Parrot Toy Angels: October 2010 Angel Wings
Parrot Toy Angels

Angel Wings

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

October 2010
Volume 5, Issue X

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In this month's issue:
    Angel Announcements
    Fall Auction
    Recycling, Angel Style
    Birdie Cones
    Stuffed Stockings
    Featured Fid ~ Hyacinth Macaw
    Shiny Feathers
    Length Matters
    Parrots, Pumpkins, Apples
    Parrot Pumpkin Butter
    Halloween Safety Tips
    Rikki Sez
    Fall Planning
    Help Us



Happy Halloween!!
Angel Toys For Angels

October's Featured Toys
** Spooky & Scary **

Spooky Wreath
Spooky Wreath
Small to Medium Birds

Black Cats
Black Cats
Small to Medium Birds

Pumpkin Filter
Pumpkin Filter
Medium to Large Birds


Check out all the
Angel Toys for Angels

now!


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

   

ON THE SITE:



♥  "New" Page
♥  Stuffed Stockings
♥  Houston SPCA Pictures

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2010 FALL AUCTION!!
November 11 - November 21, 2010

Dear Supporters and Readers,
You have been so supportive of our past auctions and we are working hard to make this year's Fall Auction even better than the last. Can we ask for your support in donating towards the auction?

If you have a business, a store, have a talent, do crafts...we would be so grateful to include your items in our auction. If not such an item, a gift certificate and gift cards are something everyone likes.

We hold two auctions each year. This is a major life-line for PTA. Those of you who have macaws know how heavy a big toy is. Imagine shipping 40 or more across the US. The auctions allow us to pay for this. There are also rescues that need food, cages and perches. Your auction dollar helps us provide these as well.

Any gift will be welcomed and remember, it is tax-deductible.

Thank you for your past and continued support.

For additional donation information, please drop us an e us at:

donations@parrottoyangels.org

2010 Fall Auction Preview

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WOW!  Lookie.... a PTA Coupon

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Recycling, Angel Style
Parrot Noodles
By Wyspur Kallis

Completed Parrot Noodles
Ready for your bird to enjoy!!

Supplies you will need:
1 large brown paper bag, scissors and any kind of uncooked pasta with holes for stringing.

Parrot Noodles

With scissors, cut paper bag into long strips approximately 1/2" wide.

Parrot Noodles

String your pasta on at least 2 strips of paper. Leave enough of the paper to tie a knot.

Parrot Noodles

You will have one circle when you've tied the first of your rings.

Parrot Noodles

Do the same with the second and tie the second ring through the first ring.

Parrot Noodles

Do the same with the third ring and tie it through the second ring.
Now you've made an awesome toy for your parrot to enjoy!!

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Birdie Cones
By Toni Fortin

Favorite Birdie Bread Recipe
Miniature Ice Cream Cones

Mix up your favorite bread recipe. Put batter in cones only 2/3 full. Put 4 cones on a small plate and heat in microwave on high for 40 seconds. Let cool on another plate. If you try to cool on a paper towel, they will stick. You can put a paper lolli stick in the bottom of them or just offer the way they are. Make sure to *thoroughly* cool before offering.

Taste testers Sequoia, 'Zon (above)
and
Gracie, Grey (below) give Birdie Cones a Tails Up!

Taste Tester Gracie

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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!!

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BIRDIE STOCKINGS

Stuffed Stockings Available NOW!

TIRED of sad little faces glancing at the mantle? Little eyes wondering "Where oh where will Santa Birdie leave my presents?"
Light up those faces now with our
Birdie Stockings!

*NEW* this year ~ "Stuffed" Stockings. Each stocking will have 20+ footers included. Ready to hang!
Personalization is also available.

Please allow 2 weeks plus shipping time to custom make your stocking. Not only will your feathers love their own...but they make great gifts for any occasion.

Special Pre-Holiday Pricing ends 11/15/10!
Order Now!

