New Study: Escaped Pet Parrots Living Throughout the US

A study of former pet parrots living and breeding in the wild (called “naturalized” parrots) was recently published in the Journal of Ornithology.

The findings show that our escaped pet birds are living, and in many cases thriving, in nearly all US states, including those with cold climates.

56 species of naturalized parrots have been sighted living in the wild in 43 states between the years 2002-2016.  25 of these parrot species are known to be breeding in at least 23 states.

The most common pet parrot species living in the wild in the US are the Monk Parakeet, the Red-crowned Amazon, and the Nanday Parakeet.

Most naturalized parrots live in three states with relatively warm climates:  California, Florida, and Texas.

A story on this parrot study in National Geographic notes that escaped parrots can live in colder states, thanks to their nightly nesting habits and people putting out bird seed in the winter months.

Parrots live in all types of environments, from urban to rural, with many choosing to nest in man-made structures.

Here in San Diego, researchers report that we have as many as 13 parrot species living in the wild.  Locals can keep up with the latest parrot news and report sightings via the San Diego Parrot Project!


San Diego Humane Adopts Out 84 Cockatiels Rescued from Hoarding Situation

Back in January, the San Diego Humane Society took part in a large-scale rescue operation of 84 cockatiels from a one-bedroom apartment.  The rescue made the news and many interested adopters began contacting San Diego Humane about the birds.

The cockatiels spent several weeks at the Humane Society receiving lots of TLC and were ready for adoption at the end of February.

In a very happy ending to an unfortunate hoarding story, all the birds were adopted out in the first three hours!

Check out this video for more on the cockatiel adoption success story:


How to Create an Animal Friendly Yard

Spring is just around the corner, and it’s never too early to start planning your garden, especially when you’re getting tired of winter!  This spring, make sure your gardening and landscaping plans take your local animals, birds, and insects into account.

How can you make your yard a humane haven for neighborhood wildlife?  The Humane Society of the United States has put together a practical list of tips.  Here’s how you can ensure that your backyard is safe for local wildlife.

  • Provide a source of fresh clean water, such as a birdbath.
  • Offer natural food sources like flowering native plants and bird feeders.
  • Avoid lawn products with harmful chemicals such as pesticides.

  • Build or purchase a bat house so bats can control insects and pollinate plants on your property.
  • Convert all or part of your lawn into a natural native plant habitat for local animals.
  • Place yard debris in a brush pile to create a shelter for small animals like chipmunks and toads.

  • Plant flowers that attract bees and put up specially-designed bee houses for them.
  • Make sure your swimming pool has an escape route like a ramp for wild animals that fall in.

  • Attract beneficial insects like butterflies and beetles with appropriate native plants.
  • Keep cats indoors for their own safety and the safety of local wildlife.

  • Watch out for nesting animals like rabbits and birds while mowing and pruning in the spring.
  • Use humane methods to trap and release wildlife that gets into your home.
  • Prevent deadly bird strikes by applying a few cling decals to your window panes.


FDA Warns of Dangers to Pets from Secondhand–and Thirdhand–Smoke


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released a report detailing the many dangers of second- and thirdhand smoke to our dogs, cats, and other pets. You may know that secondhand smoke is when someone other than the smoker inhales tobacco smoke. But did you know that so-called thirdhand smoke is a particular danger to pets? Thirdhand smoke is toxic residue that gets on your clothes, furniture, carpets…and your pet’s fur or feathers.

If you smoke in the house around your pets, or even in the car and then drive with your dog, you are exposing your pets to the toxic chemicals that are the components of cigarette smoke. What are the particular dangers to specific kinds of pets? Here’s a summary…be sure to check the FDA website for the full story.


Dogs: Your dog’s nose acts like a filter, designed to stop harmful particles from reaching the lungs. The bigger the nose, the more toxins collect there. That’s why long-nosed dog breeds (like Greyhounds) that are expose to smoke are at double the risk of cancer of the nose than other dogs. On the other hand, short-nosed dogs like Pugs have an increased risk of lung cancer because more particles get to the lungs.


Cats: Because cats groom themselves by licking their fur, they are at increased risk of developing certain kinds of cancers from thirdhand smoke residue that attaches to their fur and then gets swallowed. These cancers include squamous cell carcinoma of the mouth and tongue, and lymphoma. Cats exposed to heavy smoking are three times more likely to develop lymphoma than other cats.


Birds: Birds are very sensitive to toxins in the air, which is why experts recommend keeping them out of the kitchen when cooking. Birds are negatively affected by inhaling secondhand smoke, and like cats, groom their feathers, which increases their exposure to thirdhand smoke residue. They can get allergies, pneumonia, and lung cancer.


Guinea pigs: Studies have shown that pocket pets like guinea pigs that are exposed to smoke can develop changes in their lungs, emphysema, high blood pressure, and weight loss.


Fish: Being in water does not protect fish from the dangers of smoking. Nicotine is easily dissolvable in water and is toxic to fish. High levels of nicotine exposure can cause muscle spasms, rigidity, and even death in fish.

Besides not smoking near your pets or in any environment your pets may enter, you should also make sure to keep cigarettes and e-cigarettes away from your pets to prevent accidental ingestion.