Parrot Toy Angels: May 2009 Angel Wings
Parrot Toy Angels

Angel Wings

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

May 2009
Volume 4, Issue V

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In this month's issue:
    PTA Spring Auction Announcement
    ParrotNutz Italian Corn Mini Muffins
    Creation Story
    Birdie Frittata
    What Is A Parrot To Eat?
    Help Us
    Safety Today
    Featured Fid ~ The Puerto Rican Parrot
    Cool Clear Water
    Odd Couples ~ Fletcher and Charlotte
    Gardening for Food
    So Your Parrot is Hormonal
    Rikki Sez


Welcome

Traci L. from Illinois

Happy Mother's Day

Angel Toys For Angels

Featured Toys for May

Loofah Footers
Loofah Footers
Medium to Large Birds

Angel Ducky Beads
Angel Ducky Beads
Small to Medium Birds

Paper Poppers
Paper Poppers
Small to Medium Birds


Check out all the
Angel Toys for Angels

now!


Parrot Toy Angels Spring Auction

May 7 thru May 17, 2009

Spring Auction Preview

Spring is here, and with it the promise of good things to come:
warmer weather, beautiful flowers, songbirds, and our
SPRING AUCTION !

Once again our sponsors and Angels have gone all out 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.

Do you have a spot on the wall that looks a little empty and in need of color?
COME TO OUR AUCTION
Do you have a bird who is sitting on its perch longing to chew and shred?
COME TO OUR AUCTION
Could you use a little bling to brighten up a summer outfit?
Hang a little glamour and attitude on your ears?
COME TO OUR AUCTION
Could you use more free time by having ready-mixed birdie breads and healthy mashes?
COME TO OUR AUCTION
Think you deserve to buy yourself a gift for all you do?
COME TO OUR AUCTION

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 HELP 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 4 years.

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

Auction starts Thursday, May 7 12:00pm PDT
and ends Sunday, May 17, 2009.
Banner will be active then.

Parrot Toy Angels Spring Auction

♥ ♥ ♥
ParrotNutz

Italian Corn Mini Muffins

Italian Corn Mini Muffins

For the bird who likes his treats molto piccante! These HOT, vitamin C-rich mini muffins are made with fresh, pureed hot & sweet green and red peppers, crushed red hot pepper, dehydrated sweet red pepper, garlic, white corn meal and other healthy whole grains. Magnifico!

15.95/ 15 mini muffins
1 to 1.5 lbs.

Click Here to order

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FEATHERED FUNNIES


Q: What do you get if you cross a parrot with a shark?
A: A bird that will talk your ear off!

Q: What do you get if you cross a parrot with a centipede?
A: A great walkie-talkie!

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The Creation Story
As Told By a Parrot

On the first day of creation,
God created the bird.
On the second day,
God created man to serve the bird.
On the third day,
God created all the plants of the earth (especially the sunflower) to serve as potential food for the bird.
On the fourth day,
God created honest toil so that man could labor for the good of the bird.
On the fifth day,
God created the toy so that the bird might or might not destroy it.
On the sixth day,
God created veterinary science to keep the bird healthy and the man broke.
On the seventh day,
God tried to rest, but He had to feed, clean the cage and amuse the bird.

Bird Cages Galore

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

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

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Birdie Frittata
By Colleen Soehnlein

Yummy Waffles

1 cup prepared wild rice
2 cups prepared kamut
2 tbs. coconut oil
2 cups mixed veggies
8 eggs
1/3 cup milk

2 - 8" round pans

Preheat oven to 350.
Prepare the kamut and wild rice. (I usually make this for the flock when I'm making wild rice mushroom soup for me.)
Break the eggs into a bowl - it's up to you if you leave in the shells. Mix in the milk, stir in rice and veggies. Use what your guys and gals like! Toss in some cheese - make eating fun for them!
Melt 1 tbs. coconut oil in each pan in the oven. Pour half of the egg mixture into each pan. Sprinkle with Milk Thistle seeds as a topping.Bake for 15 to 20 minutes - check for firmness at 15 minutes. Cool. Remove from pan and serve. My guys love it!

