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August 2020 Mayor of the Avenue... fashionfobie

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Ripping up the road
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Our "Mayor of the Avenue" award is presented to a member who exhibits the qualities that distinguish them to be an upstanding credit to the Avenue, a loving, informed, conscientious and caring bird parront and an all around good neighbor.

I am happy to announce that Natalie is August's Mayor of the Month.
I enjoyed reading your interview, and am sure that everyone else will as well!

1. What kind of birds do you have (age, species and names)?

I have 11 birds who share my space at the moment. Apparently 2 is the popular age! I never noticed how close they all are in age until I was prepping this response…A weird coincidence because of my current home, setting and future plans.


-Inside birds-

Pi: a plumhead parrot who is 2 on the 14th Oct this year. He is a Queenslander and has never been out of state :p

Neptune: pacific (celestial) parrotlet who is 2 on the 1st of Sept this year.

Picard: pacific (celestial) parrotlet who is 2 on the 11th of Sept this year. Both of the parrotlet boys are from Victoria.

Zippy: a zebra finch, unsure of age. He is a rescue and has a sorted past. He has a bad wing. He has lived with me for more than a year.

Peppy: a zebra finch, just over a year. He is Zippy’s best buddy!


-3 Chickens-
T-Rex: bought as an Australorp, but her ears tell another story. We think she is a leghorn cross. She is over 5 years old.

Starlight: Ancona. She is nearly 2. She is a very special lady and lives with sever scoliosis. Starlight was from a batch of rejected chicks. She was the only one who made it to adulthood from her clutch. The place that sold them will be unnamed, but it was a chicken nightmare, many sick and mismanaged chicks. ☹

Luna: Pekin bantam, aka a fluff with legs. She is a few months older than Starlight. She joined us so that Starlight could have a peer. She was already older when we adopted her.



-3 Ducks-
The newest babies, around 5 weeks of age: Lio, Cyprus and Jade. They are Cayuga ducks.

Many birds in my past also including my goffin’s cockatoo, Peanut, who lives with my partner’s mother in the US.


2. What got you interested in birds?


I have always had a connection with nonhuman animals. I can’t explain why. As a child I spent a lot of time alone with animals.

The first time I really became interested in birds has a rather dark side. I heard some chickens being slaughtered. I only 6 or so around the time. It was intense, as an adult I doubt those people knew what they were doing. There was nothing I could do. I was standing on one side of a tree crying…I wished I could save them. Even though it has a dark element it was the start of my bird obsession. I wanted to liberated the chickens and befriend the wild waterfowl. I did manage to save a goose egg from a lawn mower and incubated the egg. When the gosling was freshly hatched, I successfully introduced them to a mother goose with goslings of the same age.

My first parrot was a cockatiel that I named Petrie, yes because of Land Before Time. I was pretty young when I got him and I definitely made mistakes. Looking back, I am sure he was mate-bonded to me. He taught me a lot; because of him I subscribed to Parrot Talk magazine. At that time in my life it was the only connection I had to what it could be like. I would read each month’s issue cover to cover. My ‘sorta’ bedroom (really the dining room renovation) was plastered with the parrot posters from the central fold of that magazine. I also bought Petrie a new cage and started giving him pellets and more toys because of that periodical.

I really appreciate the forum space for the same advantages of seeing what it could be! There are always improvements for our birds!


3. What have your birds brought to your life?


Purpose. If it is watching the wild birds or caring for our companion birds, they bring purpose to my life.

My work also includes birds. I am a researcher and work with human-built avian architecture.


4. What have you learned from sharing your life with your birds?


Well I couldn’t imagine living with dinosaurs! After seeing my chickens catch lizards and swallow them whole :wideyed:
More seriously!

Avian emotions are always honest with rare exception. I try to emulate birds in this respect. Just be yourself. If you don’t like something, don’t like it... if you love something love it! We set up our own hurtles but at the end of the day none of them really matter. I don’t always take my own advice, though I try. Treat your dislikes like a parrot. There is no reason to pretend you are someone else


5. What's one birdie memory that will stay with you forever?


Unfair! There are hundreds! If I must pick one… Oh this is tough. When Pi first jumped to my shoulder. I waited for him to come to me. One day he hopped to my shoulder, no idea why this was the day. He stood on me looking at my face. Every single day since we have become closer and closer friends.

