Parrot Toy Angels: January 2008 Angel Wings
Parrot Toy Angels

Angel Wings

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

January 2008
Volume 3, Issue I

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To ALL our wonderful friends and supporters, we Angels wish you the very best in this new 2008 year. It is a brand new year again, and we at PTA fill it with hopes and dreams and good resolutions.

As for our resolution, we resolve to be even busier this year, more toys to more rescues. The number of birds delivered to rescues is not going down, so we have to increase our efforts. There is no doubt that we can do this with your help. You all have given us such amazing support, and we would like to thank you, and humbly ask that you stay with us through our renewed commitment. Because of your support, we were able to provide over 3000 toys in 2007. Up from 2659 in 2006. We hope 2008 will be even better!!!

And to help us with more toys, please join us in welcoming our newest Angels: Cleo P., Dee T., Shanna C. and Wyspur K. More talons mean more toys!!

Ringing in the New Year with us is our very first newsletter delivered to you by our Newsletter Committee. A big thank you from all of us!

~~ Lynn Williams & Ilona Peterson

In this month's issue:
    Featured Fid ~ Rainbow Lorikeets
    Foraging for Food
    What About?
    Walking Your Bird...Safely
    Gonzo's Bird Bread

Angel Toys For Angels

Featured Toys for January

Jeweled Wreath
Jeweled Wreath
for Small to Medium Birds

Cockatiel Candy
Cockatiel Candy
for Small to Medium Birds

for Small to Medium Birds

Check out all the
Angel Toys for Angels



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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!!

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Scrab, CAG enjoying millet hidden in corn husk

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Polygram Records, Warner Brothers and Keebler are merging, the new company will be called Poly-Warner-Cracker.

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Angel Tip by Nancy G.
Walking Your Bird...Safely

No one thinks twice about walking a dog, but what about taking an African Grey or an Amazon for a walk? We enjoy going for long walks along a nature trail near our home with our Shetland Sheepdog "Shellee", and it occurred to us that our 'Zons, Roxcee (Yellow Nape) and Codee (Blue Front), might enjoy coming along with us since they both enjoy being outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air. After considering our options (they hate flight suits and leashes) we purchased a couple of inexpensive soft-sided carrying cases with mesh screens on both sides, front, and rear and hoped that the 'Zons would cooperate by going inside the bags on their own.
Roxcee in carrier
Codee is a bit reluctant, but goes in with some coaxing. Once in the bags, they are extremely happy and comfortable, and love coming with us on our walks. For chewing fun, we line the carriers with cardboard and some paper towels. This also keeps them from chewing on the bag and helps with clean-up if necessary. We're careful to only walk them in daylight hours in good weather when the outside temperature is at least 65 degrees F and the breeze is gentle. It is quite hilarious to see people do a double take when they hear laughing, "Hello Roxs" and various other sounds coming from the carriers.

Roxcee side view
Side view of carrier

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Birds say the darnedest things!!

A while back my Quaker Bob hurt his toe. It was nasty, bled a lot, and required a trip to the vet and lots of extra attention for days. I guess he really enjoyed all the extra attention, because on about the 5th day following his accident, when I uncovered him in the morning, he looked me right in the eye and said,. "Hey! How's yer foot?" I almost died laughing, but managed to pull myself together and told him, 'My foot is fine, Bob, how's YOUR foot?' His response was to hold up the injured foot, wave it around a bit, stare at it and say, quite loudly, 'Good Boy!':-) Any wonder why I love this bird?
Thanks to Susana Emberg for this story.

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PTA Supplier of the Month! WOW

Twin Leather

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Feathered's Foodles

Gonzo's Bird Bread
by Gonzo Nelsen

1 cup left over grain mix
2 cups Kamut or Spelt Flour
2 whole eggs (add yolks, then whip up whites and add last)
Cinnamon (small amount) or Pepper Flakes, Cumin & Turmeric (depending if you want spicy or sweet)
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Asst. of Just Tomatoes freeze-dried fruit or fresh fruit
Unsweetened Coconut OR
Chopped Squash, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin
Bolthouse Carrot Juice - enough to make a nice thick pourable batter

Combine above ingredients. Bake in a 13" x 8" x 3" glass pan for 1 hour at 350 degrees or until dry.

