Sunday, July 13, 2014

Celestial Parrots: Indian Goddess Meenakshi and Her Parrot Avatar or Vahana

Anyone who has a parrot or has been around parrots realizes the celestial nature of parrots, the Angels and Seraphs of Heaven. Why else are angels and seraphs depicted with wings? The celestial nature of parrots has been known and commented on since ancient times.

A storyteller in Indian lore is a Shuka. Shuka in Sanskrit means parrot and thus the name is derived from the large number of parrots found around the Shukachari hills of India, in the Indian State of Maharashtra. Shukachari literally means abode of parrots in the Sanskrit language. This bird has the special privilege of resting on the right shoulder of Goddess Meenakshi, who is none other than Goddess Raja Mathangi, also known as Raja Shyamala. This Goddess is the upasana murthi or deity for fine arts,especially music and dance. The parrot resting on Her shoulder is certainly not a decorative bird, but the celestial partner of the Goddess, imparting knowledge of all the 64 arts.

The parrot depicted with the Goddess is the parrot native to the Indian Subcontinent, the Indian Ringneck parrot (Psittacula krameri). These parrots were prized by the likes of Alexander the Great and lesser invaders and visitors. These parrots have become naturalized around the world, North and South America, Eastern and Western Hemisphere. Cities great and small have fallen to their onslaught.

Such a parrot is held on the right side of Goddess Meenakshi. The parrot is positioned in such a way that its beak is aligned with the Goddess's right ear. The parrot imparts its knowledge of the 64 arts to the Goddess. Worshipers of the Goddess seek the blessings of the parrot for fulfillment of the knowledge of the fine arts.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Wild Wild West: Startling Life Cycle of Free Range Boeing 737s

We are thrilled in this episode of Wild Wild West to share extremely rare and startling never before seen photos of 737 airliners emerging from a Montana river where they spawn. What is so rare about these photos is that it was always assumed that this activity was nocturnal. That is why we have never seen photos like this before. Montana State Fish and Game biologists overseeing this unique event have yet to understand why this activity is occurring in broad daylight, but believe this may have something to do with global warming and increasing temperatures of the river water.

First sighting of a 737 emerging from a Montana river in its larval stage.

Once the first 737 emerges, and determines there are no predators in the area, then the flock starts to emerge, like lemmings going over the cliff.
[Insert Sidebar Here: Why biologists call groups of free range 737s flocks instead of schools. Something to do with the wings developing on dry land.]

737s struggling to climb the bank onto dry land.

More of the same.

A rare view of a 737 returning to take a drink from the river. Note the larval husk still protecting the 737.

Once on dry land the 737s are rounded up by Montana cowboys supervised by Montana State Fish and Game officials and herded to safe enclosures in the big city.

Note how the 737 wings develop after the airliners are on dry land. Wings are useless underwater. Once fully formed, fledged and mature the free range 737s are domesticated to a life of a commercial airliner. Washington State trade officials boast that free range 737s are superior to the farmed 737s produced in Kansas and South Carolina.

Thank you for joining us on this amazing episode of Wild Wild West. Join us next time for rare footage of a Rocky Mountain Oyster Hunt. Same Time Same Channel. Stay tuned!

Parrot Diaries: Our Parrots on YouTube

We just happened to be glancing at our YouTube Channel TheZenParrot and realized that a few of our videos have been viewed more than a few times. Our 105 videos have in total nearly a 150,000 views! Our YouTube Channel has even achieved the coveted position of being selected as a YouTube Partner. This allows us to raise funds to support our 501(c)3 nonprofit charity Northwest Parrots Fund. Several of our videos have been viewed many times, as in more than 10,000 views each. Happily, they are among our favorite videos as well. So we thought we'd present them here. Our top three most watched YouTube videos:

Training Your Parrot To Lay On Its Back, featuring our male Blue and Gold macaw Aboo, our female Timneh African Grey Tillie, and our female Hyacinth macaw Princess Tara:


Training Your Parrot: Handling Macaw Beaks, featuring our male Blue and Gold macaw Aboo, and our female Hyacinth macaw Princess Tara:


Training Your Parrot to Take A Bath: Tillie The Timneh African Grey Loves to Bathe, featuring Tillie the Timneh African Grey:


And of our 105 videos, which is our favorite you ask? It's this one, although it currently only has 831 views. Let's see if we can't kick it up a bit. And be sure to turn your volume up:

With apologies to Bobby Darin, Training Your Parrot To Take A Bath: Splish Splash, featuring our male Goffin's Cockatoo Kid Kadra:

Friday, July 4, 2014

Hatched on the Fourth of July

Happy Birthday to our beautiful girl who just turned nineteen years old on the Fourth of July. Miss Bubba Boy is a confirmed female Blue and Gold macaw parrot who we rescued from a parrot breeder when she was seven years old. Of our nine parrots, Bubba is the only one for which we know the actual hatch date.

Bubba was bound for a cold drafty breeding barn when we rescued her. Her previous owners were convinced Bubba was a boy, so they named her after one of Country and Western star Mark Chesnutt's songs popular in the mid-nineties, Bubba Shot the Jukebox.