Personalized:
Reg Price: $23.00
Sale Price: $18.00

Non-Personalized:
Reg Price: $20.00
Sale Price: $15.00

Stuffed & Personalized:
Reg Price: $37.50
Sale Price: $32.50

You can find all our Birdie Stockings at:
Stockings
or, drop us a line if you don't see your birdie.

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Sequoia enjoying popcorn
Sequoia, 'Zon, who owns Angel Toni

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Featured Fid ~ The Hyacinth Macaw
Endangered Gentle Giant
By George Goulding

I met my first Hyacinth Macaw a few years back while visiting my sister-in-law in Seattle. The bird's name is Tara. She was the most colorful and majestic Parrot I had ever seen. She is almost entirely a beautiful blue except for the gray in her beak and the striking gold circles around her eyes and along the jaw line. Did I mention she was also big? Very big! I had never seen a Parrot this big before and being a bit uncomfortable at that time around big beaks, I was naturally a little nervous when my sister-in-law sat down across the table from me with Tara on her arm. Tara took a long look at me and decided she wanted to get to know me better, so much to my shock and horror, this enormous bird leaped across the table and settled in my lap. So, as we sat nose to beak, I waited for what I thought would surely be the coup de gras with me losing a nose or an eye to Tara's fist sized beak! How wrong I was! This gentle creature had merely come to pay me a visit and say hello. She was gentle as could be and I learned a valuable lesson about approaching birds with a preconceived attitude.

The Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) is the largest of the parrot species. It can reach a total length in excess of 40 inches and has a wingspan in excess of 48 inches. Weight of a captive adult Hy is around 2.75 lbs. Its color is a vibrant cobalt blue with gold circles around the eyes and below the beak and some black on the underside of the wings and a perpetual smile that signals its gentle nature. To my eyes, the Hyacinth Macaw is by far the most beautiful of all of the Macaws.

The Hyacinth Macaw eats seeds, nuts, fruits, and vegetable matter. Several species of palm are included in its diet. They have a powerful beak for eating their natural foods, and are even able to crack coconuts and macadamia nuts. Pine nuts are also one of the most popular foods.

Hyacinth MacawThe main Hyacinth Macaw populations today are found in parts of Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia. Sadly, according to the Foundation for the Preservation of the Hyacinth Macaw, the Hyacinth Macaw is endangered in the wild with estimates of total remaining population between 2,500 and 5,000, mostly in the Pantanal region of Brazil. The Pantanal is the world's largest freshwater wetland, a seasonally flooded plain fed by the tributaries of the Paraguay River. At 68,000 square miles, it is almost 10 times the size of the Everglades and supports over 650 bird species along with hundreds of other animal species.

There are several reasons why the Hy population is declining, but foremost are the illegal pet trades and hunting by local Indians for feathers and food. The illegal pet trade flourishes due to the high price these birds bring. The average sale price of a single bird can exceed $10,000, which is certainly enough to encourage poaching. Another prominent reason is loss of habitat. While the Pantanal is considered "protected," less than two percent is under federal (Brazilian) protection according to The Nature Conservancy (www.nature.org). The strategic location of the Pantanal makes it vulnerable to the advance of large scale agriculture, cattle ranching, water pollution, and dams. The focus here is on the Hyacinth Macaw, but it should be noted that, according to some estimates, 45 of the over 140 species of parrot found in Central and South America are in danger of extinction. There are 18 species of Macaws found throughout Central and South America and all of them are threatened.

The good news is that organizations such as World Wildlife Fund, UNESCO, The Nature Conservancy, and the Brazilian organization IBAMA, along with dedicated researchers like Dr. Neiva Guedes (Hyacinth Macaw Project) have partnered to help conserve the Hyacinth Macaw and other animals in the Pantanal. Ms. Guedes' project started over 10 years ago and has the objective of promoting the conservation of the Hyacinth Macaw in Nature, while disseminating the importance of conserving the biodiversity of the Pantanal Wetlands region and mobilizing the local population in favor of the region's conservation. Her work, along with that of partner organizations, has actually led to an increase in the Hyacinth Macaw population in the Pantanal in recent years.

