What exactly is a flight suit?

We received lots of questions over the past few weeks about what a flight suit is and why people would use it and we would like to take a moment to educate.

Simply put, flight suits are essentially diapers for pet birds.  They are generally generically sized based on the type of bird and are a way to “contain waste” while being worn.  Typically people use these for pets when they are out so they don’t get their clothing ruined, or at very least pooped on.

Pigeon flight suits are being more popular as pigeons are fairly adaptable and don’t have a sharp beak for biting.  They are friendly and do make a lovely little cooing sound.

You can also get diapers for ducks and geese, if you chose to have them as a pet.

Flight suits and diapers are fine if they are cleaned regularly and the bird’s botton is also properly cleaned after wearing a diaper.  Diapers and Flight suits do not take the responsibility of keeping your bird clean and healthy away – they are actually just as demanding (or should be) as cleaning up after your pet each time they make waste.  After all, you wouldn’t let your young infant human baby sit in their own waste for hours on end – it’s not healthy, it’s uncomfortable for the wearer and it’s just plain gross.  The same logic applies for your pet.

IMG_20180914_160713610Buttercup showing off her Teal Roses diaper custom made by Sew Sammi

There are also advantages to having a flight suit or diaper.  Most allow you to clip on a leash so it’s also safer for your pet if you like to take them out of the house.  You could also attach an identification tag, if you so choose (as I do with my duck and geese, but may not be safe for fully flighted birds).  And lastly, there is of course the fashion and costuming.

Best practice if you plan to diaper up your bird is to have them custom made.  It costs a little more, sometimes, but then you know they are going to fit the best and not get caught on anything (again, a big concern if your bird is flighted).

We would like to thank all of you who visited our page(s) in efforts to find Olive/Liberace’s home and I hope this answers most of your questions.  Feel free to ask anything I didn’t answer or provide feedback on a topic you would like to know about.

Landys,
bird enthusiast, Fallen Feathers volunteer, and owner of Ducky and Buttercup

Owners found! Liberace is named Olive and is going home this afternoon.

This message was received via text from the owners of Olive.  We thought that since Olive has received such overwhelming support this past week, that it was worth sharing:

While our family loves all of our pets,
Olive our Pidgeon is the most independent & easiest pet to care for and we care for and love four rescue dogs, one rescue cat and more…

OLIVE NOT ONLY RUNS THE HOUSE SHE FLYS IT
— she goes back and forth room to room –
to hang out with…mom and dad or their son and his dad or the son with friends or even our black cat Pearl

She loves car rides attentively looking out the front windshield from mom’s shoulder or arm or perched on the front passenger seat (and yes we are working on a seat belt for her)

OLIVE LOVES BLING just like her mother does
— Olive took off the bow tie and handkerchief on her flight suit diaper the first day she wore it… so mama replaced them with Swarovski crystals.
— Olive has been gently repeatly reprimanded for knocking off every displayed silver-blinged shoes which we previously thought she did to wear them… well we now know better…
— We have yet to find where she is making a nest or a nest egg or both… given all the items that have gone missing…
— Most recently mom bought a pair of silver and gold earrings and Olive took and hid one earring from each pair.

Olive plays with family members individually as they can recognize different human faces
— finger boxes with mom
— bows for dad to pet her
— turns her cheek for our 10 year old son to kiss her

Olive flies on to shoulders of known family / friends / and visitors

Olive sleeps on one leg on your leg / cooing when you disturb her then goes to pillow or door ledge

She jumps in sink when doing dishes thinks it’s bath or play time

She playfully flies around & around four small dogs as they bark and jump…
then lands on a safe ledge above the dogs…
and looks down upon them

We were all deeply saddened with the thought of never seeing Olive again… and my husband the poet was devastated. His healing started with a poem he wrote after she did not return in two days.

