Parrot Toy Angels 2011 Spring Auction
June 9, 2011 thru June 19, 2011
Where can I find the perfect trinket?
Where is that perfect bling?
Who has a bucket full of footers?
Who has that bird toy? And that shredding thing?
Tell me where I can go
To bid on things so fine.
And know I'm helping "One bird at a time".
At our SPRING AUCTION !!!
We have worked hard to make it special for you.
Please stop in...look around...and bid often.
The birds are counting on you !
Here's a sneak peak
But before the bidding begins, we'd like to give a huge "Thank You" to all of our generous 2011 donors.
The official kickoff of the 2011 Spring Auction will be Thursday, June 9 at 12:00pm PDT. The eBay banner below will be active then and take you directly to the auction.
Have fun...and please, bid often!
Auction runs until Sunday, June 19th, 12:00pm PDT.
100% of the proceeds from this auction go to the cause we hold dear :
Making a difference...one bird at a time!
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Recycling, Angel Style
Hanging Foot Toy Basket
By Wyspur Kallis
Supplies you will need:
1 small plastic safety cone
5 pear links
4 pieces of plastic chain cut to 6" long **
Put a pear link through the cone and the plastic chain. Tighten the pear link with pliers. Repeat this on all four corners.
Using the last pear link, add all 4 chains and close tightly. Now add all your parrot's favorite foot toys, treats or anything else our parrot loves. Foot toys are available on the Parrot Toy Angels website: Parrot Toy Angels Foot Toys.
** For safety reasons, only use plastic chain. Do not use string of any kind.
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Featured Fid ~ Maroon-bellied Conure
By Delta Holder
In Memory of Chaz
My Chazmanian Devil
Chaz, Maroon-bellied Conure was owned by Delta Holder
Maroon-bellied Conures are found in Southeastern Brazil through northern Argentina, including Paraguay and Uruguay and maybe the eastern tip of Bolivia.
Maroon-bellied Conures are a bit smaller and close in resemblance to the Green-cheeked Conure. They are roughly 9 -10 inches long and weigh in between 68 to 84 grams. They usually mature between the age of 1 - 3 years, but in most cases around one year old is the optimum age. They can live up to 35 years in the appropriate environment. There are no distinguishing features between male and female, so DNA sexing would be needed to determine sex.
They are mainly green in color with the black beak, maroon patch on belly with a yellowish gray neck ring. They have light brown cheek patches with a maroon spot above their nares. Their tail is green on top and maroon underneath. Their flights have blue tipping along with various shades of green.
Maroon-bellied Conures are active, intelligent and can adapt very well to human interaction. Chaz, my Maroon-bellied Conure, loved to be cuddled and kissed, but like most conures, had to be on his own time. These particular conures are very bold and what they lack in size, they make up for in personality. Chaz would always welcome anyone or anything into the home with his phrase of "I'm Chaz, I'm Chaz." They can be talkers, but like any bird it is not guaranteed. If they do talk, it is a mumbled shrill voice that most often only the owner can distinguish. They are one of the quieter conures, but do have a shrill alarm call or flock call. I found that Chaz was not extremely noisy which was amazing with the large flock that I have.
I find the Maroon-bellied Conure makes an amazing pet. Chaz had a feathered friend but even though they were bonded, Chaz still had an amazing relationship with me. I found him a very balanced and secure bird. With that said, not every Maroon-bellied Conure could turn out to be the way Chaz was.
According to my research, they can be taught basic tricks and with time and patience will learn to pick up more complicated ones.
For housing this species, I would suggest not smaller than a 24 x 22 inch cage size. I would even suggest larger as they are very active. They enjoy crawling all over their cage. I found Chaz enjoyed a great variety of toys. He really enjoyed chewing on wood and a selection of foraging toys and perches should also be given.
Their diet should consist of fruits, vegetables and pellets. Like most other parrots, a variety in their diet would ensure longevity of their life. Chaz enjoyed all the foods given to him, but he was also given a variety from the time he was weaned in order to ensure he was familiar with different tastes and textures.
