Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman
(aka the Panama Yellow-headed Amazon)
My Panama Amazon (26 years old..all with me 😉 had a very long hormonal season (approx. 4 months).
During that time he followed me from room to room and ate a lot of food, especially PB sandwiches and apple chunks, corn, and Nutri-berries.
During this time he lost all of his usual bright green coloring in the feathers on his front/chest and many of the feathers on his back turned black.
I have had a full spectrum light for at least 20 years and hand feed him at least once a day.
Now that his hormonal behavior has ceased, his brights are replacing the gray feathers on his chest and the tail feathers are coming in brighter also.
I am looking ahead to the next “hormonal season” and would like to prevent this drastic leaching of color which I strongly suspect is not healthy.
I can send pics of him before and after if you are interested.
Thank you for any help or advice you can provide!!
I have the full spectrum lamp on his playpen, which is where he spends all of his waking hours.
I also have a “daylight” bulb in another lamp which is next to the playpen.
The lights are both on the entire time he’s awake.
The only time he’s in a cage is when he goes to sleep, and weather and temperature permitting I hang the cage outside on the porch.
I forget to mention that during his “hormonal stage” when he was eating so much he was also regurgitating constantly on any stationary object, including my feet.
My worry is that he is not retaining a lot of the nutrition he would get from his food.
Please send pix and is your lighting on a timer?
Are the lights on a timer?
How do we know he’s a he?
Eating lots of food can lead to planning to have babies.
I assume Cookie is a “he” because he is 27 years old and never laid an egg yet.
The 2 lights are on during the entire day/night until I put him to bed.
BTW, he is currently molting and his feathers are coming in brightly colored again.
I would advocate lights be in a timer so birds know when the day begins and when the day ends, something they instinctually expect.
You can always try to lock him in his cage, 24/7 for 72 to 168 hours.
The full-spectrum light should be on directly over the cage and not turned off for the entire time.
Cover the cage at night.
This light therapy process is designed to reset his circadian rhythms which in most cases will snap the hormonal cycle.
In that his feather coloring is returning you may be spot on about correlating the regurgitation with the reduced nutritional input.
The only way to know for certain is to have a blood workup (usually around $200) by an avian veterinarian looking for vitamin deficiencies.