Bird breeder's thoughts on whatever…

9-27-16: Long time, no blog — September 27, 2016

9-27-16: Long time, no blog

It’s been almost a month since my last blog, so today I’m just going to put my email on hold for a bit and get to it.

First on my mind is last night’s debate between Trump and Clinton, our two less-than-stellar choices for president.  I don’t normally comment on politics here because I don’t believe anyone ever really changes another person’s opinion and, since the country is divided pretty much in two politically, I am almost guaranteed to piss off half the people.  But, what the heck.

We watched the debate, or at least I watched it in its entirety while Scott I think watched the back of his eyelids for the last 10 minutes or so.  My take-away was pretty much that I still wish there was another viable alternative but since there is not then Trump gets my vote.  Sure, there are a couple other names out there, but no way are they going to win and I refuse to throw away my vote.  This election is too important.  The country is already so far removed from the America I grew up in that we just can’t afford four more years continuing down that path.

Was everything great when I grew up?  No, but there was always the truth that no matter who you were or how you grew up, if you worked hard and never gave up you COULD make something of yourself and get ahead.  That no longer seems to be the case.  Government is bigger than ever and promises to continue on that path unless something changes.  Individual long-held rights seem to be in jeopardy, even as rights are granted to the most far-fetched circumstances and situations.  It’s not ok for a kid to read a bible in school but it’s ok to teach Islam.  A kid mentions a “brownie” at snack time and is reprimanded for racist talk.  The world is crazy.  Common sense is in short supply.

At any rate, I doubt very much anyone had their opinion changed due to last night’s debate.  If you were for Hillary at the start, you likely ended that way.  Same for Trump.  I wish Trump had been less distracted by her attacks so that he might have gotten in more of his own points, but it was his first such debate and hopefully he will allow himself to be a bit more schooled for the next two.  It was plain that Hillary had done a LOT of practicing and she managed to get all her attack points out there.  This is not her first rodeo and it showed.

I was not surprised last night after the debate to hear most of the pundits give the victory to Hillary, though many conceded that Trump had not really done himself much damage, either.  I was surprised a short time ago to read online that many polls taken after the debate gave Trump the win.  Really?  Maybe that just goes along with my thoughts that the debates really don’t change any minds.  This morning, Good Morning America seemed to echo last night’s pundits in saying Hillary had won.  Then one of the women on GMA made a comment about Trump’s language, and how she had to look up “braggadocious” because she thought he’d made it up.  That caused me to shake my head a bit.  Really?  Of course that is a legit word!  But before I start thinking I’m clever, I thought his use of “bigly” – which he has said before – was an error.  Time for me to have a red face because I just checked and it IS a word!  Who knew?  It just doesn’t sound right to me but, he is no fool and despite what one may think of him, he is a smart man.

Speaking of all the politics of late, who is sick to death of the phone calls and polls?  I usually don’t mind most of them.  Especially when they are the recorded type where you can simply hit a button for your response.  The ones where you are stuck speaking to a live human who often cannot pronounce the candidates’ names (especially when it comes to the local elections – can you say Ayotte?) are getting annoying.  Sunday night we had a call after 8:00, asking for my son, who is currently staying with us.  He did not want to spend the time on a polling call so I passed that on and hung up.  He gets up early to go to work, so he’s in bed usually by 9:30.  Around 10:45 the same people called for him again.  I rushed to grab the phone since by then hubby was also in bed asleep.  They asked for Alex, and I said, “Don’t you think it’s a wee bit late to be calling?”   The man said, “I’m sorry, Ma’am, but we have to get a certain number of calls in before they let us leave.”   I said, “well it’s too late.  Goodnight.”  After I fed the kids at 11:00 I went to bed.  About 20 minutes later the phone woke me.  Same damn people.   I hissed into the phone, ” if you people call here again tonight I will SCREAM.  People are trying to sleep here!”    That’s crazy that they expect these folks to make calls into the late night hours.  Even crazier that they can imagine it will put anyone into the right frame of mind for answering their multitude of questions.

I’m also very tired of the polls that are so obviously slanted for one candidate.  You know the ones.  They ask if you’re voting for A or B.  I say B, the republican.  Then you get the qualifiers… “If I told you that candidate B was recently convicted of murdering baby seals and torturing puppies, would that make a slight difference, more of a difference, or no difference at all in your vote?”     OK, I took some liberties with the question, but that is the gist.  I guess that’s enough politics.  I know it’s about all I can stand.

We had our first good frost yesterday morning.  The furnace even kicked on!  We had brought all the houseplants onto the porch the night before and bug bombed.  That way anything that might have found a home on the plants during the summer doesn’t come into the house.  Yesterday I hung up the hanging plants.  I have a few bigger houseplants that will wait a few more days.  Have to do a bit of rearranging to fit them back in.

The garden was better than many years but not as great as it could have been.  I already have my plan for next year, which boils down to more tomatoes and pumpkins and less squash (except for Kuta).  I’m done trying for cukes.  They just don’t do well up here and they are so cheap locally it’s a waste of space and effort. The only pumpkins that grew for me this year were the small, cooking-types.  I got three of those. So they are out in the front entryway along with some mums.  A last bit of color before it turns much colder.

The trees are just beginning to turn up here as well.  The summer has been so much drier than normal I wonder how the foliage is going to be this year.  So far I’m seeing some maroons but no yellows or oranges.

I’m feeding the last clutch of parrotlets for the year.  Unless the greys do something this may be it for handfeeding for a bit.  I can’t say I’d mind a break.  I’ve been handfeeding continuously for quite a few months straight now.  There may be some news on the bird front soon, too.  A possible addition to the flock.  I’ll leave with that teaser hanging in the air.

