Monday, December 26, 2011

Bird Recipe: Fruity 'Tiel Bars

A reader shared recipe:
“I have 4 very picky cockatiels. They will not eat anything but seed but these bars they will fight over. I hope your birds love them as mine do.”

1/4 cup each:
- Crushed dried peas
- Dried apricots
- Nuts
- Crushed bananas (Dried or fresh)

3 Tbs Seed
3 Tbs Pellets
1 egg and shell (best if shell is dried and not damp)
1/4 cup + 1 Tbs Applesauce (I use 100% natural)
3 Tbs crunchy Peanut butter

Mix dry ingredients in order. You can add anything else that your bird loves. It should mix very easy. I crushed everything, but you can do it according to your bird size. Fold in the applesauce and peanut butter. It should end up like a paste.

Cook in a square pan, (easier to cut later than a circle pan), at 350 F for 30 min. It smells bad when cooking, but the birds love it. Hope your feathered family will like these.

Now through 1/5, enter code "clearance" IN THE COMMENTS BOX (NOT THE COUPON BOX) to get a free holiday leftover item added to your order of $75 or more!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bird Recipe: Birdie Quinoa

Did you know that quinoa is one of the few plant sources of perfect protein? You do not need to mix beans with quinoa to make a complimentary protein as you do with most grains! At Momma's Birdie Bread, we have known about quinoa for quite some time, which is why it has been in our mixes from the beginning.

Birdie Quinoa

1 cup Quinoa
2-3 cups Water
Corn kernels (or another veggie if your bird is corn sensitive)
Chopped carrots
Raisins and/or dried apples (unsulphured)
Cinnamon stick

Boil 2 cups of water, add quinoa.
Cook for 10 minutes, then add veggies and dried fruit.
Cook for another 5 minutes or until the quinoa grain is clearish and has a tiny tail sprouting from it.
You may have to add a little more water if it gets too dry too quickly.
Let cool.  Serve.  You can put almost any veggies or fruit in this recipe.

Now through 12/24, enter code gooseisgettingfat to get free shipping on orders that include holiday items!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bird Recipe: Hanging Bird Treats

We’ve all seen how wild birds like hanging treats made with seed, but the ones that you buy at the pet store aren’t very healthy (and who knows how old it is!). The best solution to make friends with the birdies outside is to make one yourself!

In the winter, birds outside need more fat and calories, so the winter recipe reflects that.

Winter Bird Feeder Ingredients:
Peanut Butter
Seed Mix
Pine Cone

Spread peanut butter all over and into nooks and crannies of pinecone. The more area that is covered, the longer the bird feeder lasts. Once it is coated, roll the cone in seed, then sprinkle in the nooks nad crannies to get all surface areas covered.

Summer Bird Feeder Ingredients:
1 egg (including the shell)
Half a cup of seed &/or fine (or chopped) pellets
Chopped parsley or other greens, dried fruits, pellets or whatever other goodies you want to add to the treat - about a tablespoon or two worth.

1. Break the egg into a bowl and save the shells. Beat the egg until fluffy.
2. Then add the remaining ingredients.
3. Mix well, then pour/spoon the mixture into small ramekins and use an aluminum twist tie or paper clip (bent into a wire) as an inserted hanger.
4. Set your oven on LOW (200 F) and bake the whole arrangement for about an hour to dry it out. Test forms- they are done when mixture is dried out and wire stays put.

Now through 12/17: enter code winterwonderland to get free shipping on orders that include holiday items!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Avian First Aid

For more information on specific symptoms and whether they need immediate vet care, read here. Always consult with a vet about your bird’s condition, especially if it appears sick or injured. This post is intended to help you do immediate care before actual medical treatment is administered.

Short Term First Aid Instructions:

You need to provide several things in order to stabilize your bird before taking it to a vet. Most of these things can be covered by basic care and a hospital tank or cage:

Great hospital tank for smaller birds.
Hospital Tank/Cage:This is a cage or flat bottomed tank that has no perches. The bird must save energy by sitting on the bottom, preferably on a soft towel. Food and water should be immediately accessible to the bird from where they sit, they should have to make no extra effort to nourish themselves. Give favorite foods that are never turned down at this time- the point is to make sure calories are being consumed!

Great tank to adapt for a larger bird.
Keep bird in warm environment (unless indicated otherwise in the chart above) of 85-90 F (29- 32 C). A heating pad or water bottle under or clipped to a corner the cage (with a perch or nesting area there in the corner), a reptile heater or lamp (75-100 watts, away from where bird can come into contact), or an incubator specifically for this purpose can be used. Be careful not to overheat. Monitor the bird every so often to ensure this. Too hot would be panting, holding wings out away from the body. Too cold would be feathers fluffed up for an extended period.

Food and Water:
Keep favorite foods and water close to sleeping area, so little effort is exerted on looking for food. Millet spray or nuts are usually treats for birds and eaten.

Also a great hospital tank, without the perch.
Sleeping/Resting area:
Birds who are too weak to perch, have paralysis, or fractures should have perches removed from the cage & given a soft clean place to sleep (paper towels are insulation & can be easily cleaned up & replaced and make a good sleeping area) at the bottom of the cage.

Small birds become debilitated faster than larger birds. A few drops of warm (not hot), strong coffee solution (That’s right! We said coffee! We KNOW it’s toxic in frequent doses, but it will not hurt your bird in this small, one-time amount) with a high concentration of sugar, administered with a syringe or eye dropper can provide a burst of energy in order to get the bird to a vet if they are on their last legs. Gatorade or Pedialyte can also be given at any point during this time for hydration.

Do NOT give the bird over-the-counter medications from the pet shop, especially antibiotics. These are too weak to work & may skew vet lab results, delaying proper treatment.

Now through 12/11, enter code holidaze to get a free bag birdie bread when you order three!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Guest Post: Feeding a Large Flock Without Going Insane

I have had seven birds or more in my house at any given time, between flock members and foster birds. All this, and a busy life taking care of other people’s birds too! Feeding a healthy diet to my birds is important to me, but I just don’t have all day (who does?). As many of us know, feeding a fresh diet requires thinking first thing in the morning before we leave for work, and this is something I am not very good at. I also don’t have tons of money. So buying lots of the “instant” bird mixes and cooking them up isn’t always an option. So how do I balance the time and money issue?

I got organized! I created a feeding schedule/calendar that helps me ensure that I am feeding a balanced diet to my flock. This way, I buy all the right groceries when I’m at the market, and my plan gives me a weekly and daily task list of what I need to do, and when. (Since much of the prep for a fresh bird diet happens in the wee hours of the
morning before work, I needed to tell myself what needs to get done in advance. I’m just not adept at thinking on my feet early in the morning.) I found that bird care for a larger flock can get overwhelming unless you plan in advance.

Below are sample make-ahead recipes of a bird balanced diet. You can set aside 30-60 minutes a week to make bird food and freeze and store your work for fresh food-on-the-run! I tend to do my weekly prep on Sundays, when I have the time.

Making bird recipes is often easier than people ones, and
kids love to help in the kitchen!
I often set one day aside a week to offer seed and nuts and treats above and beyond the ordinary daily nutrition. This gives me a prepping break, as pleasing to the birds, and makes time when you just want to hang out and not do work (or you have chores to do and want little distraction!) doable. We call this day “Seed-ter-day” in my house. “Seed-ter-day” allows the birds to have a treat while we are out during the day, having fun together, or doing chores. The rest of the mornings, we eat as a flock, but it’s all easy food that doesn’t need prep (or is prepped on Sunday and pulled out of the fridge).

I feed 100% organic, and animal products (like eggs) are also free range. I am lucky since in the Bay Area, I can get an organic “box” delivery: produce, cereals, nuts, and juices delivered every Wednesday! I also love Trader Joe’s supermarket- they carry tons of organic stuff- from pine nuts to eggs!

As far as processed bird products, I use a variety of pellets (all human grade, preferably organic).

Every week, set aside 30 minutes or so on one day (usually Sunday) to do bird food prep. Here are things you might want to make in advance that would make your week easier:

Hard boil eggs in advance. Serve these chopped, with the shell included.

Sweet Potato Balls (recipe has appeared on this blog)

Rice Mix with veggies (Steam veggies of choice while rice is cooking; mix together until blended. I have a rice cooker with a steamer basket and highly recommend one- and it’s great for making human food, too. It is self contained, has automatic shutoff, and takes up very little space while you are working.)

Birdie Bread Mini Muffins

Veggie ravioli with healthy veggie-laden marinara (humans eat this too!)

Make 7 layer salad  (recipe has appeared on this blog)

Make Spicy Ricey Glop  (recipe has appeared on this blog)

Prep a sprout mix

When you do your bird feeding chores once a week, it really saves time and energy- leaving your spare time to socialize and spend quality time with your flock-not your food processor!