This recipe can be varied with more or less veggies and fruit, wild rice, and different grains. It's a great way to use up extra sprouts or nuts. Play with it and enjoy!
***NOTE: Bread can be frozen

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Hello Lori?

Hello Lori? I'm flying south for the winter. Book a seat for me on the next plane!

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Feathered Funnies

Parrots are BETTER than kids. They eat less, don't ask for money all the time, are easier to train, usually answer when called, never drive your car, don't hang out with drug-using friends, don't smoke or drink, don't worry about whether they have the latest fashions, don't wear your clothes, don't need a gazillion dollars for college, and if they make babies, you can sell them!

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Thank You!

DorothyA VERY SPECIAL thank-you this month is going to the West Valley Bird Club members, in California, for their generous donation of toys collected for us during their Christmas party! Thank you, Ruth, for planting the thought....the members for your wonderful toys...the bird stores for your many donations...and Dorothy for taking the time with the delivery. Without our generous supporters, we wouldn't be able to help as many birds as we do! Thank you all!!!

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What About
By Lori M. Nelsen

Have you thought about what mankind has done to the food we grow, eat, and feed our parrots? What about the chemicals used on it to prevent insects and disease? What about "one little tweak of a gene" so that food is disease-free on its own? These GMO's may contain new proteins that can cause reactions such as allergies (pluckers?). What about waxing or gassing so it doesn't spoil? What about picking it before it is ripe so that it will ship better? What about adding chemicals to boost up the vitamins, minerals, etc. after cooking at high temperatures? This is a quite a bunch of "what abouts" but it has got you thinking (pluckers?).

Maybe we can do better than these "what abouts" and travel back a few hundred or thousand years to try to find a safer alternative for both humans and parrots. Let us look at the "ancient grains". The grains that have survived intact for thousands of years without "what abouts".

SPELT is a natural grain that has been around for thousands of years. It is easy to digest and very flavorful because it has not been changed (hybrid) over and over again to yield more per acre. It naturally resists disease. Most people with wheat allergies can eat spelt because of the long chain of glucose molecules which allows spelt to digest slowly compared to the refined products of today.

KAMUT is an ancient relative of durum wheat. It has a rich, buttery flavor with 40% more protein, 65% higher amino acid profile, lipids, vitamins and minerals than that of today's common wheat. It is higher in eight of the nine minerals and contains much more selenium and 30% more vitamin E than wheat.

AMARANTH is a cereal-like grain with a nut-like flavor. It is an 8,000 year old grain that contains significant amounts of phytosterols which plays a major part in the prevention of all types of diseases. Amaranth also contains large amounts of dietary fiber, iron, and calcium along with naturally high amounts of lysine, methionine and cysteine along with balanced amino acids making it an excellent source of high-quality balanced protein. It is organically grown and Non-GMO.

QUINOA (pronounced KEEN-WAH) isn't actually a grain. It is actually the seed of a plant that is related to beets, chard, and spinach with a delicate nut-like flavor. It has been grown for over 5,000 years in South America in the Andes Mountain area. One cup of quinoa has more calcium than a quart of milk and twice the protein of barley. It supplies a complete protein due to containing all nine essential amino acids. Thoroughly rinse the seeds to remove any remaining soapy saponin residue to stop any bitter taste.

What about trying your hand at making a salad for both human and parrots with organic greens and "ancient grains" sprinkled with a dressing of Apple Cider Vinegar and flax seed or hemp oil? What about sprouting these grains and using in a sandwich like alfalfa sprouts? What about soaking overnight or sprouting them for a nutritious addition to your fids' daily meal? What about purchasing them as pasta and serving to both man and fid? What about buying the flour and making birdie bread for your favorite birdie and muffins for your family?

I am sticking with the ancient "what abouts"! What about you?

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Help Us Help the Birds...
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.

Other ways you can help:

GoodSearch: You Search...We Give!