Maroon bellies, like most conures, enjoy dunking their food in their water dish so frequent water changes are important. They also enjoy a bath dish and will bathe at least once a day if given the opportunity. Chaz would bathe in his water dish or shower with me. It all depended on his day and what he felt like.
All in all, Maroon-bellied Conures do make wonderful pets. They are very family friendly and my experience showed that they adapt to everyone in the home and did not pick favorites. They are a bold and bossy bird, so monitoring their behavior with other flock members is very important.
Chaz, loved and missed by Delta Holder
This article is in memory of my Chaz, who passed away at the too short age of 5 years.
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Toy Safety: Plastic Parts|
By Kim Perez
Plastic toy parts have come into question a great deal lately in my little corner of the universe. What parts are safe? Are there types of plastics to avoid? Will birds swallow them? If they swallow the plastic parts, will they pass through? What do I look for?
All are excellent questions. For many years, I simply avoided plastic parts on my birds' toys. I did not feel comfortable allowing my birds to chew on them until I gave my daughter's African Grey a toy made of primarily plastic parts and watched him enjoy it to pieces (literally). I watched carefully, and he was not attempting to eat or swallow any part of the toy, but took immense pleasure in ripping little pieces off the toy and tossing them around his cage.
Since then, I have found a wonderful variety of plastic parts that many birds do enjoy playing with and we incorporate them on our toys. A favorite among almost all birds is straws. You know there is not any general concern as far as toxicity goes, as these are meant to be used in direct contact with what people drink. As far as birds chewing on them, they love the texture of the straw and I find that they typically will just chew on it as opposed to actually tearing off pieces. What is really fun is the 'curled' straws. You can make a curled straw using a "whacky whirly." Parrot Toy Angels sells a Wacky Whirly device into which you twirl a straw and it cuts it in swirls making them very springy. Birds really love to pull on them and watch them spring back. They provide them with hours of entertainment. You can also cut them into short lengths and string them onto wire, such as this toy found at PetsMart.
As far as other plastic parts go, I use plastic beads on most of my bird toys. Soft plastic parts made with what is commonly referred to as a 'blow mold' process are safe for birds to chew on. The parts that are not safe are those that are made of very hard plastic. The hard plastic that would leave sharp edges when broken is definitely not safe for birds. Once they break a piece off, they could be injured on the rough edges left behind.
My son's conure loves to pull the little spikes off of the squishy plastic porcupine balls. This is a part that I would recommend your bird has initially during supervised play only. Once you know how your bird will play with the plastic spikes, you will know if you can let your bird have these during unsupervised playtime. A downfall to plastic is that it cannot digest, so it can cause blockages in a bird's digestive system.
Acrylic is popular on toys because it is virtually indestructible. The only thing to watch for with acrylic parts is that you don't give something too small to a large bird. Otherwise, it is a safe toy medium.
I have always felt that birds have more fun, in general, with wood and other natural parts. But if you have a plastic toy freak like my daughter has, follow the above safety guidelines for those parts.
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Baby Bird Care
By Angel Savannah
Usually I focus on health issues regarding the care of our pet birds, but this article is about the birds found outside. What sparks the subject of this column is the sheer volume of birds being unintentionally killed this time of year due to the lack of good information out there.
I work in a vet clinic and I have personally seen dozens of people with good intentions picking up baby birds out of their yards and bringing them to us.
The truth is that's where they are supposed to be! When a mama bird feels her babies are getting big enough to learn the ropes, she'll push them out of the nest and onto the ground. She does not abandon them. She keeps watch over them from nearby. She will continue to feed these babies as they usually are not fully feathered when the parents think the babies should be fledging (leaving the nest). They are not weaned and they cannot take care of themselves. You may not even see the parents anywhere around. Keep in mind they are not tame parrots, they are wild birds and they are trying to keep safe from you.
