Rest in Peace, Charles

July 31, 2012 § 28 Comments

Charles Kingsley Wentworth was born on July 10, 2009 and passed away on July 31, 2012.  He was gentle, loving, and sweet, and never hurt a soul.  Even when handled by vets, he never attempted to bite.  He was the best bird in the entire world.

the very first day he came home in October 2009

a young Charles in late 2009

taking a cat nap on one foot

with his best friend, Theodore in 2010

Theodore and Charles

taking his first and only voluntary bath ever

on one of his favorite swings

with Sabrina in 2011

my beautiful Charles

Charles, I love you so, so much and I will miss you everyday.  I know that you are in Heaven now with Theodore.  Rest in peace.

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Natural Toys Aplenty!

July 26, 2012 § 4 Comments

Lola got a big, lovely box of goodies from her beloved store Things for Wings this past week and she sure is a happy camper!  She’s been having to make do this summer with very ugly home made toys by me so she’s quite pleased to see some more interesting designs and varieties to play with.  Danita never disappoints us.  This time around, we ordered a mix of ready made toys as well as a few custom ones for good measure.  There’s so much fun (and lots of wood to chip!) in this box of goodies!

goodies from Things for Wings

Here is everything all together.  I think there are ten toys in total, along with one perch.  I’ll go through them in smaller batches…

I’m not sure how well you can tell, but there are actually four big, lovely toys in the photo!!  Two are the classic “Lola’s Toy” that Danita has made for us many a time, which is such a favorite around here of course.  The other two, however, are two custom versions based on the Lola’s toy that have a few other types of interesting natural wood sticks and coins mixed in (the original is all hardwood pieces, save for the base).  They’re on interesting types of rope as well, like sisal and seagrass, which should keep it interesting!  I absolutely love these toys as there is so much packed into every single one.  Lola really relishes them and despite her super fast wood chipping, they do actually last a while because Danita manages to fit so many different parts on these.  What’s more is that the strands are kept relatively short so that even when everything has been chipped and chewed off, there are no long, empty strings that could pose a safety risk.

Next is another regular for us: the Hardwood Hullaballoo, another Lola-inspired toy on the site.  This toy has all the appeal of the Lola’s Toy, but has even more packed onto it.  It’s really built to last, plus the base is reusable which is always a plus.  The second one on the right is a new one for us.  This one was inspired by another Cape Parrot, our lovely friend Lea (read about her and her flock on the blog Just Poifect!).  It’s a custom toy that Lea’s mom commissioned and we liked it so much, we had to have one as well, just un-dyed.  I think Lola will absolutely love it– Capes tend to like their wood. 🙂

We also had to try out some of the new toys from the “Pine Only” line, an adorable new collection that is also especially reasonably priced.  We purchased the Quad toy which has four dangly legs of crunchy pine and hardwood beads, but unlike most toys, they are strung on stainless steel wire.  This gives them an extremely fun shape (kind of reminds me of a four-legged spider or a weird mutant octopus– quadropus?) and it also means that again, even when all of the wood is chipped and removed, there are no naked strings that can pose a safety risk.  We also nabbed the Moon Dance toy, another adorable one.  There are so many cute designs on the site though, from a palm tree to a horse to a little bug-style car.  Finally, on the right, that adorable little toy is from the Grandma’s Strawberry Patch collection, again only un-dyed.  It’s so cute and the hardwood textures and natural wood sticks should really entice Lola.  I also love that it’s on a great pine wood base that is reusable… if Lola doesn’t get to it first.

Finally, I couldn’t leave out the budgies.  Sabrina got another shopping bag-style toy stuffed with shreddable goodies.  I think this is her fourth one– she absolutely loves them!  She does everything from pull out each shreddable one by one and dump them each on the ground, she nibbles and chews each shreddable up, she gets inside the bag and naps, she beaks the beads or the crunchy vine outside the bag, she destroys the bag itself… and she enjoys every minute of it.  These are such great shredding toys for the little ones.  I also purchased Charles this eucalyptus perch with stainless steel hardware.  I was originally purchasing a Lola-sized one but they were out of stock, so I decided that Charles could use one.  I also realized that eucalyptus is a type of tree that budgies in the wild would be familiar with, so I think Charles might enjoy it.

As always, we are so very pleased with this amazing order– Danita never disappoints!  Her toys are the real deal, and she doesn’t skimp anywhere, whether it be safety, enrichment, aesthetics, or customer service.  We can’t wait to see the cute collections she comes up with next!

The Budgies’ New Setup, Too

July 17, 2012 § 3 Comments

Well, I was really hoping to get better photos of the budgies’ setup before posting, but I seem to be having very bad luck with my digital camera as of late and cannot find it anywhere, so I guess that’s not happening.  Again, the lighting is very funky in these photos and they are just generally unflattering, but they will simply have to do for now.

Like Lola, the budgies got a brand new cage setup recently but the biggest news is that they have graduated from the solid acrylic divider in between them to stainless steel bars!!  This was a huge and exciting step for them and for me.  I noticed that they’d both seemed much more chilled out and calm recently (perhaps diffusing the essential oils has been helping?  Nothing else has changed!) and decided to pilot the barred divider for a few hours in the afternoon while I was home.  Well, they’ve been doing so great with it that I no longer switch it out when I leave.  They have access to each other through the bars at all times now and I’ve yet to witness a single spat between them.  I’m so happy with them!!  Hopefully in a few weeks or months, we can eliminate the divider all together– that’s the dream, at least.

the entire cage

Until then, however, we’re making do with the bars and with two of everything.  Usually I tend not to do such similar setups for both of them, but everything kind of fell into place this way while I was arranging their cages, so I went with it.  They seem pretty happy so far.

open sesame

Here it is with the door open.  On the door, as you can see, they each have their own adorable skywalk platform perch from Oliver’s Garden.  I just love these perches and can’t say enough good things about them for birds of all sizes.  Lola has a beautiful one with beads in it, and the littles just love perching up front on their skywalks and crawling between the center cut holes!

