Saturday, October 01, 2005

Hurricane Katring - Bird Rescue Continues

An update of ongoing bird rescues in the New Orleans area affected by Hurricane Kartina.

An Experience with Hurricane Rita

TRUE HURRICANE RITA EXPERIENCE by Nathalie Ross of Houston Back from the Mess! I have to tell you what I experienced. Pure mercy, pure love, pure Hell, and then pure miracles from God. I had booked way ahead for a hotel, rented a cargo van, got all our carriers ready, filled our tanks with gas, got our house boarded up, etc, etc. I did so when people were saying "No, it's never going to come here _ it'll never be a category 5. They won't have us evacuate". People thought I was nuts. "You're really going to leave??" I said "Yes _ I hope I'm wrong. I'll be the first to admit it!" But I was determined to leave. The storm grew and it became evident that leaving was the better option. Even people who said they weren't going to started planning. I was already set. Then the city said voluntarily evacuate. We left way early on Thursday morning, drove for 9 hours to get just over 30 miles in our pickup truck with three horses, 13 birds, dogs, cats, ferrets, guinea pigs, a rabbit, and five chickens.... and got stuck in the heat. Cars were stalling all around us, we were hearing "We'll give you gasoline", but I didn't see anyone getting any gas or relief. We heard "They're going to open up the lanes, even saw the military with "hurricane chasers" written on the back of their truck, and waved at them with thumbs up in joy. We got no relief. We heard endless promises from politicians who I have decided are NO better than the ones that got New Orleans in a ton of trouble with their lack of preparedness _ only we had no excuse. We had just witnessed Katrina and knew better. The truck started heating up despite the air conditioner. It was over 100 degrees in the truck with the air conditioning, and the horses were in the back in a dark green horse trailer facing the sun and with us not moving. No water. Our trip to Seguin, TX was supposed to be 5 hours max (3 hours typically). My horses are all geriatric and one, being terribly old, particularly frail. We had to stop at a gas station and squirt them down with water, and try to get them to drink. We had a half tank of gas and lots of promises in our heads of how things were going to open up on the freeway. We misted the birds and dogs and cats, and the air from the air conditioning. We took about 30 minutes to get cooled down, but things started to just get worse. The birds started to get incredibly hot. We took out pineapple and strawberries that we had for the trip in the cooler and fed those to them. We tried to get them to drink anything _ even gatorade, but they wouldn't. Finally we had to get back on the highway and try again, but getting back on we were just sitting beside a fire department vehicle with his siren running. He couldn't go anywhere; no one could. Not the ambulances, not the police, not the people with the supposed gas. We couldn't turn the truck off because we'd lose air conditioning. Picture one of those boxes covered with tin foil that they use as a sun_oven and you get the picture. We rolled down the window and asked the fire guys where the accident was. It was about 10 minutes away on a good day _ which meant four hours away for us. So we begged and pleaded, as I continued to sob and scream trying to get off of the freeway. I talked to Richard and Lynell (bless them both!!) and must have sounded hysterical _ because I was. How could I not be? At that point every bird in my truck was panting, one was laying down, an older cat laid down and peed on herself and wouldn't move. They were going to die. I had brought them all with me to save them, and was going to kill them with my attempts to keep them alive. And I couldn't do anything about it. Finally I found a gas station that, although not open, had water. We stopped and, thanks to Richard and his awesome advice, went from soaking the birds to totally DOUSING the birds in water. Note that the seat was out of the truck and we had carriers neatly arranged on open shelving with space for air flow. Well it was good space for water flow, too. I literally sprayed the hose on the birds INSIDE of my truck, sprayed towels and a sweatshirt with water and slammed them in the doors (we had them over the windows before trying to reduce the ant_under_the_magnifying_ glass effect). We rolled down the windows in the back so the air could come through the openings past the wet towels and even took the last bit of ice from the cooler and put it on leg wraps on tops of cages just to try to make it better. We had been saving ice to try to get the birds to drink it. Then we took off for who knows where. I found a back road going North and just drove. I had 1/4 tank of gas left at this point and no options. The next freeway at which I arrived was just as bad as the last. But at least we had gotten some movement of air in the truck. Steven and I knew then that we had no choice. There was no gas anywhere, we had to go home to the super storm. So we turned around and hauled tush. Remember it took us 9 hours to get where we were.... it took us 20 minutes to get home. Twenty minutes! We got home with all of our cats, dogs, birds, etc., alive. We knew at least we'd have air conditioning at home for a while, and then living in the house (if it were livable) afterwards would be a whole lot cooler than sitting in the Coleman Stove on Wheels called my truck. I hate thunder storms and went through Camille when I was four and swore I would never stick out a hurricane again. And here I was, going right back to it. AND with no provisions! See, we bought food for the trip and about 2 days to spare (and water, drinks) but figured we could get groceries in Seguin. Only we weren't going to Seguin now. Back at the house, there was ONE store still open _ a little store around the corner, so we loaded up on vienna sausages, Armor Treet, and more gatorade (we had resorted to misting our birds with that at one point!!). And we went home. The birds all got apple juice and pedialyte, the cats and dogs etc got pedialyte, too. Two of the birds had drooping wings even two hours after getting home, but in the evening they rallied some.That night everyone slept hard, and I woke up worrying about the 'next day' effects of heat exhaustion of my birds. They were all fine. Amazing! Brilliant and amazing. So then we started preparing. We found two fifty-five-gallon horse feed drums and a forty-gallon one and filled them up; got as ready as we could and waited and prayed.We heard horror stories about "four days of flooding to follow the storm", and "everyone should turn their gas off" despite the fact that our gas company told us not to. I started thinking that we'd have a gas line leak in a bathroom with all these birds in carriers, and cats, etc. We went out and against the gas company's advice turned our own gas off. We watched buildings burned to the ground in Galveston and in nearby South Houston. Finally we lost power and turned on the portable TV and ate Chicken Cacciatore. I had to do something with the chicken that was going to go bad. The storm came, and just died out. All the praying and all the glory of God, it just fizzled. Even I, the one who is afraid of thunder storms, slept by the chimney listening to it Bong like a kettle drum, and the winds soar by. I slept on the floor, while the birds slept in their carriers again. When we got up this morning, Rita was a shadow of her former self and it was wonderfully cool outside. Few winds, NO damage. Just one big tree down and it only cracked a top board of a pen we don't use. No house damage, and we had water! We opened up some storm shutters to get cool air in and looked around the neighborhoods. Some damage, not bad. So we went home and low_ and_behold. Electricity!Folks, I've never been shy about my beliefs. And I apologize if this offends, but I feel like the most blessed girl in the world. I'm sitting in my bed (with achy feet _ let me tell ya) in air conditioning, with lights, and internet service, and ALL of my babies are alive. All of them _ even the loose geese and chickens. I started into a nightmare and was instead given miracles and incredible mercy. I will never ever look at the simple things in life the same way again. Ever.Most of all, I will never ever forget the outpouring of prayers and well_wishes that I got from some very dear people. Richard's advice literally saved my flock. He's really their hero! Lynell saved my sanity. She's my best friend. And those of you who called, and worried, and emailed _ God heard your prayers. Thank you. Thank you for caring. I'm honored to have you as friends. I'm humbled. And I'm now in tears. But they're good ones. Anyway, it was a long trip. I wanted you guys to know what we went through and how some people helped us tremendously, but mostly how thankful I am for answered prayers.Your friend, Nathalie

Permission to reprint: Yes please, pass it on. I want people to be able to learn from my situation to save their animals in case they ever get in a pinch. The evacuation could just as easily have been a summer road trip, or evacuation because of a chemical truck crashing, or even an accident on the highway on a routine trip to the vet. Of course, probably not for nine hours then. Thank you for your prayers. And for thanking God, because he really blew out all the stops this weekend. Nathalie

Product Review - The Healthy Bird Cookbook

Just discovered this really cool cookbook for birds available at . Lots and lots of fun recipes to try, some even to share with your bird. The birds say we must try some around here this weekend. If you like to cook for your bird(s) we think you will enjoy this cookbook.

