Austin Parrot Society is on indefinite hiatus.

Even though our website here is relatively new, we unfortunately are on indefinite hiatus.  Within the span of a few months, all of our founding members and organizers either became very ill and had to step down, or suddenly and unexpectedly ended up moving out of state.  We made the difficult decision to suspend all APS activities rather than try to keep it limping along with little guidance.

This website will remain active in order to still provide good, solid resources, and we will try to keep our site active as long as possible so that members can still communicate with each other, but that will be the extent of it for the foreseeable future.

In the meantime, I am still available via email for behavior consults, or just to stay in touch and say hello.  🙂

Best of luck to you and your birds!

Parrot MythBusters #1: The Inevitable Bite

From Beaks To Barks

I’ve decided to start a series called “Parrot MythBusters”, wherein common and pervasive myths about parrots will be addressed and discussed.  While the idea has been percolating for several months now, the impetus to actually start with this first one today came from one version of a meme that gets circulated every few weeks or so.


Anyone with a parrot and internet access has probably seen this meme, or one of the many like it:

Reasons a Parrot Will Bite


Memes like this one exist for a reason.  Many people get bitten by their bird and take it as a personal attack.  They label their bird as “mean” or “unhandleable” or “wild” or “dominant”.  They assume their bird does not like them.  None of these things are true.   Birds bite because in the past they have learned that biting works.  Or, in some cases, they accidentally bite because they don’t understand that…

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We’re not (going to be) in Austin anymore, Toto.

If there’s anything that I’ve learned in my 34 years on this earth, it’s that life is entirely unpredictable.  If you had told me a month ago that I’d be leaving Austin, I would have laughed in your face.  I was quite comfortable here, perfectly content to build up my behavior consulting business, tend my yard, take care of my animals, and of course, take care of Austin Parrot Society.

But when the opportunity to apply for a dream job pops up, there’s no turning that down.  A few weeks ago, I found out that the Parrot Garden at Best Friends Animal Society was hiring.  I’ve had a relationship with Best Friends for almost three years, ever since they contacted me to ask permission to give a copy of the Bird Owner’s Manual to everyone who adopted a bird from them.  Getting to work with parrots in a rescue setting every day is pretty much my dream job.  I can’t imagine anything I’d rather be doing.  I’ll get to keep doing behavior consults, which is my other dream job, of course, but also getting to work directly with parrots themselves and not just primarily the people who own them?  Awesome.    So of course I applied.  I applied, and the next week flew up to Kanab for my two week working evaluation.  As it turns out, we’re a match made in heaven.  I adore the staff there, and surprisingly enough, they’re willing to put up with me and even seem to like me, too!  So I got the job, and now I’ll be packing up all my stuff and moving there at the end of this month.

So I’m saying goodbye to my beloved hometown, as well as this wonderful group, which I have had the privilege of co-founding, nurturing, and watching grow by leaps and bounds.  I will miss APS.  But I am also ready to let it go, and let those of you who remain decide what you want to do with it.  This is not my group.  This is your group–all 150+ of you.  I’ll still be lurking in the background.  I’ll make sure the websites stay updated and will still be available for phone and email advice and consults.  Whenever I’m able to come back and visit, I’ll be happy to host a Bird Ownership Class or a workshop about whatever topic you would like me to speak about.  I’d be equally as happy to just meet up for dinner or tea and have a more casual, social chat.  But aside from those infrequent visits, I’ll be gone, which means it’s up to you all what you want to do with the group.

My general impression is that most of you don’t have the time or inclination to take on a more active role in the group.  It seems that most of you have busy lives and other priorities, and are mostly wanting to use APS as a source for information and exchange, etc.  That is totally fine.  If you guys just want me to keep the websites going so you can come here for information or to ask each other questions, do that.  You can always email the whole group by sending an email to our mailing list at: Austin-Parrot-Society-list at meetup dot com or me personally at austinparrotsociety at gmail dot com.