Sweet Pea enjoying Birdie Frittata
Sweet Pea AKA: Green Chicken enjoying the Birdie Frittata

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What Is A Parrot To Eat?
By Dori Jacobson

Seed mixes? Peanuts? Sunflower seeds? Pellets? Cooked foods and breads? Supermarket savings? Pizza? Potato Chips? Does it really matter?

In the wild, our birds would eat a variety of foods... seeds, nuts, bugs, berries, flowers, fruits, even some veggies in some regions. Yet the tendency for owners of exotic pet birds is often to feed a strictly seed mix or pellet diet, or for those unfortunate birds, sunflower seeds and peanuts...period. Our birds need variety in their lives. A mixture of foods that provide them with the nutrition they need and tastes they desire. Would you want to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every meal and every day of your life?

Fresh food provides them with vitamins and minerals needed for a long healthy life. Living foods that have not had the vitamins processed and heated out of them until little remains. Just as humans need their fresh fruits and veggies, so do our birds. Pellets provide them with a balanced diet that doesn't spoil quickly. Seeds offer them the fats they need for energy. Nuts provide them with fats and protein. But their diets should not be limited to just one of these food sources. I'll delve into these items in a later issue.

We can provide our birdies with junk food as long as it is healthy "junk food". If we do not tell them it is healthy for them, they won't need to know! Just as some folks have to call broccoli "little trees," or call a mushroom a "brown pickle" to get their kids to eat it, we can do the same with our birds.

Birds love potato chips. Potato chips are loaded with salt and fat that is dangerous to their health. A healthier option for our birdies who are potato chip junkies is to take a sweet potato or yam, slice it super thin (potato chip size) and toss it into the oven and make a batch of birdie chips. You can also make Birdie French Fries in the same manner. Just cut your sweet potatoes into fry strips and bake until soft. Your human kids will probably enjoy them too!

Here's a recipe for Mexican Pizza that your fids might enjoy. Ingredients are simple: "pizza crust", "refried beans", "hamburger", "tomato salsa", and a "cheese topping". "Yikes!!!" you say? "Are you crazy????" At first glance, yes...but look at the quotation marks on the ingredients, and read below and you will see what I mean.

Mexican Birdie Pizza
"Pizza Crust" - Depending on what your bird likes, you can make a "crust" out of quinoa, wheat or spelt pasta, oatmeal or other grain. Take your grain and cook with a bit of water to make a "crust" layer. If using pasta, cook and cut it to a size suitable for your bird. Squish this layer onto the bottom of a glass or ceramic baking pan. If you have a number of birds, use a large pan. If you only have one or two birds, simply use one of their food dishes or crocks.

"Refried beans" layer - We know that real refried beans are made with lard and other things that are not good for our birdies. So our healthier option is to take a legume (lentils, or a light colored bean), cook with water as directed and mush it up into refried beans consistency. Spoon this over your "Pizza Crust" layer carefully. I like using lentils for the color and consistency and also because our next layer is a bean layer.

"Hamburger"- I like using black beans for this layer. Cook as directed. Then mush into chunky pieces and spoon over the first two layers. Using the dark beans gives it a "hamburger" look.

"Tomato Salsa" - This is a salsa layer, but not the store-bought variety. Take a nice, ripe tomato (preferably vine-ripened organic). Mince or put into a food processor. For seasoning, you can add a little cilantro or other spices that sound appealing to your birdie. Spoon some salsa over the first three layers.

"Chilies" - This is, after all, a Mexican Pizza, so add some fresh chili peppers, or the dried variety. Just sprinkle this over the top. You can omit this step if your birdie does not like spicy foods.

