29 January 2018

Parrot festival

Last Thursday we got in the car and headed to Houston for the 2018 Parrot Festival, held each year by the National Parrot Rescue and Preservation Foundation (NPRPF). It was three fairly solid days of presentations on various psittacine topics. I had learned about the event over a year earlier, and made a note in my calendar to check the lineup in December. When I learned that this year’s special focus was to be the budgerigar, we decided we had to go.

It being an educational event rather than a breeders’ show, there weren’t actually all that many parrots present, so while I returned home with a head cold, I’m pretty sure it isn’t Psittacosis. I did see a beautiful blue-throated macaw, and heard about the work being done in Bolivia to save the species from near extinction in the wild. While it is undoubtedly problematic in many ways to keep large parrots as pets, the unfortunate truth is that a mass extinction of all kinds of creatures is going on, and many species of parrot may end up only surviving in captivity. Consider the fate of the Carolina Parakeet, for example.

I took lots of notes, and I’m determined to once again up my game with regard to parakeet care, though in a session on common illnesses of the budgerigar the speaker made a point to note that basically every illness results in the same set of symptoms — a fluffed bird with no appetite, often sitting at the bottom of the cage. You might call it the parrot doc’s paradox.

My first action item is more raw food. A few weeks ago I discovered that Luna had grown to 51g, which is way outside the reasonable 30-40g range. We took her to the vet for blood work to be tested, and it turned out she had signs of poor liver function which would likely lead to fatty liver disease. I made a hurried switch to special low fat daily maintenance pellets, and her weight started coming back down fairly quickly, but now I want to feed all of the birds healthy raw foods with healthy fats and see if her metabolism doesn’t improve. The difficulty is that budgies are picky eaters. For now I’ve identified that they love peas, lettuce, spinach, and baby kale. I also hope to introduce them to raw chopped nuts, and start growing sprouts again.

But first of all I need to stop feeling like crap, and I also need to start arranging things for Superb Owl Sunday as we’ve already announced that. So right now I’m in bed, writing this on my iPad, and waiting for my sinuses to stop feeling like they’ve been sandpapered.

© mathew 2017