Category Archives: bird

City Seeks to Evict Bicycle-Riding Rooster

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Mr. Clucky is a hit among tourists and locals on Miami Beach, but now his ways of early-dawn crowing have landed him in the hot seat. He’s been served an eviction notice by the city.

The plucky Mr. Clucky was just another site in the long line of Miami Beach eccentricities, but now the bicycle-riding rooster has gone from a famed tourist attraction to an infamous nuisance.

Thanks to Mr. Clucky’s habit of 6 a.m. crowing, owner Mark Buckley was ticketed by a code enforcement officer on May 27 for keeping a farm animal.

“People seem to love Mr. Clucky. They love to hear him crow,” Buckley said in an April ZT Pet News interview. “It’s kinda something different for them, kinda bringing a little nature to the beach.”

That public sentiment might have changed since the city received a complaint and went to investigate. Now Buckley faces a $50 fine, as well as an order to get rid of the famous fowl.

Mr. Clucky draws a crowd not only because of his ability to perch on a bike’s handlebars while cruising through popular outdoor retail areas, but also due to his activism.

Mr. Clucky was named Miami Beach’s “Activist of the Year” by MetroMix Magazine in 2008.

The honor comes after Mr. Clucky’s involvement with several animal welfare causes, such as leading the “Walk for the Farm Animals,” joining a local eighth grader’s protest against Kentucky Fried Chicken’s alleged torture of animals and being the mascot for Critical Mass, Miami’s Earth-friendly activist and bike riding enthusiast group.

The celebrity bird was also grand marshal of last fall’s King Mango Strut in nearby Coconut Grove.

But the work Mr. Clucky and Buckley do in volunteering — with organizations such as EarthSave and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — is something near and dear to their hearts.

“I found Mr. Clucky in my neighborhood in Miami Beach,” Buckley previously told ZT Pet News. “He was hurt in the bushes, his beak was cut off to his face and he had a cut on his head.”

Buckley says he believes the rooster escaped from some sort of religious ceremony. He nursed him to recovery and the pair have been best friends for the past three years.

Now their friendship hangs in the balance. Buckley could receive repeated citations and higher fines if he doesn’t comply with taking Mr. Clucky out of the city.

But officials say an arrest is not likely.

Ironically, Buckley joked with ZT Pet News in April that he wished he could train Mr. Clucky to “stop screaming early in the morning and sleep a little later.”

Although Buckley could not be reach as of press time, his Web site indicates the duo plan to fight city hall for Mr. Buckley’s right to remain a Miami Beach resident.

For more information on Mr. Clucky and Buckley’s petition to the city of Miami Beach, visit


Bizzare baby bird: can you guess what type of bird I am?

Image courtesy of You Tube.

The baby bird in this video is described as “very rare, both in the wild and in captivity.” Living Years would like to know, can you guess what type of parrot this vocal little baby is?

Check out the mystery bird’s video on YouTube by entering “What bird am I going to be??? Baby bird” into the search engine and then post your answer right here on the Living Year’s Pets blog.

Do you have a special pet video you would like to share with other pet lovers? Why not create your own website with Living Years Pets; an easy to create, affordable and highly engaging website to celebrate your beloved pets. It will allow family, friends and colleagues, from around the world, to communicate and frequently relive precious memories forever.

Should I Clip My Bird’s Wings?

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One of the most difficult issues for bird owners, there are an array of reasons why some bird owners choose to clip their bird’s wings, and just as many reasons why some bird owners do not. While wing clipping is generally recommended for most captive birds, the decision to trim a bird is one best left to the individual owner.

Aside from ensuring that their pet doesn’t accidentally fly away, the biggest reason that most bird owners clip their pets is for safety. Indoor life poses perils that birds do not normally face in the wild, such as windows, ceiling fans, ovens, doorways, sinks, and toilets. Clipping a bird’s wings can help limit their access to dangers such as these.

Another reason that many pet birds have their wings clipped is because it forces the bird to be more dependent on its owner. Many believe that this can serve to enhance the bird/human bond, although there are countless flighted pet birds that enjoy close relationships with their human families.

Those on the other side of the fence contend that depriving a bird of its ability to fly can cause physical and psychological damage. Many argue that the benefits of flying — exercise and mental stimulation — far outweigh the risks of injury to a pet bird, provided they are properly supervised.