Olive left at 7:17am on 11/7 and she was found 11/11… which in itself is poetic… for OLIVE had this planned all along … and we now know why she repeatedly knocked over the silver blinged shoes…

We now believe she was trying on her “ruby red slippers” (Dorothy’s slippers were originally silver not ruby red) so she could put them on after she had temporarily and innocently ‘flown the coop’ with her God given wings, to then, when the time was right, click her heels three times while repeating “Their is no place like home… Their is no place like home… Their is no place like home.”

P.S. Marlette is bringing the “Ruby Red Slippers” so that Olive may make her trip back home… back to ‘Kansas’…

God gave my child the wings to fly
By Norman

Up and up and around so high
Into the clouds, the deep blue sky
I was told you left our nest, yes
My child left without a goodbye

My throat closed, heart dropped, I confess
Dark the sense of loss I possess
I taught you love, not of danger
Life’s on hold, a long blue recess

You know not the evil stranger
Whose heart heinous thoughts do harbor
Prayers for your safety as I cry
Dreams of your return I conjure

Dare I move on, how do I try
Still I see you, my soul will sigh
Seek your heart’s song, do not deny
God gave my child the wings to fly

Caring for Birds During Wildfire Season

During a wildfire, adult birds can easily fly from danger, however if springtime, they must leave their young, who may not yet be able to fly, in harms way.   Migratory birds can fly the additional distance to find new territory, however local birds may have difficulty finding landscape that is suited to their needs.

Airsacs in a birds body force the direction of oxygen one way thru the body (unlike mammals) and oxygen concentrations are higher in their blood; making toxins more dangerous to them.  When exposed to smoky conditions, it’s important to get the bird on the most nutritious diet available.

For Wildbirds, provide healthy, nutritious foods such as suet, black-oil sunflower seeds, fruit, nuts and nectar.  Also provide fresh, clean water for both drinking and bathing daily.  Plant native trees and shrubs to help provide protection.  Wild birds should be taken to a bird rehabilitation center/sanctuary if injured or if they appear lethargic.

For Pets, this excludes seeds, which are notoriously unhealthy for birds.  Feed your bird pellets.  You can also supplement with antioxidants Omega 3 fatty acids, grape seed extract, vitamins C and E.  Make sure to research how these may affect your bird as each bird species is affected differently.

Symptoms could take minimum of 3 weeks to start to resolve, including: breathing hard, bobbing their tails, sitting on the bottom of the cage fluffed up or just acting lethargic and not wanting to eat much.   Additional steps to take include running your air conditioner, using a Heppa filter, use fans to keep air flowing, keep doors and windows closed.  If there is ash still in the air outside, you can place a very damp sheet over the top of the cage.  Do not use any fabric that is too heavy or too wet as this can cause additional breathing complications.

Once a fire is over, birds will have to adapt to different predators, different landscapes, and finding new food sources.  In the case of naturally occurring fires, the land often experiences more diversity of species, including birds, during regrowth.

 

Current status of Arizona Wildfires:  http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-wildfires/2017/07/04/what-you-need-know-21-wildland-fires-burning-arizona/448012001/

Sources:

https://www.backyardchirper.com/blog/how-wildfires-affect-birds/

https://whisperingpinespc.com/bird-safety-toxic-effects-smoke

https://www.petcha.com/protect-your-bird-from-smoke/

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/07/140721-animals-wildlife-wildfires-nation-forests-science/

 

Additional resources:

http://www.petsmart.com/learning-center/dog-care/when-a-wildfire-threatens-be-ready/A0270.html

#wildfire #birdrescue #birdrehab #arizona #danger #pets #airsac #airquality #health #care #

 

The importance of a Certified Avian Vet

Hi!  I’m Sammy, a blue and gold macaw.  In November 2014, I was surrendered to Fallen Feathers.  I had been living alone for a while as my previous owner(s) didn’t like it when I made noise and they said I wasn’t friendly.

 

On my left wing, I had a growth that had been growing for 10 years.   Jody was concerned about it and took me to Dr. Hillary Frank at North Central Animal Hospital. The doctor took some bloodwork and determine that surgery was a necessity.

