Chapter 1: Specialty Bird Pet Stores

LOVED seeing Laurie and Brenna! : )   I like the shot of the toy wall, cages, view of a store layout…  and especially like the reference to being connected to an Avian Veterinarian.   Helpful that you mentioned the written health guarantee – Great!  Nutrition protocol also got my attention. Liked that reference.

Re breeder info: never really considered the notion that breeders prefer not to deal with the public, though would rather deal directly with the pet store. However, it seems to me there could be valid reasons to have a conversation with a breeder where a particular question or concern about one’s newly acquired bird is concerned.  The point that a breeder would rather not engage with the public doesn’t particularly sit well with me… almost seems like they have something to hide. I’m one for openness and clear communication so I would wonder why this reluctance would be. (Just my musings…)

Liked the reference to written instructions of basic bird care.

Chapter 2: Obtaining Birds from Corporate Pet Stores.

I was surprised that this was a chapter, given the poor press that corporate pet stores have received regarding their participation in selling birds (as well as other animals). That said, I liked all the questions that were posed at the beginning of this chapter.

When the camera panned to the budgies and cockatiels, I was disheartened to see only dowels in their cages rather than natural tree branches such as Manzanita. And there were not many toys visible in the cages, especially in the glass enclosures – which was a sensitive scene for me to watch, for the conures were all single in their enclosures. I don’t think Laurie has any conures that are one to a cage. I have witnessed this reality in the Petco by my home and I’m always saying something to the employees about giving the birds MORE TOYS to play with. MORE TOYS MORE TOYS MORE TOYS.

It would have been nicer to see all the bird enclosures in the corporate pet shop example, with LOTS of toys…. every enclosures with LOTS of toys. The finches were also lacking natural perches… all they had were those dowels. I’d rather see natural branches. It would then not even allow for the dowel image to be inside one’s head after watching the DVD. Showing natural tree branches in ALL the birds’ enclosures would be much more consistent with total bird health.

Liked the recommendation of visiting the desired bird at different times of the day. Oh, and LOVED the biz card of Brian Speer, DVM, DABVP-Av, ECAMS… Ha! (Did I get all the correct letters??) ; )

Chapter 3: Grooming Pet Birds

Interesting information re beak nerves. I knew they were sensitive though didn’t know the extent of the sensitivity. Appreciated the visual “beak map” of nerves.

LOVED the video of the Scarlets flying in their natural habitat. Simply Beautiful! Also loved seeing the Macaws flying in that vertical wind tunnel –
gave a unique view of the flying posture, as well as the position of the feathers during flight. Very cool.

The shower/bathing scenes were great!

Chapter 4: Sexing and Identification

Had never heard the recommendation of keeping a dried blood sample of one’s parrot(s) with important documents for proof of identification.  I will ask about this next week at Med Center for Birds.

There was an assertion made at the beginning of the chapter that said the appearance of birds’ feathers could not reveal their sex. Isn’t that not true for the Cockatiels and Eclectus Parrots? Doesn’t their feather coloring reveal their gender? I kept waiting for a sentence saying something like, “…except for the Cockatiel and Eclectus…”

Leg Bands & Microchips: I asked Laurie about removing Kya’s leg band (my 9-10yr female African Grey (whom I just adopted in October) and she recommended I NOT remove it b/c it provides a visual i.d. unlike a microchip. I thought that was an interesting point. If a bird has a microchip and it gets lost, then found by some random person, how would a person even know to look for a microchip? And then they have to have a special instrument to even read the microchip, unlike a leg band. (Again, just thinking out loud…)

Is one really better than the other?

Really liked the DVD, Scott. Thank you so much for allowing me to view it and write about it. I enjoy the art of critique – I do it pretty much everyday in my private teaching of voice and piano. Just sorry it took so long to get my review to you. I hope you will allow me to participate in future reviews of your DVD work. I really enjoy the process!

Have a SUNNY Sunday!

… Carol Kessler, bird lover

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One Response to “Review Vol III:’ Really liked the DVD…’”

  1. spotdvm


    You brought up several important questions that I would like to take some time to address!

    Chapter 1: Breeders and the public.
    In Chapter 3 (Understanding Aviculture) of the Expert Companion Bird Care Series: Volume II, Rick Jordan covers the history and role that aviculture plays with pet birds. Responsible aviculturists focus on raising healthy birds. While some small scale aviculturists do interact with the public, larger aviaries typically do not. There are several reasons, but the two most common are biosecurity and lack of time or resources to handle bird owner questions.

    Regarding biosecurity, it is generally risky business to allow the public on grounds to view or interact with the birds. It can violate closed aviary principles and result in disastrous infectious disease outbreaks. (Try walking into any reputable poultry producer without authorized clearance, a shower and wearing a hazmat suit!) The other issue is that aviculturists tend to be very busy taking care of birds and do not have the staff power to handle all of the comments coming from the public. However, quality aviculturists do regularly interact with the stores carrying their birds.

    Pet stores are the direct connection between the owner and bird and serve a different function from aviculturists. With that said, some pet stores run an aviary and a pet store and have learned to do both well. And this will bring me to Chapter 2!

    Chapter 2: Corporate pet stores.
    With all of the pressure on larger ‘corporate’ pet stores to provide good quality healthy pets, there have been significant improvements in how these companies care for their animals. The reality is that the vast majority of ‘accountable’ (meaning we actually have data) pet birds sold, come from corporate pet stores. A large part of those ‘unaccountable’ birds come from flea markets, bird marts and classified ads. We really know very little about what happens to the ‘unaccountable’ birds. So we felt that it was very important to give prospective owners guidelines when considering buying birds from corporate stores (since the majority of ‘accountable’ birds come from these sources).

    Dr Edling does a good job of giving people those guidelines. Of course the experience is very different from a small specialty bird store- which is not available in many cities. So while the corporate pet store may not always have the ideal set up for their birds, these companies are actively working to improve those situations. The first two chapters should help prospective bird owners better understand the difference between corporate and specialty bird stores and ultimately make good purchasing decisions.

    Chapter 4: Questions on sexing and identification.
    There are definitely some parrot species (such as eclectus) that are dimorphic. However, most are not. While wild type cockatiels are dimorphic, some of the color varieties are not (I have personally been fooled by these birds!).

    Good quality leg bands can be very helpful. The downsides are they can be removed, letter and numbers fade and may serve as a hazard under some circumstances. Microchips are also not perfect and may fail, not be noticed (failure to scan for the microchip) and can also be removed (although more difficult than leg bands). So they both have pros and cons.

    Hopefully these points answer your questions and thank you for your review!

    Scott Echols, DVM, Dipl ABVP (Avian Practice)

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