Parrot Toy Angels: July 2008 Angel Wings
Parrot Toy Angels

Angel Wings

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

July 2008
Volume 3, Issue VII

Having trouble viewing this email? View as a Web Page




In this month's issue:
    ParrotNutz Special
    Albus' 4th of July Salad
    Angel Announcements ~ New Products!!
    Stocking Sale
    Fourth of Jelly
    Featured Fid ~ Timnehs
    Touched by an Angel
    Rikki Sez
    Does She Dream?
    Water?
    Microfibre Cleaning Cloths
    Safety Today
    Gas Prices Got You Pumped?

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



Welcome
Nannette M. from Oregon
and
Jason K. from Washington
Angel Toys For Angels

Featured Toys for July

Entertainer
Entertainer
Small to Medium Birds

Yankee Rattle
Yankee Rattle
Small to Medium Birds

Chew Fun
Chew Fun
Small to Medium Birds

Check out all the
Angel Toys for Angels

now!





ParrotNutz

PRESENTS

Cantalope Bread
Cantalope Bread

Another great summer goodie...
Cantalope Bread.

$15.00 per pre-cut loaf
(Approx. 1.5 - 2" per loaf)

For those who have not tried ParrotNutz's
Cantaloupe Bread...
Beware! You will be fighting your bird to eat it. Naturally sweet from the cantaloupe itself, full of nuts and omega oils, all mixed in an organic multi-grain flour.
It's the number 1 seller. Your birds will be glad you tried it.

Click Here to order

♥ ♥ ♥

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!!

♥ ♥ ♥

Albus' 4th of July Red, White & Blue Salad
By Albus O'Brien

Albus O'Brien

1/3 Cup Chopped Strawberries
1/3 Cup Chopped Bananas
1/3 Cup Blueberries
1/4 Cup Freeze-dried Cranberries
1/4 Cup Chopped Apple
1/4 Cup Coarsely Chopped Macadamia Nuts

Quantities can be adjusted for the number of birds to be served. Combine all ingredients and drizzle with lemon or lime juice. Leftovers can be frozen in ice cube trays for "Patriotic Popsicles".

♥ ♥ ♥

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

New Products Available

♥  Sprouting Mixes ♥ 

Good Stuff Sprouting Mixes

♥  Red Palm Oil ♥ 

Good Stuff Red Palm Oil

♥ ♥ ♥


>>C O U P O N<<
10% off any item on the
Parrot Toy Angels site
Coupon expires
8/05/08

Offer not valid
for food purchases

♥ ♥ ♥

Limited Time Only!

Personalized Caique Stocking  Cockatiel Stocking

The time has come...
The price is right...
To spoil the Flock
on Christmas Night...
No better way to hide the loot,
And they look oh so cute!!
Before you know it
the time will tick
Get it now...Get it quick...
Just follow the link and you will see
Stockings

Personalized:
Reg Price: $23.00
Sale Price: $18.00

Non-Personalized:
Reg Price: $20.00
Sale Price: $15.00

♥ ♥ ♥

PTA Supplier of the Month! WOW

Parrots on the Porch

♥ ♥ ♥

Chester P. Featherbutt for President ob da US ob A



Fourth of Jelly
By Chester P. Featherbutt

The Fourth of Jelly...Why do they call it the Fourth of Jelly? Mom said it be a very special day. Lot's of peoples in the US of A celebrating this very special day. They have fireworks. How do fire's work, I thought fire cooks food. That is so confusing. BBQ's...that I love, anything with lot's of food has got to be good!! But the Fourth of Jelly. I just don't get it! The Fourth of Jelly. And what kind of jelly are we celebrating: Grape, apple, raspberry, strawberry..which one? Or do you just pick out your favorite jelly and celebrate that one?? Hmmm...Fourth of Jelly. That just don't make sense to me. I overheard my humans saying there was going to be parades, music...all kinds of activities just for this day. Why?? Why are we celebrating jelly?? I don't like jelly that much, do I really have to celebrate it? Couldn't we make it the Fourth of Cheese? Now cheese, I could get into. I looovvee cheese. So, why not the Fourth of Cheese?? I can change this day to that? OH, that would be great. Wait. Oh, now I just feel so silly. My gray cheeks are turning red. Let me tell you, that's hard to do. I miss-understood what mom and dad were talking about. It's the Fourth of July. America's birthday. Well, of course, I want to celebrate that. Let's get the cook out going, music playing, friends together and lots of pretty fireworks!!! Hope you all had the bestest Fourth of July!!!

