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Music For Your Enjoyment

Archive for the ‘Birds’ Category

Become a bird.  World-famous bird photographer and writer, Arthur Morris, takes plenty of pictures of birds.  He recently visited Sarasota.  He came to make a presentation to the Sarasota Audubon Society.

Arthur Morris & Donna Paige

Arthur Morris & Donna Paige

More than 11,000 of Arthur Morris’s photographs have been published in national publications including American Birds, Audubon, Birder’s World, Florida Wildlife and Nature, National Geographic, Natural History, Nature Photographer, Outdoor Photographer, Ranger Rick, Wildbird, and other magazines, as well as in hundreds of books and calendars.

He taught elementary school in New York City for twenty-three years. For eight years he conducted the shorebird survey at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge for The International Shorebird Surveys.  Mr. Morris became a Canon contract photographer and has been featured in six episodes of the “Canon Photo Safari” television show.  Two of his images were awarded prizes in the 1997 BG plc Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition.  He is also a popular lecturer, having presented more than 250 slide programs during the past 15 years.  Arthur now photographs, travels, speaks, and teaches extensively in North America.

Photo in snow

The Audubon Society, where Arthur Morris made his presentation, is dedicated to the protection, conservation and enjoyment of birds, wildlife and the environment.  I am learning so many things about birds and how important they are to our existence and the world as a whole by being a volunteer.  All of the Audubon Societies need more volunteers.

mom and babiesOne thing I’ve learned has to do with climate change.  The heat-trapping gasses, especially carbon dioxide have been known to cause climate change.  This change includes melting glaciers and polar icecaps, acidifying the oceans, increasing extreme temperatures and desertification in many areas.  This reduces habitats and numbers of numerous species of wildlife. The fifteen hottest years on record since modern global temperatures have been kept, have all occurred since 1991.  We have lost a third of our Arctic sea ice in the past thirty years.

Another subject I was not aware of, several species of birds nest on beaches each year.  The volunteers with the Audubon Societies watch over these nests to be sure they are not disturbed and the birds survive.  Many people visit beaches and don’t realize that the nests need to be left alone.  Motor craft also affect the nests when they come to close to shore.

To learn more about the Audubon Society click here.

They are always looking for volunteers.

wood duckI hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season.  I spent a couple of days helping the Audubon Society with their Christmas bird count.  I spent one day with the Sarasota Audubon Society and the other with the Manatee Audubon Society.  They are dedicated to the protection, conservation and enjoyment of birds, wildlife and the environment.

When I was asked to help I said, count birds?  How do you count the birds when they are flying all over?  How do you know if you are counting the same bird twice?  My biggest challenge, knowing which bird I saw.  They all look like sparrows, hawks or vultures to me, especially when they fly so fast and high.  We counted about 50 different species of bird in my area of Florida.  The people who have been doing this for years can tell what kind of bird it is based on their sounds, the way they move their tail, flap their wings, etc.  I have a new appreciation for the people who bird watch.  It’s not easy!

painted bunting

I wanted to know why this count is important?  This count has been going on since 1982.  When you look at the numbers over the years you begin to see birds in an area that were never there.  You also notice birds that used to be here, are no longer here.  That data is important for birds but also for humans and other animals.  There can be a lot of reasons for the change in numbers.

wood pecker

They also have a number of Field Trips that you can attend through out the year.  If you have never been aware of birds, join one of these fun events.  You will become aware of your surroundings in a new and different way.

One important thing that did have an impact on me involved feeding of animals.  I love animals so much that I always want to feed them when I can.  These are wild animals and need to stay that way.  When we feed them we are not giving them the type of food they really need AND they become dependant on us.  We are hurting them, not helping them.  I had some squirrels come up to me and stand on my shoes.  They looked right into my eyes asking for food.  They were very overweight and I’m sure not healthy.  It was cute but really affected me.  I have a tendency of feeding birds bread, which is not good for them.


Someone also took me to visit an organization that I was not aware of.  It’s called Save our Seabirds, Inc.  It is located by the Mote Marine in Sarasota Florida.  It is open from 10am-5pm seven days a week.

