Angel Wings A monthly journal for human angels who make a positive difference in companion birds' lives.
A monthly journal for human angels who make a positive difference in companion birds' lives.
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Happy 2008 to all our friends!
We hope that you have all had an easy and healthy ride into this new year, and have gotten used to writing '2008' on your checks!! Easier said than done :~), isn't it?
A new year always comes with promises of renewed energy, plans, and ideas...so, if you have seen smoke in the sky, it is surely from all the thinking and planning we have been doing. The holiday rest is long gone for us and our toy shops have been bustling with activities...cutting, drilling, sawing, dying, stringing, tying....and while the hands are busy, the mind is already creating the next toy.
Along with the toy-making, we have also been gathering items for, YES! our next auction. Our auctions have been so well received, and we have had wonderful responses to the baskets put together by the Angels. Is it any surprise that baskets are in the planning? Some great ideas are sprouting, and we think you will like them. A few of our basket ideas are listed below. We'd appreciate your input....it will only take a second! Also, any specific baskets you'd like to see offered, please drop us an email at the address below.
To help us with our toy-making and auctions, we've been lucky enough to have a couple new Angels sign up. Join us in welcoming Rich C., Eric G., Regina J., Donna K., and Marcia R. And Dillon V. has been promoted to Senior Angel! Congratulations Dillon!! Job well done.
Don't forget to please take a moment below and tell us what you'd like to see in our Spring auction!!!
~~ Lynn Williams & Ilona Peterson
Featured Toys for February
What kind of baskets would you like to see in our Spring Auction?
Click on your choices below.
Have an idea not listed?
The feathers are a'squawkin'... ♥ ♥ ♥
We are here to help, because we care about your bird!!
The feathers are a'squawkin'...
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We are here to help, because we care about your bird!!
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by Budster Goulding
Can be shared with your humans!
Eggs, 3 for 1 human & 9 birds (Free-range eggs or Eggbeaters are best, but you can use just the whites if you prefer--if preparing only for the birds, you can use washed, crushed egg shell also. Humans tend to find that a bit crunchy)
Beat eggs. Add a small amount of water or a splash of milk. Pour into heated skillet oiled slightly with EVOO (extra virgin olive oil). Once egg has become solid, add favorite veggies on top and fold 1/2 over the other. Cook to desired consistency. Let cool enough to serve slightly warm.
This recipe can be varied with more or less veggies or fruit.
Budster-CAG, Codee-Zon, left & Roxcee-Zon, right enjoying their omelette
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Rikki will try and answer frequently asked questions here.
Bella from Australia Asks: My Mum has shown me pictures on that box she sits in front of all day, and there looks to be some pretty bad weather over in that country you live in. How can people keep their feathers warm in this, especially as I heard Mum tell Dad that there was close to 1 million homes without power? Hope everyone keep safe and warm!
Rikki Sez: Hi Bella! To understand how to help your friends over here stay warm, here's a bit of "technical" stuff. Most pet bird species come from areas with warm, tropical climates. Because their bodies are built to endure heat, cold weather can mean big trouble for an exotic bird with no protection.
Mammals and birds require much more food and energy than cold-blooded animals of the same weight. This is because in warm-blooded animals, the heat loss from their bodies is proportional to the surface area of their bodies, while the heat created by their bodies is proportional to their mass. The ratio of a body's surface area to its mass is less the larger the animal is. Smaller warm-blooded animals lose heat more quickly. So, it is easier to stay warm by being larger. Warm-blooded animals cannot be too small or else they will lose heat faster than they can produce it.
Feathers are a way birds survive in the winter through a structural adaptation. Most birds that stay in cold climates grow additional feathers in the winter for insulation. To keep warm while roosting, birds fluff their feathers. Because of the way their feathers are layered, this behaviour traps pockets of warm air next to the skin. The feathers and the trapped air layer also keep the skin from getting wet.
Birds, like humans and other mammals, are homoeothermic (warm blooded). This means that as long as birds can find a suitable food source, their bodies can convert that food into energy (i.e. body heat).
While birds can't put on an extra set of feathers in cold conditions, they can fluff up. Let's not forget what the source of insulation is for a down jacket. By fluffing up and creating air space between feathers as well as feathers and skin, it is like putting on an extra jacket. Water is essential to keeping feathers healthy and healthy feathers keep birds warm.