Your Birdy Buddy
Chester P. Featherbutt


PTA would like to wish Chester P. a belated Happy 'doption Day!

♥ ♥ ♥

Featured Fid ~ Timneh Grey - The Under-rated, Under-stated Grey Bird
(Psittacus erithacus timneh)
By Devi Tow and Dori Jacobson (and of course, Sir Scrabalot!)

African Grey - "The proper Englishman, who doesn't want to get his grey tweed suit mussed".
Timneh Grey - "The proper Englishman, gone awry".
Jean Pattison, The African Queen
Quoted with permission

Scrab summoning his inner cockatoo
Scrab summoning his inner cockatoo

Size: 9 - 11 inches, beak to tail. Weight: 250 - 400 grams.

Life Expectancy: 60+ years.

Color: Darker than their Congo African Grey "cousins". Dark charcoal grey coloring, maroon tail, bone colored upper beak.

Native to: Upper Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast.

Recommended Cage Size: 36 x 24, preferably 4 feet tall. Larger is better. Bar spacing: 3/4 inch.

Diet: Pellets, small amount seed, a variety of fruits and vegetables, grains, and proteins. African Greys can be prone to calcium deficiency, so green leafy vegetables such as kale, chard, spinach are encouraged, also broccoli, and almonds.

Intelligence: The Timneh, as well as the more well-known Congo, has an intelligence level of a 5 year old and the emotional level of a 2 year old. Because of this, they require a stimulating environment, quality interactive time and adequate time out of their cage. Interactive toys help keep them occupied and intellectually stimulated. Contrary to popular misconceptions, the Timneh is equally as intelligent as the Congo and has the equivalent propensity of speech and mimicry.

Scrabble
Scrabble

Character: The Timneh is often described as being more well-balanced and sociable of the African Grey species. While the Congo tends to be more of a one-person bird, the Timneh tends to blend better into family situations. Of course, there are always exceptions to any rule! The Timneh has been described as having a more laid-back Grey personality. Many have a twisted sense of humor (the Congos tend to keep theirs hidden), often loving to play jokes on the family dog and other family members. The Timneh is more physically affectionate than the Congo. However, their hormonal periods can be more trying, particularly at the onset of maturity. They can also be more cage territorial than the Congo, so out of cage time is vital (for either species).

The African Grey is noted to be an excellent mimicker and talker and the Timneh is no exception. They have the capacity of 2000 words, although like any bird species, it is not guaranteed that any Grey will talk. Irene Pepperberg's research and training with Alex, her Congo, have shown that the Greys can put words into context, discern colors, shapes, and textures. It is not unusual for a speaking Timneh to make their specific needs well known and interjecting themselves into human conversations.

Toys: Toys are vital for any bird and especially for the more inquisitive species like the Timneh. Timnehs tend to like smaller toys (in comparison to their Congo counterparts). They ADORE beads...loving to roll them in their mouth, untie them from their ropes, then hear them go "boink" on the floor. They love balls and bells and love to play fetch with their humans (but prefer if you miss more often that catch). They love toys with paper, shredders, straws, and lots of texture. They love untying the knots from leather, sisal, jute and cotton. They also love preening toys. Some of their other favorites are softer woods, yucca, thin sliced woods, and plastics. They are very good at disassembling their toys...and cage latches!

Scrab with his bucket
Scrab with his toy bucket

Another vital toy for the Timneh is the "Enemy Toy". This is a toy that makes plenty of noise and is sturdy enough for him to launch at, attack and make the Timneh Screech and Growl...something to beat up and conquer. They love their noise makers, but the Enemy Toy is a must!

Hope this entices you to take a look at the Timneh. It's not a flashy colored parrot, not a snuggle bug or Velcro bird, but a wonderful, intelligent and amusing character in its own right.

♥ ♥ ♥
Touched by an Angel
By Tim Lacy, Executive Director
HealthiPet Network Corporation,
Anderson, IN

May 6, 2008

Parrot Toy Angels
Nationwide, Canada and Australia

Dear Lynn and each and every Parrot Toy Angel:

First off, I want to apologize for this being so late, but we just finished up with our annual fundraiser on Sunday and we have been extremely busy preparing for it. Fortunately, it was a success and well worth all of our efforts and hard work.

