OCW Zoological Medicine 2008 Psittacine Medicine (2008) G. Kaufman, DVM Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University
1. Learning Objectives and Review
This section pulls together the main diseases and health issues of psittacines, representing the major group of birds seen in pet bird veterinary practice. Color coded topics indicate learning objectives that the student should become familiar with. Cases will be presented in class to illustrate these topics.
On Sun, Oct 9, 2016 at 4:29 PM UTC, Connie S wrote:
I looked at the anatomy of a bird’s brain that you had on a recent email. I would like to know more about the portion that says: Short Circuit from love to attack behavior! That is happening with my rainbow lory recently.
He is 18 years old and has suddenly started attacking my hand when I reach to have him climb on my finger. Otherwise, he hangs out with me with no problem – when I’m sitting in a chair or lying on the bed.
The Cockatiel is the smallest, actually a miniature Cockatoo, and is from Australia. The only bird more popular with caged bird keepers is a parakeet (budgie).
The Cockatiel is biologically classified as a genuine member of Cacatuidae because they share all of the Cockatoo family’s biological features.They are the only Cockatoo species which can sometimes reproduce by the time they are one year old
The Cockatiel’s distinctive erectile crest expresses the animal’s state of being. The crest is dramatically vertical when the cockatiel is startled or excited, gently oblique in its neutral or relaxed state, and flattened close to the head when the animal is angry or defensive.
Did you know the sun conure may be facing extinction in the wild, and you can help? There is a real need for more surveys to establish their status in nature. The 2014 estimates published on the IUCN database are between 1,000 and 1,499 mature birds. Some of the last known sun conures live in Guyana, a country with a small human population and a lot of forest and savannah grasslands.
The IUCN page mentions that the trade in wild conures is “ongoing” because “due to the ease with which birds can be attracted to bait (e.g. corn) and the large distances they will travel, it is easy to trap all the individuals in an area.” Quoted from Jamie Gilardi.
Does It Matter What Sex My Bird Is as Long as He or She Knows Its Name?
Why DNA is so VERY important even for your non-breeding parrot
About 20% of parrots, like budgies, eclectus and cockatiels that are sexually dimorphic. That means that the gender of the bird can be identified by physical differences. In the case of budgies and cockatiels, they have to reach near-adulthood to exhibit differences while eclectus are readily identifiable upon feathering out the first time since females are red and blue while males are green.
The sexual organs of birds are inside the body, making it impossible to tell gender by visually checking organs such as is done with dogs and cats. Some breeders claim to be able to identify gender of parrots that don’t exhibit differences visibly based on factors such as spread of pelvic bones upon reaching breeding age, shape of head and behavior. Perhaps some breeders are reasonably accurate, most are about as accurate as tossing a coin as a means of determining gender.
The upper respiratory system (URS) consists of the external nares, operculum, nasal concha, infraorbital sinus, and choanal slit. The nares are paired symmetrical openings with an operculum within each. The nares each communicate with the the nasal cavity containing the concha. The left and right nasal cavities are separated by a septum. The nasal cavity communicates with the left and right infraorbital sinus. This sinus has five diverticula which extend into the skull (cranial, ventral, and medial to eye) and mandible. The lateral margin is skin and subcutaneous tissue (not bone). The convoluted nature of the sinus makes URS infections difficult to treat. The left and right sinus communicate with each other and the air sacs, allowing URS infection to spread to the lower airways. The choanal slit forms a V shape on the roof of the mouth. The choana is surrounded by papilla in most species.
About two years ago, I spotted a bird in a pet store (large chain). On his glassed-in cage was the label “Sun Conure.”
I decided that I wanted a bird like that. First, I ordered a large cage from you; then I waited about 9 months for a bird to become available. During that time the label changed to “Fancy Conure” vice Sun Conure.
The bird I purchased, my friend “Conrad”, is identical in coloring and in temperament (as described in several references) to a Sun Conure. Since we haven’t mentioned any names of pet chains (so we aren’t subject to law suit!), can you offer any thoughts on the name change.
Crossbreed? Avoiding the endangered species controls? Has anyone else ever raised this question???
My first medium sized parrot was a loving sun conure who spent all the years of her life with me. She chose me one day when I was in a pet shop when she was just weaned, about 8 weeks old.
Today I know I got her for the wrong reasons. I was fast learning a lot about my budgie Sydney and twice-found cockatiel Cocoa. After two cold winters in Denver, my husband and I were at last returning to Cape Canaveral for his job on the Space Shuttle. Before leaving Denver I said I wanted a bike for riding the beach and a parrot to ride with me. When SunDance picked me, little did I know she would have an absolute horror of bicycles. No matter how I worked with her, she never overcame this fear.
Okay that’s a bit of a stretch but if you could see what budgies see – not so much.
A couple weeks ago we talked about not fully understanding the effects of ultraviolet lighting on our birds. Something that not a lot of us including myself fully understand.