Until next time, make sure you smell the roses.


Nita’s Nest

Nita’s Nest Creations (my Etsy shop featuring SAFE bird toys and bird-themed items)

08-29-16: Bird Update — August 29, 2016

08-29-16: Bird Update

I think it’s time for an update on what’s been going on with the birds.  A few things of note happened this weekend, concerning the budgies and the African greys.

Sprite is a pretty little green pied budgie that was given to me a while ago.  Although the color of his cere is not exactly crystal clear in terms of what sex he is, we are going under the assumption that he is a male.  Since I’m keeping one of my female kids for him, that will no doubt prove to be wrong!  But for now, we’re calling Sprite a male.  So he’s been in the dining room in a cage hanging in front of the window.  It’s taken him longer than I expected to become comfortable with us.  You can see it in his stance – he’s not been totally relaxed with us.  So  this past week I had my son help me clip his wings. We found that once clipped, he would step up pretty nicely and never once tried to bite.  However, you could still see in his posture that he would probably rather be doing something else!

Yesterday I brought Sprite into the living room where the baby budgies share a cage.  I have a ladder attached to the outside front of their cage, with a perching structure suspended from the end of the ladder.  The bottom of it is still about nine inches from the floor, allowing it to swing about and the birds seem to really enjoy this.  So I let Sprite step up onto the perching area.  I opened the cage door and the kids hopped to the door to take a peek at this new green guy.  Picture all the little heads angled down and their little eyes fixed on Sprite.  It was cute. They soon came out, and eventually someone got brave enough to share that perch area and check him out up close.  Sprite took it all very well.  Stood his ground and didn’t seem too concerned.  The kids were also pretty calm about it all.  082816BlueBudgieKidandSpriteThis is the perch unit suspended from the end of the ladder.  You can still see from his stance that Sprite is not totally at ease.  When the tail is down like that you can tell he’s not as comfortable as he could be.

So we let everyone hang out for a while and then later I took the cinnamon female kid and brought her out to Sprite’s cage, and let her check it out.  Shortly after I brought Sprite in and put him back in the cage with her.  They are not exactly thrilled, but there is no animosity that I can see either, so to me it was a win-win.082916CinnamonHenAndSprite.jpgThis is mostly how they have stayed so far.  Cinnamon girl is either on the high perch or on the swing, and Sprite sits on his favorite spot.  I think soon I will find them getting to know each other and becoming friends.

As for the greys, some of you know I had bought an older female in the hopes that my boy, Griff, would win her heart and they’d go to nest at some point.  Unfortunately nobody went over this plan with Winnie, and she was having none of it.  Griff has always been a gentleman, but her…!  Not a nice girl to my boy!  Not at all.  So they’ve been together and separated twice now.  Since the last time, she’s been in a cage right next to his cage, and I do mean RIGHT NEXT TO IT.  They have done some beaking (not in a mean way) through the bars, which was encouraging.  It’s been quite a while, and most of the time they hang out near each other, with the two cage walls between them.  I’ve been leery of biting the bullet and trying them together one more time because I kept thinking that if it still didn’t work I was really going to have to face the fact that they probably would never get along.  But it was time.

I had my son help me get the swing out of Griff’s cage because that has been a problem when they were together before.  It’s a big swing and a bird on the swing can be reached by a bird on the perch at the rear of the cage.  Not good.  So Alex had Griff step up on him, he handed him off to me, then while I held Griff, Alex worked on getting the swing out.  Once that was done, I handed Griff back and Alex put him inside.  Now it was time for the beast.  She will step up from the floor, but in the cage she is not cooperative.  So I got a perch and had her step up onto that – eventually, LOL.  Actually it went pretty well, and probably took less than five minutes.  Then I put the perch, with her on it, into the cage and let her step off onto a perch.  Shut the door, crossed my fingers, and went back into the living room where I called up the camera that is trained on their cage and watched to see what would happen.

It’s been a day now, and there has been no fighting yet.  A bit of posturing, on both parts, but nothing that has made me know I need to call a halt to the cohabitation.  I just hope it continues.  Life would be much better for both of them if they had a birdy friend.

The other greys were given access to their nest boxes at the end of last month.  Ruby, the congo, has 3 eggs so far, but I’m not excited.  I’d put money on them not being fertile.  Ziggy and Paco, the timnehs, have not started a clutch yet.  I’m really hoping they have a successful nesting this time with a couple of chicks.

I have 3 parrotlets that will be going home this week, starting tomorrow.  I took a final group shot of them a little while ago.082916Plets101.102.103_01WSzThese are lovely kids.  On the left is the oldest, a male turquoise; next is a blue hen – she is the one leaving tomorrow; and on the right is a male dilute turquoise.  Beautiful kids and a very nice clutch.  I’m still bummed that I lost the youngest one, a female dilute turquoise I was going to keep.  Looking back there is nothing I’d have done differently; sometimes bad things just happen.  😦

I’m now feeding 3 kids which are the second clutch (this year) from the blue parrotlets.  They were born the 1st, 2nd, and 4th of this month, so the oldest is just four weeks old today.  I already have deposits on the two oldest, and will be keeping the youngest – a hen – unless the parents of the 3 in the pic above have another female in the clutch they are currently hatching.  I think they hatched a third baby yesterday.  Mom is extremely protective so it’s hard to tell.  I’ll be pulling those babies in another week and a half or so, so once again will be handfeeding two clutches of different ages.  That is probably it for parrotlets this year, unless the other pair I have decide to go to nest.  They have not been interested, and since it’s been so long since I’ve had a break from handfeeding I’m not too upset with that, either.