The reason for this letter is to offer our sincerest and heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you involved with the delivery to us from Parrot Toy Angels. Anybody who does not believe in Angels has obviously never had any dealings with your organization. I cannot begin to describe how truly uplifting and inspiring this whole experience has been.

All of us here were so excited about receiving the delivery, but none of us were prepared for the immense emotional rush of thankfulness we would each experience once it finally arrived. We certainly were not expecting such a HUGE delivery, nor were we prepared for the amount of time and love that must have went into each and every toy delivered. They were all so unique and cleverly made. There were about ten of us volunteers on hand to receive the delivery and once we started opening boxes all you could hear above the excited screams of the birds were the even more excited screams of the volunteers going "Oh my God, look at this, look at this!" It was like Christmas in March.

We also want to give very special thanks to Shelly Wing and her husband Doug for getting out in such cold and treacherous weather to make this delivery for us. She is a perfect representative for Parrot Toy Angels as she is Angelic herself. The moment she walked in you could just feel the warmth from her smile and the sincerity of her love for the birds. She was such a joy to have around. We hated to let her go, but we were all fearful of what the punishment might have been for kidnapping an Angel. :-)

Bless you all and may you continue your wonderful work for years and years to come. We have not been touched by an angel, but rather by an entire flock of angels.

With grateful appreciation,
Tim Lacy
Executive Director
Email Tim

♥ ♥ ♥

Rikki Sez...

Rikki will try and answer frequently asked questions here.

Rikki, Do birds have taste buds?
Signed, Hungry

Dear Hungry, Glad you asked Hungry. Yes birds do have taste buds, although not nearly as many as humans do. Parrots' taste buds are located at the back of the tongue and at the base of the throat. Birds can best distinguish sweet, sour, bitter and salty tastes, but not so much the more subtle tastes of spices and fruit "flavors".

♥ ♥ 

Rikki, What do people mean when they say a "well socialized parrot"?
Signed, Curious

Dear Curious, Great question! Parrot socialization includes teaching your parrot how to thrive and enjoy his environment and how to not only cope with, but the confidence to enjoy new situations and new people. This is important if you want to go on vacation, or if you get ill and need someone to care for your birds.

♥ ♥ 

Rikki, Can all parrots talk?
Signed, Noisy

Dear Noisy, Yes, all parrots have the physical ability for speech, but not all parrots talk. Some species are more likely than others to learn human speech. Just like people, parrots each have their own personalities. Some are quiet and relaxed, some are loud and boisterous, some learn to talk and some are just happy to have you talk to them.

♥ ♥ ♥


Does She Dream?
By Father Don Scott
The Chloe Sanctuary for Parrots and Cockatoos

Yesterday had been such sadness. When I came home my cockatoo had lost six feathers. Two of them were chewed badly. I do everything I can to help. I study clinical manuals, read the latest research, consult my avian veterinarians and use everything I can to fight the problem. Still, sometimes I just feel hopeless. Habituation they call it. The page long flowchart in one veterinary manual shows just how difficult feather destructive behavior is to correct. I went to bed with that thought heavy on my mind.

I had set the alarm for 8 a.m. An early riser I am not. Somehow a faint trickle of light from above woke me. I felt strange. There was stillness in the air and it seemed that I could feel the warmth of the approaching dawn. This would be difficult to do from my bedroom because I never leave the window open. As the light slowly grew I made out the faint shapes of leaves surrounding me. They appeared enormous.

I was captivated by a growing certainty that I was now deep in the bowels of a forest far from my bed and the life I knew so well. Could I be dreaming? Even though there was not a breath of wind the pungent smells of wet earth, moss and the unmistakable scent of recent rain rose to greet me. My dreams were never this clear.

I wanted to turn and look around but my body would not heed my call. "Remain still" was imprinted on every fiber of my being. I could have sworn that my mother taught me this. This could not be! My mother hated camping trips. What was I thinking? It was then that I noticed that I was standing and that my feet were clenched tightly around some object below to which I was rooted. Like a night watchman at his post I stood erect and alert against the vanishing darkness.

It was wonderful. My age had slipped away from me—the pain and ache of being in my fifties was gone. I felt young again, like a teenager. It was then that I noticed that I had forgotten my name. Did I have a name? Surely I did. I could not remember. Words began to escape me, too. Instead I found a history of memories and feelings stretching back many years and much like the frames of a movie in slow motion they showed me who I was and where I belonged. All my companions knew who I was. Names meant nothing. I was home in my flock and I was a lesser sulphur-crested cockatoo. I began to wonder if I had read the legend of Merlin and King Arthur once too often.