In the meantime, I visited with other birds, meet many volunteers, introducing myself to anyone that would walk into the garage.  The garage contained other Macaws and lots of other birds.  I like having all the new friends.

The day came for my surgery. Surgery is dangerous for anyone, but especially for birds.  It is very difficult. Luckily, Dr. Frank is a Certified Avian Veterinarian, so I knew I was in good hands.  She wanted the best for me and I was certainly happy to be rid of that lump.

 

The mass that was on my wing was sent to the lab for testing. We found out that it was benign. Jody was relieved. I wasn’t yet as I had to heal for 2 weeks with the cone of shame around my neck.

While wearing the cone, volunteers had to hand feed me and give me water.   I also got to sleep on the perch since the cone couldn’t fit in a cage and allow me much movement. I’m sure the other birds were somewhat jealous.

It’s been a few months.  I am fully healed and looking for my forever home.

King for the Day

Baby bird season took over the Sanctuary.  I watched over 1,000 birds come in and out of Fallen Feathers from March to July.  The baby Great Horned owls that took over the aviaries next to mine are now fully feathered Juvenile Great Horned owls ready to be released and explore the world of their own.

Experienced volunteers are busy training new volunteers and saying goodbye to volunteers going off to college.  Needless to say it’s been a busy couple of months.   And it’s hot. People in Arizona only stay outside as long as they have to.

Yesterday, I was privileged to attend the Bye Bye Buzzard event at Boyce Thompson Arboretum.  It’s an annual event that the park has been doing for 20 years.  This is the second time we have participated.

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The buzzards were everywhere lined on the cliffs.  There was a  group of people watching the buzzards and learning about vultures when we arrived.  Everyone was happy to see me up close.  I don’t go to as many events as the other birds, but when I do, it’s special.  Today was MY day.

Red (Red Tailed Hawk), Nod (American Kestrel), Digger (Burrowing Owl) and Raven also attended.  They enjoyed being out and hanging out in the beautiful trees.  Well, not Digger, he still prefers his basket.

 

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Thank you, Paul for inviting us and celebrating the buzzard.  Thank you to the staff and all the fellow birders for making us feel welcome.  We hope to be back for Welcome Back Buzzards next year.

Voldemort, the Turkey Vulture

Dusty in the Storm

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My name is Dusty, I am a Barn Owl. Today two volunteers came into my aviary and brought me inside, where I met another volunteer. This one had a big scary thing hanging from her neck. It was called a camera by others. I had many pictures taken of me (above) and I screamed at the volunteers to scare them. When I tried to fly away, they grabbed and placed me in a carrier.

From there I met the three volunteers who took me for a ride to my new home. They talked and I screeched over them, making it difficult to hear. I didn’t like listening to this “Katy Perry” person, and screamed at them to stop it.

When we arrived, I saw trees, bushes, and farmland. This would be my new home. As soon as we were about to release there was a terrible beeping sound, an alert appeared on all three volunteers’ phones at once: “Severe Dust Storm”. The volunteers refused to release in such bad weather. So we started our long drive back to the rescue where I would be safe in my aviary. I saw other birds struggling to fly in the strong wind. I am glad they didn’t put me out there.

On the way back I complained, I had a very long day and was tired; also, the volunteers stopped for ice cream, which I wanted to try. Although I did stop complaining and was silent for one song by a person known as “P!nk”. This radio thing is very interesting. Now I am sitting and waiting for my release in the aviary with some food.  I appreciate the shelter, I am protected from the ongoing storm.

-Dusty, the Barn Owl

P.S.  I had to wait two more days due to bad weather.  I heard the volunteers talking and they put me back in a carrier and back in the car.  I complained and jumped around.  I lurched at where the opening of the carrier was but it wouldn’t give.  I had to endure another car ride.   The volunteers took me back to the same place.  It was perfect and I was very happy and excited.  I quickly flew away, stretching my wings, knowing I was free.

