Parrot Toy Angels: August 2007 Angel Wings
Parrot Toy Angels

Angel Wings

A monthly journal for human angels who make a positive difference in companion birds' lives.

August 2007
Volume 2, Issue VIII

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Dear Friends and Supporters,
This month you are part of our celebration! We are celebrating the TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY of our group. Has it been two years already? Or, if you ask an angel in the throws of finishing toys for a rescue: Has it only been two years? :) Either way, we have survived it well, though not without growing pains, and we can honestly say that we are pleased and proud to have been able to accomplish what we have, and to have earned your support and we hope, your respect.

We now number 65 and would like to welcome our newest Angels: Bonnie B., Jan P., Kristie R., Bob K., Elizabeth C., Nikki S. and Sharon G.

We hope you enjoy this issue, it is dedicated to Our Angels who work tirelessly and with never-ending enthusiasm. We salute you and thank you!

We thought it would be appropriate to feature Cockatoos this on and you'll learn why. If you'd like to see a specific species featured, please drop us an email. Or if you have a story you'd like to contribute, we welcome submissions. Please send it to The Editor. All submissions will be considered.

We'd also like to take this opportunity to thank Melody Wong for her generous donation of toys. Thank you Melody!

~~ Lynn Williams & Ilona Peterson

In this month's issue:
    Featured Fid ~ Cockatoos
    How PTA was Hatched
    On Being An Angel
    Parrot Popsicles
    The Cockatoos of Australia
    Life with Gonzo

Angel Toys For Angels

Featured Toys for August

Angel Curls
Angel Curls
for Small to Medium Birds

Chips N Cups
Chips N Cups
for Medium Birds

Monkey Knot
Monkey Knot
for Medium to Large Birds

Check out all the
Angel Toys for Angels


Happy Anniversary Parrot Toy Angels!!

Happy Birthday, PTA How PTA Was Hatched
By Sue Christie-Cox

This is the story of 1 little bird and how she opened the hearts of many people all over the world and how Parrot Toy Angels was "hatched".

Cassie is a Goffins Cockatoo. For those who aren't familiar with a Goffins they are towards the smaller scale of the members of the cockatoo family, averaging around 12 - 13" in length. The feathers are predominantly white, with pale yellow on the underside of the wings and tail, pink lores, and a beautiful salmon-colored tinge to the base of the head and neck feathers. They are a playful, intelligent bird, with an inquisitive nature, which reminds me of a happy two-year-old child.

Unfortunately, when Cassie was discovered she was nothing like the description above. Found in a tiny, dirty cage in someone's basement, Cassie had been badly neglected and cage-bound for 5 years. Andrea, who now is Cassie's proud Mum says "What greeted me was a badly plucked, naked, dirty, musty smelling, abused little girl. It took all of two minutes to fall totally in love with her. Cassie came straight to me".

Andrea was a member of a Yahoo group, CheepParrotToysNTips, and she posted Cassie's story asking for advise on toys that Goffins enjoyed. Andrea's obvious love for this little bird inspired a couple members to start a group, Parrot Toy Angels, a different type of group, this was to be a group for "Angels".

These Angels are certainly not your average Angels; there is not a halo to be seen, but a few think they still might have one that they turned into a bird toy using jute and pony beads. Nor will very many of them ever meet, as they are spread far and wide; the members of this very special group are here to help birds in difficult times.

Parrot Toy Angels is an all-volunteer organization committed to providing toys, food and other avian supplies to companion birds in difficult situations. Life-altering changes, natural disasters or an organization's lack of funding all can have a negative emotional and physical impact on both birds and companion caregivers alike. Angel Projects help ease the burden for the generous individuals and organizations that provide safe havens for birds in need.

The first box of toys from the Angels was made by Nancy Goulding and sent to Cassie. Andrea says, "Watching her play made me think she had never had toys before. I can't tell you how heart-warming it is to know there are people in this world who care enough, and what an honor it is to be a part of this group".

Ilona, one of the founding members of PTA has said of birds "Our love for them extends well beyond our own homes, and because of them, we have opened our hearts to birds we will never meet, never see. Yet we know that because of us, one bird at a time will lead a happier life".

2006 was a very rewarding year for PTA, with donations of over 2659 toys to 22 organizations and individuals, and obtaining GuideStar Certified 501(c)3 Charity Status. 2007 is certainly looking to be just as great, with 11 completed Projects to date and a total of 1978 toys donated so far. Since August 6, 2005 PTA has donated 4,866 toys to 53+ different organizations and individuals.