Others have different reasons for not trimming their birds. Show birds, for example, have the best chance of winning when they are fully feathered.

Putting some thought into the reasons for and against wing clipping will help you make the best choice for your pet. Talk to your veterinarian and get his or her input, and discuss the options with your family members. With careful consideration, you are sure to make a decision that will satisfy the needs of both you are your favorite feathered friend.

Teaching your bird to eat green

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This has been said time and time again: birds do not eat what they do not recognize as food. Offering an item once or twice is not enough to decide the bird doesn’t like it. It may take weeks, months or longer for a bird to try and eat different things. If something you never saw before was placed in front of you, would you know what it was and what you were supposed to do with it? Would you automatically eat anything that was put on a plate before you? Have you ever experienced someone saying they didn’t like something they never ate? The same is true for birds. You can improve your birds’ diet. There is no secret to it, you just have to do it. It takes work, time and patience. The time to start is right now, not tomorrow, next week or next month. Start now or it will be put it off and it will not happen.

The Green Approach

There is no need to make this an expensive effort. You can grow some of the greens with little effort. Some of the best greens are considered weeds like dandelion. If you are growing or picking greens, vegetables, fruit, etc. make sure they are free of chemicals. Store-bought greens and veggies must also be washed thoroughly.

When you are preparing dinner, hold a little on the side for your birds. A piece or two is all you need to start with. If they eat it, you can give them more next time. If they do not, you did not waste very much. The basic nutrition rules are the same for birds as they are for us. Eat veggies. Dark green leafy and yellow/orange vegetables are some of the best. Don’t forget the mashed potatoes, pastas, etc. Hold the sauces and gravies — no need to add extra fat to their diet. Before you consume the entire pizza, offer a piece of the crust to a pair or two. You can offer your chicks a wide variety of food items as they are weaning when they are learning and experiencing new things. Introduction to a good basic diet at this stage will provide them with a good nutritional start to life.

Caring for your pet bird

Bringing a bird into your home should be a happy and rewarding experience. A well cared for bird will keep you entertained for years with many birds living a lifespan of between 10-80 years.

Having a bird as part of your family is a considerable responsibility, as they are totally dependant on you for their food, water, shelter and good health. Birds on a poor diet and in a non-stimulating environment can have a reduced lifespan.


A balanced diet is the most important part of a healthy bird’s life. The common problems that are seen by veterinarians include obesity, egg binding and vitamin A deficiency.

Many birds are fed seed as their sole diet: birds love this as it is interesting to open and often high in fat, therefore tasty. But dried packaged seeds are low in vitamins (especially A), some seed mixtures contain added vitamins and minerals, however in some situations birds simply eat around these “vitamin balls”. Many birds also select only one or two types of seed in the whole mix and will not eat any other food or seed. Most commonly selected are sunflower seeds or oats (think of these seeds as chocolate). To provide a balanced diet, many other foods need to be offered daily. Vegetables especially green vegetables are extremely important. Good examples of green vegetables include spinach, silver beet, endives, parsley and celery. Fresh grasses, milk thistle, dandelion and fresh fruits are also great. Good quality bird pellets can be used instead of seed.


Many birds enjoy baths or showers and even enjoy going into the shower with their owners. Avoid using soaps when your bird is with you. Alternatively spray lightly with a spray bottle or hose on a fine mist spray. Birdbaths can be provided, but it is best not to leave them in cages all the time, as birds the water may very quickly become soiled.

Birds also need a full spectrum of light. Sunlight through a closed window is not adequate as vitamin D is absorbed from natural sunlight. Birds also need to have at least 10-12 hours in total darkness each night. If a bird is kept in a room that is used at night, then a blackout cover is needed. For many species of birds the period of darkness may be varied during the year to mimic natural seasons.

A word for cigarette/tobacco smokers

Smoking is extremely hazardous to birds. Their lungs, in combination with their air sacs, are an extremely efficient breathing system, the skin can also become irritated by the smoke and it is considered one of the reasons for self-mutilation. Many smokers assume that if they smoke on the other side of the room the bird will be safe, but this is not true. Smokers are advised to smoke somewhere outside or in a separate, well-ventilated room.

