Parrot Toy Angels: March 2008 Angel Wings
Parrot Toy Angels

Angel Wings

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

March 2008
Volume 3, Issue III

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Welcome Supporters and Angels! And a very warm welcome back to Elke D.

With Winter coming to a close and Spring so near, the excitement here grows and grows. "What about?" you might want to ask. And if you did, we would have to let you in to have a sneak peek at what is in store for you at our upcoming PTA Spring Auction.

But before that, we would like to thank you all for your responses to what you would like to see at our auction. You talk, we listen! So here are some of the items we will present to you:
♥  Beautiful parrot prints
♥  Fabulous gift certificates
♥  Scrapbook basket
♥  Luau party basket
♥  Toy Making Supplies including leather
♥  Jewelry
♥  And much, much, more !

Thank you for your input, we loved hearing from you. You inspired us!

~~ Lynn Williams & Ilona Peterson




In this month's issue:
    Plopz
    What Kind of Parrot Am I?
    Haley's Instructions for Eating Fruit
    Touched by an Angel
    Easy Sprouting
    A Seed
    Gonzo's Goodies
    Co-Parenting Cockatiels
    Land of La
    An Angel Amongst Us
    The Miracle Of Mavis
    Psittacosis
    Send in the Clown

A big thank you to the Newsletter Committee. Ya'll rock!
Angel Toys For Angels

Featured Toys for March

Shooting Stars
Shooting Stars
for Small Birds


Super Preener
Super Preener
for Medium to Large Birds


Cubes
Cubes
for Large to X-Large Birds


Check out all the
Angel Toys for Angels

now!





Parker
Parker adores his PTA Atom
Click here for more information

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ANGEL TIPS
Birdie safe cleaning tips By Sue Christie-Cox

Baking Soda: Sodium bicarbonate is not just for making biscuits and corn bread. Use it to remove odors from refrigerators, freezers, drains, carpets and upholstery; put out grease fires; polish kitchen surfaces and utensils; remove stains; and brush your teeth.

As a spray:
Dissolve 4 tbsp. in a quart of warm water to make an all-purpose cleaner. Mix it in a spray bottle, spray and wipe. Add it to vinegar to clean toilets.

As a scrub:
You can use a wet sponge, sprinkle the baking soda on it and scrub your sinks, toilets, tile, counter tops and of course your cages, playstands and gyms.

Mix baking soda and vinegar or lemon:
There will be a fizzing action. It is a safe fizz. It is homemade scrubbing bubbles; use them to foam away in small cracks and hard to reach places.

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PTA Supplier of the Month! WOW

Birdy Boredom Busters
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Bird Cages Galore

Why buy a Bird Cage from Bird Cages Galore?? Because we do not "just sell" top quality cages at reasonable prices, provide free shipping and a free toy with each cage; we offer first rate customer service and will answer your questions about most bird-related matters. Visit us on the web, browse our selection, join our discussion forum and sign up for our free Newsletter,
The Caged Bird Courier.

We are here to help, because we care about your bird!!

♥ ♥ ♥

>>C O U P O N<<
10% off any item on the
Parrot Toy Angels site
Coupon expires
4/05/08

Offer not valid
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What Kind of Parrot Am I?
Dictated by Skittles O'Brien
Typed by Jean O'Brien

I weigh about 110 grams (4 oz.) and I'm about 30 cm. (12") long. My beak is black. My ancestors came from South America. With good care from a well trained human, I can live 25 to 30 years. I have been called one of the most beautiful and brightly colored of all parrots. Have you figured it out yet?

My feathers are a vibrant blend of yellow, orange, red, blue and green. When a flock of my ancestors were flying across an evening sky, someone said their colors looked like a beautiful sunset and that is how I got my name. Yes, I'm a Sun Conure. If you want to get technical I'm an Aratinga Solstitialis. Whatevever you call me, I am a beautiful bird.

SkittlesI have been called endearing, charming, playful, curious, active and just plain wonderful. There are a few humans who have complained that I am too loud but they don't understand that in the morning I must call out to the flock to wake up and get moving. In the evening I sound off again to let everybody know it is time to call it a day and get ready to roost for the night. Really, I am just doing what a bird is supposed to do. If you humans think that is loud, you should hear my "Conure Nuclear Alert". My job is to let everybody know if a stranger is near or if the wind blows a leaf past my window. You never know, it may be a predator threatening my flock. I'm just doing my job.

