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

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Parrot's Bill of Rights

Parrots’ Bill of Rights  (Adapted & Updated by Squawk and Howl)

I am not a domesticated pet like a dog or cat- I still have the spirit of the jungle in me. I have special needs, which you may find HARD to fill. Please don’t learn these too late for my well-being. Continuing education about me is also important. Avian medicine and nutrition advances are happening all the time. Get me from a reputable breeder, store, or rescue- Do NOT acquire me or one of my cousins from a bird mill, irresponsible chain store, or wild from the jungle - it will jeopardize our survival and well-being - and that won’t be a party for you either! For a list of educational bird books, search this blog’s tags for recommended books.

I am used to flying through rainforests or savannas. I have given up this great gift for your pleasure. I need room to flap my wings and exercise. I need a places to be other than my cage- get me a playgym or two! Eat & bathe with me- I need to roam from room to room with you and our flock doing the things flocks do! I need toys for my amusement and wood to chew - otherwise, I might confuse your home with the forest and its trees. For information on cages and playgyms, search this blog’s tags for for those words.

I need a wide variety of fresh and nutritious foods, even if they take time to prepare. I cannot survive on seeds alone. Take time to learn what my needs, and preferences are. Food, for parrots, is more than nutrition. Shared meals are a social activity that bonds a flock together. Be sure & share mealtimes with me! For proper avian diet, and pellet information, search this blog’s tags for recommendations.

I am a gregarious flock animal - but I am not one of you. I need lots of socialization to learn how to act with you, and with my siblings. I also need to have adequate quality time with you every day - no matter what your schedule or other needs are. I am a living, feeling creature. Above all, I need to be able to have complete trust in you, and count on your predictability in looking after me - EVERY day. I am feathered child of yours now- treat me like you would your own child.

I may like to drop food or even throw it, but I need meticulous cleanliness to be healthy. My skin itches without frequent showers, the barbs of my feathers won’t seal if they become oily and, worst of all, I may become ill if my food or water is not always sanitary. I am used to living high in the trees, away from my own droppings (and the bacteria that breeds in them). I have not built up the kind of immunity that land-dwelling mammals have. More info on cleanliness, search this blog’s tags for recommendations.

You may not understand my physiology and therefore you may not recognize it early on when I get sick. And it may be too late when you do, because I hide my illnesses (remember what I said about my being an animal of the jungle, where there are lots of predators). And I need an board certified avian vet - a specialist (no HMOs for me please), annual checkups and emergency visits when needed. If you can’t afford one, perhaps you shouldn’t have taken me home. When you are not around, please be sure to get a qualified, experienced person to spend time with me, out of my cage, and care for me properly. To find a proper avian vet, search this blog’s tags for recommendations and search databases.

Just as I don’t always understand your peculiarities, you may not understand mine. I don’t TRY to get in trouble - remember, a house is not the jungle. If I do screw up, don’t yell at me and never hit me. I have sensitive ears and I may never trust you again if you strike me. Hands are sometimes scary things to us (why in the world would you not be zygodactylous like us?). Even more importantly, we don’t learn by punishment. We are gentle creatures who only strike back to protect ourselves; we learn through patience and love. Learn LOTS about parrot behavior from the experts- click here.

I know you get upset with me when I knock over my water bowl, throw food, scream or pluck my feathers. I don’t do these to annoy you - I am probably trying to tell you something (perhaps that I am hurting, lonely, or sad). Learn to speak MY (body) language. Remember that I alone, of all creatures on this planet, learn to speak yours! Learn LOTS about parrot behavior from the experts- click here.

I am a unique and feeling being. No two of us are alike. Please don’t be disappointed in me if I don’t talk like you wanted, or can’t do the tricks that your friend’s parrot can do. But if you pay close attention to me (and I always empathize with you, whether you know it or not), I will show you a unique being who will give you so much more than talking and playing. Give me a chance to show you who I am; I think you’ll find the effort worth it.
And remember - I am not an ornament; I do not enhance ANY living room decor. And I am not a status symbol - if you use me as such, I might nip at your up-turned nose (and you would deserve it)!

Above all, please remember that you are my Special Person. I put all my trust and faith in you. We parrots are used to being monogamous (no bar-hopping for us!). So please don’t go away for long periods or give me away - that would be a sadness from which I may never recover. If that seems to be asking a lot, remember - you could have learned about my needs before bringing me home.
Even having a baby or taking a new job isn’t a fair reason - you made a commitment to me FIRST. And if you think that you must leave me because you might die, provide for me forever after you leave. I may live to a ripe old age but I can’t provide for myself. Remember I’m in a small cage amongst people who are not of my blood.
And I know it may be difficult for you, but I need you there at the end of my life (should I go before you). I need to feel your love as the last thing that I experience. And should you go before me, please provide for me so that I can live out my life in comfort and happiness.

You have lots of rights, but I can only assure one. That is, if you treat me the way I described above, I will reward you with unwavering love, humor, knowledge, beauty, dedication - and a sense of wonder and awe you haven’t felt since you were a child. When you took me home, you became my Flock Leader, indeed, my entire universe - for life. I would hang the moon and stars for you if I could. We are one in Heart and Soul.

Now through Sept 13, enter code "parrotsarepeopletoo" IN THE COMMENTS BOX (NOT THE COUPON BOX) and get a free bag of birdie bread with the purchase of two foraging toys.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Happy International Vulture Awareness Day!

Like our friends the parrots, vultures are in danger due to humans encroaching on their habitat. Mommabird values all birds out there, whether or not they eat her famous bread!

Friday, September 2, 2011


OK- your bird has managed to get sick or injured on a Saturday night and the vet isn’t around until Monday AM. What should you do?

FIRST- don’t panic.
I know it’s hard, but calm down and breathe.
Panicking will only make your judgement less than accurate and probably freak out your bird.

SECOND- assess the situation.
Is the bird stable, even if harmed? Do they accept scritches, eat and drink and poop regularly?
You need to determine if triage is necessary with a non-avian vet or of the bird is stable enough to wait it out in a hospital tank until your vet is available.
If the bird flinches, screams, or acts aggressive to your hands coming near (especially if this is out of the ordinary behavior for your bird) that is a sign that there is a lot of discomfort. indeed, any sudden change in behavior, even “positive” ones (like a stand-offish bird suddenly wants to cuddle) is a sign that something may be wrong.

This wingabago carrier can act as a perfect
hospital cage for a larger bird.
THIRD- accomodate your bird being sick or injured.
This requires you to have certain items on hand BEFORE your bird is harmed. So plan ahead with a gram scale, bird first aid kit and hospital tank. See below for info on what is in a hospital tank and first aid kit. Read further to get short term first aid instructions.

FOURTH- call your regular vet and leave a message that you will be coming in as soon as they open on the next available vet day. Call your work and let them know you will not be in as you are taking an animal to the vet. And if your bird needs immediate care (a broken limb, an animal attack, on the bottom of the cage, listless are all examples of need for immediate care), find the nearest 24/7 emergency vet clinic. They can do triage in the meantime.

Tip: I keep magnets on my fridge of all the avian vets and all the emergency vets in my area (as well as my vet’s contact info). Even though I know the information professionally, having it right in front of me when I am freaking out makes a world of difference, believe me.

This post was written by Squawk and Howl

Now through Sept 6, enter code "emergency" to get a free bag of birdie bread when you buy three!