Plight of the feathered beings
In most birds, feather cysts are caused by an infection or an injury to the feather follicle.
One of my parakeet's feet is turning purple. It seems to be getting darker and he is unable to support himself with it less and less. He was trying to sleep and kept falling off his food dish. What should I do?
It is so annoying when people keep birds without knowing anything about them. Unfortunately no vets know anything either. The few people who can diagnose bird diseases in India do it because they are self taught. If your parakeet's foot was simply slightly more purple than the other foot, and it was not affecting his behavior, this is simply a pigment-related issue.
However, the fact he can't use the foot to stand on means the coloring is probably due to a decrease in circulation. As the circulation becomes worse or the longer it continues, the more damage will be done to the local area. He may have full use of the limb but no feeling (much like "pins and needles" in humans), and therefore not stand on it, or he may be losing the functionality of the limb. Loss of circulation creates a lack of oxygen supply to the cells in the area, which will eventually lead to necrosis and loss of the limb. You will need to have your bird examined immediately.
My parrot has a yellow lump on its back. The lump seems to be growing bigger, rapidly. What should I do?
Feather cysts are a common skin and feather condition in pet birds. It occurs when a new feather fails to come out and instead curls up under the skin, within the feather follicle. As the feather grows, the lump – caused by the ingrown feather – also continues to grow until the feather cyst becomes an oval or long swelling. At times, it can involve one or more feather follicles at a time.
A feather cyst can occur anywhere on the bird's body. In parrots, however, it is commonly seen in the primary feathers of the wing. And although any bird can suffer from feather cysts, it usually occurs in parrots, macaws (blue and gold), and canaries, which usually have multiple feather cysts.
In most birds, feather cysts are caused by an infection or an injury to the feather follicle. Treatment consists of surgically removing the involved feather follicles. If the follicle is just incised and the feather with its accumulation of keratin is removed, it will usually recur.
I am fascinated by bats. In the evening when they come in groups finding insects to eat, I see them pass so close to each other in their chase but they never bump into each other. Why is that ?
Bristol's School of Biological Sciences studied pairs of Daubenton's bats foraging low over water for stranded insects. These flying mammals perceive their surroundings by emitting loud and high-pitched calls and listening for the returning echoes. The scientists discovered that bats obey their own set of 'traffic rules': they chase each other, perform tandem turns and even slow down to avoid collision.
They perform chases or coordinate manoeuvres by understanding the direction of a nearby individual just 500 milliseconds earlier. (500ms is almost as fast as the blink of a human eye which has been measured at 300-400ms) and adjust their own movement accordingly. Unlike humans or their cars who bump into each other regularly because they cannot understand where the other person is going.
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