Parrot Toy Angels: June 2010 Angel Wings
Parrot Toy Angels

Angel Wings

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

June 2010
Volume 5, Issue VI

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In this month's issue:
    Spring Auction Announcement
    Apricot Fig Muffins
    Angel Tip
    Angel Announcements
    Feathered Funnies
    Recycling, Angel Style
    Tough Toenails
    Breakfast Bonding
    Rikki Sez
    Raising Birds
    Featured Fid ~ Red-fronted Macaw
    Spring Cleaning
    Help Us
    2010 Dirty Dozen

Angel Toys For Angels

June's Featured Toys

Plucker's Friend
Plucker's Friend
Medium to Large Birds

Sisal Preener
Sisal Preener
Medium to Large Birds

Fluffy Filter Fun
Fluffy Filter Fun
Medium to Large Birds


Check out all the
Angel Toys for Angels

now!


Parrot Toy Angels Spring 2010 Auction!!!

June 10, 2010 thru June 20, 2010

Spring has officially sprung and it is once again time for our PTA Spring Auction! It's a wonderful opportunity for everyone to get some great items for themselves and their birds as well as providing much needed and appreciated support of Parrot Toy Angels' projects.

Our sponsors and Angels have gone all out once again and donated beautiful items for your home, for you personally, gifts for family and friends, and items that will sweeten the lives of your birds.

There is something for everyone!
Decorate your home with a picture perfect print by Shauna Roberts.
Laurel Burch collectors can add to their collection with "Polka Dot Parrots" pillow or "Spotted Cats" scoop tote! Does your bird need a play stand or hanging perch? How about a "Parrotlet Palace" from HQ cages for that special feathered friend?
Gift certificates, books and totes...parrot watches, mugs and t-shirts
are just a few of the great items being auctioned!
Don't forget to get some angel-rific toys for your bird.
Prefer to make your own toys? We have plenty of toy making supplies being offered.
Check here for your sneak peak of all the great items to bid on:

Spring 2010 Auction Preview

We receive many emails from bird-lovers saying that, while they cannot make the commitment to become an Angel, they would like to know how to support our organization. Here is a wonderful way to help us
Make a difference...one bird at a time.

100% of the profit from our auction goes directly to toy-making, supplies, food, shipping costs, and any rescue emergency situation we encounter.

Please support us, please be generous, and know that we are incredibly grateful for the support you have given us over the last 5 years.
We hope that you will bid with your heart as well as your purse.

Clearly, we could not do what we do without you!

So ready, set, and start your bidding on Thursday, June 10, 2010.

Parrot Toy Angels Spring Auction

Auction starts Thursday, June 10 12:00pm PDT
and ends Sunday, June 20, 2010.
Banner will be active then.

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Apricot Fig Muffins
By Toni Fortin

1 cup collards, washed and chopped fine
1 cup turnip greens, washed and chopped fine
1 cup dried apricots (unsulphured), chopped
1 cup dried figs (unsulphured), chopped
4 eggs
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup milled flaxseed
2-1/2 cups oats **
4 tsp. baking powder (non aluminum)
2 cups almond milk
sesame seeds - optional

Combine all dry ingredients. Blend in milk and eggs. Mix chopped greens in. Fold in apricots and figs. Spray muffin pans with olive oil and fill 3/4 full. (Optional: sprinkle with sesame seeds). Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes.

Yield 24 muffins

** Steel Cut or Regular

Apricot Fig Muffins...Yum-O!

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Angel Tip
By Kim Perez

When meeting a bird for the first time, with the intention of purchasing/adopting, I carry a pocket full of an appropriate treat. For example, we went to adopt a Blue & Gold macaw and I took several in-the-shell nuts with me - pecans, almonds and walnuts. This is a wonderful way to win the immediate trust and affection of a bird you have not previously met!