We Sun Conures reach sexual maturity at around two years of age. If I wanted to start a family, which I don't because I love all the attention just for myself, but "if" I did I would lay a clutch of four or five eggs which would hatch in 23 days. The funny looking little fluff balls would gradually get feathers but they would be predominately green. They don't come into their full glory of colors until they're all grown up.

I like to eat fresh veggies and fruit, healthy grains and beans, some seeds, and it wouldn't hurt you to throw in a cookie every now and then. OK, I know, I'm not supposed to have junk food. But that doesn't stop me from begging. If you can eat it, why can't I? Maybe you should eat healthier too?

I am not a one-person bird like those stuck-up African Greys, I love everybody. Skittles I make a great family pet and I am even nice to strangers. I will generally go to anybody who has the good sense to admire my beauty and brains. Some of us talk and some of us don't. Personally, I think humans should learn to speak my language, but until they do I can make myself understood to anybody who will take the time to listen and watch my body language. If I get all puffed up and start doing my snake dance, you might want to back off and give me some space. Give me a few minutes and I will be back to my usual happy self.

I love my toys. I don't care for those huge chunks of wood but give me a toy with some popsicle sticks, a few beads and a bell and I am a happy bird.

I should warn you though, I am very picky about my territory. If you start messing around with my stuff, I probably won't bite you but I will give you a good talking to. Skittles after bath It is in my nature to protect my area so don't get all bent out of shape if I object to you invading my space. You want to know what else I love? Music. I am one of the better dancers if I do say so myself. If you want to dance with me, all the better, I can get really excited if I have a dance partner. We will laugh and have a great time together, and afterwards I will snuggle in your shirt and give you birdie kisses.

All in all, I am the perfect pet. I'm small so I don't take up a huge amount of space like those giant show-off macaws. I'm happy and playful and I'll even learn to poop in one spot if that is important to you. Some people say I'm not a good pet if you live in an apartment because of the loud thing. But you know what I say? If you want quiet, get a pet rock. If you want beauty, brains, and a fun-loving, friendly, happy companion, get me, a gorgeous Sun Conure.

Skittles in flight
Skittles in flight

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Haley's Instructions for Eating Fruit
By Haley Deja'Too

When foreign objects are placed in your food dish you must react appropriately.

First, eyeball said alien object. You will want to do this in front of your human slave. Your human slave will be waiting eagerly in hopes you are pleased with what they are gifting to you and you have to acknowledge this. Make your eye as large as possible and tilt your head towards the object so they understand.

In the off chance that what they have presented to you is a tasty almond in disguise, you should test it. Lean your body inward and open your beak ever so slightly. Gently graze the surface of object with your tongue. Most times it is a rotting nut that has gone soft and juicy. They will try to trick you by saying it is called something like Mango, Apple, or Strawberry. Remember that your human slave's intelligence is far below your own and try not to be angered. They don't know any better!

Next you need to express your disgust. This may be done by the following: Start with wiping off your beak vigorously on all perches and cage bars that are nearby. Even though your beak did not touch the vulgar object, you need to make your point clear.

Then you want to turn your head as far away from the object, with your beak in the air. This expresses that you did not appreciate what they have brought you. Last you will need to cover this object, as it is rotting. With your head still turned away, take a projectile 'too leg and sweep other food over the object to bury it. Be very careful not to touch it!

You will need to now demand your proper almond treat. You may do this by training your human very easily. Sit on your perch with feathers fluffed around your beak and claw at your neck. Be certain to look as pitiful and adorable as possible. When your human approaches, turn your back quickly! Put your beak up in the air and refuse to look at them, no matter what! They will try to talk sweetly and adorn you with compliments. As pleasurable and accurate as this is, do not give in! Before long your human will be offering you the correct almond treat as an act of forgiveness for such deplorable actions.

Always remember that your human's intent is to please you, no matter how off-base it is. By experimenting with both positive and negative reinforcement techniques, you can train your human to do as you please in no time. Do not be afraid to try new techniques such as randomly screaming at different times or sulking. These methods are highly effective.

