Bird breeder's thoughts on whatever…

02-19-16: Perfect People — February 19, 2016

02-19-16: Perfect People

Perspective is everything, isn’t it?  One thing about the internet is that it allows everyone to give their opinion, which is fine except for when it is given as fact.  Just as the bullies on the playground in grammar school were usually the loudest, sometimes those giving their opinions as fact also come across in the same way.

What got me thinking about this?  A few days ago I read a series of posts on some facebook-based bird group  that were basically saying anyone breeding parrotlets without knowing all the genetics were terrible people that should not be breeding at all.   Not only did you need to understand the genetics, you needed to know the exact genetics of each bird from which you were breeding.  Nowhere was there any mention of quality of the birds.  It’s funny, because in years past I remember the loudest “experts” of the time belittling anyone breeding for specific mutations.  The cry then was that quality was all that mattered and anyone breeding for mutation (color or pattern) had to be in it only for the money.  It seems those declaring themselves experts are both judge and jury as to what is acceptable.

Personally I think you have to look at the quality of the birds if you are going to breed.  If there is an obvious fault in either male or female, why would you want to perpetuate that in the young?  However, it’s often just as easy to find a good quality bird in a mutation as it is to find a bad quality bird in the normal color. In that case, why not breed for more exciting results than just the normal color?

I don’t dispute the fact that if someone is going to breed – whether it be birds or dogs or whatever – that the person should do all they can to research the subject first.  That includes trying to familiarize yourself with the way the genetics work.  Even if you are not that interested in mutations, if you include them in your breeding it is so much nicer to be able to pass on what you know about the offspring to future owners in case they also want to breed in the future.  To be able to tell them that their new bird is split to lutino, for instance, is a wonderful thing.  Often you find a bird that is lovely and the owner has no idea what the parents were, let alone going back more than a generation.  To listen to these experts, you could not use this bird for breeding.  I totally disagree with that approach.  What you get for offspring will usually enable you to backtrack to discover what the parent birds are carrying.

The actual facts here are not as important as the idea that when people feel they can make these big pronouncements of what is acceptable, they are really being rather obnoxious.  It’s a shame people in the bird world can’t be more helpful to each other, rather than being so cut-throat and nasty.  I find it discouraging.  Was it always this way and just that the internet tends to expose these things?  Could be.  Or could be that the internet itself is responsible for helping these attitudes flourish.  The schoolyard bullies have never been in greater numbers than what you find on the internet.  Pick any article and then read the comments after.

A few days ago I spent some time watching TV Land in the morning.  The Andy Griffith Show was on, with several episodes in a row.  I really feel that all kids growing up should be exposed to shows like this.  Yes, times were simpler then for sure, but it’s the people and how they behaved that seems to have become a thing of the past.  What happened to some of the old adages, like “if you don’t have something nice to say then don’t say anything at all”?   I’m convinced the world would be a much better place if people would just keep their nasty remarks to themselves.



02-15-16: Bridget — February 15, 2016

02-15-16: Bridget

Brrriiiiiiing Brrriiiiiing

Check caller ID…  somewhere in Mass… could be bird-related or Scanalex-related…


“Hello, this is Bridget,”  is all I hear before  I slam the phone down and color the air with expletives the likes of which would cause Bridget to faint dead away if indeed there was a Bridget and not some disembodied, irritating telemarketing Bridget-recording that has plagued most of us for years now.

“Rachel” is one of Bridget’s recording buddies that is also cause for an immediate slamming of the phone.

Since they have learned how to spam and spoof the caller ID you really have no way of knowing anymore.  Often it looks like a local number.  Once it was even MY number!  I had to pick that one up out of curiosity, but now I know better.

I have stayed on the line and waited for an opportunity to show an inclination to talk to a human about whatever deal they are currently hawking…

  • I’ve tried being nice.  “Please remove me from your call list.”   They hung up.
  • I’ve tried ranting and raving, which I won’t repeat but let’s just say it colored the air again.  They not only hung up but first told me to do something physically impossible.
  • And I’ve tried setting the phone down, hoping to waste enough of their time that they would remove me from their list of their own accord.  Apparently that didn’t work either.

So there is nothing to be done but slam the phone down and move on.  Nothing to see here, folks.  That colored air turning into a black cloud?  Pay it no heed.  It will dissipate.

2-3-16: People — February 3, 2016

2-3-16: People

When did people get so snotty?  No, it’s not all of them, but when you have just dealt with a nasty, obnoxious person it tends to remind you of other experiences and cloud your perception.

I am looking for a female Timneh African Grey to pair with my four year old male, Griff.  I have been looking at ads online and found one that offered a four year old female.  Perfect.  Griff is also four.  So I email and inquire if they still have the bird. They respond in the affirmative.

My questions then are:

Did you get her as a baby? If not, how long have you had her?
Is she banded, and if so, what does the band say?
Has she been DNA sexed? Do you have the certificate?
Has she been with the male congo long? Do they seem bonded?