Now through 12/5, enter code largeflock to get free shipping on orders over $100!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bird Recipe: Home-made "avi-cakes"

This is a recipe provided by a Mommabird client. These are for treats only, not a main diet! We thought with the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, you could use a treat recipe!

Homemade Avi-Cakes

Mix in 2 cups each of three desired ingredients (below are examples)
(pick three things for a total of 6 cups of dry ingredients)

crushed cereal….. (Cheerios or Shredded Wheat..)
crushed pellets
instant oatmeal (rolled oats)
assorted seeds…..

Add honey or karo corn syrup, about 1 1/4 cups
(see why this is a treat? FYI: Avi-cakes are also sweetened- heavily!)

1. Stir until mixture is wet but not dripping. You may need to adjust the honey or dry ingredients to get it this way.

2. Pour it onto a cookie sheet, spread it out and bake at very low temperature like 200 F for about 45 minutes.

3. About half way through cooking, I usually score them it makes it easier to cut them when done.
You can also shape these around craft sticks with a hole drilled at one end for a hanging treat in the cage

4. These make terrific stocking stuffers or birthday gifts for the birds. My birds go crazy for these!

Now through 11/29, enter code givethanks IN THE COMMENTS BOX (NOT THE COUPON BOX) to get a free bag of Harvest Loaf with orders of $50 or more.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Over-the-Counter Medicines and Birds

Why should you avoid giving your bird ANY meds without first seeing an avian vet?

1. While saving money is important in these times, saving your bird is even more so. Most over-the-counter medications (especially the antibiotics) DO NOT WORK. They are too weak to do the job you want them to do.

2. You also may be using an improper medication, as you are not a vet and have done no tests to determine what the problem is with your bird. (Commonly people treat for bacteria when their bird has yeast- I’ve seen that one plenty of times.)You will either wind up taking your bird to the vet after using these meds anyway or having the bird die, I guarantee you.

3. Further, using these “medicines” will skew the tests that the vet will inevitably need to do, thereby delaying proper treatment even further.

Do your bird a favor- when it seems sick, take it to a (preferably Board Certified) Avian Vet. Get it tested and get the real stuff. Your bird will thank you.

Any store that would sell you over-the-counter medicines is a bad store, period. They just wanna sell you something, even if it means killing your bird or extending its suffering in the process. There’s even one that “vets” put their name on that will do this, and it has gotten them in trouble with their vet peers- because it is unethical to take advantage of people using your vet reputation and degree to sell snake oil.

Now through 11/22: enter code noOTCforme to get free shipping on your order of $75 or more!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bird Recipe: Dry Mix

This idea is a real time saver for me: I make a monthly “dry mix” for my parrots that allows me to serve variety with little time investment. I keep it in an airtight pet food container with a scoop inside to make it easy to serve my flock. 

I always have a “dry bowl” in the cages and on parrot play stands. Because it isn’t filled with moist foods, it can stay there all day with less fear of bacterial buildup. I also have a “wet bowl” at flock meals (at the table with us in the morning and evening).

Dry mix is what you make it. You can add your bird’s favorites to new items and see if there is interest as you come across them. Serving dry mix also reduces incidences of “food fear” (when a parrot is naturally suspicious of new food items and gets freaked out), because the new item is surrounded by the familiar mix.

My dry mix ingredients for my two Caiques:
1. Pellets: Zupreem Natural Conure, Hagen Tropican Parrot Sticks, Breeder’s Blend, Foundation Formula Spicer’s Blend, or Harrison’s Coarse. (Some of these brands are not my main organic brands, but I am OK with these brands in smaller quantities).

2. dried chilies (whole red hot ones)

3. dried unsulphured fruits (coconut, raisins, cranberries, raspberries, blueberries, pineapple, mango, and papaya. )

4. dried seeds (pepitas, flax seed, buckwheat groats, quinoa)

5. whole grain unsweetened cereal

6. dried veggies and legumes (carrot, beets, peas, broccoli, soynuts, and bell pepper)

Ingredients are not in order of quantity or anything- when I find a deal on something great for the mix, I splurge on that. So sometimes the mix is veggie heavy, other times it is pellet heavy.

Now through 11/15,  enter code drymix to get free shipping on orders over $100!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How Much Does Your Bird Weigh? Is s/he healthy?

Here are the suggested weights these specific birds should be in (listed from lowest female weight to highest male weight). All in GRAMS.

African Grey: 300-380
Blue Crowned Conure: 84-96
Blue Headed Pionus: 238-278

Blue and Gold Macaw: 892-1294
Budgies: 30-60

Canary: 12-29
Cockatiel: 82-125
Diamond Dove: 40
Double Yellow Headed Amazon: 545
Eclectus: 383-524
Greater Indian Hill Mynah: 180-240

Green Winged Macaw: 1058-1464
Jenday Conure: 118-128

Lovebirds: 50-70
Moluccan Cockatoo: 640-1025
Orange Winged Amazon: 440-470
Scarlet Macaw: 1058-1464
Senegal: 125-150
Umbrella Cockatoo: 458-756
Yellow Collared Macaw: 223-308
Zebra Finch: 10-16

Now through 11/8, enter code weighthatbird for a free bag of birdie bread for every three you buy!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Choice: Something We Often Overlook Giving Our Parrots (Guest Post)

We all know parrots are intelligent social creatures. That’s why we choose them as companions! But as smart creatures, they certainly do give up a lot of autonomy to be our pets. In the wild, they have lots of decisions to make and this stimulates their intelligence and creativity. But we control virtually everything in a companion parrot’s life: food or famine, light or darkness, where they go and what they do. Is it any wonder these birds “act out” for “no apparent reason”?

I am a firm believer in offering choices on a daily basis to my flock. I believe it makes a happier, healthier, more intelligent bird and a more harmonious household. But when I tell many people about the merits of offering choice to their parrots, many folks panic. They think “Chaos! Birds ruling the roost!”, and fear a lack of control.

I assure you, you CAN create room for choice and still have domestic tranquility. To that end, I offer a few tips- things we use here at Squawk Central.

So here are some tips to introducing healthy choices into your home life:

Food Choices:
While I want to control what my bird eats for optimum nutrition, there is flexibility as long as all the choice options being offered are healthy. Allowing a choice between two or three healthy options makes a bird feel good (and they still get good food to eat). Here are a couple ways I allow this to happen in my home:

“Pick from the Bin”: Often, I’ll create a bin of layered salad, dry items, or mixed foods and store it in a Tupperware for feeding through the week. While many folks also do this, they often plop the items in a dish, thereby eliminating choice on the part of the bird. Instead, try holding the bin up for the bird to see the contents and ask them to choose what they want. My birds get so excited about making a choice, they all clamor simultaneously onto one perch to get closer to the bin!

Mixed Dishes: I feed two flock meals (AM and PM out at the table with us) and also offer dried food in the cages at Squawk Central. Both wet and dry dishes always have a variety of ingredients in them, allowing the bird to choose the favored nugget of the day. I have found that when food is offered this way, birds don’t always go for the obvious (less healthy) option. My birds tend to cycle in what is the trendy food item du jour.

Interconnected Food Stands: My birds all eat flock meals together at the dining room table. There are meal stands on the table for them (perches with food cups attached). Rather than enforcing territorial boundaries, I allow them to hop from one stand to another picking and choosing what they eat and where they eat it. All the birds seem to like to “forage” in this way.

“Step Up” versus “Wanna Come?”:
Many people inadvertently bully their birds by commanding them to “step up”, even when all they want to do is invite the birds over for affection.  Personally, I only use the cue, “Step Up” when it is mandatory- and my birds comply with that cue.
But most of the time, I use, “Wanna Come?”. The difference between the two terms is one offers a true choice (“Wanna Come”), one means you MUST (“Step Up”). I truly give my birds the choice whether they want to be with me or not. Many times they choose scritches, but sometimes they don’t. I don’t allow my ego to be bruised if one decides they’d rather flap around on the atom gym than be with me.
Once I started offering a true choice, I found that my birds more often came over to me socially without invitation- and that was an unintended consequence, but it makes sense if you think about it- and it was a welcome surprise!