The Forgotten Ones

This will truly make you feel the pain of the animals. Have those tissue boxes handy before you click.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Another Volunteer's Perspective

From a CT shelter volunteer that just came back from New Orleans:
Hi All, I got home late last night from Louisana. I'm still trying to process everything I've seen and done, not to mention trying to get the stench out of my clothes! We went to the LSU temporary shelter, which is well run and organized. They really have their act together and it's a great place to volunteer. Next stop was the Lamar Dixon Expo Center(aka Gonzales), the large"clearing house" facility. LA SPCA, HSUS, ASPCA, and VMAT are in a power struggle over who is in charge. It is total chaos. They don't have anywhere near enough people to care for the 2000 animals (average) and are turning away rescue groups bringing more animals in after sitting in line for hours. This place is HUGE, and the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. Dogs and cats sit for days waiting for vet care even if illness is obvious. Many do not get out of their crates for 2+ days. There is no leadership, no system, and the animals are suffering. Vet care is obtained when they get the chance, and only after a request is put in the "inbox", which happens to be a bucket. Volunteers are so burnt out they are in tears. There are some very sick animals who are put in makeshift "wards" in the barns. No bleach bucket outside for shoes, and no where near any acceptable level of sanitation."Triage" doesn't happen regularly, not enough vets & vet techs. The Parvo stalls are in the middle of everything......people in & out of them constantly, and going directly in stalls w/"healthy" dogs. All dogs & cats are kept in crates of all kinds. We got yelled at by VMAT for moving a puppy into a wire crate instead of a veri-kennel after being told to do so by HSUS. Don't know if it was because she was a pit pupand therefore most likely not going to make it out of that hellhole after all she'd been thru- she was air-vacced off the 610 bridge- or what. There are huge buses, vans, RV's, tents everywhere, representives of different states for each large group. Animal Planet had their bus there, and PETA was driving in as we were leaving. That's all well & good, but the "negotiations" for control is disgusting. Whoever gets the gov't "grant" (aka "Contract") runs the show, and makes some nice $$. There are pallets of food, water, crates, etc from Walmart, Petco, Petsmart,and a bunch of others. They just don't have enough people to clean &walk all these dogs, let alone feed, water, and med. They DESPERATELYneed more people to do the basic stuff. We hooked up w/Pasado AnimalRescue & did door to door searches for animal survivors in New Orleans.It is mind-blowing how many pets are still alive, though many are goingdown hill fast. Wednesday we did water rescue in an area that was still flooded, and pulled over a dozen dogs out of houses where they were trapped. We found animals alive in homes that were boarded up & barricaded, having to break in using any means necessary to get to them. The stench is unreal, and most homes are booby-traps- furniture and appliances thrown everywhere by the flood waters, the mold, sludge and god knows what makes walking in very dangerous. You DO NOT want to fall and get that stuff on you. The situation changes hour by hour, let alone day by day. They are beginning to release animals to rescues at least.From what I saw, at least 50% of the dog population is Pitbull/Pit-mixes, approx 25% Rotties & Chows, and the remaining 25% every breed you can imagine. Some of the rescues are taking Pits & Rotties, tho Lamar Dixon may not be allowing them out, Pasado & LSU are. I know there are other groups as well. Save A Dog is still there and flying in volunteers. They are also doing door to door rescue in the city now. IF ANYONE CAN GO PLEASE LET ME KNOW! Hotels are not an option. If you go, plan on sleeping in a tent (bring your own), or your vehicle. Personally, I recommend the vehicle.....Fire Ants are everywhere, and from personal experience, they will find you. I spent 2 nights sleeping in a horse stall before they realized I was there (the ants), but once they did, it was all over. Their bite is EXTREMELY painful and leaves blisters that turn into something resembling a pimple. Nothing seems to kill them. Showers are a luxury,if you can get one. Bring your own food & water, medical supplies, Rubbing Alcohol, bleach, etc to decontaminate yourself after handling the animals, who are still covered with dry toxic sewage.This effort will be going on for months, and people will be needed all the way thru. Right now, the dogs & cats (and every other creature you canimagine) are critical. Many are dehydrated and starving, and it is aVERY ugly scene. I hope things will improve. If anyone goes now, beprepared to separate your personal feelings from what needs to be donejust to get these animals some help. Hopefully it will improve over thenext few weeks/months, and someone will be in charge and get thingssomewhat organized. For those who can't turn off their feelings and just do the job as bestthey can, don't go now. Wait until it gets better. If you have a strongstomach, and can stay focused on just taking care of one at a time, youare needed now. Feral dog packs and cat colonies were well established in New Orleansprior to the they are feeding off each other, andwhatever they can find. It is truly horrible. The animal populationproblem is beyond belief. Out of some 300 dogs Pasado Rescue pulled,only TWO males were neutered, and I think ONE female. There are dogs who were severely neglected prior to the hurricane, mange is very prevalent, and god only knows what else. Most of the Pits have had there ears cropped back to their heads...."Home Jobs" done with scissors or knives.The whole thing is just surreal. I did not dream at all while I was down there, probably due to exhaustion- we were up at 6 am and lucky to get to bed by 3 or 4 am. The nightmares are starting now, and I can't get the images out of my mind. I try to focus on the ones we've saved, and pray they get into homes. Enough for now, this is too long as it is, and I'm starting to cry again. Barbara Pepper

Hurricane Katrina Animal Rescue by Julie Burge, DVM

This is a journal of her experiences in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina.

Update on AFA's Help

Date: Fri Sep 16, 2005 9:12 amSubject: THANKS From Mattie Sue ...From: msathan@aol.comFriday, AMRick Jordan is here with the AFA truck, at last, we are consolidating materials to send east with him intoMississippi, the heart of the devastation. We have been wonderfully inundated with an amazing outpouring of needed supplies. THANKS THANKS THANKS. We probably have most of what we need now except daily stuff like paper towels, toilet paper, computer paper, computer Ink (HP DeskjetPORKCHOP-style black and color ink cartridges) I think we have more coffee than Columbia! And some of it is delicious. If anybody sends any more coffee, could it beCool Brew Toasted Almond -- on, no, that's from the NewOrleans Coffee Company, I wonder if that will be possible to get). THANKS EVERYBODY! We still need people. The first waveof volunteers are pretty close to burnt out from almost-round-the-clock work. Nothing is perfect, but it's looking more and more organized. Instead of simply reacting, we are starting to be able toplan. We have experienced rescue workers on the way (so far, we're long on sweat and enthusiasm and short on disaster experience). One plan at this time is to send every bird home in a better cage than it came in. You'd be amazed at what had been thrown together to get these birds out. A cage that falls apart is a lost bird, and I lost a parrotlet trying to take it down from a high hook still hanging over toxic soup yesterday. We'll have to go back and try to capture that bird today. The military, local police, and highway patrol remain very, very helpful in getting us in. Actually, yesterday, we had one van break down, so we had only two vehicles and we could hardly get out as the highway patrol officers called us over and over to come back for other animals. Then, of course, probably after having to drive off road around standing water (there are still addresses we've been asked to reach that we can'treach),
(Edited by PPN)

New Update on 911ParrotAlert Rescue Work

Here is a link to some pictures taken at Donna's house of some of the birds which have been rescued from the New Orleans area.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Rare Quaker Colors

Check out these beautiful Quakers in all their many wonderful colors!

Can You Help with the 911ParrotAlerts Work in Louisana?

What is needed:
Send donations to Donna Powell, 16365 Woodmere Ave, Baton Rouge, LA 70819. The organization is 911 Parrot Alert. At this time, checks should be made out to Donna Powell. (She is completing FEMA paperwork for the 911 Parrot Alertorganization.)