Another problem that can arise from smoking is the nicotine staining on their owners fingers. Bird’s feet sitting on this part of the hand often get dermatitis of their feet. Finally, nicotine on cigarettes is extremely toxic if ingested. Owners should keep cigarettes away from birds and dispose of butts sensibly.


Cages are a home to protect birds, not a cage to imprison them. Pet birds need protection when their owners are away, from other predators and from the poisons and other dangers that may be part of or around the house.

A cage should be rectangular preferably at least enough depth for 2 birds to extend their wings fully. Birds are not helicopters so tall cages are not appropriate. Birds should spend the maximum amount of time supervised outside their cage in order to get healthy exercise. Without this, birds become overweight and depressed. If you are concerned about catching your bird or if it is reluctant, simply dim the lights and the bird will be easier to catch.


Poor perches commonly lead to sores on bird’s feet. In the past sandpaper was recommended to shorten nails, in fact all it manages to do is cause sore feet. Perches should be made of natural wood branches of varying sizes and not doweling or plastic.

Food and water bowls

Food and water bowls should be placed in cages where the bird will not defecate in them. If your bird has parasites or any kind of bacterial infections they will not improve if your bird consistently eats and drinks their own faeces. It is best not to place any materials on the ground that encourages your bird to eat off the floor. (e.g.: sandpaper, grit or food). Instead use a grill to allow faeces to fall through or plain paper. Also avoid using metal toys or plastic coated bag ties in the cage as these may lead to heavy metal poisoning.

Heavy metal poisoning

Heavy metal poisoning is a common problem seen at veterinary clinics. Many birds are exposed to heavy metals in their cages or their environment. Lead, zinc and copper are the most common metals involved. They are found in galvanised wire, paint, copper wire, metal ties, rusty metal toys and backs of mirrors etc.

Cages and aviaries should be made of stainless steel, powder-baked or the new BHP polymer-covered wire. Scrub galvanised wire with vinegar and a wire brush, then rinse the vinegar off and repeat, this well help minimise the zinc toxicity but will not eliminate it. Weathering the wire (leaving it outside to the elements) will not detoxify the metal either.

Mate or bonding friend

Most parrots live in large flocks. They do not live in a small cage. Birds, unlike dogs and cats, become bonded to one other bird or human as a mate. Birds that always call, talks and sings are in fact demanding the attention it craves. It is a very rare occurrence for a bird to be happy on its own. Many bird diseases and various symptoms in birds are related to stress, frustration and bored parrots. Television and radios are occasional comforts, but they are not long-term substitutes for company.

If you have any questions or concerns about caring for your pet bird, please do not hesitate to contact your veterinary healthcare team.

Photo and story courtesy

Mr T regular bird about town

HE may not fly much, but Mr T is one well-travelled bird.

The blue and gold macaw goes shopping with his owner Cheryl-Lee McLean, he enjoys regular walks on a harness around Risdon Brook Dam and he gets to pick out his own toys when he visits the pet shop.

The one-year-old macaw has also ridden on the back of a motorbike and had his photo taken with Santa.

“He goes everywhere with me,” Mrs McLean said.

She takes Mr T to work with her each day in the Claremont camera shop her parents own.

Mr T does tricks for customers — putting coins in a money box is one of his favourites — and his vocabulary of about 25 words is growing.

The shop has regular “bird damaged” stock sales of items the bird takes a fancy to. Mr T weighs one kilo and is about one metre long to the tip of his tail feathers.

Mrs McLean, 35, grew up with pet budgies and cockatoos but it was during a trip to South America with her husband that she fell in love with colourful macaws.

“I’d always loved birds and when I went to Peru and down the Amazon the birds were just a fantastic sight,” she said.

Mrs McLean now has about 50 birds. However, Mr T is one of only four who live inside the house, in a loungeroom enclosure her friends call the “Taj Mahal for birds”.

From the moment Mrs McLean got Mr T from a breeder in Mole Creek she has had him out socialising.

The macaw regularly visits supermarkets with Mrs McLean.

He sits in a dog carrier in the trolley with the groceries and often comes out to say hello to curious shoppers.

“A 10-minute shopping trip sometimes takes two hours because people want to stop and look at him and ask 50 billion questions,” she said.

Mrs McLean has a special clause in her will for Mr T, who is likely to outlive her as macaws can reach 100 years.

