Tonawanda News


March 25, 2013

CRITTER COMPANIONS: Keep those birds busy

Tonawanda News — “Anything that will help emulate and stimulate natural foraging behaviors are good things,” said Jan Graham, owner of Busy Beaks, a companion parrot toy store in Texas. “These are intelligent creatures that we put into a cage. In the wild, they spend most of their day flying, foraging for food and sleeping.”

Founded in 2000, Busy Beaks, a small family business, was created to fill a special niche. 

“Parrot toys weren’t readily available and we wanted safe things for them to play with so we started making them. Eventually Busy Beaks became a reality, hence our trademarked slogan Busy Beaks are Happy Beaks,” she said.

Graham lived in Australia for two and a half years and parrots become a real passion. She has had companion parrots since the 1980s and currently has 30 parrots, primarily Australiasian birds, such as cockatoos and eclectus.

Cockatoos have that trademark crest that rises up when excited and eclectus are unique because they are sexually dimorphic. That means you can just look at them and know if that individual is a male or female, which can be tricky for many other parrot species. Male eclectus have bright green bodies and females are deep red and purple. 

Speaking of color, parrots love colored objects just like humans. Colorful toddler toys are one way to enrich your critter companion, which is Busy Beaks’ goal.

“Since baby toys are typically safe for babies, you can selectively use them for parrots — being careful of removable parts” Graham said. “Make certain your parrot doesn’t actually consume non-edible things like plastic.”

On Busy Beaks’ website, there is a full page of helpful hints on how to make your own parrot enrichment. When using fabrics, like tweeds, Jan says “you must be careful that threads aren’t hanging that can get caught around unsuspecting toes.”

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