They rescue and rehabilitate hundreds of native and migratory birds each year.  When the Tampa Bay channel experienced a devastating 365-barrel oil spill. Lee Fox, the founder, managed more than 3,000 volunteers over a three-month period to minimize the impact of this tragedy on the local seabirds. An unprecedented 85% of the birds affected – a total of 371 were saved! In recognition of her efforts, Lee received eleven separate awards from the U.S. Coast Guard and other environment groups.  Education and outreach has always been a major focus of SOS.  They are run by volunteers and can use more.  If you have interest in volunteering your time, providing materials needed to help the birds or want to donate, contact them.


Landers animalsJudy Landers, who is on my board of advisers, her two daughters (Lindsey and Kristy), as well as Judy’s husband, Tom Niedenfuer (retired, American Major League Baseball Pitcher) are all animal lovers.  Judy’s sister, Audrey Landers, and her mom, Ruth Landers, also love animals.  All of them have saved many animals over the years.  This is what they had to say when I asked them about their animals…..

They have one dog named Champ.  He is an 8 year old Collie who has been a loving Landers-Niederfuer family member for 71/2 years.  The most amazing thing about Champ is his sweet, gentle personality and sense of humor (along with his amazing looks).

Teddy is a 3 year old mixed breed who was adopted from the Sarasota Humane Society.  When they first saw him, he was so shy and stressed, he wouldn’t even come out to socialize.  If you raised your hand to pet him lovingly, he would cower to the ground in tear.  It was very clear that he had been as abused dog, but they knew that with all the love they could give him, they would turn his life around.  Now, Teddy has become the most loving, loyal dog they could ever imagine, and lives to snuggle and get hugs.

Sage is a baby Cockatoo (one of five birds that they have) who travels with them wherever they go.  At only 6 months, Sage is a seasoned traveler, having been to Hollywood over 10 times and New York City as well.

Tom's picture

All the animals in the Lander-Niederfuer family are fed holistic pet food along with an organic, healthful, vegetarian concoction (that Judy prepares herself) of brown rice, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peas, garlic, olive oil and parmesan cheese.

Incidentally, other pets they have are: Princess Iggy, a 16 year old, 5 foot long Iguana.  Birds: Zorro, Mary-Kate and Ashley and Baby Spice.

They like the message of this show, helping animals all over the world, and are very supportive, in many ways.

eagle faceA friend of mine, Bob Pelham, took these wonderful pictures of the Golden Eagle in New Mexico.  I wanted to know more about this power and gorgeous looking bird.  This is what I found…..

This is North America’s largest bird of prey and the national bird of Mexico. They are dark brown, with lighter golden-brown plumage on their heads and necks. They are extremely swift, and can dive upon their quarry at speeds of more than 150 miles (241 kilometers) per hour.

Basic facts: They are carnivores, live an average of 30 years, 33-38 inches in size with a wingspan 6-8 feet.  They weight from 6-15 pounds.

Man and eagle

Golden eagles use their speed and sharp talons to snatch up rabbits, marmots, and ground squirrels. They also eat carrion, reptiles, birds, fish, and smaller fare such as large insects. They have even been known to attack full grown deer, sheep and other farm animals. In the 1950’s ranchers killed as many as 20,000 of these birds for fear that they would prey on their livestock, but studies showed that the animal’s impact was minimal. Today, golden eagles have been protected by law since 1963.

Golden eagle pair up so they can maintain territories as large as 60 square miles. They are monogamous and may remain with their mate for several years or possibly for life. Golden eagles nest in high places including cliffs, trees, or human structures such as telephone poles. They build huge nests and may return to that nest for several breeding years. Females lay from one to four eggs, and both parents incubate them for 40 to 45 days. Typically, one or two young survive the first three months of life.

These majestic birds can be found from Mexico through much of western North America as far north as Alaska.  You can find them in the east but it’s rare. Golden eagles are also found in Asia, northern Africa, and Europe.

Some golden eagles migrate, others do not—depending on the conditions of their geographic location. Alaskan and Canadian eagles typically fly south in the fall, for example, while birds that live in the western continental U.S. tend to remain in their ranges year-round.

parrotI’ve always been fascinated by birds.  They are so beautiful and I love to hear them sing their beautiful songs.  I don’t know much about birds so I thought I’d do some research.  One thing I do know, all pet owners should educate themselves about the needs of that particular pet.  They also need to find a veterinarian who has had training with those animals.  Many vets say they “see” certain animals until they get really sick.  Then you find out they don’t know as much as they stated.  Here is what I found out regarding birds and their health.

Pet birds should be examined ever year by an avian veterinarian.  If their behavior or personalities change for the worse get them to the vet as soon as possible.