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Foraging for Food
By Shauna Roberts
This article was originally published on The Gabriel Foundation's website in November, 2005
Reprinted with permission of author

Parrots are very active creatures in the wild; waking up just before dawn and flying through forest canopies around sunrise in their daily quest for food. Some fly short distances, some longer and depending upon their location and season, food may be plentiful or in short supply with many forest creatures to compete with. In the wild, the birds will spend a few hours in the morning foraging and feeding and then rest or engage in play, bathing, drinking, allopreening and other social activities. Parrots will then feed again in the afternoon, before gathering into flocks or groups and fly back to their roosting tree where they often call loudly, making quite a ruckus before settling in for the night.

As you can see, a wild parrot's day is very full of various activities and a primary one is that of finding food or foraging. It is a very different situation for a captive bird where we hand them food in a bowl. In order to try and fulfill parrots needs, the activities we give them are sometimes more nesting related and at times behavior problems can be a result. In the better interest of captive parrots they should be offered foraging activities and also some problem solving for mental stimulation. After all, a parrot's intelligence rating is right up there with dolphins and great apes; so keeping them challenged also helps them be happier. The following are some easy ideas for foraging.

♥ ♥  Wrap food bowls with paper. Take a square of paper that will fit over the top and sides of bowl and enough to tuck underneath. Place in the bowl holder. For the first time or two, poke a hole in the middle of the paper to start the parrot to unwrap their meal.

♥ ♥  Take non-toxic cardboard tubes and stuff them with surprises. You can wrap a nut in a piece of paper and stuff in tubes along with toys or other food.

♥ ♥  When offering a seed or nut treat, wrap it in paper first. You can fold the paper several times around the item or twist the paper on. Try a variety of ways and for the first time parrot, unwrap the treat in front of them to shown them the goodie, then rewrap and offer it.

♥ ♥  Put some polished or washed stones (large enough not to swallow) in a dish, either in the food dish holder or on the cage floor. Hide some treats underneath the stones.

♥ ♥  If your bird has rope perches or boings, hide nuts or seed in between the strands.

♥ ♥  Stainless steel puzzle toys can be used to hide treats. These are usually a cylinder with a top that screws on. If your bird doesn't ingest foreign objects then some plastic containers with screw or pop on tops can be used for treats.

♥ ♥  Drill holes in a piece of untreated soft wood about the diameter of a seed or nut in the shell. Insert item and give a little pound with the hammer to secure it.

♥ ♥  Cover the cage grate with paper towels. Place some food on top and cover with more paper towels.

♥ ♥  Clean, untreated pinecones that have been washed and put in an oven at 250 degrees for 20 minutes make a fun foraging activity. You can even hide some food in it if you like. Perhaps smear a bit of almond butter inside.

♥ ♥  Untreated baskets with lids can be great fun and house surprises. When offering surprises, don't forget that birds also like to find special toys. Foot toys are wonderful to hide.

♥ ♥  Fruit or vegetable kabobs in skewers are always a fun idea and even picky eaters often enjoy playing with whole leaves and other produce.

♥ ♥  Let them have fun making a mess. Offer whole pumpkins, brussel sprouts or celery stalks. Wrap foods in romaine lettuce or other leaves...and for a treat, hide a favorite food inside.

♥ ♥  There are cage nut toys that can be purchased at The Bird Brain in a variety of shapes and colors. You can place toys, wooden blocks, wrapped surprises, and food slices for your bird.

A parrot's life can be enriched by offering it some challenges and thus activity and independence, resulting in them having a sense of accomplishment each day. Be creative and offer food and certain toys in fun stimulating ways.

Happy foraging!!

The Gabriel Foundation could use your help.
Click HERE for ways you can help.

Grommit Tiel

Duncan Cape

Luca TAG

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Featured Fid ~ Rainbow Lorikeets
(Trichoglossus haematodus)
By Sue Christie-Cox

These great birds belong to the subfamily of lories of which there are 62 species.

There is nothing subtle about a Rainbow Lorie, not its call, personality, or coloring, just about everything about this bird is loud. These colourful birds can be seen almost anywhere along the east coast of Australia, both in towns and in the bush.