The chickens were integrated into the big coop a couple weeks ago, just after dusk.  We took each of the four kids (about 16 weeks old at the time) and I banded them while Scott held them, then he put them onto a perch in the dark coop.  The theory is that in the dark they won’t fight and will just ignore each other and sleep, and then in the morning will not really notice the newcomers.  Amazingly, this works surprisingly well.  So the four have been added to the eight with very little squabbling at all.  The lone roo is crowing pretty well now, too.

I’m starting to see some trees changing color already, which happens every August, and I’m looking forward to fall and gorgeous foliage.  I’ve had enough of the heat.  Nothing makes me happier than breaking out the sweatshirts!


Nita’s Nest

My Etsy Shop


08-25-16: Talk to the TV — August 25, 2016

08-25-16: Talk to the TV

Am I the only one that talks to the TV?  I hope not.  I also hope it’s less because I’m sixty and more because I’m just plain intolerant.

This morning on GMA – that’s Good Morning America for those of you not fortunate enough to get their first real news as well as fluff news of the day so late in the morning – some woman said, “I had to LITERALLY pick my mouth up off the floor!”   To which I said – to the TV – “no, you didn’t, you @$$^*#%!”   and immediately wrote it down to share later with my son, who also finds the misuse of literally to be worth a shake of the head and a chuckle, though not to the point of warranting an emphatic correction of the TV.

Another one that causes me to talk to the TV is the pillow commercial where the woman says “I was more align.”    Again, me and the TV: “AlignED!!!   With an “ED”, you idiot.”  This is one of those things that drives me nuts.  I used to be a spelling Nazi, but spelling is no longer at the top of my list of pet peeves.  It’s this weird dropping of the “ED” which seems to be really prevalent.   I don’t get it.  It does not even sound right.   I see it in print and I hear it frequently.  “I am bias.”    Uh, no, you are not.  You may be “biased” but you are clearly not “bias” in any way, shape or form.

I keep telling myself I will start a list and write it down whenever someone drops the “ED” in such a way as to make me cringe.  I suspect I would need a lot of paper, especially if I also added the “literally” faux pas to that list.

So is it the age thing, or am I just really intolerant?  I would not ever correct anyone directly for this mistake, because though I may be intolerant and rude INSIDE, I am not that way outwardly – or at least I hope not.  I don’t see any way to correct someone for this transgression without appearing to be a self-righteous snob, so I will continue to make a mental note and move on.  Precisely the opposite of what most people seem to do online, I might add!  God forbid any mistake or error online should be left untouched and without comment!

So while I do wish I was more tolerant, at least I have the decency to limit my judgement to mental notes and barking at the TV.  Not literally, mind you.  Or perhaps I should rephrase that.  “I was literally barking at the TV!”    One for my list!


Nita’s Nest

Etsy Shop, for unique bird-themed items as well as SAFE bird toys

08-12-16: RANT — August 12, 2016

08-12-16: RANT

Yes, that is RANT with all caps.  Today started out fine, but it’s only mid-afternoon and I find myself irritated beyond measure.  Let’s start at the beginning.

Scott and I were out sky-watching last night from 10 till almost 2.  It was balmy out and the sky was pretty clear.  Lots of meteors, though not the biggie they said we might experience.  Not unless that happened after 2 AM.  I found myself falling asleep a lot, for short spurts.  So when it was nearly 2 AM that seemed a good point to call it a night.  Of course at 7 AM this morning, I still had to get up to feed the babies and then dole out eggfood in the birdroom to anyone with kids.  I did go back to bed after, and slept till 9 when Scott decided it was time to start his day.  A quick shower and I was ready to get going.  So far so good.

While I was tending the birds, my mind was wandering as it usually does.  Remember, my best blogs are written then – in my mind.  Unfortunately those brilliant blogs rarely make it to the screen.  Anyway, this morning was a cage-cleaning day, and at one point a seed found it’s way into my shoe, and this was what set off my mental blog which was all about the things that annoy us.  The seed in the shoe was the start of my wandering thoughts, because I cannot stand anything in my shoe.  A grain of sand or a tiny seed – either one will drive me insane until I remove it.  Scott says it’s the Princess and the Pea all over again, and I guess it’s true.  So that set my mind off on the tangent of things that annoy.

What else drives me nuts?  Someone bringing a dish or a cup to the sink and leaving it there.  If you’ve already brought it that far, take the extra minute and wash the damn thing and stick it in the strainer.  Perhaps if I had a dishwasher this one wouldn’t irritate.  The fact is, if you’ve already made the effort of bringing something to the sink, though, how tough is it to take that lousy minute to wash it?  Especially when you know it irritates someone else?

I had a friend years ago that once went on a rant about people not pushing the chairs in at her table.  Drove her insane!  You can bet that when I visited I made damn sure to push my chair back in after getting up from the table!  I always thought that was weird, but as I was thinking about that this morning I realized all my chairs were pushed in at the table.  If people started leaving them out maybe I’d be irked, too.

I had to make a quick trip out today, which in itself is an oxymoron.  There is no such thing as a quick trip from here, since it takes a bit to get anywhere.  But anyway, on my trip I again started thinking about things that irritate.  What brought that back up?  The traffic!  So many irritating things there, let’s just pick a couple.

How about the person that drives 40 mph in the 50 mph zone and will not pull over to let me by?  Impossible to pass this time of year, with all the flatlanders up, but you could certainly pull over.  You’re obviously not in a hurry, so PULL OVER.

And this same person often will continue going 40 mph even after the speed limit changes to 35 mph.  “Steady as she goes” must be their watchword in life.

Bicyclists!?!   Oh my word.  Do you WANT to die?  MOVE OVER.  If there is a breakdown lane, why are you in the travel lane?  If there is a breakdown lane, why are you ON THE LINE?  I have no interest in dying soon, so if I was on a bike I’d be over to the right as far as possible.  Even if you are a spandex monkey with a helmet, you will probably not win in a collision with a car.  Move. Over.

