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New! Natural Bird Toy Subscription Boxes

Tired of the same old bird subscription boxes? At parrotJOY, we don’t simply reinvent the wheel… we listen to what YOU want and design innovative parrot enrichment. So, we have finally released parrotJOY natural bird toy subscription boxes. We are bringing you 3 great natural bird toy subscription boxes, that don’t simply reinvent the wheel. Each box is curated with toys that provide a NEW type of subscription box offering:

Mixed Flock Natural Toy Subscription Box

Wood Bird Toy Big Beak Subscription Box

Subscription Box for Timid Birds

Try it for 1 month, or subscribe and save!

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How to Prevent a Bird’s Beak from Becoming Overgrown

Is your bird’s beak overgrown? A beak trim is a serious procedure that is far too often looked at in the same light as a nail trim. However, if a beak is trimmed too short, it will cause the bird pain, will bleed, and may make it difficult or impossible for a bird to eat. Furthermore, beaks shaped improperly or trimmed to the wrong length can cause jaw malalignment and problems that can persist or exacerbate as the beak grows back. But, don’t fret! For the majority of pet birds, beak trimming should never be needed. Here we discuss the beak growth process and how to prevent a bird’s beak from becoming overgrown.

Photo credit: Del Mar Veterinary Hospital, Dr. Nieve’s patient (Coco) before and after he trimmed her beak.

How does a beak grow?

A parrot’s beak grows from the base growth plate in layers. As it grows, it flakes off at the tip with regular chewing. The beak is constantly growing from both the back and below. Since the beak is continually growing, flaking is normal with visible layers of keratin. In nature, parrots constantly use their beaks for climbing, foraging (breaking open fruits and seeds), and excavating cavities for nesting. In our homes, chew toys and foraging toys must take the place of what the birds would find in nature. So, toys are absolutely essential to the critical beak-wear process. The abrasion from destructible toys shapes and trims the beak with each bite.

What causes an overgrown beak in parrots?

One reason why your bird’s beak is overgrown may have to do with diet. The upper beak or lower beak can grow too long, and/or abnormally. The upper beak overgrows far more often than the lower beak. In fact, some flaking is normal and expected, but too much dryness or brittleness indicate a metabolic problem such as fatty liver disease. According to the Animal House of Chicago veterinary center for birds and exotic pets, an overgrown beak can be an early sign of fatty liver disease… and one of the few outward signals that there may be nutritional issues. As a result, it is important to talk with your vet about what diet is appropriate for your bird.

Finally, there may be underlying causes for an overgrown beak that are not related to diet or toy access. According to the Del Mar Vet Hospital of St. Augustine, Florida, in addition to nutritional imbalances, an overgrown beak can be the result of health problems including trauma, developmental abnormalities, or polyomavirus-like infections. “Beak trimming is not necessary in birds unless the beak is overgrown due to underlying health problems or malocclusion,” states Greg Harrison, DVM, Dipl ABVP-Avian, Dipl ECAMS in Clinical Avian Medicine, Volume I, pg14. Therefore, you should talk to your avian vet about what might be the root cause of your specific bird’s beak overgrowth.

How can I prevent my bird’s beak from overgrowing?

But, don’t lose hope! Talk to your vet to identify what you can do to prevent your bird’s beak from overgrowing. Always provide plenty of natural beak-conditioning toys that your bird can chip away at. Experiment and find a wood block thickness that is satisfying to your bird. Bird toys with mahogany pods are great for exercising smaller beaks. And in the process of play, these fun toys are also chipping away at your bird’s beak and helping to prevent stressful beak trims.

Sources:

https://www.animalhouseofchicago.com/news/birds-fatty-liver

https://www.parrots.org/ask-an-expert/cracking-beak-and-avian-nutrition

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parrotJOY Sponsors a Blue-throated Macaw Nest Box in Bolivia

parrotJOY is proud to support Blue-throated Macaw recovery through sponsoring a nest box at Reserva Laney Rickman in Bolivia.

Laney Rickman developed the Nido Adoptivo™ nest box campaign in 2007 in partnership with Asociación Armonía to raise funds to build nest boxes for the critically endangered Blue-throated Macaw in their endemic range in Bolivia. To-date over 100 Blue-throated Macaw chicks have fledged from these nest boxes. We are excited to be part of this growing recovery project!

To-date over 100 Blue-throated Macaw chicks have fledged from the nest boxes, a truly significant number. As a result, the IUCN listing for the Blue-throated Macaw has changed from “Critically Endangered – declining” to “Critically Endangered – stable.” The success of this program is further demonstrated by the five breeding adults from the 2018-2019 breeding season confirmed to be ringed individuals, having fledged from the nest boxes in previous years, returning to breed. This is an important indicator of increasing population recruitment where fledged birds survive and reproduce, showing the success and positive impact of this program.