As a companion bird, Hyacinth Macaws are, for the most part, considered to be gentle giants. They love to cuddle, are playful and loving, and can make wonderful companion birds. They can also be demanding, very loud, headstrong and destructive if not properly supervised. Their powerful beaks are capable of demolishing wood chew toys with ease, so owners should be prepared to invest in plenty of large wood toys. They are also capable of dismantling metal cages, especially those with welds, with their powerful beaks. The best cage for this big bird is a stainless steel cage which can be very costly. If you plan to purchase a Hyacinth Macaw, be sure to get a young bird that has been weaned and socialized. Obviously, you will need to plan on giving lots of attention and play time. Considering the overall cost of purchasing and maintaining a Hyacinth Macaw, along with the time commitment required, any plan to obtain one should be well thought out in advance by the prospective owner. In short, as companion birds they demand very committed owners.

References:
www.birdlife.org
www.worldwildlife.org
www.funnyfarmexotics.com/IAS/2003Proceedings/Hyacinth_Macaw.pdf
www.brazilmax.com/news.cfm/tborigem/pl_pantanal/id/7
www.pipress.org/blogs
www.hyacinthmacaw.org

Enjoy these videos of Tara:
Princess Tara
The Zen Parrot: Princess Tara
Training Your Parrot To Lay On It's Back
Thank you to The Zen Parrot

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Shiny Feathers
By Angel Savannah

After seeing several birds in the vet clinic, I have heard many times, "your bird's feathers are gorgeous!" And then there are a few who still look drab and dull. What makes the difference? And what can you do to improve the looks of your bird?

The wonderful thing about this time of year is that people are allowing their birds to enjoy direct sun and fresh air. The sun's light gives off nature's Vitamin D necessary for absorption of many vitamins and nutrients from food. And fresh air is good for... everyone!

We can tell when they walk in which birds are enjoying sun and fresh air and which birds are not. But I live in an area where you can't take your birds out for fresh air year round due to sub-zero winter temperatures, and yes, there are ways you can maintain healthy looking feathers in your birds all year long regardless of time spent outdoors.

Full spectrum lighting will help replicate the sun's rays, allowing your birds to absorb the nutrition from their food. You can hang a standard shop light with 48" full spectrum bulbs. If you have your birds in an exposed area of your home, you can buy stylish desk lamps or floor lamps which come with (or you can buy separately) full spectrum bulbs to set next to the cages. If you have a window in a room, place part of the cage so it receives direct sun. It's best to keep part of the cage out of direct sun, in case the bird gets too warm, so he can move out of the sun.

Ample opportunity to bathe also keeps feathers in tip top condition. It has been my observation that people who use water bottles may not always allow their birds to bathe outside of their cages. If you give your bird water in a large dish, they always have a bath at their disposal. My birds always take full advantage of that! Commercial shower perches are available to place your bird in the shower, you can mist them in their cages or on a stand, or you can let them play in the sink.

Feeding plays a big role as well. Try to provide as varied a diet as possible including fresh fruits and vegetables. If you do not have access to fresh produce, frozen is the next best. Really "mix it up," too. You don't have to feed the same things every day. I don't even feed the same brand of pellets all the time. I prefer to have 2 - 4 different brands or types of pellets and rotate them.

Overall health of the bird also determines the look of the feathers. On top of all of the above suggestions, exercise and play - for both physical and mental health - are required. Flying is one of the best conditioning exercises. If your bird is not flighted, climbing and running are next best. As you have probably heard over and over, toys are highly important for a bird's mental health!

All of these little things add up to excellent feather sheen. The difference is noticeable in both the bird's feathers and attitude!