"Cheese Topping"- This really isn't cheese at all and you can let your imagination be your guide. You can use cooked chicken, shredded and sprinkled over the top. You can also use cooked pasta cut into thin strips, or try shredded carrots for the "cheddar" look. You are only limited by your creativity!

Pop the Mexican Pizza into the microwave for a few seconds. Allow it to cool to a safe warm temperature (we don't want burned crops!). Spoon carefully into your bird's dish to maintain the layers and watch them enjoy their pizza!

Watch for following issues addressing pellets, seeds and other foods.

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Help Us Help the Birds...

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Safety Today
By Susan Kesler
Safety Committee Chairwoman

Natural Wreath

Many of us have discovered that our birds love to chew on "natural" vine, willow and wicker items. I believe this is true for all size birds from 'Keets to 'Caws. They are safe, relatively inexpensive and easy to find items that can keep beaks busy for days.

It is a good idea to clean these items thoroughly before giving to the birds to chew no matter where you purchase them: from the Goodwill, yard sales, or new from a department store. Baskets, wreaths, paper plate holders, etc. have lots of nooks and crannies that can collect dust and bits that may not even be visible.

The easiest, safest way I have found to clean and disinfect is with apple cider vinegar. Mild dish soap can be used instead of the vinegar if you prefer.

Just follow these few steps:
♥  Fill sink or for larger items, the bathtub with hot water.
♥  Add vinegar or dish soap to the water in a moderate amount.
♥  Swish vigorously and scrub with soft brush.
♥  Rinse well with clean hot water.
♥  Dry thoroughly. You can put the clean items in a warm 150 degree oven for 20 or so minutes. Make sure to check frequently! Or if you are lucky and have nice weather you can put them on a clean surface to dry in the sun.

It's quick, easy and your birds will appreciate it.

♥ ♥ ♥

Featured Fid ~ The Puerto Rican Parrot
By Elizabeth Cirrotti

Puerto Rican Parrot
Photography by Ricardo Valentin, used with permission

The Puerto Rican Amazon shared its habitat with the peaceful Taino Indians for centuries before the discovery of Puerto Rico and the arrival of European settlers. Upon arrival of the Spanish in 1493, the Puerto Rican Amazon lived in all major habitats of Puerto Rico and estimates of their numbers range upwards to 1,000,000 birds. Once widespread and abundant, the Puerto Rican Amazon declined drastically in the 19th and early 20th centuries with the loss of most of its native habitat. By the 1950's there were only 200 parrots in the wild and by 1975 the wild population reached a low of 13 individuals.

The Puerto Rican Amazon is the only native parrot species found within the United States and its territories. The Puerto Rican Amazon, Amazona vittata, is also known as the Puerto Rican Parrot or "Iguaca", the name given to it by the native Taino people of Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rican Amazon is related to the Hispaniolan Amazon and the Cuban Amazon.

These parrots are predominantly green with blue edges to their feathers, a red forehead and white oval rings around the eyes. It is one of the smaller members of the Amazon family, measuring 11" - 12" and weighing 250 to 300 grams. The primary flight feathers and the main covert wing feathers are dark blue. The feathers on the underside of the wings, which can be seen during flight, are bright blue while those in the tail have a yellow-green tone. The iris is brown, the bill a horn color and the legs flesh colored. They are secondary cavity nesters, meaning they nest in existing tree trunk cavities. The species is found in mature or old-growth forests at all elevations and in holes, cliffs and other diverse habitats at lower elevations. A pair mates for life, but if one of the pair dies, the remaining bird will find a new mate. The male usually leads the search for a nest site with the final decision made by the female. Their diet is varied and consists of flowers, fruits, leaves, bark and nectar obtained from the forest canopy. Presently, the species has been recorded to consume more than 60 different materials. Historically, because it had a larger range, its diet was more varied.

