Mysterious Pelican of Rhodes

My concept of reality was about to change forever on the enchanting island of Rhodes, Greece. Rhodes is replete with mystery, as it was once home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Colossus of Rhodes, a huge bronze statue erected in 280 BC, which at over 30 meters tall, stood majestically guarding the harbor.

It was within this mythical setting that I found myself with my traveling buddy and good friend Wendell. Wendell and I had been traversing throughout Europe for several months, and had ventured to Rhodes with the intention of viewing the spot where the famous statue had once stood. We were captivated by the beauty and allure of the island, and intrigued by the inexplicable feeling in the air that this was a place where anything could happen.

As we leisurely strolled through the old section of town one sunny afternoon, we suddenly heard a loud and powerful flapping of wings directly overhead. We glanced up, and were astonished by the presence of the largest pelican we had ever seen. To our amazement the pelican gracefully glided to a landing directly in front of us.

We stood silently gaping at the bird, flabbergasted. The pelican then began walking down the sidewalk intently, as if it had an explicit destination in mind. We quickly followed at a safe distance to ensure that we didn’t deter it from its goal.

It was a hot summer day, and as was the custom on the island, shops lining the street had their doors open to welcome visitors, and to allow the refreshing sea breeze to enter the premises.

The pelican continued walking, and then paused briefly before suddenly entering a local pharmacy. We eagerly followed it inside, where a handful of customers were browsing casually.

Without hesitation the pelican walked past the mystified patrons to an adjoining back room of the shop, where he began pacing back and forth in front of shelves which stored an array of medicine, as if searching for a particular item. We all stood transfixed, watching the bizarre behavior of this strange creature. After a few moments he seemed to abandon his peculiar quest, and reentered the interior of the shop.

We waited expectantly for what would happen next. To our surprise he then stopped within the center of our small group, and in turn looked at each of us directly in our eyes, as if trying to convey some personal message.

I remember his eyes seemed eerily human, and a strange sensation came over me that he was in actuality not a pelican, but rather an apparition which had temporarily taken form as this curious bird.

Without further ado he then left the shop as abruptly as he had entered, took a few steps toward the street, and flew away. We gazed at each other in wide-eyed disbelief, seeking validation from one another that what we had witnessed really transpired. Though a few token suggestions were offered, no one had a plausible explanation of what the pelican was doing there or why.

Taking Care Of Your Iguana

They do need interaction to stimulate their mind and remember that iguanas are basically still wild animals. They are not bread to be human friendly which makes the need to spend time with the pet necessary as it will take time to tame and train the reptile to accept human interaction.

Iguanas can grow up to six feet in length and they can also live for up to twenty years which makes iguanas life long pets. It is not an animal that can be gotten rid of just because one gets sick of caring for it, so if money is an issue in the household one may want to hold off on purchasing an iguana since they are somewhat costly to take care.

Building an adequate habitat, buying supplies and food, plus veterinary care can all add up to an expensive bill. Since the iguana is considered an exotic animal not all vet clinics will care for and treat an illness. In keeping up with all of the iguana care information reading and watching videos on reptile care can give one a leg up on the current care. Iguanas need care from their owners just as much as a cat or dog. It is very important to love and protect your animal to increase its trust and connection with the owner.

One issue that seems to appear with new iguana owners is the lack of knowledge. These owners are naive when it comes to caring for the reptile needs. Education with various sources of iguana care information is the best solution to many iguana related problems.

It is also important to seek out help when one needs it as reptiles cannot show when they are injured or sick until it is severe. Unlike other larger animals an iguana may be ill for days before it is noticed by an owner. Due to this it is necessary to contact a veterinarian or other professional as soon as an issue is noticed.