However, if any of you decide you’d like to host a meetup – be it just a social gathering or a more formal meeting where you can share ideas, information, and skills – let me know.  I’m more than happy to help you post your information on our meetup group and give you ideas about where and how to host your event.  If you find that you enjoy hosting meetings and would like to take on an even more active role, we can chat about that, too.

And of course, if anyone is willing and interesting in keeping our Foster and Adoption Network going, please let me know.  I can do a lot of things remotely, but in order for it to become a fully functional operation, we need people in Austin who are willing to process applications, do home checks, foster birds, promote the group, and otherwise facilitate bird surrenders and adoptions.  But like I said, this is YOUR group, so if that’s not something that any of you want to do, APS doesn’t have to keep their Foster/Adoption Network running.

You have the power.  You make the decisions.  I’ll just pretty much be hanging out in the background, watching APS do its thing and cheering from afar.

Have fun, everyone!  And if you ever want to come visit southern Utah, you’re welcome to stay in our guest bedroom!

Emily Trimnal of The Roaming Parrot to speak at our upcoming meeting!

I am very excited to announce that we have a last-minute change of plans to our July meeting.  Emily Trimnal, of The Roaming Parrot, will be joining us to speak about this vital project and answer questions.  We will also be planning our upcoming Pet Expo booth.  For more information about the upcoming meeting, Pet Expo, and The Roaming Parrot, go here;

Also, we’ve recently had some birds come into our foster/adoption program, but since I’m on vacation I haven’t had time to post them yet.  If you’re interested in fostering or adopting, keep an eye out for updates in that area.  They should be going up in the next day or two!

Pellets v. a Fresh Diet: The Great Pet Food Debate

From Beaks To Barks

There is a recurring discussion in one of the online parrot groups that I moderate about whether or not pellets should be fed to parrots.  Well, actually, to be more accurate, the pellet v. fresh food debate recurs throughout aviculture, on the regular.  It’s an ongoing thing.  But recently, in the aforementioned group, one woman posted the following:

I just had a vet tell me that I am feeding my parrots too many fresh vegetables and that pellets should make up 60% of their diet.  I’m not sure what to think about that…

Harrison's Pellets

What followed was a barrage of comments, many of which were people telling her that her vet was wrong and stupid and that she should stop going to him immediately, and that vets probably only recommend pellets because they get kick-backs from the pet food companies or are conspiring with them to make money off their unsuspecting…

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Reducing hormonal behaviors in parrots.

From Beaks To Barks

Well, it’s springtime, which means that love is in the air for a lot of companion parrots.

Parrots in Love

I actually wrote a version of this article a long time ago for a companion parrot group online that I moderate, but since I’ve had so many clients telling me about their hormonal birds lately, I figured that now’s the perfect time to dust this thing off and re-use it.

There are a many things which will trigger hormonal surges in parrots, some of which include:

* longer daylight hours; shorter nights

* a perceived nest box

* a perceived “mate”

* high fat foods

* warm, mushy foods

* excess energy

If you have a hormonal parrot, you can try the following to reduce them:

* Make sure that (s)he gets 12-14 hours of total darkness. If you can’t provide that in their regular cage, get a sleep cage and put it…

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My recipe for chop’n’freeze

From Beaks To Barks

At the request of some folks on Facebook, I’m posting my recipe for chop’n’freeze.  It varies based on seasonal availability and, to some extent, my whim.  However, there is a method to the madness and a certain amount of infrastructure.  I have, after all, been making this for 15 years now, so I’ve had plenty of time to tweak and figure out what works for me and my birds and what doesn’t.  I’ll go over the general ingredients and instructions first, then I’ll discuss particular points of interest.  But first!  Here’s a picture of a recent batch:


Vegetables: I don’t know what resources you have available to you, but I like to utilize locally grown, organic veggies.  You can volunteer at a local organic farm, join a CSA, go to a farmer’s market, or just go to your local grocery store.  I do any combination of the above to…

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