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Touched by an Angel
By Elle Mott, Parrot Education Project

Parrot Education Project in NW, Georgia and the parrots here can definitely say they know what it's like to be touched by an angel. Through the creative works and labors of love from so many wonderful Parrot Toy Angels. In February we were experiencing some very cold weather and my spirits were kinda low as I went, as usual, to check the mail at our little local post office where we are fortunate to have a very bright and happy young lady that works the front office. She smiled as she passed over the first boxes of toys that arrived. It was truly a warming experience when we opened each box and got to see the beautiful letterhead gently tucked inside with very little information other than the Angel's name who had created this labor of love. Opening each box was like getting to experience the magic of Christmas knowing the joy that the parrots would receive from all the creations.

Well, the first boxes arrived in early February and as I sit to write this letter I wish I could tell you the happiness these gifts brought us each day as we went to the post office to receive yet another shipment of toys. Words can't capture the smile of the young lady at the post office as she passed and scanned each box. I myself was in true amazement at the coordinated efforts of so many people that used their talents, financial resources and labors of love to make and package with such care and send so many wonderful toys. As for the parrots, here they are busy swinging, chewing wood toys, shredding paper etc. I feel truly privileged to get to witness their happiness.

Late in February as the last boxes arrived I didn't think the lady at the post office's smile could get any bigger as she too got to witness all this wonderful work!

We can definitely say that we got to experience what it's like to be touched by angels! This February with all the gifts will definitely be a month to remember!

Many, Many Thanks to all you angels!
Elle Mott
Parrot Education Project
NW, Georgia

Easy Sprouting:
Part One of Three

By Regina M. Jankowski

When I hear the word "sprouts" I have an instant image of a long-haired hippie eating a repulsive looking sandwich with tails hanging out. A little dramatic, it's true. I'm the kind of girl who knows the four basic food groups: chocolate, frozen, bagged, and canned. This whole "healthy" thing just doesn't sit right with me. A part of my soul fights it with gusto. Then I looked into my bird's eyes and realized that for them to eat better, I would have to eat better. So I swallowed my hopes and dreams of losing weight through immense chocolate consumption and sought help.

My friends here at Parrot Toy Angels were very supportive. Apparently they realized that my knowledge of my kitchen was merely that it's located in the back of my house and used to wash birdie bowls and get them fresh filtered water. They were kind enough to start me off easy, sprouts.

I cringed at the thought. Have you ever looked at information on the web regarding sprouts? Some of these instructions read like my stereo manual. If it's easier to program my VCR, I get frustrated. Alfalfa sprouts are the only sprouts I had ever heard off. (insert image of long-haired hippie here) Most of the seeds and beans are new sounds to my ears. So I decided that if I have to suffer through this whirlwind of confusion, why should you? (Of course, I just learned what kale is so you're probably better off than I am.) I will clear out the confusion and share my journey of sprouting with you from start to finish.

The first question I had about sprouts was simple. "Why?" A seed is dormant. Water is what transfers a seed from dormancy to a living existence. Once it is alive, it's nutritional value rises dramatically. Sprouting a seed doesn't require dirt, just water. So everything a seed needs to grow into a nutritional plant are already contained in the seed. You just have to wake them up by adding water! So instead of feeding your bird a dormant seed, why not feed them the same seed at its maximum nutritious value? Sprouts contain trace minerals, vitamins and enzymes. What an amazing little miracle seeds are. They almost match my awe at a bird growing in an egg, almost.

So join me on this venture of healthier birds and order your EasySprout from Parrot Toy Angels today. I just received mine and am looking forward to getting this journey started!

EDITORS NOTE: Regina's journey into the world of sprouts will be continued in the April issue of Angel Wings. Stay tuned!!

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A Seed
By Lori M. Nelsen

A seed, you say? Yes, we soaked it together
I'll bet it will sprout and last forever
No hoe or spade, to keep it alive
Unnecessary things aren't needed to survive
Only water, seeds, and a bit of care
Will make a small seed sprout in the air.

Providing a complete protein for your feathered ones is very important when making their menu. When you are preparing, you will need to consider the amount of either soaked or sprouted grain and legumes in your menu. To provide a complete protein, you will need to add two times the amount of grains as legumes. For example, 1/2 grains to 1/4 cup of legumes. This mixture should be approximately 50% of their food for the day along with greens, veggies, fruits, nuts, and essential fatty acids and green supplements.

Grains can be sprouted and fed, sprouted and cooked or just soaked. Legumes can be soaked and fully sprouted (to 1/2 tails) or soaked and cooked. After deciding how you will be preparing these then you can think about your recipes.

