Marc Morrone Newsday columnist Marc Morrone

Marc Morrone was born in 1960 in the Bronx and, when he was 2, his family moved to Long Beach, where he quickly became enchanted with the natural world of the seahore. This is when he started to keep any pet that he could get his hands on: It mattered not if it was an insect, fish, amphibian, bird or mammal.

When he was 7, the Morrones relocated to Cold Spring Harbor, where Marc was introduced to the natural world of Long Island's North Shore. The larger house his family had there allowed him to keep more and more pets, and this passion has continued to this day.

The experience and knowledge that he gained by keeping any kind of pet in all lifestyle situations has opened many doors for him, and he currently shares his knowledge with other petkeepers in many media formats. In addition to his weekly column in Newsday, he hosts a weekly TV show on Cablevision’s News 12 Long Island called Animal Island that airs on Saturday and Sunday. He also hosts a TV show called Petkeeping with Marc Morrone that airs Monday through Friday at noon on The HallMark Channel.

He is the petkeeping expert that appears on Martha Stewart's daily TV show as well as writer for the pet columns in the magazine Martha Stewart Living. In addition, he also hosts a live call-in radio show every Friday night at 8 p.m. on the Martha Stewart channel on Sirus/XM radio channel 112/157.

Morrone has written 5 books: Ask the Dogkeeper, Ask the Catkeeper, Ask the Birdkeeper and Ask the Fishkeeper, all published by Bowtie Press. He also has a memoir book, "A Man For All Species," published by Random House.

Marc Morrone lives in Oceanside with his wife and son and a houseful of pets.
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Q I'm trying to identify a bird I spotted in my Lloyd Harbor backyard. I've attached a photo for your reference. As you may be able to tell, the bird has a band on its leg. The consensus of my Facebook friends is that it's most likely either an immature red-tailed hawk or Cooper's hawk. Can you confirm whether either guess is correct? --Jon Cooper, Lloyd Harbor

A That bird is actually a Gyrfalcon, a bird not native to Long Island in the summer months. The leather anklet indicates it is -- or was -- owned by a local falconer who got separated from the bird during a training session. The owner of the bird must be going through some anxiety, and the habitat here on Long Island is not conducive to these birds, so it would be a good idea to contact the directors at the New York State Falconry Association at and let them know you spotted the bird.

Birds of prey cannot be kept as pets. Their relationship with their human caregivers is more of a working partnership, and like most partners that get separated, this bird is looking for its human partner as much as the human is looking for the bird.

Q We recently adopted a puppy and have heard some conflicting information about how long to keep the puppy separated from other dogs. I've heard 8 weeks old is the earliest they can be exposed to other dogs provided they have all of their puppy shots. I've also heard 20 weeks. Can you clarify this? We'd like to begin socializing her with other dogs soon. --Christopher Composto, Hicksville

A There are many different scenarios, and that is why you see so many varying answers. Every dog has its own unique immune system, and some fall prey to viruses more so than others. If the vet who gave your dog its puppy shots says to keep it away from other dogs until it is 20 weeks old, then that is what you should do. If the vet said the dog can socialize with other dogs at 8 weeks, then just use common sense. Be sure the puppy is playing with dogs that have been vaccinated and not in areas where unvaccinated dogs may have been, exposing it to viruses such as parvo that the temporary puppy vaccines may not be able to protect it from.

Q We have a 2-year-old Quaker parrot, and we read on the Internet that the bird needs 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. We cover the cage at 9 each night and uncover it at 7 each morning. However, after we cover him at night, we can hear him through the cover, and he is quietly muttering to himself and playing with his toys and thus not going to sleep right away. Is this situation harmful to him, and if so, what can we do about it? --Shari Levine, Great Neck

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A What you describe here is just another one of those Internet rumors of pet-keeping that is not based on science at all.

The only place on Earth where the length of darkness at night is constant is on the equator. Quaker parrots are native to Argentina and the natural light cycles there are as they are here. The sun goes down and comes up at a different time every day. There are many Quaker parrots living a feral life here on Long Island, and in the summer it gets dark at 9 p.m. and light at 5 a.m., and in the winter it gets dark at 5p.m. and light at 7 a.m., and they do just fine.

So trying to keep the bird in total darkness for 10 hours a day is most unnatural for it. When he is tired, he will go to sleep, and if you keep him up late at night here or there, he will just take a nap the next day to make up for it.

Covering the bird's cage does keep it quiet until you uncover it in the morning, so if you want to sleep late and do not need to be awakened by your bird at the crack of dawn, then by all means cover him, but this is more for your comfort than the bird's.