Because one is impossible, I will also share this one... When I got Petrie, I went to a breeder who had maybe 14 or 16 young cockatiels perched on a stand and I could pick one. Petrie and I had a weird attraction to each other. Still can’t explain it. Of all the little tiels it was just meant to be. My mother was like, oh you really want that one? He is grey? Don’t you want this one with colourful bright yellows? I held the bird my mother wanted to please her. But Petrie looked at me betrayed! I stubbornly didn’t yield and brought Petrie home. Weirdly enough Petrie's birthday was the same date as mine. I really miss him.


6. Where is your birds main living area?


A fairer question, where don’t they live!?

My parrots’ cages are all in my office. The finches have the kitchen. The ducks and chickens have the garden. During the day the birds get nearly free range of my house. This is an advantage of smaller birds, since there is limited damage those beaks can really do. The one room that is sort of off limits is my bedroom. However, my partner has recently moved his desk in there and set up a play stand for Picard in that room. Picard gets time in there with his human. Picard is highly territorial with other birds, especially during this season.


7. Did you change things in your home to accommodate your birds and if so what kinds of things did you change?


I rent. I can’t change the walls, flooring or roofing which is a bummer. At the same time, I have a fantastic landlord who adores my birds. I don't feel bad about my situation. I can’t edit my space the way I would like. I am limited to populating my window sills with branches, setting up play stands and covering mirrors with wrapping paper. I found wrapping paper is a nice covering material because it is easy to replace when it is soiled and I can have fun patterns for the birds.


8. Are you involved in any kind of bird related group or activities?


I am a member of the Parrot Society of Australia. We have been setting up support for the Glossy Black Cockatoos of Kangaroo Island. Their home was destroyed last bushfire season. My contribution was voting to allocate fund there. I wish I could get more involved but Adelaide is pretty far from me.

I am a big advocate of urban bird projects that are happening around the world. The Parrot Society has helped me get in touch with some researchers and parrot conservationists that I may not have had a chance to before.


9. What is the one luxury item you would love to have for your bird(s)?


When I own my own house, I am going to convert it into an aviary house, with countless bird opportunities. I have always been a more urban person and now I live in the suburbs. The suburbs allowed me to keep chickens. Now I am finding to want more poultry and who knows maybe I will try living in an even more rural setting. Though I am not sure it is my cup of tea. If I did make a move to a more remote location it would be for the birds!


10. Is there any bird that you dream of owning and if so why?


Sometimes I get parrot fever and just want them all! We have made some plans to get a Meyer but covid has impacted those plans. I adore all Asiatics and sometimes imagine a giant flock of all shapes and sizes from Derbyans to IRNs. (I know of a person who has 63 in one flock!) I also toy around with the idea of a smaller macaw species or conure. I have a hard time revisiting old flames. Cockatiels are super special but I am still raw about Petrie 15 years later ☹

I would also like to get doves or pigeons. Sometimes we talk about getting turkeys, but they don’t mix with chickens (black head disease) so it is unlikely to happen. I also imagine life with a guard goose being pretty awesome. Yeah.. I just like birds! I can’t say what birds might come upon me in my future. I have a mix of bred, adoptions and rejects! I will probably always have this mix. Some are planned and carefully selected… some are moment when you just feel a need to save them.


11. Describe a typical day with you at home with your birds.


At the typical day is morphing a little as we adapt to ducks.

Presently the ducks are sleeping in our kitchen at night, but this will change once they are fully feathered. When I wake up the ducks all call excitedly to me. I place them in a travel kennel and carry them outside. They immediately run about and jump into their pool! My partner typically tends to the outdoor birds in the morning. He freshens the nest boxes, feeds, waters and give veggies scraps to the ladies. Then my partner comes inside to refresh all the water dishes and silo waterers. Outdoor birds get weekly or fortnightly cleans depending on the weather. We do not agree with the deep litter method, it is gross to live in poop. :depressed:

Inside I start with the birds by opening up their blinds after I hand Pi a pinenut. I remove their seed dishes and start with salad prep. Salad is what I call my chop, because the pieces are left chunky and sometimes over-sized. My parrotlets love destroying carrot for example! They do get 7+ options and not all are over-sized.