I am always very short on time so I have some short cuts that work great for me. I only have one large cockatoo but I make separate batches and freeze both the grains and the legumes. It is easy and I only do it every couple of weeks. I freeze flat in gallon zip lock bags and just break up as needed for the day.

I soak my grains, I do not sprout. The grain swells, in just a few hours, and is ready to pop a little sprout, that is when I feed and/or freeze. With legumes it is different. I soak about 20 hours after rinsing well. I then drain and place in a pot, cover with water, adding some cumin and tumeric, and boil for 20 minutes and then simmer for 10 minutes skimming off the foam. Most "parronts" will only need to boil for 10 minutes and simmer for 20 minutes but Gonzo gets the 'bubbles', if I do. I have found if I only use a couple of different legumes in my mixes for him we have less chance of bubbles (digestive upsets).

I purchase my grains and legumes about twice a year and keep them in the freezer. I keep them separately so I can mix and match. For grains I purchase: Kamut, Spelt, Amaranth, Quinoa, Triticale, Rye berry, Buckwheat, Kasha, Millet, Barley, Wild Rice, and Brown Rice. These grains contain Vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, calcium, iron, lecithin, magnesium, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, potassium, all amino acids, and trace elements. They are up to 30% protein.

For legumes I purchase adzuki, mung, lentils (many varieties), garbanzo, and peas. I choose 2 of these for each batch usually including a lentil. The legumes contain Vitamin A, B, and E, calcium, iron, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus potassium, all essential amino acids. They are 20-30% protein.

After all this information, I thought a couple of my basic recipes might help to get your creative juices flowing. Just mix and match and have fun.

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* Stackable, durable and easy to clean, EASY-SPROUT is made from the finest quality food grade materials
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Gonzo's Goodies
By Gonzo Nelsen

Gonzo

Legumes


Rinse 1 cup Adzuki Beans and 1 cup Lentils. Soak over night (about 18 - 20 hours) in 4 cups warm water and 2 capfuls Apple Cider Vinegar. Rinse well and place in large pan. Cover with fresh water, adding 1/4 tsp. of Tumeric and 1/4 tsp. of Cumin. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes, skimming off the foam (gas bubbles). Simmer for another 20 minutes, watching the amount of water so the pan does not go dry. Pour in a strainer, let cool and drain. Keep some out for your menu.

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Grains

Rinse 1/2 cup Kamut, 1/2 cup Kasha, 1/4 cup Wild Rice, 1/4 Amaranth, 1/2 cup Rye Berry. Soak over night (about 12 - 20 hours) in 4 cups water and 2 capfuls Apple Cider Vinegar. Rinse well and place in large strainer, shaking repeatedly until pretty dry. Keep some out for your menu.

♥ For both Legumes and Grains:
After keeping some out for your menu, place the rest in a gallon zip lock bag and place flat on a cookie sheet in the freezer. After they are frozen, break up in small chunks. Take out what you need each day and thaw on a paper towel. ♥ 

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The Menu

3 - 5 Green Leafy Veggies: Collard Greens, Bok Choy, Fennel, Mustard Greens, Kale
2 Yellow Veggies: Carrot and Summer Squash
1 - 2 Fruits: Blackberries and 1 Orange Section
Other: Radish and Jicama
EFA: 3 drops Flax Seed Oil
1/16 Tsp. Alfalfa Powder
Couple Grains of Kelp

Place all of the above ingredients in the food processor and mince finely. It should be approximately 1/2 cup when minced. Add 1/2 cup of your grains and legume mixtures (2 part grains to 1 part legumes). I divide it for 2 meals leaving the morning meal as it is. In the evening I also add some fun food chunks, some nuts, or some dry seed.

Use your imagination, you can add a bit of garlic, a pinch of cinnamon, some scrambled egg, wild caught salmon, snap peas, a wheel of corn, or some kamut pasta. Jazz it up, put it in a hollowed out mini pumpkin, wrap it in collard greens, or an organic whole wheat tortilla. Your feathered friend will look forward to their "dining experience".

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Co-Parenting Cockatiels
By Susana Emberg

First of all, let me say that if you are considering co-parenting, in fact, if you are considering allowing any of your birds to breed, you need to learn what to do in emergency situations, including egg-binding, and how to hand-feed, should the parents abandon their babies. You should also seriously consider the health and temperament of your birds. Fearful birds, birds who pluck or pick at their mates, territorial birds, etc. probably won't make the best parents, and will certainly make co-parenting more difficult, and birds who are not in optimal health don't have the resources to deal with laying and hatching eggs and feeding demanding babies.