It will take sometimes up to two weeks before a nest of babies will be old enough to fly off and begin their lives separate from their parents, so don't think that just because you see a baby bird for a couple of days in a row that it has been abandoned by their parents.
When should you be concerned and think about trying to get a wild bird to someone who can help it? Only if you see the parents die or if a baby gets injured should you think about getting veterinary care for it. Feeding an unweaned baby bird is not as easy as hand-feeding our baby parrots. The baby wild birds are not accustomed to the hand-feeding formula we use and typically won't live on it. The parents are regurgitating worms to the babies and we have had success with chopping up worms for them, along with berries and insects (not an appetizing venture for us).
When my Dad was mowing the lawn, he found a baby robin in the grass. He had accidentally mowed over it and there was a little blood around it. Upon close inspection, we found that only the very tip of the baby's beak had been clipped off by the mower blades. We decided, based on parrots we own who have experienced beak problems over the years, we would leave the baby robin in the yard and not move him, even though the desire to protect the baby was overwhelming. We watched over him for the next several days, and when we checked on him in the yard, he always looked fat and happy. His parents were taking good care of him.
Yesterday, a customer dropped off a bird at the vet clinic saying she thought it had been injured. It actually did look like it caught its wing in something, because it held it out unevenly from the other wing and the feathers were ruffled. The clinic didn't want to keep him there, as there is nothing actually wrong with him, so I brought him home. He is in a cage on the dining room table. Fortunately for me, this bird was weaned already and fully feathered. He cannot fly yet and his wing seems to be sore. We are hoping that he will be ready for release in a week or so. He is very pretty, a rose-breasted grosbeak.
The moral of the story is: Even though you have good intentions, the baby birds outside stand a far better chance of survival if we leave them alone.
Baby Robin that was run over by the lawnmower
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By George Goulding
Over the past few months there have been several conservation related articles appearing in various print and online publications from around the globe. Following our recent series on conservation, we thought that several were noteworthy enough to share with our readers.
African Grey and Timneh Grey Parrot Species Split
African and Timneh Grey parrot fans will be interested to learn that recent articles appearing on the Bird Life International web site and in World Parrot Trust's PsittaScene magazine reported the split of Psittacus erithacus into two distinct species Grey Parrot P. erithacus and Timneh Grey Parrot P. timneh on the basis of genetic, morphological, plumage and vocal differences. The split follows findings by Melo and O'Ryan (2007) and additional work by the BirdLife Taxonomic Working Group according to Bird Life International. Each species now will undoubtedly be studied separately to determine its actual status in the wild.
More on the Illegal African Grey Parrot Trade
An article by Sheree Bega appearing in the April 13, 2011 edition of IOL News (South Africa) reported the attempted smuggling of 161 African Greys captured in the DRC and coming into South Africa through Mozambique. The attempt was discovered by a SA military patrol and confiscated after the patrol heard distressed squawking. The birds were being transported in three small crates over land.
According to the article, it is thought that a current moratorium which forbids the import of African Greys into SA could be causing an increase in illegal trade. Dr. Steve Boyes, of the World Parrot Trust Africa, said with the moratorium in force, the "lucrative African Grey breeding industry in South Africa has had to resort to alternative import channels." Boyes went on to say that the popularity of African Greys as pets had led to local extinctions in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, the DRC, Cameroon and other places in their range.
Complete article can be accessed at: http://www.iol.co.za/scitech/science/environment/smuggling-of-rare-bird-sparks-new-fears-1.1056069
For Kakapo Lovers Everywhere
Most of us already know that one of the most endangered birds in the world is the Kakapo, so what better way to spotlight this wonderful little parrot than to write a book about it. The Royal Society of New Zealand reported in a recent press release that its 2011 Science Book Prize has gone to the book, 'Kakapo -- Rescued from the Brink of Extinction' by broadcaster and zoologist Alison Ballance and published by Craig Potton Publishing. The book is the story of conservation efforts to save the Kakapo from extinction. The author, Ms. Ballance, has been involved with Kakapo conservation for many years.