Build a Bearded Dragon Vivarium

  • Size depends on how many bearded dragons will be occupying the vivarium, the average bearded dragon will grow to around 18″ in length, however some can easily grow to 24″ so it is well worth checking the with the breeders what size the parents are. Absolute minimum size for a single adult bearded dragon would be 3ft by 2ft and for 2 adults 4 ft by 2ft. Height is not so important but 2 ft minimum.
  • Remember your pet will be living in his new home for most of the day, so you will need to consider carefully what you construct the vivarium from.
  • Bearded Dragons come from hot arid regions and will need suitable lighting which will mimic the sun in the natural environment. You have the option of a fluorescent tube which are available in lengths up to 4ft or a combined UV/basking lamp, I much prefer to use a fluorescent tube for the UV but this is a personnel preference. You will need to think how you will install this into your finished vivarium, hide the wires and make sure your pet can’t come in to direct contact with anything which may burn.
  • The vivarium will need to be heated with both hot and cool areas within the enclosure. As with all reptiles bearded dragons are ‘cold blooded’ and thermoregulate their body temperature by moving around the vivarium. The best way to achieve this is to create a basking area at one end of the vivarium, you can use either a ceramic lamp or a basking bulb. The basking area needs to be around 35-40° C / 95 – 105° F with the cooler areas around 25 – 28 ° C / 78° – 82° F during the day.
  • You will need to decorate your vivarium with suitable items which your bearded dragon can use to both climb and hide. Rocks and large pieces of wood are examples of what you could use. Bearded dragons are quite strong so make sure everything is stable.

Once you have planned your vivarium you will know the sizes of wood you need to have cut for the project. With luck you should be able to have the pieces cut to size when you buy them, this will ensure each piece is exactly the correct size. For instance 2 pieces of 4ft by 2ft conti board for the base and top of the vivarium and 2 pieces 2 x 2 ft for the 2 end pieces. For the back I would suggest plywood, it would be a good idea to cut the hole for the air vents prior to assembling.

With some help stand the pieces of the vivarium together and mark out where you want to drill the holes. After drilling the holes screw the pieces together using countersunk screws of a suitable length, please remember, until you fix the back onto the vivarium it will be very unstable and will need holding in place.

Once you have the walls and back put together you will need two narrow strips of conti board fitting the front of the vivarium. These will need to be approx 2″ in height and run the full length of the inside of the vivarium, these are what your glass doors will run on. After attaching these two strips of wood you can add the runners, available from most hardware stores, these can be cut to length before attaching to the vivarium using a suitable adhesive. Remember the runners come in two sizes; the larger one needs to be on the top of the vivarium in order to hold the glass in place.

You are now ready to insert your glass, when inserting the glass you will lift it into the top runner and push up before dropping into the bottom runner, so measure from the bottom of the top runner to the top of the bottom runner. Remember when taking your glass measurements to allow for an overlap when you close the doors, we would also recommend using toughened glass.

You will need some kind of background adding. Carefully measure the inner measurements of the back of the vivarium and cut your chosen background to size, suitable backgrounds are widely available on the internet and in specialist reptile shops. Using a sealant gun seal all the inside joints, any spilt liquids in the vivarium could cause the wood to warp if it leached into the joints as these will not be protected by the melamine coating.

Bearded Dragon Facts

The genus originates from the sub family Agaminae and is from the family called Agamidae. They are naturally cold blooded being reptiles. They posses spiny scales all around their bodies. Whenever they may feel they are being threatened they are able to expand out their spiny scales around the throat to show their aggression. The also can move around their head in an up and down motion to show dominance amongst males.

There are many color combinations. A lot of times they are dark golden brown and also can come in tan and brown. Occasionally they also have black markings. They have the ability to change their color on their scales during a rivalry or when the temperatures rise or drop. Fully grown they are around thirteen to twenty-four inches long on average.

People usually keep them as pets. One of the most common varieties is the Pogona viticeps or more commonly known as the Central Inland Bearded Dragons. Pogona is also a term that can cover other species too. They are quite popular pets because of how easy it is to maintain and care for them as well as their calm nature. They are probably one of the most popular lizards kept among reptile pets. They can be quite interesting. They are happy when they have a properly maintained enclosure to live and play in and make wonderful pets.

