Parrot Toy Angels: December 2008 Angel Wings
Parrot Toy Angels

Angel Wings

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

December 2008
Volume 3, Issue XII

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The Parrot Toy Angels would like to wish our readers and their families a very happy and safe Holiday Season.

In this month's issue:
    ParrotNutz Newsletter Special
    Don't Forget the Feathers
    A Christmas Tree for the Birds
    On Being Touched by an Angel
    Wyspur's Pumpkin Paradise
    A Bird Owner's Worst Nightmare
    The Night Before Christmas
    Rikki Sez
    Featured Fid ~ Green Cheeked Conures
    The Christmas Bird
    Safety Today
    Holiday Safety
    'Twas the Night Before Christmas
    Gift Wrapping with the Help of your Bird

Donna D. from New Jersey
Carla B. from California

Angel Toys For Angels

Featured Toys for December
"Limited Quantities"

Loofah Tree
Loofah Tree
Medium Birds

Santa Stocking
Santa Stocking
Small Birds

Christmas Wreath
Christmas Wreath
Small Birds

Check out all the
Angel Toys for Angels



Jade and Sylvester Say Happy Holidays!

    Buy one,  
Get one half off

Offer valid until 12/25/08

Buy 1 Heaven Sent Veggie Mash,
Get 1 half price!!

Yup! Buy one at $14.50, get one for $7.25

Full of yummy veggies including:
Beets, Broccoli, Carrots, Corn, Green Beans, Peas, Red & Green Peppers, Sweet Potatoes and Zucchini

Just add boiling water, steep, cool and serve. It couldn't be easier to serve a warm meal to your birds.
One pound bag yields over two pounds of mash.

Click Here to order

♥ ♥ ♥

How wonderful, that in the midst of winter
We celebrate the most heart-warming
And gentlest of holidays.

May the Christmas Spirit
Fill us with kindness...and
May it renew some of the magic
We knew as children,
When wishes were humble,
Gifts were few,
And love was abundant.

~~Ilona Peterson 2008

♥ ♥ ♥

Send Rudolph Your Wish List
Mail Rudolph

Codee giving Santa Birdie his wish list
Codee G. telling Santa Birdie & Rudolph what he wants for Christmas!

Check out this new web site... is an exciting new web site where the mission is to provide information to bird owners that will foster a deeper understanding of the emotional, physical and instinctual needs of parrots. When visiting, you have access to over 90 articles on essential enrichment and bird care topics. This site also offers the most comprehensive selection of competitively priced, top tier, solution-based products available, each specifically designed to enrich the lives of companion birds. For those of you who might enjoy some parrot related "downtime", check out the Parrot Fun section which contains clever puzzles, the latest in parrot news and a hilarious collection of bird videos that the whole family will enjoy.

♥ ♥ ♥

Don't Forget the Feathers
By Lori M. Nelsen

The holidays are upon us and there is a lot of preparing to do. The presents need to be wrapped, the house decorated and the meals prepared. There are not enough hours in the day to get it all done. So you need to make your list and check it twice, buy presents for all that were either naughty or nice.

Your parrots may fall either in the naughty or the nice category, but probably some of both. But I can guarantee you that you will not be forgiven if they are excluded in the Holiday spirit. So to make your life a bit easier at this time of year, I have suggestions for both decorating and dinner prep that will put you at the top of the parront list this holiday season.

Now, let's get the tree up and ready to decorate. Get the man of the family away from the TV and have him put the tree in the stand and get the lights on.

Here come the kids and neighbors to help decorate the tree while you are making the popcorn in the air popper. (Popcorn is a whole grain food which makes it an energy-producing complex carbohydrate that is low in calories, but a good source of fiber. Popcorn has no artificial additives or preservatives and is sugar free.)

Clean the cranberries. (Cranberries contain many Phytochemicals that may assist in maintaining health. Some of these phytochemicals act as antioxidants; compounds that help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body. These antioxidants reduce oxidative damage to cells that can lead to cancer, heart disease and other degenerative diseases. For example, anthocyanins, compounds that give cranberries their red color, are powerful antioxidants that may be stronger than vitamin E. Cranberries contain measurable amounts of oxalates. Oxalates may interfere with absorption of small amount of calcium from the body. With the oxalates, a high amount of Vitamin C is present so cranberries should be served in moderation.) They can be strung on bird safe cotton cord for both the tree garland and the parrot cages.