OK, so the traffic got me irritated.  No doubt.  The 90-plus degrees didn’t help.  Even with AC blasting and Jim Morrison blaring, it was still an irritating ride.  So it didn’t help when yesterday’s irritations, that I thought were behind me, resurfaced.

One,   Don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE Amazon.  Usually.  But when they do screw up, holy moly.  What a disaster it can be.  Those of us of a certain age know the saying “too many cooks spoil the stew” – or maybe it’s broth? – either way, too many customer service reps and none seem to know what the others are doing, even when you explain the situation over and over.  So they had combined two of my orders a month or so ago, and shipped them together.  Except what I got in the package bore no resemblance to either item ordered.  I emailed, explained the situation.  They said one item was from a third party so that one they cancelled and refunded.  I reordered.  The other was from amazon directly so they resent the item.  I asked if they would send me a paid return address label to return the wrong items.  No need.  Keep them, or dispose of them, we don’t want to inconvenience you further.  OK, cool.   The items came and all was well.

Fast forward to yesterday.  I get an email from customer service that I have not sent them back the items and will be charged.  I email back and give them the whole spiel including copy and pastes of all pertinent info.  Today they apologize all over themselves.  I will not be charged, sorry, blah blah blah.  Great.  Until I then receive another email saying they have sent the item I am missing!    ARRGHH.  I am not missing a thing!  I write back, explain yet again that all is good.. or WAS good.  Oh well, item is on the way.  They tell me to keep it, then a paragraph later tell me to just not accept it or mail it back!   Now I’m pissed.  I don’t need more crap to do that shouldn’t be necessary.  One scathing email later and I’m still steaming.

And the final aggravation comes from the homeowner’s insurance company.  We have done an inspection (oh really?  news to me, who rarely leaves home) and find you are underinsured and should be insured for $325,500!  Really????  Why don’t you write us a check for $300k and you can move right in.  And as further aggravation, they want info on my dog, and have the nerve to say that no matter what, THREE DOGS is unacceptable risk no matter what.  I used to have four poms that would do no more than lick you to death, and they would not have insured us???   So that prompted another email that made the last one seem like a holiday greeting.

I’m done.  Usually I’m pretty happy.  Some things just set me off.  Now it’s time to feed some babies.  Time to take a few deep breaths, because birds feed off our emotions.  They don’t need to deal with Crazy Mama.  So, deep breaths, happy thoughts…


Nita’s Nest

08-10-16: Ambition Gone — August 10, 2016

08-10-16: Ambition Gone

I had lots of ambition this morning as I was doing my birdroom duties.  My brain is often in overdrive while I’m doing the birdroom chores.  The motions are so automatic that they really don’t require thought, which leaves my brain free to wander.  And wander it does.  I often write the most interesting blogs… in my mind… while doing chores.  Most times by the time I am actually able to sit at my computer, I can’t even remember what the subject matter was, let alone details.  Today is such a day.

So what is on my mind now?  “My mind is a complete blank.”  No idea where that quote comes from, but Scott and I heard it together and it’s one of those lines that comes up between us and makes us smile.  He probably no longer remembers where it come from either, but it’s a shared thing.  Much like “I like beans once in a while.”  Now that one I fully recall.  That is a famous line my Dad came out with, completely out of the blue, and is now frequently referenced whenever someone seems to say something off the wall that has nothing to do with anything in the moment.  You have my blessing to use it.  You’ll be amazed at how appropriate it feels.

Alas, my mind truly is a complete blank, at least in so far as anything important goes.  And yet I’ve managed to write two paragraphs basically about nothing.  Pure talent, that.  🙂  OK, on to the basics.

It is a rainy day.  65 degrees and humidity at 96%.  To me, despite the AC, it feels too warm.  I am so looking forward to fall!  Tomorrow is supposed to feel like 100 degrees.  Great.  Glad I picked all the blueberries yesterday as tomorrow I suspect I’ll be hiding inside with the AC and a fan.  I also note that the weather report is now calling for cloudy nights for each of the next three nights, and of course tomorrow night is the peak of the Perseid meteors!  I even had Scott agreeing to go out at 2 or 3 AM to stargaze.  I so hope they are wrong and the clouds do not ruin the show.

I pulled the oldest of the three new parrotlet kids from the nest this morning to see if he was big enough to band.  I probably could have left the band on, but it didn’t offer enough resistance when I pulled, so I pulled it completely off and will try again tomorrow.  Mom was not too impressed with my hand in her nest, and especially with me removing her kid, but she’s an awfully good Mom and merely opened her beak to let me know she wasn’t happy.   Still only three kids there, so maybe the other ones are just not going to hatch.  OK by me; handfeeding only a few kids is much easier and gives me more time with the babies.

The four parrotlets I’ve been handfeeding are all spoken for now.  Three have deposits (one is in the mail, no, really!) and the fourth is one I’m keeping.  They are just about ready to graduate to a cage from the brooder.  I ordered another Vision cage today, because the baby budgies are already in a Vision cage and I’ll be moving them to the living room in a few days.  I don’t normally have this many clutches in a row, but it actually works out great for the babies.  I have more time to devote to each baby.  The drawback is that it seems I’m always handfeeding.  Even with four hours between feedings, you’d be surprised – or maybe not – how quickly that time goes by and then, bam, time to feed again.  Anyway, if I need to temporarily move birds to the living room, a Vision cage is a wonderful thing, as it keeps the seeds and mess inside the cage.  It’s a bit more of a pain to clean, since there is no tray to pull out and instead you undo a couple clips and the entire base comes off.  But that is exactly why it does keep the area clean.

