Phoenix Landing 2012 Wellness Retreat Overview

Hello readers! I’ve gotten rather behind in blogging and am trying to catch up. To start things off, I wanted to give everyone who was unable to attend the Phoenix Landing Wellness Retreat an inside look at what it was like. The retreat was on October 20th and 21st, 2012, and was a total of 17 hours of higher learning for parrot lovers. This is a complete list of the seminars available (seminars were double stacked, so for parts of the day you were required to choose which one you wished to attend)

  • The Meaning of Total Wellness – Dr. Susan Orosz *  
  • The Miracle of Flight – Dr. Susan Orosz *
  • Diseases & Common Emergencies, Keeping Your Bird Safe – Dr. Frank Rutowski *
  • Nourish To Flourish: Lets Make a Healthy Mash – Ann Brooks
  • Wise Arrangements of the Indoors and Relationship to the Outdoors – Pamela Clark
  • Enrichment Lab, A Toy Workshop – Kris Porter *
  • Herbals and Nutriceuticals – Dr. Susan Orosz *
  • The Brain and Special Senses – Dr. Susan Orosz *
  • Learning Basic Husbandry Skills – Pamela Clark
  • Laser Therapy – Dr. Frank Rutowski
  • Training Your Bird Husbandry Skills – Jenny Drummey *
  • The Social Needs of Parrots – Pamela Clark *
  • Aging Birds – Dr. Susan Orosz *
  • Closing Comments, Q&A, Roundtable Discussion *

* Starred titles indicate the sessions that I attended


I’ll be the first to admit that by the time Sunday night rolled around, my brain was swimming with information. The speaker lineup was fantastic, and each session I attended was choke full of information and opportunities for hands on learning. In Kris Porter’s Enrichment lab, everyone had the opportunity to make 3 different toys with step by step instructions from Kris. I make the majority of my own toys, and Kris introduced me to some materials I have never even thought of using before – such as coffee sleeves (genius!)

Additionally, I got to see some old friends and meet new people, including meeting Pamela Clark and Dr. Orosz for the first time. These ladies were gracious, personable, and easy to talk to. Their reputation for knowledge is certainly well deserved – I could have listened to Dr. Orosz lecture all day. Dr. Orosz’s seminar on flighted birds was astounding, and gave us some insight into why flight is so important to our parrots. At one point Dr. O was discussing the filoplumes, and how they are sensory receptors to our parrots. It lead to a train of thought and discussion about plucked birds, and what those birds may be missing as a result of lack of filoplumes. It is integral to for a parrot to know where its feathers are in 3d space, and feather movement – eg, a breeze through the birds feathers, is equivalent to our cup of coffee as it is a ‘wake up’ that allows the bird a sense of where they are in  space. Kris Porter had a thought that perhaps plucked birds would benefit from additional feather stimulation, and we discussed how to achieve this: perhaps a small oscillating fan, on a timer, near the birds cage so the bird gets a very gentle ‘breeze’ on its feathers, intermittently, for a 10 minute time period throughout the day. This is definitely a thought process to explore.

I have so many notes and through processes to continue to wade through, but I will leave you with some tidbits I learned from that weekend.

  • Walnuts, flax seed, and eggs cooked in canola oil are the best way to get a balanced mix of Omega fatty acids into your birds diet
  • Ginger is great for anti inflammatory and anti nausea properties
  • Parrots don’t use smell as a food selector, instead it is hypothesized that they use ultraviolet light instead so they can ‘see’ what is ripe and what is not
  • Parrots can see energy – google kirlian photography
  • There are three types of parrot ‘bonds’ displayed in the wild: a parent bond, friend bond, and pair bond – how your parrot bonds with you affects your relationship and its behavior
  • Parrots have a loose, fluid social hierarchy – no dominance. Height dominance is a myth (I knew this one but it was nice to have it confirmed!)
  • Lafeber tests for aflatoxins in its products (Dr. O is a big fan of Lafeber)
  • Cutting down on carbs in your parrots diet may reduce hormone levels
  • UVB bulbs are not essential for your birds Vitamin D3 intake – they can get that from a complete and balanced diet
  • Eclectus diets – all the specialized foods you read about – not totally grounded in truth. The ‘fact’ that eclectus have a longer GI tract then other birds – false. They can and will digest pellets, and toe tapping/wing flapping may not be diet related.
  • The sugar in nutriberries is not a concern (for those that stress about sugar in your parrots’ diet)


Emily November 2, 2012 Bird News, Bird Training and Behavior, Blog, Events