Posted by: vitrolm | July 15, 2011


Last night after cuddling with Mozart (as we do nightly), I tried to put her to bed in her cage, and she kept jumping back into my arms and snuggling her little head under my hair. Let’s all say it together now — “AWWWW.” I’m a sucker; I let her sleep on me for another hour before putting her to bed for good.

Here’s a picture of me, Mozart, and Pancho sleeping together:

Posted by: vitrolm | July 15, 2011

Friends and Glasses

Mozart got to meet our best friends Cristi and Damani last weekend. They brought us newspaper :D. We already knew Mozart had an affinity for glasses, and Cristi soon found out that Mozie was willing to fly to a stranger for them:

Cristi has her glasses off for the sake of sight survival. Kudos to Cristi for making the birdy girl comfortable enough to fly to her! Later in the evening, Mozart went for Damani’s glasses while we were eating dinner, and Mozart landed right in his plate! Thank goodness he didn’t mind too much!

Posted by: vitrolm | July 14, 2011

The Hydrophobic Bowl Bather

As you may know, African Grey Parrots produce a lot of dust, and need frequent drenching showers to have healthy feathers and skin. Frequent baths are also important for keeping the dust allergies down. I first tried offering Mozart a big crock of warm water. She responded by pooping in the water. ūüôā

The first time I tried to spray Mozart, she flew over to a lamp and pooped on the lamp shade. It’s clear this bird is repelled by water (as I jokingly labeled her hydrophobic). ¬†An article by Pamela Clark called “But He Doesn’t Like It” helped me regain the courage to keep trying the bath. The only way to get her to take a bath would be to spray her while she’s in her cage. This is one pissed off wet bird:


Wet, silly, parrot. She hated being sprayed with her bottle for her morning shower, so she goes to the playtop and drenched herself in her water bowl…

Posted by: vitrolm | July 6, 2011

First Work Day

Mozart came to us as an early riser, so when Neil woke up to get ready for work, Mozart started squeaking to be let out of her cage. Neil was happy to oblige and gave her fresh food/water. We switched off keeping an eye on her while the other took a shower, etc.

When it was time for me to leave, I told Mozart “Mommy has to go to work. Time to go back in the cage.” I took her off of her play top and locked her up, followed by giving her a nutriberry, which she loves. I set up her avian light, turned on the radio for her, and made sure she had shade to hide from the light if she wanted. I said “Bye bye, Mozart. Be back soon. Got to go to work. See you later.”

My stomach was IN KNOTS all day about leaving her for so long. I wondered was she bored? How mad would she be when I got home?

She must have sensed my stress because here’s what happened:

“Today when I got home from work and let Mozart out of her cage, I offered her some warm sweet potato (she ignored me), then offered her a sunflower seed (breeder said she loves ’em), and all she did was give me an angry look and growl at me.¬†¬†Cry

Is she mad because I was gone for so long, you think? Today was the first day we went to work, but the breeder worked, and we had shorter periods of being gone over the weekend so she wouldn’t get used to us being here all hours.¬†

The other night she flew to the top of the bedroom door frame and was having trouble hanging on, so I slowly went to her and said “you need help?” She flew down to my chest and sat on my shoulder while I gave her a little tour, which she seemed to enjoy. She gets REALLY mad when we put her in her cage. Also, I’ve been turning the avian bulb on during the day when we are gone, but I leave a part of the cage covered so she can get away from it if she wants. Looking at her droppings, she stayed in the shade ALL DAY. Maybe the light is upsetting her?¬†

I don’t know what to do. It seems like the longer she’s here the more she dislikes us. She was so sweet the first full day, then less so yesterday, and today she didn’t want us near her this morning before work OR this afternoon. She won’t even fly to her playstands now — she just stays on her cage top. I must be a horrible mom. Please, if you have any suggestions, or questions, I am open.¬†

I’ve been talking sweetly to her, giving her yummy foods, giving her toys that she likes to play with, putting her to bed earlier, etc. The only thing I do that she showed any aversion to before was to put her in her cage when we are gone or it’s time for bed. “

I wrote the breeder with my concerns. I missed her call, but she left me a sweet voice message letting me know it is NOT ME, and that Mozart just needs time to adjust.

After that, I made a really huge effort to lower my energy before approaching Mozart, and she has never growled at me again!

Posted by: vitrolm | July 3, 2011

Day 2: Sweet Birdie Kisses

Saturday, June 25th, 2011 was Mozart’s first FULL day home.

