Parrot Toy Angels: February 2009 Angel Wings
Parrot Toy Angels

Angel Wings

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

February 2009
Volume 4, Issue II

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In this month's issue:
    ParrotNutz Newsletter Special
    "Polly Wants More Than A Cracker"
    An Encounter With Angels
    Mummy Sticks
    Winter Tips For Your Parrot
    Love is in the Air
    Red Palm Oil Revisited
    Featured Fid ~ The Vasa Parrot
    Slippers, Stiletos and Perches?
    Rikki Sez
    Happy Valentines Day
    Safety Today
    Sir Scrabble Babble's Guide

A big thank you to the Newsletter Committee. Ya'll rock!


Toni F. from North Carolina and Karen S. from Florida

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♥ ♥ ♥

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

It's finally here...the long awaited
Parrot Toy Angels Cookbook
"Polly Wants More Than A Cracker...
A Parrot Owner's Cookbook"

Polly Wants More Than A Cracker

Beat the winter blues and give your birds a treat!
Parrot Toy Angels is pleased to announce the release of "Polly Wants More Than A Cracker...A Parrot Owner's Cookbook".

"Polly Wants More Than A Cracker" has over 75 recipes. Included are delicious recipes from Apple French Toast to Zucchini Squash Cakes and lots of tasty recipes in between. Our parrot owner's cookbook will be sure to please your parrot. If you already cook for your birds, add some new recipes and ideas to your collection. Not cooking for your birds already? There couldn't be a better time to begin!!

Also included in the cookbook is basic sprouting information and ideas for turning food into a foraging experience.

Order one today at

Kizzy gives the PTA Cookbook the 'Beak of Approval'
Kizzy, CAG gives the PTA Cookbook the 'Birdie Beak of Approval'

Bird Cages Galore

Why buy a Bird Cage from Bird Cages Galore?? Because we do not "just sell" top quality cages at reasonable prices, provide free shipping and a free toy with each cage; we offer first rate customer service and will answer your questions about most bird-related matters. Visit us on the web, browse our selection, join our discussion forum and sign up for our free Newsletter,
The Caged Bird Courier.

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

♥ ♥ ♥

An Encounter With Angels
By Ethel Buchbinder
Lucky Parrot Sanctuary
Naples, Florida

To all our friends at Parrot Toy Angels,

We have read several of the letters published in past newsletters, thanking you for your generosity. Essentially, all say the same thing, and for a good reason. The big heartedness of Parrot Toy Angels is the stuff of dreams.

One day in November we made our weekly trip to the Post Office and to our surprise and delight, there was a half dozen parcels awaiting us. Never before had we received that many parcels in a single day. Generally, all we get is a bill or two.

We returned to the sanctuary, opened the parcels and laid out the contents,Lucky Parrot Sanctuary a wonderful collection of parrot toys. We were overwhelmed both by the generosity and by the volume. The next week we again went to the Post Office, and yet again there was another half dozen boxes. Could this be real, could this be true? Who could, would, be so kind to the parrots? Sure, every so often we receive a small check as a donation, not that the checks aren't welcome, but this was something else entirely.

Once again we returned to the sanctuary and much to our delight we were overwhelmed by the contents of the parcels. Gifts of love. From New York and New Jersey, from Texas and Arkansas. From Canada, from just about all over. Then when we thought the outpouring of toys was over, more parcels of toys kept coming. Several individuals sent more than once.

This is the first time in the lives of the Lucky Parrots that they have so much, and such an extensive variety too. We cannot tell you who gets more pleasure from the toys, the parrots or us. Nothing makes us happier than having healthy, happy parrots. Your gifts made us all happy, and happiness promotes good health.

We truly appreciate the creativity, the time, the expense, and the love involved in the making, packing and shipping of the toys.

As we are writing this, the parrots are busy playing with, and in the process of destroying, your wonderful work. Of course, we reuse the salvageable parts, the wood, the plastic, the bells, the chains to fashion other toys so that they may decimate them all over again.