I have a breeding pair of timnehs that are getting on in years and their last two clutches were only one fertile egg each. I had kept a male baby from them back in 2011, Griff, and as he is now 4 I’d like to pair him up, especially where the parents are not doing as well breeding as they once did. He is still tame and talks really well, so it seems yours might be a good match for him.

Could I get a picture of just her? Sorry for all the questions, but I don’t add to my flock without a lot of thought. 🙂
Thank you.

Let me add here that in the original ad there is a picture of a congo in perfect feather and a timneh in the same cage, looking, to me, as if it chews its feathers.  I’ve had a feather-chewer, and I know that look pretty well.  The congo was prominent in the picture and the timneh was not.

This was the response:

No, I have not had her since she was a baby. I bought her from a woman who had her in a too small cage which was also stuffed with toys. No she is not banded and has not been dna sexed, hence the lower price. She is not bonded with the male congo. She isn’t crazy about coming to hand, but likes to interact with you. Talks a lot and learns new voices rather quickly. Pics attached. She doesn’t like to hold still for pics and she puffs up her feathers, guess she doesn’t like photo shoots lol.

You’ll note she does not say how long she has had her.  The two attached pictures are both taken from ABOVE the bird so you do not see the chest, which is typically the worst area in a bird that self-plucks.  What you can see of the bird from above shows feathers that are not sleek by any stretch of the imagination and also a very ratty tail.  The feathers do not look fluffed or puffed, just disheveled.  Further, the cage is not what I would call clean.

My response:

Thank you for getting back to me.

So you really have no way of knowing this is a hen then?
Did the previous owner claim to know the exact age – had she bought the bird as a baby, perhaps? Why was she parting with her, and also why are you?
The feathering looks pretty rough. Is she self-plucking or is the congo plucking her a bit?
How long have you personally had the bird?

Again, sorry for all the questions.

This was the response:

From my experience ( which is extensive) I am fairly certain she is a female. A male is quite a bit larger. The previous owner did not say where she got her and I didn’t ask. My concern was giving her a better home and environment, where she could grow. She called me because she could not care for her any longer, I bought her because the circumstances were such that I felt it was best for her. She does not pluck and the congo does not pluck her. Her feathers were rough when I got her from living in a too small cage that was crowded with toys as well. Also, as I stated when I sent the pictures, she fluffs out her feathers whenever I try to take a picture. Like they would do if they were cold, which makes her feathers look funny in a pic. Her feathers are looking much better and I expect they will continue to get better. I am parting with her because I have a lung condition and my doctor said it would benefit my health to reduce the number of birds I care for in my home. Its very hard for me because they are all part of my family, but I have to do what is best. I have had her about 8 months. A bird of this breed would normally go for around 1200 -1500 dollars. I reduced the price because she is not banded, hasn’t been dna sexed, and her feathers aren’t perfect yet. She is a bright, sassy, wonderful bird and would make anyone a great addition to their family.
To which I responded:

Well, that’s too bad. 😦 I really need to be fairly certain of the sex. I DNA all my babies so the future owners will know what they have. It’s only $19.50 per bird and well worth it in my opinion. I actually only charge $900 for a handfed, weaned, absolutely wonderful baby. I am extremely picky about where they go.

I don’t feel size is a reliable sexing tool. While males are generally about 30 grams heavier than their sisters as babies, that’s really only true for sure with siblings, since some lines will just generally be smaller. For instance if yours is actually a male it could have had sisters that were actually smaller still.

If you decide to have the bird sexed and the result is female, I’d still be interested. Thank you for your time.

And now for the nasty response, which I don’t feel was warranted given my previous response:

well good luck with that. I really don’t care what you feel about the sexing as far as size goes. I have been doing this for over 20 years. I know what these birds go for and if you sell yours cheap that’s entirely up to you. I will not have this bird sexed, I am fairly certain she is female, and I don’t particularly care to have her sexed just so she can be a breeder. I prefer she becomes part of a family, loved and cared for. For her owner to love her, just for her, not how many babies she can produce. I believe she will find a better fit with someone who wants a bird to add to their family. No need to contact me further, thank you.
Time was when I loved a good argument.  Of course simply being snotty is not really an argument, is it?  (I’m thinking Monty Python here, LOL.)  I no longer have any interest in confrontation.  It’s been my experience that people no longer give an opinion and back it up, but rather it seems they resort to ranting and name-calling.  At this stage of my life, I am not interested.  I replied with this:

Apparently you never bothered to check my website, or you’d have seen that I have been doing this for almost 40 years. If you had checked the diaries I do of the babies I think you’d probably see just how much I care about my birds and my babies. And if you’d bothered to check the testimonials you’d further have seen just how my babies turn out and how many people I have made happy.

No problem. Good luck to YOU.

I blocked their emails and will move on.  So I am still looking.    I’ve worked very hard and for a very long time to end up with the birds I have, and I won’t add just any bird to my flock as there is too much at stake.  Hopefully I will find a mate for Griff in the future.