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED. They need volunteers to help with the birds (give food and medicine, clean cages, assemble cages, etc.). They also need people who can type the band numbers and descriptions of the birds into a database. (A digital camera would be a good idea.)

ACCOMMODATIONS. The volunteers are staying at Donna's house in BatonRouge (80 miles north of New Orleans). There are several bedrooms and sofas and lots of space. They have electricity, water, washing machine and dryer, etc. Bring a cot or air mattress and sleeping bag. If you have a tent or camper, that would be helpful.

EQUIPMENT & WHAT TO BRING. There are a number of volunteers going into New Orleans to rescue birds. This requires rubber boots, long pants, gloves, hard hat, etc. Disposable paper clothes are useful. If you have a shot record, bring it. TAKE SUPPLIES (food, safety gear, etc.)

GETTING THERE -- GAS AVAILABILITY. You'll be able to get gas ifyou're coming from the north or west. Coming from the east, you'll need toget gas BEFORE Pascagoula, Mississippi.

COMPUTERS. They would like a faster computer. Donna's is an older(slow) computer and many people are trying to use it. The could also use a laptop with a wireless card. Mattie Sue said this is the best way to communicate in New Orleans.

BIRD RESCUE. They went into buildings to rescue birds. Some were alive, others had drowned. They did get a couple birds back to their owners. The animal shelters have hundreds of dogs. They're asking the bird rescue folks pick up the birds.

PHONES & HELPING. They don't have the staff to answer the phone and it's extremely hard to call in. There are more calls than the lines can handle. Priority is given to outgoing calls. They ask that is you can help, come. There will be a place for you to stay.

WHAT DO THE BIRDS NEED? Mattie Sue asked for toys for the small birds. There are(correction) about 300 birds. A large number of them are cockatiels and budgies.

INFO FROM TEXAS BIRD GROUPS. There are trucks from the Houston area taking supplies to Donna's home/911 Parrot Alert on Thursday, Friday, andSaturday (September 14-16).

Here's another e-mail from Mattie Sue (09/13/05): Subject: Re: Sense of order (lack of) Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2005 22:59:57 - 0400 Donna picked up 50 and KARE picked up 38 and we got about 30 from LSU,so more than 100 came in on Monday. Yes, we still need lots of help, but we need it in a concerted way, including administratively gifted individuals who can do more than get birds, wash cages, wash toxic soup off emaciated survivors. We made it into the city today. Nightmare like something from a science fiction movie. Mold and high water mark and starving dogs foaming at the mouth in deserted streets. Luckily we had lots of dog food to strew on the streets. Saw an expensive collection of mostly macaws, bodies of drown birds, if only they had raised the cages. The water made it just to the top of the cages and the birds drown in their cages. Three blue and golds managed to escape (well, they were pairs, so there were probably four, but we didn't stay in the mold and chemical covered room to find the other body) and survived because they weren't locked in their cages. Yes, we may have 500 by the weekend, but we still need help doing exams and evaluations and cataloging, monitoring, planning appropriate diets, trying to find owners of, and caring for the 200-300 we have. We were able to return two cages of small birds to their happy owners today. FEMA is convinced that the owners will come back to Louisiana to reclaim their pets within two weeks. It will be interesting to see if that happens. xoxoxo, ms

Update on Hurricane Katrina Relief by 911ParrotAlerts

Via the internet we have received the following email that was sent out by Mattie Sue Atham who has flown down to help with the relief work in Louisana being done by Donna Powell with 911ParrotAlerts:
On Mon, 12 Sep 2005 11:09AM "Mattie Sue Athan" writes:Weather is nice, water is drinkable, there is power, but otherwise the bird rescue situation is awful down here, need people to feed babies, medicate sick and injured birds, go pickup birds, assemble cages, feed, clean, build. More than a hundred birds already here, more than a hundred coming in today, expect 400-500 by the weekend. Companion, breeder and baby birds being sent here from LSU Veterinary School and many local shelters which are overflowing with dogs. Don't call, don't write, just come to Donna's house at 16365Woodmere Ave, Baton Rouge, LA 70819, my phone number is918-812-1099, but T-mobile towers are iffy here.Please. Many hands and minds are needed. ... If anybody can't come, but they have a friend who can, but can't afford the gas(it's $2.49/gal here, maybe a freeze on prices), give them money and put them into the car. There are a dozen or so volunteers here. Everybody left to go pick up more birds. I'm supposed to medicate, haven't slept, having trouble understanding meds directions. It's far, far, worse than I imagined. I've got a fresh bottle of whiskey, but no coffee. I'm drinking water. What a nightmare.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

911ParrotAlert Helping Katrina Victims

The Nature Chest Bird Shop and two very generous customers have been aiding the relief effort being provided by 911ParrotAlert in the Lousiana area affected by Hurricane Katrina. This group is providing a much needed help to the birds and their humans affected by this storm. Here is a description of the group:

911 Parrot Alert is a young but growing organization (founded by Donna Powell in June of 2004) with the sole mission of finding, rescuing and returning lost or stolen companion birds to their rightful families. This organization is a major web presence, with over 3,000 members working in concerted effort to save every bird, one at a time, and reunite it with their family if possible.

When Katrina struck New Orleans, 911ParrotAlert responded immediately by answering distressed summons’ from evacuated or evacuating households to rescue and foster their feathered pets until their owners could come back and claim them, as in many cases owners were not given the option to bring their animals with them to shelters. 911ParrotAlert is currently based in Baton Rouge, which was far enough away to avoid a lot of the disaster but close enough to be useful in recovery efforts. Offering direct rescue and long-term sanctuary is considerably beyond the scope of 911ParrotAlert, which is normally just to find and return lost birds, but the crisis and resultant needs were too great to ignore.

911ParrotAlert works very closely with Dr. Tully at Louisiana State University to care for and maintain these parrots until they can be reunited with their owners. Contact has been made with the American Federation of Aviculture, ASPCA, HSUS, KARE and other animal welfare groups, to recover and maintain exotic birds left behind or escaped during the hurricane. Both K.A.R.E (Knapptime Adoption Rescue and Education) and Mattie Sue Athan, the well-known author of companion parrots, have traveled from their respective bases to directly lend their hands in this crisis.

911 Parrot Alert members have organized into Task Force Teams, soliciting donations of cages, food, supplies, veterinary assistance and transportation to deliver them to the areas where rescued birds are being cared for. The response has been overwhelming and the 911 volunteers are tireless in their endeavors to save these birds from starvation, disease and death. Veterinarians, avian caregivers and administrative support people are flowing in from all over the US and Canada to help, on-site, with this mission.

Donation & disaster-related information may be obtained via Internet at

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

Here is a page to help you find a rescue and relief group to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina, both humans and birds and animals. Thank you for your help.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

A Cool New Video for You and Your Bird!

We have discovered this really cool video called "Birdsitter" that is as much fun to watch for the humans as it is for the birds it was made for. Check it out:

Are Paper Towel Cardboard Rolls Safe for your Bird?

We have received the following notice that is circulating around the Net about those cardboard rolls from paper towels. The warning we believe would also apply to the cardboard rolls of toliet paper as well. Since we tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to our feathered friends we though we would pass it along as well.

"NEWSFLASH: Paper Towel Rolls Potential Zinc Poisoning
Source!", by 'Parrots Secrets' Newsletter Editor


Many of us have allowed our parrots to play with and shred
paper towel cores after we've used the entire paper towel
supply from the core.

This has appeared to be harmless and I was very shocked to
learn that it could be harmful! Had I not seen an email from
Kimberly-Clark, one of the manufacturers of paper towels and
toilet paper, I might not have believed this information.

Zinc toxicity is very serious and can kill a parrot if it
is severe. Kidney damage, upset digestion, feather plucking
and increased water intake are all signs of zinc poisoning.

Other symptoms include vomiting, loss of appetite and larger
than usual green droppings. Sudden death, unfortunately, is
another sign.

