Sunday, April 13, 2014

Smoke(y) Gets In Your Eyes

Smokey is a male Congo African Grey parrot believed to be about 25 years old, currently residing in Seattle. His current owner is his third owner. Smokey was with his second owner for only six months. Smokey is a talkative fellow. He says hello, bye, come here, his own name Smokey. And he makes all the usual African Grey parrot noises such as the phone ringing. Apparently Smokey had plucking issues prior to his current home but according to his current owner the plucking has stopped.

Smokey's current owner can no longer care for him and wants to find the right home for Smokey. Smokey has a preference for women. If you would like to adopt Smokey please contact Northwest Parrots Fund. Smokey comes with his cage and toys and is Free to the Right Home.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Suppose You Were an Idiot, and Suppose You Were a Member of Congress; but I Repeat Myself

Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.
Mark Twain

Climate Change is virtually indisputable and supported nearly unanimously by climate scientists. Probably no other topic of scientific study is more universally accepted by the scientific community, except maybe the Earth revolving around the Sun. Only Totally Batshit Crazy Fucking Morons can dispute global warming. Or Republicans. Which is where Mark Twain comes in.

Two days after a United Nations report warned of increased famine, war, and poverty from unmitigated carbon emissions, the Republican-dominated House of Representatives passed a bill that would require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to focus less on studying climate change, and more on predicting storms.

Almost unprecedented for Republican legislation, the bill requires the federal government to actually spend money, mandating firstly that NOAA purchase paper bags, and secondly that all government scientists be required to place those paper bags over their heads when performing their official government duties.

A provision of the legislation directs NOAA to solicit the funding for said paper bags, or actual donations of bags, from one of the Koch Brothers' paper companies. Critics immediately slammed Congress for passing this bill, warning that traffic accidents are surely to increase if government scientists are required to drive to meetings and appointments with paper bags over their heads. An aide to Republican House Speaker John Boehner responded:

The House of Representatives is willing to accept a certain amount of traffic inconvenience to ensure the objectivity of government research.

In the Senate, the office of Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid responded that this legislation is simply another corporate welfare giveaway to the Koch Brothers, and is Dead on Arrival in the United States Senate.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Organized Gangs of Parrots Ravaging Guyana

Copied here in its entirety, this article, titled Pomeroon farmers battle parrot, flea invasion, written by Indrawattie Natram, appeared in the March 27, 2014 edition of Guyana Times (The Beacon of Truth). The article is subtitled Asking for guns to keep the birds away.

Carambola Fruit destroyed by the marauding parrots

Amid bitter complaints from rice farmers on the Essequibo Coast about low paddy prices, Pomeroon fruit farmers are up in arms over a parrot and fly invasion of their carambola crops. Cash crop farmers who cultivate carambola in the Lower and Upper Pomeroon River are calling on the Region Two authorities to stave off the attack. According to reports, the pests have been wreaking havoc on the trees for the past month, and came at a time when they were blossoming. One Hackney Canal farmer, Boyan (only name given) explained that the parrots in flock would destroy the leaves and fruits of the trees. Another farmer from Upper Pomeroon, John Williams said the parrots seem bent on not allowing the trees to produce. Williams said the parrots usually inhabit the trees at nights and by morning, the fruits are destroyed, and this is not all. He said the birds appear fixed on making his life miserable as they would make loud and annoying chattering sounds, and as soon as he peeps at his window, they will fly way. Some farmers have been using sling-shots and arrows and bows to stave off the birds, but they say this is not enough, contenting that guns will do a better job. And, on this note, they are calling on the Agriculture Ministry to support their case, with some saying that scaring away the parrots is not enough, as they should be killed and cooked. Region Two Vice Chairman Vishnu Samaroo recently in his report to the Regional Democratic Council, acknowledged the parrot invasion, while calling for urgent counter measures. He said the mischief of the birds has invited swarms of fleas, feasting on the fruits destroyed by the parrots. According to Samaroo, a National Agriculture Research Extension Institute (NAREI) field officer visited several affected farmers and advised on how they should get rid of the fleas. Pomeroon farmers usually harvest thousands of carambola, which they vend at the Charity Market. The fruits are harvested manually by farmers. Some farmers preserve the fruit and use it for cake mix. Carambola cultivation is prevalent in the Pomeroon River and is a main source of livelihood for many there.

The angst. The drama. The visuals. The makings of an epic Greek tragedy. We've got rampaging parrots. We've got flies. We've got embattled farmers fighting off rampaging parrots with bows and arrows, begging their government for guns to defend themselves. And it all must be true, because the Guyana Times advertises itself as The Beacon of Truth! Of course, we're rooting for the parrots.

The parrots of Guyana are not identified, so we can only guess at the species they are. But they are so nefarious, we would think Goffin's cockatoos if this was Australia. Having a Goffin's cockatoo we know what juvenile delinquents they are. We can only imagine the destruction an entire flock of Goffin's cockatoos could wreck.

But this is Guyana. No Goffin's cockatoos native to Guyana that we know of. Twenty-eight species of parrots have been recorded in Guyana, ranging from macaws to Amazons to various parrotlets and parakeets. If we had to guess we would guess Amazon parrots because we know from experience how loud and intimidating Amazons can be. Whatever species of parrot, they were intent on making the life of one farmer, John Williams:

miserable as they would make loud and annoying chattering sounds, and as soon as he peeps at his window, they will fly way.

The rampaging parrots were even driving the besieged farmers to petition the government to allow the parrots to be killed and cooked! Under this pressure government ministers responded to the national crisis:

Vice Chairman Vishnu Samaroo recently in his report to the Regional Democratic Council, acknowledged the parrot invasion, while calling for urgent counter measures.