When a young family recently fell on hard times, not only were the birds looked after, but toys were also sent to the family pooch, Kelsey.

With Angels from Canada to Australia and numbering 65 there is always room for more Angels. If you'd like to find out more about the Angels go to Parrot Toy Angels or to see what an "Angel Delivery" looks like click here.

There will always be little birds like Cassie unfortunately, but with the Parrot Toy Angels around to help out with busy fingers and open hearts, hopefully, they soon will also feel the love of an "Angel".♥ ♥ ♥

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Cassie Update
By Cassie's Mom

Cassie BeforeCassie, 2005

Cassie is doing great. She is a plucker and that is a fact I've come to live with. She will be fully feathered and beautiful and then she will pluck or break her feathers. Then fully feather again. She is an excellent eater and has learned the fine art of begging. She screams until I give her a bit of what I have. She loves bananas and birdie bread. But her favorite of all time is pizza or pizza rolls. This little girl has come a long way from the dirty, abused, nippy little bird she was when I got her. I would have never believed I could do as I wanted with her. I am her mom and her mate and she has yet to bite me. She's nipped but that's it. I can flip her, nuzzle her, preen her, pick her up in my hands and kiss her. Vocabulary, man oh man can she talk. I really didn't think she would pick up any new words but she has.cassie Now! She says my husband's name, come over here, bad bird and on and on. What is the funniest is when the cats jump up on something they aren't supposed to be on, she beats me to telling them "get down from there". She is so funny. She loves her toys, baby toys are her fav and she loves things she can tear up. She and I will go into the bedroom and turn on the TV and play. I've spoiled her I know, but after living the life she did, she deserves it! I am so glad I have her!

                                                                                       Cassie Today!

Has this story got your toymaking talons twitching? Do you want to help make a difference in somebirdie's life? Come join our ranks! We have angels from all different backgrounds and walks of life, and there's always room for another generous heart.
As a Parrot Toy Angel, you will be asked to contribute on a monthly basis to help support our ongoing work. Apply for membership:

Angel Application ♥ ♥ ♥ Join our Yahoo! Group

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Angel Tip by Lady Katherine, Mr. Tuxedo & Li'l Lord Stanley
Traveling safely with our human slaves

Lady Katherine out and about
Stroller Instructions

Car Shelf
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We are here to help, because we care about your bird!!

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Best Friends
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Parrot Popsicles
Submitted by Jack Quaker Jack the Quaker

Good for hot days!
Take any fruit/vegetables (If hard, boil in water until soft) and put in blender. Mix until they have a 'smoothie' consistency.
Put in ice cube trays and freeze.
On hot days pop out of the ice cube tray, put in a bowl and defrost for 10 minutes. Offer to your parrot, they will love to lick at the cool 'fruit ice'.
Optional: If you can get paper or wood "lolly sticks" you can place these in before you freeze. This gives your parrot a new 'foot toy' to hold onto.

NOTE: I have made Apple & Banana, Mixed Fruits, Pepper & Tomato, Carrot (soften by boiling) and Tomato.

♥ ♥ ♥
On Being an Angel
By Nancy Goulding

When one thinks of an angel the picture brought to mind is a heavenly figure with wings, or, sometimes, a small child (sleeping of course). One dictionary definition on angel goes like this: "One of a class of spiritual beings; a celestial attendant of God". Other definitions include references to having the qualities of mercy and kindness, and it is those definitions and those words- mercy and kindness- that come to mind when I think of what it means to be a Parrot Toy Angel.

At the time I became involved with Parrot Toy Angels I was already the parent of nine birds (1 African Grey, 2 Amazons, 2 Conures, 1 Quaker, and 3 Luvies), all of whom except the Luvies and one of the Conures I rehomed from other owners. So I had a natural interest in birds and had come across the "Cheepers" group on the 'net, which led me to wanting to make toys for my own birds. Lynn saw my toys on the "Cheepers" site and invited me to join PTA, which was then in the early days of its existence.

I realized at once that PTA was not just another chat group or club, but that it had a much higher purpose that appealed to me. I was already aware of the plight of so many unwanted birds. The lucky ones sometimes are adopted out to good homes, or they may end up in rescues waiting to be adopted. The sad truth is many unwanted pet birds end up never being adopted and spend their remaining years in rescues. Fortunately, there are many good rescues out there doing an excellent job caring for unwanted birds. These rescues depend on donations of money, goods, services, and organizations like PTA to be successful in carrying out their mission.