My mother and father cockatoos were not far from where I stood. They, too, were as still as stone. It was their morning call that would break me from my post and I would wait for that sound as I had since I was a fledgling. Then it happened. A single shout broke the moment. All at once a hundred voices rose up like trumpets to greet the new day. I heard my mother and father in that symphony. My voice rose to meet theirs. The new day had begun.

The light was weak but my eyes were amazing. Because I could see into the ultraviolet the world had a beautiful glow to it. I turned them to find my mother roosting in the ironwood tree only a moment's flight from me. Her eyes surveyed our world searching for predators. I did the same. Using the skill she had perfected in me over the four years of my life I looked and listened for signs of danger. It was something I would do all day.

Dad broke from his roost and darted into the sky with his loud, boisterous voice. Then our flock clamored into the air with sound and fury. After circling briefly we each chose a roost close to the others and from these vantage points we examined the land below. We spoke to one another by subtle body movements and only rarely punctuated these speeches with an outcry. Hunger began its daily call.

We descended together to forage. In groups we performed the age old rite of taking nourishment. My mother concerned herself with teaching my new brothers and sisters what to eat and how to survey for predators. Like a ballet dancer her body taught clearly—in words no human could ever understand—the beauty and danger of the forest. It is this dance of life that passes our culture from one generation to another. It is her dance of life that leads me to the food I eat, the safe perches on which I stand and the roosts I keep at night. Even now her gaze falls on me. Soon I will be five years old and ready to take on a life partner but our bond will never break.

We took to the sky many times that day. Whenever danger threatened we moved in a flurry of white wings with great pomp and circumstance. In moments of danger a vague memory of human hands arose in my mind but I pushed it away. What could compare with wings? What could compare to soaring free in the sky with your family?

While we were foraging I took time to examine my body with my new eyes. Strangely, memories of my studies as a human returned. Unlike humans I found that I could see clearly no matter what direction my eyes were facing and I did not need to focus on any single thing.

I found myself stretching out my right wing and foot and then the other wing and foot. I began to preen and observe. My flight and tail contour feathers received attention first and then I worked on the semiplumes and the down feathers that help to keep me safe from the weather. I turned my attention to my back. With the twenty-seven vertebrae in my neck this was an easy task. This is what I did. I gently pulled on the base of each feather checking for the keratin sheath that covers them. When I found a sheath I carefully removed the upper part staying clear of the blood supply below. Then I preened the feather to bring out its fullness and lock the hooked barbs in place that provide the strength and shape to the contour feathers. One of my sisters approached and allopreened me; she cleaned my crown feathers and dressed them nicely. After all, I cannot reach them. I returned the favor and then she flew off to be with the others.

I continued my examination. I could tell that my spine was fused from the shoulders to the tail just like I had read in my former life. A fused spine gives the support needed to chest muscles to allow for the strenuous but wonderful joy of free flight. There is nothing to compare with beating your wings against the wind and soaring above the earth. We also rely on flight for needed exercise much as some humans rely on swimming pools.

I felt the air passing through my lungs and it thrilled me with the oxygen it gave. In this body the air tasted as thick as nectar. I remembered that this had to do with the air passing directly into the blood stream. This is also a reason we must fly away from fumes or smoke. There are more wonders. Five air sacs take up twenty percent of my body helping me to be light enough to fly. When I am flying my lungs work like billows to force the air in and out of my body. A racehorse knows the exhilaration that I feel in flight.

The entire time that I studied my new body I was surrounded by my own kind. There is nothing like the feeling of belonging, of being a part of the flock.

As the sun reached meridian height we each found our places for our daily nap. In these well-hidden perches we slept. It would be a mighty predator indeed that could find and devour us there. Our rest sites are chosen carefully to prevent the approach of any unseen threat and our eyes are never far from opening except in the deep of night. Our only defense at night is to plummet to the ground below.

We awoke to the sun lowering in the sky and we began foraging again. We spent the next two hours eating, playing and tearing wood into pieces. I took the time to examine my feet and beak. My feet were zygodactyls. I had two toes pointing forward and two pointing back. I opened and closed my toes and watched them move in unison; I used only one muscle in each foot to do this. My nails were sharp and helped me cling to branches. They were made mostly of keratin and minerals. A nerve ran down the core of each nail making them sensitive to the touch.