Flighted versus Clipped:
This can be a contentious issue for many folks, and I see the merits in both sides of the argument. Since this article is on choice, I am keeping my arguments for and against flight about offering choice. There are other reasons for and against flight as well, but that is for another article. I personally started out as an avid “pro clipper” for safety reasons. I have NEVER believed in clipping for behavioral or “training” reasons.)
I am now a situationalist on the subject- I personally have flighted parrots. I believe that being flighted is preferable to being clipped IF (and only IF) the human can provide for such a responsibility. (I bird-proofed my home and all humans are in on the project, so safety inside is not an issue. We have a door plan that involves using the back door (away from the birds when they are out) so that inadvertent escape is very unlikely. My birds are socialized and cooperative.)
Personally, I believe leaving a bird flighted is better for their self esteem, health, and offers choices that clipped birds don’t have. For example, I have several play areas in my interconnected living and dining room that my birds fly to and from while they are out. They can hang out with one another, get some alone time, fly to get a snack from a food cup, or get some exercise. All of this is within their reach- and all because they do not rely upon me to move them from place to place.

Play Areas versus “a stand”:
There are many products out there calling themselves “gyms” or “stands” or “play areas”. I have found that no one product is enough to meet the needs of my flock. So I have gradually accumulated and built more and more and have incorporated them into my birds’ landscapes when time, space, and money allows. When I only had one “bird tree” for each of my birds (and I kept them to their specific tree), I soon found them insufficient. Even loading them up with toys and rotating those toys did not alleviate boredom and stimulated their minds in the way I wanted that product to.

I stumbled upon the current way I do things organically- I kept getting more and more gyms, and rather than putting an old one away, I would just add to the mix of what was available for my birds. For space reasons at the time, I put hanging gyms directly above an existing floor or tabletop gym, inadvertently making an interconnected area where the bird could go up and down easily. BINGO! Without even trying to do so, I started to offer my birds choices and some freedom of movement.
The results were astounding- my birds are calmer, get along better and have less “territorial disputes”. In our last home, all the bird cages and gyms were in the same room (the living room), and we interconnected the cages with the play areas, so that the birds had more “real estate” to occupy. We found that leaving the cage doors open and allowing birds to travel them (as well as the gyms) freely did not cause arguments.

To the contrary, unlike many bird owners who report cage or gym territoriality, I found that the birds tended to see their own cages as “flock territory” rather than as a personal nesting site after I started opening the cage doors. We found that natural cross-species friendships were created and thrived. We also learned a lot about avian aesthetic and feng shui  preferences when all birds in the flock decided that Buddy’s cage was THE place to be. We jokingly called her cage the “dorm room”. This change in what a cage means symbolically has meant translated into no more egg laying in my hens as well. That was a welcome side effect!

Toys, esp. Manipulative and Foraging Toys:
Toys are more than just playthings. Parrot toys are tools that a human uses to harness wild instinctual behavior in a companion parrot and channel them into appropriate behavior that is suitable for a human home. To that end, there are many types of parrot toys: Foraging, Preening, Manipulative, Athletic, Interactive, and Destructible. And offering a complement of all types allows choice for your parrot. Specifically, I want to talk about Foraging and Manipulative Toys and how they offer choices to your parrot.

This post was written by the founder of Squawk and Howl. She is a parrot behaviorist, rescuer, and companion. 

Now through 11/1, enter code spookydeal to get a great deal at Momma Bird's Store! Free shipping on orders of $75 or more!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bird Recipe: Sweet Potato Balls

We know that you would not be here if your bird didn't love Momma's Birdie Bread! But we figured we'd share some of our flock's other fave recipes to supplement your bird's diet!

Sweet Potato Balls

1 lg sweet potato - baked and skinned
1/4 c flax seed
1 tablespoon spirulina (optional)
1 cup veggies  (I tend to use finely chopped broccoli or zucchini)
1 1/2 c uncooked oatmeal or steel cut oats
fruit juice of choice

Mix all until well assimilated and add enough fruit juice to make small balls.
To freeze: place balls on cookie sheet. Once they are frozen, you can transfer to a bag (they won’t mush together in the freezer this way.)

Now through 10/25, enter code sweetpotato for a free bag of birdie bread when you buy three!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hospital Tanks

Sick parrot?
A hospital tank or cage is a place that the bird can rest and stabilize when it is sick or injured.

Therefore, it has no perches they must balance on- it is a small enclosed space with a flat bottom. It is soft on the bottom (towels are great for this). It has easy access to food & water, and is kept warm on one half of the enclosure (one half, so that if the bird feels overheated, it can self-regulate by going from one end to another).

If you have birds, you need to have one of these already. You don’t want to be unprepared in an emergency and have to leave your bird in critical condition while you search for one at the 24 hour pet store (is there such a thing?).

For small birds, a “critter keeper” (used to temporarily house hamsters, mice or tarantulas) works very well. For medium birds, a small cage with perches removed is good and for large birds, a large dog kennel or rubbermaid storage bin works well.

(Here’s what a critter keeper looks like):

Things you must have for your hospital tank:

1. heat source.
Half of the hospital tank is warmed by a heating pad (outside the cage, not in) or a ceramic or infared heat bulb. It is important to keep sick or injured birds at least 85-90 F (29- 32 C). The other half is kept at room temperature, so that they can regulate their own temperature by walking from one side to another. Be sure and monitor the temperature on the warm side. Sometimes things get a little too hot, especially if the heat source is directly touching the tank. Panting is a sign that they are overheated and you should try a different method or turn it down.

2. easy access to food and water.
I use small heavy shallow ceramic crocks in my hospital tanks. They do not easily tip over and are easily accessed by a sick bird.

3. towels.
Clean ones to change on the bottom (note: pick tightly woven discloths rather than looped terrycloth for small birds- their tiny talons get caught in the loops, causing them to fall and struggle) and one to drape over part of the tank to calm the bird down.

4. food- any food that the bird will eat.
Now is not the time to be persnickety about avian nutrition. A bird can take a serious nosedive if not eating when sick or injured.

Think: they poop about every 15-20 minutes. Their metabolisms are really fast. They need a constant source of high energy food. So if your bird won’t eat their regular nutritious diet, lure them with something they love but isn’t all that great nutritionally- millet spray, peanut butter, avi-cakes, whatever!

If your bird is really going downhill fast and needs a last minute boost as you are taking them to the vet, strong black coffee with sugar, administered with a dropper or syringe can make the difference between life and death. This is not something you would normally give them, as it is hard on the organs, but it can kick start their metabolisms in an emergency.

Now through 10/18, enter code hospitaltank to get free shipping on your order when you get $50 in toys.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Converting Birds to a Healthy Diet (Guest Post)

The six original flavors!
We all want our birds to eat well in order to be healthy. But what is a healthy diet? Certified avian vets all agree: parrots need a varied diet. Momma's Birdie Bread is a great part of that diet, as it is also healthy and varied in its ingredients.

Despite some pet food manufacturer’s claims, there is no such thing as a “total diet” for a parrot- be it pellets or seed based mixtures. A healthy psitticine diet must include fresh foods (vegetables, greens, fruit, and proteins. Momma Bird's bread contains fruits, veggies, seed, and grain and is a great base from which to start. Formulated diets (a.k.a. “pellets”) are a handy shortcut to a varied diet- but are not the “be all and end all”. There is no substitute for the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that occur in fresh food.

Conversion to a new diet requires that you watch your bird for signs of weight loss or ill health. Even after your bird appears to be converted, continue to watch his weight for at least a month after the apparent conversion. In most birds, the color of his dropping may change (typically from green to a brown if he has been converted to a pellet based diet, and more liquid-y as fresh foods are consumed).

An all too common scenario for many parrot owners is getting a bird that is eating an unhealthy diet and having to persuade that (usually stubborn) bird to eat better- especially in a rescue situation. So, how does one get a parrot (who is, of course, a prey animal and therefore naturally suspicious of new things) to eat better? The key is persistence, daily efforts on the part of the human caregiver, and a few tips and tricks along the way that use the bird’s instinctive behavior in the process. Conversion will without a doubt be the most difficult part of feeding your bird a healthy diet, but proper nutrition is important. Remember, this is a long-term project, one that needs to be worked on daily with your companion parrot.

Parrots tend to eat twice daily -an AM and a PM meal (with a bit of grazing here and there during the day). They are also social flock eaters, and are happiest when their “flock” (that’s you and the members of your household- human and avian) eats together.  Use these two facts to your advantage when trying to get the bird to eat better.

Tip #1: Eating as a Flock

Foraging from a plate on the table.
This is hands-down the best tip I can give you. I have brought foster parrots out of quarantine and within a week of eating with my flock, they are eating anything that I give them using this method. Even birds that have eaten only one (terrible) thing for their entire lives!

Quite simply, birds want to eat what you are eating. They are more likely to try something that others in their flock are eating. If you don’t already do so, eat meals with your parrot, and keep that routine. If you have one adventurous bird, introduce that bird to the new food first- with the others watching. In my house, that bird is Tallulah. She will eat anything- on the first try!

