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!


Video: Construction Workers Rescue Stowaway Kittens from Steel Column

Five tiny kittens made big news here in San Diego recently!  Workers on a construction site were surprised to hear meows coming from a 60 foot steel column that had traveled hundreds of miles from Hayward to San Diego on a truck.

After failing to coax the kittens out with food, the workers had to tip the long tube over and slide them out.  Inside were a litter of 3 males and 2 females, just one week old!

Rescuers from the San Diego Humane Society came to the construction site and brought the kittens to SDHS’s 24 hour kitten nursery.

The kittens—named Crowbar, Rebar, Chisel, Jackhammer, and Piper—are now 4 weeks old and in foster care, where they will remain until they are ready for adoption at 8 weeks.

Check out the heartwarming video from San Diego Humane here:


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:


Keeping Pets Safe from Coyotes

In many communities around the U.S. cats and small dogs are at risk of being attacked by coyotes.  Many pet owners have reported that cats have been taken from enclosed backyards and small dogs were attacked while out on walks.

What can pet parents do to keep their fur kids safe from coyotes?  We’ve gathered some of the best advice on what to do to protect your pets, including some interesting products you can buy as well.

For cats, it’s always safest to keep them inside in areas where coyotes are active.  Outdoor cats are at greater risk for attacks by coyotes and other animals, in addition to being hit by cars and picking up parasites.

The Humane Society of the United States reports that feral cat colonies are also at risk for coyote attacks and suggests that colony caretakers make sure to provide vertical escape routes and elevated feeding stations for community cats.

What about small dogs?  As with cats, don’t leave them outside, even in a fenced-in yard, unattended.  Coyotes can dig under or jump over fences.  Dogs tethered with ropes or chains can be especially vulnerable.

Our friends at the Drake Center for Veterinary Care here in San Diego where coyotes are active have some great dog walking advice:

  • Keep your dog on a short leash while on walks, especially at dusk and dawn.
  • Avoid using retractable leashes because your dog can get too far away from you during an emergency.
  • Walk in high pedestrian traffic areas and avoid paths and trails bordering bushy areas where coyotes hide.

Did you know that you can also buy a Coyote Vest to keep your small dog safe when on walks?  These vests have either spikes or bristles that go over your dog’s back to help protect them from attacks.

You can also carry coyote deterrents while out on walks.  You can carry a noisemaker like an airhorn, whistle, or even an aluminum can filled with coins.  What about deterrent sprays?  You can buy commercial deterrent sprays or make your own by filling a spray bottle with water mixed with vinegar or ammonia.

Want more advice on keeping your pets safe from coyotes?  Check out the Coyote Smarts website for great tips!


Dog Beach Dos and Don’ts from San Diego Humane

Here in San Diego we have quite a few dog-friendly beaches for people and their pups to enjoy.  Are you planning on bringing your dog to the beach for some fun in the sun this summer?  The San Diego Humane Society has put together a list of some helpful dog beach etiquette tips for you and your best friend!

  • Many dogs go off-leash at the beach, but keep your dog leashed if you have any concerns about her behavior towards strangers and other dogs. You should also keep your dog leashed if she doesn’t come when called!
  • Bring plenty of fresh water for your dog to drink and an umbrella to provide your dog with shade on hot, sunny days.

  • Not every dog is a good swimmer, especially certain short-muzzled and short-legged breeds like Bulldogs and Dachshunds. Start your dog out leashed in shallow water to see how he does.  Make sure to pull him from the water if he gets tired.
  • Having up to date identification like tags and microchips is especially important when your dog goes off-leash at the beach.

  • Flea and tick prevention should also be up to date before you head to the beach.
  • Rinse the sand and salt water off of your dog when you’re done, and dry her off with a walk before getting back in the car.