Sunday, December 18, 2011

Parrot Festival is coming up!

To those who don't know, Parrot Festival is a conference held every January in Houston. It is put on by the National Parrot Rescue and Preservation Foundation (NPRPF) which is a bird rescue and education organization. The conference features a wide array of speakers discussing different topics regarding parrots. There are always a lot of great vendors there showcasing new and interesting bird toys, artwork, clothing, bird food, perches and much more! If there is a product for birds or their people, you will see it at Parrot Festival (laugh).

Their speaker list is always impressive. Avian vets, breeders, behaviorists, professional trainers, conservationists and nutritionists are featured. I suggest you attend all the talks, even if you think the subject does not apply to you.  I guarantee you will learn something from every single speaker.

For the social butterflies, on Friday night they have a casual meet and greet where you can mingle with the speakers and other attendees. On Saturday night they have a dinner/galah and silent and live auction which features unique items donated by vendors and attendees. It is a lot of fun. All the proceeds go to the NPRPF.

In the midst of all this is a Texas sized raffle featuring tons of great stuff! 

The conference this year is January 20-22 at the Doubletree Hotel near the Houston Intercontinental Airport. Rooms are still available, but it is good to get your reservation early as they fill up fast. For more information go to and click on the "Parrot Festival" tab. A pop up menu will appear with information options.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday Travel What to do with Birdie?

Around this time of year I get a lot of inquiries about what to do with pet birds when their owners are traveling over the holidays. In general, I feel it is best for the bird to remain in the home. Arrange to have a trusted neighbor or friend come over once or twice a day to check on and take care of your feathered friend. Leaving the bird in it's home environment is the least stressful option.

Don't have a friend or neighbor that is available? Having a pet sitter come in is the next best option. Don't know anyone? Ask your pet owning friends/neighbors for a referral. There is usually a responsible teenager in the area offering pet sitting services this time of year as they are trying to earn a few extra dollars during their holiday break. Or look up pet sitters in the yellow pages. Professional pet sitters are usually booked this time of year, so you will need to reserve them early.

Another place to find a pet sitter is your vet's office. Call them and see if they have someone they recommend. Some of the vet tech's pet sit on the side for extra cash.

A trusted friend who is familiar with birds may be able to keep your bird at their home for a few days while you are away. I find this option works better with the smaller birds, as they are more portable.

The last option is to board your bird at a facility. Most avian vets offer boarding services as well as some bird stores. This is my least favorite option as you are exposing your bird to other strange birds which is a big health risk. On the plus side, you know your bird is being looked after by competant caretakers while you are away. If you are going to board, check out the facility carefully.

If you are going to leave your bird at home, have the petsitter play a radio during the day to keep your bird company. Plug in a nightlight so your bird can see if something frightens him during the night. Provide him with his favorite toys and food while you are away. Foraging toys and the Planet Pleasures "Pinata" toys will keep your bird busy during the day. Inspect your bird's toys/perches carefully and remove any (such as cotton rope toys or ring type toys) that could entangle your bird while he is not being supervised. Also inspect all the quick links in the cage and be sure they are closed and fastened securely. Door latches should be checked to be sure they close securely.

With some pre-planning, you and your bird can both have a worry free holiday travel season!