Once the eggs are laid, we get the parents used to us poking around by regularly opening the nest box (at least 2 or 3 times a day) and checking the eggs. Our Kali is so used to us doing this, I can knock on the nest box (I'm polite, I always knock first :~), open it, and ask her to "Let me see" and she will move off the eggs so I can have a look. It's important that the parents trust you at this stage, because if they won't let you handle the eggs, they probably won't let you handle babies, either.

Once the babies start hatching, we keep checking in several times a day, we've actually gotten to see a couple of hatchings happen! We remove soiled bedding, take new babies out for quick pictures and to make sure they look healthy.

Once the first baby's eyes are open, we start handling them every day. Just for a few minutes a couple of times a day for the first few days, and then longer and longer as the days progress. We hold them close, look them right in the eyes, talk softly to them, stroke them, even help preen their little pin feathers as they get older. We do this every day, with each baby, at least a couple of times a day. We often take the oldest one out a little more at this point, to give the younger babies a chance for a little more food.

When all the babies are totally covered with pinfeathers, we take the nest box totally away, put the babies in a basket with 3 inch high sides in the bottom of the cage, and cover the back and one side of the cage. We put low dishes on the floor with fresh foods, seed and pellets, water and toys, and within days, the babies are exploring.

3-4 weeks old is a wonderful bonding time. They aren't ready to fly yet, but they'll love to cuddle. And if they are used to being handled at this age, when they do start flying, they will be easy to handle. Baby cockatiels, when they first start to fly, can get some serious attitude. :~)

It's at this point, you'll usually find us wandering around with a baby in a shirt pocket, or curled up on the couch with the whole clutch so mom and dad can go have a meal all to themselves. We take them into other rooms of the house, let them play on the bed, on a blanket on the floor, any place that's different. The idea is to expose them to different situations. The other cockatiels will often come and play with them as well.

We've done this thru half a dozen clutches, and each one has been a joy. The babies are well adjusted, do well with other birds and people, have confidence and love to play. Being parent-fed they got the normal love and affection they get from their parents, and we added love from us in that formative time to sweeten the deal.

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Land of La
By La's Human, Peggy

