Saturday, August 20, 2016

Feathered Hoodlums

This story, in its entirety, appeared on New Zealand's Stuff website.

Kea [parrot] ruffles residents' feathers in Marlborough
By Paula Hulburt
August 18 2016

A kea has been spotted in Onamalutu Valley, west of Blenheim

Residents in rural Marlborough are on the lookout for a feathered hoodlum vandalising property.

A rogue kea has been spotted in the Onamalutu Valley, about 25 kilometres west of Blenheim, leaving bicycle seats and spa pool covers in its wake.

The Department of Conservation has warned residents to keep an eye out for the troublesome bird.

Letters have gone out to homeowners asking them to actively discourage the cheeky parrots by squirting them with water from a hose.

DOC biosecurity supervisor Mike Avis said the birds had not been seen in the valley for a number of years.

"They are hoons and hoodlums and shouldn't be encouraged," he said. "They are usually found in the Richmond ranges so are a bit off their patch."

It was unconfirmed whether it was one or two birds wreaking havoc in the Onamalutu as reports differed and they had not been seen together.

"Tempting as it may be to feed them and keep them around it is not the best thing for them," Avis said. "They get bored and are clever birds who like to find out about their environments. They are inquisitive and that's how they get into trouble and how they've learnt to survive in areas where other parrots can't.

"They get up on the roofs of older style homes and eat the lead piping and it kills them."

DOC sent out the letters last week as a precaution and worked in conjunction with the Kea Conservation Trust to ensure people knew what to do.

The kea was the only truly alpine parrot in the world, and gained early notoriety among settler farmers for attacks on sheep. Their antics were a source of amusement to many but they also had a reputation for causing chaos.

Kea were unusual in that they actively sought out and interacted with people and their property.

Avis said the parrots loved to go exploring.

"They definitely have their foibles and people either love them or don't want them around."

Anyone who sees a kea should contact DOC to report the sighting and to get advice on 03 572 9100.

Without a doubt this has to be the finest piece of unintentionally sarcastic news writing this year:

DOC biosecurity supervisor Mike Avis said the birds had not been seen in the valley for a number of years. "They are hoons and hoodlums and shouldn't be encouraged," he said. "They are usually found in the Richmond ranges so are a bit off their patch."

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Are You Ready For Some Football? What is up with the Rio Olympics, anyway? We're still trying to wrap our head around the idea of holding Summer Olympics where it's Winter in Rio!

It's been a long drought since February. Our Seattle SeaParrots are super-excited to finally see some real NFL football on TV. Especially our SeaPrincess our Hyacinth macaw parrot Princess Tara. But heck, all of our parrots love the noise, action, and excitement of a football game.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Blue Tara Mantra: Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha

Blue Tara Mantra: Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha

Blue Tara, known as Ekajati in Tibetan mythology, is one of the 21 Taras, and one of the most fierce and powerful Goddesses.

According to Tibetan legend, Blue Tara is a manifestation of the Bon Goddess of Heaven, whose right eye was pierced by the tantric master Guru Padmasambhava, so that She could much more efficaciously help him subjugate Tibetan demons.

She is known as the mother of the mothers of all the Buddhas.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Great Ballard Cookie Caper

Our Blue and Gold macaw parrot Aboo can't visit Seattle's Sunday Ballard Farmers Market without scoring his favorite cookie from the ladies at his favorite Seattle bakery, Ballard's Tall Grass Bakery.

Aboo wide-eyed and ecstatic getting an oatmeal raisin cookie from his friend Jessica

Keeping your parrot on a short leash helps. Especially when your parrot is one of the biggest moochers at the farmers market!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

A Really Ex-Parrot

If this isn't the coolest New World archaeological find of the 21st Century, it's pretty darn close.

Mexico's Cultural Affairs Office announced recently (July 10, 2016) that construction work near the first prehispanic archaeological site registered in the municipality of San Francisco de Borja, in the State of Chihuahua, Northern Mexico, encountered the mummified remains of a Scarlet macaw parrot in a cave in the municipality. The parrot appears to have been buried in a funerary context. Workers say the complete body of the parrot was discovered, but only the head was collected. The remains of two human bodies were also discovered, leading archaeologists to believe the bird may have been buried with its owner. Scarlet macaws are not native to the region, but were highly prized and traded from hundreds of miles distance throughout Mexican prehistory.

The exact age of the archaeological site is unclear, but appears to predate Mexico's prehispanic Archaeological Zone of Paquimé, which flourished from the 7th to 14th Centuries, A.D.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

May You Live In Interesting Times

Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine. As today is ‪#‎ThrowbackThursday‬ we thought we'd throwback to our favorite movie of all time, Casablanca, which is somewhat apropos to these times since the movie deals with war, refugees, greed and corruption, and the fight against Nazism. A subplot of the movie is the disposition of the coveted Letters of Transit, documents that in wartime Europe were worth more than life itself!

Well, these are actual Letters of Transit, signed by the French Consul of Constantinople, which my grandparents used in 1920 to escape the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. As an indication of how cherished these documents were, they were some of the few documents my grandparents preserved from that era. My grandparents were war refugees, the kind of people who today would be looked down upon by certain retrograde segments of American society.

Grandfather Vasily is the dapper cavalry officer wearing the riding boots, front right, in his White Army uniform, and Grandmother Maria sports her White Army nurse's uniform. Grandfather was wounded in battle fighting the Bolsheviks on the Crimea during the Russian Civil War and met Grandmother in the hospital. The rest, as they say, is history:

Grandfather Vasily is the dapper cavalry officer, front right, wearing the riding boots. Tall man standing in center of photo is Baron Wrangel, the last Russian White Army general.
This would have been his officer corps in the Crimea. Grandfather Vasily was a Captain of Engineers.

Grandmother Maria in her White Army nurse's uniform

The last surviving photo taken of Grandfather Vasily (or William as his name was Americanized) at his engineering office at the old Idaho Highway Department in Boise, circa 1960

Rick's introduction to the letters of transit