When conditions get worse, shivering can help. Shivering is a body's way of generating a little extra heat.
Perhaps the most amazing adaptation birds have for dealing with the cold is their ability to lower their body temperatures, heart rate and general body functions. Hypothermia conserves oxygen in the blood stream and is used primarily while sleeping. Hypothermia generally refers to lowering the body temperature a few degrees. So now you understand a bit of the science here are a few ways of keep your feathers warm.
The first place to start is your home. First, insulate as best as you can. Seal up any cracks around windows and doors, you can use blankets or towels or at some hardware stores you can buy window sealing tapes and temporary insulation. If possible, seal off windows and unused doorways with a shrink wrap insulation kit. You use a blow dryer to seal these areas. This will not only help keep cold air out, it will keep the warm air in. Where possible, limit the space to be heated. Select an area on the "warm" side of the house. This will be the side furthest from the winds or the direction the weather is coming from. Try for a room without large windows as the heat will escape through these. Close this room up by closing doors and curtains over windows or make a temporary door by hanging blankets or curtains over entry ways.
Now for your bird's home
A good idea is to have a couple of plastic storage boxes packed with beeswax candles, matches, hot water bottles or heat packs, clean water and long life/non perishable food for both you and your feathers, batteries and a torch ready. That way you know that in any emergency you are prepared to make the best of the worst.
All in all, if you prepare early, and follow my tips, both you and your birdies will stay warm, comfortable and safe this winter.
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Scrabble's picture ran in the January issue of Angel Wings. He was incorrectly identified as a "CAG". Scrab is a "TAG". We wanted to avoid any "identity issues" with Scrab so felt we should correct our error. Please accept our apologies Scrab!
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that ran in the January 08 issue of Angel Wings
Iron storage disease is fatal. It often leads to "sudden death" with no preliminary symptoms. Birds are fine one day...dead the next...and the only way to find out "why" the bird died is through extensive necropsy, specifically asking for a heavy metal test of the liver.
Over the years we have run into numerous problems with the diets provided to Lories. While not naming any companies or products in particular, it is crucial that there is NO added iron to any of the formulations provided for Lories. Also, fruits and veggies with high levels of Vitamin C, such as citrus, must be kept out of the birds' diets. Vitamin C helps the body retain iron, which is why for us humans it is so beneficial.
It is not known at this time why Lories are so prone to iron storage disease in captivity and not so much in the wild...but it is obvious that we are inadvertently doing them a great disservice.
The Oasis will be working with Dr. Howard Fredrick from the University of Arizona, who has a PhD in Animal Nutrition and has worked with numerous zoos, etc. formulating diets for their animals. Dr. Fredrick will be helping us formulate, hopefully, a more sound diet for the Lories here, as well as for our various species of other Parrots. I will gladly forward any information I get to Ruth Ann LaRue for dissemination to all of you.
This is offered in conjunction with the comment that I sent stressing the presence of added iron in human baby cereal formulations. This was pursuant to seeing the recommendation to use human baby cereals in a Lorikeet feeding formula for maintenance feeding of Lories. The recipes were published in the January issue of your e-newsletter. Thank you for considering our comments.
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Consider the health benefits when growing sprouts for birds. Several sources are now saying that broccoli sprouts may deliver the best long-term health benefits for birds. According to a 1998 study by Johns Hopkins University, broccoli has been found to be an important antioxidant (important for cancer prevention), and broccoli sprouts contain as much as 50 times the antioxidant Sulfurophane as the mature plant.
Think Organic - always try to use certified organic seed when you sprout to avoid contaminates such as fertilizers and pesticides commonly associated with non organic seeds. Sprouts grown from non organic seed have been linked to food borne illnesses such as salmonella.
Sprout mixes for birds: If you are interested in buying sprout seed mixes specifically designed for birds, try the web site Sprout People . Besides the mixes, the site contains tons of useful information on growing sprouts.
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You may be a bird addict if...
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Moment of Reflection
By Regina M. Jankowski
It's New Years, a time for reflecting on the last year and looking forward to the improvements we will make for the next. Last night found me reflecting on the last ten years. Ten years ago I bought my first bird.
