Wondering if you can guide me on care of my umbrella cockatoo.

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Wondering if you can guide me with the care of my umbrella. Her vet is away on sick leave for a few months. I am her third owner.

I live in a two-room 35 ft camper trailer with six dogs and the bird. She likes to be around them – in her cage – and when they get treats she expects ( and gets) her own. They are her flock.

She has been a feather shredder since long before she came to me, about three years ago. She is also very indifferent to food. Her owner before me cared for her well and tried her hardest to get her to fresh fruit and veg. Her primary diet is Zupreem fruit blend, though specific preference is the pink. But she isn’t even very interested in eating.

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Hormonal changes are coming to your bird this spring what’s your plan?

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Americans have the ACLU – Captive birds in America have us.

Part of a call from Hawaii at the Birdie Boutique

“I suggest72 hours of constant light, meaning the bird would be in its cage for 3 days, with the lights on”.

Cage birdkeepers response “she’ll never go for something like that

My email response

As an advocate for pet birds, I wanted to follow up on your lovebird’s reproductive issues.

If a child is sick, he or she does not determine whether or not to accept care.

Although you state your bird would “have nothing to do with it” – she can easily be locked in a cage for three days for her own good so as to extend her life.

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Bird cage lighting need not be so complicated

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Attn. Mitch Rezman

Fluorescent lights.

The recent post here on Vit. D led me to more research. It appears most if not all of the Windy City Full Spectrum lights have simple magnetic ballasts, producing visible flicker. This is proven for chickens and assumed for the likely better eyes of psitticines with their mainly flying lifestyle.

High frequency electronic ballasts are now standard for indoor fluorescents where human health is a consideration as the high frequency flicker is far faster than our visual system can perceive. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_ballast>Electronic Ballasts) Commonly about 3500 Hz in Compact Fluorescent Lights. HF ballasts are now competitive with previous mains rate (120Hz) magnetic ballasts products and are offered in full spectrum phosphors lights.

Dr. Mercola (Mercola Health Resources, LLC, no connection, yada yada) now offers these in ratings at least as good as any Windy City presently does in a 30w bulb.

I’m guessing if the current stock at Windy City had high frequency electronic ballasts, this would be advertised. If not, it Should. As perceptible flicker is considered an environmental stressor in humans and other higher life forms, some investigation may reveal the source that Dr. Mercola is using and birds will benefit from the particularly targeted messages and products Windy City distributes.

Other notes: It needs mentioning that only specially designed compact fluorescent bulbs are compatible with most home light dimmers, none of which are conventional magnetic ballasts, and not all electronic ballasts. Dr. Mercola’s don’t seem to be. Of the suitable electronic ballasts, it’s still recommended they be used at full capacity for >100 hours before any dimming, or they darken and lose service life.

Opthalmologists, other MDs and archival museum people will also caution that full spectrum lighting has serious downsides! We do not have eyes that will survive full time UV outdoor exposure without increased risk of cataracts. Eventually All get them, the question is at how young of age. (Mine were at 58) Birds I observe also do Not spend time in the Sun when not necessary. Shade of some sort is common to all roosts other than predators watching for opportunities to feed.

Household windows filter 100% of all ultraviolet light which helps prevent the fading of your homes furnishings.

For other downsides of fluorescent lighting (Mostly associated with UV, no specific mention of Flicker.) see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluorescent_lamps_and_health

Museums and art galleries specifically forbid Full Spectrum lighting as it’s well understood how many materials including most art pigments are degraded far more by UV light than by the normal human visual spectrum.

This has real implications. I’m just starting with indoor full spectrum lights and plan to shade the computer display with it’s sensitive phosphors from direct light from the UV bulbs.

I’m also working on shading my Cockatoo’s usual perches but leaving others in direct view. It needs constant repeating that a bird with a full spectrum light too close by risks damage to their eyes and skin, just as we do. Our parrots have enough problems without being blind from cataracts. I’ve seen a couple.

I’m greatly prefer someone doing adequate tests with modern full spectrum sensor equipment of All available lights and publishing measured UVA and UVB intensities at useful ranges of distances, particularly Too Close. Few are going to calculate intensity from any one figure even if they do understand area square rule.

In service of all the parrots we love

Bill

Hi Bill

It is good to see that you understand the inverse square law of light (and sound and energy) but have you ever run the numbers? A 1000 lm lamp on top of a 4 foot tall (interior height) birdcage to displays only 84 lm on the floor the cage.

Thus shading your computer displays from the direct UV rays you think the bulbs are emiting is literally like protecting the screens from the light of a lit candle

Let’s start with part of Wikipedia’s definition of full-spectrum

“Full-spectrum” is not a technical term when applied to an electrical light bulb but rather a marketing term implying that the product emulates natural light.

Products marketed as “full-spectrum” may produce light throughout the entire spectrum, but actually do not produce an even spectral distribution, and may not even differ substantially from lights not marketed as “full-spectrum”.