At first, human activity did not pose a significant threat to the Puerto Rican Amazon. The Taino hunted the parrot for food, but without much negative effect on the population. In the past two hundred years, however, many factors have led to a drastic decrease in the birds' numbers: habitat destruction, agricultural development, the construction of roads and the raiding of nests to acquire chicks as pets. During the latter half of the 19th century, most of Puerto Rico's virgin forests, a historical habitat of the species, were cleared for agricultural development, primarily for the production of sugar, cotton, corn and rice. The Amazon quickly came to rely on these crops as its main food source and so became seen as a pest. Local farmers hunted and destroyed the birds. As agriculture expanded, the Amazon's habitat disappeared further and its population declined.

Puerto Rican Parrot
Photography by Alberto DeLucca, used with permission

The species is the only remaining native parrot in Puerto Rico and is one of the ten most endangered bird species in the world. It entered the United States Endangered Species list on March 11, 1967 and in 1968 conservation efforts were started to save this species from likely extinction. In 1972, when the estimated population was 16 individuals, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service at the Luquillo Aviary began efforts to breed parrots in captivity. That breeding flock was later split and a portion moved to a second aviary in Rio Abajo at the opposite end of the island. This was done as a preventative measure against the catastrophic loss of the entire captive flock due to disease or a hurricane. In 1989 Hurricane Hugo struck Puerto Rico and reduced the wild population from 46 to 23 birds. Due to the captive breeding efforts of the Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Program, 225 Puerto Rican Parrots now live in the two breeding aviaries. Each year since May of 2000, 8 to 15 individual captive reared parrots have been trained and released into the wild population. In June 2006, it was reported by the two aviaries, that their captive birds had successfully hatched 50 chicks. In 2006, 22 birds were released in the Rio Abajo State Forest to initiate a second wild population and a further 19 were released at the same site in 2008. Currently it is reported that 25 to 30 parrots live in El Yunque National Forest and 20 to 28 in the Rio Abajo Forest. Captive populations are 89 at the Iguaca Aviary and 137 at Rio Abajo. ***

Radio transmitters are used to track the released birds, but they only last about one year due to the tiny size of the transmitter and battery. The first year survival estimates for the first three release years is 41%. This success rate shows that these birds have been well trained to forage and survive in the wild prior to their release from the training aviary. The biggest enemy of the young released parrots has proven to be the resident Red Tailed Hawks. About one half of all deaths of wild Puerto Rican Parrots have been due to Red Tailed Hawks. A second major threat to the wild population is a non native bird, the Pearly-eyed Thrasher. Thrashers use the same type of nesting cavities and sometimes invade the parrot nests, chase the parents away, lay their eggs on top of the parrot eggs and hatch and raise their own chicks in the parrot nest. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has listed the Puerto Rican Amazon as a critically endangered species since 1994. The species is regulated under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), rendering international trade in specimens or parts illegal. Luquillo Aviary, also known as Iguaca Aviary and El Yunque, release site in the Caribbean National Forest, are under the management of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service. Rio Abajo Aviary and release site are managed by the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources. All active nests are guarded and closely monitored throughout each breeding season to prevent egg and chick mortality. Parrot population counts and movement patterns are conducted regularly to help determine population status and habitat preferences. Intensive management and research is being done to increase the number and productivity of breeding pairs in the wild and in captive flocks. Some of the young that are produced in captivity are used to prevent nesting failures in the wild population or to add different genes to the wild population. Because of the efforts of The Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Program, we may someday see the wild populations grow to a point where the Puerto Rican Amazon can be removed from the Endangered Species list.

*** Special thanks to Ricardo Valentin, Aviary Operations Coordinator and Rio Abajo Aviary for providing data as of Dec 2008.

For more information and more photos:
http://10000birds.com/the-puerto-rican-parrot.htm
www.flicker.com/photos/8700785@NO8/541591439/in/set-72157600990720697
[with permission from Ricardo Valentin]
www.flickr.com/photos/albertodeluccaphotography/2546062781/in/set-72157600143049173
[with permission from Alberto DeLucca Photography]

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Cool Clear Water
By Vicki Hartsfield

Did you know?
♥ Water is as essential to a bird's health as proper food and exercise.
♥ Birds deprived of water for three days can be near death.
♥ Approximately 75% of a bird's body is made up of water.