Cockatoos are especially sensitive but no parrot is exempt.
If you do, however, have a cockatoo that plucks feathers
and nothing has resolved the problem, ask your vet to check
for zinc in the parrot's blood.

I was aware of zinc toxicosis (a big word for zinc poisoning)
in parrots, but had always heard that the most common cause
was older cages or the use of galvanized wire in aviaries.

Using washers containing zinc to attach toys to a parrot's
cages is another potential cause of zinc poisoning that I
had heard of.

However, I was shocked to learn that the adhesive used to
attach the first sheet of paper towel to the cardboard core
has resulted in some parrots being diagnosed with zinc
toxicosis. This same adhesive can be present in toilet
paper rolls also.

When making sure you do not give your parrot any zinc-containing
products, watch out for anything made of metal that is dull
and creates a whitish dust.

Padlocks and some hangers used for toys are often culprits.
Paints and varnishes and adhesives, pennies, curtain or blind
weights, keys, costume jewelry, tile, duct tape, and hardware
around the house are all potential sources of zinc that could
poison your parrot.

Blood tests are the only accurate diagnosis tool for this
serious poisoning. Be very cautious of what you give your
parrot to play with and what you use inside the cage!

Kimberly-Clark's statement regarding this adhesive says:

"Although the core glue is safe for its intended use, it
is not intended to be ingested. It is not food grade and
does not meet indirect food contact regulations. Therefore,
we cannot recommend that it be used with pets".

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Does Your Bird Get Enough Exercise?

Sometimes we forget how inactive our birds really are. They often stay in cages too small to actually fly in. They are often carried about by their humans so there is no need to fly around to get somewhere. We even bring their food to them each day so they don't have to get out and go forage for dinner. Exercise is very important to our birds not only for their physical health, but for their mental wealth as well. Here is a link to an interesting article written on exercise and parrots. You might want to do some seraching around the Internet and find some suggestions on ways to help your bird increase its activity level. Flapping in place while you gently hold your bird's feet can help get things started just be careful not to hold too tight as well as not letting go causing your bird to fall. Providing climbing ropes, rings and ladders can get them moving as well. Ever watched a parrot chase a ball? Many will and do enjoy playing with their humans in active safe bird games. Has your bird ever had a toy it just seemed to really hate and was always beating the toy up? Well, whipping that toy into shape might actually be good exercise for your feathered friend. Burns up a few birdie calories making that toy behave. A couch potato bird can learn to become a more active companion whether flighted or clipped with a few good birdie exercises.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

A Visit to the Local Library

On Friday, July 8, 2005, staff members of Parrot Press News and The Nature Chest Bird Shop made a visit to the local library to give a program on Parrots in the Rainforest. Presenting members participating in the program were Shasta the Yellow Naped Amazon, Girlie-Girl the Umbrella Cockatoo, Sisco the Blue Indian Ringneck, Togo the Senegal, and Sunni, a 6 month old Sun Conure. The parrots were accompanied by their human from The Nature Chest Bird Shop to do the talking and explain everything as necessary. The parrots all felt that striking perfect poses and exhibiting their remarkable talents as parrots was quite enough for their part.

Sunni Sun Conure began the program by a show and tell of exactly how beautiful Sun Conures are and how loving and cuddly they are with their people.

As a representative of the Conure family and South American parrots, Sunni demonstrated how to cuddle under a human's chin and give kisses and tickling nibbles to a person quite professionally. She did not wish however to give a demonstration on Sun Conure flocking calls and she was afraid she would have to be loud and clear and might frighten some of the younger children in the audience. Sunni was very excited about sharing her adventure with one of her cage buddies after the program. Sunnie is on the left and her friend Sammi is on the right.

The second presenter, as a representative of the Ringneck family and of India, was Sisco the Indian Ringneck. Sisco demonstrated how to properly lift your wings and spread tail feathers to show in detail the beautiful feathers of a blue Indian Ringneck. She continued on to show the proper way to pin your eyes and make lovely clicking sounds to a human you happen to adore. Sisco also felt it prudent to show how a parrot can express their dislike of going back into a carrier when they are not ready.

Third, was Togo the Senegal proudly and quietly representing the Senegals in the Rainforests of Africa. Although a little nervous about appearing in public with such a large crowd, Togo lifted his chest with pride at modeling the perfect fit and trim as well as colorful dress of a proper Senegal. Togo, not a fussy showoff, presented his program and promptly preferred to remain in his carrier during the performance of others. He is considering next time remaining on his T-stand and letting the audience admire his features while he nibbles on a treat.

Next came Shasta the Yellow Naped Amazon. No stage fright there. Shasta prefers to have everyone's undivided attention so she proceeded to show the proper way to do an Amazon Display. Fanning tail feathers and ruffled head feathers were a real show stopper. Although sometimes a little shy about singing, she makes sure everyone admires Amazons with gusto. At the end of the program Shasta climbed off her perch and strolled along the table to be sure all birds were returning to their carriers. She also spoke to a few of the people passing by, and showed keen interest in them as they were leaving to be sure they had enjoyed the program.

And last but definitely not least, came Girlie-Girl the Umbrella Cockatoo to present the grand finale and gleefully represent all Cockatoos of the World. Girlie performed a short exercise program of how to jump up on down while holding on to the hand of a human. Of course she was adamant about displaying those beautiful crest feathers and showing the lovely yellow feathers hiding underneath as well. She also proceeded to demonstrate how to eat an ear of corn using your foot as the perfect utensil and how not to waste such good food as well.

All in all, a good outing indeed. And, hopefully enjoyed by all the people who were good enough to come out and visit with us.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Do the Birdie Moonwalk!

This little birdie has those dance steps down pat for courting any little lady bird. Click on the title link above or enter in your browser.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Repainting Old Bird Cages

We get a lot of phone calls and emails asking about repainting
bird cages. Some birds are tough on the cages, especially if
the cage is a less expensive one. Using those beaks to climb
around the cage can cause paint chipping and wear on a lot of
cages, especially the large parrot cages. Owners often worry
whether their bird may be ingesting those paint chips as well.
Although we have found very few cages that can be successfully
repainted and hold up well afterward, which is why we usually
recommend buying a new good quality cage instead, we can give
you a few pointers if you are determined to try repainting your
bird’s cage yourself.

Before you are ready to begin you will need a temporary cage
for your bird to live in for several weeks while you redo the
original cage.

First thing is to thoroughly clean that old cage removing any
and all food, feces, and dirt from every nook and cranny.
You will need to take the cage outside and use a power washer
or plain old fashioned hand scrubbing using lots of soap and
water. After thoroughly drying the cage, next, using a good
wire brush comes a good scrubbing to remove any loose paint
chips. Then comes a good sanding of all surfaces to finish
off removing any loose old paint particles as well as preparing
the cage surfaces to better accept the new paint. Now if you
haven’t totally exhausted yourself preparing the cage, and have
already decided to just by a new better one, you are ready to
begin repainting your bird cage. (If you cage has rust spots
see our note below.)

So you are now off to purchase the right paint but what do you
look for? We have had a couple of cage manufacturers suggest
a non-toxic appliance paint used on kitchen appliances as this
type of paint dries very hard and is easy to clean. You are
looking for several things listed on the paint can. It should
say that the paint is safe for baby furniture and preferably
also baby toys. Since babies put everything in their mouth,
these paints must meet certain safety standards that not all
paints meet. Of course, the paint cannot contain lead, zinc
or chromate. To our knowledge all paints now sold in the
United States are lead free. For the paint to hold up, it
should also state that it is formulated to bond with metal
surfaces and is hard-wearing. You also want a paint that is
fast drying.

Now you have the safest paint you can find and you are ready
to begin. Painting should be done outdoors on a warm sunny
day, and away from any animals or ponds. No matter how safe
the paint says it is, never paint anywhere near where your
bird is. Paint fumes are toxic to birds not to mention not
too good for the painter either. There are newer paints on
the market that claim to have no smell and thus no fumes to
be unsafe. Maybe, maybe not, however I doubt many of these
paints manufacturers have done testing to be 100%sure their
great new products are totally non-toxic for our birds. So
best to keep Polly far away from any painting going on.