I own a Sun Conure. Her name is La Marcel. She is...
Peggy!
Yes, La.
You already have it wrong.
I do?
Yes, you do. You don't own me. (Silly human.) I agree to let you house and feed me, and bring me toys. I consent to chew holes in all your clothes, and to wake you very early in the morning regardless of when you go to bed. In return, you receive the delightfulness of La.
Thank you, La, for the clarification. Now, can we define delightfulness? Is it your lovely squawks -- so loud the neighbors cringe? Is it the floor strewn with tossed food and chewed wood? Could it be the bite marks, some of which, I must remind you, draw blood? Or the scratches on my chest when I let your toe nails grow a bit too long?
Peggy, I am a Sun Conure, after all. You know that when you asked me to live with you.
I did know you were a Sun Conure -- not something that can be kept secret given your glorious colors! Of course, since you were a baby at the time, you weren't quite so golden -- and, perhaps, not quite so loud. Do you remember picking me?
I didn't like the mean lady who had me in her house. She had no respect for La! But you let me hide in your hair, and you knew that I would forever be yours.
That's right, my love. I took you home, and it is the best decision I ever made.
Of course, it is. You get to live with La.
Indeed I do.
And I see to it that you get organic fruits and veggies everyday. And I see to it that you cook good grains and birdie bread.
I know, La. Without you my culinary skills would be very limited. I do love coming up with new combinations for you to eat. Fortunately, we also get good foods from ParrotNutz!
Now don't forget to tell these nice people about how I protect you from vacuums and pens and scary things out the window. Tell them because they need to know.
Can I explain that protection is in the form of the Conure Nuclear Alert and that sometimes it includes powerful bites?
La only gives the best security. Has that vacuum attacked you once since I've been by your side?
I can't say that it has, La. Can I tell them about your dragging huge pieces of soft pine all the way across the sofa, up over the playstand, to get to me so that you can dive in my shirt and chew the wood to splinters?
Silly, Peggy. Why ask my permission when you just told them?
Good point, La. I bet they would like to know how we travel around New York City together -- safely, of course. Parrot safety -- first and foremost!
Tell them about the bank and how all the tellers know me and are very sad if I'm not with you.
That's true, La. And the man at the grocery store is very fond of you also.
Everyone's fond of La!
Should we mention the books that have chewed pages?
I do love books!
Should we tell them about your long showers with me? How you perch on my hand, lean against my chest, close your eyes, and let the water pour all over you?
Tell them about my tricks!
La Marcel does know a few good tricks. She can turn around and shake hands and roll over and raise her wings. She says some words, too, although not every clearly. She says "Kiss kiss", "Good girl," and when I ask if she's a good bird, she will say, "Yes. Yes." She's working on "I love you."
That's because I do!
And I love you, too. But of course, you are an only bird and so you get lots and lots of attention. And I do most of my work at home and so you rarely spend time alone in your cage.
But when you do go out, I get TV cartoons and hidden cage treats. You call them forage. I guess because I'm four. When I turn five will the treats be fiveage?
No, La, hidden treats will always be forage. Can you tell everyone your favorite treat? At least this week's favorite.
My whiffle ball that hangs down, and I run over and I find papaya in the holes. And I grab and eat and it's so good it makes me forget I miss you so much. Time to tell the people about your life in the Land of La.
Land of La. That's what it is! Four years ago, I had an apartment; now I live in a bird's nest. Four years ago, I didn't know about the dangers of Teflon or the threat of cleaning supplies. Four years ago, I did not know people from all over the world who are as amazed as I am by the wonder of living with a parrot. La Marcel transformed my life. Her capacity for love never fails to amaze me. It is true she's a self-centered creature.
PEGGY!
Sorry, La, but we have to be honest. I must add, though, that for La, I am her center just as she is mine. When she nestles in my shirt, grinding her beak and begins to sleep, when all is right in her world and I, clumsy human that I am, create that rightness, it gives a feeling like no other. I thank La everyday for the gift of her La-ness.
You're very welcome Peggy. I do the best I can. And given that I'm a bird who has to get used to silly human ways, I think I do a superb job. Can I have a treat now?
Of course, La. Anything you want. Excuse me please. La calls!

See La Marcel (who owns Peggy) in all her colorful glory. Click here

♥ ♥ ♥

An Angel Amongst Us
Parrot Toy Angels come in all shapes and sizes, and from all walks of life. Let us introduce you to one of our Angels

Kim

Angel Toymaker Kim
Toymaker, Teacher, Musician, Toy Manufacturer  •  IL, USA

Our toymaker Kim is a woman with many titles. First and foremost she is a Mother of two generous, caring, teenagers who are also Parrot Toy Angels. She is a Wife, Music Teacher, Musician, and owner of Tri-State Pets Mfg. Any one of these is a full-time job, but somehow she juggles them all and still has time to make toys for almost every project.

Growing up with a "crafty" mom and a great imagination gave Kim the foundation she needed for creating the innovative parrot toys she makes today. Caring for about 90 birds, give or take a clutch or two, provides the incentive! Not only a woman of many titles, she is also a woman of many talents. Aside from toy making Kim can also sew, cross stitch, crochet, and she wields a mean set of knitting needles.

As a parrot toy manufacturer she received many requests for donations from various people and organizations. Wanting to give and not having time (I wonder why!) to look into all the requests, Kim was happy to have found Parrot Toy Angels. An organization she believes in and where she can donate her time and toys to help "one bird at a time".

Seeing the pictures of, and hearing about, a personal delivery of toys brings tears of joy to her eyes and makes her thankful, she says, to be a part of a group bringing such happiness to others. Parrot Toy Angels are thankful that Kim is a part of this group!

♥ ♥ ♥

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




The Miracle of Mavis
By Shelly Wing

On Easter Sunday, 2003 a lone Greenwing Macaw chick hatched in an incubator. It has never been my practice to incubator hatch chicks. However, when this chick's mother died shortly after laying a single egg, and candling determined the egg was fertile, there was no alternative. Rarely have I seen a male Greenwing Macaw incubate eggs.

This chick was indeed a Miracle, born of wild caught, Hyacinth sized, Greenwing Macaw parents that were at least 30 years of age. In the summer of 1999, the pair was found in an old abandoned barn, in a cage made of rusty parrot wire, measuring 4'x4'x4'. They had been without food for at least a week, and at the time they were discovered they were without water as well. Neighbors reported that the pair had been in that same cage in that old, dank barn for at least 4 years. Four years! Not able to perch without their heads and tails touching the cage wire. Four years without light, without sunshine, without toys, without anything except a single 2 x 4 for a perch, a single crock for water and a single crock for food.

