Parrot Toy Angels: February 2010 Angel Wings
Parrot Toy Angels

Angel Wings

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

February 2010
Volume 5, Issue II

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In this month's issue:
    Recycling, Angel Style
    Angel Announcements
    Angel Tips
    Cauliflower & Bean Muffins
    Featured Fid ~ Blue & Gold Macaw
    Happily Ever After
    Help Us
    Emergency!!
    Safety Today
    Feathered Funny
    Rikki Sez
    Rescue? Sanctuary?
    The Yin and Yang of It
    Bright Lights - Bird City



Welcome
Steve L. from Florida


Happy Valentine's Day!
Angel Toys For Angels

February's Featured Toys

Heart Lollipops
Heart Lollipops
Medium to X-Large Birds

Triple Hearts
Triple Hearts
Small Birds

Sweet Hearts
Sweet Hearts
Small to Medium Birds


Check out all the
Angel Toys for Angels

now!


Recycling, Angel Style
Parrot "Candy"
By Elizabeth Cirrotti

Parrot Candy

Materials Needed:
♥ Square piece of colored computer or copy paper. The size of the square depends on the size of your bird and what you're wrapping.
♥ Something to wrap inside paper. You can use anything you want - wooden or plastic bead or disc, nuts, Nutriberries, birdie bagels, shredded or crumpled paper.

Parrot Candy
Parrot Candy

Starting in one corner, place the item you are wrapping and start folding over and over until you get to the opposite corner. Pick it up and carefully twist the two ends. Don't twist too hard or you will rip the paper. You're done! Fill your bird's dish or toy bucket and your bird will stay busy for as long as it takes to rip open all the "candies".

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

   

ON THE SITE:

♥  Happy Flappers
♥  Valentine Toys
♥  Small - Medium Toys
♥  Medium - Large Toys
♥  Large - X-Large Toys
♥  PVC Toys
♥  Foraging Boxes

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Angel Tips

Houseplants make a wonderful addition to your home. Many varieties can be safely enjoyed by you AND your parrots.
The following is a list of 10 common houseplants that are beautiful and safe for parrots and other birds.

Spider Plants
Jade Plants
Impatiens
Boston Ferns
Aloe Vera Plants
Bamboo Plants
African Violets
Hen and Chicks Plants
Orchids
Roses

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Cauliflower & Bean Muffins
By Toni Fortin

1 lg. head of cauliflower, trimmed & separated into florets
1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 cup wheat germ or whole wheat flour
3 tbsp. canola oil
3 eggs
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 tbsp. oat bran

NOTE: Please soak beans overnight before cooking.

In a food processor, combine cauliflower, cooked beans and eggs. Process for one minute. Add all other ingredients and process briefly.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 12 regular sized muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon batter into cups. Bake 25 - 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in muffin comes out clean.

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WOW!  Lookie.... a PTA Coupon
Featured Fid ~ Blue & Gold Macaw
By Kim Perez

Roscoe, B&G
Roscoe, Blue & Gold, who owns Kristie

The Blue & Gold Macaw is one of the most popular Macaws. Even though they are a very large bird (30 - 36" in length, weighing in at 2 - 3 lbs.), their personality is friendly and outgoing and many people are easily taken by their charm. They have been raised in captivity for many years, so we now see many generations of captive bred babies.

Blue & Golds can be accomplished talkers. They are entertaining and they make wonderful companions for those who can readily meet their needs. One of the most challenging requirements is to provide them with a spacious enough environment. A "Macaw" cage is really not an adequate space for these birds. In such a cage, the most they can do is stretch their wings and climb around. These birds are meant to fly. They truly require daily out of cage time, where they can really stretch their wings, flap and yes, fly. For the pet owners who keep their bird's wings clipped, they can still get quite a refreshing amount of exercise by flapping a lot, running around on the floor and climbing on play gyms.

In the wild, macaws eat a variety of fruits, nuts, seeds, leaves and flowers. They also are well known for frequenting clay licks in order to neutralize any toxins they ingest. In captivity, it is very important that we give them a safe diet, close to what their natural requirements are. One of the most overlooked ingredients in their food is nuts. Macaws require a higher fat intake than most birds and the nuts provide them with essential fatty acids. The nuts most often recommended for the Blue & Gold are Brazils, macadamias, walnuts, almonds, filberts and pistachios. Three to six nuts per day is adequate and as with all foods, variety is the key.