Not only will eating as a flock help you with diet conversion, but it has other behavioral benefits, too. It will reinforce flock bonds with everyone at that meal- a bonus if you have a parrot that is overly bonded with one family member and aggressive to another! Another bonus is introducing a new flock member is easier if they share meal and bath time (yet another flock activity).

When eating a meal together, be sure the parrot has a place that they are comfortable- like an eating stand from Sandy Perch. Why do I like them in particular? You can use two different sized detachable cups, they are better balanced for many sized birds using the same stand (unlike the cheaper brand that shall remain nameless), it is natural wood coated in Sandy Perch material (as opposed to concrete in a dowel shape)- which is better for feet, and Sandy Perch material is great for sloughing beaks as they wipe them clean after eating! (By the way, that was NOT a paid advertisement!)

Mine love to grip the mini-muffins.
So I prepare my birdie bread this way
to encourage good nutrition.
Many parrots love to forage “on the ground” so if you are OK with that, they will love to walk the table picking at food there. If you are not cool with a parrot walking all over your food, set up rules that are lovingly and consistently enforced right away. It helps to give them their own shallow crock at the table to forage from.

Be sure that you have one or two choices on your plate that is healthy for the bird to eat, in addition to “bird food” that you are attempting to get the parrot to try. (And be sure and thank your parrot for finally getting you to eat better!)

And if you tend to linger at meals (as we do) and want to continue to enjoy them, be sure and have foot toys, small play areas, etc. set up so that your bird can stay and enjoy that time, too. Atmy home we have a play area near the table for birds that finish early.

Tip #2: Weaning Method (from Seed to Pellets as the Base of a Cage Diet)

For birds that have more cage time than free time, most meals are taken in the cage. This makes for a harder conversion process, as this way of eating (not eating meals as a flock) is less natural and instinctive for the bird, and they tend to take comfort in the familiar when forced to eat this way.

Even if your birds do eat meals with you, they also will eat a bit in their cages/on their gyms during the day as well. So, how to wean them off a seed based diet at those times?

This destruction is natural and normal.
Be prepared!
DO NOT mix seed in with pellets in a dish and expect the bird to eat the pellets. This will not happen. The bird will simply pick out the seed, leave the pellets and see pellets as the non-food item in their dish that is an obstacle to getting their food (you are inadvertently creating a foraging opportunity, as if the seed was hidden by pebbles or marbles!). You must wean the bird off of seed gradually.

Taking advantage of the AM/PM meal schedule most birds keep, offer a small amount of seed for an hour twice daily. Take the seed away after an hour, and in the same familiar dish, put the pellets instead for the rest of the day.

Gradually, as you observe that the bird is starting to eat the pellets, lessen the amount of seed offered and the amount of time it is offered each day until conversion is complete. Using this method, I have converted birds in a week or less.

NOTE: Place the pellet dish near the highest perch in the cage. This increases the possibilities of eating this food.

Tip #3: Familiarity Helps

If you are trying to get your bird to eat vegetables or pellets and they do have a food that they love, use a piggybacking method to get them to try new things.

For example, if your bird loves bread, bake birdie bread with veggies inside (if your bird objects to large chunks, puree the veggies!). Or use pellet “mash” as a substitute for a part of the flour. Birdie bread freezes well, and I bake mine in mini muffin (bird sized portions!) tins and freeze in a zipper freezer bag.

If your bird loves pasta, serve veggie ravioli. You can even make your own easily using wonton wrappers from the supermarket. Spoon the filling mixture (which you pureed in a food processor) onto one wrapper and fold over. Use water as “glue” to seal the edges. You can store wonton skins in the fridge for a couple weeks, and freeze the filling so you can have an easy batch ready to go!

If your bird likes dried corn (or another dried fruit or veggie), get a high quality mix that has this ingredient in it. (Goldenfeast and Hagen Tropimix are wonderful human grade brands to try).

If your bird gets those “treat sticks” (which are seeds with a sugar binder- only good as a treat, not in the cage permanently, okay?), try something that looks similar, but with healthier ingredients.  You can make it in your oven using granola recipes as a basis- cook at a low temp (say 200 F) for a longer period- so that your oven is acting more as a dehydrator than an oven.

Tip #4: Sweeten the Deal

Know your bird's preferences!
This is my birds' fave flavor.
Another method of pellet conversion is to serve pellets in a slightly different form.

For example, soaking it in water or apple juice and creating a mash out of it. (If you try this, please note that this food cannot be left all day, since they start to spoil quickly. Maximum: 2 hours.) Many birds might try this, but here’s the catch: not all pellets are in a mashed form. You will have to crush them with a rolling pin or buy a ready-made mash, such as the Harrison’s brand, however, does have a mashed form made primarily for finches that is also good for converting picky birds if you find this is the only way to get your bird to try pellets.

Cookie Dough Method: Another way to convert a bird is to mix Harrison’s Fine Grind and your bird’s seed, cover with water & wait 5 minutes. Stir with a fork until the mix has a cookie-dough consistency. Feed this (with perhaps a few seeds pressed into the top to get the bird started) daily. Only make as much as the bird can eat for two days, max. Store in fridge. This is much better than mixing pellets and seed together dry, as the bird will eat crushed pellets and get used to the taste.

Combine cooked pasta, a favorite strained baby food flavor (like carrots or applesauce) & stir in the pellets.

Pulverize pellets & add to favorite soft foods.

Push pellets into soft cooked beans, a piece of cheese, sweet potato, cooked carrot, or bread.

Make a tiny peanut butter & pellet sandwich.

Hope these tips inspired you to take the plunge. Cooking for your birds and eating together is really satisfying, so I highly encourage it. There are umpteen ways to convert birds to a healthier diet. The only limit is your imagination!

This post was written by the founder of Squawk and Howl. She is a parrot behaviorist, rescuer, companion, and friend. 

Now through 10/11, enter code healthyishappy and get a bag of birdie bread free when you buy $50 in toys.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Hi, my name is Lily, and my birds loooove Momma's Birdie Bread! So much, in fact, that I offered to write this post all about them and their species. My post is all about that particular species of parrot that has captured my heart, the Caique.

Not that we don’t love all parrots, after all-  they are all amazing. But I have a soft gushy place in my heart for Caiques. I have two Caiques, named Tengu and Tallulah (aka “Goo and Loo” or “T and T (dyno-mite!)”).

Loo is daintily perched on the rim, while Goo is full on IN the popcorn.

Caiques  (pronounced “ky-eeks”) are two species of small, brightly colored parrot in the genus “Pionites”.

They originate from the area of the Amazon Rainforest of northern Brazil and southern Venezuela, and the Guiana highlands. The Black-Headed Caique (Pionites melanocephala- like Goo and Loo), originates from North of the Amazon and westward to parts of Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru. The White-Bellied Caique's (Pionites leucogaster) habitat is South of the Amazon, from northern Brazil and spreading to parts of Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru.

The Black-Headed Caique (BHC) is slightly smaller than the White-Bellied Caique (WBC), with mature lengths of 23-25cm and weights of approximately 150g and 170g respectively. Caiques are also occasionally known as the “Seven Color Parrot” because of their many feather colors. (Black, Green, Yellow, Orange, White and Blue hued feathers have all been observed.)

White Bellied Caiques (WBC):
All WBC are Pionites leucogaster. From there they are broken down into three subspecies.
WBC, Green-thighed: Pionites leucogaster leucogaster.
WBC, Yellow-thighed: Pionites leucogaster xanthomeria.
WBC, Yellow-tailed: Pionites leucogaster xanthurus.

Black Headed Caique (BHC):
Both Black-headed caiques are Pionites melanocephala. From there they are broken down into two subspecies.
Black-headed (the BHC we have in the U.S.): melanocephala with the full scientific name being Pionites melanocephala melanocephala.
Pallid: pallida with the full scientific name being Pionites melanocephala pallida.

If you want a bird that will sit contentedly on a perch, then a Caique is not for you. No matter how may toys you have on or near the perch, there are other, more exciting things to explore. This wonderful little bird that is known as ‘the clown of the parrot world’. They are stubborn, fearless, good with strange situations, acrobatic, affectionate, and have a great sense of humor.

Swinging and screaming, two things at which Caiques excel.

While most sites will tell you that there is little difference in personality between the two species, I have observed that WBCs are a bit more mellow than their BHC counterparts. This is anecdotal of course, but it is a belief based on observation of dozens of each subspecies. Which to choose is often decided by price and availability- as they are rarer than other parrots to obtain. Typically WBC are more expensive than the BHC, because the latter is more common. Prices can range from $600 to $1500, depending on source and area of the country so it is best to shop around. Pet stores usually are on the high end of the price scale.

