Birds of the Month, August 2004
By Eleanor McCaffrey Copyright Notice: No portion of this text or photos
may be, copied, printed or reproduced without
permission from site owner.

Casey is 13 years old and she has been very sick. She has suffered seizures, a stroke, a ruptured air sac, fatty liver and an egg which is embedded in her abdomen.  Casey's avian vet said that Casey's diet had to be changed from all seeds to pellets, fresh vegetables, fruits etc, in order to stop the seizures and for her to get better. Jamie said this about Casey. "Now I realize how bad seed is for her. She was having 4 seizures a day when on the all seed diet.  Her seizures came in the evening, right after eating. Her left leg would go limp and then she would start thrashing around. I had to hold her to keep her from hurting herself. Her body would still jolt so I knew it was more than a night fright. Afterwards she is tired and sleeps a little. She's then  able to use her leg again. About five weeks ago I noticed that she had lost her balance, couldn't walk and her head was bobbing around. She was very weak. I also noticed that her droppings were black. We rushed Casey to an all night emergency clinic. Ex-rays were taken and she was tube fed through the night. In the morning Casey was rushed to her avian vet. She looked at the x-rays, examined Casey and said that she had an abnormal egg stuck in her body. Because of this, she had what the doctor called a Yoke Stroke. Since the egg did not come out, Casey continued to have an elevated level of proteins in her blood which caused the  stroke. Her body had also been depleted of calcium and she was drawing calcium from her bones to help her muscles contract. Casey was hospitalized for three days so she could be tube fed, receive calcium injections and antibiotics. 

The day before Casey's surgery, I noticed that her body looked puffed up and she was wheezing. I took her back to the vet. She had a ruptured air sac from thrashing during a seizure. There was air under the skin of her chest and back. The doctor said that birds can blow up like a balloon when this happens. Casey is slowly improving. Her doctor said her head may always tilt a little and she may never be able to fly well again. After being on pellets and other foods, Casey is only having 1 seizure a day. To look at her now you wouldn't think she had ever been so sick. She will be having surgery to remove the egg soon.  Casey is very special and she means the world to me.  It breaks my heart when she has a seizure. She still chirps, plays, chews on her cuttlebone and gives kisses. She loves to chew the plastic ends of people's shoe laces so we put a pair in her cage to chew on. Her personality has not changed despite so many medical problems. She is still a sweetheart. The sudden turn in her health has been shocking and hard for me, my family and all those that love her. People that don't know Casey or who have never had a bird ask how I could put so much effort and  money into a bird. They ask me why I don't just get a new one. Like everybody else who has their bird up in Birds of the Month knows, a bird is not replaceable with another. Casey is more than just a bird. She is my baby, my friend, part of my family and a true blessing."

This beautiful little bird is an Australian Splendid or Scarlett Chested Parakeet. His name is Keely. Jeanne said, "The beauty of these birds is striking. They are delicate, never bite and are very athletic, preferring large spaces for flight. Keely and River are raising a family. He's an excellent father. They are more reserved with me than the other birds in their cage, an Australian Bourke, one Budgie and a Diamond Dove, but recently showed great affection when I returned home after being away for two nights. They made it clear they were happy to see me by striking their beaks on the perch and chirping and singing to me. I have learned that many small parakeet breeds express affection, thanks and satisfaction from a distance by stroking the perch softly or strongly tapping it with their beak. Keely sings quite a bit. These birds have a very interesting song, sort of flute like. Keely also enjoys toys and exploring anything new in his cage. He gets along quite well with everyone but sometimes challenges and chases his sons around the cage.  He's on a diet of Roudybush mini pellets, fruit and veggies. I found that vet bills dropped and weak birds I had rescued from others got well, shiny and strong on the pellet based diet."

This very healthy looking bird's name is Dot. She is owned by Raquel. She said, " I've learned a lot from this site and really like it. Dot seems to enjoy it too! Whenever I am on the computer, she flies to me and then hops to the keyboard. She doesn't do that with any other sites. Maybe its the music or the pictures. Who knows! Reading your site really helped me with my bird. She was on an all seed diet for a long, long time. When she was a baby, we tried to feed her pellets but she wouldn't eat them. Now, I finally got her to eat them. I did it by eating Trix cereal. Dot thought that the pellets were Trix so she ate them ! I am really glad!  I didn't know that birds could get sick from an all seed diet! Now Dot and my sister's bird are both eating pellets!"