Leave it to NASA to set the record straight on the correlation between parrots and the center of our galaxy. Admitted science geek that I am, lots of interesting content crosses my desktop daily.
Rummaging through the archives of Science Magazine there’s an article from January 2002 entitled ”Fluorescent Signaling in Parrots” by Katherine Arnold At the University of Glasgow.
About a week later in the Journal of Nature you’ll find reports on the fluorescence that has been seen in the Galactic Center in an article by astronomer Q Daniel Wayne of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
The first article explains how ultraviolet light is absorbed by budgies (as well as other parrots) feathers on the crown and the cheeks and then the light gets re-emitted – as yellow light which is a longer wavelength.
Figure 1. Budgerigar’s head (A) under white light and (B) under UV illumination to induce yellow fluorescence. (C) Crown irradiated with UV light only (dashed line), resulting in human visible fluorescent emission (solid line). (D) Normalized visual difference between the emission spectrum of plumage, measured as radiant emission from feathers (solid line) and the spectral sensitivities of the four single cones classes of the budgerigar’s retina (dashed lines) (4). (Credit: K.Arnold et al., Science, 295, 92)
Basically what Ms. Arnold found was that both boy and girl budgies used the fluorescence of birds of the opposite sex and their glowing feathers that fluoresced in a light spectrum range that neither you nor I can see as an indicator for the quality of a possible mate.
Going back to the second story the geeky science astronomer guys and gals using pics that mere mortals have no access to because they have the Chandra X-ray Observatory to play with and made really cool images of the Milky Way Check it out!
This Chandra image exposes a wealth of exotic objects and high-energy features at the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way. In this new and deep image from Chandra, red represents lower-energy X-rays, green shows the medium range, and blue indicates the higher-energy X-rays.
Hundreds of small dots show emission from material around black holes, neutron stars and white dwarfs. A supermassive black hole — some four million times more massive the Sun — resides within the bright, blue-white region on the right.
The diffuse X-ray light comes from gas heated to millions of degrees by outflows from the supermassive black hole, winds from giant stars, and stellar explosions.
This 400 by 900 light-year mosaic of several Chandra images of the central region of our Milky Way galaxy reveals hundreds of white dwarf stars, neutron stars, and black holes bathed in an incandescent fog of multimillion-degree gas.
The supermassive black hole at the center of the Galaxy is located inside the bright white patch in the center of the image. The colors indicate X-ray energy bands – red (low), green (medium), and blue (high).
Now that I’ve got you spun around scientifically, what the science guys and gals are saying is, forgetting fluorescence from parrot feathers for a moment, if you look at iron atoms that happen to take up a really big portion of the Milky Way galaxy (see image above), this fluorescence happens when – following x-rays that bump into electrons knocking said electrons out of the insides of the iron atoms which somehow excites the atoms so much so they produce more energy.
fluorescent suits are NOT chick magnets – you’ve been warned Rounding third base here: The atoms calm down emitting a fluorescent x-ray which is a longer wavelength and is basically the same process that causes budgies to glow fluorescently (I think I made that word up) in the eyes of other budgies.
Some people are able to reflect the light that lands on them, to take directions or assets or energy and focus it where it needs to be focused. This is a really valuable skill.
Even more valuable, though, is the person who glows in the dark. Not reflecting energy, but creating it. Not redirecting urgencies but generating them. The glow in the dark colleague is able to restart momentum, even when everyone else is ready to give up.
At the other end of the spectrum (ahem) is the black hole. All the energy and all the urgency merely disappears.
Your glow in the dark colleague knows that recharging is eventually necessary, but for now, it’s okay that there’s not a lot of light. The glow is enough. Seth Godin
written by mitch rezman approved by catherine tobsing
approved by nora caterino
your zygodactly footnote (no inventory of budgies in space videos so we’re going with our favorite animals in space video)
Hi Mitch, We are looking for a travel cage big enough to hold a Sun Conure and Umbrella Cockatoo. They are bonded and need to travel together if need be. Also what size is appropriate for 2-3 Conures. Thankyou!Customer
We are expecting to have the #602 and #603 carriers back available in one to two weeks. The #603 would work well for the Sun Conure and Cockatoo. If that is too large then the #602 would work fine. The #601 or #602 should be fine for the 3 conures.
Thank you – Catherine
from: Mary Jo Harrison
I have an active and a little too smart African grey. She is a hand fed baby. My problem is bird toys. She prefers toys with knots, rings etc.
But she can untangle knots, I have used crochet, knit, paracord and different styles of braiding. She unravels them in a day or less no matter how long I make it. She can remove things from key rings and open any kind or snap or clip. She does little damage to them. I am at a loss on how to secure toys in her cage.