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

   

ON THE SITE:



♥  Buffet Ball & Skewer
♥  Buffet Ball
♥  Baby Swing

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FEATHERED FUNNIES


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WOW!  Lookie.... a PTA Coupon

Recycling, Angel Style
Filter Forager
By Wyspur Kallis

Shiloh enjoying her Filter Forager
Shiloh enjoying her Filter Forager

You will need one large coffee filter, a few treats and a pair of scissors.

Filter Forager

Fold the filter in half and then in half once again.

Filter Forager

With your scissors, cut a 1/2 inch strip across the entire top of the filter.

Filter Forager

Open the filter and place your treats in the center.

Filter Forager

Bring all the sides of the filter up and twist around the treats. Tie the 1/2 inch strip around the filter to hold it closed and hold the treats in.

Filter Forager

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Tough Toenails
By Angel Savannah

People always ask me where I got the scars on my arms and hands from! I have worked 4 years in a no-kill shelter where I cared for 300 cats, and did receive some scratches from them, but my scars are from our birds. Baby birds are the worst offenders, as their nails are thin and razor sharp. We try not to clip any nails until birds gain a little self-confidence. When you clip them too soon, the bird doesn't get a good grip on something, and they can become frightened of it and even develop phobias.

Once a bird develops a sense of confidence in climbing on different branches, perches, and toys, we begin to introduce pedicure perches. Most pedicure perches do a reasonable job of keeping nail tips rounded and save our skin! The only way that a pedicure perch will work is if you get the proper size. The proper size for your bird might seem way too big to you, but it needs to be large enough in diameter that when the bird sits on it, their nails will touch at the 3:00 and 9:00 positions. If their nails wrap further around the perch, they will not adequately rub on the perch to trim them.

This does not always work with older birds. If they have very sharp nails and they are no longer babies, you should trim their nails first and then give them pedicure perches to keep them rounded. To trim their nails, you can use a nail file or emery board, Dremel tool, or nail clippers. Always have Qwik-Stop or other blood coagulant on hand before beginning. Be careful not to cut too short, as their nails have a quick (blood supply) in them and if you cut too short, their nails will bleed. Pack them with Qwik-Stop and they should immediately stop bleeding, and be more careful on subsequent nails.

When choosing a pedicure perch, I have found that the smooth ones work very well and they do not subject your birds to unnecessary foot calluses or sores like bumpy ones can cause. You should also have natural branches in a variety of diameters. In the natural branches, I don't use a lot of hard woods, as these offer no pedicure properties. Cholla wood (a type of cactus) is nice for them, too, and I have some which have been packed with a calcium mixture which helps with their nails and beaks, and is good for them to chew on as well.

If you find that your bird still has sharp nails, I like to make a game of filing them. My birds will lie in my lap and I can give them one file to play with while I file their nails with another. If your bird does not cooperate as well as mine, you can do this while they are in their cage. When they come hang on the bars of the cage, you can usually sneak over to them and file a couple quickly. Simply grab a toenail that is wrapped around a cage bar and file it a little. Make a game of it and they will not be bothered by it.

There are other types of pedicure perches - many types of them. Besides the bumpy ones (I met a military macaw with bloody, scabby feet from sitting on one of these), I have seen product complaints about heated perches. Just the concept of a heated perch is enough to tell me that I wouldn't get one for my birds because of what I see as a risk. I have seen photos of these perches that birds have literally chewed up. This is not safe for your bird.

I see a lot of birds in cages with PVC perches. These are okay if they are textured. And yes, only okay. Other than the fact the bird cannot chew the perch at all, there is little benefit from this type of perch. There is a company who makes these nice PVC light weight perches and then coats them with sand. These are a wonderful, high quality pedicure perch. The company I am thinking of makes a corner PVC perch, and swings as well. They also have a line of sand covered Manzanita perches. All of their products are excellent and I use them with all of my birds.

On a side note, if your bird's nails require trimming and you are not comfortable with that, take the bird to someone who is. Birds can sense when you are nervous. They know when you take them to someone who is comfortable providing the service and this will make them more comfortable with the process.