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Holy Baby Bird Season

It’s March 31. I’m taking a car ride to Fallen Feathers from Wickenburg. They thought I was a Cooper Hawk baby, but I am a week old Great Horned Owl nestling and I am already an orphan. I have cuts on my head.   I was warmed up, my wounds were cleaned and then I was fed.

Gonzo, the Great Horned Owl
Gonzo, the great horned owlet

I don’t balance well yet. I miss my nest. It’s made to help hold me in. Mom and/or Dad couldn’t come help me after I landed on the ground since owl feet (talons) are made for crushing; killing our prey. My parents normally would keep me warm since i’m still all covered in fluff – a heating pad set on low now does that job. An incubator is ready if I need it.

As a baby, I sleep most of the day, but I do open my eyes a little. I have also quickly adapted to the silver tool that feeds me twice a day. Right now I just eat small mice, but as I get older I’ll need at least a rat a day to fill me up.

I’m learning things every day. I am honing my hearing skills. Owl ears are especially sensitive so that they can hear their prey’s every move. Have you ever seen an owl ear? Mine are easy to see right now since my feathers haven’t come in yet. Take a look.

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There are lots of other babies here already. Sparrows mostly right now. 71% of the total bird count Fallen Feathers receives in a year is during April, May, June and July.   I am told that there will be many other great horned owls here soon, but I am the first of this year. Fallen Feathers has gotten between 10-15 Great Horned Owls a year for the past 3 years. Friends will be nice to have.

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Update – April 25th

Volunteers were not kidding. The first week i was here, several owls have arrived. The “twins” – they are at least 2-3 weeks older than me. a Barn owl, Priscilla. She screams at everyone but is about my age. This week, we got in 2 adult barn owls, and a week old barn owl. There were also two other sibling great horned owls dropped off on separate days. The first one, Harry, seems fine. The other, Troy, has some tummy trouble and needs more care.

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We also have lots of baby ducks, hummingbirds and sparrows right now. We all grow at different rates and have different needs. It’s amazing to watch.

Gonzo, the Great Horned Owl

Volunteer Profile: Combining my love of hiking and Bird watching!

As an avid bird watcher and nature lover, being outside brings such peace and relaxation and with so much to be thankful for.   It’s an added blessing in my life. Several times a week you will find me visiting Rio Vista Park at Thunderbird and 101.  The walking paths are asphalt and there is plenty of wildlife to see.

Some of my most treasured sightings, besides the coyotes and butterflies, are the great horned owl, roadrunner, green heron, egret, a pair of ravens nesting under the bridge, hawks, ducks, kestrels and the beautiful finches. I have also encountered the woodpecker and the occasional rare bird flying through such as a Cardinal.

I am also, avid heart rock collector; I have built quite the collection. In the spring time, the wildflowers are at their most gorgeous and fragrances lull the senses into a peaceful relaxed state of extreme calmness. Each time I venture out there, I am never without a sighting and often I get surprised by who shows up! So being outside in nature, and being serenaded by the songs of birds, is a total stress reliever and a reminder of how beautiful life truly is.

You won’t be disappointed if you choose to visit Rio Vista. Your senses will be delighted and I guarantee a big smile on your face and a full heart!

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Pam, Volunteer at Fallen Feathers

#birds #volunteer #birdwatching #hiking #riovistacommunitypark #Peoria #greathornedowl #egret #finch #roadrunner #heron #wildlife

Completely Unexpected

The past month has been event after event after event after event.  It’s good for Fallen Feathers – lots of opportunity to educate people.  As birds, we get our pictures taken and see all the ooohhhhs and aaahhhh and what is that?

Tres RIos Nature Festival is an event we have been going to for years.  If you have never been, It’s out by Phoenix International Raceway – south of I-10 on Avondale.  The festival has AZ Game and Fish and several of the local Audubon Societies and other vendors for people to find out more information.  There is fishing and bird walks to participate in.  This year it was lovely weather with just a little bit of breeze.  But first we have to get there…..