In the wild, Caiques generally prefer forested areas as habitat and subsist on fruit and seeds. They have no special dietary requirements; pellets supplemented with fruits, vegetables and other foods common to parrots will satisfy their needs and requirements. Some breeders are known to supplement their diet with lory nectar. They do have a fondness for chewing natural green branches, so providing a supply of these is recommended.

My birds LOVE Momma's Birdie Bread. I make it in mini muffins and freeze them, so that they have a steady supply. Their favorite flavor is Harvest Loaf, followed by Caribbean Loaf. But they have had every flavor and eat the muffins enthusiastically!

They aren’t very big birds, but they will use every square inch of their cage, so that I would recommend no smaller than a 24 x 24 x 18 inch cage- and that is a bit on the small side. My girls share a 36” x 25”. Be sure barspacing is no wider than 5/8”.
They play rough, and will play with toys that most people would reserve for larger birds such as Amazons. They are not afraid of anything, and during their time out of the cage, they should be watched closely so they don’t get themselves in trouble. Because they do love trouble- many people name their Caiques accordingly- I have met Caiques named Loki, Bandit, Outlaw, and of course, Tengu!

They can be headstrong, so consistent discipline is a must from the start. Decide what is and is not acceptable behavior, and stick to it. They tend to use their beaks on fingers as well as toys. It is not meanness, but just excess energy and curiosity. To discourage beaking of your body parts, keep some toys handy and substitute the toy for your fingers. If the bird insists on chewing on you rather than a toy, some cage time may be appropriate (a “time out”).
They are also rather food aggressive, and if you train them that you should be able to touch them while eating from the beginning, it will serve you well in time.

Tengu, loving on mama and Talullah, gunning for the camera. She wants to eat it one day.

Other behavior issues may include screaming for attention. This may happen in the morning when they are waiting for food (one of a Caique’s favorite things- they eat and play constantly) or when their favorite person leaves the room. The good news is that a Caique does not approach near the volume of larger parrots such as Cockatoos and Macaws. And they don’t actually “scream” as much as beep and whistle- but it is shrill.

This call is s a high pitched, single note call which they repeat at intervals. It does drive some people crazy. Caiques can learn to talk, so if you can teach your bird to “call” you with words rather than yells, so much the better. Caiques are highly intelligent and will soon figure out what you approve and disapprove of if you are consistent in your reactions. Please note: not all Caiques talk well, and if that is important to you, another species is a better choice.

While playing with their favorite human, they may engage in an activity known as “hair surfing”. To do this, they grab a footful of hair and begin swinging back and forth and rubbing their breast on the hair and head of the chosen person. No one knows quite why they do this (many have speculated that it is displaced leaf bathing behavior, as they tend to do it most often after bathing), but they love it, and the only possible problem with it is that they could become a bit tangled up, so be careful of this. You haven’t lived until you’ve had four baby Caiques all hair surfing on you at the same time.

Sally Blanchard, parrot behaviorist, talks about Spikey Le Bec, her famous Caique: “Spike is also clever — very clever. Sometimes too clever for me. If there is mischief, he will find it. If there is a way out of his cage, no matter how hard he has to work, he will find his way out. He is not the type of bird who can be trusted to stay alive out of his cage without close supervision. He has learned several tricks in less time than it takes me to think of them. …About the hair-surfing thing, this IS his obsession. …The record (is)  45 minutes although a few (other) people (have) come close….

Spike is exceptional in crowds of people. He is fearless (except for balloons which terrify him!) and will generally go to and be delightfully tame to almost anyone. Sometimes it even surprises me because he can be a real butt around his cage at home — especially if he is involved with a favorite food. Spike and the other Caiques I know are real gluttons when it comes to food. They love to eat almost anything and become very possessive about their favorite foods. Like most narcissists, Spike is not into sharing. I think the only food he has ever rejected was a small piece of smoked oyster. Since that shouldn’t be a part of his diet, it didn’t matter anyway….Would I recommend a Caique as a pet for everyone? — Absolutely not! Would I recommend one to a knowledgeable bird owner willing and able to do “the right thing” for their avian companion — absolutely!”

Talullah, climbing the curtains.

Further Resources:
Slideshow of caique egg to adult
Companion Parrot Online (home to Sally Blanchard and Spikey LeBec)

Now through 10/4, use the code ilovecaiques to get 20% off your order over $75!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Birdie Recipe: 7-layer Salad

A bird cannot survive by birdie bread alone! While birdie bread is a healthy food most days, variety is the key to a healthy diet. Here is a trick to help feed an assortment of fruits and vegetables to your bird(s) without being a slave to the chopping block.

Most people know that parrots need to eat fresh healthy foods as a staple in their diet, but if you a have a few larger birds or a larger sized flock prepping all that food everyday can be really time consuming. A solution? Make this 7 layer salad once a week! You can alternate different ingredients for the layers based on what’s in season, and it keeps in the fridge for a week!

Layer 1 (bottom layer) - chopped greens, which are varied each week. One week, I’ll use collard greens and parsley and mustard greens, and the next I might use Swiss chard, kale and dandelion greens.

Layer 2 - chopped (1/4 to 1/2 inch cubes) green vegetables, including any of the following: Brussels sprouts, zucchini and other summer squash, jicama, red or green peppers, fresh hot peppers, chayote squash, green beans, fresh peas, cucumber, celery, anise root, etc.

Layer 3 - chopped broccoli and shredded carrots

Layer 4 - dry, uncooked pasta. This will absorb some of the moisture from the mix and soften nicely.

Layer 5 - cooked beans. I usually buy one of the 13 or 17 bean soup mixes, which I soak overnight, rinse, and then bring to a boil and cook for about 25 minutes, then drain. Alternately, you could use cans of beans (which are already cooked).

Layer 6 - a mixture of chopped apples, oranges and whole grapes

Layer 7 - frozen mixed vegetables.

The containers are then placed in the refrigerator (don’t freeze).

Issues of freshness:  this mix stays fresh in these tubs for up to seven days for three reasons. First, layered salads stay fresher longer. Second, the orange juice filters down and slightly acidifies that mix. The frozen mixed vegetables placed on top super-cool the mix immediately (cold air sinks/warm air rises).

I do also wash all the fruits, vegetables and greens with Oxy-fresh Cleansing Gel or produce wash, which not only gets them clean but also has some anti-bacteria action.

Note: If you have a plucker in your flock, eliminate the bean layer. Beans are high in niacin, which aggravates plucking. Pluckers should also have no corn or soy.

Now through Sept 27, enter code eatyourgreens and get a free bag of birdie bread when you order three!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bird Safe House Plants

For homes where birds and plants are to coexist, knowing which plants are considered bird safe is a must.  The Shopper’s Guide to Bird-Safe House Plants provides a bird owner with a quick, easy-to-use, resource for selecting such plants.
Each of the house plants listed in this guide have been compiled from numerous bird related sources, include Bird Talk Magazine, the Complete Bird Owner’s Handbook by Gary Gallerstein, D.V.M., Feeding Your Pet Bird by Barron’s, as well as informational sheets from various bird clubs and organizations.

Now through 9/20, use code birdsafehouseplants and get
free shipping on orders of $100 or more!

Using this Guide

Before you purchase a house plant, see if the plant’s botanical name is listed in either section of this guide.

Section 1:
Bird-Safe Plants by Common Name

In this section, house plants considered bird-safe are listed alphabetically by some of their more popular common names. The botanical names for these plants are listed next to them in italics. In general, common names are those everyday words someone has used to describe a plant, such as “Painted Fingernail,” or “Rabbit’s Foot Fern.” Since many different plants us the same or a similar common name, make sure the botanical name matches the plant being considered. If you do not find the common name listed, be sure and check the listing of botanical names in section two. Note: If a plant’s does not list its botanical name, as a qualified sales person for the name, or consider another plant.

Section 2:
Bird-Safe Plants by Botanical Name
In this section, plants are listed alphabetically by their botanical name. Botanical names ending with the word “species” represent all plants that begin with the first word of that botanical name. For example, Peperomia argyreia  and Peperomia caperata, two different plants, would be represented by the single listing Peperomia species.

If a plant’s botanical name is not found, it’s best to choose another plant. Only those plants listed as bird safe in this guide’s source material were included.

Other considerations:
1.    Some plants have sharp or potentially injurious parts. Evaluate such plants for their suitability.
2.    VERY IMPORTANT! Be sure the plant you purchase is free from pesticides. Pet birds are more likely to die from pesticide poisoning than from a plant believed to be harmful.
3.    Unless a plant is part of a dietary supplement, or known to be safe by you, avoid letting your bird(s) eat or nibble it, particularly if it’s new to their diet. Be extra safe even on plants considered bird safe.
4.    Some plants reported as bird-safe, such as Pothos, have also been reported as unsafe in other listings. These plants have been noted by placing (h) after names to indicate they may or may not be harmful to pet birds.