Lucky Parrot SanctuaryWe have always been able to feed the parrots a wholesome, nutritious diet; yet there are times when toys are not in the budget. At those times we cut up untreated 2 x 4 pine boards, and cut down natural branches from our property for the amusement of the parrots. But now, thanks to the Angels we will be able to provide a greater variety of objects for the parrot's enjoyment.

I've enclosed some photos (shown throughout this article), which don't do justice to the toys. Of course, nothing ever lasts more than a few hours or a few days. Thankfully, now that the parrots have so much, toys can be replaced, as needed, and the parrots can get in a good days work. Thanks to the Angels the parrots are off to a great start for the New Year in 2009.

On behalf of all the Lucky Parrots, we wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. You cannot really know how many others you have inspired, encouraged, and generally uplifted by your good work.

If a Parrot can bless an Angel, so be it.

Lucky Toys
Lucky Parrot Sanctuary Toys

♥ ♥ ♥

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.
As a Parrot Toy Angel, you will be asked to contribute on a monthly basis to help support our ongoing work.
Apply for membership:
Angel Application
♥  ♥  ♥

Mummy Sticks
By Toni Fortin

You will need sticks for inserting. Sesame seeds to roll in. Raisins, blueberries, cranberries or nut pieces for the eyes.

8 tbsp. sunflower oil
1/2 C molasses
2 eggs
3 large ripe bananas (mashed)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 C raisins or cranberries
1 C whole wheat flour
1 C all purpose flour or 3/4 C oat flour (just put some oats in the food processor)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt (may be omitted)
1/2 C chopped nuts (walnuts or almonds)
non stick spray

Mix first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Add rest of ingredients. Lightly spray cookie sheet and your hands with non stick spray. Scoop up some batter and roll into elongated pieces. Roll in the sesame seeds and insert the sticks. Place on cookie sheet. Add your eyes, pressing them into the batter so they will not pop out while baking. If using blueberries for eyes, they will bleed while baking. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until browned on the bottom. Cool and serve!

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Winter Tips For Your Parrot
By Wyspur Kallis

January can be one of the coldest months of the year and keeping your bird warm is very important. If at all possible, don't bring your bird out when the weather is very cold. If you must make a car trip with your bird, it is very important to keep your bird as warm as possible. Get a box large enough for your carrier to fit into and allow enough room for a hot water bottle to be placed on the bottom of the box or next to the carrier where your bird cannot reach it. Then cover the entire box with a blanket. If you don't have a hot water bottle, a heavy plastic bottle will do. Remember to put the plastic bottle in a plastic bag in case of leaks. When you are in your house, try to place your cages on an inside wall. If your cages can not be on an inside wall, use a light blanket or sheet to cover the cages at night to keep it out of any drafts. Make sure that when you cover the cages, you move very slowly as you do not want to scare your bird. These are a few things you can do to keep you bird comfy during the extreme cold days of winter.

♥ ♥ ♥


What do you call two birds in love?

Love is in the Air
AKA Happy Valentines Day!

By ParrotNutz

Since my first "health" feature falls in Febuary, in honor of Valentines Day, I want to chat with you all about what is a healthy bond with our birds and what is not so healthy.

As we all know, parrots are flock creatures. They want and need to be in a flock situation, be it avian or human or a combination of both. The longer humans keep parrots, the more we learn about them, such as the consequences that may arise by having them live in our unnatural human environment.

It has been observed that a parrot bonds very strongly with its chosen "mate". When you have been chosen as the mate, there have to be guidelines drawn so that you and your bird have a healthy relationship which does not encourage pair bonding. One should not just sit and hang out with a sexually mature parrot. One should not rub their bird on its back. In other petting below the neck while the two of you sit on the couch watching TV. Birds will see this as mating behavior and respond accordingly, which can lead to screaming, masturbation, or feather plucking.

Instead, a healthy relationship would be one in which you and your bird do something together. For example, spread a sheet on the floor, take some toys and sit on the sheet with your bird and play games. Teach your bird to play and interact in healthy, non pair like ways. Always "do something" with your bird to interact and don't be perch potatoes. Daily exercise is good for you and your bird. Do aerobics together, sing together and dance together. Be active and do fun things....Enjoy!!

