Parrot Toy Angels: December 2009 Angel Wings
Parrot Toy Angels

Angel Wings

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

December 2009
Volume 4, 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:
    Angel Announcements
    'Twas the Night Before Christmas
    Holiday Safety Tips
    Pomegranates
    Christmas Lollies
    Oven Cleaning
    Featured Fid ~ Golden Conure
    Rikki Sez
    Guide to an Avian Exam
    Happy Holiday for All
    Safety Today
    Help Us
    Gift Wrapping with the Help of your Bird



Welcome
Elena C. from South America
and Kristen L. from Florida


Angel Toys For Angels

Featured Toys for December
"Limited Quantities"

Loofah Tree
Loofah Tree
Medium Birds

Cookies for Santa
Cookies for Santa
Small to Large Birds

Santa Stocking
Santa Stocking
Small Birds



Check out all the
Angel Toys for Angels

now!


ANGEL ANNOUNCEMENTS
Watch for upcoming events, news, website updates, etc. here


PERFECT FOR GIFT GIVING:

Birdie Stockings
Holiday Toys
Gift Certificates
Angel Magnets
Wildflower Angels
Golden Blues CD

♥ ♥ ♥

♥ ♥ ♥



Holiday Auction Update:

Our Holiday 09 Auction was a great success! We raised much needed funds so we may continue doing what we do best...


Making a difference...one bird at a time!

We're already hard at work planning for our Spring 2010 Auction. If there's anything you'd like to see offered, drop us an email. We'd really appreciate feedback also...what did you like, not like, what would you like to see more of, etc. Please let us know.

Thank You!

A heartfelt thank you to all our generous donators:


14 Karat Parrot
Avian Antics Bird Toys - Doug & Shelly Wing
Barb Arellano
Chopper's Toys - Claudia & Chopper
Cooka's Rainbow
Dean Wickwire
Delta Holder
Devi Tow
Dianne Barskey
Donna Dae
Elizabeth & Peter Cirrotti
Eric & Debby Peake
Gail Armstrong
Good Bird, Inc. - Barbara Heidenreich
Ilona Peterson
JoAnn Diffee Gallery
Joe Gibbs Racing
Kristie Rodgers
Lori & Robert Nelsen
Lynn Edman Creations - Lynn Edman
Margot Owen
Meryl Sheridan
Nancy & George Goulding
Nikki Slade
PJ Publications & Gifts - Paula Fitzsimmons
Sharon Gutknecht
Stacey Baker
Sue Christie-Cox
Susan Kesler
Terri White
Toni Fortin
Traci LaMon
Tri-State Pets Mfg. - Kim Perez
Verna & Peter Lucey
Vicki Hartsfield
Winona Lampe
Wyspur Kallis

To all those that bid...we appreciate your support!

   

'Twas the Night Before Christmas
By Chester P. Featherbutt

NOTE: This originally ran in the December '06 issue of Angel Wings. It's become somewhat of a "tradition" to run it every year. We'd like to thank Chester P. for granting his permission to use it once again. Thank you Chessy!

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
and a COLD CHRISTMAS SNOW!!"
"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!!"

Chester P. Featherbutt, Bird with a 'tude

   

Holiday Safety Tips
By Holly Nash, DVM, MS
Veterinary Services Dept., Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.