Bird-Safe Plants by Common Names
Botanical Names follow; (h) = may or may not be harmful

Acacia                Acacie baileyana
Action Plant            Mimosa pudica
African Violets        Saintpaulia ionantha                       
Airplane Plant        Chlorophytum comosum
Aloe                Aloe Species (h)   
Aluminum Plant        Pilea cadierei
American Rubber Plant    Peperomia obtusifolia   
Angel’s Tears            Soleirolia soleeirolii
Antelope Ears        Platycerium bifurcatum
Arabian Coffee Tree        Coffea Arabica (Beans Toxic)
Areca Palm            Chrysalidocarpus lutescens
Acrum Ivy               Epipremnum aureum (h)
Asparagus Fern        Asparagus densiflorus
Aspidistra            Aspidistre elatior
Assam Rubber Plant         Ficus elastica
Aster                Aster novi-belgii
Australian Ivy Palm        Brassaia actinophlla (h)
Australian Ivy Palm         Schefflera actinophylla (h)
Austalian Pine         Araucaria excelsa, A. heterophylla
Australian Umbrella Tree     Brassaie actinophylla (h)
Australian Umbrella Tree    Schefflera actinophylla (h)

Baby Jade            Crassula argentea
Baby Rubber Plant         Peperomia obtusifolia
Baby’s Breath            Gypsophila paniculata
Baby’s Tears            Helxine soleirolii
Baby’s Tears            Soleirolia soleirolii
Bachelor’s Button         Centaurea cyanus
Ball Fern            Davellia mariesii
Bamboo            Arundinaria species
Bamboo                 Bamusa species
Bamboo            Phyllostachys aurea
Bamboo Palm         Rhapis excelsa
Barroom Plant        Aspidistra elatior
Begonia             Begonia species
Belgian Evergreen         Dracaena sanderana (h)
Belmore Sentry Palm     Howea belmoreana
Benjamin Tree        Ficus benjamina   
Billbergia             Billergia species
Birds’s Nest Fern         Asplenium nidus
Blacking Plant         Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
Bloodleaf Plant         Iresine herbstil
Bluebottle            Centaurea cycnus
Blushing Bromeliad        Neoregelia carolinea
Blushing Cup            Nidularium fulgens
Boston Fern            Nephrolepis exaltata
Bottle Palm            Beaucamea recurvata
Bougainvillea            Bougainvilla glabra
Braided Ficus            Ficus elastica
Brake Fern             Pteris cretica
Broad-leaved Lady Palm    Rhapis excelsa
Bromelia             Bromelia species
Bromeliad             Aechmea species, Vriesea species
Broom             Cytisus species
Burro’s Tail            Sedum morganianum
Butterfly Palm        Chrysalidocarpus lutescens
Button Fern             Pellaea rotundifolia

Cabbage Tree            Cordyline terminalis
Calathea             Calathea zebrine
California Maidenhair     Adiantum jordanii
Camellia            Camellia japonica
Canary Island Date Palm     Phoenix canariensis
Candle Plant             Plectranthus coleoides
Cane Palm            Chrysalidocarpus lutescens
Cape Jasmine            Gardenia jasminoides
Cast Iron Plant        Aspidistra elatior
Cauliflower Ears        Crassula argentea   
Chickweed              Cerastium vulgatum
China Rose             Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
Chinese Fan Palm        Livestona chinensis
Chinese Fountain Pa    lm     Livestona chinensis
Chinese Hibiscus         Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
Chinese Rubber Plant    Crassula argentea
Christmas Cactus         Schlumbergera bridesii
Christmas Cactus        Zygocactus truncates
Cissus                 Cissus antarctica
Climbing Rose        Rosa species
Coffee or Coffee Plant     Coffea Arabica (Beans Toxic)
Coleus                Coleus species
Common Houseleek     Sempervivum tectorum
Common Zinna         Zinnea elegans
Coral Berry             Aechmea fulgens “Discolor”
Corn Plant Dracaena     Fragans massangeana
Cornflower             Centaurea cycnus
Cosmos             Cosmos bipinnatus
Crab Cactus             Zygocactus truncates
Crassula argentea        Crassula argentea
Creeping Charlie        Pilea nummulariifolia
Creeping Fig            Ficus pumila
Creeping Fig             Ficus repens
Cretan Brake Fern        Pteris cretica
Cryptanthus            Cryptanthus species
Curly Palm            Howea belmoreana

Dagger Plant             Yucca alofolia
Dahlia                Dahlia species
Deer’s Foot Fern        Davallia canariensis
Delta Maidenhair Fern    Adiantum raddianum
Devil’s Ivy             Epipremnum aureum (h)
Dish Fern            Pteris cretica
Dogwood             Cornus species   
Dollar Plant             Crassula argentea
Donkey Tail             Sedum morganianum
Dracaena            Cordyline terminalis (h)
Dracaeana             Dracaeana species (h)
Dragon Tree            Dracaena draco
Dudder Grass            Adiantum capillus-ceneris
Dutchwings            Gasteria lilputana
Dwarf Fan Palm        Rhapis excelsa
Dwarf Rubber Plant        Crassula argentea
Dyckia            Dychia fosterana

Earth Stars             Cryptanthus species
Easter Cactus         Rhipsalidopsis gaerineri
Echeveria            Echeveria elegans
Edible Fig            Ficus carica
Alephant_Foot Tree         Beaucarnea recurvata
Elk’s Horn Fern        Platycerium bifurcatum
Emerald Feather        Asparagus densiflorus
Emerald Fern            Asparagus densiflorus
Emerald Ripple         Peperomia caperata
European Fan Palm        Chamaerops humilis

False Aralia             Dizgotheca elegantissima
Fan Palm            Trachycarpus fortunei
Fatsia                Fatsia japonica
Fern Rhapis            Rhapis excelsa
Fiddle-leaf Fig         Ficus lyrate (h)
Fiddleleaf Fig            Ficus pandurata (h)
Fig                 Ficus benjamina
Fiji Fern            Davallia canariensis
Fish Tail Fern            Cyrtomium falcatum
Fishtail Palm             Caryota mitis (Fruit toxic)
Fittonia             Fittonia verschaffeltii
Five-finger Fern        Adiantum alaleuticum
Flaming Katy             Kalanchoe blossfeldiana: Kalanchoe spp. (h)
Flaming Sword        Vriesea splendens
Flamingo Plant        Hypoestes phyllostachya
Flat Palm             Howea forsterana
Formosa Rice Tree        Fatsia japonica
Forster Sentry Palm        Howea forsterana
Forsythia             Forsythia species
Freckle Face            Hypoestes phyllostachya
Freckle Face             Hypoestes sanguinolenta
Friendship Plant        Billbergie nutans
Fucsha                Fuschia species
Funeral Palm             Cycas revolute (h)

Gardenia             Gardenia jasminoides
Gasteria            Gasteria species
Giant Inch Plant         Tradescantia albiflora
Giant Yucca             Yucca elephantipes
Glossy-Leaved Paper Plant    Fatsia japonica
Gold Dust             Dracaena godseffiana
Golden Bells             Forsythia species
Golden Butterfly Palm     Chrysalidocarpus lutescens
Golden Ceylon Creeper    Epipremnum aureum (h)
Golden Feather Palm     Chrysalidocarpus lutescens
Golden Polypodium        Polypodium aureum
Golden Pothos        Epipremnum aureum (h)
Goldfish Plant         Columnea hirta
Good Luck Plant         Cordyline terminalis
Grape Ivy            Cissus rhombifolia
Grape Ivy            Rhoicissus rhomboidea
Grecian Laurel         Laurus noblis
Green Ripple Peperomia    Peperomia caperata
Guava Pineapple        Feijoa sellowiana
Guzmania            Guzmania lingulata
Gypsophila            Gypsophila paniculata

Hare’s Foot Fern        Phlebodium aureum
Hare’s Foot Fern        Polypodium aureum
Hawaiian Good Luck Plant     Cordyline terminalis
Hawaiian Hibiscus        Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
Hawaiian Tree Fern         Cibotium chamissoi
Heart of Flame        Bromelia balansae
Hens and Chickens        Echeveria elegans
Hens and Chickens        Sempervivum tectorum
Hens and Chicks        Echeveria elegans
Hens and Chicks        Echeveria runyonii
Hibiscus            Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
Holly Fern            Cyrtomium falcatum
Honey Plant            Hoya camosa: Hoya spp. (h)
House Pine             Araucaria excelsa, A. heterophylla
Howea Palm            Howea species
Humble Plant            Mimosa pudica
Hunter’s Robe         Epipremnum aurreum (h)