The relationship you form with your bird needs to be a fun, friendly one and not sexually perceived by the bird. We want to be friends for life, not mates. You will find it will make for a happier, healthier bird.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me at I am trying to keep these articles brief to encourage each and every one of you to research how you can make your bird's life a better, more healthful one. One should never stop learning about these wonderful creatures who share our homes.

Love is in the air

♥ ♥ ♥

Red Palm Oil Revisited
By Lori M. Nelsen

Red Palm Oil is from the flesh of the fruit of the palm tree (Elaeis guineensis - not the coconut palm). Palm oil is extracted from the fruit of the oil palm tree that grows in tropical areas all over the world. It has been used in these areas for centuries. Red Palm Oil comes from the pulp of the fruit, while palm kernel oil is extracted from the kernel. Red Palm Oil gets its red (the redder, the better) color from high levels of carotenes. It is resistant to rancidity and solidifies quickly. It can be purchased as 100% certified Red Palm Oil under several different brand names.

Red Palm Oil is one of the richest sources of carotenes, specifically beta carotene, in terms of retinol (provitamin A) equivalents. Vitamin A can be highly toxic when derived from either synthetic or natural sources if taken in an overdose. The beta and alpha carotenes, in Red Palm Oil, can be taken in their natural state safely. They are nontoxic and provide the same benefit of pure Vitamin A. In a study in 1994, Red Palm Oil was found to provide 15 to 300 times the retinol equivalents as found in carrots, leafy greens and tomatoes. It contains, by far, more nutrients than any other dietary oil. In addition to beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and lycopene, it contains at least 20 other carotenes along with vitamin E, vitamin K, CoQ10, squalene, phytosterols, flavonoids, phenolic acids and glycolipids.

Red Palm Oil is very balanced. It has almost equal percentages of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. It possesses natural antioxidants. Antioxidants are the scavengers for free radicals. These free radicals have been associated with heart disease, cell aging, cancer, arthritis and in humans, Alzheimer disease. Red Palm Oil contains forms of Vitamin E called tocotrienols (4 types: alpha, beta, gamma and delta) and tocopherols (4 types: alpha, beta, gamma, and delta). Most diets contain only alpha tocopherols. Red Palm oil is the only oil that contains abundant tocotrienols, which are super antioxidants. HMG-CoA Reductase is present in the avian species and the above forms of Vitamin E inhibit the HMG-CoA Reductase, controlling the rate of cholesterol synthesis.

In avians, Red Palm Oil is recommended for dry skin, cardiovascular disease, muscle weakness, nutritional deficiencies, immune system weakness, feather problems, eye problems and reproductive disorders. A few clinical trials and anecdotal evidence have found lower cholesterol, vibrant plumage, improved heart function, cataract reversal and reduced incidence of bacterial and fungal infections. Keep in mind that the addition of RPO to a captive parrot's diet has NOT been studied.

Red Palm Oil can be another addition to the daily rotation list of EFA's (Essential Fatty Acids) including: Hemp Oil, Flax Oil, Seabuckthorn Oil and healthy nuts to keep you and your avian strong and healthy. You will be looking for the unrefined, virgin Red Palm Oil from an organic, sustainable source. But remember, that these are all fats and fats contain a vast amount of calories. In my opinion, 1/4 teaspoon a day of Red Palm oil along with a few nut pieces or sunflower seeds for a 500 gram or less parrot should satisfy the daily need for EFA's.

♥ ♥ ♥

Featured Fid ~ The Vasa Parrot
By Susan Kesler

Young Greater Vasas

Two of the lesser known and most unusual parrots in the world are the Coracopsis: C. vasa, the Greater Vasa parrot and C. nigra, the Lesser, or Black Vasa which originate from Madagascar and the Comoro Islands. The Vasa parrot is considered to be one of the oldest, most primitive parrots. The only discernable difference between the two is that the Greater Vasa is a little larger.