They are naturally omnivorous and they consume both plants and animals. When in the wild they eat a large variety of foods. Ones kept as pets most of the time eat green leafy vegetables as well as insects coated with a powder supplement. Crickets are a very common and popular choice for them. They can also consume flies, butter worms, silk worms and one their favorites super worms.

Some popular choices in green leafy vegetables include collard greens, parsley, carrot tops, and turnips. Some orange colored vegetables can also be eaten including squash, carrots, pumpkins, and beets. Other favorites include celery, rosemary, basil, hibiscus, rose petals and oregano. They need a bit of variety in their diets but they are very easy to keep healthy and happy.

Fruits including apples, pears, strawberries, grapes, melons, mangoes and papayas are good too. Owners are discouraged from feeding wild insects because it exposes them to viruses and parasites among other dangers. Some bugs including fire flies contain a fatal ingredient known as bioluminescent chemicals which can kill lizards when consumed. Depending on their environment and health level they easily can live about five to ten years on average inside captivity.

For additional information about bearded dragon facts you can quickly find out more online. Also pet stores have great information on the topic you may want to check out. There are so many different sources you can find on this topic. They usually make great pets and do not grow very big. They usually are friendly and easy to handle even for children since they are tame.

Parrot Health

  • Conjunctivitis – Is caused by a bacterial infection in the lungs associated with environmental factors (dust, drafty housing, and irritating fumes), nutritional deficiencies (vitamin A is often cited, although no specific experimental evidence support this view) or trauma and can be associated to ulcerative keratitis. Conjunctivitis is fairly easy to notice with a crusting of the eyes normally accompanied by red a swollen tissue beginning at the eye lid. An avian vet would diagnose and would normally treat this condition using antibiotics.
  • Avian Pox – A viral infection often having similar symptoms of Conjunctivitis although it is common to be accompanied by swollen, blistering formations on the eye lid.
  • Marek’s Disease – Is in a group of herpes viruses and most deadly although a vaccine (Zovirax, normally used for chicken pox in Humans)can be helpful to eliminate the spread of Marek’s disease it is usually too late to save the infected bird. There are 4 types of Marek’s (Cutaneous (skin form), Neural (nerve form),Visceral (internal-organ form),and the Ocular (Eye form). The Visceral (internal Organ Form) type is most commonly found in chickens, but can spread very quickly to other birds(Parrots). This Disease is normally spread through dander and close contact.
  • Uveitis – Is the inflammation of the eye and can be an indicator of much more serious internal problems. Trauma, penetrating injury, systemic disease, autoimmune condition, and mycosis, bacterial or viral disorders are causes of uveitis in birds.
  • Cataracts -Several causes for cataracts including poor diet (low vitamin e) this has also been associated with long term exposure to artificial light, senescence, trauma, developmental abnormalities, genetic disorders, nutritional deficiency, radiation, UV radiation and inflammatory factors. The good news is an operation to remove the cataracts known as Lensectomy by needle discision and aspiration, and conventional extra capsular extraction or ultrasonic phacoemulsification can be successful in birds.
  • Glaucoma – Glaucoma has rarely been reported in birds. Identification of glaucoma in most bird species is problematic because of the small size of their eyes, making even the use of testing equipment with small tips difficult or impossible when glaucoma is found, it is usually due to trauma and resulting iatrogenic associated with cataract surgery
  • Corneal degeneration – In pet birds, crystal deposition in the corneal stoma is reported as the second most frequent ocular disorder in pet birds.

Protecting Garden Birds From Magpies

First up, a very simple a cheap system for deterring magpies from your garden. Oddly enough, these socially advanced creatures absolutely cannot abide being looked at by other animals, particularly those they can’t identify. In Australia the birds have been known to attack children in the street, who then took to strapping paper eyes to the reverse of their caps. The magpies see the false eyes, spook easily and are quick to back away.

This is an easy method to adopt, and there are a few ways to expand upon it to make it even more effective. Start off by making a few sets of paper eyes at home. Once you’ve got a few pairs start posting them up around the garden. Trunks and walls are best, a nice flat surface where they’ll enjoy a lot of visibility. Fasten them on with sellotape for longer-lasting results.