Every day, adult birds need to drink enough water to make up 5% of its body weight to replace the water lost from waste, respiration and evaporation. The insides of cells are water. If the bird doesn't get enough water, the insides of the cell leaches out causing the cells to dry up and die.

Water is also needed to flush out the body, remove excess minerals and other wastes and to transport nutrients throughout the body and to help regulate body temperature. Without enough water, the blood volume will drop and the kidneys, liver and heart will not function as efficiently as they should.

Birds drink water every day. They also poop, wash food and occasionally bathe in that same water. It can quickly become a rancid bowl of bacterial soup. Bacteria thrive in filthy water. Organic materials feed the bacteria causing them to grow even faster. When you put vitamins in the water for your bird's nutrition, you also are giving the vitamins to the bacteria, encouraging them to grow even faster.

Bacterial growth is measured in doubling time, the time it takes for bacteria to double in number. Doubling time for many bacteria is two to three hours. If you figure it, this means if you put a clean water dish in the cage at 8 a.m. and at 9 a.m. the bird takes a drink, any food that was on it's beak gets into the water. By 12 noon the bacteria that's in the water from the food has doubled. That bacteria doubles again and doubles again so that by 5 p.m. there's enough bacteria in the water bowl to make a bird sick. The most common water-borne bacteria are Pseudomonas. Other types of bacteria, such as E-coli, Klebsiella, Giardia and Salmonella, can also grow in water. Any of these can cause diarrhea or other digestive tract problems, as well as more serious infections. Whether or not a bird gets sick from the bacteria is based upon HOW MUCH bacteria he has taken in.

Having clean water available isn't enough. Even the purest of water will be bad for your birds if you allow the water containers to become contaminated. You must provide fresh, pure, healthy water in a clean bowl. Change the water and thoroughly clean the dish at least once a day. Some birds may require water changing more often since birds differ in their habits. Water bowls should also be washed, then cycled through the dishwasher or disinfected weekly with bleach.

The quality of the water is something that you also need to consider. Unchlorinated water is best. You may use bottled spring water or tap water that has purified through a water filter. If you use tap water, you need to have it professionally tested as some tap water may have elevated coliform** counts, which can cause disease in birds.

**Coliform (verbatim reference from bird channel.com) Bacteria normally found in the gastrointestinal tract, especially the colon of mammals (including humans), are called coliform bacteria. A characteristic fecal-type odor is associated with some coliform bacteria and other bacterial inhabitants of the colon of mammals. If a bird becomes infected with one type of these bacteria, it is possible that its breath (if the bacteria colonize the mouth, crop or proventriculus) or its droppings (if the bacteria set up shop in the lower gastrointestinal tract) can develop an odor resembling feces.

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Odd Couples ~ Fletcher and Charlotte
By Anne Lonjak

My father-in-law bought two Finches in 2000 on a whim; a male and a female. They lived for three years together until one day the little female died and the male Finch was left alone in the cage for about three more years.

Then my father-in-law bought two Canaries, a yellow Canary and an orange one. The pet store told him they were males and would sing. The little yellow Canary started to pluck the orange Canary. The orange Canary was nearly bald before my father-in-law decided to put the orange Canary into the cage with the Finch.

At first, they were afraid of each other, but grew used to each other as the days turned into months. They started to love each other, preen each other and sleep together. My father-in-law always fed the birds, but he was elderly and starting to go senile. He thought of them as decorations and didn't pay them much attention.

Another few years went by and one day this summer, my husband caught my father-in-law just as he was opening the cage doors to release the birds into the wild. That is how we got the two Canaries and the Finch.