Our volunteers get up early to get us ready – jesses on and put in our carriers.  Any last minute items are packed and also any babies that need cared for on a hourly basis – this year we have eight hummingbirds, a sparrow and three pigeons.

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Once we arrive – the tables are prepared and we are put on our perches or held, depending on the bird and the volunteer.   Voldemort, the Turkey Vulture and Alice, the Coopers Hawk, were both very happy with our space.

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I cry out to the people walking by (literally – I haven’t learned to stop using my baby cry).  I was brought to the rescue as a juvenile Red Tailed Hawk with a broken wing.  The break was high up into my shoulder and had already started to set.  It couldn’t be fixed, so I am one of the lucky Education birds.

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As part of this event, volunteers also help children make birdy bagels.  While most of us birds of prey are not interesting in this seed stuff, we know the songbirds and pigeons/doves love it.

Don’t forget to see other great pictures from the event here at AZCentral.

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What made this event different was that people brought us several birds to rehab at the event.  Saturday we received a dove, two hummingbirds and a call to get a harris hawk.   The hawk had been in a person’s yard for two days.  When he was picked up by volunteers, the main injury was to the right eye.  Treatment began immediately and so far the hawk is doing well.

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Sunday, we were back out at Tres Rios.  This time we were brought a pigeon.  But when we got home, that’ when things really got strange.  A Pelican had been dropped off.  White pelicans are not all that unusual in Arizona, but Brown Pelicans are less common.  It had stepped on a cholla cactus.  It took about 45 minutes to get all the thorns out of the feet and mouth.

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This is not Fallen Feather’s first Pelican.  The timing of it’s arrival was interesting.  Jody and her volunteers will take care of the injured, the orphaned, the hungry and us, the residents.  Here’s to speedy recovery to my fellow feathered friends.  I cry for you.

Red, The Red Tailed Hawk

P.S. Nigel, the Pelican has asked for lots of fish.  It’s not the normal diet kept here, so if you know of any fishermen with some, it would be greatly appreciated.

Road Trip

I’m Alice, a Cooper’s Hawk.  I’ve lived at Fallen Feathers for a while.  I’m still being trained to attend our events.  It takes a lot of work to go to events and I’m a very anxious breed of bird.  Our Executive Directors and volunteers are very patient with me.   Let me tell you a little about what they do to support us every day and thru these events.

About a week ago, we attended Parada Del Sol parade.  It was the first time we have been there and it was quite the honor.  The event itself started at 10am, but we had to be there to set up at 7am.  That means that the people wake up at 4am to feed us and start getting us birds ready (jessed and crated).

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We were on the road a little after 6.  We checked into the event and everyone started unloaded the trailer.  We birds waited patiently (except Raven, she hops around).

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Once the canopies and tables are all up, the perches are set up and we come out.  People start coming by almost instantly with questions.   Some of our events we have a kid section too with some sort of craft.

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Our volunteers spend the entire event educating people about us (birds) and about the rescue/rehab we live in.  At this event, I got a new perch.  It was very nice and I felt very comfortable.  The other perches we had were fine, and the other birds didn’t seem to mind them, but I am particular.

Here I am, along with Jack, the Harris Hawk and Digger, the Burrowing Owl.    Flat Stanley visited us on Valentine’s Day, shown here with a volunteer and Raven.  Finally, there is Robert, the Great Horned Owl.

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Our entire education bird family is not shown here, but we were all at the event.   The Parade portion of Parada Del Sol finished at 4pm.   People continued to visit while everything was being put on the trailer.  This is common for us.  It’s nice to be seen and cared about by the public and our volunteers are always happy to answer questions.  You’ll just have to come see us in person to truly appreciate everything that is done.

We got home about 7:30pm, put in our aviaries to have our dinner.  It was a good day and now we get to rest.

We will be back with Parada Del Sol this weekend for the main events on Feb 28th and at Tres Rios Natural Festival next weekend (March 7 & 8).   Hope to see you there.

Alice, the Cooper’s Hawk