The tape actually plays into the best way to improve the technique. Magpies are more likely to spook from objects which reflect light well. Not only are they bright, but they better represent the glistening effect of an actual eye. The best value for money solution you’ll find requires two types of object. A thread of string and any loose CDs and DVDs you’ve no intention of keeping. String the CDs together into long hanging ornaments, then affix them to walls, trunks and branches. They’ll turn in the wind, reflecting randomly while also resembling a circular eye, complete with pupil.

In small domestic gardens these techniques will prove successful enough at scaring off the pesky, predatory birds. So long as you maintain good lines of sight so a pair of eyes or reflective CDs are constantly in view the magpie population should quickly begin avoiding your property. In larger areas setting up a large number of these items tends to be an inefficient use of your time. Instead consider a scarecrow with reflective eyes. They’re an old standby, and the appearance of a conscious human does wonders deterring these birds.

Care For A Baby Pygmy Goat

For sleeping, a baby pygmy goat must have a place that is free from any draft. A basic shed big enough to fit all your goats in will be suitable for this. There should be approximately fifteen to twenty square feet between each animal. Their bedding should be made out of sawdust or straw. This should always be kept clean and dry. If it has been manured or wet, then this should be cleaned out at least once every day. The flooring should consist of clay over gravel. This means that everything will drain well and will not smell or rot.

A baby pygmy goat should be fed with colostrum. This is its mothers milk. It should be fed the colostrum as soon as practically possible once it has been born. This gives the baby the correct antibodies and nutrition it needs to help it to live within its early stages of life. Fresh colostrum is what is recommended. However, powdered colostrum can also be used if necessary.

In terms of food, these goats should be fed according to what their ages are. If a baby is under ten days old, then it will have to have its milk approximately four times each day. From ten days through to eight weeks old, they will require three bottles each day. After this age, it will go down to two bottles of milk every day right through until the weaning process has been completed. By then, the goat should be three months of age. A baby’s bottle is all that is required to feed your baby goat.

Once your goat has reached three weeks of age, they should now be ready for solid food. A small amount of gray and some hay will encourage it to keep on weaning. Weaning is a process that can take some time. As the goat continues to get older, you can introduce more solid food to what it is already having.

Fresh water must always be available for your baby pygmy goat. Especially when it begins to eat solid food.

A fenced off area should also be provided. This allows your goat to graze and play in this area. These kind of goats enjoy jumping from small niches. Small ramps and houses make great items for your goats to jump on or in. Especially if their pasture is not very nice or interesting.

The hooves of your baby pygmy goat should be trimmed every couple of months. You can do this with a small hand pruner.

Urban Farming

My experience with urban farming has been very enjoyable, even in the winter when we have to trek through freezing temperatures, wind, sleet and snow. Every morning before I get ready to go let the chickens and ducks out of their coops I look out my kitchen window and see them eagerly awaiting my presence. Our pet chickens, ducks, muscovy, quail, and turkeys bring me joy. They each have their own personalities, likes and dislikes. The best thing is the eggs. They are beautiful, green, blue, cream colored shells with rich orange colored yolks. I find that the eggs are better quality and taste like real eggs versus the eggs you buy at the grocery store. Chickens and ducks do not lay much or at all during the winter. From my experience you will most likely have to buy eggs in the winter.

Urban farming also involves growing your own food. Whether you want a strawberry patch or grow your own vegetables. The possibilities are endless! But beware! If you use your own compost for the soil in your garden beds, be prepared to have unplanned plants grow in your neatly planted beds. The best practice for finding out what can grow in your area is to research where your city is on the Plant Hardiness Zone Map. This tool will help you learn what plants will do well in your area. If you want to really get into Urban Farming, do a soil test. You can buy these at Lowe’s or Amazon. These will tell you the composition of your soil and help you level out the playing field so to speak, when it comes to what nutrients are needed for your crops to thrive.

