Parrot Toy Angels: November 2009 Angel Wings
Parrot Toy Angels

Angel Wings

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

November 2009
Volume 4, Issue XI

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In this month's issue:
    Holiday Auction
    Angel Announcements
    Pasta You Can Share With A Friend
    Featured Fid ~ The Kakariki
    Outside Adventures
    Hookbill Beak Trimming
    What About the "little red berry"
    Cranberry Recipes
    Rikki Sez
    Help Us
    Pepper's Story - A Bird of a Different Feather
    Safety Today
    Angel Hints


Cindy from Indy

Happy Thanksgiving
Angel Toys For Angels

Featured Toys for November

Super Preen
Super Preen
Medium to Large Birds

Wee Rattler
Wee Rattler
Small Birds

Swing N Preen
Swing N Preen
Small to Medium Birds

Check out all the
Angel Toys for Angels


Parrot Toy Angels 2009 Holiday Auction

Nobody needs reminding that the holidays will be here before we know it. Are you wondering what to get your birds, bird friends and family members? Visit our Holiday Auction November 5 thru November 15 on eBay and your problems will be solved.
We will have gifts for birds, for humans, even cats and dogs. A variety of gift baskets will be available. Besides gift baskets we will have bird toys guaranteed to keep your bird busy and happy, toy making supplies for those that make their own toys and birdie stockings to be filled. We will have books and bags, totes and toys, cards and candles, hand painted wine glasses and ornaments. We're also offering a variety of gifts for you, your bird loving friends and family.

Here's a sneak peak

But before the bidding begins, we would be remiss if we did not give a huge "Thank You" to all of our generous 2009 donors.

The official kickoff of the 2009 Holiday Auction will be November 5 at 10:00am PDT. The eBay banner below will be active then and take you directly to the auction.
Have often!

Auction runs until Sunday, November 15th, 10:00am PDT.

100% of the proceeds from this auction go to the cause we hold dear :
Making a bird at a time!

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



♥  Gift Certificates
♥  Small - Medium Toys
♥  Medium - Large Toys
♥  Large - X-Large Toys
♥  PVC Toys
♥  Foraging Boxes

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WOW!  Lookie.... a PTA Coupon

Pasta You Can Share With A Friend
By Nancy Goulding

Whole wheat or any whole grain pasta (I used angel hair)
Extra virgin olive oil
1 chopped organic tomato
1/2 C chopped celery
1 chopped organic summer squash or zucchini
1 chopped organic green, yellow or red pepper
1 - 6 pressed garlic cloves: as many as you dare (I used 4 - LOVE garlic)
Oregano, basil, salt and pepper
1/2 chopped medium Bermuda onion
1 lb. steak cut in bite size pieces (you can also use chicken)

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and divide into 2 bowls: one bowl for your birds and the rest for the humans.
In a frying pan pour just enough olive oil so nothing sticks and sauté tomato, celery, squash, pepper, garlic, basil and oregano.
When cooked, add some of the vegetable mix from the pan to the noodles set aside for the birds. Toss veggies with noodles to mix and serve to your birds.

Take the rest of the veggies and add to the noodles in the bowl for the humans. Add meat of choice and onion to the frying pan and cook. You may need a little more oil. Once cooked, add to pasta and veggies set aside for humans. Toss to mix, season to taste and serve.

Other veggies such as broccoli or peas may be used. If you like your pasta a little wetter you can add a little tomato juice.
This made 3 bird servings plus 4 human servings.

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Featured Fid ~ The Kakariki
By Kim Perez

The Kakariki (Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae), also called the New Zealand Parakeet, is a small bird of approximately 10 - 12" in length. The "normal" version of this bird is the Red-Fronted Kakariki (picture below), which has a medium green body with blue flight feathers and a deep red patch of feathers above the beak and behind each eye. The beak is silver in color with a black tip. The life span of these little darlings seems to be a mystery. In checking with veterinarians and breeders, the consensus is that they should be able to live up to 25 years. Many Kakarikis in captivity have been known to live 10 - 12 years, and I talked to one breeder who has a Kakariki who is 18 years old and in good health.

Red-Fronted Kakariki
Red-Fronted Kakariki

There is another color mutation found in the wild, called the Yellow-Fronted Kakariki. These have a small red band just above the beak and yellow where the Red-Fronted variety has red.

The Kakariki is fairly easy to breed and they are even allowed to keep and breed them in their native New Zealand (with a permit). They will typically have 3 - 6 babies in a clutch and they wean quickly, usually around 6 weeks old. They are sexually dimorphic, but it is such a subtle difference between the genders that having the birds sexed for accuracy is recommended. The babies seem to be friendly, whether hand-fed or parent-raised. They also have a sweet chirp which is pleasant to listen to.

