Monday, February 8, 2016

Parrots of War

In the midst of a horrendous civil war, amid the black market for fuel, cigarettes, guns, and bombs, there seems to be a thriving black market for parrots. Yes, parrots! In spite of civil war, strife, and turmoil, people seem to be inexorably drawn to parrots.

This story, Turkish army seizes parrots, budgies on Syria border, in its entirety, was published by Reuters, February 5, 2016:

ISTANBUL, Feb 5 (Reuters) - The Turkish army has confiscated 700 parrots and 294 budgerigars on the border with Syria, it said on Friday, as its tighter security measures ensnare what was once a thriving trade in domesticated birds.

NATO member Turkey has stepped up security along its 900-km (560-mile) border with Syria as it tries to prevent foreign fighters joining Islamic State militants and defend itself against spillover from the country's civil war. But the measures, including more frequent border patrols and reinforced fencing, have also shut off what was long a thriving illicit trade in goods including fuel, cigarettes, sugar and, it seems, birds.

"They were generally bringing Sultan, Love and Paradise parrots. Here in Turkey a Paradise parrot goes for 1,000 lira, but they were bringing them over for 500," said Mehmet Turan, a bird breeder in the Turkish border town of Reyhanli. "It's the same for lovebirds. We were selling them at 25 lira retail, but they came from Syria at 12.5 to 15," he told Reuters by telephone.

Some basic goods like sugar sold for around half the price in Syria, where it was produced, than in Turkey before the war. Fuel is heavily taxed in Turkey, meaning the black market for illegal diesel, however crudely refined, also thrived.

Turkey has won international praise for its humanitarian response to Syria's war, maintaining an open door policy to those fleeing the violence and taking in more than 2.5 million refugees over almost five years. But it is under pressure from Europe to stem the flow of migrants and from NATO allies to do more to secure the border. While continuing to allow in refugees at border crossings, the Turkish army has been detaining those trying to cross illegally on an almost daily basis.

It said it detained almost 800 people on Thursday, and seized 2,660 packets of cigarettes, three cattle and a mobile phone along with the birds.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Art, Science, and Mystery of Coffee Roasting

When we started roasting coffee we didn't know first crack from second crack from second fiddle. And trying to find help on the Internet was hopeless. So we created our Coffee Roasting Tip Number 1 video explaining just what first crack was.

However we continued to get questions about second crack, and how to tell when first cracks ends and second crack starts. From experience we can say figuring out second crack was not an easy thing. Coffee roasting is as much art as it is science.

Hopefully our new Coffee Roasting Tip Number 2 video will help with this mystery.

What exactly is First Crack?

And What's the difference between First Crack and Second Crack?

And, just because we're The Caffeinated Parrot, Parrots!

Yes, you read that right. Coffee Parrot Dot Coffee. Handforged 100% Parrot Friendly Coffee. Any questions about coffee, coffee roasting, or parrots? Please contact us there.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Magic Mirror On The Wall

Sisters. Royalty. Our Hyacinth Macaw Princess Tara (left) and her younger sister Princess Abigail. Princess Tara hatched 1999, Princess Abigail 2004. Same parents. And yes, they really are royalty. Their parents are a Duke and a Duchess.
A photo posted by The Zen Parrot (@the_zen_parrot) on

A photo posted by The Zen Parrot (@the_zen_parrot) on

Saturday, December 19, 2015

We've Always Wanted To Use Kyrgyz and Parrot In The Same Sentence

This story, published in its entirety, appeared on the AKIpress news website, December 19, 2015:

Kyrgyz national attempts to smuggle 140 parrots from Ukraine to Russia

Bishkek (AKIpress) A Kyrgyzstani citizen was detained on Russian border while trying to smuggle 140 parrots from Ukraine to Russia on his car's trunk, Rosselkhoznadzor said. Import of live birds to Russia is impossible without the official permission of Rosselkhoznadzor, which issues documents confirming compliance with veterinary and sanitary requirements. The man was detained at the Nehoteevka international checkpoint. Rosselkhoznadzor inspector decided to return the birds to the neighboring territory.

That's it! 140 parrots on the car's trunk. We're guessing they weren't Blue and Gold macaw parrots like the accompanying photo suggests, or the crate would be about a half mile tall.

And why were the parrots on the trunk? And not, say, in the car? It is winter over there, so how were the parrots even alive? And can we call the guy a smuggler while driving a car with 140 parrots sitting on the friggin' trunk? Presumably in a box or crate? Presumably very noisy?

So the parrots were returned to the neighboring territory. Were they just released and shooed off? What happened to the parrots? What happened to the smuggler? How did this writer ever get a job writing news stories?

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Two Peas In A Pod. Our Congo and Timneh African Grey Parrots

Two Peas In A Pod! Our Congo African Grey Parrot Arua (left) and Timneh African Grey Parrot Tillie (right). Notice how much darker Tillie's body feathers are, whereas Arua has the notable red tail. Arua is significantly larger as well, although the size difference doesn't really come through in this video clip.