If you are planning on selling your crops at a local farmer’s market, I would recommend looking into your state’s Cooperative Extension office and seeing if they have any classes you can take on the Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and take it! It will be very informational about the correct way to harvest crops as well as the do’s and don’ts for what you can and cannot sell. I would also look into any classes they may offer, there are also grants out there to offer agricultural classes for free. I would highly recommend looking into your state’s Cooperative Extension office for classes in general. Knowledge is power.

I hope you enjoyed reading my perspective and personal experiences on urban farming. If you have any questions and want to talk about how to start up your own Urban Farm, please feel free to send me an email and I can give you helpful advice. I am by no means an expert!

Feeding Pet Pigeons

The last bird you want to feed is a pigeon because they like to stay close to their food supply. And wherever you feed them is where they will hang out, and where they will use their ultrasound bird calls to help map the area for their mind. Once they decide to live in a certain area, it’s almost impossible to get rid of them. Sure, you can put up bird spikes and many business owners do, and many homeowners associations and high-rise condo complex managers attempt the same. Still, it’s hard to get rid of these birds as they will find somewhere to land, you can’t put the spikes on every single horizontal surface.

Pigeons really only need a couple of inches against a wall to perch – and, wherever they perch is where they let loose of their waste, and they seem to have indigestion, and diarrhea judging by what they discharge when they eat people food. Yes, the story gets even worse when you start considering the challenges of things like bird flu. Worse, if you feed the pigeons, they don’t just cause a problem in your vicinity, but all of your neighbors have to deal with the ugly stains of pigeon poop everywhere. Pigeons are very good at begging and they remember the types of behavior which garnered the most free food.

They are definitely scavengers, and if you feed one more will come into the area, which means more pigeon poop and more problems, including more bacteria, and the chances of getting bird flu someday. None of this is very good, so even if you think you are doing the pigeons a favor, and you like to go bird watching, feeding them isn’t very smart, not even in someone else’s park. Suffice it to say, pigeons don’t make very good pets, and there’s no sense in you learning the hard way. Please consider all this and think on it.

 

Bird Feeding

People feed wild birds to bring beauty to their outdoor spaces, for therapy or relaxation and for educational purposes for themselves or others. Some put bird feeders in their yards, hang them from trees, and put them on fences and in gardens or patios. Wild birds can be fed in your gardens or patios anytime of the year.

The Fish and Wildlife Service estimate in the spring there are approximately 10 billion wild birds in the United States and in the fall approximately 15 billion wild birds. This large increase in the fall is due to the fact that all the babies will have hatched.

Of those that feed birds, approximately $3 billion a year is spent on bird food by backyard hobbyists. They also spend $800 million a year on accessories for birds such as bird houses, bird baths, bird feeders, and other birding accessories.

There are all types of feeders. Here are just a few examples of the types of feeders that are available. There are also many more varieties of bird feeders constructed of many different materials.

  • Suet feeder
  • Open hopper
  • Single tube feeder
  • Twin tube feeder
  • Free standing feeder
  • Circular bird feeder
  • Liquid feeder
  • Fruit feeder
  • Platform feeder
  • Ground feeder

There are different types of feeders in relation to the types of birds you are trying to attract and the region of the country you are located in.

For example, the Blue Jay, can be found in almost every state in the country depending on the time of year. Blue Jays like a variety of feeders and a variety of bird food.

The types of bird feeders Blue Jays prefer vary in size and type. They like tube feeders, covered platform feeders, suet feeders, large open hoppers. They also like to eat on the ground to forage for whatever they can find.

Blue Jays like to eat seeds; safflower seeds, black oil sunflower seeds and hulled sunflower seeds. Here is a list of some of the other foods that Blue Jays enjoy to eat.

  • Cracked corn
  • Fruit
  • Mealworms
  • Milo
  • Millet
  • Peanuts
  • Peanut hearts
  • Suet

There are all types of bird seed and bird food available on the market today. It is best to know, as in our example, the Blue Jay, the types of environment for housing and the types of food they prefer. Most feed stores that also sell bird see will be able to help you with the types of food and feeders for the birds in your region of the county.