We’ll take a look at Sabrina’s side first.  She has her lovely welded sleepy swing (a custom item from Grey Feather Toys) up on top, which both she and Charles would be completely lost with that.  You can barely see it but in the back there is a cute little fleece covered platform perch.  Towards the left is a boing, also from GFT, and another snuggly type of swing from Big Beaks Bird Toys.  Perches include a nicely branched sandblasted manzanita one in the back and a cageput one towards the front, and plenty of toys including Kris Porter’s fantastic foraging block, lots of custom toys from Things for Wings, and some great jingly stainless steel ones from GFT too.

Down below, she has a tiny safety pumice perch in purple in the back, two more natural wood perches, both of grapevine wood, some more toys, and some more food bowls.  I’ve since added one more perch towards the back there, pretty low to the ground as well.  So far, her favorite spots are on her platform perch on the door, the cageput perch up top (where she and Charles sit across from each other and chit chat), and the sandblasted manzanita perch towards the back, where she can chew up and destroy a lovely seagrass toy.

On to Charles’s side… he looks quite tubby in the photo!  Up top he has a very similar arrangement.  His custom sleepy swing, a fleece-covered platform perch in the back (this time in blue), a lovely boing with a foraging block, and some great toys.  In the back there is a sandblasted manzanita perch and a manu mineral perch on the right in front of a food bowl.  It’s out of focus, but way in front on the right side there’s also a fluffy swing for him with a natural perch.

And zooming out, there are two great grapevine wood perches in the front on both the left and right sides, and a branchy dragonwood perch towards the bottom.  Like Sabrina, I’ve also added one more perch in the back for him towards the bottom.  He has some great toys– one of his favorite toys of all time is the little leather horse with seagrass legs from Grey Feather Toys, and he also loves his custom toys from Things for Wings.

So far the setup has been working out really well for them– they’re using all of the different levels of their cage and they have a nice variety of surfaces on which to perch.  I’ve also attempted to arrange everything such that no perch or toy is getting soiled regularly, and so far, so good!  It’s always tricky with a more vertical space like theirs is.  Hopefully, one day, they won’t need the divider at all, and I can get a lot more creative with their cage arrangements with the more open space. Until then, this setup will do!

Lola’s New Setup

July 12, 2012 § 6 Comments

Well, summer is in full swing and yet things haven’t slowed down one bit here!  We’ve had a very busy past month or so what with lots of traveling and temporary stays and a recent move as well.  We’re juggling some unique challenges with our new home, but the cages, at least, are finally all set up and things are starting to feel somewhat normal here.  While we’re still easing into our surroundings, I thought I’d share Lola’s latest cage setup.  I’m not quite sure if it’s perfect just yet but I’ll be moving things around and tweaking positions as necessary while I observe her.

In case it’s been so long that you’ve forgotten who Lola is, here she is checking out her new surroundings!

a full frontal view of her new setup

There it is!  And there she is too.  That’s what it looks like with the door closed, but let’s go ahead and peek inside…  I apologize for the poor quality photos.  There’s ample light in the room but for some reason, my camera insisted on using the flash.  I’ve also never been a great photographer.

Here it is opened up!  On the door, there’s a really neat grapevine perch from Things for Wings, along with an acrylic foraging chest with great drawers that slide from side to side rather than opening from the front (they’re a bit more challenging).  It’s one of my favorite foraging toys (and it’s made from a food safe plastic!), and it’s from Parrot Island Inc.

Looking a little bit closer, on the far left up top there’s the Oliver’s Garden Skywalk platform perch with beads (a favorite of Lola’s), along with a great comfy cotton rope perch, a custom item from Grey Feather Toys.  Behind that is her favorite snuggly swing, made from supreme cotton rope by Big Beaks Bird Toys, and below that are some different natural wood perches, her stainless steel toy bucket, and her MegaFone.  On the left there’s a corner style sandblasted manzanita perch. What you see in front on the skewer is an ugly home made foraging toy that she likes to fish dry foods out of.  I have a second one that I’m going to install somewhere else as well (she forages for a lot of her food now, which is great).  There’s also a water bowl somewhere over there, but I’m not sure if it’s visible.

Okay, and on the right side we have some more fun.  Behind the big natural wood toy (another ugly homemade creation) is a bamboo perch, flanked by two great stainless steel toys.  I situated those two toys in those places because they are above food and water bowls, and I don’t want Lola chipping her wood into her food or water.  There are a few other perches: more sandblasted manzanita, manu minerals, and some other natural wood, along with a neat corkscrew from Mother Pluckin’ Bird Toys loaded with almond-stuffed wood blocks and, I believe, one more ugly homemade toy.

I know it’s not quite easy on the eyes, but we’re waiting on a nice big box from Things for Wings with what I’m sure will be beautiful toys, so for the time being Lola has to make do with my thrown-together creations.  So far, she doesn’t seem to mind too much.

In other news, she’s been talking up a storm and absolutely loves singing and dancing.  It’s beyond cute.  If I’m on the computer or preoccupied with something, she’ll start bopping her head and singing to herself.  The budgies are also doing well.  I don’t want to jinx it, but they’ve been living together harmoniously for the past few days!  They have a divider between them, but rather than a solid acrylic one, it’s stainless steel barred, and they haven’t been bothering each other at all.  I’m crossing my fingers that soon, they won’t even need a divider and they can share the entire space.  Setting up their cage with the divider can be a challenge.  I’ll post photos of that next time 🙂

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