PTA's mission is to help these birds by providing rescue organizations and, in some circumstances, even individual owners with hand made toys. PTA is not a social club, and all of its members must have PTA's mission, its higher purpose, as their reason to participate in PTA. I recognize that PTA is also now a 501(c)3 non profit, and that it must operate under certain guidelines that all of its members must also subscribe to. Sounds like pretty serious stuff, but in reality all of that is just a pathway to guide the members, and once on that path the rest is FUN for anyone who seriously likes to make toys and help needy birds.

My birds are a big part of my (and my husband's) life. PTA has provided me with an opportunity and means to give back some of the joy that comes to me from being a bird parent. Sure, it can get expensive at times, and it can take up a lot of my (our) time, especially when Lynn is frantically calling for toys for a new project, but the satisfaction and peace of mind that comes from knowing that PTA is helping so many birds and that I am a part of that makes it all worthwhile.♥♥♥

Nancy is our Angel
Featured Fid ~ Cockatoos
By Shelly Bohannon

The Facts
Charlie loves her toys!There are 21 (or 22) species of Cockatoos (Cacatuidae), depending on whether or not one includes the Cockatiel as a member of the Cockatoo family. For those that are interested you will find them listed at the right of this article.
Cockatoos have a much more restricted range than the true parrots, occurring naturally only in Australia and nearby islands. Eleven of the 21 species exist in the wild only in Australia, while seven species occur in Indonesia, New Guinea, and other South Pacific islands. Three species occur in both New Guinea and Australia.
All species of cockatoo are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (also known as CITES), which makes the import, export and trade in all wild-caught parrots and cockatoos illegal.
Cockatoo Species:

*Palm Cockatoo, Probosciger aterrimus,
*Gang-gang Cockatoo, Callocephalon fimbriatum,
*Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, Calyptorhynchus (Calyptorhynchus) banksii,
*Glossy Black Cockatoo, Calyptorhynchus (Calyptorhynchus) lathami,
*Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Calyptorhynchus (Zanda) funereus,
*Short-billed Black Cockatoo, Calyptorhynchus (Zanda) latirostris,
*Long-billed Black Cockatoo, Calyptorhynchus (Zanda) baudinii,
*Galah, Eolophus roseicapilla,
*Major Mitchell's Cockatoo, Lophocroa leadbeateri,
*Long-billed Corella, Cacatua (Licmetis) tenuirostris,
*Western Corella, Cacatua (Licmetis) pastinator,
*Little Corella, Cacatua (Licmetis) sanguinea,
*Red-vented Cockatoo, Cacatua (Licmetis) haematuropygia,
*Goffins Cockatoo, Cacatua (Licmetis) goffini,
*Ducorps Cockatoo, Cacatua (Licmetis) ducorpsii,
*Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Cacatua (Cacatua) galerita,
*Yellow-crested Cockatoo, Cacatua (Cacatua) sulphurea,
*Citron-crested Cockatoo, Cacatua (Cacatua) sulphurea citrinocristata,
*Blue-eyed Cockatoo, Cacatua (Cacatua) ophthalmica,
*Moluccan Cockatoo or Salmon-crested Cockatoo, Cacatua (Cacatua) moluccensis,
*Umbrella Cockatoo, Cacatua (Cacatua) alba
The following cockatoo species are protected on the CITES appendix 1 list of endangered species:
           Goffin's cockatoo, Cacatua goffini
           Red-vented Cockatoo, Cacatua haematuropygia
           Moluccan Cockatoo, Cacatua moluccensis
           Yellow-crested Cockatoo, Cacatua sulphurea
              ♥♥♥ includes the subspecies, Citron-crested Cockatoo,
                     Cacatua sulphurea citrinocristata
           Palm Cockatoo, Probosciger aterrimus
           All of the other cockatoo species are protected on the CITES appendix 2 list of vulnerable species.(2)

Cockatoos as Companions
Cockatoos make exceptional companion birds, if their needs and requirements are adequately met. They are affectionate, funny, comical, mischievious and generally easy to get along with. Their requirements, however, are rather complex and many.

Zev, Posing Pretty for the cameraThe key to a great Cockatoo as a companion bird is a great beginning. Cockatoos are known for becoming phobic and developing behavioral issues such as plucking and/or screaming. A study was done a few years ago by Dr. Brian Speer, DVM and associates that indicated that many of these phobic issues may be caused by the early weaning that is practiced by many breeders.(3) In the wild, and also in captivity, if left alone, Cockatoo babies stay with their parents until the next breeding season. Thus, a year or slightly less. While the babies are certainly eating on their own a few weeks after fledging, they have also been observed being fed by their parents up until the next clutch is laid.