My beak is calyptorhychnid. That’s a fancy way of saying that it moves from side to side and has great strength. The nut I am popping right now would take a hammer to break in my old life. I have nerves in my beak in several places; that is one reason that I am so good at using it! I am a master of applying just the right amount of pressure. I remember the books I studied as a human saying that parrots cannot taste much because they have only about four hundred and fifty taste buds while humans more than three thousand. I think they need more studies to compare quantity to quality. After all, look at what those humans call food! I eat by pushing things with my skilled and powerful tongue against my upper beak and then crushing them with the lower one. There is a special groove in the upper that helps to hold food there. My beak is a constantly growing living thing even if the outside of it is hard like a nail.

As the sun set we found our safe places and cried out to the dying of the light. I fell fast asleep.

A loud noise startled me and I fell off my perch in the darkness toward the ground below. Somehow I just kept falling. Was this a falling dream?

Now it seemed that I was standing again. My eyes were closed and I did not want to open them.

I heard a door creak open. It was that sound that had shattered my dream. Do I remember doors? My eyes opened. I saw myself—my old human self—coming over to my cage. For it was now clear that I was a bird locked behind bars. I watched with amazement as the old me in human form unlocked the door to the cage and opened it. I heard his words but did not understand them. I had no need. I knew the look of feeding time and the sign language of his movement. I would have liked to fly to the top of the window and to look out at the world as I did in the dream. I knew I could not. My old human self had cut my feathers and I could not fly—I am ever more nervous about predators now that I cannot fly to safety. It had been the old dream. The dream that comes every night of a place called "the forest" and the family I never knew. It is more than a dream it is a need.

I am no stranger to sadness. When I was sad and lonely a few years ago I began to pull out my feathers. Sometimes I cried out loud for countless hours but no one came to fill my emptiness. My old human self is kind to me and does not cover me or place me alone in another room as the others did. He takes me out every day and I play under his watchful eye. He cooks food for me and gives me toys. Yet, the ache remains. Pulling my feathers out still seems something I need to do and I don’t know why.

A buzzing sound began to annoy me. It grew louder and louder like a giant bug next to my ear. I recognized the sound finally. It was my alarm clock. I awoke. It was a few moments before I was able to get my bearings. I did not turn into a cockatoo. It had been a dream. I noted the bumpy texture of the ceiling, the white walls of my bedroom and the ticking of the clock on the wall.

I am still the human I was. Am I? Will I ever be the same again?

I pulled my hands from under the covers and looked at them carefully. I thought of wings. Slowly I turned to stare at the large cage at the end of the room. I heard her rustle her feathers. She was awake now. Under the cage cover I knew that she stood on her perch waiting for me.

Had she been dreaming?

End note: Research in the field and clinical studies have shown the importance of making the captive home environment as much like life in the wild as possible. The pattern of the wild cockatoo in the story closely matches that of studies done in the wild.

Dedication: a special thank you to Regina Jankowski and Haley for inspiring this piece of prose. You made my words take wing.

This story is more than just a story. Facts in the story are derived from scientific studies, veterinary manuals, behavorial manuals and texts. For a complete list of these factual sources please email me at Father Don Scott

♥ ♥ ♥

Water?
By Lori M. Nelsen

The best water to offer to your bird daily, using a clean water bottle or bowl, is fresh, contaminant-free and additive-free water. If using a water bowl, cleaning it does not mean swishing your finger around in it under running water. Thoroughly cleaning a bowl should mean having two sets of bowls; one for use and one being cleaned in the dishwasher or with dish detergent or with a mild bleach solution that is rinsed well. I prefer water bottles as they prevent contamination. If they are the tube type, they need to be checked several times a day to ensure that it is properly dispensing that clean, fresh water.

The type of water you use can depend upon where you live, how you live and if your local water supply is safe. Below is some basic information to help you decide if opening the tap is the best way to provide fresh clean water for your family and your pets.

In the news lately, a vast array of pharmaceuticals -- including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones -- have been found in the municipal water supply of millions of Americans. Along with the pharmaceuticals, there are naturally occurring microorganisms, radionuclides, nitrates and nitrites, heavy metals from underground rocks containing arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, selenium, and fluoride. Human and animal waste, nitrates, heavy metals from mining construction, fertilizers and pesticides, industrial wastes, household wastes, lead and copper, and water treatment chemicals are also being found in local drinking waters.

Water treatment chemicals can and do include chlorine. I personally know of one episode of over chlorination of a local water system that killed several small birds within minutes. The owner of the birds stated that the ones that waited to get a drink after their bowls were changed survived. As the water sat, the chlorine dissipated allowing the water to become safe for them to drink.

