HD flat screen tv in their bird room. 

I wanted to make sure the birds had a beautiful space to live in, and they really do.  Lots of light, plants, stencils on the walls, their own radio and we added a flat screen tv in the corner.  Because we stream everything and only watch Roku & Apple TV we use Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube to stream movies and videos for the birds.  I personally like to play jungle sounds or rainforest sounds for them.  I figure it’s as close to the wild as they will ever get and it’s amazing how many sounds they have picked up.  If you have cable, we used to leave the cartoon network on when we were gone.  

Here is one of my favorite videos I like to play. 

Our birds go nuts for it!  They call back to the birds in the video and it adds that extra bit of nature to their world.  I will admit the greys do entertain the crap out of us, especially with all of the noises they can pick up.  Zippers, garbage trucks, text notifications, microwaves… the list goes on and on.  But my favorite is the noises they have picked up from cartoons.  Personally I like the old school cartoons from my childhood like Gummy Bears, Smurfs, Scooby-Doo (we hear the occasional Zoink or Jinkees) but I will also put on some of the new CGI movies and Dream Works films for them.  The brilliant colors and sounds really keep them intrigued.  

Here’s an episode of the Gummy Bears:

So when you are going to wake your birds up in the morning I out on some rainforest sounds and let them wake up “in the jungle”.  Or if you want to teach them some cartoon noises, turn it on… it’s enrichment in a new and fantastic way. It’s so easy and entertaining!  Especially when life gets crazy and you can’t devote 100% of the time with your birds.  You’ll be surprised how much they will love it!

Copyright- 2016 – Parrot Earth – Digital Enrichment

Getting a Second Opinion

Written By: B.D. Butler - Mar• 30•16

Ah, social media.  Originally when social media began, we all were probably thinking,” this is the coolest thing since sliced bread”.  The ability to connect and chat with people all over the world in an instant.  How cool!?  Or is it?social media

For some it’s become a hinderance into development and the thinking process.  It’s even helped hinder an entire new generation of human beings.  There appears to be a new generation of people appearing in the social media stratosphere.  I call them the non-thinkers.  These non-thinkers are so preoccupied with getting things correct, they forget to remember that no one person has ALL of the answers.  Before the world of the internet, you had to get a professionals first opinion, possibly a second opinion and sometimes a third if you had a problem.  That meant you doing research into these opinions from experts and weighing out your options.  At that point you came to your own conclusion and made the determination of  what works better for you, not what some stranger on the Facebook tells you.

second_opinionNow don’t get me wrong, there is some amazing advice out there from people who have years and decades of experience with all things bird .  However it’s up to you to question them.  I know for a fact there are tons of new advances some of these experts don’t know about.  There are also things that “new” experts have never heard of because they lack the experience of someone who has been in the aviculture world for decades.  This is when it comes to you, the researcher (see what I did there, I put you in the category of the researcher or the person who is questioning) to get many opinions and weigh them.  Weigh the validity.  Weigh where they are coming from, weigh how long a specific item has been in practice.  Then you make the decision, not others making those decisions for you.  

With the new non-thinker, it’s easy to get an opinion and instructions and then do exactly that.  However when those instructions don’t quite work out perfectly or when those instructions don’t work out at all, the non-thinker now will place blame and take absolutely no responsibility for their lack of research or accountability for their actions.  Without understanding and admitting your own failures you cannot begin to learn from them.  Sometimes you learn more from your failures then you do your successes.  

“But an expert told me to”…. is what I have heard and seen numerous times, and my question is “did you do your research?”.  Of course that may sound a bit callous and that is absolutely not my intention.  My intention is to inspire you to ask questions. Ask your vet, groomer, boarder, toy maker, mail man, whatever. Just ask.  Keep questioning boundaries, that’s what the best scientists and explorers have done for centuries.  That’s how finding out how dangerous an all seed diet is, someone questioned what was told to them and the research began. The same thing is true about processed foods vs fresh food, simply, someone questioned what they were told instead of blindly following.   

researchNow before some of you get into a tizzy, I am not saying that using google or bing makes you a formidable force and you should go up against your avian vet with said information. I’m just saying it’s important to know what is going on and have all of the information possible.  Personally I prefer to be proactive with my animal’s health and not reactive when something unforeseen goes wrong.  I take the time, so I know the options before I weigh them.   

So the next time something comes up about your birds, before you have that knee jerk reaction and do something just because someone has told you to. Open up that computer, phone or tablet and use whichever nondenominational browser you choose and start reading.  Information is power and it’s up to you to use it! 

Copyright – Parrot Earth – 2016 – Getting a Second Opinion

Got a light?

Written By: B.D. Butler - Dec• 10•15

As you know, or you should know, birds have one of the most sensitive and efficient respiratory systems in the animal kingdom. In days of old, miners took canaries into mines with them for this very reason.  For a wonderful explanation of how and why watch the video below!

