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From the parrot's beak: 12/8 edition

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- Innocent parrots on Colombian death row: American parrots Pyro and Sunkiss have been stuck in cargo at the Bogota Airport with little or no food. The broker failed to make sure that all proper documents and permits were in order before the birds left the States. Authorities threaten to kill the birds if the owner can't come up with the permits and docs. The owner's funds are depleted and she is asking for help. See more at:

- Someone needs a good "rapture" upside the head dep't.: William Tinker was certain that the Rapture would take him but not his Senegal parrot, cockatiel, dog, and three cats, so he made plans to kill "his babies" as soon as earthquakes reached Denver. Thankfully, San Francisco-area's Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue jumped in and convinced Tinker to hand his pets over to local animal control authorities. When the Rapture did not arrive as scheduled, Tinker got his pets back despite the fact he apparently was serious about prematurely ending their lives.

- The late Alex the African grey is celebrated for being a parrot who demonstrably "knew what he was talking about." Dr. Irene Pepperberg's work continues with Griffin, Athena and others at Harvard University. Here she is speaking about Alex. Meet special guest Dr. Pepperberg at the Parrot Toys USA open house; Sun. 12/8, 30 Chittenden Hill Rd, Clinton, CT 11-3.

- Pscittacine cinema: Toby the dancing African grey timneh --More Marnie: -- Monkey the quaker dances to "What Does The Fox Say!" -- Lorikeet's tongue in slow motion -- Run, kakapo, run!: -- Squeeky falls asleep on laptop. -- Enjoy some Australian accents and chat about eclectus parrots. -- three parrotlets in a pod.

- Looking for the perfect Christmas gift for that potentially less than responsible pet owner? Now Perfect Polly has a rival:

- Battle of the brainy birds - cockatoos vs. parrotlets: Confirming what many companion parrot owners already know, ten cockatoos demonstrate their strategic and spatial reasoning abilities by opening a series of five locks in sequence to obtain a reward without prior training. -- Meanwhile, smart parrotlets may be secretly plotting to take over the world.

- Lazicki's Bird House Rescue benefitted from a pub event attended by Marc Johnson and Karen Windsor of Foster Parrots, among others. The rescue must move from its current location and may have found one in Warwick, Rhode Island.

- Parrot points to ponder: Timneh and African greys are now considered separate species and why that makes a difference: -- Hybrids aren't such a bad thing, argues one aviculturist.

- All the noise, noise, noise:

- Worse than the Grinch or Scrooge are these holiday dangers to birds:

- Yes, Virginia; there is a birdie belly button: Rene Ebersole writes: "Innie or outie, belly buttons are one of the distinguishing characteristics for mammals. They are proof that once upon a time we were tethered to an umbilical cord but are birds in the belly button circle? Inside a bird's egg there is a tiny cord that connects the developing embryo to the yolk sac. When the egg cracks open, the hatchling does in fact have a miniscule residual scar where the cord was. As the nestling grows up, the scar fades. It's pretty much invisible by the time the bird takes its first giant step from the nest.So, yes, baby birds do have a belly button. But it's more like a temporary tattoo."

- Over 30,000 feral ringneck parakeets live in London, up from a population of just 1,500 birds in 1995, says a volunteer organization that conducts quarterly counts.

- Barbara Heidenreich reports: "The parrot was, unbeknownst to me, playing with keys and just set off the car alarm. Sorry neighbors!"

- Black palm cockatoo is Conan O'Brien guest.

- Sam, an African grey, climbed the stairs to his owner's bedroom in the middle of the night and told her to "come on" until she got up and discovered her pomeranian had given birth to puppies on the cold kitchen floor. One pup had died and the others were chilled but recovered once rescued. The bird had never been in his owner's bedroom before, much less roamed the house at night.