Also, fluoride is added to some municipal water supplies as a means of strengthening human teeth. The safety of fluoridated water for birds has not been proven or disproved. Many scientists feel that fluoride is detrimental to the health of humans. Birds do not benefit from fluoride in the water and it could be very detrimental to the outcome of an ill bird.

Distilled water is water that has been heated to the boiling point so that impurities are separated from the water, which itself becomes vapor or steam. Steam is then condensed back into pure liquid form. The impurities remain as residue and are removed. Distillation Systems remove waterborne biological contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, organic and inorganic chemicals, heavy metals, volatile gases, cysts and other contaminants. Distilled water contains virtually no solids, minerals or trace elements. It is clean, natural and healthy. Steam distilled water is the standard by which all other waters are measured.

There is no doubt that the body needs minerals. This issue is perhaps the 'hottest' one regarding the use of distilled water. It is easy to find an equal number of 'authorities' on both sides of this controversial issue. But, all nutritional and medical authorities do agree that the body assimilates organic minerals from the daily food cycle.

Reverse Osmosis Water is processed by forcing water through a membrane that has extremely tiny pores, leaving the larger contaminants behind. Purified water is collected from the "clean" side of the membrane, and water containing the concentrated contaminants is flushed down the drain from the "contaminated" side.

Reverse osmosis significantly reduces salt, most other inorganic material present in the water, and some organic compounds. With a quality carbon filter to remove any organic materials that get through the filter, the purity of the treated water approaches that produced by distillation. RO treated water approaches that produced by distillation as long as the filter membrane is in good condition and without minute holes.

A reverse-osmosis system is a good treatment option for people who have unacceptably high levels of dissolved inorganic contaminants in their drinking water which can not be removed effectively or economically by other methods. Water from shallow wells in agricultural areas that contains high nitrate levels is a good example of a situation where RO would make sense.

Contaminants that are removed by RO with activated carbon filters are:
Arsenic, Aluminum, Barium, Cadmium, Calcium, Chloride, Chlorine, Chromium, Copper, Fluoride, Iron, Lead, Magnesium, Manganese, Mercury, Nitrate, Potassium, Radium, Radon, Selenium, Silver, Sodium, Sulfate, Zinc, Benzene, Carbon tetrachloride, Dichlorobenzene, Toluene, Trichloroethylene, Total Trihalomethanes (THM's, Asbestos, Protozoan cysts, Cryptosporidium, 1,2,4-trichlorobenzene, 2,4-D, Atrazine, Endrin, Heptachlor, Lindane, Pentachlorophenol. There are some contaminants not removed from water by RO systems. These include dissolved gases such as hydrogen sulfide, a common nuisance contaminant with characteristic rotten egg odor, which passes through the RO membrane. Some pesticides, solvents and other volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) are not completely removed by RO.

Natural spring water, that is a type of bottled water, is a great choice for most birds. Check the label to make sure that the water is natural spring water (which comes from natural springs under the ground). Spring water may be treated with ultraviolet light to kill organisms in the water, and may also be run through micron filtration, which removes particulate matter (such as fine sand, silica, etc.).

Bottled water is usually just water from any source that has been treated (usually by filtration, reverse osmosis, or other processes) and then the water will have minerals added afterwards (otherwise, it would end up being distilled water!) Minerals added are usually magnesium sulfate, potassium chloride and sodium chloride (salt)!

This is a lot of information for each of us to think about. There is no right or wrong way to provide clean fresh water for your parrots. It is whatever you deem is best for you. You might want to start by taking a sample of your water to your local health department for a complete water test. Take time to read the labels on the different bottled water available for drinking. You can also go to the EPA website to read the safety reports on your local water supply.

If you decide that you would like to use bottled water, try researching plastic water bottles and see if the BPA they are made from is safe!

Reference: The EPA Water Health Series

♥ ♥ ♥


Microfibre Cleaning Cloths
By Sue Christie-Cox

I have written lately about how to clean with "green" solutions, but this month I am going to look at a clean green product that only uses water to clean with.

I was first introduced to the wondrous world of Microfibre Cloths at a home party. I am not a particularly good participant in these sorts of things because I question and tend to ask the questions the party presenter either doesn't know the answer to or doesn't want to answer. So when the presenter brought out all her fancy cloths that would "revolutionise the way you clean" "and the only cleaning solution you use is water" to say I was sceptical is an understatement. I had been asked by my friend, who had put on the party, to be on my best behaviour, (which loosely translates to "please just sit there and don't say anything") so I sat and listened.