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Breakfast Bonding
By Jan Lewis

In these busy times with rushing around to get to work, working all day and then coming home with little to no time for family or self, consider making the time in the mornings for a little breakfast bonding with your companion bird. It only takes a few minutes (5 to 10 minutes will do) of relaxed time to share a little warm food with your bird to really add to your relationship.

I recently rediscovered the benefits of breakfast as a method for bonding with my birds. My Quaker has been with me for over ten years and we have a good bond. The past couple of months I have been sharing my breakfast of oatmeal with him each morning. Since I began our breakfasting together, I have noticed a change in our relationship. He not only wants to be out with me more but he is more cooperative. I am fortunate to be able to allow my birds flight (with supervision) in my home. He now comes to me when I call him. He is eager to come out and play with me or learn new "tricks!" His attitude is more loving and not as moody/nippy as he sometimes gets. I'm simply amazed at the difference in my Quaker.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for both you and your bird! You can either share your oatmeal (as I do) or cream of wheat would be good also (no milk or sugar, of course!). Even whole wheat toast can be shared with your bird without having to make any special preparations. If you have the time, preparing a warm nutritious birdie mash, cereal or bird bread can work for an easy breakfast food for your feathered breakfast companion. (PTA has birdie bread as well as a cereal mix and warm mashes for a quick breakfast.) I found a wonderful mash that all of my birds LOVE for breakfast. It is simple to prepare, just boil the water, add the mash and allow 15 minutes to cook! Everyone's breakfast is done about the same time and ready for breakfast bonding! So make the time to relax with a good, healthy warm breakfast together for great bonding and a fabulous start to your day!

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Gonzo packing
Gonzo helping pack ..
or is it unpack??

Rikki Sez

Rikki will try and answer frequently asked questions here.

Rikki, My Parronts brought my carrier out today and oh boy!! I'm going for a ride in the car. I couldn't wait to jump right in and go. We stopped at this place I have never been to before. These people grabbed me out of my carrier with a towel and touched my beak and nails with this thing that made the most terrifying noise I have ever heard in my life. I screamed the whole time I was there. I was so scared. Why did they do this to me. Was I bad?
Signed, Suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)

Dear Suffering, Tell Mom she should have gotten you out of your carrier and introduced you to these people. That would have made you feel more at ease along with the groomer taking a few minutes to talk to you and explain what was going to happen. Us birds are smart and seem to know what people's intentions are. That noise that they touched your beak and nails with is a Dremel tool. It tickles doesn't it? Beaks must be trimmed so you can eat better and your nails must be trimmed to keep them at a safe length. You didn't do anything wrong. Hoping Mom can find you a new groomer who is better at making you feel more comfortable while doing what needs to be done.

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Rikki, My sister doesn't have any pretty feathers. In fact sometimes she looks like a plucked chicken. I feel so sorry for her. How can I help?
Signed, Worried about Sissy

Dear Worried, First, I suggest Mom take your sister to an avian vet to be sure there are no underlying medical issues. Your Mom might also consider some possible stress factors in the home. Cage location, loud music, or not enough rest are all possible causes of stress. In the mean time, increase her baths. More humidity in the room can also help relieve her dry skin. Ask Mom to purchase some preening toys. Hopefully your sissy will preen these toys instead of destroying her feathers. PTA has a nice selection of preening toys: Toy Index

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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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Raising Birds
By Kim Perez

Babies

My favorite part of having birds is raising babies. I don't raise a lot of them, like I used to when I owned a pet store and needed birds to sell. In fact, so far this year, I have only had 5 babies - 2 cockatiels, 2 moustache parakeets, and an adorable Timneh African Grey. This time of year, 12 years ago, I was hand-feeding 106 baby birds! So I do have quite a bit of bird-rearing experience.

Most of my breeders started out as pets. I prefer this as they tolerate me in their nest boxes with little hassle. I provide my birds with a tremendous variety of foods. I provide my pairs with an appropriate nest box and bedding, full spectrum lighting on timers, and really large water dishes to bathe in (which aides in the necessary humidity to hatch eggs), and a calcium supplement to aid in calcium replacement in egg laying females.