I was contacted by Animal Control and asked to take the pair. Subsequently, they were examined by my Vet, found to be grossly underweight (their eyes were sunken into their skulls). Both birds cultured positive for massive overgrowths of Enterobacter, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas bacteria. One of the birds (the female) had a **cloacal papilloma. Blood results came back the following week and the good news was that both birds were negative for PBFD, Psittacosis and Polyoma. However, both birds had high white cell counts, extremely low blood calcium levels, high iron counts, elevated serum amylase and Lipase (indicating bowel and/or pancreatic disease), elevated liver enzymes…. There was not much that was "normal" or "average".

Following a 30 day quarantine and a 30 day course of Baytril, the pair was moved to a flight built especially for them, 18 feet long x 12 feet wide x 12 feet high, at the Aviary to live out the remainder of their lives.

Thus, on April 20, 2003 our "miracle" Chick hatched and the work began!

The baby Greenwing Macaw was temporarily named "Baby Bird", until sex could be determined and a name then decided on. The chick weighed 82 grams at hatching, she would top the scales at 1401 grams and her weight at 1 year of age stabilized at 1340 grams. The first several weeks of the Chick's life were spent in a Brooder.

DNA results indicated that we had a girl! After much discussion with nieces and granddaughters, our girl was finally named Mavis! At about 4 weeks of age Mavis was transferred from the brooder to a plastic tub and by 12 weeks of age, she had fledged and was transferred to a cage.

Being a solitary chick, Mavis was given a stuffed animal at hatching, so she had something to snuggle with. Several toys were placed in her tub as early as 4 weeks of age, and she was introduced to food at about 6 weeks of age. A small, shallow crock containing pellets and parrot mix was placed in her tub. Fresh veggies, fruit, birdy bread were added to her little crock daily. Of course, Mavis didn't eat this food… but she played with it and this early introduction to food is, in my opinion, instrumental in weaning.

At about 8 weeks of age, Mavis began spending time in the "pool" with the other babies I was raising. She was so much bigger than everybody else that I wasn't comfortable with her having a tub mate; however, she did well with the other babies in the "pool". (Pool explanation - when raising babies, I set up a large, plastic children's wading pool in the middle of the living room. I "stock" the pool with training perches, toys and bowls of food. When babies are 6-8 weeks of age, depending on species, they spend much of the day playing in the pool. This allows interaction with other birds and also allows observation of household happenings. They become used to normal everyday things such as the vacuum cleaner, television, visitors, etc.)

Very soon after Mavis' introduction to the "pool" she became best friends with Tallulah, a small statured Umbrella Cockatoo baby of about the same age. Mavis and Tallulah became inseparable and once both were perching well and had fledged they shared a cage. Once fledged the babies would spend most of their day in an outdoor Aviary with the other large species babies.

Mavis rapidly learned to step up, step down, was easily harness trained and by 6 months of age she said her first word! She began to greet people with "HELLOW-LOW-LOW-LOW". Her vocabulary has grown much in the ensuing years, but still she continues to greet people with the same "hello-low-low-low-low"!

By this time I was beginning to think about what I was going to do with Mavis...whether I would keep her or place her in a home of her own. I was very attached. Mavis was and continues to be a *huge*, lovable, friendly, outgoing, gentle girl. Over the next several months several people expressed an interest in Mavis, however, when they came to meet her, I didn't feel there was the right chemistry between them and Mavis. Thus, since Mavis held an extra-special place in my heart, the decision was made to keep her as part of my own bird family.

By Christmas of that year, all the babies had gone to their new homes and I had made the decision to stop breeding/raising birds. I had one last commitment for a Blue Throated Macaw baby in 2004. That baby would be the last Avian Antics bred/raised baby.

In April of 2004, I received a phone call from a woman in Toledo, Ohio asking if she could come visit and see my Blue Throated Macaws. She had been raised with a Blue and Gold Macaw and wanted a Macaw of her own. She realized that I no longer was breeding/raising birds, however, I was the closest person she could find who actually had Blue Throated Macaws and she wanted to see and interact with them to see if this was a species she might be interested in.