The Kakariki enjoys flying, so a very large (10 - 15' square) aviary-style flight cage would be ideal for them. They stay busy playing with toys, foraging for food (they love ground foraging), and interacting with their flock. I have seen Kakarikis fly with great agility. They can take off backwards and they can flip over in flight so the large cage truly is a must! Several birds can be kept in one flight, but they breed best in pairs, not community. The pair breeding cage needs to be very large, too, so the birds cannot hurt themselves should they get spooked and try to quickly fly backwards. This bird is MUCH different from all birds similar in size.

Recently, the Kakariki has gained popularity with the availability of the lutino and pied mutations. The picture below is a photo of some young lutino Kakarikis. The lutino mutation is primarily a striking yellow with the red forehead and cheeks. (The dark marking on the front bird was placed there by the breeder to be able to tell the two birds apart.)

Lutino Kakarikis
Lutino Kakarikis

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Outside Adventures
By Wyspur Kallis

Most parrot owners are more than happy to have their feathered fids join them on family outings in their backyard.

Safety is always an issue when taking your parrot outside.

An aviary is always the best place for your parrot to enjoy beautiful summer days, but not everyone is able to have one for their birds. Many people have an extra cage set up outside to house their parrots. When taking your bird out, you should put your bird in a carrier to prevent them from flying away.

Toni uses a cage suspended from a large tree for her birds and is always watchful for raptors that might be in the area.

Toni's outside cage

Kim prefers a flight suit for her bird Paulie when taking him out for the day.

Savannah and Paulie

The freedom and ease of a flight suit makes it a great way to exercise your bird. Having your bird safely on a leash is a very inexpensive way of taking your bird out for the day. Any method you choose to take your birds out should provide a safe and enjoyable experience for the entire family. So have a fun time with your feathered loved ones, but make it a safe one too!

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Q: What did the parrot say when she fell in love with the frog?
A: Polly wants a croaker!!

Q: What kind of fish can you find in a birdcage?
A: A perch!!

Hookbill Beak Trimming
By Angel Savannah

A healthy bird with a normal beak may never need to be trimmed. There are events in a bird's life that can cause a beak to develop a condition requiring trimming. Something as simple as a bird not chewing can lead to an overgrown beak. A healthy bird loves to chew on things, including hard foods, wood toys, and branches. Without this instinctual activity, the upper beak may grow much longer than normal and could even interfere with their ability to eat, causing these birds to lose weight.

Interference with the normal development of a beak, such as chewing on cage wire, improper hand-feeding technique or injury, can cause the beak to grow in different directions and in strange shapes.

Improper diet, especially calcium or vitamin D3 deficiencies, can cause beak problems. Beaks can grow misshapen, too soft, flaky, or discolored.

Disease is the other condition which causes beak problems, including liver disease, PBFD, mites, avian pox, bacterial infections and more.

In any of these cases, the best thing a bird owner can do is take their bird to a specialist and get the correct beak treatment and try to rule out any medical cause for the beak irregularity. You should make sure that your bird has the appropriate diet for the species. This includes making sure that your bird is getting full spectrum light, as the vitamin D3 that the sun (and full spectrum lighting) gives off is what helps your bird to absorb the nutrients from their food. One of my favorite parrot behaviorists says that birds should have eleven toys in their cage at all times! Make sure that you have several wood toys that your bird can chew on. I also recommend several perches of different types - wood branches, cactus wood, pedicure (concrete, calcium, sandy Manzanita, etc.) - that your bird will chew on and scrape their beak on. This is normal activity which will help maintain a healthy beak.

I do not recommend trimming your bird's beak yourself if you have no experience. There is a blood vein that runs down the front center of your bird's beak and when trimmed too short, this will bleed (and bleed...). This procedure is best left to an expert. Likewise, an expert will be able to accurately determine whether there is a necessity to trim your bird's beak.

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What About the "little red wonder berry"
By Lori M. Nelsen

Originally called "crane berry" by the German and Dutch settlers, this berry's name was derived from its pink flowers and bowing crane-like head. They were also called "sassamanash" by the Eastern Indians, while the Cape Cod Pequots and the South Jersey Lenni Lenape tribes named them "ibimi", or bitter berry. This small tart red berry was later renamed to the popular "cranberry" that is synonymous with Thanksgiving, pilgrims, fat roasted turkey, and pumpkin pie.

Cranberries are one of only three fruits that are native to North America. It wasn't until the 1800's that people began farming cranberries using a technique known as wet harvesting, where a bog is flooded with water and the berries rise to the surface and are easily scooped up. Some of the century old bogs are still producing part of the 400 million pounds of cranberries consumed today.