Well, with the decorating done, it is time to prepare a holiday feast to share with family and feathers. Let's get the squash (Winter squash is an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), a very good source of vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber and manganese. In addition, winter squash has a good source of folate, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B1, copper, vitamin B6, niacin-vitamin B3 and pantothenic acid. One of the most abundant nutrients in winter squash, beta-carotene, has been shown to have very powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Beta-carotene is able to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol in the body. Since oxidized cholesterol is the type that builds up in blood vessel walls and contributes to the risk of heart attack and stroke, getting extra beta-carotene in the diet may help to prevent the progression of atherosclerosis) washed and ready to bake. Cut the squash in half and dig out the seeds and "guck". Rinse the seeds in cool water until they are clean and place on a paper plate to dry. You can rescue a slice of squash before it goes in the oven, if your feathers prefer it raw.

While your squash is baking, you can clean your pumpkin (The bright orange color of pumpkin is a dead giveaway that pumpkin is loaded with an important antioxidant, beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is one of the plant carotenoids converted to vitamin A in the body. Current research indicates that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and offers protection against heart disease. Beta-carotene offers protection against other diseases as well as some degenerative aspects of aging. Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are small, flat, green, edible seeds. Most pumpkin seeds are covered by a white husk, although some pumpkin varieties produce seeds without them. Pumpkin seeds have many health benefits, some of which include a good source of protein, zinc and other vitamins and are even said to lower cholesterol and can benefit the liver and can increase immune response.) for your pies. The pumpkin can be sliced raw or cooked and fed to your feathered friends. Try rolling it up in a piece of collard green or a fat free tortilla to create your version of parrot pumpkin pie.

Have you washed your yams (The yam or sweet potato has yellow or orange flesh and its thin skin may either be white, yellow, orange, red or purple. There is often much confusion between sweet potatoes and yams; the moist-fleshed, orange-colored root vegetable that is often called a "yam" is actually a sweet potato. Sweet potato contains unique root storage proteins that have been observed to have significant antioxidant capacities. In one study, these proteins had about one-third the antioxidant activity of glutathione-one of the body's most impressive internally produced antioxidants. As an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene) and a very good source of vitamin C, sweet potatoes have healing properties as an antioxidant food. Both beta-carotene and vitamin C are very powerful antioxidants that work in the body to eliminate free radicals. This may explain why beta-carotene and vitamin C have both been shown to be helpful for preventing these conditions. Since these nutrients are also anti-inflammatory, they can be helpful in reducing the severity of conditions where inflammation plays a role, such as asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin B6, which is needed to convert homocysteine, an interim product created during an important chemical process in cells called methylation, into other benign molecules. Since high homocysteine levels are associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, having a little extra vitamin B6 on hand is a good idea) yet? It is time to get them washed and cooked. This is another vegetable that can be fed raw if preferred.

So, you think that you still need to make a holiday dinner for your feathers? I think you already have. Take your green salad (full of tomatoes, carrots, radishes, cucumber, but NO onions) and toss it into your food processor. Add the slices of squash, pumpkin and sweet potato you have already prepared, along with a couple of drops of flax oil and Apple Cider Vinegar. Then pulse to make sure everything is in very small pieces. Place this mixture along with sprouts in their food bowls, hang up a small cotton cord of popcorn and cranberries and you are on your way to making a Holiday Feast for the feathers.

With that done, you are also half way to feeding the rest of the family with no extra time or effort. Enjoy your holidays. Make some time for yourself.

Happy Holidays from Lori and Gonzo!

Gonzo says Happy Holidays
Happy Holidays from Gonzo

♥ ♥ ♥

A Christmas Tree For The Birds!
By Susana Emberg


The first Christmas we had birds, we spent a ton of time trying to keep the birds OUT of the tree. We worried that they'd chew on the lights or break ornaments. That's when it hit us. Why spend so much time trying to keep them away from the tree and safe? Why not rethink the tree idea and make it a bird-friendly place next year.

So, we did some research and now our trees are more fun for *all* the family members.

First, most commercial live trees are treated with chemicals to make them last longer, so you'll want to shy away from your normal Christmas tree lot. We have a local Christmas tree farm that has a wonderful selection of pesticide and fertilizer free trees. They don't cut them until you go pick one out, so we have a nice, fresh tree.

Lights or no lights?
The first couple of years we did without lights on the tree. Then we found some wonderful LED lights that we thought would be good. We chose LED lights for several reasons. The lights themselves are not glass, but hard acrylic and they do not get hot. These lights have a wonderful tough plastic sheathing over the wires. Even with these (or the cool new 'tube' lights, that are basically a plastic tube with lights inside them), we only wrap the lights around the trunk of the tree and not out onto the branches. The effect is cool and it keeps the lights away from the fun stuff the birds really love.