I suspect the greys will be laying soon as well.  I’m just hoping the parrotlets have wound down before the greys hatch anybody out. They are sensitive souls and REALLY require a lot of time and care!

If you are a heat-lover, enjoy the rest of the week.  If not, you can take some comfort in knowing September is just around the corner.


Nita’s Nest

My Etsy Shop


07-25-16: Monday, Monday — July 25, 2016

07-25-16: Monday, Monday

With the Mamas and the Papas ringing in my ears, where shall I start?  I got the birds all cleaned, fed, and watered, the house vacuumed, checks made out, chickens have been checked on, hot tub parameters have been checked and doctored, and the first of two loads of laundry is in the washer.  And there are twenty-two minutes till the next handfeeding!  So it’s blog time.

I guess you really know you’re getting older when you can stand up and your ankle goes out.  This happened a couple of years ago to me and I ended up using a cane for a while, it was so bad.  Then it went away, nearly as quickly as it had come.  Yesterday the same thing happened again.  Minding my own business, I stood up and felt that sharp pain in my right ankle.  Not so bad that I couldn’t just limp around, being careful to favor it.

When I got up this morning, it was still there.  I almost put an ankle brace on, but figured some sturdy, supportive sneakers – that’s “athletic shoes” to you younguns out there – would do just as well.  I hobbled around doing my chores.  When I went out to check on the chickens the pain disappeared.  I mean it was there one second, and gone the next.  I’m not complaining, but how weird is that?  Hopefully it will stay gone.  If not, I happen to know where there is a cane with my name on it.  Literally.  Yeah, I’m the person that puts their name on a cane.

I guess it’s going to be another hot day, and looks to be that way most of the week.  The dog days of summer are truly meant for MY dog.  Spotticus loves the heat!  He will stay out in the sun and relax until he begins to melt, then finally seems to realize he’d better come in before he goes the way of the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz.  Me?  I’m happy in front of a fan, and really looking forward to fall.  The only thing wrong with fall is that it’s the precursor to winter.

The two parrotlet kids I’d been handfeeding went to their new homes on Saturday.  They are doing well and settling in nicely.  I moved the five budgies I’m handfeeding to the cage they were in, so they have more floor space now.  Immediately, all five – even the youngest – begin pigging out on millet and also on pellets!  Like a switch had been turned on!   They are now getting only three handfeedings a day and it’s still a bit of a circus.  Spot loves it, because somebody always ends up on the floor.  Spot’s tail is like a metronome and I can easily find the bird by looking in the direction of his nose.  I still give him a loud and stern NO when a bird flies down, but I really don’t think he’d ever grab one.  It wasn’t always that way, and when he was younger I always crated him when doing anything with the birds.  If you give Spot a furry toy he will hold it down with his paws while ripping every bit of fuzz out of it.  I have visions of him doing the same to a bird that I will make sure never come true!

The four little – and I do mean little! – parrotlet kids are doing well and seem to be doing well  on five feedings a day.  I will try to band the next-to-the-youngest one later today.  They’ve grown a lot in just a few days and are looking good.

I opened up the nestboxes for the greys this weekend, and it was less than five seconds before both hens dove into their respective boxes!  Wow!  Ziggy and Ruby both had been doing a lot of banging on the sheet metal that was covering the entrance holes.  It reminds us of the old movies where the prisoners in jail would bang their metal water cups on the bars.  Except the birds don’t want OUT, they want IN.   Despite that super-fast entry into the boxes, it will probably be at least a month before any eggs are laid.  My fingers are crossed for success.  I would love to see the congos have a fertile egg or two, but I’m sure not holding my breath.

I see my time is up.  Time to feed babies again.  One last bit before I go, though.  The Aquarid meteor shower peaks mid-week.  This is a great time of year for meteors.  From now through mid-August there should be some meteors every night if you are lucky enough to have a clear sky and not too much light.  The full moon is behind us now, so viewing conditions should be getting better and better.  OK, babies need feeding!

Till next time,


7-13-16: Babies Babies Babies — July 19, 2016

7-13-16: Babies Babies Babies

There are lots of babies in the house right now!  There are parrotlets in the nest, as well as eggs in another nest, canaries in the nest, budgies being handfed, and angelfish fry!

The two parrotlet kids I’ve been handfeeding are due to go home this weekend.  This is one of those matches made in heaven where I am thrilled with where they are going.  The lady is married to a vet and used to have a parrotlet so understands the care they need.  Plus they are taking both girls, which is super.  The two girls are going to do great with them.  I’ve been sending her pix almost every day and it’s so nice to have someone that is excited about their kids and has everything ready.  071716PletKids01The kids are just gorgeous and so sweet, too!

The parents of these two are on another clutch right now.  I know they have at least four eggs, but suspect there are more.  Looks like I’ll be handfeeding for a while to come.

The five budgies I’m feeding are still little lunatics.  They sure do get excited at feeding time!  They squawk and make a ton of noise and are so excited they usually grab onto me like little vultures.  They are down to four feedings a day, and I have seen a couple of the older ones picking at millet.  Looking forward to them being weaned.

I was given another budgie this past weekend.  A lovely green hen (I think – the jury is still out on that one) named Sprite, who appears to be a dominant pied, and is really very pretty.  I’d like to pair Sprite with one of the kids I’m handfeeding, but until I know for sure what the sex is that could be a bit risky.

