5 Answers To Questions Affecting A Parrots Domestic And Native Environments

5 Answers To Questions Affecting A Parrots Domestic And Native Environments

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Hi Mitch. Just a comment of concern.

Clearly, I understand the need to know a bird’s sex but I’m also very concerned about this kit that anybody can buy, including many of the idiots out there that own birds.

Editors note: not my words

Do you really want to encourage all owners to pluck their birds feathers and cut their nails too short in order to get blood for testing?

There are experienced owners out there that could do it but there are probably many more out there who could cause an emergency and pain.

I have lived with 17 budgies but I would would still go to a vet for something like that.

I wish you would write a follow up to that article to inspire caution. The article makes me very nervous frankly.

Also, I must add that I think I have gotten a bit spoiled.

I missed hearing about and seeing Bacon and Eggs this Sunday. Maybe next Sunday?

Your loyal fan,

Barbara G

Hey Barb

That said surgical sexing is always an option and you make a great point.

If you’re not familiar with the procedure, it’s when a vet makes a small slit in the abdominal wall near the sexual organs of a bird.

If gonads are found, we note the fact that the bird is a male by putting a small tattoo under the birds right wing – click for pic

Takes the guesswork out of it.

Sometimes the tattoo is thought to be an injury or bruise.

shifting gears

You’re right we need to do more with bacon & eggs 

I’ve actually been working on their cage a lot

I think I’ll compare the initial cage set up and what’s led to all the changes – I’m on the case – thanx

Essential Oils and Parrots Question

I recently got into essential oils and learned that ants and spiders hate Peppermint.

I made a 2 ounce bottle of water with 3 drops of Peppermint Essential oil and spray it around my doors and windows.

I recently started spraying the table I read the morning paper on because I think the paper brings in those tiny ants.

This morning I noticed a few ants on Pye’s outside cage.

So I put her in the house and sprayed the cage.

I need to know that I’m not poisoning her.

White-crowned Parrot (aka White-crowned Pionus) image by Sarah and Jason

Can you advise me? She’s a 13 year old White crowned Pionus.

Thanks Mitch!

I’ve had her since she was 6 months old and she means everything to me.

She eats Tropican Pellets and Fruity Nutri-berries as a treat.

Hi Kippi

Yes, Spiders and Ants may not like peppermint, but it is too harsh a scented product to be used closely around birds.

The oils can be hard on their breathing.

No highly scented products should be used around birds be it lemon, pine, peppermint, perfume, hair spray, cleaning products, bleach, air fresheners, smoke, candles, etc.

Birds lungs are able to trap many of the molecule sized scented particles in the air and it can affect them badly.

Please use the oils sparingly and not in spray form.

Thank you


Hi Kippi, Mitch here.

I too have used peppermint oil around doors and windows not near by birds.

To give you one of my classic answers to your question:

“Anything that takes the space where oxygen should be can harm birds”.

We are real purists.

My advice is why take the chance on using any essential oil too near your birds.

Only in other parts of the home quite a distance from your beloved Pionus.

And, there’s any easy safe solution:

Mango makes a great pest control product that is completely safe to use anywhere near birds EXCEPT on the bird itself.

Let the product dry on the cage before letting the bird back in, but since it doesn’t have to be sprayed heavily, that won’t take long. Look at Pest Control Moth Traps.


The reason this product is so safe is it is made from a flowering plant found in nature, one you might be familiar with: the chrysanthemum.

This plant contains pyrethrin which kills and repels bugs commonly found around the home.

It has a residual probably of one week, but my experience is that it seems to last longer once the trails and paths of ants are repelled.

I know you will find it takes care of your pesty problem and both you and your Pionus will be totally safe when used according to label directions.

Please check our our post on ants in bird cages here

How can I stimulate my parrot? Quora

What can I do to prevent him from getting bored?

I have a Agapornis (lovebird).


I have great respect for Mr. Klugman (on Quora) so I humbly take the opposite view when it comes to being a caged bird keeper to love birds.

