Bird Care – What to Use to Identify Your Bird

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 15,272
    Susan Vandenbroek from FeatherHeads in Sterling Virginia discusses what to use to identify your bird.

    Susan: Hi, I am Susan with FeatherHeads. Weve been talking about Caring for your Parrot. One of the items, I would like to explain is the Banding System. I know many people are confused by what it means by Open banded, Close banded, Permanent Identification.

    In the years, when we imported into this country birds that were wild caught. We havent done that since 92. Birds have what was called a Quarantine band. Thats an opened band. It is a band thats put on in an adult bird or an older bird. It is crimped on to the leg, and it has a seam or an opening left in the band. Once we started to raise more birds domestically, the baby birds have what we call a closed band. These are some of the band sizes. They come in aluminum, stainless plastic. Plastic is typically reserved for the very smallest of birds such as Finches and Canaries. Many breeders like the aluminum with colors because they could color code what came from certain parents or what year the birds were born. They would use different colors for different years. The only control over a band is what the breeder chooses to put on it. So, the lettering that is typically on a band is usually two or three letters. It can be followed by sideways the state in which the bird was hatched. The two letter code for the State. The year in which the bird was hatched, not all bands have that and then the bird identification number.

    As I said, the breeder is responsible for what he chooses to put on his band, so there is no National Registry for band. There are a few organizations that do keep track of what breeder, bred birds. The American Federation of Aviculture; if you choose to purchase their bands; they are identified, and they do keep records of who purchased what band.

    One of the largest leg-band makers is L & M Bird leg-bands. They typically do not release the information. So, you cant count on your band to get your bird returned to you if it's get lost. It's certainly proof of identification, that it's your bird. Many vets routinely remove the bands because they feel they are hazardous to the birds. I would caution anyone who is going to remove a band to make sure that you dont anticipate moving overseas. Many times, only a band is the identification that they will accept. All parrots typically require an export permit from this country and an import permit to another country, reverse coming back. So, you want to make sure that you dont inadvertently remove the band when you need it. There are also certain states that require banding. Virginia in fact, requires banding on all Quaker Parrots. So, you can never remove the band on your Quaker Parrot, but given that the bands do have limited ability to track the birds, or to find out where a bird came from, more and more birds are being micro chipped. Its more and more popular, it is a microchip, you've probably heard of them for dogs even cats. It's the same chip, it's made by the same companies, Avid and Homeagain are two of the largest in this country. They have databases that they maintain ownership of the animals. We've been successfully micro-chipping birds here. Ive done them down to as small as a Quaker. I havent tried a Parakeet at this point. We are going to show you how a micro chip is inserted, where it's inserted, and how you read a micro chip.

    As I said, it's a National Registry Database. So, if you lose your bird, and birds have the ability to fly very far, you stand a better chance of reclaiming your bird, if you have a micro chip. If your bird is stolen, it is also a better identification. Most vets can read them. Avid and Homeagain will provide shelters with a free reader, if they nearly request one on their letter head. So, it's an important thing thats becoming much more readily available in the bird community.

    Here is one of the needles we use for inserting a microchip. This is a sterile pack. Theres one chip in here. These are RFI chips, Radio Frequency Identification. They are read with a special scanner. This is an Avid chip that we use. Before I insert the chip, I make sure that this is a good chip. We stand it here; it comes up with the I.

    D. number. Elvis, our assistant here has already been chipped, so, hes going to demonstrate how we do it. He's also going to try and demonstrate how we read it. Well read it after we show them how it's inserted. There are two different schools of thought on micro chipping as to whether or not the bird needs to be under anesthesia or not. My personal opinion is the risk of anesthesia is much greater than the brief few seconds it takes to insert the micro chip. Ive done about fifty or sixty now. Ive never had a bird be that unhappy. They get up and start playing again. So, my recommendation is that we only do it without anesthesia. Well show you what the needle is like. It's a fairly large needle, fairly large Bore needle. The chip is inserted under the skin, in the chest muscle. It goes in right here, theres the keel bone. We go off to one side, we place, we use alcohol to dampen down the feathers so it can move the feathers upside, and then the chip, I am not going to do this on camera, but then the chip is inserted here. We slide it right up under the skin, and it's injected.

    Actually, Elvis already has a microchip; we are going to show you his chip. You want to give it up, Elvis? There is his chip read. He's registered in the database, so that if Elvis should get lost, and get away, anyone who finds him, and takes him to have the chip read, they can call the database, and they will get a hold of Rob, and tell him where Elvis is. Weve been talking to you about Care of Parrots and we've been talking to you just briefly now, about Permanent Identification. The next topic we are going to cover is How to Sex a Parrot.