Pretty amazing, right?  I remember doing all of my research on candles, perfumes teflon and any other non-natural items, before bringing Dexter home and why all of these items are harmful if not fatal to our feathered companions.  So, we are on the same page as far as this goes?  I hope so.  
Now that being said, let’s talk about cigarettes, e-cigs or vaping and marijuana with your pets.  
parrot-smokingYes, in this day and age, with all of the science out there and with this thing called the internet, people still smoke around their animals.  It baffles me.  I’m confused why you would trap your animal in your house, while you puff away on your Marlboro red and think that’s ok.  Firstly animals have different respiratory systems than humans, clearly.  But why would you take an animal with the most sensitive respiratory system in the animal world and smoke around it? I understand smoking is an addiction, and I smoked a pack a day for many years.  I also, never smoked in my house.  Hey I’ll be honest, I still enjoy the occasional cigarette when I have a cocktail, I find it’s refreshing. But, my birds aren’t around and it’s always outdoors.  A few years back we helped a friend of ours who smoked in her condo for two years and asked us to prep it for selling.  During this process, we washed walls and windows, which were saturated with nicotine.  It was so bad in some areas it looked like tea running down white walls and glass.  I could only imagine what was on the furniture or on the dishes in the cabinets.  
vaping-300x200For those of you who “vape” in your house, I have news for you.  You may be taking out some of the chemicals from cigarettes and your e-cig may have those fancy flavors, but you are still expelling nicotine and other hazardous chemicals.  Nicotine that is going to get on your furniture, clothes, walls and be more importantly inhaled by your birds and other pets.  
I understand that the way you live your life is your choice, yep I totally and absolutely agree. That is your constitutional right and it’s none of my business. But when it comes to the lives of your animals, they didn’t ask you to spark up and I doubt they ran over and grabbed a match to help you light up either.  
Living in a state where marijuana is legal has its challenges.  I don’t have a problem with someone using marijuana, as long as it’s done responsibly and legally.  I do have a problem with hearing when people “smoke up” indoors with their animals, or when they purposely get them high.  You have no idea what the adverse reactions can be and you never know how much marijuana is going to cause marijuana toxicity. Yes it happens. Chatting with a few of my friends who happen to be veterinarians, it happens more than anyone really talks about (click here).  It’s also usually lied about in the beginning stages and then eventually confessed.  Sometimes the animals survive and other times they do not. Also, let’s not forget it can be illegal. 
SV-no-smokingSo, what have we learned?  Get off your butt to have a but.  Go outside and smoke whatever you are going to smoke.  Don’t be selfish and jeopardize the health and well-being of your animals. It’s pretty simple and it’s just common sense.  
For harmful ingredients in smoking, click here.
For harmful items in e-cigs click here.
For marijuana toxicity in your pets, click here.
Copyright – 2015 – Parrot Earth – Got a Light? 101

The Cartoon Loving Parrot(s)

Written By: B.D. Butler - Dec• 03•15

As parrot owners we are constantly looking for news way to enrich our feathered companions.  After years of searching, it’s not the easiest to find something that your parrot hasn’t done a thousand times, or isn’t already bored of.  Novelty is key.  scooby

The world of birds has many enrichment toys designed to keep that little nugget of information working, however if you birds are like mine, it gets solved after spending twenty minutes and is never touched again.  Granted it will depend on the species, but again, birds are different and some just have a hankering for solving puzzle toys.  At that point the forty-five dollars you spent on this magical wheel seems pretty frivolous.  Little did you know there are small things like cartons or paper towel rolls that will give you just as much time, but that’s a different article.

Before we had our current house, we had our birds in the living room.  To be frank, they loved it.  They got to spend time in the midst of everything and for our greys and lovebird it was a wonderful way to keep them mentally stimulated. Now the birds have their own bird room, and it’s lovely.  They have their own space, air filtration, UV lighting closet full of newspapers, toys, plants and even stencils on the walls. However I noticed something was missing after the move.  There were no boxes that weren’t unpacked, nothing that was missing in their cages.  So what could it be?  

Noises.  When we would leave in the other house I made sure they had the radio on, or the cartoon network.  I wanted them to be able to hear a diverse amount of sounds which would keep them from focusing on the fact that we were gone.  It also worked great with our dogs and kept them from focusing on the traffic or the mail man delivering mail in the mail slot.  What I didn’t realize is what would happen next.  They began immitating the lovely sounds from Scooby Doo and other favorite toons from our past.  Zoink, Boing, Zap and other noises began flying our of their little beaks.  

Not only do they get to hear sounds from the tv, but they get to see bright colors and that will also keep them using their minds.  I am very particular about what I play for the birds.  Anything that is going to possibly frighten them, I steer clear of.  I also play them jungle sounds off of YouTube, and they love hearing all of the various bird calls and continually attempt to communicate with them.  I figure it is the best way to give them a sense of the outdoor wild world, which they will never get to see.  

Rio-2-Movie-wallpaper1The key is getting to know what your bird responds to.  My birds like any cartoon or animated movie with music.  You will usually find one bird dancing along with a song break in the middle of Rio, Aladdin or The Little Mermaid.  They even love the classic cartoons like Garfield and The Gummy Bears.  

So the next time you leave the house, leave the tv on or even the radio.  They will love the company and you may come home to find some fun and novel Zoinks or Jinkees coming out of their beaks!  

Copyright 2015 – Parrot Earth – The Cartoon Loving Parrot