Do Hormones Control This Amazons Seasonal Regurgitation?

Do Hormones Control This Amazons Seasonal Regurgitation?

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Dear Mitch, Catherine, and associates,

First thank you for the opportunity to contact you about my parrot, who’s a BF Amazon, named “Dollar.” I wish to add, I adopted him at 6 yrs old, and he wouldn’t let me call him any other name than what it had been.

So, he’s a fabulously happy birdie, but several years in a row around this time of year, he begins to regurgitate and swallow, over and over again. He holds the top of a bell and raises and lowers his head like an oil well, only really fast.

He’ll pause and you can see there’s part of his hoard coming down inside his beak, and he’ll swallow it before he proceeds again and again. I’ve had him to two avian vets over the years and had a blood panel done, and everything checks out fine, except last year he showed low in calcium, but I changed that up by using veggies with super high Vit A content in every fresh meal he eats, usually twice daily.

Kale is our staple, and I chop it so fine that he can’t NOT eat it. His plumage has become more vibrant than ever. But even more notable is that gone are the minor seizures he’d have periodically.


The only cause of those according to my preferred vet as he had shown me in a book he had, was that Amazons, possibly Blue and Front – can’t remember–are prone to have idiopathic seizures.

He prescribed sodium pentathol, and since I couldn’t get him to take it, and the veggies I fed him seemed to be what stopped his seizures, I reported such to my vet, and I felt he was possibly cured of whatever imbalance I corrected within him.

Each year tho, he regurgitates for quite a few months; but I just saw him have a brief seizure while having been ringing his bell up & down, up & down. It even seems like him doing that motion brings on the seizures sometimes; whereas during the periods of time when he never regurgitates, he never seizes.

The seizures are atypical according to my vet, meaning his eyes work like normal, his consciousness seems completely intact and aware of his goings-on, his wings flutter open just a small amount and back to his body, over & over really fast–like twitches, and his feet stammer around a little bit, so that he can lose his footing a titch on a perch or walking on something uneven–never falling–but if he’s on the ground when it occurs–he wants to climb on my hand as though he feels I can make it stop, or at least comfort him.

Sometimes he’ll go back to trying to do his bell while it’s still going on; so he’s not too bothered by the occurrences. It makes me think of him riding on some kind of neurological loop he can’t just get off of.

What’s he eat? Nearly everything the first BF Amazon ate for 31 years before dying by accident: everything we eat, only I’m pickier with Dollar than my husband was with Chester.

Dollar’s mine so I have the right to say, and he gets RoudyBush pellets out of a bin, some dried fruit, seed, dried veggy & nut mix that the local bird store bags up, (no peanuts in the shell), and brita filtered water.

His pooh is perfect. He’s free flying inside of the house 24/7 except when we’re not in the house, and then he’s put into a 30 x 22 x 50″ (guesstimate) powder coated bird cage that’s about 10 years old, but well kept, and he has all types of perches w/toys everywhere in the house which I change some at least 1x/week.

I love to take him on car rides but am petrified to leave him in the car out of fear someone will break in and take him from me, being that he’s only ever in a cage in the car. I’d like your take on that scenario as well.

To sum it up:

  1. what’s up with regurgitating in June thru as late as Sept?
  1. what’s your take on his atypical seizures?
  1. do you believe it’s safe for a parrot in a cage in an alarm activated car, or one running the a/c if necessary for brief periods of time?

I need to be able to run errands–quick ones. My husband thinks people believe they’re worth a lot of money and would want to steal him.

I have all of the intentions in the world to do better by my birdie, and a desire to make him a care animal for myself; and that would require me training him on a harness and leash before ever putting the public in harm’s way, and lord knows what else besides free flying out of doors.


I’m concerned for the public, as he’s bit me a good couple of times, and goes after people’s heads or ankles sometimes if he’s stressed and feels threatened or that I’m threatened. I’ve only had him for 3 years, and knew my husband’s bird for just 5 years.

Other than that, for about a year I’d volunteered at the bird store to keep up with their boarders and birds for sale.

I also bought ALL of series of DVD’s, which I’ve not gotten to watch since right after getting Dollar, my health and life went to total crap, so much so I’ve been struggling just to make it through each day, until recently when I’m trying to pick up the pieces of the mess; but know that my baby birdie means the world to me.

I know we could have such a rich life together, (I’m 50 and he’s now approx 9 years old). I’d love to create a sanctuary for pet birds, fund raise, grant write, etc, and become so much more versed and comfortable around all of them.

[I’d cared for a B & G Macaw, and an Umbrella Cockatoo at the store for over a year–they’re my heart and soul too, but I feared being able to handle all three, as well as two large cats and two huge turtles in a 250 gallon aquarium–whom I saved from dying over 20 years ago.

You can see I’m in it for the long haul.] My desire to do something for these birds is the reason I’m still alive…So can you help me Drs Mitch, Catherine, and associates? I do hope this will be a continuing and prosperous relationship between us.

Thank you for your consideration and help–just for reading this! I wish you all the very best in what you do, and I’ll become a patron of yours very soon. I’m excited:) HAVE A TERRIFIC DAY!!! Very truly yours, Elizabeth

Oh, Mitch,

I failed to mention how I wreak havoc on this poor fella’s circadian rhythm. It’s probably terrible to do–I hope not–but it could the pathway to fixing things. I have gotten myself into a messed up rhythm, and he’s on my rhythm, in large part because of I want to enjoy time with him after work hours.

Often he doesn’t get “lights out” until midnight or 1am. It’s just a soft lamp light that’s on until bed time, but sometimes there’s a 42″ flat screen on that late, too. [Dollar’s cage is in the dinette part of our kitchen right near the screen.] And, I usually come back into the kitchen, by 9 or 10am, and by then he’s awake.

He will take a siesta after those nights when it was only 6 hours, and that can be 1-1/2 hrs, and/or occasionally brief naps, like 15 minutes. I’m guesstimating. It’s always been humans’ hours, just as it was for the 31 years of the BFA before this one. Is doing that really THAT bad for him? And what time is best to do the uv lamp? And for 4 hours? His room faces a northern picture window. I hope that helps and I’m sorry I haven’t the time to brief it!

Thank you so much!

Hi Elizabeth

Short answer: Reduce the environment that awakens the seasonal hormonal behaviors by reducing the triggers that tell the bird’s body it’s time to reproduce. The triggers are excessive enrichment foods, lack of foraging opportunities, and longer daylight hours./

Alternative Tropican, along with a reduction in enrichment foods that are high in naturally occurring sugars,  can most certainly be recommended here, but the hormonal behaviors are triggered by more than food.


Hope all is well.- Melanie

Melanie Allen is the Avian Product Specialist at Rolf C. Hagen and she pointed to some posts on the HARI site (Hagen Avicultural Research Institute). We both agree Dollar’s hormones are out of control and his circadian clock need resetting.

Your todo list just got big

Keep us informed



I forgot the car thing. If it’s really hot, and leave dollar at home. Nothing draws attention to a car more than one that is running with no driver.

If it’s cool enough, we leave peaches in the car with the windows cracked and the cage covered.

The cage should be covered except front facing when traveling with your bird so as not to overload it with stimuli. 

Cover it completely when the sun goes down so all the moving headlites freak your FID (Feathered Kid) out.

or take him/her into the store – every store has it’s own rules about pets

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