For readers who are not familiar with the Kakapo, it is truly a unique parrot being flightless, nocturnal, and herbivorous. Nearly extinct 20 years ago, the current population is 122 as of February 2010. Its range is restricted to parts of New Zealand and it is listed as critically endangered by IUCN.
Ironically, a report posted on the radio station Newstalk ZB (Auckland, New Zealand) web site on May 19 stated that researchers from the University of Adelaide (Australia) had stated that it was no longer worth putting resources into trying to save the Kakapo from extinction because it is so close. In keeping with the Kiwi spirit of independence, a (New Zealand) Department of Conservation spokesman replied that he doesn't think Australians should be telling us what to do about our native birds. New Zealand has no intention of giving up their effort to save the Kakapo.
Complete article can be accessed at: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/SC1105/S00037/new-zealands-rarest-parrot-stars-in-book-award.htm
Malaysia Gets Tough on Owning and Smuggling of Exotics
This article appeared in the Star Online (Malaysia) written by Edward Henry. Their Department of Wildlife and National Parks is requiring owners of exotic pets, which includes parrots, to register their pets and are taking extra measures to arrest and charge exotic pet owners who abuse or illegally free the animals in urban areas. A department spokesperson is quoted as saying, "We need to get the people to register their exotic animals before the new Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 (716) comes into force in August. These laws are in place to protect the public, the environment and to help enforce humane standards for housing and care of exotic animals that do not fit as pets." The spokesperson also said that undercover agents had arrested and charged poachers under the new conservation act for possessing a protected species.
The Wildlife Conservation Act of 2010 was passed by the Malaysian parliament in August of 2010. The Act toughens penalties for illegal trade in key species and gives enforcement agencies a wildlife law that they can wield against poachers and smugglers who have had little to fear in the past because of weak laws.
Perhaps the rest of the world should take a lesson from Malaysia when it comes to registering exotics, enforcing standards of care, and getting tough on the illegal animal trade.
Access the complete article at: http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2011/5/11/central/8653682&sec=central
Yellow Shouldered Amazon Foundation
To help continue the recovery of the Yellow Shouldered Amazon on the island of Bonaire, a group of individuals led by Dr. Sam Williams, Dr. Rowan Martin, and Rhian Evans, together with support from the people and government of Bonaire, formed Echo Foundation in 2010. This group had been involved with restoring the Yellow Shouldered Amazon population on Bonaire for several years. Echo has as its short term goals the release of illegally captured Amazons, doing breeding research, and nest site management. Long term goals include habitat restoration, community education and other initiatives, and sustainable tourism. The name Echo was chosen because the word means literally to come back.
Echo Foundation web site is www.echobonaire.org
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Pasta & Seed Treats
By Toni Fortin
1 egg white beaten
your seed mixture
12 ziti Rigati
4 jumbo shells
Cook your pasta until al dente (medium), run cold water over them and drain well. Beat egg white until foamy, add enough seeds so they are coated in the egg whites. Stuff pasta with coated seed mixture, place on very lightly Pam-sprayed microwave dinner plate. In the jumbo shells place 1-1/2 Tbsp. of seed mixture and a couple of pellets. Microwave on medium power for 2-1/2 minutes. Let cool and refrigerate.
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Rikki will try and answer frequently asked questions here.
Rikki, My mom puts this yellow and green stuff in my cage. She says it is good for me. I think she said it was dandy lions and it scares me. I don't wanna eat it or get too close to it.
No to Dandy Lions
Dear No to Dandy Lions, Take it from me, you have to try the dandelions. They are a member of the sunflower family. We both know how yummy sunflower seeds are. If your mom picks them from a pesticide free area and when they are young they have a honey flavor and the leaves are a good source of nutrition. Humans who eat healthy eat these, too. Give them a try - you'll be glad you did.
Rikki, I jes lub readin yor colum. You does such good answers to my qustuns. My mudder lets me rites you sobtimes to asks you qustuns. She says you are one smart cookie, but I thoughts cookies was bad. Does mudder thinks you bad?