The parrotlet pair with babies (four that I know of) is the pair I had made up from two of my pairs’ kids last year.  I had tried to sell the pair at the last BOAF (Birds of a Feather) show but had no takers.  Too bad, they could have doubled their money on just one clutch.  I knew they would be a good pair because they had been handfed and raised together so were extremely bonded.  As soon as I gave them a box they went to nest, laid 7 eggs, and have hatched four babies.  So far I’ve only really gotten one quick look (and a picture) but all seems to be going well.071716ParrotletKidsHow cute are they!?

The angelfish pair laid eggs on July 13th.  They had originally surprised me by spawning when they were in the 29 gallon community tank.  I was totally unprepared and the fry didn’t make it.  So I moved the pair to my 20 gallon tank, got them a piece of slate to lay the eggs on, and waited.  Finally, eggs were laid and at this point there must be a hundred tiny little fry swimming around.  The only wrinkle is that the baby brine shrimp the fry should be eating are not hatching out as expected in the little hatchery.  My eggs are over ten years old, but have been kept in the freezer.  When I hatched some before, I had been pleased that they did hatch.  I figured I was all set for when the angels spawned again.  So why are the eggs now hatching so poorly?  Murphy’s Law?

Luckily I have some dry fry food that I am giving to the kids, but it is not ideal and I have ordered more brine shrimp eggs in the meantime.  I’m guessing the fry must be eating some of the dry fry food or surely they’d have all died already.  But really, this is such a learning experience.

I’ve been very fortunate to have some expert advice from a guy named Paul.  I watched one of his videos on You Tube and emailed him.  He’s been super about answering my many questions and giving me advice.  Nice to know I’m not the only one that answers questions when newbies ask – in my case about birds and in Paul’s case about fish fry.  I see so many people online be rude when people ask questions.  Yes, it takes time to answer.  And yes, sometimes it’s tedious to answer the same questions a million times.  But if people didn’t want to learn, they wouldn’t be asking.  Anyway, off my soapbox now, but I feel very fortunate to have found someone willing to share their knowledge.  071916AngelFry03.jpgAll those dark things to the right of the fish?  Babies!  LOL.  So cute!  I got nervous yesterday when I saw one of the parents seeming to be a bit over-zealous in gathering the wandering fry (in their mouth) and they didn’t seem to always be spitting them back out!  So I distracted the parents with some food and nabbed a net full of kids to transfer to a five gallon tank.  Hedging my bets.  There may be a hundred or more kids, but honestly I’ll be happy if half a dozen make it to the point where they resemble angelfish!

It’s already mid-July so the summer is going by quickly, as all time seems to do.  The garden got a very late start but is finally looking a bit more promising.  The flowers in the yard are all looking really nice, too.

Scott got me a piece of wood and I made a sign for the small chicken coop, designed to give them a bit of shade.  Along with moving our big metal rooster on the same side of their yard as the sign, they now have a bit of shade on those super hot days. I like it!071516BantyShanty.jpg


If you have birds and you haven’t checked out my Etsy shop, please do.  There is a coupon code that will save you a few bucks and maybe you can check out a few toys for your “fids”. There  are also some goodies there for bird-loving humans as well.



07-07-16: Walkabout — July 7, 2016

07-07-16: Walkabout

When handfeeding my birds, there comes a point where we begin to focus on having the babies well-adjusted and easy-going.  As part of that process, we take the kids on what we call Walkabouts.  This usually happens once the baby can perch on our hand.  So we have the bird perched and take a walk, talking to the baby the whole time and explaining what we are seeing, much as you would for a human baby or toddler.  Generally the first Walkabout consists of going from kitchen to dining room, with stops at the aquarium and at the finch flight on the wall.  A loop or two around the dining room table usually completes these first Walkabouts, and then we head back to the kitchen.  When all goes well, the baby will remain perched for the duration.  If they fly off, we go after them and have them step up again and proceed.

The two blue parrotlets I’ve been handfeeding are at this Walkabout stage.  One is now 5 weeks old and her sister is a day shy of this.  They are fully feathered and gorgeous, and although they are at 3 feedings per day I am basically having to force a tiny amount of formula on them – more for my benefit than theirs.  They are eating spray millet, pellets, and a seed mix on their own, and in sufficient quantities that I’d call them self-sustaining at this time.  They are all over their cage; hopping from perch to perch and up to the swing and showing interest in their toys as well.  They also “step up” pretty quickly when asked, though with parrotlets it really comes naturally to them once they gain control over their bodies’ movements.

Today they had their first Walkabout.  I had them both perched on my left hand, with my trusty camera in my right.  We walked to the dining room, with me giving a running commentary on what we were doing and seeing.  Much of it – most of it, really – is talk about nothing, designed mainly to get them used to a human holding them and talking to them where, not only does no harm come to them but, they also get to see new and interesting things.

We stop first at the finch flight.  There are 10 finches in the flight.  It is 9′ long and the finches enjoy flying from one end to the other.  It’s like Must-See-TV for the bird on the Walkabout!   I bring them up close to the glass front and tell them “these are the finches.  Aren’t they cute and tiny?   They aren’t much smaller than you are.”   And blah blah blah, LOL.  Yes, I am able to talk for minutes about nothing, while I have their captive attention.070716PletWalkabout01

Next we head to the 29 gallon aquarium, and again I give a commentary on the “fishies” and point out various individuals. 070716PletWalkabout03

At this point, if the birds are still on my hand I’m doing well, as are they.  It’s not uncommon to have the bird fly off  – whereupon I will go fetch them and resume where I left off.  Today the parrotlet kids stayed put for the duration.  After we admired the fish we took a loop around the table and headed back to their cage.  They stepped up onto their swing, marking the end of the first very successful Walkabout.


Nita’s Nest

My Etsy Shop, featuring safe bird toys made from a variety of interesting textures for your bird’s entertainment, as well as unique, handcrafted, hand-painted items such as Key Racks and Clocks.  Recently added: Cribbage Boards!