When babies are hatched, I monitor their growth and development and pull them to start hand-feeding usually between 10-14 days. I put them in the brooders and then feed them a commercial brand hand-feeding formula 3-5 times a day, depending upon their age and the rate at which they digest their food.

From this stage until they wean is my favorite part of raising birds. I LOVE to play with the babies! Watching them grow and their personalities develop is such a treat. It amazes me that two babies from the same parents raised the same way at the same time can turn out SO differently!

During this stage, we make sure that the babies play with everyone in our home. Even guests are required to play with the babies - of course; they are usually the first to head toward the kitchen to find what babies they can play with! What the exposure to many people does is help to properly socialize the babies. It makes our birds so much nicer than others, as they readily go to anyone.

Our babies usually find their permanent homes within a month of weaning. Between the point of weaning and going to their homes, I take them to visit our avian vet for a health check and to be sexed if they are not dimorphic. They go to their new homes with their health check and sexing certificate, as well as some of our food, toys, and other accessory recommendations.

As much as I love to raise baby birds, I have cut way back in recent years in order to devote the space in my home to rescue birds. If we have room, we adopt a bird every year. We give them the best home they could ever want for the remainder of their lives.

That is exactly what we want for the few babies that we raise every year, too - the best home they could ever want for their entire life.

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Featured Fid ~ Red-fronted Macaws
By Jan Lewis

Gigi, Red-fronted Macaw
Gigi, Red-fronted Macaw who owns Jan

Perhaps one of the least known of the macaws is the red-fronted macaw, Ara rubrogenys. Classified as endangered in the wild; they are doing well in breeding situations so much so they are gaining recognition in the pet market. Their native habitat is a small area in central Bolivia.

Red-fronted macaws are the smallest of the large macaws. Weighing in at between 450 to 600 grams; body length of 21 to 22 inches; and wingspan of 32 to 34 inches; they are the perfect size for flying. Red-fronts are strong fliers with gentle landings. They are one of the few species of birds that can hover like a hummingbird. They can fly then stop in mid-air and change direction. To me their true beauty is displayed in their flight.

While not one of the more colorful of the macaws, they are quite beautiful with their varying hues of green to blue feathers covering their body and their long tail feathers. Red feathering adorns their forehead and crown, ear patches and shoulders. Red-fronted macaw feathers are so very soft and silky. Sex cannot be determined by coloration but must be through DNA testing or surgical sexing.

Gigi, Red-fronted Macaw

Even though the red-fronted macaw is small for a large macaw, they still require a large cage. Recommended cage size for the red-fronted macaw is a minimum of 4 foot by 3 foot and a height of 6 feet. Bar spacing of 1 inch. Cage toys that I recommend are swings, plenty of wood, shreddable toys, and puzzle toys such as foraging and mechanical toys. They also like to swing on their perches. I prefer to use both the natural wood perches and rope perches. Another cage necessity is a good manicure perch to help keep the nails blunted.

Diet should consist of a good quality pellet (in cage at all times), plenty of vegetables and fruits, sprouts (twice a week), and various nuts. Macaws require a higher fat content in their diet than most other parrots. My birds love their breakfast mash with a little red palm oil, flaxseed oil and wheat germ.

Vocalizations are loud. Calls are high-pitched and rather shrill to the ear, or at least mine. They are excellent talkers. My female red-front speaks clearly and has her chatty moments. She is my best talker of my five birds (2 macaws, 2 cockatoos and a quaker) and my only female. Being highly intelligent they quickly pick up on our language and can speak in context with the understanding of a very young child.

Along with that intelligence, many are mechanically inclined. They can take apart a cage in short order! Keeping them mentally stimulated with toys, training sessions and flying or at least exercise of their wings is important for a happy red-fronted macaw. They enjoy learning tricks and learn quickly.

Personally, I think of them as a cross between a Moluccan cockatoo and a kitten! Their high energy levels keep them moving but they love to sit on your shoulder and just melt into your lap for petting. It is hard to explain and best to experience. Red-fronted macaws are so very unique.