Now, for the Decorations!
Let's face it, most Christmas decorations are just not bird-friendly with glass ornaments, tinsel and angel hair. Most of us have tons of stuff hanging around that would make great bird-friendly decorations for the tree. We start with construction paper chains (glued with good old Elmers school glue) and paper snowflakes. Cleaned pine cones, wooden hearts, stars and other shapes that are dyed with food coloring or left natural and tied with pony beads also make pretty ornaments. Air-popped popcorn strung on paper rope makes a great garland as well. Acrylic beads of various sizes make beautiful ornaments, as do bird safe bells. One of the things our birds REALLY love is small paper boxes (you can find instructions for folding your own paper boxes all over the internet) full of shredded paper, popcorn, slivered nuts, etc. I'm sure if you take a look at your birdie toys or toy parts, you can find lots of ideas. Instead of tinsel or Angel hair, grab some of that crinkled shredded paper in pretty colors and liberally sprinkle that throughout your tree.

We also make small toys for our birds for Christmas and hang them on the tree for the holidays. Then we give them to the birds when the tree comes down.

When our tree is all decorated, it is really pretty and the birds LOVE it! Naturally, we don't let them play on it unsupervised, but it's no longer a place we have to shoo the birds away from constantly. We all know this only makes them want to be there more. As with most things, nothing is totally safe for all birds. You know your bird better than anyone, so some (or all) of these ideas may not be good for you. Hopefully it will help you get some ideas to make your holidays nicer for all your family members, especially those with feathers.

Remember These Hazards:
Most tinsel is either metal based or super thin plastic that can cause mouth cuts when your bird tries to 'preen' it. You want to stay away from all tinsel. Christmas plants, such as Poinsettia and Mistletoe, are NOT safe for your bird. You are better off making paper flowers. Metal ornament hangers are not good as well and of course, you want to stay away from any glass ornaments or ornaments with glitter.

Happy Holidays!

♥ ♥ ♥

On Being Touched by an Angel
By Donna Givans
My Parrot Place

First, let me introduce myself. I'm Donna Givans, director of My Parrot Place, located in Borden, Indiana.

In September 2008, I was the LUCKY recipient of an overwhelming surprise of toys, toys and more toys for my parrots!!! I never, ever in my wildest dreams expected such an overwhelming show of kindness, consideration and compassion from "Parrot Toy Angels"! The amount of toys was astounding, to say the least. I remember when the first box arrived, I was so happy to have new toys for my parrots, that I actually got teary eyed. We needed these toys in the worst kind of way. Large parrots are so destructive and LOVE to chew. Little did I know that the first box was just the beginning. The boxes of toys just kept coming and coming.

These toys are of the highest quality. There was lots of wood, colorful parts and rope. You name it and these toys had it. They were all made with the smallest of birds in mind all the way up to the largest parrots. I'm just so thankful that this group exists and what a tremendous gift for my birds! They are absolutely the happiest "bunch", not to mention the BUSIEST bunch you could ever imagine.

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! PARROT TOY ANGELS!!! I have been blessed to know this group of "Angels" and it was the best thing that has happened here in a long, long time!

Hugs to you all!
Donna Givans (Director)
My Parrot Place

Smilin Kiwi and Lily
Kiwi & Lily enjoying their Angel toys

♥ ♥ ♥

Wyspur's Pumpkin Paradise
The recipe below is the "Human" version. For the "Fids", omit brown sugar and maple syrup.

1 small baking pumpkin
3 or 4 baking apples (or more depending on the size of the pumpkin)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Cut top off pumpkin and remove the seeds. **(see note). Peel and chop apples. In a large bowl, combine apples, walnuts, brown sugar, maple syrup, raisins and cinnamon. Mix well. Pour into pumpkin. Bake at 350 for approximately an hour or until the mixture starts to bubble. Cool for 15 minutes and serve in the pumpkin.

**Note: Seeds can be dried and offered to your birds as a treat.

Christmas List

A Bird Owner's Worst Nightmare
By Elizabeth Cirrotti

This article is dedicated to Albus, Congo African Grey, Daphne, Alabama and our hopes and prayers for her safe return!

There can't be a worse feeling than what you feel as you watch your parrot get loose outside and fly away. Here are some tips to remember if it happens to you.