Cassie, a very special little lady in the UKA properly raised, socialized and trained Cockatoo makes a wonderful companion. Cockatoos are noted for being very sweet, affectionate birds, with a voice that sounds a lot like "Cousin It". They are also known for being exceptionally cuddly birds that want to be "on" their people as much as possible. They have rightly earned their title of "Velcro Birds". They love attention and affection and will generally like just about anybody that will pet them.

When raising Cockatoo babies the process is much the opposite than with parrots and macaws. With parrot and macaw babies you handle as much as possible. They are by nature independent and will generally learn to entertain themselves on their own. With Cockatoo babies you handle frequently, but just as frequently you must leave the 'Too baby in his/her cage or play area, without human interaction to encourage independence and the ability to entertain itself.

Dolly Ducorps doing the War DanceAlternately, an improperly handled, raised or spoiled 'Too can (and often does) become destructive, overly dependent, self-mutilators and/or screamers. Correct handling and meeting their dietary, exercise, activity and affection needs, are a must. Somewhat of an effort but most 'Too owners will agree, that their 'Too is well worth the effort!

Cockatoos are renown for their affectionate, cuddly nature, as well as being an energetic, playful and often silly bird. Most species of Cockatoo will learn to talk, and although they are not noted as particularly accomplished talkers, the "Cousin It" quality to their voices lends a humorous element to their speech. If you have never seen a Cockatoo "war dance" or play "psycho bird", you are certainly missing some great entertainment!

The Basics
Diet: A healthy Cockatoo diet consists of a large variety of fresh vegetables, fruit and nuts. As well as cooked grains such as barley, oats, brown rice, vegetable pasta, and sweet potato. Pellets and a small amount of seed should be included at least several times a week.
Exercise: A cockatoo should be allowed plenty of opportunity for exercise. 3 to 4 hours a day outside of the cage is ideal. If not practical, then at least an hour on a Play Gym with time allowed for interaction with people.
Stella loves to play!!Cage Size: The bigger the cage the better. Large Cockatoos, such as Umbrellas and Moluccans should have a cage 40" wide x 30" deep at minimum. Smaller Cockatoos such as the Goffin's and Ducorps can get by with a cage 36" wide x 24" deep, but again bigger is always better! I recommend 40" wide x 36" deep for ALL size Cockatoos. They love the space and this allows lots of room for toys and perches.
Entertainment: Lots and lots and lots of toys... toys to chew, toys to shred, puzzle toys, simple toys, complicated toys, wood toys, rope toys, raffia toys... Leaving the television or a radio on when you are gone is appreciated by many Cockatoos. Most love music!

In conclusion, if you are dedicated and willing to go the extra mile, a Cockatoo makes an exceptional companion bird. However, if you aren't willing to go the extra distance, stick to one of the less needy and demanding species.

(2)Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia
(3)Speer, Brian, DVM. "Cockatoo's as Companion Birds", Exotic Pets Veterinary Symposium, October 11-15, 2000, University of California at Davis

Life with Gonzo
By Lori M. Nelsen

Gonzo Nelsen, Escape Artist
Gonzo Nelsen, Escape Artist

If anyone ever calls your bird a "bird brain" or says "it's only a stupid bird", you can tell this story.

Gonzo, U2, got a new cage this week for our summer home. He took to it right away so we moved him in it. Bob and I went out to dinner about 5 pm with friends and returned home at about 8:30 pm. When we came up to the front door to unlock it, it was open a crack. Bob said "what the heck - I locked that door". I said, "well, maybe you didn't get it shut before you locked it". We went in the house and Gonzo was on top of his cage instead of in it. He had managed to get a food door open and escaped. There were about 10 poops around so I knew he had been out a while. He had taken the lid off his treat container and ate as many almonds as his crop could hold, pulled the switch off the light above his cage, opened up the thermometer and taken the batteries out and cleaned the paper off the batteries without puncturing them (thank goodness), and in general - made a mess. So I put him back in his cage, cleaned up the mess and tightened the latch on the food door.

A little later he wanted to come out, so I let him out. He climbed down from his cage, jumped to the arm of the chair by the door, grabbed the red handle that is the dead bolt, flipped it in the other direction and pulled the door handle which opened the door!