Blue & Golds typically lay 2 - 3 eggs per clutch, which take approximately 28 days to hatch. Baby Blue & Golds are usually weaned between 4-1/2 and 6 months of age. This is the ideal time to bring a Blue & Gold home in order to form a strong bond between owner and bird. They can learn to talk very early, as young as 3 - 4 months, but more typically around 1 year old. They can live a very long time. There is no accurate average, as they are rarely kept by a single owner through their entire natural lifetime. They have been ascribed life spans as short as 30 years and as long as 110 years. There is an article from January, 2004 which cites Winston Churchill's female Blue & Gold, Charlie (aka Charlie the Cursor), as then being 104 years old. This illustrates the need to plan appropriately for their projected long life.

Nikko, B&G
Vince & Teri are Nikko's slaves

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...Happily Ever After...
Blossom the Sun Conure

By Susan Kesler

Blossom's story begins with a telephone call from a woman that needed assistance in re-homing some birds she could no longer care for. Cindy, bird lover that she is, agreed to bring the birds to her home and place them with loving "parronts".

Upon finding that one of the birds was a Sun Conure, Cindy knew exactly who this little bird was going to. She had a friend who had a friend who had a sister who had wanted a Sun Conure for many years.

Cindy brought Blossom home and gave her a much needed (and unwanted) bath, pedicure and wing clip so she would be all spiffied up for her new mom.

Since the gift of Blossom was going to be a surprise, Cindy brought her to Tari's house where the subterfuge began.

Tari packed Blossom, a cage, food and toys into her car and headed out to her sister's house. She pulled up, took the cage out of her car and proceeded without a word to clean the cage and hose it down. When the cage was dry she asked her sister Tina if she could keep the cage in her house for a bit. Tina agreed, but was completely baffled as to why her sister was doing this.

The cage was brought in and set up when Tina finally asked her sister Tari, why she was setting up a cage in her house since she had no birds. The look on her face was priceless when Tari brought Blossom in and said "to put your Sun Conure in!".

When introduced, Blossom crawled right up Tina's arm and snuggled under chin like an old friend. It was truly a match made in heaven.

Today Tari till feels blessed and Blossom is happy, healthy, and very much loved.

This "Happily Ever After" was made possible by many angels coming together to make a dream come true.

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Help Us Help the Birds...

Toys Donated: 13,098
Projects Helped: 79

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

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

All donations tax deductible.

You can also help PTA by using GoodSearch, a search engine toolbar that's totally spyware free.
Every time you use it we get a penny...you can download it here:

GoodSearch: You Search...We Give!

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Emergency!! Are You Prepared?
By Jan Lewis

This past Sunday night our electricity went out! It is winter and while the south has mild winters compared to our northern states, it can still get very cold! Each year I think of this very situation happening and try to think of some way to protect my birds should the need arise. With 4 large birds (2 macaws and 2 cockatoos) and my little Quaker parrot, it can be a challenge to keep everyone warm and safe. My home is totally electric so when the electricity is out, I have no heat or water (we have a well for our water source requiring electricity to pump the water). My house is also small with no basement, so our space is very limited. I have sheets and blankets to cover the cages but wonder if that would be enough for any extended time. Also, this time I did not have any "back-up" water so had the power not come back on by morning water would have been another issue. I'm well stocked in food (pellets and nuts) but birds cannot live by pellets and nuts alone! So I decided it was time to once again make a winter emergency check list for my birds to make sure that I am prepared.

Here are my preparations for winter weather emergencies (loss of electricity) for my birds:
♥  Make sure to have enough water to last a week (both for drinking and cleaning bird dishes, etc.). Minimum recommended is 3 days for both water and food.
♥  Food should also last at least a week.
♥  Plenty of blankets and sheets to cover cages or carriers for warmth. (Carriers are great for short-term use if the bird's cage is too big to adequately keep them warm.)
♥  Flashlights or other bird safe lighting. Birds can become frightened if you lose power and suddenly have no light. A good flashlight will allow you to check to be sure your birds are okay and to treat any injuries. I do suggest that you get your birds used to the flashlight (in the dark prior to a power outage) or other safe light source so that you do not frighten them even more. Candles should not be used as birds can be burned should they accidently fly into the candle or get hot wax on themselves. "Some candle manufacturers still use lead core wicks. When heated, lead emits VOCs; Volatile Organic Chemicals." (from the Quaker Parakeet Society's web page). If you must use candles in an emergency situation, beeswax candles are the safest to use with our birds' delicate respiratory system.
♥  Have an avian first aid kit that is easily accessible in an emergency.

Another Angel suggestion:
A camp stove with extra propane tanks can be used for heating water. The heated water can then be placed in a hot water bottle or other container to add warmth to the birds' cages. Wrap the hot water bottle or container with a bird-safe cloth such as a t-shirt or other tightly woven material to keep the bird from accidently touching it. Also, be sure that you use the camp stove outside or in the garage. Don't use a propane tank near or around your birds.