Well, within minutes, the cages were cleaned. They had veggies, new food, treats and toys and for the first time ever, names. We named them Fletcher the Finch, Charlotte his friend and Terrible Tweets, the plucking home-wrecker.

My husband, Dub, noticed that Fletcher was extremely wobbly on the perches and discovered he had a crippled foot. Fletcher can fly but he cannot perch, so Dub fashioned little flat platforms for him so he can sit comfortably. We think Fletcher may have had a stroke. For a Finch, he is quite elderly.

Fletcher the Finch
Fletcher the Finch

Charlotte and Fletcher love each other dearly. She stands in front of him whenever we approach the cage to protect him and she always lets him eat first. Fletcher loves broccoli! I have no idea how he does it, but he drags the broccoli up onto his platform! At night, Charlotte preens him and they cuddle up.

Charlotte the Canary
Charlotte the Canary

Tweets does fine alone. She now has lots of toys to play with. Charlotte and Fletcher are close by. They bounce back and forth all day, all jabbering and talking. Of course Sam, my cockatiel, hates their guts - but she can do a mean finch imitation.

Thank you to Anne Lonjak for submitting this article

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Gardening for Food
By Lori M. Nelsen

Now that spring has sprung (maybe not where you are), it is time to think about planting your garden. I know that you want to share your wonderful garden with your feathered friends. You have prepared way ahead of time and gathered together all the tiny plantings and seeds that you could find of your favorite parrot mash makings (and maybe even some your family will eat.) Soon, the baby carrots, beets, collard greens, turnip greens and fresh baby peas will be climbing toward the warm summer sun. You will be spending the next few months on your knees pulling weeds, chasing the chipmunks and rabbits away and wondering what you are going to do when your neighbors refuse to take any more zucchini. What if you can't give any more away? Will you have to find a group of Cub Scouts that have not yet received a merit badge for carving a 10 pound zucchini into a canoe? Is this not enough?

No, you need to plan your beautiful flower garden too! If your parrots are the beneficiaries of your hard work in the vegetable garden, why not the flower garden too? Did you know that edible flowers are delicious and safe for your parrots? Gonzo wrestles me for the Hibiscus flowers every time I pick them.

Gonzo enjoying a hibiscus flower
Gonzo enjoying a hibiscus flower

Edible flowers often can be found at local farmer's markets and gourmet grocery stores. Be sure that they were organically grown and were not subjected to other birds or cat and dog urine. There are approximately eighty different flowers that can be safely used as food. Which ones would you like to grow? Which ones would you like to eat: Lilacs with their lemon flavor, the citrus flowers of oranges and grapefruit, or the daisies with the light mint flavor. Would your parrot like something with a peppery taste like Calendula, or the sweet fragrant flowers with a hint of apple like the calming Chamomile? There is so much to think about, so much to plan.