I can't believe it! No "bird brain" in this house. I guess he is trying to run away from home or maybe he has a hot date.

Cockatoos ~~ you gotta love 'um! ♥ ♥

Gonzo contemplating his next breakout
Gonzo contemplating his next breakout
Help Us Help the Birds...
Our Angels generously donate their time making toys for our needy feathered friends. Quality toy-making supplies are expensive and shipping charges are outrageous. That's why we need your support to help keep us going. Every dollar amount, large or small, is gratefully accepted. Donations are tax deductible.

We also welcome donations of toymaking parts and supplies. A receipt will be issued for every donation. Contact us at Parrot Toy Info for further information on donating.

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The Cockatoos of Australia: A Photo Gallery of Nine Species
Text by Gemma Dehnbostel, Photos by Bruce Dehnbostel

Over the past year my husband, Bruce, and I have seen nine species of Australian cockatoo in five different areas of the country: Central Australia, where we live; Northern Australia, also called the Top End; Sydney, in New South Wales on the eastern coast; Western Australia; and South Australia.

The cockatoo species that we've seen in the largest numbers and the most common species of parrot in Central Australia is the Galah, or Rose-breasted Cockatoo (Eolophus roseicapilla). Galahs are widespread throughout the country, benefiting from agricultural crops; they are considered pests in some agricultural areas. Their status in the wild is secure, and they are common as pets.

The numbers of Galahs we see around our home in Alice Springs range from pairs to flocks of more than 100. They are raucous birds, often flying in "kamikaze" mode, with incredibly acrobatic flight maneuvers-the strongest, most maneuverable fliers of the nine cockatoo species we've seen. Here are some photos of the Galahs that live in Alice Springs:

Copyright 2007 Bruce Dehnbostel
Click here for full size images

We have spent time in both 2006 and 2007 with a flock of Little Corellas (Cacatua sanguinea) in Kakadu National Park in Australia's Top End. In mid-July we returned to the same area along the South Alligator River where we had seen them in large numbers last year-and they didn't disappoint us! By the size difference we could distinguish between the young of the year and their parents. Back home in Alice Springs, we have the pleasure of watching our local Little Corellas near our home every evening as they "stage" at a goose pond near the golf course in preparation for flying to their roost in the gum trees on the pedestrian mall (occasionally a few Galahs will accompany them). No threats to Little Corella populations exist, and they can appear in flocks of tens of thousands-probably much to the dismay of farmers. This species of corella is not exported from Australia and is fairly rare in captivity. Because we spent so much time with the Kakadu flock, Bruce was able to photograph the Little Corellas in various conditions: flying, perching, playing, preening. These guys have it all!

Little Corellas
Copyright 2007 Bruce Dehnbostel
Click here for full size images

Another benefit of our recent travels to the Top End was seeing Red-tailed Black Cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus banksii) in Kakadu National Park (we also saw a flock of 30 Red-tails along the Simpson's Gap bicycle path near Alice Springs in early July, but, as bad luck would have it, we didn't have a camera). The Red-tail flock in Kakadu was foraging along the roadside in a eucalyptus forest. A Parks and Wildlife biologist had told us that the Red-tails we saw near Alice were probably eating the soil (called geophagy); the ones in Kakadu could well have been doing the same thing-to reduce toxicity from the seeds and unripe fruits they eat. We noticed many burned areas in Kakadu, fires deliberately set to reduce the flammable undergrowth and to encourage new growth; the birds could have been eating fire-opened seeds. These large, slow-flying black birds, whose calls sound like a rusty gate hinge, are common in the north and southwest but rare and threatened in the southeast. The males-solid black with stunning red panels on their tails-and the females-black with yellow spots and a red and yellow banded tail-appear quite skittish and intolerant of humans. Two subspecies are listed as endangered or threatened, but overall the species is listed with the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as being of least concern. Red-tails are becoming increasingly common as pets in Australia but are rare in captivity elsewhere. We were able to capture these gorgeous large cockatoos in digital images:

Red-tailed Black
Copyright 2007 Bruce Dehnbostel
Click here for full size images

Our sighting of Major Mitchell's Cockatoo (Cacatua leadbeateri) near Alice Springs in Central Australia was a lucky one-we spotted them on the far eastern edge of their range, which is mostly southwestern and southeastern Australia. Although the IUCN lists the Major Mitchell's wild status as being of least concern, the New South Wales parks and wildlife service considers it vulnerable because of loss of habitat and the pet trade. Major Mitchell's are common pets in Australia but fairly rare elsewhere. We saw this small flock of lovely pink, orange, and white cockatoos along the Stuart Highway near Alice Springs, eating paddy melons and enjoying the sun:

Major Mitchell's
Copyright 2007 Gemma Dehnbostel
Click here for full size images

The genus name for the fast and agile Cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus) describes these little ones perfectly: when they flit among the gum trees in the dry river bed, they are like little nymphs. We were able to capture only two of these elusive and difficult-to-spot birds on camera in Alice Springs. We hear their insistent chirps frequently, but by the time we can see them, they are zipping by as grey, white, and yellow blurs. They live in large flocks in remote desert areas and open country and are common and widespread throughout Australia, both in the wild and as pets (as in the United States). We hadn't seen any Cockatiels in 2006 and held out little hope of seeing them at all, but, with heavy rains in Central Australia early in 2007, a few small flocks made their way to the Todd River in Alice, where we finally saw them. This photo is our only documentation:

Copyright 2007 Bruce Dehnbostel
Click here for full size images

Way out of its range, one Long-billed or Slender-billed Corella (Cacatua tenuirostris) appeared near the golf course close to our home among a flock of resident Little Corellas. One day we spotted the Long-billed Corella among the others; several weeks later we saw at least four Long-bills with the flock. Because the Long-billed Corella's range is limited to small areas of South Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales, we believe the Long-bills we saw were probably someone's escaped pets-or perhaps they were simply way off course. Their status in the wild is of least concern; their populations declined somewhat in the past because of habitat loss, persecution by farmers, and the pet trade, but recently their numbers appear to be increasing. Long-billed Corellas are rare in captivity. The photos here are of the one Long-bill we saw with the Little Corella flock near the golf course.

Long-billed Corellas
Copyright 2007 Bruce Dehnbostel
Click here for full size images

The Royal Botanic Garden in Australia's largest city, Sydney, is a great site for spotting Sulphur-crested Cockatoos (Cacatua galerita). Each time we've visited Sydney, one of our favorite activities is wandering through the Botanic Garden and keeping an eye out for the small flocks of Sulphur-crests resting among the huge banyan or Norfolk pine trees or hearing them squawk as they fly over the harbor's sparkling waters. Ah, to be a cockatoo with a view of Sydney Harbor! We've seen this species in Kakadu National Park, in the Top End, as well. These birds can be spotted at great distances from a prominent lookout, with their white bodies emphasized against the green forests and their loud calls carrying many miles (it's no wonder they are loud in the living room!). Sulphur-crests are common in their range-and common in captivity-and are not threatened, although they are still captured for the pet trade. Because they are not protected in Australia, culling of this species occurs. Bruce photographed these Sulphur-crests in the wild forests of Kakadu and the tamer gardens of Sydney.

Copyright 2007 Bruce Dehnbostel
Click here for full size images

When we traveled to the southern coast of Australia in March 2007, we had two sightings of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus funereus). Walking along a cliff edge near the Great Ocean Road, we were startled by the lifting off of four large black birds below us-Yellow-tails! Again, driving along the Great Ocean Road, we spotted a flock of about a dozen foraging for pine nuts in the pine trees near the road. These spectacular, slow-flying large black birds are found along the southeastern and southern coasts of Australia, and their populations appear to be stable, although in some areas they are declining because of habitat loss. They can be seen in flocks of up to 300-what a sight that must be! Yellow-tails are rare in captivity in Australia and extremely rare elsewhere. I treasure these photos of the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo:

Yellow-tailed Blacks
Copyright 2007 Bruce Dehnbostel
Click here for full size images

Dependent on the old-growth forests in the southwestern corner of Australia, the Long-billed (or Baudin's) Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus baudinii) is endangered from habitat destruction, invasive bee species taking its nest sites, and illegal shooting. We saw and heard a pair of these large black birds with white ear patches and white tail panels as we walked on an elevated walkway through the tree canopy in the Valley of the Giants, where the birds' preferred karri and tingle trees grow. These enormous trees provide nesting sites for the Long-billed Black Cockatoo. This species is quite rare in captivity in Australia and extremely rare elsewhere. In addition to a silhouette of one of the birds we saw, I am including a photo of the giant trees to show the birds' habitat.

Long-billed Black
Copyright 2007 Bruce Dehnbostel
Click here for full size images

♥ ♥ ♥

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Do you have a question or comment? Perhaps you have an idea for our newsletter, or simply want to share a story on how an Angel has touched your life. Drop us a line at:

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