Lastly, I would just like to remind everyone to check their electric space heaters for teflon or other non-stick coatings which can be hazardous to our birds. Keep yourself and your birds warm and safe this winter season.

P.S. Thank you Susan and Sue for the additional tips!

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Safety Today
By Susan Kesler
Safety Committee Chairwoman

Today I'd like to talk about play stands, play gyms, hanging boings, perches, platforms and swings.

In the past I have talked about checking toys for frayed ropes and bare chain but we also need to check the other things our birds play on.

Many don't often think about the hardware that holds the play stands, perches or boings together. This needs to be checked regularly, too.

Nuts, bolts and wing nuts can come loose over time from the vibrations our feathered friends make by getting on and off or just playing on the parts they hold together.

Please take the time today to check the wing nuts that keep your bird's perches and platforms attached to the cage bars. Tighten them as tight as you can. If your play gym or stand is put together with metal hardware make sure all the nuts and bolts are very tight so they can't wiggle and come completely apart.

If you have a stand that is glued together check the joints to make sure the glue is still holding the pieces together securely. Over time, some glue can "wear out".

If you have a boing or atom hanging from the ceiling check to make sure the hardware that keeps it suspended is tight and won't come tumbling down, injuring the birds playing on or under it.

It's also important to inspect swings. Check to make sure that whatever is connecting the perch section to the swing section is secure and the hardware for hanging is closed tightly so the swing isn't in danger of falling off.

By doing these little maintenance checks you can help keep your bird's play area safe and may prevent serious injuries.

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FEATHERED FUNNIES




Rikki Sez

Rikki will try and answer frequently asked questions here.

Rikki, Our Mum would like to make birdie bread and muffins for us! They sound really yummy. The problem is that all the recipes she finds use pre-packaged things like corn bread. We don't have that here in Australia, so could you please talk to the recipe person and ask if they can write one starting from scratch? Thank you with tummies rumbling in anticipation.
Signed, Bella and Darkoodgee with rumbling tummies

Dear Rumbling Tummies, Tell Mum to buy the recipe book Polly Wants More Than A Cracker from PTA. It's loaded with beak smacking, tummy filling from scratch recipes for birdie bread and muffins.

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Rikki, My name is Green Bean and I'm a Green-Cheeked Conure. I was recently caged with two Nanday Conures and a Black-Capped Conure until my new rescue Mom took me home with her. I'm 8 and have lived most of my years with the other birds, but am really enjoying having my own cage now. I have plenty to eat and lots of toys to play with. However, every time my new Mom tries to take me out of the cage, I just can't resist biting her and drawing blood. I just don't know what comes over me. I'm terrified of a stick, so sometimes Mom puts me in a towel to take me out. I kind of like that. If I donít try to bite, I get good head scritches. I don't like to be told to step up from anywhere and can't resist biting then too. What can I do to change my behavior so my new Mom will like me better?
Signed, Green Bean the Green-Cheek

Dear Green Bean, It's not really you who needs to change your behavior, it's your new Mom. You have been through a big change in your life and you both need to get used to each other. There are things called Perch Buddies. Your Mom could try one if she really needs to take you out of your cage. They look just like a perch but have acrylic to protect her hand. At the moment, she should just let you find your own way and take little steps. The best thing she can do is reward you for every little good thing you do. She can try just putting her hand in your cage near you and treating you with your favorite food. As you get used to that, she can start moving closer. Soon you will want her hand near you and will want her to not only put her hand in, but to touch you and take you out. There is no need for either of you to rush; you are going to be in this home forever so you guys have plenty of time to build a wonderful relationship.

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

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Rescue? Sanctuary? What's the Difference?
By Wyspur Kallis and Stacey Baker

Rescue (verb): to free or deliver from confinement, violence, danger, or evil. An act of rescuing; a deliverance.

Sanctuary (noun): a place of refuge and protection (2) a refuge for wildlife where predators are controlled and hunting is illegal.

Rescue or Sanctuary? Two words that are very well known all over the world, two very important entities for our feathered and furry friends! Both provide safety for pets that can no longer be cared for, but there are definite differences between the two.

For the most part, a rescue is a place that is equipped to take in pets that have been surrendered, lost or abused. These facilities are usually funded through public or private donations. Rescues provide shelter, vet care, and appropriate nutrition. Rescues take in animals, evaluate them and make an attempt to find them a suitable home. Many animals in rescues are placed for adoption after evaluation. When placement in a new home is not possible, a sanctuary is usually considered.