I had always wanted a bird. My first word was "bird". The closest I got was when my father bought my sister a lovebird back in the 80's. Back in the 80's there wasn't much information available about avian companions. The books were outdated. I'm not just talking about the bad haircuts and horrid fashion choices here, the information wasn't always correct and it certainly wasn't complete. These books gave as much information as keeping a hamster alive. No wonder captive birds were so bored, lonely, and malnourished! Small cages with little or no toys, grocery store bought food and dark, dull corners with little interaction was commonplace.
My first bird opened my eyes. I did not know she was ill when I bought her, but had it been today I would've known she was ill. I know now all the signs that weren't listed in any of the books. I would've done almost everything different. I also know that I wouldn't trade one moment with her for anything in the world.
Ten years after improving my life in a major way by adding a little y ellow pearled cockatiel to my family, I'm still learning. Actually, I'm learning at a faster rate and am stumbling to keep up. Today there are forums, books, lectures, seminars, courses...everything you can imagine to improve bird care. I look at my fids in their large cages, full of toys and varied diets that usually cost more than my own, and I am nothing short of grateful. Grateful to clean those cages every single night because it means they are alive and healthy. Grateful to have huge birdie food bills because it means my fids are eating well.
It's amazing what a difference ten years have made. Thank you, Arabella, for giving me the greatest gift of all and for showing me the passion that my first word destined me to have. Ten years of leaps and bounds in the avian world. I lift my birdie safe pomegranate juice to all of you in hopes that our journey forward for better quality avian care never ends and never loses its momentum.
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Featured Fid ~ Parrotlet |
By Jan Peterson
The Napoleon complex pales in comparison to the full personality of our "Fid of the Month", the Parrotlet. The most popular species of the Parrotlet are Pacific, Spectacle, Mexican and Green Rumped. These birds are found roughly in areas of Ecuador, Peru, Columbia and the Pacific slopes of the Andes. This bird is the smallest parrot found being roughly 4 inches in height and around 30 grams. The closest cousin to the Parrotlet is the Amazon.
For being a small parrot, these birds have bigger then life personalities. It has been said that the Spectacle tend to be shy while the Pacifics are very outgoing. They have been known to scare off bigger birds than themselves to get food. They are very active birds. Parrotlets can out eat Macaws gram to gram. Because of their high energy, Parrotlets need a variety of food from sprouts to fresh fruit and veggies to whole grain breads. Parrotlets can learn to talk with the males being the most talkative. They can say some words and love to imitate sounds. They are very playful and love lots of room to play.
These parrots are also known as pocket parrots. Some parrotlets do love to hide inside your shirt and pocket. The parrotlet is a very good first time bird. They are also very good apartment birds as they don't make much noise. They usually are not a one person bird, so for a family this is also an optimum bird.
These little birds are just so sweet and comical that it is hard to just own one. I am the proud owner of a 2 year old Pacific Parrotlet named Wigit. Everyday he fills my heart with love and laughter. I would wish that anyone looking for a companion bird would consider this small, sweet, full of life and personality bird known as the Parrotlet.
Wigit's Flying School
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Has Your Avian Had His Phytonutrients Today?|
OR... A Leaf of Kale Keeps the Vet Away
By Lori M. Nelsen
Phytonutrients are a natural army of defenders that fight cancer, heart disease, and boost the immune system. They act as a protective armor to keep invading pollutants, viruses, and bacteria from entering a cell. They stimulate the natural defenses by "revving up" the detoxification system. They call "to arms" the anti-bacterial and anti-viral armies while positively affecting the hormonal system.
The word phytonutrients was derived from the Greek word phyto (plant) and nutrient (the part of food necessary for normal physiological function). Also known as phytochemicals-are the natural, compounds found in plant foods. Most of the properties of phytonutrients compliment each other and provide complete benefits that have antioxidant effects and immune system stimulation. The optimum word here is "plant" or "phyto" because together with essential fatty acids this is the basis of your avian's diet.