Pet accidents increase dramatically during the holidays. We do not mean to spoil your fun with these cautions, but hope to keep your holidays safe.
Prevent exposure to electrical wires, which could cause dangerous burns or electrocution. Conceal them or use pet-proof covers. Otherwise, your pet may mistake them for a chew toy.
Prevent access to holiday plants. Never allow your pet unsupervised access to poinsettia, holly (leaves and berries), mistletoe, or other plants commonly used to decorate during the holidays.
A decorated tree is a magnet for birds, but unfortunately has the potential for causing problems. Do not allow your bird to have access to the tree. Tinsel, flocking, and artificial snow can be dangerous. The tree may also be coated with potentially harmful fire retardant, fertilizer, or insecticide. Larger decorating lights can become hot and cause burns. Some decorations may have small pieces that could be broken off and swallowed, causing digestive problems.
Many of the foods we set out during the holidays can be toxic to pets, including chocolate (bakers, semi sweet, milk, dark), sugary cookies, salty snacks, and other favorites left out for nibbling and, of course, alcoholic drinks.
Perfumes, potpourri, adhesives, glues, aerosol sprays, cleaning products, and of course, teflon, can all be toxic.
Do not let your bird out of its cage when you have open flames in the house. Stoves, candles, and fireplaces always pose a serious threat.
Do not tie ribbons on your pet or its cage, or leave them lying around. The inks and metals used in gift wraps and ornaments can be toxic. These items also pose choking and entanglement risks.
Discourage guests from bringing their own dog or other pet into your home. If they do, understand that your pet and theirs are sure to be anxious. Keep them separated and do not relax your vigilance.
We hope these tips help you and your bird enjoy a happy, fun, and safe holiday season!

©  2006 Foster & Smith, Inc.
Reprinted as a courtesy and with permission from PetEducation.com
On-line store at
Drs. Foster & Smith
Free pet supply catalog:
1-800-323-4208

   

Pomegranates
By Ilona Peterson

Pomegranates are one of the bonuses of losing summer. Most of our birds love this fruit, while most of us shudder at the tought of the 'red' mess. As with most things, their joy is well worth it.

I have always mourned the end of the pomegranate season, even before I had birds. This year, however, I have discovered a way to enjoy this fruit long after its season has ended.

Here are the simple steps to provide your birds and yourself with this treat:
Remove all the seeds
Spread them out on a cookie sheet
Freeze

When frozen, put into baggies and 'viola!' You have this lovely fruit for months to come.

   


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!

Christmas Lollies
By Dont'e Fortin

Christmas Lollipops

Birdie bread batter
Chopped nuts
Millet
Sesame seeds
Wooden candle cups OR
Wooden balls (drilled out larger on one side)
Paper or wooden sticks

Mix your birdie bread using less liquid to be sure it's nice and thick.
Spoon birdie bread batter into candle cups, or wooden balls; fill to 3/4 of the way from the top. Bake in a 350 - 375 degree oven for 10 minutes. Insert sticks and continue baking for another 10 minutes. Check with a toothpick to ensure batter is fully cooked.

Dont'e enjoying his lolli
Dont'e enjoying his Christmas Lolli

   

Oven Cleaning and Parrots
By Wyspur Kallis

Many parrot owners know the dangers of toxic fumes, especially when it comes to cleaning a dirty oven. I, for one, use a fume-free cleaner to clean my own oven at least once a year. I do this by opening all the windows in the house and putting a rather large fan in the kitchen window to pull any fumes out of the room. Another easy and non-toxic method of cleaning an oven is to make a paste using liquid dish soap and baking soda. Apply this mixture to the inside of the oven and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Using a nylon scrubber, work this mixture into the baked on grime. Wipe your oven clean with a paper towel. A single edged razorblade works wonders for cleaning the glass window of the oven. Now that your oven is clean, you're ready to make some yummy PTA Birdie Bread.

   

Featured Fid ~ Golden Conure / Queen of Bavaria's Conure
By Vicki Hartsfield

Upon my research in doing this species, I came across The World Parrot-USA Golden Conure Survival Fund. I was inclined to use their information as this is an endangered species and the website was most informative. Thank you Glenn Reynolds for allowing us to use information from your site. (For additional gemeral parrot information, check out their main site World Parrot Trust).
Pictures are courtesy of R & B Aviaries, Vivan, Louisiana, who have a breeding program for Golden Conures. Thank you Ric.

The Golden Conure is considered to be the largest of all conures. It is 15 inches in length, with an average weight of around 290 grams. The adult's plumage is a rich yellow with its primary, secondary and outer coverts being a dark emerald green. The beak is a translucent horn color with a blue-green mottling that peaks out from several layers beneath. The iris is brown, but the entire eye looks black with a reddish glow from any distance. The legs and feet are a fleshy pink with black scaling on the toes. In my observations, I have found the adult females to more often be slightly larger and darker in color than the males.