Thus as stated on Mercola’s site:

‘Products marketed as “full-spectrum” may produce light throughout the entire spectrum, but actually do not produce an even spectral distribution, and may not even differ substantially from lights not marketed as “full-spectrum”’

Is a falsehood. As long as a full spectrum bulb is rated at 5500 K it’s full-spectrum regardless of UVA or UVB

Again from Wikipedia

The CRI of a light source does not indicate the apparent color of the light source; that information is under the rubric of the correlated color temperature (CCT). In the pictures at right it can be noticed that the spectra have different structures; the incandescent lamp has a continuous spectrum, whereas the fluorescent lamp has separate lines in the spectrum due to emission of photons of discrete wavelengths by mercury.

The value often quoted as ‘CRI’ on commercially available lighting products is properly called the CIE Ra value, ‘CRI’ being a general term and CIE Ra being the international standard color rendering index.

Numerically, the highest possible CIE Ra value is 100, and would only be given to a source identical to standardized daylight or a black body (incandescent lamps are effectively black bodies), dropping to negative values for some light sources. 

Low-pressure sodium lighting has negative CRI; fluorescent lights range from about 50 for the basic types, up to about 90 for the best tri-phosphor type. Typical LEDs have about 80+ CRI, while some manufacturers claim that their LEDs have achieved up to 98 CRI.

Further full spectrum LED lighting is becoming mainstream Items we hope to be stocking soon.

Caveat: Birds and full spectrum lighting. We got it wrong.

Best of luck,

mitchr

approved by catherine tobsing
approved by nora caterino
approved by kerry (magic) gibbons

your zygodactyl footnote

Are Himalayan Salt Lamps to Parrots what Coal Mines Were to Canaries?

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Editor’s note: some of you may remember my journey enabling my mother’s return to Chicago Arlene (my mom) has been on five of the seven continents. Eight years ago at the tender age of 76 she spent three weeks traveling to China.

The Himalayas span five countries: India, Nepal, Bhutan, China (Tibet), and Pakistan, with the first three countries having sovereignty over most of the range. At the time, China had not closed the border to Tibet and she was able to spend three days there. According to mom the majesty, environment and the purity of the air you breathe in the Himalayas – cannot be understated.

Continue reading “Are Himalayan Salt Lamps to Parrots what Coal Mines Were to Canaries?” »

Why do green parrots have no green feather pigments and why are their feathers different from other bird feathers?

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Hi Mitch

I recently inherited a Yellow Naped Amazon and love her to pieces, but not being a bird person previously, I could use some advice. He is guessed to be about 50 years old, actually, I was told that Rhoda is a female but, she has never laid eggs so they say she is a he!

No matter, I have noticed some of his feathers have black coloring on them. Is it true that could be caused by him not getting enough sunlight? His cage is in front of a window, but the window has a sun screen on it. What is needed to provide “sun” for him in his cage? I would also like to purchase a “Happy Hut” for him but I need to know what size I should order. 

Thanks for any help you can give me and I welcome any advice!

Ginger Oliveira
Continue reading “Why do green parrots have no green feather pigments and why are their feathers different from other bird feathers?” »

Bird Teflon dangers you didn’t know & other household perils

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 One of the first things new caged bird keepers learn is that Teflon is bad for your bird which is pretty well-known. The statement “I threw out all my Teflon cookware before I brought my bird home” can be found on the internet as often as Lady Gaga changes hairstyles.
 
The potential danger of Teflon does go beyond cookware so I wanted to give you a little background
 

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Birds and Full Spectrum Lighting

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Attn. Mitch Rexman
Fluorescent lights.
The recent post here on Vit. D led me to more research. It appears most if not all of the Windy City Full Spectrum lights have simple magnetic ballasts, producing visible flicker. 
 
This is proven for chickens and assumed for the likely better eyes of psitticines with their mainly flying lifestyle. High frequency electronic ballasts are now standard for indoor fluorescents where human health is a consideration as the high frequency flicker is far faster than our visual system can perceive. 
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_ballast>Electronic Ballasts) Commonly about 3500 Hz in Compact Fluorescent Lights. HF ballasts are now competitive with previous mains rate (120Hz) magnetic ballasts products and are offered in full spectrum phosphors lights. 
 
Dr. Mercola (Mercola Health Resources, LLC, no connection, yada yada) now offers these in ratings at least as good as any Windy City presently does in a 30w bulb. At similar prices. See their web site for published spectrum and other ratings: http://products.mercola.com/light-bulbs/
 
I’m guessing if the current stock at Windy City had high frequency electronic ballasts, this would be advertised. If not, it Should. As perceptible flicker is considered an environmental stressor in humans and other higher life forms, some investigation may reveal the source that Dr. Mercola is using and birds will benefit from the particularly targeted messages and products Windy City distributes.
 