I bought a "heavy duty kitchen" cloth as I was going camping and needed something that was a little thicker that the usual cloths to clean my camp stove. After 2 weeks of camping and using that cloth to clean all, from spills to grease, it excelled.

Next time there was a party I went along and listened to the virtues of using these cloths in the bathroom. I couldn't sit there this time in silence as the presenter told how these little fibres had tiny filaments small enough to "stab the bacteria and kill them". I just couldn't believe her. I came home and did some research.

Microfibre cloths are by Wikipedia's explanation, "Microfiber (British spelling: Microfibre) is fiber with strands less than one denier. Microfiber is a blend of polyester and polyamide. Fabrics made with microfibers are exceptionally soft and hold their shape well. When high quality microfiber is combined with the right knitting process, it creates an extremely effective cleaning material. This material can hold up to seven times its weight in water. They are also used for some cleaning applications because of their exceptional ability to absorb oils."

I knew from using the kitchen cloth that yes this was true, but I still need to find out about these "killer fibres".

The material is made up of millions of tiny fibres and is usually 70% Polyester and 30% Polyamide. The polyester and nylon are alternatively forced through a nozzle that combines them through a heat weaving process. A chemical process then shrinks the nylon and splits the woven fibre into many micro-fibres that are then intertwined to create the ultra absorbent and effective cloth. These cleaning cloths come in a variety of weights, sizes and designs. The predominant feature of microfibre cloths is that the fibre has an increased ability to absorb soils.

Microfibre ClothsMicrofibre cloths come in a variety of blends, some of which are extremely soft to surfaces and skin, and others that are more aggressive and can scratch delicate surfaces. I certainly wouldn't be using the cloth I used to clean the floor on my TV screen. I still apply "safe food handling" principals in the kitchen with these cloths, so as always common sense applies.

Microfibre's advantage over traditional cleaning cloths is that they can gather and hold a large quantity of soil, thereby giving the appearance of cleaning without the need for cleaning agents. While they do in fact remove great amounts of soil, the question is how do they then release the soils they have removed? Water soluble soils will flush out of the cloths relatively easily. However, hydrophobic soils (such as oils and grease) and other less water soluble soils will accumulate in micro fibre cloths. The manufacturers recommend rejuvenating the cloths by laundering them or near boiling them to remove accumulated contaminants.

Microfibre cleaning cloths are fairly inert and do not promote growth of bacteria, but the soils they gather and hold do. After all, bacteria require food or nutrients to grow and as long as contaminants gather in these cloths, frequent laundering or high temperature cleaning (90 degrees Celsius) is necessary to avoid bacteria build-up and odours. Equally important, cloths that are not cleaned thoroughly will eventually redeposit soils on surfaces being cleaned.

Microfibre cloths have several advantages
♥ Suitable for chemically sensitive people as only water is used
♥ Environmentally friendly - reduces use of chemicals by 80-90%
♥ Can be used damp or dry
♥ Cost effective, are able to be washed hundreds of times at high temperatures, (3 yrs. later my kitchen cloth is now getting towards the end of its life)

When used damp, the cloths clean all surfaces, especially glass, stainless steel, plastics, chrome, brass, wood and ceramics. When used dry, they have a natural "positive" charge which attracts dust. Picking up dander and feathers is so easy using one of these cloths dampened and wiped over the cage bars.

Hmmm, great for cleaning, but I still needed to know about its performance with bacteria, which when it comes to cleaning cages and food surfaces, we all know is very important. After researching even further, I finally found what I was looking for, "Microfibre cloths and mops when used with regular tap water are 99.94% more effective in removing bacteria from smooth surfaces. A bacterial culture taken after a traditional wet mop cleaning showed only a 30% reduction to precleaning. The bacterial culture taken after the microfibre mop cleaning showed a 99% reduction."

