December 15, 2017

Twitter-pated with Birds

For Challenge #9, click HERE.

Merry Christmas 2CCC friends,

This is Teresa, finally back in the swing at 2CCC and I have lots of Christmas goodies for you in this mid-month post.

About 2 years ago, my wonderful husband made me an enclosed aviary in our basement so my pet birds could fly free without risk to their safety. Since then, my handful of birds has grown to 19: 2 doves, 2 cockatiels, 4 budgies and 11 finches. With the exception of the finches and my 16-year-old white dove, Treasure, all of these have been birds that needed new homes. As for my Zebra finches, I have had to re-home a number of them because the little darlings keep reproducing. Otherwise, I would be completely overrun (over-flown?) by tiny beeping finches. (I was not beeping out a bad word; that is actually the sound they make. )

 Even though I have a variety of species, they all get along reasonably well. Most stick to their own, but my cockatiels - Sassafrass and Frannie - have taken a shine to the doves. Who can blame them?

Most of my birds are not hand-tame, except for the doves, but my finches like to land on my head and shoulders, tugging on my long silver hair. I suspect they think it is straw and will make good nest material.
Health issues with small birds can often be fatal. Usually by the time you notice something is wrong, the bird is too sick to recover. I always keep a small hospital cage in case I ever have a sick bird on my hands. That way I can keep the bird warm (with a heat source under one half of the cage) and quiet until (hopefully) she recovers. For anyone keeping more than two birds, I recommend having a small hospital cage or small animal carrier. Being prepared can make the difference between a sick bird surviving or not.

The best way to keep a healthy flock is to provide a nutritious diet, clean air & water, plenty of exercise, an area away from drafts, and a reasonably clean environment. Over the years, I have developed a recipe that I feed to my birds, which is high in protein and has lots of nutrition, including calcium, which all females need, especially if they are breeding. They also get fresh greens daily and I often add other fruits and veggies to their mix for more nutrition and because they like variety. My first Christmas gift to you is my recipe. If you don't have pet birds, perhaps you will consider making a batch of bird bread as a Christmas gift to the outside birds around your home. They will certainly appreciate it, especially if you live in a cold climate like I do.

Now, even if you don't love having real birds in your life, you might like having them on your cards and craft projects. So I am sharing some of my bird digis with you. Please do not share them directly, but feel free to send your friends here to pick up the images themselves. If you post a project, please give credit to Tickell Expressions. If you can't remember that, you can say Teresa from 2CCC and that will be fine. Merry Christmas and I hope you enjoy these.

Aviary Appetite Pleaser

This recipe started as a modified cornbread recipe. Over the years, it has blossomed into a delicious and nutritious feed for all my birds: finches, doves, budgies and cockatiels. It is high in protein and a good source of calcium, but mineral blocks should still be provided, especially if you have breeding birds.

I do not like to bake, so to simplify the process, I first make a dry mix that will give me more than one batch.

Bird Bread Mix:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup almond flour (ground almonds)
- 1 cup chick pea flour
- 4 ½ cups yellow cornmeal
- ½ cup quinoa grains
- ¼ cup baking powder
- 1 tbsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 cup bird seed (optional – a good idea to help convert seed-junkie birds)
Mix together and store in an airtight container.

Bird Bread Recipe: (pre-heat oven to 350 F)
- 4 cups bird bread mix (above)
- 8 large eggs or 12 small
- 2 ½ cups pumpkin puree
- 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
- 3 tbsp. molasses or honey
- 1 cup apple juice (or any other non-citrus juice)
- Optional: add crushed nuts, shredded coconut, grated carrot or grated apple
Mix melted coconut oil into dry mix with a fork or pastry blender. Continue to work with your fingers until crumbly. In separate bowl, mix eggs and pumpkin; add remainder of ingredients. Gradually mix the wet ingredients into the dry. It should be a cake batter consistency. Line 9x13 pan with parchment paper. Pour batter into pan. Bake at 350 F for 30- 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Crumble bread, or cut into meal sized squares, whichever your bird prefers. Parrots would probably like something they can hold in their ‘hands’. Once cooled completely, put crumbles or squares into freezer bags and store in the freezer. Keep no more than 2-3 day portions in the refrigerator at a time, to ensure freshness.

Serve on its own or mix in fresh fruits or veggies. You can also thaw some frozen corn, peas or berries and add them to the mixture. Corn is especially important for doves and pigeons. (I have tried adding this to the batter, but the corn dries out too much and is unpalatable) 

Don’t forget the greens – snips of lettuce (not iceberg), kale or parsley are good. Spinach can be given in moderation. Grated carrot, apple or snippets of bell peppers are also appreciated. Switch it up. Your birds will appreciate the variety of not knowing exactly what is going to be in their bowl each day.


  1. Thank you for sharing your aviary Teresa. It brought back childhood memories for me. I only had a couple of budgies but I loved them to bits - they were so tame and spent a lot of time sat on my shoulder. So I'm loving the last digi - he looks just like "ginger".

    1. I'm so glad I brought back some nice memories for you, Cheryl. If you create something with my "Ginger", I would love to see it. hugs, Teresa

  2. love those birds!
    amazing photos!


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