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Length Matters
By Kim Perez

It really does! What are we talking about? When you have a toy hanging in your bird's cage, how long is the uncovered portion of rope/chain/wire/leather? Is it long enough to encircle a bird's scrawny little neck? If it is, it is NOT safe!

When we hang a new toy in our bird's cage, it looks perfect. We are so happy that they love it enough to chew on it, swing from it, and play with it until there are colorful little shreds in their trays. But look at what's left. It is a huge safety concern.

Clyde, female B&G in our living room, LOVES any toy with yucca on it. Yes, it's too soft of a part to last any length of time with a big bird, but since she loves it so much, we spoil her and buy/make a lot of toys with yucca parts. It takes her no time at all to seek and destroy them all. When she does, she is left with sometimes more than a foot of exposed chain at the top of the toy. This could easily wrap around her neck and choke her.

Our solution to this is to attach both ends of the toys to her cage. We will attach one end at the top of the cage and the other toward the bottom. We check to make sure it cannot be easily pulled up and make a lot of slack. We prefer it stays taut so that it has no extra loose length to the chain.

It is perfectly fine to have a toy fastened at each side of the cage. Your bird can sit on the toy while he plays with it.

It doesn't really matter what the toy hanging medium is, either. Rope and chain are the two biggest threats when it comes to exposed lengths. Wire - it depends on if it is a soft aluminum wire or a thick, hard to bend steel wire. The softer wires pose more of a threat, but birds still can potentially bend the stiffer wires into shapes that can trap their feet, beaks or wings. Leather is one of the less threatening items, especially when thick, as it is really difficult to loop and pull. Anyone who has made leather toys knows that a thin leather lace is much easier to knot than the thicker leather, which can be next to impossible!

You should also note that it doesn't matter where the lengths of stringing media are. Sometimes you may find long lengths of rope hanging off a toy from another item on the toy. These are just as unsafe - as are strings hanging from a cloth item, such as a tent, or strings from a frayed rope perch. Even a couple of inches of frayed rope can wrap around a bird's toenail and sever it.

There are two ropes that I have found to be extremely safe with birds. One is Supreme or Superior brand natural cotton rope. The unbleached fibers are puffy and easily pull apart. And if your bird should happen to swallow some, it will digest. The other is Paulie/Polly rope. This is a polyethylene rope which is very safe in short lengths, but I would not use long exposed lengths of it either.

As always, with toy safety, remain vigilant in your power of observation! Maintain the mindset that just because it is for sale, doesn't mean that it's safe.

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Parrots, Pumpkins, Apples
OH MY!

By Lori M. Nelsen

Fall is the perfect time to cuddle up for warmth, pick your basket full of apples before the deer eat them, drink apple cider, and prepare pumpkins for the Halloween festivities.

These activities will bring back fond memories of the aromas engrained in your mind since childhood - cooking apples and baking pumpkins - feelings of warmth, family and comfort.

What you did not know, those many years ago, is that these seasonal fall foods were not only good for your mind but they were also great for your body. These nutritionally dense foods can be prepared for your family of feathers - and then YOU can share.

First and foremost, the main healthful qualities of pumpkin nutrition are the large amounts of antioxidants and beta-carotene present within the pumpkin. Antioxidants, as most of us know by now due to increased awareness of the importance of healthy living, help strengthen our immune system. Beta-carotene converts to Vitamin A and helps reduce the risk of cancer and other dangerous diseases.

Pumpkins by themselves are also very low in fat and calories, and high in potassium. They also possess a fair amount of Vitamin C and other nutrients, such as Niacin, Vitamin E, Calcium and Iron. One cup of pumpkin puree contains: 80 Calories; 19 grams of Carbohydrates; 0 Cholesterol; 1 gram of Fat; 588 milligrams of Potassium; 2.4 grams of Protein; 310% of RDA of Vitamin A; 20% of RDA of Vitamin C.