Locating your bird:
Make and distribute flyers in the neighborhood. Include a picture! It is a good idea to have a flyer saved in your computer. If you put one together ahead of time, it will make it easier to get all the vital information together. Then if the worst happens and your bird gets away, all you have to do is print it out.
Notify the Humane Society or Animal Control and the local police.
Enlist the help of neighborhood kids. Children love to help look for lost parrots and have good eyes for spotting them.
Call area pet stores and vets.
Place classified ads in newspapers.
Put your flyers in local stores and the post office.
Don't limit your notification activity to the immediate vicinity where the parrot was lost. Frightened birds often fly a long way. Enlist friends and relatives outside your immediate vicinity and have them also distribute flyers and check with pet shops, vets and their local newspapers.
Listen for the bird. If the bird is up in a tree, chances are that you won't be able to see it. If the bird vocalizes, you will be able to find its location by listening. It will almost always make noises that can be heard, giving you direction to look in. Taking another bird out to the area may also help, especially if the other bird is a noisy friend of the lost bird.
Use a "magic ear" device that amplifies sound as you walk around the neighborhood. It might help you hear your bird talking from high up in a tree.
Get a CD of bird sounds that you can play from your yard. There may be one of your specific bird, but if not, other bird sounds could help your bird find its way back to you.
Offer a reward. If possible make it enough so that if someone has found your bird and wants to keep it, they could buy a similar bird of their own.

Recovering your bird:

Your bird will want to get to you but may be too frightened or doesn't know how. Continue calling and talking to the bird calmly, encouraging him to come to you.
Morning and late afternoon or evenings are the most likely times that the bird will come to you. If it is nighttime, you probably won't get the bird to come down.
Have someone watch the bird at all times during the day once it is spotted.
If the bird is in a tree that can be climbed, make sure the person climbing is someone the bird is comfortable with. Bring a favorite treat along to offer him.
If you can reach the bird, calmly secure it and stuff it under your shirt so it can't get frightened and fly away again. Better yet, carry along a pillowcase to put the bird into once you grab it. The bird probably wonít be too happy about being shoved into a pillowcase, but it will be safe and canít bite and get away.
Put a familiar cage and food out where it can be seen by the bird. If you can, put a small cage or play gym, familiar toys and food/water on your roof.
If possible, put your other birds out in the yard, they will generally make noise and that actually works quite often.
If the bird has been out for a while, take food out and sit under the tree eating. Make it something the bird really loves but doesn't get to eat very often.
Watch for signs that the bird is relaxing. Signs would include preening or playing with leaves and branches.
If you have any sound oriented games that you play with the bird, try that. For example a specific whistle or sound that your bird responds to.
Recall training is a good thing to teach your birds. They learn not only to fly to you on command but also learn that they can fly down as well as up. Most birds living in our homes don't learn that they can fly down and won't fly to you from a tree.
It may take days for the bird to become relaxed and motivated enough to come down to you.

Don't give up!!

If you find a bird, remember that someone may be heartbroken and searching for it. Please make an effort to locate the owner. Place flyers around, contact vets and bird stores. If the bird has a band, do not put the band number on the flyer or ad. Also do not advertise any words the bird may say. This is information you will need so that if someone contacts you, claiming the bird, you will be able to confirm that the bird is truly theirs and that they are not someone trying to get a free bird. If the bird has no band, most veterinary offices will scan the bird for free to see if it has been microchipped.

♥ ♥ ♥

The Night Before Christmas

T'was the night before Christmas and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse
(the cat ate it).

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that Santa Parrot soon would be there.
(what, you were hoping for a fat man?)

The birdies were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Birdie Bread danced in their heads.

And Papa in his bandana, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap.
(we had spent hours cleaning cages).

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprung from my bed to see what was the matter.
(had the sheep escaped the barn again?)

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
(well, I tried...bay windows don't open).

The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
Gave the luster of gold to objects below.
(freshly cut & dyed 2x4s for the cockatoos).

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a red wooden sleigh, and eight fids dressed like reindeer.
(food-grade dyes and pony beads of course!).

With a Scarlet Macaw driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be Santa Parrot.
(what, you want I should rhyme???)

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled and shouted, and called them by name.

"Now, Conure! Now, Sennie! Now, Cockatiel! Now Cag!
On Cockatoo! On Budgie! On Hyacinth and TAG!

To the top of the Perch, oh, watch out for that wall,
Now dash away, dash away! Dash away ALL!"

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of bird toys and Santa Parrot too.

And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof,
The tapping and dancing of each tiny little foot.

As I drew in my hand and was turning around,
Down the chimney Santa Parrot came with a bound.
(too many seeds in his diet I found).

He was dressed all in feathers, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

He had a broad beak and a round little belly,
That shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly.
(yup, sunflower seeds).

He spoke not a word (obviously not a Grey)
And filled all the stockings with footers
and bagels and Seagrass hay.

And laying his wing-tip to the side of his beak,
He gave a nod and up the chimney he sneaked.