I still use ACV when cleaning cages and cabinet tops when I want to disinfect. I guess there is just that bit of me that still questions. I found not all microfibres are the same; there are many microfibre based products available on the market. In order to understand which microfibre products are most efficient and cost effective there are 3 criteria and elements that you need to be aware of:
1. The blend of polyester and polyamide is important when buying microfibre. A microfibre cleaning product that is 80% polyester & 20% polyamide has the right blend for a long wearing product that will not compromise the absorbency capacity.
2. Polyamide makes the fibre more absorbent but will wear easily. If you buy a product that has too much Polyamide in the fibres mix, you will not get a very long lifespan out of your product.
3. Polyester is strong, long wearing but not very absorbent. So if you buy a microfibre cloth that contains too much polyester in the mix, its lack of absorbency will reduce the effectiveness of the cloth.

Washing in hot water is an effective cleaner but do not use fabric softeners as they "smooth" the fibres that need to be "jagged" to effectively pick up and trap the dirt.

So give these a try. I find them great for cleaning all surfaces, and they do make wiping over cages a very quick job. I love the way they don't leave streaks on glass, and when dusting they do seem to pick up more dust, not just move it around the room. As I said before, I do still use ACV for a "proper" clean on food surfaces and cages, I haven't been properly, converted yet .


♥ ♥ ♥
Safety Today
By Susan Kesler,
Safety Committee Chairwoman

Glow in the Dark

Glow-in-the-dark can be fun, delightful and mysterious. Glow-in-the-dark items come in many shapes and sizes for all ages and every lifestyle. For the kids, there are glow-in-the-dark toys, straws, clothes, Halloween costumes and jewelry. For adults, there are watches, shot glasses and even glow-in-the-dark fishing lures. Glow-in-the-dark also has many safety applications such as tape to mark emergency evacuation routes and emergency lighting. You can find glow-in-the-dark items everywhere, but the one place you should never find it is in your birds' cage. Ingesting the compound that makes glow-in-the-dark items glow can cause gastrointestinal upset. Glowing items in your birds' cage can disturb their sleep and may even frighten them, causing night terrors.

So play it safe and don't let your bird play with glow-in-the-dark toys or straws.

♥ ♥ ♥

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

Help Us Help the Birds...

Don't forget you can help PTA by clicking one of the following buttons:

♥  GoodSearch is 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!
Make sure to specify "Parrot Toy Angels"

♥  You can recycle your old cell phones with RMS Communications.
For more information, click here:

♥  When you click the banners on this page:
PTA Affiliates
and shop with any of our affiliates PTA gets a percentage.

♥  Shop at any of over 680 stores using this banner:
iGive
and help PTA earn!

♥  Purchase the Parrots-At-Play calendar from our banner here:
Support PTA, purchase a Parrots-at-Play Calendar Today!

♥ ♥ ♥

Gas Prices Got You Pumped? Don't Pinch Polly's Pocket!
By Regina M. Jankowski

Driving Cockatoo

No matter where you live, what you drive (or don't), you're feeling the rising costs of fuel. This doesn't just effect how much we drive. People who don't drive are feeling the crunch as well. Prices are soaring on all items you purchase because it costs more to deliver those items to the store to sell. Corners are being cut everywhere. Every day there are reports on the news of people working a four-day workweek instead of five to save on gas, and even reports of higher sales for lower cost pet foods.

Before you decide to drop your quality of pet food for the better cost, please think again! Lower quality foods on a short-term basis may seem harmless, but they definitely can take their toll on your pet's body. When considering what corners to cut, please take into consideration the long-term effect on your pet. Eating fast food all day, every day would raise many serious health concerns for any of us. Apply this same theory to your pet. Are you willing to pay more vet bills in the long run? Or even worse, are you willing to compromise your pet's well-being, happiness, and life span? Chances are if you are a subscriber to this newsletter, the answer is no!

Some tips for saving costs without costing your feathered loved ones are pretty simple. One would be to freeze left over portions of bird-edible treats in ice cube trays. The cubes can be put in a bag in the freezer, ensuring you do not defrost more than you need. This cuts down on waste. Another is to share the good stuff! When you are preparing a meal, put bird-edibles aside before you add harmful things such as salt. Putting aside small portions of vegetables and yummy tidbits are good for your birds varied diet, as well as helpful in cost. I find that baking a sweet potato to mashing consistency and mixing with rice and left over veggies is a simple and yummy treat for my birds. It freezes well and provides a nutritious snack that doesn't hurt your wallet or Polly's health.

Be sure to read more 'Angel Wings' newsletters for more helpful tips and hints that our angels have come up with! (And while you're at it, take advantage of those sales and coupons Parrot Toy Angels has!)

♥ ♥ ♥

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

flower22.gif
©  2008 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.
For permission to reprint, please contact us at Editor
www.parrottoyangels.com