So we take Bubba to the vet and pay $50 for a DNA test. Sure enough Bubba is a girl. And if the DNA test wasn't convincing, about a month later Bubba laid four eggs. That settled that!

Over the past twelve years Miss Bubba Boy has become a confident and self-assured girl and quickly cemented her position as the Alpha Parrot of our flock. Happy Birthday Bubba!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Drowned in Coffee. Affogato: The Elixir of the Gods

Summer is here. Hot. Hot. Hot! Did we say Hot! But never fear. We have the perfect antidote to summer heat: Coffee and Ice Cream. Better know as Affogato, the Elixir of the Gods. And it couldn't be more simple to make.

An affogato is a traditional Italian espresso-based treat that you’ll find on the menu at many Italian restaurants, as well as at many cafes serving espresso and other coffee drinks. The full name is affogato al cafe or “drowned in coffee,” in Italian. The name really suits the dessert, as it consists of a scoop of ice cream or gelato with a shot of hot espresso poured over the top. How could it be more simple than that. And the taste. Exquisite.

The basic recipe is subject to an almost infinite number of variations. Using different coffee drinks, different ice cream flavors and different ratios of the two items. But true affogato is made with espresso. Don't have an espresso machine? You can make affogato at home with your favorite coffee, just brew it extra strong so you only need to pour a small amount over the ice cream. Start with vanilla, as it really suits the coffee, but feel free to experiment with chocolate or coffee-flavored ice cream, as well! Our preference is for peanut butter chocolate.

Of course for the best affogato, start with the best ingredients, particularly the best 100% Arabica parrot friendly organic shade grown fair trade coffee from CoffeeParrot.Coffee. You read that right. Coffee Parrot Dot Coffee.

Bon App├ętit!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Celebrating the Birthplace of Coffee

We are followers of the Prophet Kaldi, the lowly Ethiopian goat herder living in the ancient African Kingdom of Kaffa in about the Ninth Century who discovered the Tree of Life, the Coffea arabica or coffee tree. Kaldi noticed that his goats became unusually energized after eating a certain local berry. He sampled the berry with the same effect. Excited about this miracle, he rushed to share the berries with his local Muslim holy man, or imam. The holy man was so disgusted with the berries he tossed them in a fire and stormed away. Kaldi however noticed an entrancing aroma coming from the burnt berries in the fire, so he recovered the berries. Still hot, he tossed the berries in some water to cool them off, thus creating the world's first cup of coffee. The foundation myth for the culture and religion of coffee. So when you have your first cup of coffee of the day, be sure to bow to the East and praise the Prophet Kaldi, the discoverer of the Tree of Life!

Ethiopian Yirgachefe Bunna
Organic Fair Trade

Bunna is the Ethiopian word for coffee. The sweet flavors and aromas of Ethiopian Yirgachefe bunna or coffee are its strongest assets along with a medium to light body. Ethiopian Yirgachefe is very spicy and fragrent, often with a slightly chocolate or nutty quality. Subtleties include notes of citrus or tangerine (which is why Ethiopian Yirgachefe is often preferred for iced coffee). Ethiopian Yirgachefe is known for its bright and shining acidity and clean taste. An array of sensual floral notes gives Ethiopian Yirgachefe a wonderfully bright complexity in its aromatic qualities. Often Ethiopian Yirgachefe will exhibit tones of toasted coconut. Also noted are cedar sensations which a background of caramelly chocolate. Coffee connoisseurs appreciate not only the delicate orange blossom fragrance of Ethiopian Yirgachefe but also its sweet and elegant finish that is typically very clean like the flavor.

​Ethiopian Yirgachefe is grown at elevations ranging from about 5,800 feet above sea level to 6,600 feet. Few of the world's finest coffees are grown at such high elevations as these Yirgachefes. The town of Yirgachefe is located in central southern Ethiopia in the Gedeo Zone named after the Gedeo people. The Gedeo region extends along the eastern escarpment of the highlands of Ethiopia.

Order your Ethiopian Yirgachefe handforged from CoffeeParrot.Coffee. You read that right. Coffee Parrot Dot Coffee.

Wear Your Yellow!

Ethiopian Coffee Sports Club FC is part of the Ethiopian Premiere Soccer League.

Like this tee shirt? Click on image

Thursday, June 5, 2014

It's Tough Being a Parrot: Part Deux

This is why we could never be a parrot. Our male Blue and Gold macaw parrot Aboo sports some pretty impressive tail feather sheaths on his new tail feathers, easily the size of a pencil. Just imagine having pencils sticking out of your butt. No thanks.

When new feathers first grow out they are protected by a keratin sheath which eventually is chewed off by the parrot. Keratin is the same material making up our hair and finger and toe nails.

New feathers are also called pin feathers or blood feathers. The pin feather has a blood supply flowing through it. If the pin feather is damaged, a bird can bleed heavily. As the pin feather grows longer, the blood supply is concentrated in only the base of the shaft, and the tip of the shaft encases the feather itself. As moulting birds preen, they remove the sheath, and the feather unfurls.

Dried blood shaft from inside one of our male Blue and Gold macaw Aboo's tail feather sheaths.