Also cats (daughters) have fleas that she let get out of control. I didn’t notice them until they moved out of cats area. I have always taken care to avoid getting fleas in house. So I don’t know if bird can get fleas.
I do know about mites. We go to vet for beak, nails and such. He gives her a check for mites twice a year. I live in central Texas. So we are never really have a flea or mosquito free time.
We want to build an outside aviary for our macaw. I would like to have a secure structure, safe from predators. Our location will be Clarksville, TN. I’m looking at ideas online but thought perhaps asking an authority on the subject would be the best way to start researching.
What materials do we avoid?
If the area was spacious enough, can we use 12′ galvanized dog pen sections?
Our birds live in separate cages. We have two male Timnehs (19 and 26) and a male B&G (13). Could they safely be housed together in a spacious aviary, or will they fight?
They have never had physical interactions with each other, although they are in the same room and in close proximity to each other.
I know I have more questions but I can’t think of everything right now.
Knots? get some leather strips, tie knots in the strips – soak the knotted leather in water for a few hours, let dry over night and see if your bird can untie them now.
need something to hang toys your grey cant undo? Watch this.
I love the question and I don’t know if you read our blog. I can get long-winded so it’s going to take a while to answer.
I will give you two short answers and you’ll read about everything else right here
Galvanization, or galvanisation, (or galvanizing as it is most commonly called in that industry), is the process of applying a protective zinc coating to steel or iron, to prevent rusting. The most common method is hot-dip galvanizing, in which parts are submerged in a bath of molten zinc.
Zinc is highly toxic to birds thus galvanized wire is less than ideal. You’ll see it used for housing smaller birds like finches and budgies but because your macaw will be climbing on the wire he or she will be licking zinc
This question has come up before and the answer still opaque so I invested $27 on your behalf to buy this e-book – you can copy and paste the link into your browser to read the book.
but no mention of how to build an aviary for macaw
btw – 10gauge is suited for macaws 12gauge is more suited for African grays in Amazon’s – more to follow
Hi I have a 7 month old english budie that was born with a one splayed leg that sticks straight out. His wings were overclipped when I got him at 2 months of age. I have waited unpatiently for his wings to grow out as my other parakeets are flighted.
I see from the way he perches like a kick stand mostly on a ladder. that he has close access to his one wing with bad leg and over preens and chews on just this one which makes him flutter lopsided. He doest seem to know he can start flying, but gets around quite well. Do you have any advice on how to stop this chewing of the one wing.
I would love to see him fly with his friends. They have free time out on top of four cages with tons of perches and toys.They have never figured out in seven years they could go around the corner down the hall, which is a great plus for me. They are my little babies, I refer to them affectionately as keebler elfs. Thanks for your help. Michelle
ME-> 6/9/2016 12:24:38 AMYikes!
Chances are this bird is too old so before we resort to extreme measures I’m going to advocate the introduction of at the very least one flat perch so your budgies good foot isn’t getting overworked.
I would like to know how often he gets bathed? Perhaps with the introduction of more moisture into the feathers praying could be reduced. We can also recommend products like Natraand Featheriffic
This is where I would start – please send feed back so we can try to fix this together
Hi Mitch, I wrote to you a while back about my handicapped english budgie Kenny a while back. He has one splayed leg that sticks straight out and up. He likes to perch at a angle where he looks like a kick stand. I thought he was chewing his wing feathers on one side, but he now seems to have almost finished a long molt cycle.
He has started to fly with my other parakeets, although wobbly he can now do 90 degree angles. It has been the longest six months waiting Kennys feathers to grow back. He was only 8 weeks old when I rescued him, and if you remembered his wings were over trimmed .My 4 other parakeets are all flighted and out most of the day as I am home.
Kenny had an extra cage set on the floor next to the table (with one of 3 large cages I have in a cluster) with a long ladder up to side of cage on the table,with many wooden clothes pins clipped to side of table cage he used as a ladder (as this side had vertical bars). Being on the top of this cage is the favorite Cool Spot for all the birds.
I believe many, many times Kenny fluttered to the floor over the six months and then the long climb up three flights actually made his leg and foot stronger. The Lord works small miracles everyday. Thanks for your reply and I go have three shelf perches that he sometimes used but doesn’t favor them now that he is King of the Hill. Thanks for your blogs.Many prayer thoughts for you and Popcorn. RIP.
As you are finding out animals don’t know they have sustained an injury – all they can do is work around pain in order to – at the verybleast attempt to achieve “normal”
kudos on your persistence
Thank you for engaging with our content
Interesting question – anyone??
Do you know of anyone who would be interested in cleaning 4 birdcages once per week? The cages are located in the Elmwood Park, IL area home of a leukemia patient who is unable to clean them due to a compromised immune system.
If someone is interested, please have them email me with their contact information and the cost for their service. Thank you for any help you may offer.Customer
10/5/2015 4:07:24 PMactually this is a good idea – let me work on it