And I heard Pepperberg's Alex exclaim as he drove out of sight,
"Merry Christmas to all! And to all a good night!"

~~Dori Jacobson 2007

♥ ♥ ♥

Beautiful Princess, Olivia
Fly free little one

Rikki Sez

Rikki will try and answer frequently asked questions here.

Rikki, We suddenly have a big tree growing inside the house. It's really pretty, but Mommy got mad at Daddy for putting these skinny shiny strips on the tree. She said we can't have "ten sills" this year because of me. What are "ten sills" and why can't I have them? They sure are pretty and sparkly. Was I bad? Is that why I can't have ten sills?
(PS you think I have to worry about sending Mommy back to school? I counted lots more than ten sills on the tree, but didn't want Daddy to notice that and send Mama to boarding school).
Signed, Disappointed

Dear Disappointed, Oh no! You were not bad. In fact, your Daddy is quite lucky to have you! Because of you, Mommy has found out the truth about "ten sills". While they may look shiny and fun, they are actually evil things that can wrap themselves around your little feet, tangle you all up and make you very sick. Don't worry about Mommy having to go back to boarding school. There were actually only 10 "sills" in the beginning. Being the evil things that they are, they multiply when no one is looking.

♥ ♥ 

Rikki, What is a HOLIDAY? There sure are a lot of new people coming to my house this month. I am kind of scared. Will this last long? Mommy is not paying as much attention to me as usual. What are they all doing here? It is so noisy and Mommy is cooking and hanging stuff all over the house. If I could just get out of this cage, I could really help Mommy with all the cooking and help take stuff down. Would it be okay if I do that?
Signed, Scared in my cage from Holiday

Dear Scared, 'Holiday' is a people word for the special day like your hatchday, but for everyone. Some 'Holidays' mean lots of new food around and you should make sure you get some of that good stuff. Some of it is quite yummy! A special Holiday coming soon means lots of presents, so make sure you are especially cute and well behaved (no taking down the pretty stuff right now) so you'll get extras! Mommy is not ignoring you; she's just trying to make sure your house looks really good for all those folks who are coming to see you. That way you will get extra presents. After the 'Holidays' are over, then you can help Mom take everything down.

♥ ♥ 

Rikki, I got lots of cool toys for Kissmas. I'm scared of them. I want to play with them because they look pretty from far away, but they are big and scary when I get close to them. What can my human do to help me?
Signed, Overwhelmed in Oklahoma

Dear Overwhelmed, Sometimes Mommies and Daddies, in their quest to make you feel happy and loved, forget how scary those toys can seem to you. They should have a special place, away from your cage, but close to where you play, where they put new toys so you can admire them from a distance for a while before you actually decide to play with them. It would also help if your Mommy or Daddy played with them first, so you could see how fun they are. Besides, there's something wonderfully funny watching those big funny looking "humans" playing with a toy made for us. It just makes me laugh, so I make my "human" break in all my toys for me. You should try it. Every birdie needs a laugh now and then.

♥ ♥ ♥
Featured Fid ~ Green Cheeked Conures
By Nancy Goulding


The Green-Cheeked Conure (GCC) is a rather small parrot measuring approximately ten inches from beak to tip of tail. The GCC is just one of many Conure types. Sometimes called a Green Cheeked Parakeet, it is in fact a large parakeet found primarily in forests and woodlands of Brazil, Argentina, and Bolivia. Other common types of Conures include Jenday, Sun, Nanday, Marooned Bellied ( which the Green-Cheeked gets confused with occasionally) and Blue Crowned. Conures generally range from Central to South America. The GCC belongs to the genus Pyrrhura. Many of the larger Conures belong to the genus Aratinga.

The Green-Cheeked is the most common of the Pyrrhuras in captivity, and can live 25 to 35 years.

The Green-Cheeked Conure's colors are not as brilliant as some other Conures, but they are rather regal and very handsome to look at. Their bodies are primarily green with a grey breast and beautiful maroon tail. The flight feathers are blue. Its head is dark grayish with white patches surrounding the eyes, making the eyes the focal point of the head.

Green-Cheeked Conures are one of the quieter Conures, making them great for first time bird owners and apartment birds.

A well balanced diet is essential for the Green-Cheeked, just as it is for any parrot. Most experts recommend foods such as organic veggies, fruits, some seed, grains, and sprouts. These items may be combined in "birdie bread", "birdie pasta" or mash, along with a high quality pellet.