Here’s the message board post I made:

“Things are so wonderful today! She’s been kept in the room with her cage, and I’ve moved both of her playstands in there with her. She happily flies back and forth between stands, plays with foot toys I give her, eats, drinks, and squeaks little baby sounds. She stretches and preens. She has accepted head scratches from Neil, Myself, Neil’s mom, my mom, and my mom’s friend (and LOVED it). She kept putting her head down for more scratches. She’s let Neil pet her all the way down the wings. If you make a kissy face at her, she puts her beak up to your face and gives little licks, but I told everyone to not let her lick the mouth since human saliva is not good for them.

She has eaten a lot of the Hagan’s tropimix now, but turned down cooked broccoli tonight. She likes nutriberries as a treat, but they are not enough to motivate her to step up. I’m going to have to break that one down to approximations with a smaller treat once I find what she loves. I imagine that’ll get much better over time as she trusts us more, too.

No crashes today!¬†Smiley¬†I’ll let her get used to one room at a time.”


Posted by: vitrolm | July 3, 2011

Day 1 at Home: Mozart can fly!

We picked up Mozart from the airport at about 6:20 PM after she had been away from the breeder for a total of 8 hours!!!  She

came to us in a pink carrying case, and boy was she mad at first! She was growling and screeching at the man who handed us her case. As soon as I started to give her food and water through the bars, she became very sweet and chatted the whole way home.

When we got home, I put out a soft blanket and some foot toys. She was scratching to be let out, poor thing, so I opened the door. She climbed on top of that carrier and FLEW to a nearby hanging light fixture. I quickly put her play stand beside the area, and that’s where she stayed until bed time.

She stretched, preened, chirped, and squeaked at us, being very sweet. She took water and sweet potato from our hands.

We soon found out that our clipped baby bird is QUITE a talented flier! She had some crashes and made us VERY NERVOUS as new “parronts.” She’s a tough girl, though.


Posted by: vitrolm | July 2, 2011

Researching Care and Behavior

As a first time bird owner going for a difficult parrot, the Grey, I knew I would need to be as much of an expert as I could before Mozart came home. By far my best internet source has been the message boards at The African Grey Another favorite site is The Grey Play Round Table. Here are the books that I read:

Posted by: vitrolm | July 2, 2011

Birdie Grey Supplies


The first thing we bought for our Grey was a cage. I searched so many sites on the internet for days and days, looking for the best and biggest cage for the cheapest price. I looked on craigslist, too. I even posted on a message board to get advice.  Neil and his Mom ended up getting a cage for my birthday (February 2, 2011) from The Aviarium because they gave us a good deal on a big cage.

The cage is a A&E Playtop 48″x36″x76″, and here are some pictures of it in our home:



Most of the toys that we bought came from the Atlanta Bird Fair. The fair had such a good selection and better prices than in the store. Since fairs can be a breeding ground for bird diseases, we washed all of the toys in a sanitizing cycle in the dishwasher. We bought pine wood toys, foraging toys, leather straps, shredding toys, and foot toys.

Mozart seems to like her foot toys the best so far:



One play stand we bought from the fair, and the other one we made. For the home made one, we got natural wood from a friend who was trimming some trees. We verified we could use Birch by referencing a bird safe woods website. Most of the supplies such as the pine base, the stainless steel screws, and the wheels were bought at Home Depot or Lowes. We had to order stainless steel screw eyes online  since none of the stores we tried had small enough stainless steel hooks to hang toys from. This was important as Zinc is toxic to birds.

The Purchased Stand:                The Home-Made Stand: 



Mozart, just like a baby, needed everything here before she came home.  In addition to everything above, we needed a variety of different perches, an Aviator Harness, a humidifier, a spray bottle, newspaper to line the cage bottom, a small sleep cage, and a lot of food.

Posted by: vitrolm | July 2, 2011

Birdie Blog Intro

Mozart is our female African Grey Parrot, and she has been home for a week now. Mozart, a female? Yep, lots of greys have names that are mixed up like that since you can’t tell the sex by looking at them. We picked the name before we knew if she was a boy or a girl, and the name stuck. If you call “her” a “he,” she doesn’t really care. ūüôā

First thing’s first — How did we get here? ¬†When Neil and I decided we wanted to have a companion parrot, I did a search on the internet for a good quality breeder. I found Deb Even of Feather Focus and emailed her asking for advice on how to decide what bird would be right for us. I also emailed LOCAL breeders and got no response! Deb responded with a ton of great information and questions.

After days and hours of research (reading, talking to bird people, watching videos, etc.), we decided to take the plunge with an African Grey Parrot.  We adore their intelligence, mimicking abilities, sense of humor, independent nature, noise level, and looks.

In this blog I hope to highlight how we prepared to bring home our first bird as well as detail the experiences as a Grey owner.