Why Is That?

It is because most problems in pet birds can only be solved when they are caught early and corrected. Most problems presented late in a disease cannot be solved or corrected. Be sure the veterinarian you choose has specialized post-graduate experience with birds or is himself/herself an experienced aviculturalist.

Many birds that we keep as pets are basically wild creatures. Wild things disguise or mask early signs of disease so that they will not be eaten. Even though your pet appears healthy to you it’s no guarantee that problems are not brewing.


What Are Some Of The Signs That I Should Look For?

1) Weight loss
2) Change in Dropping Color or Consistency
3) Discharges From the Eyes, Squinting or Swelling
4) Discharge or change in Shape and Diameter of the Nostrils (nares)
5) Ruffled Feathers
6) Sneezing
7) Lack of Appetite
8 ) Inactivity in a Normally Active Bird
9) Carrying the wing(s) drooped below the body
10) Blood in the Cage or On the Bird
11) Open Mouth Breathing and Tail Bobbing (rhythmically going up and down)
12) Lumps on the body
13) Swollen Feet and Joints
13) Decrease in grooming and preening
14) Decreased talking, calling and singing
15) Sitting motionless on the floor of the Cage
16) Falling from the Perch or Limping or Perching on One Leg


Taking Your Pet To The Veterinarian:

When you bring your pet bird to a veterinarian, the vet will begin by taking a detailed history from you. He/she will wish to know where the bird was obtained. Imported birds have different diseases than those domestically bred. The vet will ask you detailed question about the bird’s diet. Birds on seed-based diets have a much higher incidence of nutritionally-based disease than those fed a pelleted diet. The vet will examine the cage looking for evidence of abnormal stools, abnormal urine (the clear liquid portion of the stool) or toxic products within the birds grasp. The vet will also check to see if perches are appropriate for your pet. The bird is weighed. Birds of a single species tend to have very uniform weights. The cause of thinness or increased body weight should be explored. The technician will prepare the bird’s stool for microscopic examination. Intestinal parasites, such as Giardia can cause weight loss, loose stools and feather picking.

Unless the bird is exceptionally ill, the veterinarian will grasp and examine it. The vet will examine the eyes for evidence of intraoccular abnormalities infection or degenerative disease. He/She will examine the nares or nostrils and the surrounding cere for evidence of infection or vitamin deficiencies. The vet will listen with a stethoscope for the sounds of raspy respiration or fluid within the respiratory tree. He will examine the plumage carefully to look for evidence of external parasites, stress related feather abnormalities (stress bars), over grooming or viral plumage disease (PBFD). The vent or cloaca will be examined for signs of chronic diarrhea, papillomas or cloacal irritation. The vet will palpate the bird for evidence of superficial tumors and examine the abdominal area for evidence of increased intraabdominal pressure due to conditions such as egg-yolk peritonitis, liver enlargement or intraabdominal tumors.

Lab Tests That Might Be Run:

Because birds are such experts at masking the signs of disease, a yearly examination may also include laboratory testing of a sample of the bird’s blood. The cellular portion of the blood is examined to determine the number and nature of white cells present. Increased white cell count can be evidence of stress or infectious disease. Decreased number of red cells called anemia can be evidence of blood loss, metal toxicity or malnutrition. The liquid portion of the blood (serum) will be examined for evidence of liver, kidney, pancreatic or intestinal disease. The dark, granular portion of the stool represents the feces. It will be examined under a microscope for proper digestion and visible parasites. A slide is then prepared from this material or a cotton swab of the cloaca and stained with Gram Stain to determine the type of bacteria living in the bird’s intestine. The clear liquid portion of the stool represents the urine. This can be examined for clarity, specific gravity, and the presence of sugar (diabetes), protein or blood.

When any of the previous tests suggest the presence of a disease, other tests are available to specifically diagnose them. These diseases include bacterial infection, viral Infection, hypothyroidism, diabetes, Chlamydiosis, Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease, papillomatosis, and tumors.

Many veterinarians do not see enough avian patients in their practice to be fully aware of all the conditions and treatment options that are available so please find the proper vet before getting your bird.

Bird 1 We need an emergency foster home with a separate air quarantine or no birds in the home but with bird experience ASAP in the Sarasota area. We have two sulfur crested cockatoos who’s mom is in ICU and she is being evicted! If you know anyone that can help please contact me ASAP! Contact info can be found at

Lynda Lewis
President FWCAS