Most sanctuaries are places that house animals that cannot be re-homed. They provide a safe place for animals to live out the rest of their lives. Most sanctuaries are funded by public and private donations to keep their facilities running. Many sanctuaries have animals with special needs. Sanctuaries are usually equipped to handle what is required for special need animals to live out their lives in the most comfortable way possible.

Sometimes, rescues and sanctuaries have animals that people can sponsor by giving a donation. Sponsors get information and pictures of the animal and in some cases, get to meet the animal they have chosen to sponsor.

It should be noted that some sanctuaries do offer adoption options and some rescues provide sanctuary for some animals. If you are in need of a rescue or sanctuary to help with the placement of a pet, it is wise to look at numerous places and determine what would suit your pet's needs the best.

Both rescues and sanctuaries are a lot of work and responsibility. Most of these places are staffed with volunteers who give their time and money to help these animals. While the work is hard, it is so very rewarding. If possible check out and give of yourself to a rescue and/or a sanctuary near you! They'll appreciate the help.

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The Yin and Yang of It
By Lori M. Nelsen

According to Chinese Medicine, health is a state of balance in which food choice is key. Nature makes appropriate food available according to the seasons. The Chinese symbol for Yin is the shady side of a hill, while the symbol for Yang is the sunny side. Thus Yin qualities include coolness, dampness and darkness and Yang the qualities of warmth, dryness, and light. Winter is Yin, while summer is Yang, and night is Yin while day is Yang. Yin and Yang foods often have nothing to do with taste or how the food is prepared.

These foods fall into three categories: Yin, Yang, and Neutral. These categories have been edited to only include food that is safe for your parrots. They are not all-inclusive.

Yin: Almonds, apple, asparagus, banana, barley, bean sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, celery, corn, cucumber, grapes, lemons, mangos, oranges, pear, pineapple, star fruit, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes, watermelon
Yang: Buckwheat, chili peppers, cinnamon, eggs, garlic, ginger, green and red peppers, millet, mustard greens, parsnips, potato, quinoa, roasted peanuts, turnips, walnuts, vinegar
Neutral: Apricot, carrots, cauliflower, cherries, dates, papaya, peaches, peas, plums, pumpkin, raisins, red beans, snow peas, sweet potato, brown rice.

Over the years, I have encouraged you to feed your parrots a seasonal diet - a Yin and Yang diet. Feeding and eating foods grown in your area means that the food goes from harvest to your home quickly, maintaining flavor and nutritional value. Eating foods in season also increases nutritional value. A study in Japan has shown spinach harvested in July has three times the vitamin C content as spinach harvested in the winter.

For some useful information and research on the value of eating seasonally, visit the World's Healthiest Foods at www.whfoods.org They are a not-for-profit organization dedicated to bringing the latest information and research about healthy eating to as many parronts as possible.

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Bright Lights - Bird City
By Angel Savannah

Ever wonder why some birds look shiny and lustrous and some birds look like dirty dishrags in comparison? Okay, maybe it's not that bad a look, but there is a definite difference! There are several reasons, but one that often gets overlooked is lighting. Why is lighting so important to the way your bird looks? Vitamin D, given off by the sun, is what allows birds to absorb the nutrients from their food. Without it, all of the high quality foods you feed your birds are not being utilized effectively.

It's true that there are Vitamin D additives that you can put on their food or in their water, but this isn't really a "natural" method of delivery and therefore, not as efficient.

What you should be using is full spectrum lighting. Of course, sunlight is the best source for your full spectrum light, but we are not all lucky enough to have this in our bird rooms. The next best source of full spectrum lighting is light bulbs. They DO need to be "full spectrum" and not just "daylight" bulbs. There have been some very popular brand names of full spectrum lights specifically designed for the bird owner, such as Vita-Lites and Ott Lights. The brand really is not terribly significant, though.

You can truly notice an improvement in the feather condition of your birds when they have full spectrum lighting available to them. If you have breeding birds, it is essential to ensure the quality and health of the parents and their babies. On a side note, this is also important for people. It is the reason that there is such a thing as the "winter blahs." If you are not exposed to enough sunlight, you would also benefit from the effects of full spectrum lights. I have found a highly recommended, commonly found desk lamp for this purpose. The bulbs themselves are fluorescent and full spectrum. You can find these in most department stores for around $20. It is a decorative fixture and has a floor stand option, which is perfect for that single pet bird in a well decorated living room.

In speaking with a commercial light salesman, I learned that the manufacturer recommends that you replace full spectrum bulbs every 6 months. They will not burn out in that time, but they claim that the effect of the full spectrum does diminish over time.

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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: editor@parrottoyangels.org

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