The following are the best known phytonutrients: carotenoids, flavonoids, isoflavones and now xanthones. Carotenoids are the red, orange and yellow pigments found in fruits and vegetables. It is generally believed that the more color they have the better antioxidant they are. Flavonoids are found in strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and soybeans. They appear to fight allergies and inflammations, ulcers, viruses and tumors. There are over 5,000 naturally occurring flavonoids from various plants. The beneficial effects of plant-derived food are often attributed to flavonoid compounds. Research in several areas of healthcare has shown that consumption of isoflavones may play a role in lowering risk for disease. They can fight disease on several fronts and are attributed to a reduction in heart disease and cancer risk, along with improved bone health. Isoflavones can be found in many foods but the most common is the soy bean. Isoflavones have potent antioxidant properties, comparable to that of the well known antioxidant vitamin E. Xanthones are the newest recognized phytonutrients. They are found in the rind of the mangosteen. Scientific studies suggest xanthones may promote healthy bodily function, maintain intestinal health, strengthen the immune system, neutralize free radicals, support cartilage and joint function, and promote a healthy seasonal respiratory system.
Now that you have all this information on fighting the battle and strengthening the system with natural whole produce, RUN-do not walk, to the nearest Whole Foods. You will find produce that will build bones, strengthen immune systems, fight bacteria and viruses, and detoxify the system for your feathered family and your human one as well. The Super Foods such as kale, broccoli, beans, blueberries, pumpkins, oats and nuts are there waiting for you.
Yes, you really do need to eat your broccoli!!
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"Pick Your Project"|
BirdLove Avian Sanctuary, Columbia, SC
By Nancy Goulding
We chose this delivery because we had done the last delivery for BirdLove and wanted to see Jo Gore and see how some of the bird and human friends we had met in January of 2006 were getting along. BirdLove is in Columbia, SC approximately an hour and a half from where we live. Jo lives in a very established subdivision with some very understanding neighbors. Jo has at this time 38 birds: 4 tiels; 3 budgies; a pair each of Hahn's Macaws, Nandays, White-eye Conures, Panama Amazons, Red-Lored Amazons and Moluccans. All the rest are singles: 10 large Macaws, 2 Severe Macaws, 1 Mitred Conure, 1 Yellow-Naped Amazon, 1 Blue-Front, 1 Ringneck and 1 Grey.
Once we had a count on the number of birds Jo had, I got busy making the 38 toys and 14 foot toys with the occasional help of the DH (dear husband). We contacted Jo and agreed on a delivery date of December 20th. She was excited and since she knew it was only us making toys, she said not to make a fuss, but I had to have at least one per cage, which was accomplished. We can't say that our large box of toys was as decorative as some of the beautiful delivery packages that we saw posted; however, the surprise and delivery were just as warmly received.
The morning started off with us packing up the car and heading off to Parrot University to pick up some food stuff for BirdLove. When we got to Parrot University we told Lee (employee) that we were on our way to BirdLove to see Jo. Not only did Lee give us a great discount on the food, she also told us about "Good Deal", an Amazon Parrot that had been placed with BirdLove by Karen, the Parrot University owner, because "Good Deal" had been abused by a previous owner and was unable to be fostered. We were surprised to learn of the connection between Parrot University and BirdLove.
We arrived at BirdLove around 1pm and were greeted warmly (this time minus the two beautiful Pit Bulls that greeted us last time. They were off playing with a new dog member of the family). We had a great time reminiscing about the last visit and a wonderful tour of the facilities. The facilities consist of her house - the dining room houses the budgies and tiels, the room off the kitchen has a Grey, a funny YNA named Charlie (Charlie does a great imitation of Dracula), a Hahn's that had been confiscated from a crack house (oh the things she could say and tell you), a Quaker, and a few more. In the sun room, which is off the kitchen, were 3 Blue & Golds, 1 Scarlet Macaw, 1 Military Macaw, a Hahn's, a Ringneck, and a few more. This room was fun beyond imagination. One of the B&G's wanted me to dance and play, so we did the funky chicken with head bobbing and wing flapping. Every time I would go to say hello to someone else, the B&G would sneak up behind me and pull on my sweater. I finally went on outside when the B&G actually tried to get me to go into his cage. Jo and I were laughing so hard at his foiled love attempts.