Story and photo courtesy

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Eight Boredom Busters for Birds

Imagine being stuck in the same room, or worse yet, the same cage, day after day, year after year, and it’s not hard to understand why your bird becomes bored. Birds that are bored can exhibit negative behaviours, such as destructiveness, feather picking and screeching. However, there are many inexpensive and easy ways to keep your bird happy and busy.

Article courtesy of

1. Toys – Choose toys made from safe, non-toxic materials, such as wood, rawhide, hard plastic or cloth. Use leather, rope or stainless steel to hold together and/or hang toys in your bird’s cage. Make sure your bird can’t break toys into small pieces and swallow them. However, it’s okay for your bird to pick at and eat pieces of food toys that contain seeds, vegetables, millet spray, fruit chunks or dried corncobs. Consider the size of your bird. Big birds can choke or get toes caught in little toys meant for much smaller birds, and small birds can get hurt from trapping their wings or heads in bigger bird toys. To ensure safety, always watch your bird when you introduce a new toy to their cage.

2. Household Items – Some birds enjoy tearing at empty paper towel and toilet tissue tubes. Cut into small pieces and use a thick leather cord to string them together to hang in your bird’s cage. Add small circular cereal shapes, like Cheerios, to the cord for even more interest. Other safe household items include measuring cups and spoons, ping-pong balls, and baby toys, such as hard plastic keys on a ring. Again, as with any new plaything, observe your bird when you introduce a new item.

3. Games – Some birds love games. My cockatiel, “Eddy,” loves to play hide and seek. I cover his cage and leave the front and part of one side uncovered. Then I sit next to his cage and peek around the cover. He responds by trying to peek back at me and whistles at me as if to say, “I found you!” We also play a game where he tries to imitate my whistle. In addition, there are books that can help you use clicker training to teach your bird tricks and games, as well as other positive behaviours.

4. Play Gyms or Foraging Trees – Play gyms, generally constructed from wood, are available in a variety of sizes. You can attach a play gym to the top of a cage or a nearby table and include ladders, swings, toys and ropes. Foraging trees also come in a variety of sizes and you can put them inside or outside the cage. The tree has small holes drilled into it that are large enough for you to hide seeds or treats inside. You then cover the hole with a small piece of paper or paper towel, so the bird has to work a little bit harder to get the treat. You can also hang treat cages or treat cups on them.

5. Hide a Treat – Take a non-toxic item, such as paper cups, paper towels, cardboard tubes, coffee filters or tortilla and put a treat or seed inside. Twist or crush it with your hands to close it up and punch a hole in it. Hang it or hide it inside your bird’s cage. Another hide and seek method is to place a paper towel or piece of paper on top of your bird’s treat dish. This way the bird has to figure out that it must pull it off to get to the treats. When the bird has figured out this activity, try using masking tape to secure the cover over the dish so the bird has to break through the paper to get to the treat.

6. Electronic Media – Some birds love music. Get to know what music your bird likes and leave a radio on during the time you are away. Keep the volume at a normal range so it doesn’t overwhelm the bird. Try changing the type of music to offer a variety of sounds. Television is also a good way to keep your bird happy, but keep it on an appropriate channel so your bird doesn’t pick up any bad words. There are also DVDs that can teach your bird to talk or sing a song, or just to entertain it while you are gone.

7. Other Pets – Birds like to watch fish or other pets kept in aquariums and cages. My bird loves to watch my water turtle swim around, my hamster running in its wheel, as well as my hermit crabs trundling about their tank. A word of warning for people who let their birds roam freely: keep tight fitting covers on all tanks and cages to avoid problems.

8. Windows – If you take the proper precautions, a window can be entertaining for your bird. If the window is free from drafts and sun exposure, some birds enjoy looking outside. If the window has a very secure screen, you bird will also enjoy the sounds of nature, such as other birds, people and trees rustling.

There are many ways to keep your bird healthy and happy. Try to keep a variety of toys on hand, so you can change them around from time to time. If you follow careful safety measures, you can provide your bird with years of fun and enjoyment easily and without a large expense. However, if you’ve tried many of these ideas and your bird is still unhappy or displays worrisome behaviors, such as feather plucking or agitation, contact your veterinarian for professional advice.