weekend bird blogging
Thursday evening, I noticed that my pionus parrot, Aziza, was not acting herself, and she seemed to be thin.
Birds instinctively attempt to hide illness for as long as possible, so you have to know their habits and observe them to know how they are feeling, and I knew she wasn't feeling well. I had Friday off, and I took her to the vet on Friday morning. Hopefully I will find out tomorrow what her lab results were, and we can proceed with treatment or to the next stage of diagnostic tests (an x-ray to look for respiratory problems, if the lab results are inclonclusive). She may have a low-grade bacterial infection, or even possibly aspergillosis, a repiratory fungal infection. I hope it is the former, as that would be much easier to treat; aspergillosis is more difficult to manage, and may never be cured. I worry about it though, given the kind of climate we have, where spores are pretty common.
She seems to have a decent appetite, and though she seemed on Thursday and Friday to be drinking more water than usual, she doesn't seem to be drinking so much yesterday or today. She has enough energy to wrestle with her toys, and can now get around easier (we had her nails clipped while we were at the vet; I had let them get a little overgorwn, because last time I clipped them I felt like I had butchered her - plus, she is really difficult to clip, even with two people; she is really squirmy). I can tell she is still not totally herself, but the vet didn't think she was in any imminent danger (hopefully I caught the changes in her behavior soon enough to turn things around).
I also was chided that I have been guilty of spoiling my birds, and taking some shortcuts on their diets. So, I am back to feeding better, healthier food. Back to Roudybush pellets as the base of their diet, along with cooked grain and legume mixes ("soak-n-cook"), and chopped fruits and veggies, and pretty much eliminate the peanuts and seeds - even the nutriberries have to pretty much go.
So far they are all eating the soak-n-cook, and I'm not getting too much complaint about fewer treats, though I suspect it will be weeks before they really start eating their pellets again. They used to be really good about it, but now, I think the parrotlet may be the only one who has really been eating them. But I guess they will eventually. I want to keep them around, so I need to make time to feed them right. I'm sure the pellets are somewhat bland and boring, so I have to make sure that the soak-n-cook is good enough to be the 'treat' that they look forward to.
On a happier note - I got the most surprising sight yesterday. There has been a pair of downy woodpeckers that I have been seeing daily in the bigleaf maple in the backyard. The male is pretty territorial, chasing redbreasted nuthatches, chickadees, even robins (a slightly larger bird) out of the tree. I was looking out at the tree yesterday when I saw movement - the fluttering of bird wings. "What is that woodpecker flapping about?" I wondered, when I saw him jump to the branch, next to his mate. Yes, folks, I was a witness to hot, arboreal, woodpecker love.