Building Your Own Outdoor Aviary
White-eyes are valued as cage birds for their songs in some Asian countries. Because they are difficult to breed in aviaries they are trapped legally or illegally in the wild each winter. The trappers and dealers must know how to tell the sex of the birds, as only the males sing. They are also considered pests in vineyards and orchards in Southern Africa and Australia, though they consume large quantities of aphids and other pest insects as well as soft fruit.
Leafbirds are well-represented in art, with the Chinese depicting them since at least the fifteenth century. Many other varieties of this family have been prized as well for their beauty and were shipped commercially in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Before World War II, India was the largest supplier of these birds. By the 1950s and 1960s, Thailand, and then Indonesia were major sources. By the 1990s, China exported them until a ban was imposed on caged birds in 2001. Indonesia then played the key role in their export. Their tendency to fight with other birds has made them unsuitable for mixed groups of species.
The primary threat to the Endangered (two species) and Vulnerable (five species) bulbuls is habitat loss, though hybridization and trapping for the caged bird trade are also problematic. The effect of destruction of habitat is especially pronounced because so many of these birds have quite restricted ranges. The Endangered streak-breasted bulbul (Hyp-sipetes siquijorensis) is endemic to four islands of the Philippines, and while it lives in open areas, forest in some condition appears to be essential to its survival. Forest destruction has severely affected population numbers, and although on the island of Siquijor the remaining four forest patches are now reserves, suitable protection of the rest of its habitat may be critical to its survival. Habitat loss is also a problem for the Nicobar bulbul (Hypsipetes nicobarensis), found exclusively on the Nicobar islands of India. This bird also suffers from competition with the recently introduced Andaman red-whiskered bulbul (Pycnonotus...
Habitat Rose-ringed parakeets are adaptive, able to adjust to living conditions in a range of countries. They live in deciduous forests, grassland, and rainforests. In addition to their natural habitats, parakeet populations grew in the United States and England after caged birds escaped or were released by people.
Forest destruction has limited the Malaysian range of the great argus pheasant. Lowland forests now cover only about 15 of the peninsula. Borneo is in less danger at least 40 of its land area is covered by lowland forests. Humans trap the birds at display sites that are advertised by the males' loud calls, and use the birds' feathers as ornaments. In addition, the great argus pheasant competes with the crested argus pheasant for its habitat, though it is not clear which species excludes the other. Currently, the great argus pheasant is raised in aviaries around the world.
Offer your bird a chance to bathe every day. This can be accomplished in several ways. Pet stores sell baths that attach to the side of a bird cage. If you own a kind of bird that will get in this bath or is small enough to get in, it's a good way to offer a bath because it keeps the mess under control. Most small-to-medium-sized birds, such as Finches, Canaries, Parrotlets, Cockatiels and Quaker Parrots, will lake a bath in a shallow dish. Make sure the water just covers your bird's feet and that she can easily get out of the bath dish. Birds cannot swim 114 and may have difficulty flying with wet feathers.
Woodpecker finches use cactus needles as tools to pry beetle grubs from trees. First the finch puts its ear to a branch to find out whether any tasty insects are scurrying around inside. Next, it pecks a hole in the wood to break into the beetle grub's tunnel. Finally, it pokes in the needle and tries to impale a grub and pull it out. How woodpecker finches first acquired this skill is a mystery, but experiments with caged birds have shown that other finch species can learn the same trick by copying.
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