When you have finished painting the cage now you wait. We
recommend you wait a minimum of two (yes 2) weeks before you
put your bird inside this newly painted cage. It takes at
least that long for the paint to do it’s thing and be safe
for your bird. And, very important, do not cover your bird
for at least 30 days after the cage has been painted so there
is no danger any still existing vapors can get caught inside
a covered cage with your bird.

We have known some owners who take their clean, stripped down
cages and have them powder coated instead of repainting them.
Before doing this we recommend you do a search on powder
coating and determine for yourself whether this process is
safe for your bird. Power coating is not the same process as
simply repainting.

RUSTY CAGES: As a rule, if your cage has rust spots,
throw it out and buy a new one. Do not use paint products
which inhibit the return of rust, cover it up, or try to hide
the rust. There are a couple of name brands for these, and
they are very toxic to our birds. Some people think that
once these products are totally dry, they become safe.
However, I don’t want to find out the hard way with one of my
birds and neither should you.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Saving the Blue Macaws

This is a heart warming video showing how 2 baby macaws were saved
from drowning in their nest and returned safely to be raised by
their parents. Click on the link above or enter the link below
in your browser. Note: This is a long video, almost 20 minutes
in length.

How Well Does Your Parrot Talk?

Do you have a secret talker at your house? Click on the
link above or enter the link below to see what some of
the birds are really doing.

Monday, June 06, 2005

AHN Challenge - May 2005

Information about avian PDD research and AHN's fundraising and
outreach activities
...Ritchie selects 2005 Quilt winner May 22, 2005
...Donations presented to EDRG exceed $10,000
...Celebrating Support
...AHN launches "2006 Birds of a Feather Quilt Challenge"
...Ritchie on West Nile Virus: "Use Common Sense"
...PDD in a Colony of Cockatiels
...Ritchie Road Report
...Collaborative fundraising
...The Wowwie Contest and the tradition of avian activism
...It's a Small World
...News and Notes

news starts here -->
...Ritchie selects 2005 Quilt winner May 22, 2005
...Donations presented to EDRG exceed $10,000
...Celebrating Support
...AHN launches "2006 Birds of a Feather Quilt Challenge"
Dr. Branson Ritchie selects 2005 Quilt winner May 22, 2005
Following slide presentations of current work by the
Emerging Diseases Research Group at the University of
Georgia's College of Veterinary Medicine (see "EDRG
RESEARCH" below), Dr. Branson Ritchie reached into the 415
tickets his supporters had purchased and withdrew winning
ticket A0067, belonging to Kari Banta, an Austin,
Texas transportation planner.
Kari won a unique quilt that is the first of its kind in
avian charity fundraising, a collaborative collage of
colorful parrots assembled by charity quilter Ardith
Raine in Las Vegas, Nevada, from quilt squares ("blocks")
sewn by seasoned and amateur bird lovers and bird club
across the U.S.
Photographed block by block and in its entirety, the
"Birds of a Feather" Quilt was impressive to see on the
Internet. But displayed behind AHN tables at several
Bird Marts to test its 'road appeal', the quilt was
absolutely striking. Some passersby found it very moving,
indeed, and many more browsers than usual stopped to hear
about PDD, often staying to buy a ticket (or 5, for a
price discount) in the hope of winning the unique piece.
One man offered to buy it outright for a princely sum.
When table volunteers explained that the quilt was a
drawing prize, he asked for the names of the contributors
so he could contact them to make a quilt "just like this
The names of AHN's "QuiltingBirds" are not for sale, of
course, but they should certainly be acknowledged. As the
quilt is made with many small stitches, it is also
made of many gifts of time and talent and heart and pocket
money by the people most affected by this brutal disease.
AHN's QuiltingBirds developed quilter guidelines,
stitched squares, helped AHN plan and orchestrate its
first charity quilt program.

<>-----<>The Quiltingbirds and other volunteers are
acknowledged in the Adobe Acrobat (PDF) version of the
Challenge, available at

got her first bird when she moved from New York to Texas.
"I was very lonely and needed a friend," she said. "I had
no idea what I was getting myself into!" She and her
husband share their home with an 8 year old Quaker named
Piepmatz and a four year old white capped pionus named
Zoe. "I learned about the horrible nature of PDD by
reading the story of one bird's struggle on an email list
back in 1999," Kari said. "We've been lucky that we've not
had personal experience with it, and I figure it's my
responsibility to help the cause as part of what I do to
take care of my little ones. I guess it's my hope that if
enough people take action, no more birds will have to
Kari was stunned when she received the phone call
announcement from AHN president Valerie Schuster last
Sunday. "I actually couldn't tell my husband because I
started to cry. The amount of love and caring that went
into the quilt,as well as the sadness and urgency of the hit me all at once. I am tremendously grateful
to receive this beautiful piece that contains the hard
work and love of so many people. I've cleared a wall in my
house where it will hang, proudly on display."
Celebrating Support
AHN acknowledged outstanding contributions to PDD
research, education, and fundraising of benefactors on
May 21-22, 2005. Certificates of Appreciation were
presented to Len Charette, of C&L Aviaries in Bensalem,
Pennsylvania; and Pam Thompson and Ed Daisy, of Chantilly,
Virginia. Len has supported fundraising for PDD research
since the very early days of Valerie Wixen's TGPC campaign
and is wellknown for his generous prize donations. Pam's
and Ed's remarkable donations distinguish the passion of
their commitment to the cause of PDD research.
A Certificate of Appreciation was also awarded to The Bird
Heard for its efforts on behalf of the 2005 Birds of a
Feather Quilt. Bird Heard club president Becky
McKirahan submitted one of the first blocks for this year's
quilt, and her entire club pitched in to plan, host and
cater the climactic events at the end of this
first annual fundraising program. This was no small
undertaking, but The Bird Heard, like the little engine
that could, planned and hosted a truly spectacular
presentation event that was awesome in its attention to
Donations Top $10,000 at Quilt Drawing in Maryland
Cotton milling started in Maryland in the 18th century.
Before 19th century rail transportation served the mill
town of Savage, cotton shipped cheaply from Southern ports
was hauled overland by mule and oxen teams to the town's
textile mills on the falls of the Little and Middle
Patuxent Rivers, for manufacture into cotton duck sails
for the tall ships at nearby Chesapeake Bay ports.
The Bird Heard, a cluster of Maryland bird lovers who seem
to simply enjoy having fun together, selected Savage
Methodist Church in this historical textile town
to host AHN's First Annual "Birds of a Feather" Quilt
Drawing. Postponed from April due to a schedule conflict
with Dr. Ritchie's ECAMS presentation, the event fell on
the weekend of the Preakness Stakes, one of America's top
three horse races, at nearby Pimlico Racetrack. Hotel rooms
were hard to find and airfare costs to Baltimore were
higher than usual, but that did not deter the determined!
Nathalie Ross, who lost a precious bird in early May, flew
in from Texas; Kyle Sandler, who is
sponsoring a contest with vendor donated prizes reminiscent
of Valerie Wixen's TGPC, made the trek from North Carolina;
the entire staff of a shop called Birds of a Feather closed
their doors in Pennsylvania for the day to drive down and
drop a $300 donation at the door; and at the last minute,
Steffanie Budnick, one of AHN's own founding directors and
a skilled nurse and mother of two in southern Michigan,
was able to extricate herself briefly from her
responsibilities to attend the event.
Following the Georgia researcher's presentations on EDRG
research, Len Charette (C&L Aviary) presented Dr. Ritchie
with AHN's check for $7500, representing bird lovers
everywhere whose generous donations and participation in
AHN fundraising events support PDD research. At the
event's conclusion, The Bird Heard turned door
receipts totaling well over a thousand dollars over to AHN
for its next check to EDRG -- and a nearby benefactor
promptly pledged to match it. The Bird Heard also turned
over hundreds of dollars of proceeds from their raffle and
refreshments tables.
Okay, that's small potatoes for a man who needs a quarter
of a million dollars to pave the way to a vaccine, but
does it help? "Oh, yes!" Dr. Ritchie replied emphatically.
He gestured at the people seated to hear him speak.
"It's the people who love the parrots that are funding
disease research. Without this support, we wouldn't be
able to carry on any work at all!"
AHN launches "2006 Birds of a Feather Quilt Challenge"
Avian Health Network, Inc., is pleased and proud to
announce its second annual charity quilt event, the
2006 "Birds of a Feather" Quilt Challenge to StopPDD.
As the 2005 Quilt ramped down to its conclusion with
the events in Maryland on Sunday, the 2006 Quilt
Challenge was already rising on its foundation. Program
manager Valerie Schuster is reluctant to discuss details
so soon, but notes that the technical guidelines for
quilters are already being drafted and that last year's
QuiltingBirds can expect to be contacted soon.
Opportunities for artist and vendor sponsorships and
partnering are on the drawing board.
Expect more details about the 2006 Quilt Challenge in
the next Challenge newsletter, and check AHN's website
for interim updates.
...Veterinary Report on West Nile Virus
...PDD in a Colony of Cockatiels
...Ritchie Road Report
...Veterinary Vocabulary