The plumage of the adolescent is similar, but with random streaks of dark green that is most often on the back of the head, the nape and the chest but can be found most anywhere on a given individual.

Their call can be best described as a lengthy repetitive keek, keek, keek, keek. I would describe their captive personalities as a cross between a Hyacinth Macaw and that of a Sun Conure. They are very playful and clownish.

History
The Golden Conure is also known as the Queen of Bavaria's Conure and the Golden Parakeet. Until recently it was categorized as Aratinga guarouba, but is now categorized as Guaruba guarouba.

Although it has been considered endangered since the mid 1940's, Golden Conure Babiesit has never been formally studied as it's range was considered to be so remote that it was out of harm's way.

In early 1970's, construction began on the Tucuruí Dam which, upon completion, flooded 888 square miles of rain forests. The construction of the dam further evoked the construction of two major highways and a proliferation of human colonization around its borders. Along the Transamazon Highway, the resettlement process consumed approximately 273,000 acres.

Bordering another road that parallels the right side of the reservoir another 768,000 acres were deforested for relocation of displaced forest colonists. Just these two areas of resettlement alone have depleted 1,041,000 acres of rain forest.

Range
The range of Golden Conures extends far westward into the Amazon Basin, reaching all the way to the right bank of the Madeira Rio in Amazonas state. Golden ConuresThe bird reaches as far east as the Gurupi in Maranháo state. It is found in much higher density (almost ten times) within the confines of the current study area. This coincides almost directly with the heaviest deforestation zones.

The Golden Conures are distributed in pockets strewn across northeastern Brazil, south of the Amazon River, in eastern Pará and northern Maranháo to the western edge of Tapajós. Their range has been reduced by as much as 30% in the last 2 to 3 decades.

Population
Captive Population

Traditionally, the best-known method of keeping track of a captive population is through a studbook. There is a Golden Conure Studbook in existence, but it has been stagnant since its last publishing in January, 1998. The last issue was published by the Phoenix Zoo.
The most recent issue of the studbook lists 804 Golden Conures in captivity worldwide, with some facilities housing as many as 50 individuals (Bohmke). As a general rule, I would consider there to be at least one bird not listed for every one that is; therefore, the captive population could easily be as many as 1,600 birds or more, which comes close to our most recent estimates of Golden Conures left in the wild.
Wild Population
Although our field project has not yet included a comprehensive population survey, Carlos Yamashita, our lead biologist, has estimated as few as 2,000 birds left in the wild, and cautions that their numbers will most certainly not exceed 3,000.

Natural Diet
In our current research area, the most predominately eaten substance by Golden Conures Golden Conuresis the seed of the Croton matouensis, which is in the castor bean family. This particular fruit is similar in size and appearance to a green blueberry, which contains 3 to 4 seeds. These seeds are commonly eaten by all of the larger parrots in the region. The outer fruit is tough and requires a strong beak, as that of the Golden Conure, to tear it open and get to the seeds. This species of tree is in abundance and is not one usually cut for its wood; therefore, food sources are not a real concern for this species in this particular area, other than the distances required to travel from tree to tree. Yamashita states that a flock of Golden Conures will stay at one tree until all of the fruit is gone, which on average takes about 3 days.

In Tapajós, Gil Serique reports Golden Conures feeding on Muruci fruit (Byrsonima crispa), a berry-like fruit very much appreciated by humans as well. It is often used in ice cream, which doesn't seem to represent any competition for food since it is common to find Muruci trees growing in back yards.