I lub you, Scooter
Dear Scooter, Thank-you for your letter that had such kind words. I've been around the block a time or two. I try to answer to the best of my ability. Not all cookies are bad, some are healthy. Mom wouldn't let you write me if she thought I was bad. Keep your letters coming Scooter. I love you, too.
Do you have a question for Rikki?
Please send it to The Editor at email@example.com
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How to Feed Parrots More Naturally and Healthy
Editor's Note: This article is being reprinted with permission of the author, Shauna Roberts. The original title appears below.
What's All The Crop About?
By Shauna Roberts
For more information on feeding parrots naturally and healthy, please check out the
It's still dark, the sun is about to make its morning appearance but hasn't arrived quite yet. A rustling is heard high in a tree, then a muffled squawk is heard and another, then what almost appears to be shadows charge gracefully out in flight as the sun appears on the horizon. These are parrots leaving the roosting tree, or nesting cavity early in the morning making way to the foraging grounds, perhaps 2 miles or more away. Once they arrive they eat and depending on the species or the location they will depart and go to a even another place to forage in the morning and later that day. After foraging for a few hours they will settle into the trees, often for several hours during the late morning and early afternoon. At this time they will nap, rest, preen, allopreen, engage in games or tricks with one another, chatter away telling what might appear to observers to be stories. Then late afternoon they return to foraging in the trees or on the ground, filling their crops before heading back to where they will once again, rest for the night.
How can we incorporate this type of schedule into a captive parrots daily routine? Basically by feeding twice a day, morning and late afternoon and no more. However, more than once the question has been asked if parrots should have a lunch, or should they have food in their cages at all times, or what about a snack before bedtime? The answer is that 2 meals a day may be optimal. The reason isn't as simple as only replicating a wild feeding routine but for a parrot's body to work in a healthy way, it requires to be fed twice a day, mostly because parrots are equipped with what is known as a crop.
Parrots are built for efficiency, amazing efficiency and the crop is part of that. The crop is a sac like, esophageal enlargement, that is part of the digestion process, softening and lubricating food. The primary function of the crop is for food storage and is used daily in the wild, often plentiful food supply or not. We can tend to over feed captive parrots, but must be careful to never underfeed them either! Parrots are built to have a small amount of food entering their stomachs at all times and the crop is what enables them to eat large meals ( or foraging times) twice a day, and not need to be eating around the clock to keep up with caloric needs. The crop works, by holding the food and letting small amounts of food pass into the stomach at all times. If captive parrots constantly have food in front of them, they may eat to much resulting in obesity and they also are not using their crop as it is intended or designed to work.
Foraging in Captivity
No wild parrot ever has its breakfast or dinner put in front of it all chopped and ready to eat. There can be an abundance of food available to them but that food needs to not only be found and then the best selection for that day selected but then cracked, peeled or opened otherwise all while keeping an eye out for predators. Food in the wild not only fills the need for hunger but is also an active daily process. Parrots in captivity often lack and challenge in order to better satisfy their needs. Providing daily foraging activities should be a step closer to having happier captive companions. Here are some ideas. Be sure to keep an eye on fresh foods, not letting them spoil.
Hang fresh veggies and fruits from skewers
Weave fresh veggies and fruits through cage bars
Fill up those hanging cage toys with chunks of veggies and/or fruit along with some toys
If your flock interacts well, try feeding them occasionally with a large communal platter (they will socialize as well as eat, sometimes taking several hours to eat what they might consume in only minutes when by themselves)
Wrap food bowls like a package. Do this with paper or perhaps a large collard leaf. To start you may need to poke a hole in the center of the wrapping to get them started, or even tear it, showing some parrots what to do.
Offer whole foods, such as a whole baby beet with top, baby carrot with green tops, green garlic with tops etc
Fill a bowl up with toys and then drizzle seed over the top so that the seeds hide in the bowl.