Please consider contributing to the future of these beautiful, intelligent parrots! Visit https://www.birdendowment.org/ways-to-support to make a donation.

All photos in gallery © Asociación Armonía

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Flight of the Macaw Podcast

Being a PhD student in wildlife science, I had the opportunity to provide fact-checking services KUOW’s wildlife podcast series, THE WILD. I was thrilled to be part of the team to bring you this exciting podcast about wild macaws! Please give it a listen!

There are only 350 scarlet macaws left in the wild in Belize. They face the threats of poaching and habitat loss. In this podcast, meet the passionate people determined to save these colorful birds.

https://www.kuow.org/stories/the-flight-of-the-scarlet-macaw

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Sharing the JOY!

In a recent study published report in the journal Current Biology, researchers found that African grey parrots voluntarily helped a partner get a food reward by sharing food tokens. Later, scientists reversed birds’ roles to see if the recipient of this generosity would pay back those favors. And the birds did. In contrast, ravens and blue-headed macaws, shared very few tokens.

Read the original scientific journal article at:

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What is the best pellet for my bird’s diet?

When choosing a pellet diet for your bird, please realize some pellets are “complete” and others are “incomplete.” Usually the incomplete pellets lack vitamin D3 (which cannot be found in any naturally-occurring food thus providing fruits/veggies does not fill in the gaps).

Incomplete pellets often have recognizable ingredients lists that make us feel better about what we are feeding our birds. Incomplete pellets rarely mention this in their advertising… So, if you choose one of these pellets, just realize that you must supplement your bird’s diet daily (usually with DAILY natural sunlight or a lamp to provide D3, but check with your avian vet to confirm what vitamins/minerals are lacking in your specific incomplete pellet). Examples of incomplete pellets include TOPS.

Complete pellets provide a base foundation all essential vitamins and minerals. While it is still healthy to provide fresh veggies and natural sunlight on a complete pellet diet, you don’t have to stress if you miss a few days. The ingredients list of complete pellets is often less wholesome-looking with difficult to pronounce ingredients, in order to provide the full vitamin/mineral profile. Examples of complete pellets are Roudybush and Harrison’s.

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Free Webinar: An Overview of Parrot Reproduction

parrot reproduction webinar

Webinar: Where do Baby Parrots Come From? A Veterinary View of Avian Reproduction

Date: Friday, March 12, 2021 at 11:30 a.m. PST

Whether you breed birds or have pet birds, it’s important to understand how a bird’s reproductive system works and to be aware of possible health concerns. In this webinar, Dr. Stephanie Lamb will discuss avian reproductive anatomy and physiology, as well as possible treatment strategies for related issues.

Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_8s2-oUyYSFu43iOx8r9kOA

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Featured Toy Designer: Dani Flanary

parrot toy builder

Dani is one of our long-time toy builders, having put her personal touch on hundreds of parrotJOY bird toys. Dani came to parrotJOY with her own special art – paper origami – and we have been looking for a way to highlight her talent ever since! Although she does not have bird herself, she has learned what it takes to make a safe, exciting parrot toy. Combined with passion for origami, Dani designed and built the Origami Forager natural foraging toy!

When not crafting, you can find Dani out wandering in nature. She loves living in a state that allows her to travel from ocean to mountain in a matter of hours. As a fan of all forms of art, it is paper crafts, in particular, that she really enjoys creating and is very excited to be given this opportunity to showcase some of her work alongside ParrotJOY toys.

We are so lucky to have Dani and many talented artists working with us at parrotJOY! You are always going to see fresh, one-of-a-kind designs originating from parrotJOY. We hope to feature more of our toy builders in the future!

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Free Seminars on Wild Parrot Trade

Recorded presentations are now available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCF1mAiGL_G8iwUfnJHnymKQ

We will post one talk per day, so stay tuned!

If you want to know more about what is happening in the Symposium and upcoming events, follow us:@libre_research
@biodiversityresearch 

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For those of you interested in wildlife trade issues there is an online symposium happening every Tuesday over the next four weeks (Jan 12th-Feb 2nd). http://biodiversityresearch.org/projects/wildfile-symposium/

Including…

The role of Facebook in facilitating wildlife trade

International trade in live birds from West Africa

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Bamboo

Bamboo Pieces used in the BAMBOOzler

Bamboos are large evergreen perennial grasses that inhabit the tropical and temperate forests around the world. Bamboo is a member of the family Poaceae (grasses) and specifically the subfamily Bambusoideae. The subfamily can be further subdivided into three tribes: bambuseae (tropical woody bamboos), Olyreae (herbaceous bamboos), and Arundinarieae (temperate woody bamboos). The three tribes contain 115 genera that are broken down into 1400 species.