The health benefits of apples include the following: rich in fiber to help aid digestion and cleanse the teeth, help to lower cholesterol, decrease night blindness, control gout, and have chemicals such as flavonoids and polyphenols which can help fight cancers.

One medium apple with skin contains 0.47 grams of protein, 95 calories, and 4.4 grams of dietary fiber, along with a wide variety of minerals and vitamins.

Let us bring back the memories and smells of years ago with the following recipe for your feathered family that YOU can share (if they will let you).

Parrot Pumpkin Butter
1 can (15 oz.) pure organic pumpkin
1 medium organic apple, peeled and grated
1 cup unsweetened apple juice
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Combine pumpkin, apple, apple juice and pumpkin pie spice in medium, heavy-duty saucepan.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 1-1/2 hours. Serve with birdie bread, whole grain crackers, or add a bit to the daily mash. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Now, fight your parrot for it!

Gonzo loves pumpkins!
Happy Halloween from Gonzo!

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Halloween Safety Tips
By Nancy Goulding

Arty, da King loves Halloween!

I don't know about you, but Halloween is not one of my favorite days any more. Now don't get me wrong. I love the costumes, the candy and the kids, but what it does to my birds and other critters is enough to make me want to pull my hair out. I have tried to put together a helpful list of things that might help make the few hours of goblins and creatures invading the street and doorways easier.

♥ Don't let the birds get into the chocolate! Make sure that candy is secure and away from mischievous birds and other critters.

♥ Don't let your bird fly out an open door!

♥ Shield your bird from the frantic door ringing and scary costumes.

♥ Try to cut off trick or treating at a reasonable time so as to keep your bird on a normal schedule.

♥ If you have birds that are able to look out the window, close the curtain or blinds so the flashlights and Jack-O-Lanterns don't scare them.

♥ Keep birds away from candle flames. (Note: PTA does not advocate the use of candles around birds).

♥ Keep paper decorations away from your birds. Some contain unsafe dyes or strings that birds can get tangled in.

♥ Use common sense when it comes to your bird. It is only one day a year. Maybe it would be best to cage them for a few hours. When it's over, take them out. Give them an extra birdie treat and scritch.

After all, it "is" Halloween and we all could use a treat!

Reprinted from October, 2008 Angel Wings



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Kermit, who owns Nancy
Kermit, Green Cheek Conure,
who owns Angel Nancy

Rikki Sez

Rikki will try and answer frequently asked questions here.

Rikki, All summer long I have had lots of attention from everyone in the family. All the little humans they call children have been here playing with me. Now the children are going to some place they call school and the big humans go to work every day. So now I am home alone with no one to play with or to keep me company. Why did everyone leave to go to school and/or work? I don't like being all by myself with no humans to entertain me. What can I do?
Signed, Bored Without My Humans

Dear Bored, Big humans have to go to work so that they can provide the food, toys and treats for you. Their human children want and need things, also. The human children must go to school, where they learn things to be able to take care of themselves and you. Once everyone gets used to their new routine, they will be back to giving you the love and attention you need. In the meantime, tell them to leave the television or radio on for you while they are gone. Also, remind them to give you some new toys to play with while they are gone so you can entertain yourself.

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Rikki, Mom came home last night all excited. She was carrying something big and the whole family spent a lot of time together around this big thing. The big thing was a cage with another bird. I don't want another bird here. How can I tell my family that I feel like they love the new bird best?
Signed, Only Bird Want-To-Be

Dear Only, Your family has decided to add another brother/sister. They may have thought you were lonely or needed another bird to keep you company. Right now, they need to spend some time with him/her to help him to adjust to their new home. So give them a little time. In the meantime, remember you are the big brother to the newly feathered baby. You will be showing him the ropes around the house. I don't blame you for feeling that way. Have a little talk with mom. There are things she can do so you don't feel this way. She can greet you first, take you out of the cage first and give you a treat first. Remind your parronts to spend more time with you once the new one has settled in. They need to remember you are Number 1 and to show you just that. They need to spend special time with you doing your favorite things and giving you some of your favorite treats and toys. Also, remind them to go slowly with the introductions. Just like humans, we birdies need time to get to know and like one another.