Inch Plant             Tradescantia albiflora
India Rubber tree        Ficus elastica
Irish Moss            Helxine soleirolii
Irish Moss            Soleirolia soleirolia
Iron Fern             Rumohra adiantiformis
Ivy-leaf Pepper        Peperomia griseoargentea

Jade Plant            Crassula argentea
Jade Plant            Crassula arborescens
Jade Plant            Crassula cotyledon
Jade Plant            Crassula pertulacea
Jade Tree            Crassula argentea
Japanese Aralia        Fatsia japonica
Japanese Aralia        Aralia    japonica
Japanese Aralia        Aralia sieboldii
Japanese Camellia        Camellia japonica
Japanese Fatsia         Fatsia japonica
Japanese Fern Palm        Cycas revolute (h)
Japanese Holly Fern        Cyrtomium falcatum
Japanese Rubber Plant    Crassula argentea
Japanese Sago Palm        Cycas revolute (h)
Japanese Skimma        Skimmia japonica (h)
Java Fig            Ficus benjamina

Kalanchoe            Kalanchoe blossfeldiana; Kalanchoe spp. (h)
Kangaroo vine         Cissus antarctia
Kentia Palm             Howea species

Lace Trumpet        Sarracenia Leucophylla
Lady Palm             Rhapis excelsa
Lady’s Eardrops        Fucshia species
Laurel Leaf Fig        Ficus lyrata (h)
Leather Fern             Rumohra adiantiformis
Leatherleaf Fern        Rumohra adiantiformis
Lipstick Plant            Aeschynanthus radicans
Little Fantasy Peperomia    Peperomia caperata
Live and Die Plant        Mimosa pudica
Living Vase Plant         Aechmea species
Lomaria             Blechnum gibbum

Madagascar Palm        Chrysalidocarpus lutescens
Magnolia            Magnolia species
Maidenhair Fern        Adiantum species
Mango                Mangifera indica (fruit only)
Marigold             Tegetes species
Massange’s Arrowroot    Maranta leuconeura (h)
Massange’s Dracaena     Fragrans massangeana
Measles Plant         Hypoestes phyllostachya
Mediterranean Fan Palm     Chamaerops humilis
Mexican Bottle Plant    Beaucamea recurvata
Mexican Gem        Echeveria elegans
Mexican snowball         Echeveria elegans
Mexican Tree Fern        Cibotium schiedei
Michaelmas Daisy        Aster novi-belgoo
Miniature Date Palm     Phoenix roebelenii
Miniature Fan Palm         Rhapis excelsa
Miniature Jasmine        Gardenia jasminoides
Monkey Plant         Ruellia makoyana
Mosaic Plant             Fittonia verschaffeltii
Mother In Law’s Tongue     Sansevievia trifasciate
Mother Fern             Asplenium bulbiferum

Nasturtium             Tropaeolum majus
Natal Plum             Carissa grandiflora (Fruit only)
Natal Plum            Carissa macrocarpa (Fruit only)
Neanthe Bella Palm         Chamaedorea elegans
Neoregelia             Neoreglia species
Nerve Plant            Fittonia verschanffeltii
Nest Fern            Asplenium nidus
New York Aster         Aster novi-belgii
Nidularium            Nidularium billbergoides
Norfolk Island Pine         Araucaria excelsa, A. heterphylla

Octopus Tree         Brassaia actinophylla (h)
Octopus Tree         Schefflera actinophylla (h)
Old Man and woman     Sempervivum tectorum
Olive                Olea europaea
Oriental Bamboo        Bambusa glaucescens
Ornamental Dracaena    Cordyline terminalis

Painted Fingernail         Neoregelia species
Painted Nettle         Coleus species
Paper Flower             Bougainvillea glabra
Paper Plant             Fatsia japonica
Parlor Palm             Chamaedorea elegans
Passion Flower        Passiflora species
Pearl Echeveria         Echeveria elegans
Pellaea             Pellaea rotundifolia
Pepperomia            Peperomia obtusifolia
Petunia             Petunia species
Phlox                Phlox species
Piggyback Plant        Tolmiea menziesii
Pineapple            Ananas comosus
Pink Polka Dot Plant    ]Hypoestes phyllostachya
Pitcher Plant             Sarracenia leucophylla
Pittosporum             Pittosporum species (h)
Platinum Pepper        Peperomia griseoargentea
Pleomele             Dracaena reflexa
Pleomele             Plemele reflexa
Polka Dot Plant         Hypoestes phyllostachya
Polypody             Polypodium aureum
Ponytail Palm         Beaucarnea recurvata
Pothos            Epipremnum aureum (h)
Pothos Vine             Maranta leuconeura (h)
Prayer Plant             Matanta leuconeura (h)
Prostrate Coleus         Plectrenthus oetendahlii
Purple Nettle         Gynura aurantiaca
Purple Passion        Gynura aurantiaca
Purple Velvet Plkant      Gynura aurantiaca
Pygmy Date Palm             Phoenix roebelenii

Queen’s Tears             Billbergia nutans
Queen’s Umbrella Tree         Brassaia actinophylla (h)
Queen’s Umbrella Tree          Schefflera actinophylla (h)
Queensland Umbrella Tree        Brassaia actinophylla (h)
Queensland Umbrella Tree        Schefflera actinophylla (h)

Rabbit’s Foot Fern             Davallia fejeensis
Rabbit’s Foot Fern            Polypodium aureum
Rabbit’s Tracks Plant         Maranta leuconeura (h)
Radiator Plant             Peperomia grisoargentea
Rainbow Star                Cryptanthus bromeliodes
Raphidophora             Epipremnum aureum (h)
Red Margined Dracaena        Dracaena marginata
Red Creeping Charlie        Plectranthis oertendahlii
Ribbon and Bows            Chlorophytum comosum
Ribbon Fern                 Pteris cretica
Ribbon Plant                 Chlorophytum comosum
Ribbon Plant                 Dracaena sanderana (h)
Roebelin Palm             Phoenix roebelenii
Roof Houseleek             Sempervivum tectorum
Rose                     Rosa species
Rose of China             Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
Rosy Maidenhair            Adiantum hispidulum
Roundleaf Fern             Pellaea rotundifolia
Royal Velvet Plant             Gynura aurantiaca
Rubber Plant                Ficus elastica    

Saffron Spike                 Aphelandra squarrosa
Sago Palm                 Cycas revolute (h)
Scabiosa                 Scabiosa caucasica
Schefflera                 Brassaia actinophylla (h)
Schefflera                 Schefflera actinophylla (h)
Screw Pine                Pandanus veitchii
Sedum                 Sedum morganianum
Sensitive Plant            Mimosa pudica
Sentry Palm                 Howea species
Shame Plant                 Mimosa pudica
Silver Dollar Maidenhair         Adiantum peruvianum
Silver Fittonia             Fittonia verschaffeltii
Silver Nerve                Fittonia verschaffeltii
Silver Net Plant             Fittonia verschaffeltii
Silver Threads             Fittonia verschaffeltii
Skimmia                 Skimmia species (h)   
Slender Lady Palm             Rhapis humillis
Small leaved Rubber Plant         Ficus benjamina
Snake Plant                 Sansevieria trifasciata
Snapdragon                 Antirrhinum majus
Solomon Island Ivy             Epipremnum aureum (h)
Southern Maidenhair Fern         Adiantum capillus-veneris
Southern Maidenhair Fern        Adiantum raddianum
Southern Sword Fern         Nephrolepis cordifolia
Spanish Bayonet            Yucca aloifolia
Spider Fern                 Chlorophytum comosum
Spider Plant                 Chlorophytum comosum
Spineless Yucca             Yucca elephantipes
Spotted Sasteria            Gasteria maculate
Sprenger Asparagus            Asparagus densiflorus
Sprengeri Fern             Asparagus densiflorus
Spur Flower                 Plectranthus australis
Squirrel’s Foot Fern             Davallia trichomanoides
Staghorn Fern             Platycerium bifurcatum
Starfish Plant                Cryptanthus acaulis
Starleaf                Brassaia actinophylla (h)
Starleaf                Schefflera actinophylla (h)
Swedish Begonia             Plectranthus australis
Swedish Ivy                 Plectranthus australis
Sweet Bay                 Laurus nobilis
Sword Fern                 Nephrolepis exaltata

Table Fern                 Pteris cretica
Taro Vine                  Epepremnum aureum (h)
Ten Commandments         Maranta leuconeura( h)
Thanksgiving Cactus         Schlumbergera truncate
Thanksgiving Cactus            Zygocactus truncactus
Thatch Leaf Palm             Howea forsterana
Thousand Mothers             Tolmiea menziesii
Thyme                Thymus vulgare
Ti Log                    Cordyline terminalis
Ti Plant                 Cordyline terminalis
Tillandsia                 Tillandsia cyanea
Tom Thumb                Kalanchoe clossfeldiana
Touch Me Not             Mimosa pudica
Trailing Watermelon Begonia     Pelloinia daveauana
Tree of Kings             Cordlyline Terminalis
Tree Fern                 Cibotium species
Tropical Hibiscus             Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