The two tribes of woody bamboo make up about 93% of the species diversity and are most important to forest ecology and human economics. Bamboo can thrive from sea level to 4000 meters and is found in Africa, Asia, North and South America, and Australia. It is a prolific grower and can reach heights of 120 feet (40 meters) and cover many hectares. Some plants require 7 to 120 years to flower, lending to mass flowering episodes. Bamboo has also been declared the fastest growing plant on earth, growing up to 3 feet (91 centimeters per day) or at a rate of 0.00003 kilometers per hour.

Bamboo is rhizomatous meaning that it possesses rhizomes or modified subterranean stems that send out roots and shoots from nodes. Plants grow in two separate patterns depending on the species: clumping and running. The clumping varieties gradually spread and the running varieties prolifically spread (several meters per year) and sometimes require human control.

Not only is bamboo’s horizontal growth interesting, the vertical growth is equally as intriguing. Bamboo culms emerge from the soil at their full diameter and grow to their full height in a single growing season, which is typically about four months. There is no branching from the stem until the majority of the mature height is reached and branching occurs from the nodes. Over the next several years the culms harden and are either overtaken with fungi and collapse or are harvested. The cycle begins anew each growing season and as the plant matures, the culms reach greater and greater heights.

Most bamboos require warmer climates and cannot survive at USDA hardiness zones below 5. Even at zone 5, the foliage and culms will die off each winter. However in USDA zone 7 and higher, bamboo will retain its evergreen foliage. This ability to survive harsh climates, thrive in poor soil conditions, and grow quickly, have allowed bamboo to thrive in areas that it is not native such as Europe and northern and western United States. Although bamboo is popular for landscaping, it can be highly invasive and outcompete native vegetation, leading to vast monocultures and decreased biodiversity.

Bamboo shoots, stems, and leaves provide nutrition to China’s Giant Panda, Nepal’s Red Panda, Madagascar’s Lemurs, Central Africa’s Mountain Gorillas, Chimpanzees, and Elephants, as well as rodents around the world.

In addition to sustaining many charismatic species, bamboo also is important to humans as a raw material. Bamboo harvest is a multi billion dollar per year industry in South East Asia and is even on the rise in the United States. Bamboo harvest is found to be more sustainable than traditional timber harvest due to the quick growth rate (harvested every 5 to 7 years) and ability to store 100 to 400 tons of carbon per hectare. Although there are many positives to bamboo, it is important to remember that with any ecosystem, monocultures are generally not the recipe for a healthy environment. Though bamboo farming is a viable option, as with most things, moderation is key.

One of the most utilized forms of bamboo is from the genus phyllostachys (timber bamboo), which is native to central/southern China and northern Indochina. Planted bamboo has thrived in other parts of Asia, Australia, North/South America, and Europe. In some areas bamboo has become so invasive and detrimental to native ecosystems that the sale of this species for landscaping is illegal and homeowners can be fined if it is growing within 40 feet of adjacent properties. It belongs to Arundinarieae or the temperate woody bamboo tribe and has a running growth style. The culms are utilized in construction and furniture products.

Another genus that is typically utilized economically is Bambusa, which is a clumping variety of bambuseae or the tropical woody bamboo tribe. This genus is native to China, India, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, Melanesia, and the Northern Territory of Australia. It has also taken over large swaths of land in Africa and Central/South America. This bamboo genus is utilized for nearly any purpose including: landscape hedge, erosion control, flooring, boats, pipes, food, and even parrot toys.

At parrotJOY we utilize Bambusa arundinacea or thorny bamboo, which is actually quite smooth and safe for parrots. It grows wild in most parts of tropical India, Pakistan, and southwestern China. We love to use this unique toy component because it adds another layer of color, texture and fun to your parrot’s toy repertoire. Look for our 2-3 inch bamboo stalks in the new BAMBOOzler toy!

References:

Hort.purdue.edu. 2020. Bambusa Arundinacea. [online] Available at: <https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energy/Bambusa_arundinacea.html> [Accessed 20 November 2020].

INBAR. 2020. Understanding Bamboo’S Climate Change Potential- INBAR. [online] Available at: <https://www.inbar.int/understanding-bamboos-climate-change-potential/> [Accessed 20 November 2020].

Kelchner, S., 2013. Higher level phylogenetic relationships within the bamboos (Poaceae: Bambusoideae) based on five plastid markers. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 67(2), pp.404-413.