Other notes: It needs mentioning that only specially designed compact fluorescent bulbs are compatible with most home light dimmers, none of which are conventional magnetic ballasts, and not all electronic ballasts. Dr. Mercola’s don’t seem to be. Of the suitable electronic ballasts, it’s still recommended they be used at full capacity for >100 hours before any dimming, or they darken and lose service life.
 
Opthalmologists, other MDs and archival museum people will also caution that full spectrum lighting has serious downsides! We do not have eyes that will survive full time UV outdoor exposure without increased risk of cataracts. Eventually All get them, the question is at how young of age. (Mine were at 58) Birds I observe also do Not spend time in the Sun when not necessary. Shade of some sort is common to all roosts other than predators watching for opportunities to feed.
 
For other downsides of fluorescent lighting (Mostly associated with UV, no specific mention of Flicker.) see: 
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluorescent_lamps_and_health
Museums and art galleries specifically forbid Full Spectrum lighting as it’s well understood how many materials including most art pigments are degraded far more by UV light than by the normal human visual spectrum. This has real implications. I’m just starting with indoor full spectrum lights and plan to shade the computer display with it’s sensitive phosphors from direct light from the UV bulbs. 
 
I’m also working on shading my Cockatoo’s usual perches but leaving others in direct view. It needs constant repeating that a bird with a full spectrum light too close by risks damage to their eyes and skin, just as we do. Our parrots have enough problems without being blind from cataracts. 
 
I’ve seen a couple. 
I’m greatly prefer someone doing adequate tests with modern full spectrum sensor equipment of All available lights and publishing measured UVA and UVB intensities at useful ranges of distances, particularly Too Close. Few are going to calculate intensity from any one figure even if they do understand area square rule.
 
In service of all the parrots we love

Bird Cage Lighting Questions

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I am trying to figure out the best lighting option for my birds. I recently bought the Prevue Hampton breeding cage from you and I have two pairs of lineolated parakeets in the cages. I am uncertain how to tell if the lights you offer are both UVA and UVB or not. I’m thinking of a floor lamp but I’m also not sure if one floor lamp will be able to get light into both cages. Can you offer any input? Thanks!
 
Hampton Deluxe Divided Breeder or Flight Cage by Prevue Pet
Cindy
 
Hi Cindy,
 
Great choice on the new Prevue Hampton breeding cage. Most of the full spectrum bulbs that we offer are both UVA and UVB with the exception of our economy full-spectrum bulbs. That said it’s important to remember certain laws of physics about light one of which is called the inverse square law.
 
Let me first address your last question which is about using the floor lamp for lighting both cages I have to say it would not be my best choice because of the height and the width of the cages. The Hampton is 37 inches wide so I’d recommend two overhead lights one for each cage section so as to give maximum light exposure to the birds.
 
Now let’s get back to our physics lesson of the day. There’s no doubt that full-spectrum lighting inclusive of UVA and UVB will enhance the production of vitamin D in animals and humans for that matter. We have two issues with the premise. If you are feeding your bird nutritiously there’s really not that much of a need to enhance vitamin D production it should be supplied in the food your bird are eating now perhaps with the addition of a multi vitamin.
 
The other issue is how light behaves and here’s your physics course of the day. Because of the inverse square law if you have one of your full-spectrum lights 1 foot from the top of the cage and the bird is at the top of the cage your bird will receive “X” amount of lumens. If you bird doubles his distance from the light to 2 feet your bird will receive 1/4 of the lumens it was receiving at 1 foot and if you bird moves the bottom of the cage it is now 4 feet away from the light and is receiving 1/16th of the amount of lumens that it recieved at the top of the cage.
 
Because of this, we feel using lighting with UVA and UVB is fine for reptiles who are content to lay out a rock for 5 to 6 hours at a time with a set distance from the light. If you’re relying on your lighting to help enhance vitamin assimilation short of strapping your bird down to a given point on the cage chances are the effectiveness of the light for the sake of vitamin enhancement alone is not going to be very effective.
 
So which two lights to I suggest for over the cage? The swag lights are fine if you can have access to ceiling hooks, The Capital shade lights will work fine for attaching them to the top of the cage. If your do-it-yourselfer you can get our economy full spectrum bulb without UVA/UVB and use a couple of cheap clamp on lamps from your local hardware store
 
Shop All LightingThe Four-fold Purpose Sunlight Fulfills
 
Hope that helps,
 
by Mitch Rezman

What are feather stress bars? Does your bird have them?

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If you’ve ever noticed strange lines running perpendicular (across) the shafts of your bird feathers these are what are called “stress bars”. They are particularly noticeable when your bird is molting and are harder to see if the feathers are still on the bird. 

A bird’s feathers can be a great indicator as to its overall health. The growing of feathers requires a broad spectrum of nutrients and if how the bird is getting its nutrients into it’s body is disrupted while the feathers develop, feather stress bars can be produced.

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