- Health matters: How much is too much to pay for a sick parrot's treatment?: WT.z_mod=HPDL- -- Inside look at the Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center -- Could it be s-e-x? -- Patricia Ingle, worker at a pet shop in Limerick, Ireland, became catastrophically ill and now must use a wheelchair and breathe through a tube. The diagnosis? Chlamydia psittacosis, which Ingle claims she caught from one of the pet shop's sick cockatiels. Last week Ingle was awarded a total of $15.3 million from the Health Service Executive, Ireland's government-run healthcare organization. -- Cockatoo cuddling can have consequences

- German phone manufacturer Gigaset put up a Facebook app that lets you talk to a blue and gold macaw over a Webcam. Ostensibly the bird is there to discuss phone plans, but conversations don't seem to get much beyond hello and clucking like a chicken, at least on the part of the macaw. The humans say more, such as "Hello, bird!" and "What's your name?" The publicity stunt ends May 9.

- Bird food myths and facts:

- Best beginner bird(?):

- The kaka is a large, stocky, short tailed parrot. The bill is longer in males than in females. Its color is grey. Breeding occurs from March to September. Productivity of kaka is generally low and nesting is infrequent, only occurring in years when food supply is abundant. The female lays 4-5 eggs in a tree hole and incubates them for about three weeks. The chicks stay in the nest for about 9-10 weeks, and subsequently with their parents for another 3 weeks. The kaka has a diverse diet, consisting of fruit, seeds (mainly Nothofagus), nectar, sap, invertebrates and also honeydew in some areas.

- Oh, Canada....: 143 animals including "30 larger type parrots" flying free rescued from a hoarding situation in New brunswick.

- Good causes to support: The Kakapo Recovery site is making important strides in conservation that help not only kakapo but other species too. -- Adopt a nest box for wild blue throated macaws in Bolivia.

-'s Christmas photo contest. Read this blog on how to get the photo they're after:

- Clubbin': Another one bites the dust. San Diego Bird Breeders announces its last meeting. The club is shutting down due to members passing or no longer able to participate; the availability of information from the internet; and lack of time. Historically, the December meeting is a Holiday Party and The club prss release says, "this year is no exception, but we do plan to go out with a BANG!" -- Bird clubs first began as groups of bird breeders meeting to discuss avian husbandry and to show their birds in exhibitions. The Avicultural Society of America (ASA), founded in 1927, is perhaps the oldest U.S. organization still in existence. Another venerable organization, the Alamo Exhibition Bird Club in Texas, will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2011.

- Rescue me: Rasta the black capped lory -- -- Feathered Sanctuary is in need of help at That Fish Place/That Pet Place on Saturdays with Alan Sipe. It's always a fun time. Also need help at FS and an Expo in Baltimore in January. -- Garuda Aviary featured on the NPR show "The Animal House" in a show about parrots. WAMU 88.5 FM on Saturday 12 pm-1 pm (ET). The Garuda Aviary piece is at approximately 12:30 pm. Check your local listings, as it will air on more than 30 stations nationwide!

- Showtime: 12/7-8: Atlanta’s Exotic Bird Fair - North Atlanta Trade Center, 1700 Jeurgens Court, Norcross, GA - Sat 9-5, Sun 10-4 - 770-279-9899 - -- 12/15: Exotic Bird Fair Expo - Circleville Volunteer Fire Department, 129 North Robbins Station Road, North Huntingdon, PA- 10-4 - 419-685-2412 -

- Stuff those four toed stockings: Check out the fun for your feathered friends at The Leather Elves is a family owned and operated business that began creating handmade, bird safe toys for companion parrots more than a decade ago. Owner Robin Shewokis is a world renowned avian behaviorist, longtime friend of the column and resident of the same city as this editor.

- News tips: Rick Foster, Republic of Birds, Kathy Heaton, Steven Riley, Ed Remedio, Linda Bringle Pearl, Barbara Heidenreich, Rick Foster, Angela Cancilla Herschel, Ray Riley, The Daily Bird, Melissa Reome, Lisa Bono, Deb White, WindyCityParrot, Flapping Feathers newsletter, American Federation for Aviculture group email, Care2 Causes.



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