Ryna said this about their new bird, Paco. "Paco came to live with Abuela (Spanish for grandmother) when he was sold at a yard sale. Abuela loved him deeply and she took great care of him. She taught him to speak in Spanish and she would whistle to him a lot. He knows several different tunes.  Sadly, Abuela passed away on May 3, 2004. Paco was going to be set free outdoors.  I spoke to my husband and he agreed Paco should come and live with us. We knew nothing of birds or their care. We didn't know what to feed him and he wasn't eating the cockatiel seeds I had bought. He began to lose weight despite the vet telling us he was healthy. He would sit on his swing and just make these sad soft noises. I was surfing through the TV channels and when I came to the Spanish channel, I noticed he immediately perked up. I left it on all day and Paco loved it. We had no idea he would miss the language.  Eleanor mentioned that maybe Abuela was feeding him pellets. He was still not eating well and becoming too thin. As we were cleaning out Abuela's room we did find pellets but thought they were bunny food. We checked again and they were indeed bird food. Now Paco is eating his pellets very well and gaining weight.  Hubby greets him in Spanish everyday and Paco recognizes the sound his car coming home. Paco has also learned my schedule. He knows I get up at 7:30 am to get the kids off to school and that his cage will be uncovered. He wakes me up at 7:29 am by whistling and calling. He's not as afraid of us as he was and we are getting very attached to him. He's so much fun to watch!"

This is Charlie. If you look very closely at her beak, you can see how long and overgrown it is. Helen hopes that her story about Charlie will help others with their birds. She said, "Charlie just looks so tired. She was once much more active and a brighter color. If only the pet store owners had told me that she needed a variety of fresh foods and not just seeds. Now, because of years of a poor diet, her beak keeps growing. Every 5 weeks I take her to my veterinarian to get it trimmed. She does have pretty feathers. When I first bought her she bonded with me quickly because there were no other birds in the family. She would stay on my shoulder all day long, kiss my ears, neck & lips. When I would lie down on the couch for my nap she would sit on my chest and nap with me. Whenever I played the piano she would run across the keys and put her head right under my fingers so that I would scratch her neck. She was becoming so close to me that I couldn't take a step without her being on my shoulder. I decided to buy another bird...(Wrong choice)! Ozzie finally won her over and after 9 babies and 7 years together this is the end result. I now keep them in separate cages because Ozzie will not let me even talk to her without pecking her. If you look closely at her wing, you can see the blood from when Ozzie bit her. Once he pecked her foot so hard it bled. I do let them out of their cages together and they mostly follow each other around. I won't let him into her cage because of his dominant, over protective nature. Before Ozzie fell in love with Charlie, he was such a sweet bird."

Erin sent us this picture and story about a cockatiel she found in her back yard. It had been attacked by a cat. You can see the wounds on the the top of the wings. Erin said, "A few nights ago around 10 PM,  we heard some squawking in the backyard. We ran out and found a cockatiel vs. a cat. We got the bird, took a cage out of our garage and put the bird in it.  We woke up fearful that it wouldn't make it through the night because it had a few battle wounds on it.  It was still alive in the morning so we took it to an avian vet immediately. To make a long story short and $100 later we now have a new bird that we are trying to nurse back to health. We have to put some kind of ointment on the scratches and give him meds by mouth twice a day for a week. When trying to feed him or pick him up to clean the wounds, he keeps trying to bite. I'm sure he's still very frightened. He hasn't made any noise at all, no chirping or squawking. This little bird has a yellow head with orange round cheeks. The rest of the body is a pale yellow. We have been told he's a lutino."  

NOTE: If Erin had not taken this little guy to see a vet he would have died from pasteurella bacteria, which is present in cat saliva. If bird's do not receive the correct antibiotics within 24 hours of coming in contact with a cat, they will die from the bacteria which is lethal to birds. Please read this page for more information on pasteurella and cats.  Click Here for Cats and Birds

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