And if the parrots weren't making life for Guyanese carambola farmers hard enough, the:

mischief of the birds has invited swarms of fleas, feasting on the fruits destroyed by the parrots.

Birds. And parrots. And flies. Oh my. Unfortunately we'll have to wait for the sequel to this article to learn just what the counter measures are, and how effective, since these counter measure aren't addressed in the article. Machine guns? Catapults? Cooking pots? Aerial bombardment? We don't know. But we're betting on the organized gangs of rampaging parrots to continue making life miserable in Guyana.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Parrot Diaries: First Rule of Finding Yourself in a Hole: Stop Digging

Most people are familiar with the old Will Rogers axiom: When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. The parrot equivalent should be: When you find yourself on a perch, stop chewing. Our Ruby macaw Mr. Cracker is a portable woodchipper. He loves to chew. At least once, that we know of, he's chewed through his perch. While he was sitting on it. You'd think he'd learn. But the experience hasn't stopped him from chewing through his perches.

To make our life easier, we decided to start using two by twos for Mr. Cracker's perches. They fit his big feet perfectly. We started with pine. Big mistake. That lasted about two days. So we switched to fir. Much harder wood. Much harder for Mr. Cracker to chew through his perch. Not that it stopped Mr. Cracker from trying to chew through his perch. He just had to work at it harder. The perches last longer. We're talking weeks instead of days. We try to catch the perch before he manages to chew through it. And switch it out with a new one. Not horribly expensive. And the old perch gets sawed up for chew toys.

And we keep hoping that some day Mr. Cracker will stop trying to chew through his perch and focus on chewing his chew toys instead. We can always dream.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Parrot Diaries: Parrot Poop: What Is It Good For?

Of our eight parrots, only one, our Greenwing macaw and diva parrot Roxanne, insists on going outside to do poopie. Year around. Day in and day out. Winter and summer. Pouring rain or sunshine. Well okay, on those rare occasions when it snows here in Seattle, Roxanne will relent and do her business inside. Roxanne hates snow. She is a rain forest parrot, after all. Not a snow forest parrot. Otherwise, her backyard play stand is her outhouse.

After pooping in the same spot day after day after day, the guano tends to build up. In that one spot. So what to do with that literal pile of poop? Parrot poop. What is it good for?

Well, fertilizer for one thing. We've discovered that our outdoor container plants love the stuff. Come spring and the start of growing season, our outdoor container plants are nutritionally deprived and hungry. So what better way to feed them than simply scoop up some of the parrot poop and distribute it to our outdoor container plants. Dig it into the containers. We don't even need to water the parrot poop into the container soil because Seattle's monsoon season typically lasts into June. There's a reason they call it the June Gloom here in Seattle, but that's another story entirely.

So we scoop the parrot poop and dig it into the outdoor containers in between rain storms. In case you were wondering, the parrot poop is pretty odoriferous, so we definitely do not recommend using it on your indoor plants. Bon appetit!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Bird of the Air: Cosmo the Wild-Caught Timneh African Grey Parrot

My name is Cosmo. I am a Timneh African Grey parrot. I was wild caught, just a chick, and transported, stuffed in a box, half way around the world. I survived that ordeal. My current owners think I am about 30 years of age. My original owners had me for at least 10 years, perhaps 15. After they died their children thought I was a wonderful pet and opted to keep me. Unfortunately, they knew nothing about parrots or parrot care. I was shuffled from one family member to another. Eventually I ended up with my current owners.

For reasons I can’t explain I hate males. No doubt it was a male that tore me out of my nest. But I love females and will behave for them. When I jumped on my current owner's husband’s foot and started to bite his toes, my owner said “Cosmo that is not nice” so I got off, hung my head and walked back to my cage. They remained committed to their resolve to keep me as long as the wife was the one to hold and love me, feed me and clean my cage. I was happy and so were they. I fell in love with their daughter and her two daughters. They asked if they could have me, and I was happy with them for several years. About two years ago, my owner’s husband became disabled, and it is a serious disability, so while my owner was at work he could no longer care for me during the day. I am now mad at my owner because she must care for her husband, two daughters and of course me. Sadly, I am the last on the list. My owner asked if she would try to find me a new home. This is the last thing any of them want to do. However, they all feel I deserve a home where I can get the love and attention they feel I deserve.

I need to be in a male free home, with someone who will have the time to let me adjust to the new home and give me lots of love and attention. I like to get out and roam around, which this family has allowed, even when I misbehaved. My current owners said that they want to be sure that I go to the kind of home where I will get the patience, love and attention I deserve. If you think you are the one who can give me what I need please contact Northwest Parrots Fund. I talk a lot and can be quite loud. But I do not swear or curse, which is one of the rules my current owners insist be in place at my new home.

Postscript: We are pleased to report that Cosmo has found a new home with a lovely lady who lives with a flock of parrots, including a Congo African grey. Cosmo couldn't be happier!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Parrot Diaries: The Eyes Are The Window To Your Soul

The Eyes are the Window to Your Soul
William Shakespeare

If you look into the eyes of a parrot you don't just see a blank stare. You see an intelligent being looking back.

Where words are restrained, the eyes often talk a great deal.
Samuel Richardson

Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant?
Henry David Thoreau

Small is the number of people who see with their eyes and think with their minds.
Albert Einstein

You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.
Mark Twain

For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.
Leonardo da Vinci

Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.
Theodore Roosevelt

There are various eyes. Even the Sphinx has eyes: and as a result there are various truths, and as a result there is no truth.
Friedrich Nietzsche

The countenance is the portrait of the soul, and the eyes mark its intentions.
Marcus Tullius Cicero