At a special presentation accompanying AHN's Birds of a
Feather Quilt drawing in Savage, MD, on May 22, 2005,
University of Georgia Distinguished Research Professor
Dr. Branson Ritchie, ABVP & ECAMS, presented research
information about avian infectious diseases to several
dozen people in attendance. Attention was absolute through
both presentations, and Dr. Ritchie was as responsive as
an energetic undergrad professor during the Q&A session
following. The slide presentations are already being
discussed on psittacine-related mailing lists, interest
groups, and blogs.
Dr. Ritchie presented general and practical information
about the disease along with a report on EDRG's work
with Drs. Dr. Redig (University of Minnesota) and Dr.
Tully (Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge) on a
plasmid-mediated vaccine specifically for birds.
The disease is deadliest to crows, raptors, and waterfowl.
Although some psittacine species appear susceptible to the
disease, parrots generally appear relatively resistant.
Most birds become subclinically affected, develop an
appropriate immune response, and quickly clear the virus.
Old World birds (African, Indian, European) can usually
survive the disease. Birds originating from the New World
or South Pacific are far more susceptible to infection and
Knowing the facts about West Nile Virus (WNV) can protect
your parrots better than keeping them indoors. "The
benefits of sunshine and clean air are so much greater
than the risk," drawled Dr. Ritchie, "that it's just silly
to deny your birds." But "use common sense," he cautions.
Leave them inside until the morning dew is gone and bring
them in before dusk, times when mosquitoes are most active.
<>-----<>References about parrots and WNV are available
in the Adobe Acrobat (PDF) version of the Challenge,
available at
PDD Update: the Cockatiels study
A month after presenting "Epizootiology of Proventricular
Dilatation Disease in Breeding Cockatiels" to ECAMS
colleagues at the European Conference of the AAV in France
on April, Dr. Ritchie explained the cockatiels study and
its implications to a roomful of attentive laymen in
Savage, MD, on May 22. A diplomate in ECAMS (the European
College of Avian Medicine and Surgery), a Distinguished
Research Professor and current Acting Head of the
Department of Small Animal Medicine at the UGA College of
Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Ritchie also commands respect in
this audience as a practical veterinary practitioner. For
many, there because they have lost their birds, he
represented the single greatest hope that it can be
stopped from happening again. Others were stunned to hear
for the first time how radically lifestyles bird lovers
have taken for granted are having to be changed by
this disease.
Dr. Ritchie speaks well and is clearly accustomed to
teaching. He quickly sketched the history of the disease,
its spread in the United States, Canada and Europe, the
epornitic (attacking many birds in a region at the same
time) character of the disease. Waterfowl, such as geese,
and other free ranging birds - finches, canaries,
spoonbills, toucans and possibly woodpeckers - are known
to carry the disease. All psittacines appear to be
at risk, although data on free-ranging populations has not
been collected.
The disease may be far more prevalent than we know because
it is carried by asymptomatic birds, and not all birds
exposed to PDD contract the disease. Dr. Ritchie talked
at length about the diagnosis of PDD, illustrating his
lecture with accompanying photos from EDRG's cockatiel
study. "It's not PDD until your pathologist gives you a
histologic diagnosis of lymphoplasmacytic ganglioneuritis,"
the researcher emphasized. Individuals without clinical
symptoms but diagnosed microscopically with PDD lesions,
should be considered at extra risk of developing disease.
Birds with clinical signs that are to be treated should be
placed in strict isolation. But "isolate, don't euthanize,"
he begged, distress visible on his face.
AHN hopes to publish a more complete report of this
presentation and about EDRG's cockatiel study in an
upcoming issue of the Challenge.
About EDRG and Branson Ritchie, Ph.D., ABVP, ECAMS
Dr. Ritchie obtained his DVM from the University of
Georgia's College of Veterinary Medicine in 1985 and
his PhD in Medical Microbiology from the same institution
in 1990. In 2000, he received the honored title of
Distinguished Research Professor.
As a member of the multi-disciplined Emerging Diseases
Research Group at the University of Georgia College of
Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Ritchie has been involved in
characterizing the PBFD virus, developing a DNA probe
based assay for the PBFD virus, developing the avian
polyomavirus vaccine and developing DNA probe based
assays to detect polyomavirus, adenovirus and Pacheco's
disease virus.
In conjunction with researchers at LSU, the Emerging
Diseases Research Group has developed and tested assays
for detecting chlamydia nucleic acid in clinical samples
and is involved with the LSU group in testing a vaccine
to prevent chlamydiosis. Currently, the psittacine
disease research group is working on characterizing
the suspect PDD virus and testing subunit vaccines to
prevent polyomavirus-and PBFD virus-induced diseases.
The research group has published more than 50 scientific
publications on infectious diseases of companion birds and
Dr. Ritchie has edited two textbooks, Avian Medicine:
Principles and Applications, and Avian Viruses: Function
and Control. In addition, Dr. Ritchie is a Diplomate of
the American Board of Veterinary Practioners, and a
Diplomate of the European College of Avian Medicine and
Ritchie Road Report
ARLES - March 2005
Dr. Ritchie presented "Epizootiology of Proventricular
Dilatation Disease in Breeding Cockatiels" at the 6th
Scientific Meeting of ECAMS during the European Conference
of the Association of Avian Veterinarians in Arles,
France on April 26, 2005. Dr. Ritchie is a diplomate in
ECAMS, the European College of Avian Medicine and Surgery.
<>-----<>Other papers presented in sessions at the four-
day conference are listed in the Adobe Acrobat (PDF)
version of the Challenge, available at, or
see the Arles Conference program: [http://www.vogelklinik.]
MARYLAND - May 2005
PDD in Cockatiels; Notes on West Nile Virus
The Bird Heard
May 22, 2005
Savage, MD
Slide presentations (reported above) about West Nile Virus
and PDD Cockatiels colony study in conjunction with AHN's
2005 "Birds of a Feather Quilt" drawing.
MONTEREY - August 2005
26th Annual Association of Animal Veterinarians Conference
August 8-12, 2005
Monterey, CA
Dr. Ritchie will not be presenting at the AAV Conference
this year. PDD-related papers will include:
...Proventricular Dilation Disease in a Peregrine Falcon
...Case Report: A typical Presentation of Proventricular
Dilatation Disease in a Double Yellow-headed Amazon
BELFAST - September 2005
Dr. Ritchie has accepted an invitation to speak at the
International Conference on "Animal Circoviruses and
Associated Diseases" at Queen's University in the
heart of Belfast, Ireland, between September 11 and 13th,
2005. This conference, sponsored by the European
Association for Veterinary Virology, will provide an
opportunity for scientists, veterinarians and other
end-users to meet, debate and discuss important aspects
of circovirus research with particular focus on
pathogenesis, epidemiology and control of circovirus
Veterinary Vocabulary
A pathogen is a biological agent that can cause disease
to its host. A synonym of pathogen is "infectious agent".
The term "pathogen" is most often used for agents that
disrupt the normal physiology of a multicellular animal
or plant. However, pathogens can infect unicellular
organisms from all of the biological kingdoms (see
Viruses, below). []
Etiology (alternately aetiology, aitiology) is the study
of causation. The term is used in philosophy, physics
and biology in reference to the causes of various
phenomena. It is generally the study of why things occur,
or even the reasons behind the way that things act.
Assigning or seeking to assign a cause of a specific disease
...Collaborative fundraising
...The Wowwie Contest and the tradition of avian activism
...It's a Small World
...Rumors and Announements
Corporations and celebrities busy themselves with bigger
causes when they turn their attention to good works. We
who support research into a disease afflicting the
psittacine populations are a pretty specialized population
ourselves. The grass roots efforts of individuals and
charity organizations, bird clubs, publications, etc., can
really help to make a difference...