Furthermore, Gil has observed Golden Conures feeding at Mango trees, which are widespread in Brazil. Açai (pronounced ah-sah-ee), an Indian name meaning "weeping tree," Golden Conuresis also on their main diet list and he describes them just like the Muruci, but it belongs to the palm genus Euterpe. This plant species has been heavily exploited for palm heart and for the last 10 years for its iron-rich fruit-pulp as well, which is heavily sold all over Brazil. Eating these palm hearts has become a fad over the last few years. It is quite exploited by the communities in the estuary area, and the seeds are commonly used as fertilizer in vegetables crops. Gil states that he would not be surprised if it comes to be proven that açai consumption by humans is directly affecting certain groups of Golden Conures, since they seem very dependent on it in certain areas. Undoubtedly, the rain forest hosts many other fruiting trees visited by Golden Conures, which will be found as we get to know them better.

This suggests that they may be more adaptive to available food sources than some of the other highly endangered species such as the Lear's Macaws. The decline in the Lear's population has been directly related to a decline in licuri palm trees. This adaptability may prove to be of great benefit and a vital aspect of their survival as a wild species.

Breeding
As my personal experience breeding Golden Conures is admittedly minimal, I have been corresponding with several larger breeding facilities. There is still much I need to gather and document about the breeding behaviors of captive Golden Conures, which I have been working on as time permits.

Golden ConuresGolden Conures seem to be prolific once they get started breeding. On average, they lay 4 eggs and up to as many as 3 consecutive clutches per year. They are known for not being good parents, but I personally think their rarity and monetary value make some breeders quick to make judgments about them. From my own observations and correspondence with other breeders, I have found that if they are given enough opportunities, they learn to sit on their eggs very well and raise their own young. My pair produced their first clutch at the age of four. They laid 3 consecutive clutches of 6 eggs, but none were fertile. At the age of 6 years, they laid their first fertile egg, but it didn't develop past the first couple of days.

I find my pair to be very nervous and protective of the nest even though they were domestically raised and are very familiar with me. In my observations the female will avoid eating and drinking, if necessary, in order to protect her eggs. I have noticed a visible loss of weight in the female while she is sitting on eggs. The pair will scurry into the nest box when I enter the room. Because of this, they tend to crack or break many eggs. I found that my pair broke all of the eggs in their first few clutches. I used an egg from the third clutch to make a plaster mold and subsequently produce fired ceramic eggs. Moreover, I designed a nesting box that would prevent them from jumping directly on the eggs. I replaced their next few clutches with ceramic eggs. The following year they sat on their eggs without breaking any.

   

Rikki Sez

Rikki will try and answer frequently asked questions here.

Rikki, My name is Jagger. I overheard Mom and Dad talking. We are having company for the holidays and they're bringing their kids again. The last time those kids were here, they ran around my cage, made loud noises and scared me so much. Mom doesn't know what to do with me during their stay. She can't refuse because they are family.
Signed, Help!

Dear Help, You are family, too. Your Mom and Dad need to move your cage to a quieter location - perhaps their bedroom. If your Mom and Dad are going to inconvenience you over the holidays, then they must endure the same by providing you with a safe place to live until the company leaves.

Rikki, Mom and Dad put this big tree up in the living room. It is beautiful with all those lights, shiny balls and those boxes wrapped in pretty paper and ribbons! I want to go play on it. I could just feel that ribbon going through my beaker. Mom is being mean to me and won't let me play on it. My humans are ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the tree and I want to join them.
Signed, Feeling Blue at the Holidays

Dear Feeling Blue, That tree isn't good for birdies. There are too many dangerous things on it for you. Why don't you tell Mom and Dad to make you your own tree? They can hang some PTA toys on it, wrap you some corrugated boxes with some safe, colorful paper and some short strands of sisal or raffia. (They feel good going through the ole beaker, too!) Ask Mom to place some sterilized pine cones in the branches. For a special treat, have Dad whip you up some popcorn balls or fruit balls. (NOTE: Both recipes available in the PTA Cookbook which can be purchased HERE). Hope this helps you to have a Happy Holiday!




Do you have a question for Rikki?
Please send it to The Editor at editor@parrottoyangels.org

   

Gracie says Happy Holidays
Happy Holidays from Gracie and her babies!