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Spring Cleaning
By Sue Christie-Cox

With Spring on the way, many of us may be spring cleaning the house and the birds' cages as well.

A few quick reminders for you.

Spring is the perfect time to go through your bird's toy box. Throw out any toy that has become dangerous. If you can save any parts, put them aside to re-use or turn into foot toys if possible. Some birds just like a basket or container full of different pieces and parts to play with or toss around.

Trim any loose threads on cotton toys and boings. Pop them into a pillow case, tie the top securely and send through the wash to freshen them up. Hot water and vinegar will do wonders. Remember to rinse well. Place in the sun to dry thoroughly.

Vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, and good old elbow grease are all safe to use around birds.

If cleaning the oven is part of your spring cleaning routine, don't forget to remove your birds from the area and air the room very well before returning the birds to the room. Better still, use this mix to safely clean: make a thick paste of water and baking soda. Scrub well with a nylon scrubbing pad or microfiber cloth. If the oven is greasy, add a small amount of liquid soap to cut through the grease.

If you have carpets that need to be freshened up, sprinkle the carpet with plain baking soda. Let sit for 15 minutes, them vacuum well. Dried lemon peel in your vacuum bag will freshen the bag and air as you vacuum.

For windows, mirrors or other glass mix 1 gallon water with 1 cup white vinegar. Apply with cloth or spray bottle and clean with a lint free cloth or wadded up newspaper for a streak-free finish. To see which side of the window has streaks, wipe up and down on one side of the window and side to side on the other. You will be able to pick which side the mark is by the direction of the streak.

Happy Spring Cleaning!

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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.

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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Follow parrottoyangels on Twitter

2010 Dirty Dozen
By Lori M. Nelsen

On March 11, 2010 the folks at the EWG (Environmental Working Group) released an updated 2010 version of the "Dirty Dozen." This list can be invaluable in evaluating the healthiest choices for your birds and your family. By choosing organic foods, instead of the foods listed on the "Dirty Dozen", you can reduce exposure to pesticides by about 80%.

Two new foods have made the list this year: blueberries and potatoes. These new additions are replacing lettuce (now #13) and pears (now #17).

Here is your list:
2009 DIRTY DOZEN
(Buy these organic)

Peaches
Apples
Bell Peppers
Celery
Nectarines
Strawberries
Cherries
Kale
Lettuce
Imported Grapes
Carrots
Pears

2010 DIRTY DOZEN
(Buy these organic)

Celery
Peaches
Strawberries
Apples
Blueberries
Nectarines
Bell Peppers
Spinach
Kale
Cherries
Potatoes
Imported Grapes

The new Clean 15 looks like this:
Onions (not for birds)
Avocado (not for birds)
Sweet Corn
Pineapple
Mango
Sweet Peas
Asparagus
Kiwi
Cabbage
Eggplant
Cantaloupe
Watermelon
Grapefruit
Sweet Potato
Honey Dew Melon

These produce rankings were calculated by using the percentage with pesticides detected, percentage detecting multiple pesticides, average of different pesticides on a single sample, average amount of all pesticides found, the maximum number of pesticides on a single sample, and total number of pesticides found per fruit or vegetable group.

If consumers feed their birds or families the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables each day from the "Dirty Dozen', as many as 15 pesticides could be ingested each day. If you would feed the produce on the 15 CLEAN list of conventionally-grown produce, the ingested amount would be decreased to 2 pesticides a day.

With the economy in a down turn, purchasing organic might not be a possibility for you or your pets. Try staying with the CLEAN 15, washing well with vinegar and water, eat a varied diet, and purchase organics to reduce the pesticide ingestion by 80%. This will keep your birds and family safer and healthier.

To get the wallet sized 2010 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides, go to www.foodnews.org and download it for free to carry with you. It will also be available soon as an iPhone application. This guide is based on data from 87,000 tests for pesticide residues collected by the US Dept of Agriculture and the FDA.

***All information from www.ewg.org

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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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