06-22-16 Bloggy Blog Blog — June 22, 2016

06-22-16 Bloggy Blog Blog

Why is this “Bloggy Blog Blog”?   Beats me; it’s just what popped into my head a few minutes ago when I booted up the PC and thought, “it’s been a while since I’ve written a blog, so I really should” even though there was nothing earth-shattering to post.  Then again, is there ever?  So let me just start and see where it goes.

I heard one of the barred rock chicks, now 8 weeks old, trying to crow this morning.  You’d probably think it a pathetic attempt, unless you like animals like I do.  In that case it’s “awww, how cute!!!”   At this point the mostly white cochin has been disposed of as a rooster, and it really looks like three of the four barred rock kids are roosters as well.  The “puffhead” is still up in the air.  I’m really hoping it’s a hen.   We plan to keep any hens as well as one barred rock rooster, so that next year we can hopefully produce more barred rocks.  Maybe we’ll even get lucky and manage to produce more than 25% hens!

Inside birds are doing well.  Three lovely canary kids in the nest, two of which have crests which make them look like little Beatles.  The three are highly variegated with lots of yellow, which is my personal favorite. 062116CanaryKids12DaysOldThey were 12 days old yesterday, when this picture was taken.

The budgie pair I was given now have hatched their fifth baby.  Lousy picture here, but I’m forced to slide open the end door and snap a pic really quick because Mom is not impressed with me being a nosebag!062116FiveBabyBudgiesHowever, despite the blur I think if you look close you can count all five. In order of hatching (from top of pic to bottom), we have fourth, third, second, first, and fifth.  I’m going to need to pull the oldest soon to band, but Mama is going to be mighty irritated!

The parrotlet kids, two blues, were pulled last Sunday for handfeeding.  They are doing great and are now 19 and 20 days old. 062116Plets18And19DaysOldThis picture was taken yesterday.  So far it looks like two hens.  What sweet little faces they have.

Today is a very important birthday.  Our favorite furball, Spotticus, is SEVEN years old today!!!   He is truly the best dog we’ve ever had, in spite of his obnoxious behavior to anyone but his “immediate” family.  He loves Scott and Alex, and I think his Mama (that would be ME) is his favorite.  🙂  So we can overlook his attempts to terrorize any other human he sees.  That would include those he catches glimpses of across the street and any delivery person that dares to enter the driveway, let alone actually come to the door!   We love him to pieces.  He is a huge part of the family.  I will make a cake later to mark the occasion, and Spot himself will get his favorite treats.061816SpotAndTheMamasLegsThat’s my boy!  (At my feet, as usual!)

Last week I had been amazed to find that my angelfish pair in my 29 gallon community tank had managed to hatch eggs!   Even now after having read numerous articles on how to sex angelfish I still can’t say which is which, so this was really a cool thing to happen.  I removed all the other fish, which created havoc and I’m shocked I didn’t lose all the kids in the ensuing chaos.  There were still maybe a dozen fish or more to be seen, however.  At that point they were not free-swimming yet.  The only other egg-laying fish I’d ever managed to breed were bettas, so I immediately began searching for info.  I did find one You Tube video that I found well done, so I emailed the poster of said video.  I was hoping that, like me, he has no problem sharing what he knows with those who ask.  I was very happy to find that he IS, and through several emails I have learned a lot already.

One thing I learned was I’d better find my brine shrimp hatching equipment that Scott had made for me back when I was breeding the bettas, because the angels apparently need freshly hatched brine shrimp to start out in life.  In case you’re not familiar with these, they are the “Sea Monkeys” of our youth – well, IF you are old enough to remember them.  I can assure you that actual brine shrimp do not smile and play as the old ads used to depict them!     I found the equipment yesterday and set it up, though I did need Scott to free up the valve used in the process, and now it’s a matter of waiting a bit longer to see if they hatch or if brine shrimp eggs do NOT last a decade in the freezer.

I’m thinking this particular hatch of angels will probably not make it – and in fact I have not seen a baby for the last two days now.  I am told by my expert, though, that it’s not uncommon for them to disappear in the tank, only to find each other and school together days later.  I do know the parents don’t seem to be fry-eaters, since I watched them sucking kids into their mouths and spitting them out in the area where they were trying to keep them corralled.  I’m told that if they do that rather than eating them, they will probably continue to be good parents.

Bottom line is that much like when dealing with the birds, I have already learned invaluable information from this.  I now know: 1) I have an actual pair; 2) they managed to lay and hatch eggs; and 3) they appear to be good parents.  Angelfish can apparently lay eggs every week to ten days, though they may not do so when they already have kids.  I’m better prepared now – or will be once I get the brine shrimp situation under control – and I’m hopeful that even if there are no kids remaining of this hatch, I will be able to successfully breed them in the near future.

Most of my “news” always concerns the critters, doesn’t it?   Hey, that’s my life.

This past weekend the guys were off fishing (the new boat has proven to be a real cheap thrill for them, which is great!) and I looked outside to see a BIG bear (not the biggest, I’m sure, but big enough!) hanging around outside our fence in the lower yard.  I grabbed my good camera because that area is at least 100′ away so I needed to be able to zoom in, and ran out onto the deck.  Turned my camera on and of course the battery was dead.  I should add that  Mr. Bear sees me and does not care.  He continues about his business, checking things out.  I go inside and try to remember where I put my camera case when I removed it from Alex’s old room which is once again his current room.  Takes a minute and I think I remember and lo and behold I am right.  Grab the spare battery and swap it for the dead one and head back out.  I spent the next ten minutes taking pix of Mr. Bear.  Once I’d taken a few that I thought would be decent, I peppered my snapping of pix with intermittent arm-flapping and hooting and hollering.  Such a good thing we have no close neighbors to see the insane lady performing on her deck.  Anyway, Mr. Bear hears me, sees me, and cares not.  Now I didn’t go back in and grab the air horn, because I’ve done so in the past and THAT Mr. Bear also cared not, even when I was blowing his brains out with the air horn.  It did, however, scare me half to death, and I was the one pressing the trigger on it!061816Bear17.jpgThe stump is 3′ tall.