Green-Cheeked Conures are flock birds, but will choose a single mate in the wild. In a home environment, much will depend on their degree of socialization, but if kept with other Green-Cheeks or even birds of other species, they will likely choose a single companion. One of our Green-Cheeks (Kermit) has teamed up with one of our Lovebirds. He has also allowed a second Lovebird to join in to form a group. We call them the "three amigos". The companion Lovebird is always with Kermit, whereas the third has his own sleeping quarters.

The Three Amigos

We raised Kermit from a baby and he has been very well socialized, making him friendly and outgoing without being aggressive. In contrast, we adopted our other Green-Cheeked Conure, Goofy, as an adult bird. Goofy, we found out, is actually Kermit's older sibling. He hatched 6 months earlier. His first owner was apparently abusive and did not socialize Goofy well, making him suspicious of hands. Nevertheless, Goofy has come a long way with us and should eventually be as sweet as Kermit.

A well socialized Green-Cheeked Conure that is given a fair amount of "flock time" with its owner usually makes a great companion. They can be clowns that love to play and be stroked. They can be curious and some are even good talkers, although talking is not one of their strong points. Our Kermit does say a few phrases very clearly: ("Jesus Loves Me", "Thank you", "I Love You" and "Give Me Kiss"). Goofy is the better talker and has actually learned most of what Kermit knows and more.

Green-Cheeked Conures have been described as having large personalities in small bodies. We think this is an apt description if Kermit can be considered a typical Green-Cheeked. In fact, his personality is so big that he has assumed the role of king of the room that he shares with Goofy and 4 other birds.

Green-Cheeked Conures like to have a comfy private place to sleep. A nesting box (not my choice, selected by the Kermit himself) or hanging tent will usually do the trick. Our Kermit sleeps in a nesting box that he considers his own private bedroom, while Goofy likes his slinky or an empty cereal box.

♥ ♥ ♥

The Christmas Bird
By Ilona Peterson
(To the tune of "Cat's in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin)

My new bird arrived just the other day
he came to my world not in the usual way
he'd belonged to someone who gave him up
He'd made too much noise and he tore things up

So I gave him all he needed and while talkin' to him
I'd say 'This is a home for you, yes
you know I'm gonna stay with you'

And the birds in the cages and on the perches too
Little blue budgie and the cockatoo "When you coming out here to play with us."
"I still don't trust I'll stay here
I still don't trust enough"

The time passed by, it was Christmas day
I held out my arms for them to come this way
The birds came to me all at once

Except for him, he didn't trust anyone
I sat at the table surrounded by love
They were pecking at my plate and my lips above
When I heard his voice that was full of joy
I think that I have a home now,
I think I have a home.

And the birds in the cages and on the perches too
Little blue budgie and the cockatoo
Now you're coming out to play with us
Because you're one of us now
Now you're one of us.

♥ ♥ ♥
Safety Today
By Susan Kesler
Safety Committee Chairwoman

Christmas is almost here, bringing families and friends together with love and good cheer. It's a time for love, laughter, joy and peace for folks and fids alike. Let me be one of the first to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a holiday season filled with wishes come true.

Along with the season comes a lot of hustle and bustle, coming and going, and homes filled with decorations to express our happiness of the season. Having birds doesn't mean we can't have all of this; we just have to remember to be extra careful.

When we hang those lights, keep in mind the inquisitive beaks that will go out of their way to investigate. And when friends and family are coming and going, gently remind them to be aware of where the feathers are when opening doors.

When decorating the house, why not make some special safe and bright decorations for the birds, too? This may keep them happy and prevent them from wanting the unsafe tree decorations.

Candles are something usually part of the season, filling the home with wonderful scents, but are unsafe with birds in the house. Why not simmer fresh spices to fill the house with cheery smells instead? And please make sure that your birds are safe from the hot stove or pans.

While baking those cookies, cakes, and other delicacies, it's easy to make some bird-safe delicacies for the birds, too, so they can share in the holiday cheer.

However you spend your Christmas this year, we wish you health, love and happiness.

♥ ♥ ♥

Holiday Safety
By Vicki Hartsfield

Christmas is a joyful season with decorations and lots of festivity. While this is great for humans, it can be a Christmas nightmare for our fids unless we make plans for them ahead of time. To prepare for your pet to have a merry holiday this year, make sure as you plan your Christmas celebration, you plan safety for your fids as well. Making them safe doesn't take a lot of effort, but can go a long way in preventing tragedy during your Christmas season. Always remember, constant supervision is the key to keeping them and all of your pets' safe during the holidays.

First, if you are planning on serving alcoholic beverages, please keep them out of reach of your fids. Alcohol can be deadly to birds, so if you are planning a party, keep the birds in their cages until the guests are gone or one of them may sneak a drink out of someone's glass when they are not looking.