It is my “opinion” that it is easier to bond and socialize with a single bird than with a pair – there are exceptions.

That said there have been no studies that indicate that lovebirds in pairs are happier than single birds.

The boredom, socialization, and enrichment issues with love birds are the same with any bird – it all starts with you, the caged bird keeper.

Just because you spent $500 on a birdcage and $200 on bird toys – is no guarantee your bird is going to be happy.

Generally speaking, birds chew up things around the house because they see humans engaging those things like remote controls and keyboards and mice.

Birds think “boy my human is having fun with that toy so should I”.

Actually engaging any new toys before you introduce them to the bird or hang them in the bird cage by playing with the toy,  kissing the toy, and making fun noises, causing the bird to think this must be fun will also help.

Windy City Parrot sells many bird toys and we categorize them as species-specific.

We also offer a complete category of free and do-it-yourself bird toys.

A wrapped fortune cookie is a lot of fun.

Nested 3 ounce Dixie drinking cups with treats at each level that a bird can discover will keep them entertained.

Fill up small old Easter baskets with shredded paper that’s been balled up with favorite treats for the birds to discover.

Feathered factoid: this is not 100% accurate but generally speaking you can often tell the sex of a lovebird by how it shreds paper. With a female shredding paper in strips and placing them under their wings whereas males shred paper creating confetti.

I do agree with Mercedes providing enrichment for any parrot, you can’t have enough bird toys we feel that there should be 20 to 30 toys in every bird’s cage providing not only enrichment but privacy.

As with any species and some general best practices is important to know how birds interact with bird toys and accessories.

We have found that lovebirds will play with hard to reach toys even if they have to hang from the bars of their cage to reach them. No toy is too big, or too hard to manage for a lovebird. 

File under environmental versus physical.

hope that helps


Does a parrot flock have a leader?  (Quora)

No, parrots have no leaders. Other species of bird flocks do. Galliformes, ground eating birds like turkeys and chickens.

Geese, and it’s been shown scientifically using WebCams strapped onto the backs of homing pigeons that in-flight both the pigeons and geese have multiple leaders throughout the day that will change.

Each day the entire leadership may change so that the underlings, so to speak may be the leaders of tomorrow.

Parrot flocks have rules that everyone follows.

This allows them to be most productive.

If someone is not carrying their weight they will be removed by the flock because the bird threatens the entire flocks safety.

According with Wikipedia (which probably has it right)

The three main factors in a working flock are:

  • Separationavoid crowding neighbors (short range repulsion)
  • Alignment – the behavior displayed when the birds are lining up
  • Cohesion – steer towards the average position of neighbors (long range attraction)

Here’s a flock of I don’t know, hundreds of thousands, a million budgies – where is the leader of this flock?


Do you see anyone calling the shots for these macaws at this Peruvian clay lick?


“Once again this is a case of humans interjecting their misguided thoughts and philosophies about cage bird care”.

There is no need to dominate your pet bird. Your pet bird wants to be an associate not a slave.

How does the environment influence the type of materials a bird uses to build its nest? (Quora)

First off – not all birds build nests.

Parrots (most hook bills) in general live in the hollows of trees.

3 cockatiel sleeping on hallow log

The Quaker parrot is the only member of the Psiticine family to build a nest and those are usually huge allowing for many birds.

This enables these feral parrots to live in Arctic conditions like Chicago where tonight it’s 8° and there are hundreds if not thousands of monk parakeets living along the lakeshore here in this city.

spoiler alert  – the end is a shocker!

As deforestation affects the inventory of trees with suitable hollows in Australia, certain birds like the female eclectus parrot will actually kill a male baby if she feels her tree may be flooded and will not support a male and a female.

House finches in populated Mexican cities have learned to use discarded cigarette filters to line their bird nests.

They somehow discovered along the way that nicotine will keep out parasites helping babies remain safe in the nest.

As 3 examples


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