Native Americans were the first to enjoy and benefit from cranberries. They mixed them with deer meat to make a survival food called "pemmican". They also believed in the medicinal value of cranberries and used the rich red juice as a natural dye for blankets and clothing.

The Native Americans knew that cranberries weren't your average fruit. Research has proven them to help cleanse and purify the body. Cranberries contain powerful nutrients called PACs or proanthocyanidins which help to keep certain bacteria from sticking inside the body. The PACs in cranberries are different from other fruits, which gives them more "anti-stick" potential. They also have antioxidants, like flavonoids and vitamin C, which helps to strengthen the immune system by reducing the free-radical or oxidative damage (especially low density cholesterol) that can lead to chronic diseases. Cranberries have been proven to provide more naturally-occurring antioxidants per gram than most other common fruit. In preliminary research, a glass of cranberry juice cocktail is as effective in providing the same protective health benefits as a glass of red wine, without the alcohol. The anti-stick benefits of cranberries can also keep H. pylori bacteria from sticking inside your stomach and causing nasty ulcers or the E. coli from your bladder causing UTI's.

With a great nutritional profile for 1 cup of fresh cranberries, they should be fed to humans and parrots alike:
Phosphorus .......6.0mg

While you are shopping for your Thanksgiving or holiday dinner, grab a bag or two of fresh cranberries. If you purchase them while they are in season, toss the bags in the freezer, you will have cranberries for several months to come.

Use your imagination in feeding these "wonder" berries to your family and your flock. Both human and parrots will benefit from the PACs, vitamins, and antioxidants of these powerful little red fruits.

The following are a couple of recipes you can share with your flock, human and feathered, for the holidays. Remember that any sweetener for the human taste buds will need to be added after the portion is removed for your feathers.

Fresh Cranberry Relish
1/2 lb. seedless sliced grapes
1/2 lb. unsweetened fresh diced pineapple chunks
1/2 orange
3 cups coarsely diced cranberries
1 Golden Delicious apple, peeled and diced
1 cup sugar (for humans only!)

Clean and zest 1/2 orange, removing all seeds, membrane and pulp. Add to the remaining diced ingredients. Mix and chill.

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Fresh Cranberry and Nut Relish
Dice the following fresh produce:
Fresh cranberries
A variety of raw, unsalted nuts
Fresh celery
Fresh and cleaned orange sections (membranes, pulp, and seeds removed)
Diced unsulfured raisins or fresh grapes

Stir all together. Add a dash of lemon juice and chill.

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Rikki Sez

Rikki will try and answer frequently asked questions here.

Rikki, This is Oliver, CAG here. My human has been thinking about buying my brothers and me some of the "Angel Toys". (She's too shy to write in and ask, so I volunteered!). Where do the toys come from? Who gets the money when people buy them?
Signed, Oliver (who wants some new toys)

Dear Oliver, It's nice to meet ya! All the Angel Toys are made by the PTA volunteers and donated for sale. All profits go to Parrot Toy Angels to reimburse their volunteers for supplies and postage for their projects. Did you know they've provided over 11,000 toys to 'birds in need' so far? WOW! That's a lot, don't you think? So please tell your human she'd really be helping out by buying a couple of toys. The less fortunate birdies would sure appreciate it.

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Rikki, My Mom says Turkey Day is comin'. I sure do love them orange 'taters. My Mom calls them sweet, I think. I sure do like them with some of that white fluffy stuff on top. Mom says that's not healthy for me. Can't I please have some Rikki?
Signed, Sweet 'Tater Lover

Dear Sweet, Sweet potatoes ARE delicious! But, your mom is right, that white fluffy stuff (humans call it "marshmallow") is not good for birdies! It is loaded with sugar and lots of other stuff we birds don't need. Don't worry though, you can have your sweet potatoes and eat them too! Your mom could keep some of those yummy 'taters out for you BEFORE she makes up the rest of the recipe...or, if she cooks you some of your very own sweet potato, she could add a little sprinkle of cinnamon or a small slice of apple to it. Enjoy that ' has lots of good "vitamin A" in it...just ask for some without the marshmallow.

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Do you have a question for Rikki?
Please send it to The Editor at

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Pepper's Story
A Bird of a Different Feather

By Jessika Madison-Kennedy

Pepper is a very lucky bird. She has been rescued three times.

We don't know a lot about where she came from. PepperPepper was found on a doorstep as an infant (in a nest with a sibling). Perhaps her nest fell from a tree? We can only guess. But someone found her and put her on the doorstep of a neighbor who is known for "helping animals". The woman, whose doorstep it was, lived up to her reputation and brought the two infant birds, nest and all, to a wildlife rehabilitator where they were going to be raised and released into the wild. Pepper was being raised and getting ready for release when suddenly she lost her vision in one eye. We suspect that another bird maybe pecked at it. According to the DNR (Department of Natural Resources), partially blind birds cannot be released into the wild and must be euthanized, but Pepper was rescued again. I took her home and she is now living happily with my flock of finches, budgies, a canary and a pigeon. Did I mention that Pepper is a starling?