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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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Fall Planning
By Jan Lewis

Fall is here and I try to plan for my fall and winter for me and my birds. While I am in the south here in the US, we still get cold weather and the occasional winter storm to knock our power out. I'm a bit like the squirrels, in that I like to have things stored and ready for winter weather! LOL So, I thought I would share my winter prep ideas.

Heating: I don't have a fireplace or an alternate heating source that I can use if my electric is out. I have extra sheets and blankets to use to cover my birds' cages to help keep them warm. If you have a means of warming water, you can use a hot water bottle or other bird-safe container wrapped in a T-shirt or other tight weave cloth to give extra warmth in the cage. I keep looking for safe and affordable means of keeping my birds warm should we lose the electricity. If you have a fireplace, be sure to get it cleaned and checked before you use it.

Another excellent idea shared with me by fellow PTA members, is a gas powered generator. Here is the quoted information, "We invested in a gas powered generator a few years back after an ice storm knocked our power out for several days. Since then, we have had only a few power outages, but having the generator to run portable heaters and the blower on our fireplace insert gives us some peace of mind about keeping our birds warm during a winter power outage. The generator cost a few hundred dollars, but is well worth the investment. If thinking about getting one, be sure it is powerful enough to run multiple appliances. Ours is 3,000 watt output and will run portable heater, fireplace blower, TV and lamps." The great thing about having and using a generator is that it is outside so no fumes to harm humans or avians! Thank you, George and Nancy for your input on this subject! Love the idea and would love to have one for emergency situations!

Food: Now is the time I like to stock up with birdie bread and favorite mashes in my freezer. By the way, PTA has some wonderful breads and mashes, if you haven't already tried them! I bake birdie bread or large quantities of mashes and freeze them in small serving size containers for a quick nutritious warm meal. My freezer is pretty much dedicated to my birds' food! Also, frozen fruits and vegetables can be kept for warming up when they are no longer available fresh. Don't forget fall and winter fresh vegetables and fruits as well. Pumpkin and various fall squashes are high in Vitamin A and other important vitamins and minerals for both you and your birds. Fall is also apple season and my birds love apples.

Water: I try to keep several gallons of water at all times to be sure that should something happen and I don't have drinking water, my birds still have good water to drink. I use these and replace at least once a month!

Avian Exam: If you haven't taken your bird(s) in for an avian checkup yet this year, you might want to take them in. I used to take my birds in twice a year, each spring and fall. Now I take them in usually in the spring but always by the fall for their annual check-up. Even though our southern winters are usually mild, I do not like to take my birds outside in the winter unless it is an emergency where they need to see the avian vet.

Room Arrangement: Room arrangement can help maximize area and warmth of a room. I have a small bedroom that I use for a bird bedroom. When the cooler weather starts, I move the cages closer together but not close enough for the birds to reach each other. It is amazing how much heat birds' bodies create!

I hope reading some of my fall/winter preparations gives you some ideas to help you and your birds to have a warm and safe fall/winter!

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Help Us Help the Birds...

Our Angels generously donate their time making toys for our needy feathered friends. Quality toy-making supplies are expensive and shipping charges are outrageous. That's why we need your support to help keep us going. Every dollar amount, large or small, is gratefully accepted. Donations are tax deductible.

We also welcome donations of toymaking parts and supplies. A receipt will be issued for every donation. Contact us at Parrot Toy Info for further information on donating.

All donations tax deductible.

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

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

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©  2008-2010 Parrot Toy Angels • P.O. Box 34372 • Houston, Texas  77234
All rights reserved. No part of this newsletter may be reproduced by any means, print, electronic or any other,
without prior written permission of the Editor or author.
For permission to reprint, please contact us at Editor
www.parrottoyangels.com