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From the parrot's beak: we've got parrot fever and not in a good way

Margaritaville parrot.
Margaritaville parrot.
George Sommers

- PHOTO CAPTION: "Margaritaville" is a Jimmy Buffett song, but what's the deal with Jimmy and parrots? Former Coral Reefer band member Timothy Schmit, surveying Hawaiian shirt clad fans at a concert once remarked, "Look at them- they're a bunch of parrotheads!"

- Petsmart parrot fever outbreak: Petsmart confirms that parakeets (budgies) have tested positive for psittacosis at their wholesale breeder/supplier Rainbow Exotics and has removed birds from 500 of their stores in 46 states. Psittacosis is contagious to birds and also zoonotic, or passable to humans. Symptoms in birds include drowsiness or depression, runny eyes/nose, sneezing/coughing, shivering and watery droppings. Avian psittacosis in humans is a serious health risk for the elderly or very young. Symptoms are similar to a cold or flu. Customers that purchased parakeets from certain stores should have received an email or posted letter from Petsmart by 6/11 warning of the outbreak. If you bought a bird from them recently, seek veterinary advice and testing. Petsmart will provide free testing of humans and birds through their Banfield veterinarians. Alternatively, they will cover costs of testing and treatment by your local veterinarian "if warranted". Take a copy of the letter and the attached testing form from the University of Georgia. They also promise a full refund if you prefer to simply return the bird. Dr. Amy Hopkins warns that the problem might not be unique to this chain. "A couple of years ago, I went in a Petco in North Haven that very visibly had rampant psittacosis in its bird room. Several of the cockatiels were extremely ill and the droppings were bright green. They said they were calling the vet, though I didn't verify." -- --List of Banfield Hospitals:

- Psittacine cinema: Buncha busy 'toos: -- "The girls" --- More Disco hits: African grey vs. macaw turf battle: -- How to harness a parrot with Barbara Heidenreich: -- African grey antics: -- For crying out loud:

- African grey parrots understand concept of cooperation:

- Conservation corner: Critically endangered Puerto Rican Amazons (Amazona vittata) recovery program -- Brutus, a western ground parrot native to Australia, needs a girlfriend! -- Barbara Heidenreich reports on kakapo training: The macaw project: -- Blue throated macaw family: -- Kakapo chicks in a tree:

- Parrotrivia: A classic "Gilligan's Island" has the group finding a macaw named Sam, whose utterings about "jewels" set off a treasure hunt. One has to wonder what good a treasure trove is going to do castaways on a desert island but all they find is a box of "Jewel Crackers" anyway. -- Aunt Martha's talking Amazon Tootsie drives the talking horse and the Posts' neighbor Addison crazy until she goes missing and everyone has a change of heart on a vintage "Mr. Ed" episode.

- Talk the talk: Elaine Henley, parrot behaviorist, advises: "Establish a flock call with your parrot in the home, so that he knows where you are - that you have not abandoned him or worse, been eaten by a predator By doing this you may be preventing a screeching problem later. Teach your parrot that when you leave the house, you will return. You can do this by gradually increasing the time they spend alone in the house. Teach a cue word for leaving the house so that the parrot will associate this word or phrase with your departure and return. I tell my parrots, 'Mum's going to work; see you later!' and they settle down and don't flock call for me when I am out of the house."

- Is your bird healthy and safe?:

- Talk to the hand: Is your bird hand-phobic?:

- Parrot pal quality time: -- Bored conure? 5 ways to play: -- Parrots need love - and daily attention:

- "The story behind the existence of The Animal Behavior Center began with a Moluccan cockatoo named Rocky. Now the animals that carry this story on include fish, dogs, pigs, birds...." says Center founder Lara Joseph.

- Clubbin': Annual American Federation for Aviculture (AFA) convention is 7/30-8/2 Scheduled speakers:

- Showtime: 6/21: Hartford Pet Expo - XL Center, 1 Civic Center Plaza, Hartford, CT - 10-6 - 800-977-3609 x108 - -- America Beauty Exotic Bird Mart & Show - National Guard Armory, 1248 Eisenhower Drive, Savannah, GA - 9-4 - 954-214-4750 - -- 6/21-22: Greater Charlotte Cage Bird Society Summer Expo - Metrolina Expo Center, 7100 Statesville Rd., Belmont, NC - Sat 9-5 pm, Sun 9-4 - 704-812-8283 - -- 6/28: Steel City Pet Expo - David L. Lawrence Convention Center, 1000 Fort Duquesne Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA - 10-6 - 800-977-3609 ext. 103 -

- Lost: Cockatoo, Tonawanda, NY (716) 954-3890. -- Lost: Macaw, Farmingdale, NY

- News tips: Ellangesvaren Subramaniam, Mary Angel, Concetta Ferrgamo, Barbara Heidenreich, Marie Fa, Lisa Bono, Bird/Parrot Education & Support Group, Kathy Heaton, World Parrot Trust, Isabella's Aviary, Lanette Raymond, Republic of Birds, Sarah Katherine, Flapping Feathers newsletter, Viki Bullock, Angela Cancilla Herschel, Dennis Bohn, I Love Parrots, Sharon Williams-Collins, Diane Dwyer

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