---------------------------------------------------------- a beautiful, collaborative thing.
Who can forget Valerie Wixen's "Grey PoopOn Challenge"
(TGPC), a remarkable testament to her lost companion Mocha?
This collaboration of artists and vendors and a generous
avian public to raise research funds across the Internet
helped to define a new paradigm for electronic fundraising.
All of AHN's fundraising programs have been inspired and
informed by TGPC, including the new 2006 Quilt Challenge.
On March 28, 2004, the Buffalo Hookbill Association
together with Parrot Fund International sponsored the
"Buffalo Parrot Conference 2004" at D'Youville College
in Buffalo, NY, raising $8,750 for PDD research.
Now we have The Wowwie Contest, spontaneously ignited
when Nathalie Ross' companion grey Wowwie passed away
on May 4, 2005. Sponsored by Kyle Sandler of Parrotrents
(Online Bird, Inc.), this drawing features prizes that
"are things Wowwie loved," including toys and supplies
provided by a number of vendors. Len Charette of C&L
Aviary, long known for his commitment to PDD research,
donated a Sterling scale as the grand prize, and pledged
to match a thousand dollars. To enter the drawing, provide
Online Bird with a donation to PDD research, or a receipt
for a donation, between now and May 31, 2005. At this
writing, the contest has received more than $2000 in
donations, pledges, and donation receipts.
All proceeds will be donated to the Emerging Diseases
Research Group (EDRG) at the University of Georgia to
support PDD research. The contest ends on May 31, 2005;
drawing results will be available on June 5.

...The Wowwie Contest:
...Buffalo Parrot Conference:
...About TTGPC:
Note: While The Wowwie Contest is not an AHN-sponsored
event, it provides a similar value to donors and to
research organizations by organizing small sums of money
into more significant donations. EDRG and the foundation
which supports it are not set up to process small
donations - it has been known to cost them more than
the value of the donation to do so. By aggregating
donations and using volunteer time and effort to defray
administrative costs, fundraising events like the Wowwie
Contest and AHN's Quilt Challenge help to keep
researchers and research dollars focused on research,
not administration.
A Bank of America employee figured out how to make her
donation in Wowwie's name (see GRASS ROOTS FUNDRAISING,
above) count four ways! She
...donated $50 to AHN's StopPDD campaign,
...doubled the donation by registering it with the Bank of
America's matching gift program,
...used her receipt to enter the Parrotrents-sponsored
Wowwie Contest with a chance to win great prizes,
...and qualified AHN as a recipient for future donations
by BoA employees!
Everyone wins - especially the birds! Way to go!
Over on the Bird Board, The Outlaw suggested a letter
writing campaign to Jimmy Buffett. Or anything!
"You can make a difference," The Outlaw writes,
"Quit smoking, put that money in a jar and send off
a check for whatever [you] save. The next time you go
to the grocery store and use merchant coupons, put that
money aside and do the same thing. I know that on any
given month, I find at least $5 in the washer and dryer.
I've been saving that for 2 years now and sending off
contributions. Hell, I don't even miss it!" And suddenly
others begin to pledge, one after another: the cost of
carton of cigarettes each month, a day's pay, a letter
to Jimmy Buffett, a resolution to spread the word about
protecting beloved birds. (Ed. Note: Say, Parrotheads,
Jimmy's not the only celebrity with a penchant for parrots Pokemon cards, gotta get em' all!)
On hearing AHN's announcement of the 2006 "Birds of a
Feather" Quilt Challenge to StopPDD, Bob Howard, the
avian photographer featured in ParrotChronicles' article
about PDD last year, volunteered his professional
services to shoot high-quality stills of the new quilt
for publicity and promotion next year. Outstanding,
Bob - thanks!
While AHN's 2004-2005 "Birds of a Feather" fundraiser
quilt was the first of its kind among avian charity
organizations, it was not the last. Diane McKinney,
who managed AHN's first quilt program briefly in 2004,
subsequently created her own quilt and donated it to
The Alex Foundation, where it was raffled off on May
2, 2005. In a remarkable twist of fate, winning ticket
183258 belonged to AHN president Valerie Schuster.
"I've always supported Dr. Pepperburg's research,"
Valerie explained, her companion grey, Cleo, audible
in the background. "It's because of Alex that I first
got interested in African Greys." Since contest rules
make our directors ineligible to enter AHN-sponsored
drawings, Valerie leaped at the chance to make a
personal contribution to the Alex Foundation and
support Diane McKinney's generous contribution to
avian research. "But I never expected to win!"
Valerie exclaimed, "I've got to figure out a way to
keep this good karma going!" She says she is
considering donating the handsome quilt to an
undisclosed avian charity foundation for display in
its corporate offices.
The Alex Foundation (
Congratulations to AHN volunteer Ingrid McCue on the
birth of her baby boy Aaren on April 26, 2005. At
more than eight pounds, the baby is healthy, his mother
recovering cheerfully. Still pitching in from her
bedside, Ingrid volunteered to proofread this newsletter.

c. 2005, Avian Health Network, Inc.
The Challenge is a newsletter for volunteers, donors,
and other participants in the fundraising and outreach
activities of Avian Health Network, Inc. (AHN). The
text version of the Challenge may be abbreviated for
size or format reasons.
AHN does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of
the information, text, or other items contained within
these materials. AHN cannot guarantee the accuracy or
timeliness of the information contained herein, nor the
information distributed by other groups or resources
referenced in this document. Any veterinary information
contained herein is for informative purposes only, and
is not meant to substitute for quality avian veterinary
care. Those with birds exhibiting any symptom of illness
should immediately seek the advice of a qualified avian
medical professional.
Newsletter articles may be reprinted on the WWW if
attributed to AHN's Challenge newsletter or StopPDD
campaign. We encourage you to link to the home page of
our public charity website at URL,
and to download banners for use at your website.
AHN does not currently cross-post links.
Avian Health Network, Inc. is a 501(C) 3 corporation
headquartered and incorporated in the Commonwealth of
Virginia. We are an organization of volunteers with
no paid personnel. We are committed to raising public
awareness and funds for avian diseases such as PDD.
Financial Statement is available upon written request
from the State Office of Consumer Affairs, Commonwealth
of Virginia. Proceeds generated by the StopPDD campaign
will go to help subsidize the research of the Emerging
Diseases Research Group (EDRG) at the University of
Georgia's College of Veterinary Medicine.

Friday, June 03, 2005

West Nile Virus - 2005

We are hearing news reports of earlier than usual positive results on early detection testing for West Nile Virus in some states. Click on the name link above for some good information to help protect humans and our animals this summer. If you live in an area with West Nile Virus, please reconsider taking your birds outside as you may be putting them at risk for West Nile Virus.