Second, yummy! While all this food smells great and tastes great, it is not always a good diet for our fids. A lot of the spices and seasonings are hazardous to our fids. Do encourage your guests to not share their foods with the fids. Try making up some special goodies for your birds.

Third, keep your fids away from ornaments, decorations and the tree. Birds love sparkly, shiny, bright objects, so it is no wonder that they are naturally drawn to the decorations. The glass balls are very fragile and can be easily broken, which can cause cuts, deep puncture wounds or can even be swallowed. The wire hangers on any ornament can do the same damage, even if the ornament is safe. Christmas lights pose a threat of electrocution or burns if the wires are bitten into or if there is a bare spot on the wires. Live decorations can be toxic as well. Poinsettia plants, Christmas cactus, and holly berries are dangerous to birds. Mistletoe berries are toxic. ***(See Note) Pine and fir trees are not toxic, but the needles from pine trees and artificial trees are sharp and can cause trauma if swallowed. Cedar contains irritants and should not be used around the birds. A lot of spray on decorations have Freon in them and should be used away from the birds.

Fourth, wrapping paper is beautiful, but it may be printed with ink that can be toxic to a bird. The bows, if chewed, have a potential hazard to them also. Bows may contain a metal staple, which could hurt your bird if bitten or swallowed. Ribbons can get wrapped around your bird's feet, beaks or wings causing serious injury or death.

Finally, remember that holidays can be stressful for all of us, including the pets. They can be exposed to all sorts of things they are not accustomed to. Make sure your birds cage is in a quiet, comfortable place away from all the activity. Don't forget, when all the excitement dies down, give them the special time they need with you to insure a happy, safe, enjoyable holiday.

***NOTE: Despite extensive research there are conflicting reports of safety vs. toxicity. In light of this, we suggest it would be better to avoid these plants in any area where your bird has access...particularly if there are children or cats and dogs in the home, since these plants are a known hazard for them.

♥ ♥ ♥

Roscoe enjoying the Holidays
Roscoe enjoying the Holidays

'Twas the Night Before Christmas
By Chester P. Featherbutt

Chessy P. Featherbutt
Chester P. Featherbutt, bird with a 'tude

'Twas the night before Christmas, and Chester was awake,
thinking of all the plans that he would soon make.
He snuck from his cage, and hid in the tree,
behind decorations, and Christmas candy.
He had a new plan to get Santa this year,
that would not fail,and give Santa fear.
He was going to teach the jolly red man,
that Chester P. Featherbutt was taking a stand!
So he waited and waited, and then he heard a noise.
Sounds of crinkles of fresh wrapped new toys.
Chester stirred not a bit, and got ready to strike,
when from under the tree, came a four-legged, black little tyke.
A chihuahua puppy that looked like a rat, and was just as small,
except this one was chewing on a small tennis ball.
It barked real loud, and ran to the floor,
just then a big red Santa opened the door.
The little rat ran back under the tree and screamed,
"Chester!!" Help!!" You gotta save me!!!".
Chester smiled with a grin so wide,
you could have put in a whole kiddie slide.
He said "little black rat, go over there,
and hide in that red bag next to the chair".
So the rat went and hid, and did not make a noise,
as Santa drew near, and reached under the tree with toys.
Then a beak flashed out, and grabbed Santa's sleeve,
Chester beaked hard, and wouldn't let him leave.
He chuckled with glee, as his beak made a hole,
then he burst out laughing, and fell out of the tree....
into the dog's water bowl!"
"Yuk!!", Chester yelled, as he shook the water off.
"I've been big dog germed!!" and he let out a cough.
Santa said "Chester, you got me this year!"
You bit me so hard, I'm starting to tear.
But don't worry Chester, I wore big mittens,
just in case from last year,
that you might still be smitten!
I knew you were lurking. I know all these things,
and when you think evil thoughts, my naughty bell rings.
But I'll forgive, since it is Christmas Eve,
and here are the presents I'm going to leave".
Then he grabbed his bag and whisked right away
through the door, to the roof and into his sleigh.
As he yelled "On Donnor! and Blitzen!",
there was a short pause,
and Chester could hear.....a startled Santa Claus.
Then a yapping and barking, that just wouldn't stop,
he heard Santa jump from the sleigh with a big hop.
Santa yelled "Chester! WHAT DID YOU DO?"
Chester was giggling and laughing so hard
he knocked over momma's display of old Christmas cards.
He lay on the floor, covered up to his head...
if a quaker could be embarrased, his face would have been red.
Santa came back, with a black rat in his arm,
red in the face and not full of charm.
"Chester P. Featherbutt!! You can't sneak away,
cause I found your friend, tucked in my bag,
like a lump of clay".
But Chester was laughing loud as a bear,
so much so, that he was loosing feathers into the air!!
"Nice try", said Santa, "You're such a big sneak,
I'm watching you now, and especially your beak!!"
With that he left, with no time to spare,
up into his sleigh and high into the air.
"Just for you Chester P, before I go,
I leave you with good tidings
"BRRRRRRRRRRR", Chester thought, as the flakes fell.
"Dis stuffs is colds, I no like what he's sent.
Maybeeeez next years, I better repent!!
Then he heard Santa say "No hard feelings...
and have a great day.
Remember my friend, don't loose your feathers when you jester....
'cause no one wants to look at a "no feathered" Chester!!"