Rainbow LorieThe Rainbow Lorie is a smaller parrot, measuring up to about 10-15 inches in length with a wingspan of about 6-7 inches across. These birds have striking coloration of their plumage, with a dark blue or violet/blue head, bright lime neck to emerald green back and tail, orange/yellow breast (sometimes with a scalloped pattern in darker colors) a vivid red beak and a return of the blue feathering on the stomach area. They are stocky with pointed tails and, unlike many species of birds, both males and females look alike. Lorikeets are very noisy birds, screeching incessantly while flying and feeding. At night, they roost in flocks of thousands, and during the day, they travel in small flocks of perhaps 20-40 birds.

These active and interactive birds are genuine clowns, finding fun in just about everything. They have particularly strong feet and legs and are often seen hanging upside down chattering at the top of their "voices". In fact as I am writing this, our "resident" wild flock of about 20 birds have just arrived with great fanfare of calling and chattering into the trees in our yard. There are about 7 babies all clamoring for attention and the racket can be deafening. Their departure will be equally as rowdy, with parents calling for babies, mates calling for mates and then there will be the ones who are just screeching because they can.

They are constantly on the move both in captivity and in the wild and some tend to be almost hyperactive. The Rainbow is a popular pet bird in Australia, with probably several thousand being sold each year. Even if not hand reared, a young bird will rapidly become very tame, and be a constant source of amusement. They are constantly playing, with behavior at times more reminiscent of a kitten than a bird. Balls, bells, swings and ropes are all considered by the Lorikeet to be great play toys, as are seed pods and pine cones stuffed with treats. Their behaviour, especially at mating time, is quite comical when the male tries to impress the female with a display of bobbing, bowing and prancing like a true showman!

Rainbow Lorie The principal difference from other groups of Parrots is their adaptation to a pollen, nectar and fruit diet. Lories and Lorikeets have developed specialized brush-tipped tongues for feeding on nectar and soft fruits. They can feed from the flowers of about 5,000 species of plants and use their specialized tongues to take the nectar. The tip of their tongues have tufts of papillae (extremely fine hairs), which collect nectar and pollen. Their long, slender bill also assists the probing into flowers (and enabling them to give a very painful bite).These adaptations, together with special digestive enzymes, allow them to effectively utilize their special diet. Lorikeets feed on pollen, nectar, and fruits, crushing fruits and berries to get the juice, they also feed on insects and larvae.

A commonly used recipe for a dry lorikeet mix used in Australia by Stan Sindel, a very experienced lorikeet breeder, and one I have used myself for my Lorikeet is made as follows
♥ ♥ 2 cups rice baby cereal
♥ ♥ 2 cups rice flour
♥ ♥ 2 cups egg and biscuit mix
♥ ♥ 1 cup glucose powder
♥ ♥ 1 teaspoon vitamin-mineral powder
♥ ♥ 2 tsp. pollen (optional)
Ingredients mixed together dry and stored in air-tight containers preferably in a fridge.

A possible wet nectar mix is as follows:
♥ ♥ 4 cups water
♥ ♥ 1 tablespoon pollen
♥ ♥ 1 tablespoon honey
♥ ♥ 2 cups high protein baby cereal
♥ ♥ 1/2 teaspoon of calcium carbonate
♥ ♥ 1/2 teaspoon of multivitamins
♥ ♥ 1/2 cup powdered skimmed milk
Mix together (it should be a fairly watery mix) and freeze into ice cube trays. Give each bird a melted ice cube (about 2 tsp. in volume) each day.

Any nectar bearing, fresh flowers are always greatly appreciated especially Grevilleas, Bottle Brush and the flowers from the Umbrella Trees.

After living with a wild caught, injured, Rainbow Lorikeet for many years I would recommend them. They might not be suited to apartment living where neighbors might object to the noise and they can be a messy bird, but if you are looking for a little bird with a huge personality then this might be the bird for you.

Personal knowledge
Australian Aviary Life Magazine

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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 ♥ ♥ ♥ Join our Yahoo! Group

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We'd love to hear from you...

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:
©  2007 Parrot Toy Angels • P.O. Box 34372 • Houston, Texas  77234