Vasa parrots have small heads and very long necks, legs and tails that make them look like a much larger bird. The feathers are a delicate grayish-black and the cere and eye rings are bare. They have been described as looking like a strange cross between a crow, pigeon and pheasant. It's not until you get close enough to see the tell tale hookbill that you know it's a parrot.

Vasas exhibit several highly unusual traits. The male has a reproductive organ that protrudes from the cloaca when ready to breed and the pair will actually lock together during the breeding act. This characteristic is virtually unknown in any other parrots species. During the breeding season, the cere and the skin below the beak on the male changes from white to yellow. The hen will molt her head and facial feathers and the skin on her face will turn orangish-yellow. In addition, the beak color of both sexes changes from almost black to white.

Greater and Lesser Vasa eggs hatch in only 17 to 18 days. This is shortest known incubation period of any large parrot. By comparison, the similar-sized African grey parrot's eggs hatch in about 29 days. After hatching, chicks grow incredibly fast. A small pouch of skin develops under the hen's lower mandible and is filled with a clear, greasy almost soupy substance that is fed to the young. Baby Vasas never develop down like most baby birds. They remain completely naked until pin feathers develop. Chicks fledge in only 7 weeks.

Vasa parrots love their baths! When it rains they extend their wings and hop, jump and almost prance around in a comical dance. They are also avid sunbathers. They will lie on the ground and stretch their wings out. One wing held out like an upraised arm. Vasas' have also been observed dust bathing like chickens. Their natural calls have been described as queer, almost donkey-like snorts and whines. That must be something to hear!

NOTE: Vasa parrots are relatively rare in America. It is estimated that there are only a dozen or so breeders in the U.S.

Baby Greater Vasas
Photos courtesy of Scott Lewis
Old World Aviaries, Austin, TX
Reprinted with permission

♥ ♥ ♥

Slippers, Stiletos and Perches?
By Stacey Baker

Think about your favorite pair of know, the ones that make your feet say 'aaaahhhh'. Now, think about your most uncomfortable pair of shoes...the ones that can make you have a really bad day.

While perches are not 'shoes' for companion parrots, they spend much of their time on them. We owe it to them to provide a variety of safe, high-quality perches for their foot health and happiness. Using perches in different sizes and materials within the cage will help prevent foot problems. Perches should be scrubbed regularly, as the residue that collects on them could make your bird ill.

Some of the most common types of perches are:
♥ Cholla
♥ Grapevine
♥ Cajeput
♥ Manzanita (make sure it is not too slippery)
♥ Natural Branches

♥ Sandy Perch
♥ Mineral Perch

♥ Sisal
♥ Cotton

When choosing the perches to use, make sure the size is appropriate. Your bird's toes should never touch when he/she is perching! A good guide is for your bird's feet to wrap around 2/3 of each perch. You will want to choose perches in different diameters for your bird's feet. Having all the same size or same type of perch will not give the bird enough variety.

Recommended perch sizes are as follows:
♥ 1/2" to 1" Tiny birds (Canary, Finch, Parakeet, Parrotlet)
♥ 3/4" to 1 1/2" Small birds (Pionus, Conure, Cockatiel, Caique)
♥ 1 1/2" to 2 1/2" Medium birds (Amazon, Cockatoo, African Grey, Eclectus)
♥ 2" to 3" Large birds (Large Cockatoo, Macaw)

Placement of perches in the cage is just as important as the types of perches you will be using. Vary the location of the perches, some high, some low. There should be a perch by the food and water dishes, but not directly over them, to prevent contamination from feces. One should be near toys and one elsewhere. Perches should not prevent your bird from moving around its cage, nor should your bird's tail feathers touch the sides of the cage when on a perch.

So, when choosing perches for your bird's cage, think about safety, placement and variety. After all, you wouldn't want to spend every day wearing pointy-toed stilettos.

♥ ♥ ♥

Rikki Sez

Rikki will try and answer frequently asked questions here.

