Links of Interest for Bird Lovers
The following are links of informational interest. (For bird supplies - see the Bird Supplies page.)
There are absolutely tons of sites on the net that have superb info - below are a few of my favorites. When at the sites, browse around the other pages as well.
Diamond Doves - Flight Breeding versus Individual Cage Breeding, Part 1, by John Pire:
Diamond Doves - Flight Breeding versus Individual Cage Breeding, Part 2, by John Pire:
Building Your Own Flight Cage or Aviary, from the Finch Information Center:
Housing & Environment, from the Finch Information Center:
Creating and Enjoying an Aviary, by Katherine Booth:
Check out these sites for some awesome "image backgrounds," murals, waterfalls, and misters for your indoor aviary.
Bird Enclosure Accessories, by Cages By Design (be sure to click on "Image Backgrounds"):
Some murals which would be beautiful in an aviary, by Wall Decor Shops:
More murals from the Internet Wallpaper Store:
Indoor Aviaries from Lady Gouldian Finch:
Some wonderful ideas from Robin's Nest Aviaries:
And more fantastic aviary ideas from Nature's World:
Get some fantastic ideas for creating indoor aviaries from the below links. Or simply do a google image search for "indoor aviary."
Gorgeous pictures of awesome aviaries from Aquatic Design Specialists:
Beautiful indoor aviaries from the International Dove Society:
There used to be a website called "The Finch Diaries" and it showcased various indoor aviaries built by folks - the articles were terrific, the pictures stunning. I can't seem to find it on the net now, which is a shame, for there were some absolutely gorgeous aviaries featured, including:
"Shirley Kemp's Indoor Aviary"
"Ginny Allen's Indoor Aviary"
"Evelyn Brown's Indoor Aviary"
"Karen Shinsky's Indoor Aviary"
Perhaps by doing a search for those folks on the net, you might run into some pictures of their aviaries.
Galvanized Wire and Zinc, by Dan Radovich
All About Perches, by Anne Johnson
Swings for Birds by Carol Highfull:
Culling, never easy but sometimes necessary, by Myra:
Applying open bands to finches, by efinch.com:
Easy to make handfeeding utensil, by Ruxandra Lucaciu:
The Turn-X tabletop incubator by Lyon. This is, hands down, the very best reasonably priced incubator available. I've hatched everything from button quail, finches (zebras, gouldians, stars) to Diamond Doves, and even full size chicken & duck eggs in it. It's wonderful. I do recommend, however, that you purchase plastic mesh craft sheets (available at craft stores or Walmarts) and fashion your own plastic mesh baskets to put into the incubator. Several small baskets can fit, and they can hold eggs from different laying dates, or different species; also, the mesh protects very tiny newborns from falling through the metal grating.
The study of Gouldian genetics (the most colorful of all finches) is absolutely fascinating. It's possible to create your own favorite colored birds - head, breast & back, by studying the genetics and breeding them accordingly. My absolute favorites were the red-headed, white breasted yellowbacks and I bred a lot of them. Below are some links for Gouldian Genetics:
There used to be a two-part article on the net "The Yellow Bodied Gouldian Gene" by Luis Garcia, which I can no longer find. But if you can find it, it's a wonderful read. Also another article which seems to be no longer on the net (also by Luis Garcia) "Gouldian Finch Head Colors: Dominant, Recessive, or Sex Linked Gouldian Gene."
In white chested birds the abdomen color in both sexes is very similar so if you have a white chested bird, check some other clues just to make sure
Blue and Silver strains have white to creamy abdomens so this method doesn't apply.
Males will have a darker and more intense yellow at the abdomen. Generally, the yellow on the male's abdomen is rich and deep. The color of the male's abdomen is more consistent all over.
Females have more subdued colors on their abdomens. Generally the yellow on a female's abdomen is pale yellow with a mustard tinge to it. The color of the female's abdomen tends to have some lighter color in the areas between the legs and higher up.
Males will have a darker green back color.
Females have more subdued colors on their back.
Female - The female's beak will turn from a pearly white to black when she is in breeding condition. Sometimes even red if the head color is red. Green-back and blue-back females have beaks that turn black in the breeding season. Only mature females that have undergone the juvenile molt can quality for this method because juveniles of both sexes have dark beaks.
Males will have a brighter and darker color of purple on the chest.
Females have more subdued colors on their chest.
Males - In the green-back and blue-back birds, the blue color just around the mask will be bright blue, well-defined and quite large. In a black-headed male, the color will be a bright blue sheen just behind the mask. The color will be a bright blue color under the chin.
Females - In the green-back and blue-back birds, the blue color just around the mask will be dull and barely noticeable in females. In a black-headed female, the color will be a faint greenish-blue line which separates the black head from the green back. Under the chin, a faint line separates the black head from the chest color. In some females, there will not even be a faint blue around the head.
If it's laying eggs, then it's a female :-)
Males - Often the fact mask in males is larger and clearer than the females, but is not always the case as there are some strains of birds that have equal color in both sex's face mask. In red and yellow headed birds, the males have a rich deep pure color.
Males - In red and yellow-headed birds, the males have a rich, deep, pure color. Yellow-back males will have very pure color all over the head.
Females - In red and yellow headed birds, the females tend to have a dimmer colored head and black specs within the colored head feathers, especially around the beak, near the eyes and on the mask edges. This method is also true in yellow-back strains, but the black specs would then be replaced by white in the female's mask. A yellow-back female will have white feathers flecking in the mask, with more around the beak.
Males will sing a nearly inaudible song while stretching and hopping on the perch. They will usually begin this song long before they have completed their molt into adult colors. Not all males, however, like to sing - so don't assume it's a female just because he is not singing. ONLY the males sing, so if the bird is singing, it's a male.
Ketoconazole, 200 mg tablets.
4 tablets to 1 gallon of water for 1 - 2 weeks (1 gallon = 16 cups)
So 1 tablet to 4 cups (or 1 quart) of water
Crush tablets and mix with vinegar to dissolve before adding to water
A tackle box makes an excellent first-aid kit. But don't forget that HEAT is one of the most important elements of healing - if not THE most important. Be sure to have a hospital cage always available and either a heat lamp or a thermo-perch. A sick bird cannot keep itself warm and will chill - and a chilled bird stands little chance of surviving because it's digestion and everything else shuts down.http://drexotic.com/avian_diseases.htm
Your birds' droppings offer a wealth of information about the health of your bird, and are often the very FIRST indication of a problem. That's one reason I prefer white paper towels to use for the cage floor covering, because it's so easy to monitor droppings at a glance. "Poopology" is a very worthwhile science to learn, often it can be a lifesaver for your bird - especially because many birds will show no symptoms at all (except droppings) before they are at death's door.
Birds from Australia (like Diamond Doves and gorgeous Gouldian Finches) routinely ingest charcoal in the wild. I've fed it to all my doves and finches - and even parakeets and cockatiels love it.