Sassy’s Story

This is Sassy, a male B&G macaw who is one of a group of macaws that came into TGF’s offsite care over 18 months ago. He is one of a large group of macaws that had been rescued over the years by a person dedicated to improving the lives of these former unwanted, breeder birds macaws. More than half of these birds have visible cloacal papillomas. Due to owner illness, all of the birds were placed into our offsite location in FL.

Our multi-section aviary there is huge, with communal areas, walk-overs and separate aviaries where the macaws had the opportunity to pick their own friends.  The birds’ care, husbandry, housing and nutrition is overseen by a veterinarian diplomated in avian medicine, with a long history in aviculture, flock behavior, conservation and veterinary medicine. The husbandry staff provides for the daily physical care and cleaning of the flock. The landscaping surrounding the aviaries is tropical and lush. The birds have ponds in their view, and egrets come in to feed during the day. The birds have the safety of wood boxes during inclement/hurricane weather to keep them safe, warm and dry. The aviaries are nestled in the unique FL pines and protected from direct sunlight. The area is tranquil.

Since their move to FL, these birds’ lives and behaviors gradually changed from shyness and fear, to a flock with dynamic relationships. Sassy shared the flight with his friend Izzy, and a pair of Greenwing macaws – each of which had been paired with their friend for at least 15 years. Then some of the bird relationships quickly changed when the two Greenwing macaws became aggressive and territorial. It was too late for Sassy whose beak had been permanently damaged when he was attacked by the Greenwings while his friend Teddy was mortally wounded by the time that human help arrived summoned by the birds’ frantic calls.

Sassy underwent beak repair to reshape the remaining keratin. This beak will not grow again as the damage affected the growth plate. After several weeks in the FL vet clinic hospital, Sassy gained weight, confidence and trust with the vet and vet staff there. Changes for Sassy’s life include a modified diet that is soft and nutritious. We make a mixture of grains, quinoa, sweet potato, and  finely chopped greens. He readily eats this breakfast mash. In the afternoon, he gets pellets, nuts out of shell, fruit and veggies that he can consume without difficulty.

Other than his unusual appearance as a result of this traumatic injury, Sassy’s a handsome and robust bird. He is ready to be in a home with a friend or family that will provide his special diet, keep him happy and enriched and give him a chance to live in a home. Sassy still needs a macaw sized cage. He fully enjoys time outside and his damaged beak does nothing to prevent him from sounding and behaving like a real macaw.

Consequences are environmental events that occur after a behavior. They are the result of an action and provide feedback to us. With that feedback, behaviors will either continue, increase or decrease. In other words, consequences provide us with learning experiences. For our purposes when working with animals we observe those consequences that immediately follow a behavior in order to know the function of a behavior and then we can work on a plan to change that behavior.

This week let's broaden that a bit to consider long-term consequences such as the shape of a bird's beak. Various beak shapes evolved through consequences according to each species diet. Feathers started out as scales and evolved to what we see today. Feathers are not only useful for locomotion but also for thermoregulation and protection.

This week I saw two interesting articles that involve consequences. One explaining why bird eggs have so many different shapes. What scientists found is that the shape of an egg depends on how much a bird species flies. Who knew!

www.nytimes.com/2017/06/22/science/bird-eggs-shapes-flight.html?emc=eta1

The second article I ran into showed house finches gathering cigarette butts to put in their nests as a pest repellent. By adding these they were not bothered by parasites. More learning due to consequences! Although the long-term consequence may not be favorable.

tinyurl.com/ya52zlfo

Enjoy!
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Consequences are environmental events that occur after a behavior. They are the result of an action and provide feedback to us. With that feedback, behaviors will either continue, increase or decrease. In other words, consequences provide us with learning experiences.  For our purposes when working with animals we observe those consequences that immediately follow a behavior in order to know the function of a behavior and then we can work on a plan to change that behavior. 

This week lets broaden that a bit to consider long-term consequences such as the shape of a birds beak. Various beak shapes evolved through consequences according to each species diet. Feathers started out as scales and evolved to what we see today. Feathers are not only useful for locomotion but also for thermoregulation and protection. 

This week I saw two interesting articles that involve consequences. One explaining why bird eggs have so many different shapes. What scientists found is that the shape of an egg depends on how much a bird species flies. Who knew! 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/22/science/bird-eggs-shapes-flight.html?emc=eta1

The second article I ran into showed house finches gathering cigarette butts to put in their nests as a pest repellent. By adding these they were not bothered by parasites. More learning due to consequences! Although the long-term consequence may not be favorable. 

https://tinyurl.com/ya52zlfo 

Enjoy!

Comment on Facebook

Wow, both very interesting information, and things I didn t know, so them for sharing. On the subject of beaks, I have experienced some long term consequences of a bad diet, previous to me (Of course 😉). I took in my male ekkie, Mylo when he was 4 years old. He turns 9 on his next gotcha day of Sept. 19th. I am still having to trim his beak every few months or so because on his first vet check, within the first couple days I had him, he had some "troubling liver numbers" so went back at the 6 month Mark and again at the 1 year and by the one year mark my vet was totally astonished. She said if she had not seen him herself that first time I brought him in she wouldn't have believed it was the same bird. Big boost for the way I care for my birds and how I was taught, but most importantly he has shown awesome liver #'s and everything else since his 6 month check. However, his beak and nails are still growing a bit fast. They have certainly slowed down over the years, I use to trim monthly and now can go anywhere from 4-6 months between trimming. So, that just goes to show #1 how damaging a bad diet can be, even only after a few years, #2 how long it truly takes to right itself within the body, as he has had good #' s for going on 4 years now but still showing a small bit of evidence of the trauma. Here's a recent picture of him preening while sitting in the window, keeping an eye on all possible dangers for the flock. Yes, he is the lookout and sounds quite the call if he sees anything he doesn't like 😘😚

Curious about what the pictured parrot is eating...

3 days ago

The Gabriel Foundation

We're so excited that nearly all of our cockatiels have been adopted! Tyler and Jackie recently adopted cockatiels Whitebird and Greybird. These two not-so-creatively-named cuties came to us about two years ago and finally found a family to love them. We wish everyone in the family all the best and many happy years together!

(Note: Whitebird and Greybird are shown here in their travel cage)
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Were so excited that nearly all of our cockatiels have been adopted!  Tyler and Jackie recently adopted cockatiels Whitebird and Greybird.  These two not-so-creatively-named cuties came to us about two years ago and finally found a family to love them.  We wish everyone in the family all the best and many happy years together!  

(Note: Whitebird and Greybird are shown here in their travel cage)

Comment on Facebook

That's great hope they will be getting a bigger cage.

So glad they have a new home! Well done! <3

Fantastic!!!!

Yay!!!

way to go TGF... 😍

I want one

wonderful news!

Yay!

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