Rikki, My mama cooks for me and gives me lots of good stuffs. I am very healthy (my doctor sez so), but I donít wanna eat nothin no more (at least not when mama is looking). Can you give my mama advice? I think I just want candy, but I donít know how to say that word yet.
Signed, Stubborn in Cincinnati

Dear Stubborn, Oh my! You don't really want candy. You will get cavities in your beak and have to go to the birdie dentist and that is no fun. My suggestion to your mommy is to rotate your good food so you don't get tired of the same thing over and over and add new exciting good foods you've never tried before. She or dad could prepare the old things in a new way also. Be a good birdie and eat your good stuffs and maybe you'll get a special treat. That's the way we do it at my nest.

♥ ♥ 

Rikki, My daddy has a nice tree in the house for me with lots of stuffs on it. Sometimes I just like to fly down and go for a road trip, but then I gets in trouble. What should daddy do?
Signed, Walkingabout in Australia

Dear Walkingabout, I love walk abouts too, but my parronts explained to me that I could get hurted if I was a wandering when they didn't know it. Now I wait till they take me down and we play and explore together. Maybe your daddy could find the time to take you for a walk now and then so you wouldn't get bored and be happier on your tree. Try asking please.

♥ ♥ 

Rikki, I am left handed and my brother is right handed. Can parrots be right or left handed?
Signed, Lefty in Lenexa

Dear Lefty, Great question! The answer is yes. In parrots that pick up their food and toys with their feet, there does seem to be a definite preference. One study, with 20 parrots each of 16 different species, revealed that over all 72% showed a marked tendency to use their left foot to grasp and hold their food.

♥ ♥ 

Do you have a question for Rikki?
Please send it to The Editor at

♥ ♥ ♥

Happy Valentines Day

We've got Valentine toys in Toy Central and very cute too
Why don't you buy a few?
Love is in the air everywhere I look around
Newsletter's coming out, interesting articles will abound
Love is in the air in every sight and sound
And I don't know if I am dreaming, don't know if I'm being wise
But it's something that I can believe in 'cos it's there when I look in your eyes....
Angels share with us

"I love my bird because........"

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Safety Today
By Susan Kesler
Safety Committee Chairwoman

I'm sure you've seen the plastic whiffle balls. You know the ones with round holes in them. They come in white, pretty colors and different sizes. You may have even bought them to make bird toys. I just snitched mine out of my grandson's toy box. Hey, he wasn't playing with them and the birds love them.

Well, today I would like to talk about a different type of whiffle ball. There is a style that has tear drop shaped holes around the top of the ball and the bottom is solid. I've seen them in white and yellow. They look innocent enough and I have even contemplated buying some. (The boy didn't have any!)

It has come to my attention though, that there have been some problems with this type of ball when used in bird toys. It seems that because of the shape of the holes, there is a danger of a birdie foot going into the large end of the hole and slipping down to the narrow end trapping the foot. This was not an isolated incident and luckily the bird owners were able to help get the ball off, but it could have ended much worse.

This is one of those things that is a personal choice whether to use them or not because only you know how your bird plays, but I thought the danger was worth a warning.

Please play it safe and check the holes in your birds whiffle balls and watch them closely if using the ball with tear drop shaped holes.

♥ ♥ ♥
Sir Scrabble Babble's Guide to Wooing the Chicks
Dedicated to Sir Scott for the inspiration and of course, to all My ladies, especially Erica

As many of you know, the chicks flock to me (pun intended) {cultured chuckle}. With that little, naked baby that runs amok with arrows coming soon, I decided to share my wooing secrets for the greater good of bird kind. After all, I am The Master of Wooing and it is my duty to help other gentlemen out.

Sir Scrabble Babble, The Master of Wooing

Click here to read Sir Scrabble's Wooing Secrets

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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:

©  2008-2009 Parrot Toy Angels • P.O. Box 34372 • Houston, Texas  77234
All rights reserved. No part of this newsletter may be reproduced by any means, print, electronic or any other,
without prior written permission of the Editor or author.
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