Quakers of the Month of June

Congratulations to Peri S. Winkle Quaker and Precious Quaker as Quakers of the Month for June! Click on the name link above to meet them.

Monday, May 30, 2005

"Parrots of Telegraph Hill"

Although we haven't been lucky enough to have this wonderful movie close enough for us to go see yet, the reviews we are hearing are the best. Check out the full city listing to see when it will be playing in your area. The movie trailer is pretty cool to watch as well. You can click on the title link above or enter the url shown below in your browser. If you would like to post a review here, please do so.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Bonnie's Birdie Bread

2 cups corn meal
1/4 cup white flour
1/4 cup flax seed
as much Harrison's Fine High Potency as you can stand
a little Zupreem Cockatiel flavored pellets (colored to get the babies to eat)
2 and 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3 jars of Sweet Potatoes baby food
2 eggs (the eggs shells from the eggs, but you must dry them
and then crush them very fine
1 cup unflavored plain whole yogurt (fat free or not)
1/4 cup peanut butter

I mixed all the dry ingredients very well with my wire whisk. I mixed
all the wet ingredients very well with my other wire whisk.

I then put the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mixed them
up with a spoon. Then I put everything into an 8 inch glass cake pan
coated with Pam spray and baked it at 450 degrees for 25 minutes.

The birds loved it. ALL of the birds including the babies.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

By: Spike –a-tiel

I am here to tell you, that from a Cockatiel’s point of view, Green Sucks!!!

“Why do you feel that way?” you ask. Well, here’s the deal:

Ever since the first Green Bird (Mom called him a Quaker) moved in, my life has never been the same. When, the second one got here, it was worse. Green birds are mouthy and dangerous. I am in fear of my toes and my very life all of the time. They never stay on their own houses and are always trying to break into my house and bite my toes and kill me.

My cousin, Mickey-tiel, came to visit, for a while. His house was right beside mine. One day they both snuck over to our houses when Mom wasn’t looking. I knew what they were up to; so I stayed right in the middle of my perch so they couldn’t reach me with those sharp beaker-peakers of theirs. But; Mickey is a city boy and not to bright about stuff either. He hung onto his cage bars and the Evil One that my Mom calls Molly B., bit his toe so hard that Mom had to cut it clean off.

One of the Green things finally went over a bridge of some kind and I thought I was safe. But; that Molly is worse than both of them were together. She is always making a racket, sneaking over to my house and sitting on my roof, threatening to kill me. My Mom tells her not to go to other people’s houses, but she doesn’t listen. She slides down her house leg like a green fireman and runs across the room and up my house leg. I am in danger every time my mom turns her back. I wish that green bird would find another home, because she makes my life miserable.


(Spike a-tiel is a free lance writer and when asked if he would like to add a personal bio to his article he simply replied: “I was born a rich little bird all covered with pearly spots, then some really poor lady paid $35 for me and took me home and loved me so much that my pearly colored spots fell off.”)

Saturday, April 30, 2005

What do you call those eggs anyway?

Ever wonder what a bird's eggs are called other than an egg? Or what to call a baby bird in the nest other than a baby bird? Or what exactly is a fledgling? Well, here the scoop:

Fertilized eggs in the nest are a clutch.

Newly hatched babies are hatchlings

And when the feathers start to appear they are pullets or cockerels.

And when they get their flight feathers they are called fledglings.

After they actually have their first flight they become Juveniles.

And usually after a year, or when they mature, they are then adults.


How Safe are those Bird Fairs?

Most everyone who has owned and loved parrots for any length of time, has either attended a bird fair, or at least has heard what a bird fair is all about. I think the article linked here (click on the title above "How Safe are those Bird Fairs") is very good food for thought the next time you decide to attend the local bird fair. If you do decide to attend, at the very least make sure you know the appropriate protocol to follow to protect yourself and your birds from any undesirable germs you might pick up while at the fair. These diseases are not something to be taken lightly. Don't be fooled into thinking only the birds for sale have germs either, because every person walking around is spreading those nasties on the bottoms of their shoes, on their clothes, and especially on their hands, so no bird cage, bird toy, or bird supply, can be guaranteed safe from exposure. And pay special attention to the vendors who have birds out on open playstands and who let anyone who walks up, touch and play with their birds, and never even mentions disinfecting their hands. Be wondering how many other bird fair birds they touched and handled before handing this bird and how many of those other birds were carrying a disease. And if you do buy a bird fair bird, take it for a complete vet checkup ASAP and do quarantine it from any birds you already have for a minimum of 30 days, 90 days is better.

Simon Posted by Hello
"Simon" Quaker takes her PPN job very seriously. As a current survivor of Fatty Liver Disease and Thyroid tumors, Simon believes in treating chronic problems with both traditional medicine when appropriate, as well as holistic/natural products when possible. Simon is always on the lookout for the best diets, healthiest foods, and natural treatments for birds with health problems. You can read Simon's story here

Friday, April 29, 2005

MistyGrey Posted by Hello
"MistyGrey" Congo African Grey a survivor of a former abusive home, works hard to find all birds a great loving home, and worries over the birds who are lost and in need of being found. Read more about MistyGrey here

Toby Posted by Hello
"Toby" Congo African Grey is a curious and fun loving guy, and loves checking out new toys and foods and is a natural for giving everyone an honest review of things.

Monday, April 25, 2005


PJ Posted by Hello
"PJ" Blue Front Amazon reporting for Safety and Warnings. He’s always on the lookout for anything unsafe or scarey.


Punkin Posted by Hello
"Punkin" Quaker, light on his feet and fast as can be, ready for any scoop.

Patti Posted by Hello
"Patti" Quaker who suffers from severe arthritis, is a very determined PPN Reporter and doesn't let her disabilities slow her down.


Taz Posted by Hello
"Taz" Green Cheek Conure is in charge of subscriptions and she is very good at it. No one says no to the Taz

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Shasta Posted by Hello
"Shasta" is a Yellow Nape Amazon and as a big lover of attention, is the perfect Customer Service Rep leading the PPN Staff in songs and rhymes to keep everyone happy.

Girlie Posted by Hello
"GirlieGirl" is an Umbrella Cockatoo and the junior member of the staff. Cookiebird has taken her under her wing to teach her the proper way to be an authortative cockatoo and rule the PPN newsroom.

Cookie Posted by Hello
"CookieBird" is an Umbrella Cockatoo and the senior member of the PPN Staff. She makes sure there is no slacking by any staffer and makes sure everyone understands her authority.

Meet the Staff

Meet some of the Staff behind Parrot Press News:

"CookieBird" Cockatoo - Editor in Chief
"GirlieGirl" Cockatoo - Editor in Training
"Shasta" Amazon - Customer Service
"Taz" Green Cheek Conure - Subscriptions
"Patti" & "Punkin" Quakers - Hot Spot Reporters
"PJ" Amazon - Safety and Warnings
"Toby" African Grey - New Product Reviews
"MistyGrey" African Grey - Lost & Found
"Simon" Quaker - Holistic and Natural Product Reviews
"Debra" - The Staff's Human

The Beginning!

There has to be a beginnig right? Right! Well, welcome to the beginning of the Parrot Press News Weblog Journal.

What is the Parrot Press News Journal you ask. Well, it's a Blog, it's a Weblog, it's a Journal, it's an interactive Forum of sorts, it's a Live Newsletter, but most of all, we hope it's a place with lots and lots of great parrot and bird information, tips, takes, and talkings.

We will share links to other fabulous bird and parrot sites as well as great sites devoted to nature and the wonderous delights that lie therein. A sharing place for stories of our pet birds, our wild native birds, as well as other creatures great and small. We will showcase bird products reviews, introduce new pet products, and share the warnings of the not so good, whether new or not. A top priority will also be to spread the word of the many dangers to our beloved feathered friends that lurk everywhere.

So let's begin!