Pi gets a skewer of veggies and fruits and some berries or flowers in a bowl. The parrotlets get an espresso saucer each. They are left to feast of fresh nom noms whilst I shower, get ready for work etc. I leave the finches cage open during this time, Zippy used to come out and fly lately Peppy hates leaving so the door just sits open. Stubborn Peppy! Though they always appreciate their pea shoots.

I work from home most of the time. I go to the city one day a week for work. With covid I haven’t been out of the house much at all since March.

I open Pi’s cage at around 10 and he flies around most of the day. He spends a little bit of time greeting each other bird. He loves everybody. Depending on the parrolets’ day I can let Neptune out with Pi. Or Picard out with Pi. Though I can’t allow the two parrotlets out together, hence the new Picard play stand in the bedroom. Picard has also started disliking me lately and will sometimes fly to my head and biting in succession. He only loves my partner. It doesn't matter that I feed him :hehepink:. He takes the food and runs! Pi flies in sequential laps around the house. He will work himself to the point of panting and then go again! When he is tired, he will stand on my desk or arm or chew toys. Around 2-3pm I remove the remaining veg scrap and refresh the seed/pellet dishes. At 7pm clean the trays and lights out.

My dog sleeps most of the day. Dogs are great at adapting to our lifestyle. In the evening my dog is very hyper and ready for our walk. This works great for managing a multi species household and my dog doesn’t get over exposed in the Australian sun.

I left some stuff out. It is hard to include a whole day! Just as a taster, Pi is very good at reading books and typing as parrots do. I have a gotten a new keyboard!


12. What have you learned about owning birds that you would like to share?


Enjoy the ride! Each day is a new adventure and each day is more exciting when it is shared with birds.


13. If you knew then what you know now about birds, what would you do differently?


Don’t clip! A rare medical event is the only exception. With Petrie I clipped because that was what I was told to do. He ended up flying away during a move. He didn’t understand how to return. I actually found him in a tree and when he tried to return, he overshot and flew into a dense forest, never to be seen again. The confidence I see in my unclipped birds is precious. They have choice to fly and do what they want. Choice is power. I will never take that power from my birds again. As Konrad Lorenz observed, you can never witness true behaviours if you place an animal in a cage and give them no choice.


14. What other hobbies do you have?


I am a member for a re-enactment group that teaches the public about historical animal husbandry. I also love music and play a variety of instruments. I sew and knit. I do a lot of artistic stuff. I have had some of my ceramics on display, I have competed in furniture making, some of my work is on display in Buffalo NY, I draw and probably most abundantly I write. In the forum space with my many hundreds of weird phrases and typos that may seem surprising :hehepink: but I do enjoy writing and I do it as part of my career. I also love fantasy I play d&d, magic the gathering, and sometimes WoW. I keep orchids and bonsai and a tiny veggie garden, as long as I can get the produce before the possums!


15. Anything else you would like to share?


Never allow your arrogance to govern your bird’s choices. We are all at different moments in our journey with birds. It isn’t a problem if you make a mistake. It is a problem when you refuse to learn from that mistake. We are all in it for the birds!
 

Clueless

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Congrats!
 

Zara

Try to be a rainbow in somebody else´s cloud ❤️
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Congratulations Natalie! :starshower1: :yah:

I really enjoyed reading your interview! :)
 

tka

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Congratulations! I really enjoyed reading your interview. A bird-adapted house is the dream!
 

fashionfobie

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Awe. Thanks everyone :) It really took me off guard to be selected.

:grouphug2:


:embarassed:.. your neighbours might not be as thrilled about it
I know! We considered adopting a pair from the RSPCA, but the noise would have been too much. This is why we adopted the Cayuga duckies instead. No regrets! I am now a Cayuga maniac! Cayugas for everyone.
 
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