The inspiration for this post was something I literally tripped over. Our bird room/office space has a lot in it right now: two birds, two desks with accompanying chairs and computers, a filing cabinet, and a few things that we like to have to make sure the birds are nice and comfortable. This past weekend, not paying attention, I went to do something (turn on a light?) and banged right into our humidifier, spilling its entire contents all over the floor, traumatizing the birds, and making a massive mess. Since then it occurred to me it might be a nice idea to do a post about a few things Mr. Awesome and I have found useful in our bird room:
A humidifier. The whole house humidifier that is attached to our furnace looks like it’s older than me, and it didn’t age well, nor does it work, the result being that the humidity levels in our home during the cold months could get close to that of the Sahara Desert (not joking. Read this article). So after sandpaper feet, nose bleeds, and chapped lips, it was time to purchase a humidifier. Our Odyssey to create humidity in our home could be a post in and of itself, but I won’t bore you with it (for now). Suffice it to say, if you are suffering from lack of humidity, it is safe to assume your bird is as well. Compound this with the fact that your bird may be molting this time of year, and that could make for one uncomfortable parrot.
From what I’ve seen, humidifiers come in predominantly two types: the sort that produce hot steam, and the kind that work via evaporation and a fan. The humidifier we currently have in our bird room is a 1.3 Gallon Honeywell warm mist humidifier. It can be a bit of a pain to clean with our ridiculously hard water, but it does an adequate job and has a knob that lets you adjust how much steam you want it to put out. We also have another, larger, evaporating humidifier in another area of the house.
Two things to keep in mind: Obviously, the warm steam humidifiers can get hot, so if you have one near your birds make sure it is in a place where they will not be burned by it. If you are using the evaporating variety, be sure the fan isn’t putting your birds in a cold draft. And as always, be sure anything plugged into an electrical outlet is out of chewing distance.
***Side Note*** Before purchasing a humidifier, check how much energy it uses. I thought I was being clever and picked up three small, low priced warm steam humidifiers thinking if they worked well it would save us having to purchase a larger version. They did work well, and I kept them bubbling away for at least twelve hours a day. Then the energy bill came in, AND IT WAS ABOUT $100 MORE THAN USUAL. Mr. Awesome did a check online and discovered that the watts used by the things was enormous, which would be fine if you were just using it for the night to soothe a cold, but not for trying to run it nonstop for a month.
A space heater. Depending on your home and setup this one may not be necessary. Our condo is really more of a townhome in its layout. We basically live in a tower consisting of three floors, the result being each level you go up is warmer than the previous level. We keep our birds on the highest floor where most of the heat collects. This winter, in an effort to save on energy costs, we turned our thermostat down to 69 F during the day and 65 F during the night and set up a small space heater in the bird room to keep it in the low to mid 70s. It has worked well so far, and I’m really hoping we will see the difference on our energy bills. Even if your home is a consistent temperature all over, you may find a space heater beneficial to have on hand in case of emergency or illness. Of course, keep anything hot at a safe distance from your birds, and be aware of any fire risks.
A thermometer/hygrometer. Obviously, you’ll have no idea what the temperature or humidity levels are if you don’t have a way of measuring them. You can get thermometer/hygrometer combos that are pretty inexpensive. Even if you are confident of what the temps and humidity levels are in your home, it is smart to have one of these near your birds so you can be sure of what is going on directly around them. I recommend a digital version for the sake of quick, easy reading.
Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. These should be in every home anyway for your own safety, but it is worthwhile considering where they are located in relation to where you are keeping your birds.
An air purifier. This is probably more for your sake than the birds, but air quality is important. As any parrot owner knows, birds produce and incredible amount of feather dust; grey and white birds especially. We have an Alen air purifier that we are quite pleased with. Neither Mr. Awesome or I are allergic to birds specifically, praise God, but we do have allergy issues, so not having to breathe in quite so much birdy dander is a big plus. If you do put an air purifier in your bird room, do make sure it isn’t putting any of your little guys in a draft.
A TV, computer, radio, or music source. Willow and Robin get to watch cartoons. As I said above, our computers are in the bird room (or are the birds in our office?), and many times I will pull up a cartoon on Netflix for them, just to keep things interesting. Bright colors, funny sounds, and frequent musical numbers keep the birds from having to spend their afternoons in silence while I am busy getting things done. Music is also something nice to have playing for them, even talk radio, so long as it isn’t too loud or unnerving. I recommend you not play anything for your birds that you don’t want them repeating later. Just in case.
I hope you found this list useful. Our bird room is quite crowded at the moment with all of the appliances, but at least Robin and Willow seem comfortable. I’m looking forward to warmer weather when we can put the humidifier and heater away for the season. Perhaps then I will be less prone to tripping over things…
Music Division, The New York Public Library. “The girl you dream about” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1896 – 1900. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e3-fc5d-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99