♥ ♥ ♥

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According to the 2007 - 08 American Pet Product Manufacturers Association (APPMA), National Pet Owners Survey, 75% of bird owners surveyed bought their bird a gift in the past 12 months, usually at Christmas and for the bird's birthday.

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Gift Wrapping With The Help of Your Bird
Author Unknown

Mango & Peanut

1.    Clear large space on table for wrapping present.
2.    Go to closet and collect bag in which present is contained and shut door.
3.    Open door and remove bird from closet and put back on stand.
4.    Go to cupboard and retrieve rolls of wrapping paper.
5.    Go back and remove bird from cupboard, place on stand again.
6.    Go to drawer, and collect transparent sticky tape, ribbons, scissors, labels, etc.
7.    Lay out presents and wrapping materials on table.
8.    Go back to drawer to get string, remove bird that has been in the drawer since last visit and collect string, being sure to untangle bird from it and place back in cage this time.
9.    Remove present from bag.
10.   Remove bird from bag.
11.   Open box to check present, remove bird from box. Replace present as well as replacing lock on bird cage that bird unlocked.
12.   Lay out paper to determine size to cut.
13.   Try to smooth out paper, realize bird is underneath, unlock cage, actually put bird in cage this time and get back to work.
14.   Cut the paper to size, keeping the cutting line straight.
15.   Throw away first sheet as bird chased the scissors, and tore the paper.
16.   Cut second sheet of paper to size - by putting bird in the bag the present came in.
17.   Place present on paper.
18.   Lift up edges of paper to seal in present. Wonder why edges don't reach. Realize bird is between present and paper. Remove bird again.
19.   Place object on paper, to hold in place while tearing transparent sticky tape.
20.   Spend 20 minutes carefully trying to remove transparent sticky tape from bird while getting the beak of death as tape pulls on feathers. Place band-aids on hands and nose.
21.   Seal paper with sticky tape, making corners as neat as possible.
22.   Look for roll of ribbon. Chase bird down hall in order to retrieve ribbon.
23.   Try to wrap present with ribbon in a two-directional turn.
24.   Re-roll ribbon and remove paper, which is now torn due to bird's enthusiastic ribbon chase.
25.   Repeat steps 13 - 20 until you reach last sheet of paper.
26.   Decide to skip steps 13 - 17 in order to save time and reduce risk of losing last sheet of paper and any more skin. Retrieve old cardboard box that is the right size for sheet of paper.
27.   Put present in box and tie down with string.
28.   Remove string, open box and remove bird.
29.   Put all packing materials in bag with present and head for a room with lock.
30.   Once inside locking room, lock door and start to relay out paper and materials.
31.   Remove bird from box, unlock door, put bird in cage, close and relock.
32.   Repeat previous step as often as necessary (until you can hear bird from outside door!).
33.   Lay out last sheet of paper. (This will be difficult in the small area of the toilet, but do your best!).
34.   Discover bird has already torn paper. Unlock door, go out and hunt through various cupboards, looking for sheet of last year's paper. Remembering that you haven't got any left because bird helped with this last year as well.
35.   Return to lockable room, lock door and sit on toilet and try to make torn sheet of paper look presentable.
36.   Seal box, wrap with paper and repair by very carefully sealing with sticky tape. Tie up with ribbon and decorate with bows to hide worst areas.
37.   Label. Sit back and admire your handiwork, congratulate yourself on completing a difficult job.
38.   Unlock door and go to kitchen to make drink and feed bird.
39.   Spend 15 minutes looking for bird until coming to obvious conclusion.
40.   Unwrap present, untie box and remove bird.
41.   Go to store and buy a gift bag.

This is the official newsletter of the Parrot Toy Angels. Members and subscribers are encouraged to submit articles/photographs for publication. PTA reserves the right to reject, edit, or use only portions of items submitted. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the PTA Editor, Directors, Officers, or the general membership.

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