When Cheryl arrived at the house Jazz, Stewart (Blue Throats), Stella (U2), Sara (CAG) and Mavis were all hanging out on their play gyms. When Cheryl walked in Mavis yelled HELLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLO and got very excited! Cheryl visited briefly with the Blue Throats and then just had to go pay attention to Mavis, who had continued to holler for Cheryl's attention. Mavis went right to Cheryl, stepping up onto her arm, even though Cheryl hadn't offered her arm! For both Mavis and Cheryl it was love at first sight!

In the end Mavis went to live with Cheryl in Toledo. I have visited several times and am very pleased to report that Mavis has a wonderful home, always greets me with Hellololololo!, and still comes to me readily, preens my hair and seems to know who I am.

The story of Mavis' beginning is a sad one, but Mavis' life has been one of love and happiness. A small Easter Miracle that will always be looked upon as a symbol of hope by those who love her.

** A wart-like mass on the surface of the cloaca.

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Psittacosis
By Dori Jacobson

Psittacosis (also known as Parrot Fever) is an infectious disease caused by Chlamydia psittaci. Common birds affected include cockatiels, budgies, and poultry. Of note is that it can also be spread to humans.

Transmission:
Psittacosis is spread through feces and nasal discharge of infected birds. Birds can be infectious for several months, and some can become carriers, appearing healthy, but shedding the bacteria during times of stress or immune compromise.

Symptoms:
Symptoms are generally flu-like...ruffled feathers, labored breathing, nasal discharge. Eye discharge should be a warning sign to check for psittacosis, however this can often be a late symptom. One very visual symptom that has been reported is bright green fecal droppings, almost a fluorescent green. One rare form of psittacosis manifests with central nervous system symptoms: tremors, shaking, paralysis, and seizures.

Diagnosis:
Blood testing, complete blood count, liver function tests. PCR and antibody and antigen testing are performed. Testing can produce false negatives.

Treatment:
Typical treatments include doxycycline, tetracycline and Baytril. These are given mixed in food, or, more reliably, via injection. Affected and exposed birds must be quarantined.

Prevention and Control:
Cleanliness is vital. Any new birds being introduced into the flock or family should undergo a 30-45 day quarantine period before being introduced to the general population. A comprehensive veterinary exam and blood work should be performed when bringing a new bird into the household. Some people, especially breeders do prophylactic treatment of new birds coming into the fold.

REFERENCES:
Pamphlet by WA State Dept. of Health
www.toolady.com/articles/psitticosis.htm
www.santaclarapethospital.com/723093.html
http://www.avianweb.com/psittacosis.html

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Send In the Clown
November, 2006
By Regina M. Jankowski

The depth of emotional understanding in birds will never cease to amaze me. My female cockatiel Baby passed away yesterday. Baby was only 2-1/2 years old. She had been to the vet a few months ago and was deemed healthy. Now my flock is down to three 'tiels and one white-bellied caique.

When I found Baby, it was eerily silent. The three other 'tiels, including her mate Ricky, were silent and still. After her removal from the cage and my breakdown, I noticed that each 'tiel grieved in their own way. One female appeared completely fine. The other was silent although she moved about. Ricky would not move or make a sound. He stayed on his perch for hours on end. If I spoke to him, he merely puffed up and closed his eyes, as if the pain were too unbearable to tolerate any further. I suddenly felt so alone, and, against my better judgement, decided to sit down with my caique and mourn. I was fearful that my eight-month-old acrobat would play, scream, and exhibit other non-respectful characteristics that my flock would deem obnoxious and rude. Let's face it; the odds were not in my favor. That's when something happened that I never expected and am still amazed at. My little caique Alexa held me. First she climbed on my chest and put her beak on my nose, pressing her throat and body as close to mine as physically possible. Then we sat cheek to cheek in silence. She didn't venture for one foot toy. She didn't giggle or roll about. Lexie supported and loved me through my grief, as I never imagined she could.

This morning, another example of miraculous understanding occurred. Ricky, who is normally only friendly to males, kissed me through his cage. When I asked him how he was, he didn't scream his usual words or whistles. Instead, he sounded a soft, almost questioning, "Ricky? Ricky?" This was normally screamed back and forth between Baby and Ricky upon separation until they were reunited. My heart broke even more. I had no idea there was more there to break.

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Kumquat
Kumquat who owns Devi

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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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