Outside there were four large heated enclosures as well as a quarantine enclosure. These enclosures have TV's and lights for the birds and all the other creature comforts. In one of them was the Amazon "Good Deal". She is so happy and she has been paired up with a sweet Amazon that could have been fostered or adopted, but because Jo saw the love bond that was formed, she has decided that they will stay together. This was so good to know as now I could go and tell Lee and Karen that "Good Deal" was happy and had a forever home and a friend.
While visiting the cages and the enclosures, it was so amazing to look in the cages and see toys from the last visit along with some that Jo has purchased from the PTA web site. As I walked by, I would say, "that is one of so and so's toys". I must say that this delivery was as great as the last time and I am amazed at how awesome and durable PTA toys are.
To view pictures of the BirdLove Holiday Project, click here .
Have these stories 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.
The White Bird
By Judy Moon
The cage was sitting way back in a corner of the bonus room. Only one light shown in the room. The white bird was sitting quietly his dark eyes constantly watching the doorway with an earnest, waiting look. His feathers were ragged and worn with bare patches on his breast where he had torn out the feathers.
He knew better than to scream out his frustrations, fear and loneliness. If he did someone would rush into the room and throw a cover over his cage, turn out the light and leave for maybe the rest of the day.
Out of boredom he began carefully pulling more and more feathers out of his breast. Why not, he thought to himself. There is nothing else to do. He had no toys, nothing to chew on, the water dish was a filthy swill and his food was days old. He really did not care any more.
He heard footsteps approaching and quickly ducked back. The door opened and in came two people, one he knew and used to love, the other a stranger. He wondered just what they had come for.
Both people approached the cage. The man he'd known and loved was telling the other man that this bird was noisy, a feather-picker and a real problem. The other man just opened his wallet and said "How much?" The man he had known and loved said "$700.00 cash". The stranger counted out the money and said, "I'm taking the cage too". "Oh go ahead I won't get another bird. They are just too messy, noisy and a lot of trouble".
The cover was whisked over the cage. The bird screamed...he just could not help it. He hadn't done anything wrong. He did not want to be covered and left alone forever. Suddenly he felt the cage being lifted and moved. Then doors opened and shut. Then he heard a strange sound and the sensation of moving.
Finally the strange sound stopped, doors opened and he was being moved again. More doors and more lifting. Finally it stopped. The cover was gently moved away from the front of the cage. There was light! In a few minutes the strange man began talking in a soft and gentle voice as he proceeded to clean the cage. The bird shuffled away and tried not to get close to those hands. He lifted and spread his wings in fear!
The man kept talking and changed the water bowl for a clean one full of clean water. Then the stranger took out the food bowl and put in another with lots of interesting things in it. Slowly, carefully the bird inched his way across the cage and tasted the water. It was sweet and fresh. Then he looked into the dish of food. What was this and that? He began tasting and throwing food around. Suddenly he remembered that made his man very angry. He looked at the man who was standing a few feet away still making those soft words.
Days went by and slowly the bird began to realize that every day brought light, cool fresh water, tasty food and even sometimes treats held in the hand of the stranger. Slowly the stranger became a friend. New chewy things and crunch toys came into the cage. At first the bird had been afraid. Now he was beginning to experiment with them. They were much more fun than pulling out his feathers.
As the months went by the bird grew tolove this stranger who was no longer a stranger, but a friend, then a companion, and finally a person he loved. One day the man put his hand in the cage and waited. Cautiously the bird came forward and touched his arm with his beak. The man he loved did not do anything. So the bird cautiously stepped onto the arm. This went on for several days, until the bird felt quite safe sitting on the arm of his friend. Then one day the friend pulled his arm out of the cage with the bird on it. At first the bird was frightened and screamed and flapped his wings. The friend only spoke in those wonderfully soothing words. This too, continued for many days.
Finally one day the man took his other hand and very slowly and carefully scratched the neck of the white bird. Oh! Oh! What a wonderful feeling! The white bird mumbled a few sounds and cocked his head over for more scratching. Over the next months the white bird grew to enjoy the scratching and holding and cuddling. He mumbled often and openly invited attention.
Then one day the man was standing in front of the cage and asking if his little white bird would like to come out. He always said that. So the white bird concentrated hard and said very clearly "Yes, come out friend".
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2008 Parrot Toy Angels • P.O. Box 34372 • Houston, Texas 77234
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