In 1890 a Shakespeare group brought about 60 starlings to the United States Pepper enjoying a raisinfrom Europe and released them in Central Park in an attempt to represent birds that are mentioned in Shakespeare's plays. They have since thrived (In the 1980's their numbers were around 200,000,000!) and most ornithologists agree that they are here to stay. Starlings are excellent mimics and are very intelligent birds. They are closely related to the Myna bird. Starlings are generally misunderstood birds. Hated by many because they are smart and successful; they are often the victims of poisoning and BB guns. Mozart had a pet starling and he famously wrote a poem lamenting the loss of his pet when the bird died. The final movement of his Piano Concerto in G Major, K. 453 was written eight days after his pet starling died and is rumored to be written for the starling.

Pepper behaves very much like a parrot. She sits on my Pepper's Bathshoulder and gently pecks at my fingers for treats; particularly raisins which are her favorite! She plays with my hair and flies around in circles. She's has adapted wonderfully to only having one eye and is a deft flyer. She has taken over the other birds' play gym and loves to take baths in her water dish. She hates it when I leave and rushes to the door when I return. At 30 weeks of age she will be capable of speaking. Starlings are primarily insectivores, so she eats a very different diet than a parrot. Pepper is fed a mixture of dog food and chicken feed supplemented with egg and fruit. She has a big cage with perches and toys and particularly likes to forage for food, picking up stray pellets and seeds that the budgies toss out of the cage next to hers. She is a joy to know and it is far too much fun to play and interact with her!

Pepper is the cleanest bird I know. Pepper as a babyThe European starlings' Latin name Sturnus vulgaris does them a great disservice! Starlings are not protected birds and are often seen as a nuisance simply because they are adaptable and intelligent. Living with parrots and a starling, I find it difficult to see a real difference between them at times. I always think a starling that can be rehabilitated and live in the wild should have their natural way of life as a first option, but the ones that cannot be released as wild birds can live happily and healthily as pets. (It is legal to keep a starling as a pet in Minnesota.)

Thank you to Jessika Madison-Kennedy for submitting this article.

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Safety Today
By Susan Kesler
Safety Committee Chairwoman

Foam Beads

Foam beads? To use or not to use? That is today's question.

You know those cute, colorful, inexpensive foam beads that come in a large plastic tub? There has been an ongoing controversy over the safety of these foam stringing beads on bird toys for a long time.

Some birds, like my Elenora Cockatoo, will happily chew the beads apart and spit them out making a nice rainbow mess for me to clean up. Some birds, like my Umbrella Cockatoo, will actually ingest them. This problem is mostly seen in larger birds, but has been seen in small birds too. No one seems to know why, but it may be that the taste and texture of the beads trick the birds into thinking they are a new food.

For whatever, reason, if a bird does actually eat the beads or anything made with foam, it can cause their crop to become impacted and this is a very serious problem.

So if you do use foam beads, please play it safe and watch your bird closely. If it looks like he is swallowing the foam, remove the toy immediately.

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Angel Hints

Got fruit flies? Put about 1" of apple cider vinegar and a drop of dish detergent in a bowl. The fruit flies will gravitate to the bowl where the dish detergent will kill them.

A baby monitor or web cam is perfect to use in your bird room. You'll be able to keep an ear or eye on what's going on. Both will work well in an outside aviary also. Just make sure your birds can not get to the cord.

Hot soapy water will clean most dirt on cages and will help to preserve the finish.

A dish of cut up lemons will absorb odors. Far safer than room fresheners.

To avoid getting an infestation of seed moths, freeze seed immediately upon bringing it home. Store food in air tight containers.

Place a bay leaf in seed canisters to repel moths.

Wash perches, toys, dishes in the dishwasher using HOT HOT water to kill most bacteria.

To naturally clean a cement bird bath, spray white vinegar on inside. Let sit for 10 - 15 minutes, then scrub droppings off with a stiff brush. Make sure and rinse well.

This is the official newsletter of the Parrot Toy Angels. Members and subscribers are encouraged to submit articles/photographs for publication. PTA reserves the right to reject, edit, or use only portions of items submitted. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the PTA Editor, Directors, Officers, or the general membership.

Do you have a question or comment? Perhaps you have an idea for our newsletter, or simply want to share a story on how an Angel has touched your life. Drop us a line at:

©  2008-2009 Parrot Toy Angels • P.O. Box 34372 • Houston, Texas  77234
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