Umbrella Tree             Brassaia actinophlla (h)
Umbrella Tree             Schefflera actinophylla (h)
Urn Plant                 Aechmea fasciata

Variegated Philodendron         Epipremnum aureum (h)
Variegated Wandering Jew         Tradescantia fluminensis
Vase Plant                 Billbergia species
Vase Plant                 Vriesea species
Velvet Nettle                Gynura aurantiaca
Velvet Plant                 Gynura aurantiaca
Venezuela Treebine             Cissus rhomifolia
Venus’s Hair                 Adiantum capillus-veneris
Volcano Plant             Bromelia Balansae
Vriesea                 Vriesea species

Walking Anthericum         Chlorophytum comosum
Wandering Jew             Tradescantie albiflora
Wandering Jew             Tradescantie fluminensis
Wandering Jew             Zebrina pendula
Warneckii Dracaena         Dracaena deremensis
Watermelon Begonia         Peperomia argyreia
Watermelon Peperomia            Peperomia argyreia
Watermelon Pilea             Pilea cadierei
Wax Plant, or flower            Hoya carnosa
Weeping Chinese Banyon         Ficus benjamina
Weeping Fig                 Ficus benjamina
Western Maidenhair Fern         Adiantum aleuticum
White Least Fittonia         Fittonia verschaffeltii
White Mexican Rose         Echeveria elegans
Windmill Palm             Chamaerops excelsa
Windmill Palm             Trachycarpus fortunei
Wine Palm                 Caryota urens (toxic fruit)

Yellow Bamboo             Phyllostachys aurea
Youth on Age             Tolmiea menziesii
Youth and Old Age             Zinnea elegans
Yucca                     Yucca aloifolia, Y. lephantipes

Zebra Plant                 Aphelandra squarrosa
Zebra Plant                 Calathea zebrine
Zebra Plant                 Cryptanthus zonatus
Zinnia                 Zinnea elegans
Bird Safe Plants by Botanical Name
Abies Species
Acacia baileyana
Adiantum aleuticum
Adiantum capillus-veneris
Adiantum hispidulum
Adiantum jordanii
Adiantum peruvianum
Adiantum raddianum
Adiantum fasciata
Aechmea fasciata
Aechmea fulgens ‘Discolor’
Aechmea species
Aeschynanthus redicans
Allium Sativum
Aloe species (h)
Ananas comosus
Anethum graveolens
Antirrhinum majus
Aphelandra squarrosa
Aralia japionica
Aralia sieboldii
Araucaria excelsa
Aracaria heterophylla
Arbutus menziesii
Arctostaphlos manzanita
Arctotis stoechandifoloa
Areca lutescens
Arundinaria pygmaea
Asparagus densilflorus
Aspidistra elatior
Asplenium bulbiferum
Asplenium nidus
Aster novi-belgii

Bambusa glaucescens
Bambusa nana
Bambusa species
Beaucarnea recurvata
Begonia species
Berberis species (h)
Betula species
Billbergia nutans
Billbergia species
Blechnum gibbum
Bougainvillea glabra
Brassaia actinophylla (h)
Bromelia Balansea
Bromelia species
Buddleja davidii

Calamintha species
Calathea zebrine
Calendula officinalis
Cameliia japonica
Carissa grandiflora, fruit only.
Carissa macrocarpa, fruit only.
Carpinus betulus
Celastrus scamdens (h)
Centaurrea cyanus
Cerastium vulgatum
Chamaedorea elegans
Chamaemelum nobile
Chamaerops excelsa
Chamaerops humilis
Chlorophytum comosum
Chrysalidocarpus lutescenes
Cibotium chamissoi
Cibotium schiedei
Cibotium species
Cichorium intybus
Cirsium species
Cissus antarctica
Cissus rhombifolia
Codiaeum variegatum (h)
Coffea Arabica, beans are toxic!
Coleus blumei    
Coleus hybridus
Coleus species
Columnea hirta
Cordyline terminalis
Cornus species
Cosmos bipinnatus
Crassula arborescens
Crassula argentea
Crassula cotyledon
Crassula ovata
Crassula portulacea
Crataegus laevigata
Cryptanthus acaulis
Cryptanthus bromeloides
Cryptanthus species
Cryptanthus zonatus
Cycas revolute (h)
Cyrtomium falcatum
Cytisus species

Dahlia species
Davallia canariensis
Davallia fejeensis
Davallia mariesii
Davallia trichomanoides
Dizygotheca elegantissima
Dracaena deremensis
Dracaena draco    
Dracaena fragrans massamgeama
Dracaena godseffiana
Dracaena marginata
Dracaena reflexa
Dracaena sanderane (h)
Dracaena species
Dyckia fosterana

Echeveria elegans
Echeveria runyonii
Elaeagnus augustifolia
Epipemnum aureum (h)
Eugenia species

Fagus sylvatica (h)
Fatsia japonica
Feijoa sellowianna
Ficus benjamina
Ficus carica
Ficus elastica
Ficus lyrata (h)
Ficus pandurata (h)
Ficus pumila
Ficus repens
Fittonia verschaffeltii
Forsythia species
Fraxinus amerericana
Fucshia species

Gardenia jasminiodes
Gasteria liliputana
Gasteria maculate
Gasteria species
Guzmania lingulata
Gynura aurantiaca
Gypsophila paniculata

Helxine soleirolii
Hemerocallis species
Hetermeles arbutifolia
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
Howea belmoreana
Howea forsterana
Howea species
Hoya carnosa (Hoya spp. (h))
Hoya imperalis (Hoya spp. (h))
Hypoestest phyllostachya
Hypoestes sanguinolenta

Iresine herbstii

Jubaea chilensis

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana (h)

Larix deciduas
Laurus nobilis
Livistna chinensis
Lysimachia nummularia

Magnolia species
Mahonia aquifolium
Mangifera indica (fruit only.)
Maranta leuconeura (h)
Melissa officinalis
Mentha spicata
Mentha x piperita
Mimosa pudica

Nandine domestica
Neoregelia carolinae
Neoregelia species
Neoregelia spectabilis
Nephrolepis cordifolia
Nephrolepis exaltata
Nephrolepis exaltata “Bostoniensis”
Nidularium billergoides
Nidularium fulgens

Olea europaea
Origanum vulgare

Pandanus veitchii
Passiflora species
Pellaea rotundifolia
Pelloinia daeauana
Peperomia caperata
Peperomia obtusifolia
Peperomia species
Petroselinum crispum
Petunia species
Phoenix canariensis
Phoenix dactylifera
Phoenix roebeleni
Phyllostachys aurea
Picea excelsa (h)
Pilea cadierei
Pilea nummularifolia
Pinus nigra
Pinus species (h)
Pittosporum species (h)
Platycerium bifurcatum
Plectranthus australis
Plectranthus coleoides
Plectranthus oertendahlii
Plectranthus species
Piemele reflexa
Polypodium aureum
Populus species
Pteris cretica

Q, R

Rhaphiolepsis indica
Rhapis excelsa
Rhapis humilis
Rhipsalidopsis gaerineri
Rhoeo spathacea
Rhoicissus rhomboidea
Ribes sanguinen
Rosa species
Rosmarinus officinalis
Ruellia makoyana
Rumohra adianiformis

Saintpaulia oinantha
Salix species (h) Sanservieria trifasciata
Sarracenia leucophylla
Scabiosa caucasica
Schefflera actinophlla (h)
Schlumbergera bridgesii
Schlumbergera truncate
Scindapsus species (h)
Sedum morganianum
Sempervivum tectorum
Sinarundinaria nitida
Sinningia Hybrid, G. speciosa
Skimmia japonica (h)
Skimmia species (h)
Soleirolia soleirolii
Sorbus species
Spiraea japonica (h)
Stellaria media
Symphytum officinale (h)
Syringa vulgaris (h)

Tagetes species
Taraxacum offinale
Thuja orientalis
Thymus vulgare
Tillandsia cyanea
Tillandsia species
Tolmiea menziesii
Trachelospermum jasminoides
Trachycarpus fortunei
Tradescantia albiflora
Tradescantia fluminensis
Trifolium repens (h)
Tropaeolum majus

Viola species (h)
Vriesea species
Vriesea splendens

W, X, Y

Yucca aloifolia
Yucca elephantipes
Yucca filamentosa
Yucca gloriosa
Yucca species


Zebrina pendula
Zinna elegans
Zygocactus truncatus