These are the most commonly consumed flowers of the eighty edible varieties:
♥ Borage blossoms (Borago officinalis) - Tiny blue flowers have a slight cucumber flavor.
♥ Calendula flowers (Calendula officinalis) - Also known as "pot marigolds", multi-colored blooms with a peppery taste.
♥ Carnation flowers (Dianthus caryophyllus) - Red, pink, and white blossoms with a clove taste.
♥ Chamomile flowers (Chamaemilum nobile) - Daisy-like flowers with a slight hint of apple flavor. Chamomile is especially good for parrots when a calming influence is needed.
♥ Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) - the lavender-pink pom pom flower is actually composed of many small florets.
♥ Daisies (Bellis perennis) - Yellow and white flowers with a light mint or clover flavor.
♥ Dandelion flowers (Taraxacum officinale) - Small yellow blossoms have honey flavor when picked young. Also offer the dandelion leaves which are excellent sources of nutrition.
♥ Day lilies (Hemerocallis) - Many colored blossoms with sweet taste and crunchy lettuce texture. Flower buds and blossoms can be consumed at all stages of growth. Note: Many lilies (Lillium species) contain alkaloids and are NOT safe for parrots or people.
♥ Elderberry flowers (Sambucus canadensis) - Sweet tasting flowers.
♥ Gladiolus (Gladiolus spp.) - Flowers of many colors grow on a spike with flowers above each other and all usually facing the same way. Has lettuce texture and flavor.
♥ Hibiscus flowers (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) - Tropical blossoms in a variety of colors have slightly acidic taste. This is one of the favorite flowers of most parrot species.
♥ Honeysuckle flowers (Japanese Lonicera japonica) - Small white to yellow trumpet-shaped blossoms are sweet and delicious. Parrots relish these flowers and the Loridae family of birds especially loves the honeysuckle nectar. Only the Japanese honeysuckle is edible and only the blooms should be used as the berries are extremely poisonous. Offer only the flowers so that no berries on the vines will accidentally be eaten.
♥ Impatiens (Impatiens wallerana) - Multi-color small blooms with mild taste.
♥ Johnny-Jump-Up flowers (Viola tricolor) - Yellow, violet and lavender flowers with wintergreen flavor. Leaves are also edible and contain vitamin C.
♥ Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) - Lavender blossoms have heavy floral fragrance and lemon flavor.
♥ Marigolds flowers (Tagetes signata pumila) - Bright yellow and orange flowers with citrus flavor.
♥ Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) - Purple flowers are edible as well as the leaves and seeds which are known for benefits to liver.
♥ Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) - Red, yellow and orange flowers have a tangy, peppery flavor and are the most popular of all edible flowers. Leaves can be eaten too.
♥ Pansies (Viola X Wittrockiana) - Purple, white, yellow bi-color blooms have a sweet, tart flavor.
♥ Passionflowers (Passifloraceae - passion flower family) - Passiflora caerulea and Passiflora edulis are two of the hundreds of varieties.
♥ Roses (Rosa spp.) - Some of the tastiest rose varieties are Rosa xdamascena, Rosa gallica, and Rosa rugosa, Flower carpet rose, Double Delight, Mirandy and Tiffany variety. Roses have a slight fruity flavor.
♥ Sage (Salvia officinalis) - Lavender-blue flower spikes grow only on the culinary variety. The variegated species of sage do not flower. Flowers have distinctive sage flavor.
♥ Other herb flowers - The tiny flowering blooms of the following spices are edible: anise, basil, bee balm, chives, coriander (cilantro), dill, fennel, garlic, oregano, rosemary, and thyme.
♥ Sunflowers (Helianthus) - Many varieties but most have yellow leaves around a "black eye" center.
♥ Tree flowers - Parrots can be offered the flowering blooms of the following trees: Apple, bottlebrush, citrus (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit and kumquat), eucalyptus, melaleuca and plum.
♥ Tulips (Tulipa spp.) - Multi-color flowers with crisp, cucumber taste.
♥ Vegetable flowers - Butter blossom squash flowers have slight squash taste. Zucchini flowers, podded pea flowers (ornamental peas are poisonous), okra, pumpkin and runner bean flowers are edible.
♥ Violets (Viola odorata) - Deep violet and white color with sweet wintergreen taste.

Just think of your flower garden as free food for your family both feathered and not. In this economy, we could all use some free food.

♥ ♥ ♥

So Your Parrot is Hormonal and
How Do I Live To Talk About it?

By ParrotNutz

How many times do we hear, "My little Baby is growing up! He is getting feisty and growling and trying to bite me! How long will these hormones last? What do I do?"

Don't take it personally. This is the first important step in understanding what your bird is going through. The second step: Don't think domination will win out. It won't. Why do I say this? Parrots are only doing what their bodies and instincts are telling them to do. The desire to display certain sexual behaviors can be very strong in some species, at varying ages. The most obvious desire would be to choose a mate and reproduce. Because birds are flock creatures, the instinct to achieve and maintain a certain position within their flock is a strong driving force, regardless of whether the flock consists of birds or humans.