061816Bear08I would prefer to see Mr. Bear at Clark’s Trading Post, not in my backyard.  My garden is mainly down in this lower area of the yard, and from now on I’ll be putting on another show by talking loudly whenever I am approaching that area, or singing, or blowing that damn air horn.  Probably flapping my arms, too.   I have an uneasy feeling that this bear really won’t care, and may just stop and watch the crazy lady put on a show.

Till next time,

Nita   I’m running a coupon code which will save you $5.00 off your item(s) totaling $49.00 or more; check it out!




06-02-16 Beautiful — June 2, 2016

06-02-16 Beautiful

Everything has greened up and leafed out and just reeks of LIFE.  Even up here on the hill where we are about two weeks behind everybody else, the lilacs are in full bloom and the rhododendrons are just starting to bloom.  The irises are out.  The lawn is growing like crazy.  Everything is alive and thriving, and making up for the long winter.  No matter what else is wrong in one’s life, spring and early summer is a time when everything seems right with nature.  I can’t imagine what it must be like to live in a city where you don’t see all these signs of nature at her best.

The chicks are now six weeks old and have been coming outside for close to a week now.  They still have a light for heat inside the coop, but it’s a smaller version of the original and they really only use it on very cool nights.  In the morning, they are ready and waiting for the door to open so they can rush out onto the ramp that leads them to the fresh air.  They are not yet smart enough to go inside on their own come dusk, but that always takes a while.  Scott did manage to get one inside last night under its own steam, so he only had to catch six of them.

There is a bit of kick-boxing action going on with the two mille fleur cochins, too.  It would figure that they are probably both roosters!  The bronze laced polish chick is quite lovely, and I’m really hoping it is a hen.  The four barred rock kids are much smaller than those other three, so I’m guessing they will be quite petite even when full-grown.  These are all bantys, but I guess there is still some variation to the size.  I still have no clue as to the  sexes of any of these kids, but I just hope we have SOME hens out of the seven!

The older hens are now giving me three or four eggs per day.  Since they are bantys, it takes two to make the equivalent of one large chicken egg, so they barely keep up with us.  We do really enjoy having them, though, and if we do end up with all roosters we will keep the best so we can make more kids next spring!

We have a pair of bluebirds nesting in one of the houses, as well as several pairs of chickadees, robins, and phoebes.  This year the swallows booted out a pair of chickadees from the house near the goldfish “pond” which left the bluebirds to lay claim to the house of their dreams that the swallows normally grab.  So I guess in the end it all worked out well, and I’m sure the pleasant little chickadees found another spot.  We have a LOT of houses, and yet most years they still squabble over certain ones.  The more birds the better, especially since they eat so many bugs!

Inside, I just had a parrotlet baby hatch.  I think he’s going to be the only one of the clutch, which was mostly infertile save for one other egg in which the chick tried to hatch but didn’t make it.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Mom will still feed the lone chick.  In nature, it’s not in their best interest to “waste time” on a lone chick when they could go back to nest and have a full clutch of 4 to 7 babies, so often a single chick will be abandoned.  We shall see.

The new budgies are now in the birdroom and laying a clutch of eggs.  All seems to be going well there. They have laid three so far and are both spending a lot of time in the box.  Hopefully they will hatch and I’ll have some budgies to handfeed.  It’s been a long, long time since we’ve had budgies in the house, so it will be fun.  We actually really enjoyed having them in the living room, but since the guys were going to be wanting the AC turned on and lots of air movement, I figured I’d better get the budgies into the birdroom before that happened.

My canaries are not exactly cooperating this year.  They were “in the mood” in the winter, which is just not right so I refused to give in to them, making them wait till spring.  They dropped eggs all over the place and then went into their molts, and now they are finally starting to get back in the mood.  Of course now it’s a bit late in the season!  🙂

The gouldian baby that had been abandoned by the foster parent societies is finally weaned!  I had been handfeeding her since she was near three weeks old, and for a while I thought she’d never wean.  This past Monday was the last feeding she got, and she is doing well.   I also have four kids that are finally colored up enough to sell.  Check my website for pix and info.

Someone asked me what the windspinners I had mentioned looked like.  You may recall that my son got me a lovely flamingo for my birthday, and then a crow for Mother’s Day.  We already had an oriole and a dragon.  The flamingo is probably my favorite, so here is a picture of it:


She’s a beauty!

We had some fun this past weekend sending rockets up.  The humans had fun; Spotticus did NOT.  He was not impressed, not one little bit.  My little chihuahua may be a fierce defender of his Mama, but some things just terrify him.  He doesn’t like when the guys shoot guns, and we now know he does not like rockets being launched.  So Spotty went inside where it was safe and quiet.  The rockets were fun, though.


My guys are on vacation next week, and we get to celebrate their birthdays, too.  I always said that Alex was Scott’s birthday present back in ’86, because we brought him home on Scott’s birthday.  So their birthdays are two days apart and we usually try to celebrate for several days.  Since Alex is living here at the moment we can celebrate all week!  Then in a couple of weeks we can celebrate Spot’s birthday, too.  I can’t believe he will be 7 already!  Time really does go way too fast.  Enjoy today, since you never know how many tomorrows you have left.

Till next time,