Wrap seed or other hard foods up with clean white paper (NEVER use recycled paper for parrots)
Hide nuts or seeds in between rope strands
Make a foraging tree as suggested by Scott Echols DVM , Dipl ABVP at the AAV conference 2004. A play stand that has several foods bowls, each holding a small amount of food only, at varying heights. Also hang food from the stand with small ropes or string so the parrot needs to pull food up. And use puzzle toys to hide food or empty wooden vessels found at craft stores. You can increase your parrots foraging skills as it learns.
Drill holes in a piece of wood, it can be a flock or something like a 2 x 6 that is 8" or so long for a large parrot. Into those holes pound some sort of nuts such as pine nuts.
Cover cage grate with paper, then hide food in towel folds placed on the cage bottom.
Hide food in brown lunch sacks, hang with string or give as food toys.
Hide food in stainless steel buckets or sew a cotton bag.
Ideas seem to be endless -- be creative and most importantly have fun!
Feeding Feathers Group
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Keeping a Weed Free Garden
Start putting in your plants and work the nutrients in your soil. Wet some newspapers. Put layers around the plants overlapping as you go. Cover with mulch and forget about weeks. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic, they will not get through wet newspapers.
To keep squirrels from eating your plants, sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and the squirrels won't come near it. (Wonder if this works with rabbits? Yes, it works with bunnes and raccoons too).
Got a tip? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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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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Keep Your Cool
By Kim Perez
Now that we are going into warmer weather, we need to be aware of how our birds are handling the heat. I know we think of our birds as 'tropical,' but the truth is they adapt to their environments and we don't typically keep our houses tropical. For those of us who have visited a rain forest or jungle environment, we know that it really isn't all that hot there. The rain forests are typically a little cooler because the trees shade out the sunlight and the mist and frequent rains keep everything on the cool side, as well. The humidity can make the temperatures feel warmer than they are, so it is a little deceiving.
In Africa, where many of my birds would be in the wild, the temperature averages range from 40 - 80 degrees Fahrenheit. In South America, where my other birds have native relatives, there is quite a temperature fluctuation, below freezing in areas to triple digit temps in others. What this tells us is that our birds who adapt to our temperature fluctuations here in captivity, have been spending generations adapting to probably greater fluctuations in their native habitats.
In my 43 years living with birds in the Midwest, I have never seen a bird "too cold." I have several bird breeder friends who accommodate their birds in buildings with doors so their birds can be indoors or outdoors at their discretion year round. I have pictures from one friend of her cockatoos sitting outside in their tire swings in the snow! I watch another friend's budgies and lovebirds play happily outdoors during the snowy winter months. All of those feathers really do keep birds warm.
Summer is entirely different. In an effort to try to 'protect' our tropical birds, people have a tendency to want to keep them too warm. They think nothing of having them outdoors, in direct sun placed in a window, or in an un-air conditioned section of the house during the summer. I find this to be the most stressful on birds, as they have a difficult time keeping themselves cool when the weather is hot.
There are several things birds do to prevent themselves from overheating. The first thing you will probably notice them do is pant. By panting, they expel the heat from their lungs and can cool down. They can also make their feathers stand up (they look fluffy) which allows air to pass through their feathers to help cool them down. They will hold their wings out a bit from their body to again allow air to pass through. Birds will lose heat through bald spots on their bodies, including their legs and feet, faces, and any featherless areas on their heads or bodies. They will stand in their water dishes and will take water from their dishes to where they stand on a perch or branch to cool it down, as well.
What can you do to help your birds cool off in warm weather? Be sure to provide a shaded area in their cage at all times. Do not put them in direct sun over their entire cage so that there is no area for them to escape the sunlight. Provide them with a water dish in which to bathe, or at least dip their feet in. Mist them with a water bottle or in a shower. The general rule of thumb I use in my home is that if I am comfortable, my birds typically are as well. If the air conditioning needs to run for me to be comfortable, most likely it will make my birds comfortable, too. Do not allow it to blow directly on your birds, and all will be well.
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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.
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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.
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