Keeping a Parrot Journal

Keeping a Parrot Journal

 January 23rd, 2010
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Rose Breasted Cockatoo

I have mentioned in past posts how useful it is to have a faithfully kept journal to refer back to in times when you feel at a loss about a particular behavior your parrot is exhibiting.   Spring is coming, and the hormones will soon be raging.  A parrot’s behavior can be so perplexing during this time that I have often referred to last year’s journal to see what craziness was present, as well as refreshing my memory about changes in eating an sleeping patterns.  This is a great time to have this journal to return to.

Generally, spring begins in February for me, although being in a different location this year might alter that, and my notes might not be as relevant.  This year’s entries will definitely help me next year.  I have a terrible memory, and will be counting on info that I take down now.

I keep one journal for all of my birds.  I used to keep separate journals for each of them but I too often found quaker notes in the cockatiel journal. A typical entry includes the date, weight of the bird (if there is a notable rise or fall, I would record that) and the weather conditions.  Birds can sense a drop in barometric pressure and it will sometime alter their behavior.  If I found any unusual behavior, like inactivity, or noticed that the poops looked off, I would note that.  Often hormones can cause all kinds of unusual physical effects.  Keep track of your parrot’s molting schedule, and her mood throughout.

Rose Breasted Cockatoo

If there has been a trip to the vet, it is recorded along with notes about exam findings and test results.  I keep a medical file for the birds as well.  When you leave the vet’s office they will give you a receipt that lists all medical procedures done on that date,  Always keep these in a file for future reference.  It will also keep you aware of which bird is due for its yearly checkup.

If you keep precise and observant notes, you might even catch an unwanted behavior in the act.  When something you made a casual reference to escalates into a problem later in the month, it is much easier to trace the source of the problem so that you can go back to alleviate the cause.

For those of us who live online, there is a site called where you can make all of your notes and entries and read other people’s as well.  If you choose to, you can keep yours private and just use it as a source to store information.

And remember, your parrot journal doesn’t only have to record concerns you have.  Jot down your warm memories, best cuddle sessions and interesting conversations too!

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4 Comments on “Keeping a Parrot Journal”

Joan  01/23/2010 3:39 pm

Hi. Your blog was very useful and encouraging. I too keep a journal on my Goffin’s. It has been the source of information that has led me to think that perhaps it is time to rehome this little girl. I got her in May of 2009 from a pet store that was handling her for the family of a deceased owner. Several things had happened to her. She had been with a single owner for seven or eight years, she is eight, and was apparently allowed to do whatever she wanted. When she hit puberty her behaviors began to alarm the owner and she rehomed her with a man who had a reputation for being very good with problem birds. She was unfortunate in this rehoming as after a few months he passed away and she ended up in a bird store where the owner was often ill himself or gone from the area. The result was her being left for long periods of time in the store with little or no human contact. She had been in the store around six months when I got her and she was a feather picker and on a seed diet. I took her to a Vetrinarian and she was put on hormones (they thought she was a he) and medications for the feather picking. I was told I had to give her the meds orally every day or I would end up with a bald bird. I followed the instructions, toweled her twice a day, and wrestled the medication into her. At the end of two weeks she refused to come near me. I changed Veterinarians, learned a lot about birds, stopped toweling her to administer the meds and changed her diet over a period of time. Her physical condition has changed and she is now almost fully feathered with the exception of tail feathers which she continuses to break off. She can fly, maybe two feet off the floor and no longer picks her feathers, but it has been eight months and she still refuses to come near me. I have tried many suggestions, but each has met with failure. I was told in the beginning that I should just be good to her, hang out with her and she would get over it. That didn’t work. Then I tried clicker trining and we seemed to be making progress when she suddenly flew past me out of the cage, charged around the living room and hid under the coffee table. She broke some feathers in the experience. I talked to her quietly, tried to get her to step up, she refused and ran, and then I let her be and she eventually went back in her cage, but has refused to clicker train since then.

I look at my notes and while I see steady progress physically, I am beginning to think there is no hope for a good relationship with this bird. Goffin’s seem to have the memories of elephants, hold negative experiences closely and so forth. I have currently been thinking that somehow she has associated me with the entire negative experience of loosing her first owner, then her second, then the bird store trauma and finally alla this was linked together in her mind with the toweling and me.

I am curious as to what others think about this theory and what possibilities they hold out for she and I finally having a good relationship. She is very friendly with visitors to the house and will take food from them through the bars. She isusually not a screecher, buthas recently started calling at night and will occasionally chain screech until I talk to her. She particularly likes a young woman I met through another pet organization, but when with her she shows her former brattieness, tries to take over the environment, screeches until she ends up in time-out, wants to eat anything the woman has on her plate and yells when she doesn’t get it,bites anyone she doesn’t like etc. I think that is a reappearance of her behaviour with her original owner. With me she sits quietly when I am in the room, refuses to play with toys while I am watching, but is lively and active while I am out of the room.

Anyone reading this with experience with Goffins who have been traumatized? If so your input would be appreciated.

Patty  01/23/2010 10:58 pm

Hi Joan,
I have a 24 year old female goffins who came to me as a feather barberer and she had issues of fearfulness that made things very difficult for her. She had been in a single home for 22 years when I took her in. First let me say that I am glad you have gotten her on a better diet and to a better vet. Good job!
You have provided a lot of great information, some of it very telling. Interestingly enough, I have a post that I wrote several days ago that will be published in a few days that covers most of what you are talking about: problems arising from owners giving their birds no limitations and how they wind up in rescues, biting, screaming etc. Please look for it. I think it will help you.
For your specific situation, I want to mention a couple of things for you to think about. First, this poor bird has had a rough year! She has been bounced around from home to home, each one getting progressively worse. She lands in your GOOD care, and winds up in a towel with yucky stuff forced down her throat. She is angry and has no idea what is going to go wrong in her world next. She has no reason to trust you or anyone else, even though you take good care of her. Secondly, the timing for you has been bad. I gather you have had her about 7 months. During that time, your birds has been through the hormonal surges of the fall, which is generally mild, and is starting to feel the spring coming on which bring can about some really “off” behavior. You mentioned that her previous owner gave her up when she became sexually mature, so I’m guessing you have a bird that gets pretty hormonal. This might explain her recent screaming-fests as they get very vocal this time of year. What I see here, is a bird with a confused bird with trust issues, who has been taught nothing about rules and boundaries from previous owners. There is nothing hopeless about this relationship from what I have read.
Please read the upcoming post about “setting clear expectations for your parrot” and pay particular attention to the part about starting the relationship over. I think that is what you need to do. If you have any questions, please post. I would be happy to have a chat with you to help you both through this. If you decide that this will not work, I can help you with the placement this bird needs.

Liz  01/24/2010 7:58 pm

Hi your bird is exquisite!

Alright what type of changes can I expect for spring. I have a parrotlet. She us new.

What changes have u seen w your bird


Patty  01/24/2010 9:36 pm

There’s a post on that very subject coming up this week! I am seeing all the signs here! Parrotlets can be a bit feisty during the spring, so be respectful in and around his cage. Here’s a older post I did on hormones and spring behaviors: BTW, That is Dave and Jamie’s bird. Gorgeous, isn’t it?