Sexual maturity in birds was once explained to me by an avian vet like this: Imagine your 17-year old son has discovered girls. You give him a credit card, a cell phone and the keys to the car for his date. Before he leaves, you put a chastity belt on him and send him out the door saying "Have fun!" Imagine his frustration?? That's how your bird is feeling.

Birdie is having all these natural feelings and instincts in a very unnatural environment - your home. So if he/she cannot breed, what does he do? Act out. If he thinks he can breed with you, what does he do? Act out! The old "darned if they do, darned if they don't."

Certain species have more aggressive tendencies than others. Sometimes it's the boys of the species and sometimes it's the girls. It all depends on how it hits them. An example would be male cockatoos. The same avian vet I mentioned used to breed birds. He told me the male cockatoo's job is to build the nest. When he is done, he expects the female to mate with him and go to nest. If she is not ready, the male gets frustrated and gets very aggressive with her. Since cockatoos nest inside trees, he used to fill his nest boxes with tons of wood. If he saw the female was not ready, he put in more wood so that he would occupy his time and not commit domestic violence.

So many things occur when our birds get hormonal that we don't understand. This is why I say you should not take it personally. Your bird cannot help it and he doesn't bite or become aggressive because he hates you, but because his instincts take over. He has no control over this and you cannot force him to do otherwise.

I live with 6 mature birds. I have had to close the cage door and leave a bird inside their cage rather than risk harm when one is in full blown hormone mode.

I know many of you have specific questions about this issue. I would ask that you e-mail them to Parrot Toy Angels at editor@parrottoyangels.org and I will address them in the next newsletter. This article was just a quick overview to help anyone who is having problems this spring. If your problem is an urgent one, please contact your avian vet.

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Rikki Sez

Rikki will try and answer frequently asked questions here.

Rikki, My brother likes to take his bath in cold water. I don't like cold water. I like warm water. Why does my brother like cold water best?
Signed, Shivering in the corner on my heated perch

Dear Shivering, Does your brother belong to the Polar Bird Club? Shivering, we all have personal tastes. I guess your brother likes his water cold. I personally like mine warm, but not hot. Whichever temperature you prefer for your bath or shower water, make sure it is a safe temperature so you don't get chilled or burned.

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Rikki, I don't think my African Grey likes toys. Every time I put a new toy in his cage he acts like he is afraid of it, so I take it out. Should I stop giving him toys?
Signed, Puzzled

Dear Puzzled, Your African Grey is just acting like a parrot. Many birds are suspicious of a new toy and need a little time to get used to it. You might want to put the toy near the cage for a few days. Then gradually move it closer and then hang it outside the cage. When your bird shows some curiosity by beaking the toy, then you could move it inside the cage. Just be patient and don't rush him. Before you know it, he will be attacking and destroying those $50 toys in no time at all.

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Rikki, What is Mother's Day? Does that mean I have to get a new mother? I don't want a new mother. I want my Mommie....it's not fair; they can't take my Mommie from me....CAN THEY? Hiding in the very back of my cage scared.
Signed, Scared in Scaramoosh

Dear Scared, Don't worry; no one is going to take your Mommie away from you! Mother's Day is just a day to celebrate the wonderful Mommie you have. Human fids will do nice things for their Mommies, like cook them breakfast in bed. Since it is dangerous for you to try to help cook, there are other things you can do to make it a wonderful day for your mom. Let your Mommie sleep in late. Keep yourself occupied by quietly playing with your toys until she wakes up. Be sure to eat all the good stuff she feeds you and try not to throw your food around in the cage or on the floor. You can make your Mommie a really special gift. Take some of your shredders and arrange them in a pretty little pile in the corner of your cage. Make a nice little beak-print on it and top it off with a pretty little pine nut? Enjoy the day with your Mommie and be sure to tell her "I love you" lots!

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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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