   
Guide to an Avian Exam
By Angel Savannah

Birds, like people, see their doctor for one of two different reasons - because they are injured/ill, or for preventative measures. Obviously, if you have an ill or injured bird, you must immediately seek care from a qualified avian vet. Less obvious to the novice bird owner, there are many important reasons to seek veterinary attention for preemptive care.

Some bird owners take their birds to the vet for an annual routine check-up. This is a reasonable expectation. Try to plan for a time when the weather is not too hot or cold and prepare for their vet visits by having a quality carrier for transporting with a towel in the bottom for safety.

The first time you should have an avian exam is when you first obtain a bird. The basic vet check should include a physical examination of the entire bird and an accurate weight. Beyond this, a vet may suggest further testing based on the origin of the bird, any concerns from the physical exam, or any concerns that you may have. The most important reason to take your new bird to a vet is to get a baseline weight and physical exam for future comparison should you ever have a concern.

If your new bird is a baby, the suggested testing should be minimal as there are many tests whose outcomes will be considerably different than those of a mature bird.

For a mature bird, your vet may want to run a CBC (Complete Blood Count) and gram stains. For the CBC, they will draw a very small amount of blood for testing. It could take a few days to get the results back from this. The gram staining process involves swabbing the oral cavity or the cloaca with a cotton swab, transferring the sample to a microscope slide, and then staining with different dyes to color any bacteria or yeast for identification. This is probably the easiest and fastest test that they will do and can immediately identify bacterial or yeast infections.

For a routine exam, you should have a list of the bird's foods, precise measurements of the cage, list of favorite toys or samples of them (even commercially sold bird toys may have an unsafe component), name of the breeder or seller of the bird, and it really helps to put a clean paper in the cage tray 24 hours prior to the exam to collect a full day's worth of droppings. The vet can then determine if the droppings are normal in both appearance and quantity, a huge tell-tale sign for illness.

Some veterinarians include grooming in their basic exam. This would include trimming the nails, clipping wings, and possibly trimming or polishing the beak.

Finally, YOU should be comfortable with the veterinarian you choose to keep your bird healthy. They should appear comfortable handling your bird throughout the entire exam and any wing or nail trimming. The more confident your vet is with your bird, the more assured your bird will feel during the process.

   

Happy Holiday for All
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 football game and have him put the tree in the stand and get the lights on.

Take the Wii away from the kids and have them 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.) and 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 amounts 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 instead of tinsel and to put in your 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.) 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. 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 raw 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 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 Merry Christmas

   

Safety Today
By Susan Kesler
Safety Committee Chairwoman

WOW! Is it that time of year again so soon? I guess it is and that means decorations are going up, shopping is being done, kids are coming and going and everything is being spruced up for the Christmas holidays.

I would like to remind all the "parronts" out there that we need to be especially thoughtful of our birds during the holiday hustle and bustle. It is so easy to leave that door open to bring in all the packages at once, not realizing that someone has let Tweety out for play time.

If you house is anything like mine, you are giving everything a good cleaning so the dear mother-in-law won't carry tales to Aunt Hilda about the streaks on your windows. So when you are in the cleaning frenzy, remember the fumes from the cleaning products can be hard on the birds' lungs. Try cleaning "green."

One more thing to think about is the Christmas decorations. Most conventional decorations are not bird friendly. If you do use the lights, tinsel and glass decorations you might want to make some things that are strictly for the birds so they don't feel left out.

You could make "snowballs" by stringing paper muffin cups together on cotton rope. Properly cleaned pinecones are great for birds to "munch" on. Different colored plastic chain with whiffle balls attached also makes a playstand festive. The more things you give them that they CAN have, the less they will want what they CAN'T have.

Here's wishing you a safe, sane, SUPER holiday season and a very Merry Christmas!

   



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Roscoe enjoying the Holidays

Roscoe and Kermit wish you a Merry Christmas

Kermit
Gift Wrapping With The Help of Your Bird
Author Unknown

Please Note - This is a humorous look at life with our beloved birds. Please do not try this at home!

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.


HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
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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