Saturday, November 22, 2014

Parrot Noir: When Good Parrots Go Bad

When good parrots go bad. The Russian news agency Russia Today published this parrot noir crime drama November 21, 2014:

Drug-dealing parrots are the strangest in the menagerie of the Corleone-style Southern Italian region’s nasty pets. Police recently grabbed a pair of parrots who were a part of drug-dealing operation in the Traiano district in Naples. When a phone rang, they would respond by imitating a human voice, saying: “Hello, how much do you need?” But if someone tried to take them out of the cage, the birds would scream: “Now I’ll shoot you!”

Presumably the parrots spoke in Italian, something like this: Ciao, quanto hai bisogno? Ora ti sparo!

In any language, it's a total shame when parrots turn to a life of crime. Which begs the question. When bad parrots are busted, do they ever become stool pigeons?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Kill him! Chop him up! Baste him! The Zen Parrot Haka

We discovered Hakas after catching an All Blacks rugby match on the tellie.

This was particularly fortuitous considering the recent election here in the States. We decided we needed to adopt a Haka for The Zen Parrot as we face off against the Barbarian Teabagger Hordes for the next two years. So with apologies to the All Blacks, we proudly present The Zen Parrot Haka:

Ka tū te IhiihiStand up to the fear
Ka tū te WanawanaStand up to the terror
Ki runga ki te rangi,To the sky above!
E tū iho nei, tū iho nei, hī!Fight up here, high up there. Yeah!
Ponga rā!The shadows fall!
Kapa o Pango, aue hī!Team in Blue, yeah!
Ponga rā!Darkness falls!
Kapa o Pango, aue hī, hā!Team in Blue, Hell Yeah, Ha!
The words of both 'Kapa o Pango' and 'Ko Niu Tireni' are taken from the Haka of the earthquake god Ruaumoko, Ko Ruaumoko e ngunguru nei, slightly modified to reflect The Zen Parrot Blue.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Wild Wild West: So That's How They Do It

Welcome to this new episode of Wild Wild West highlighting obscure facts and wonders of nature mostly never before seen. In this episode we are thrilled to present never before seen video of a rare canned hedgehog being hatched. Did we mention this has never before been seen?

Sometimes nature just needs a helping hand. Stay tuned for more Wild Wild West! Same time. Same station. In the next episode of Wild Wild West we'll show never before seen video of a woodchuck chucking wood. Don't turn that channel.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Organized Gangs of Indian Myna Birds Ravage Inglewood

For once, parrots are not the plague. This article, in its entirety, appeared in Queensland Country Life, October 17, 2014:

THE southern Darling Downs town of Inglewood is fighting back against an Indian myna bird invasion which has driven out scores of native birds.

Four years ago the Indian myna bird population boomed as a result of easy access to food, water and ample shelter.

Contract pest animal controller Andrew Granzotto said Inglewood was unique haven because the Macintyre Brook swept around the town and river gums provided good nesting sites for birds.

Mr Granzotto was commissioned by the Queensland Murray Darling Committee and, along with volunteers Bob Lindner and Darryl Bleach, has spent the past year trapping and disposing of mynas.

Close to 850 mynas have been removed by the group and a further 200 to 300 have been removed by a nearby landholder across the Macintyre Brook. They estimate just 25 mynas remain in town.

"As you come into town we've got the yellow-faced parrot as our logo on our Inglewood sign. This year is the first time those parrots have been back in town for about three or four years," Mr Granzotto said.

"We also have king parrots, scaly-breasted parrots - we have a lot of parrots coming back into Inglewood because the myna birds have dropped down."

A cage trap with catching and holding pens is used to capture the birds.

The trap was specifically designed for myna birds; the entrances are 100 millimetres high to keep out native birds.

A live "Judas" bird is supplied with food and water and kept in each trap to call to other birds and lure them in to the cage.

The traps are checked every morning and the birds are humanely destroyed using a carbon dioxide chamber.

Mr Granzotto said by stopping the birds from breeding in town they hoped to put a dent in their population.

"The thing with the myna bird is they can have three broods per mating season and they can have six eggs per brood," he said.

"When they breed in a town because the food, water and shelter is so readily available each pair hatches 18 chicks every breeding season. Ten pair of breeders can turn into 180 birds in no time.

"Out in the bush, because the bush is hard living the natural culling process occurs and instead of rearing 18 they only rear about eight or nine."

Mr Granzotto said he had received interest in the program from Kingaroy, Warwick and Stanthorpe. If the success of the program continues they hope to roll it out in to other towns.

Locals now greet him downtown and comment on how pleased they are to see the native birdlife return.

"I've lived here for 14 years - finches, fairy wrens and kookaburras have all fluttered back this year and it's the talk of the town."

Any excuse to listen to an Aussie accent

Chalk one up for parrots.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Airport Parrot Farce Is Squawk of the Town

This story, in its entirety, authored by Faith Eckersall, was published November 1, 2014 in the Bournemouth Daily Echo:

ACCORDING to the Border Force agency they do not: “Routinely comment on individual cases,” and therefore won’t explain why British taxpayers must pay though the beak to fund the incarceration at Heathrow Airport of a Bournemouth parrot called Becky. Presumably they believe this will stop Becky’s distraught owners from pursuing them through the courts and newspapers – which love a parrot story above all others – and from asking them even more questions.

That's it. That's the whole story. Well, this story caught our attention. Why was a parrot being held captive at Heathrow Airport by the British government? Was this a case of avian terrorism? Was this parrot a member of an organized gang of parrots ravaging Britain? Bournemouth is a large coastal resort town on the south coast of England directly to the east of the Jurassic Coast. We wondered what kind of parrot got the British government all worked up. So we Googled Airport Parrot. Turns out the airport parrot is a Senegal parrot named Becky.

Several days earlier the Bournemouth Daily Echo published the particulars of the strange case of a Senegal parrot named Becky:

A BOURNEMOUTH couple have appealed to Border Force officials to return their pet parrot Becky, who was seized from them three months ago. Senegal parrot Becky, who has lived with owner Andrew Sutton for almost three decades, has been kept at Heathrow Airport since mid-July. Despite living in the UK for nearly all her life, she is the subject of an ongoing dispute as to whether she has the right documentation to be here. Andrew, 43, said: “I have done nothing wrong and nor has Becky but we are being punished for other people’s mistakes. “It’s heartbreaking. Becky is like a child to me, I have had her since I was a teenager. “They have got to give her back to us.”

The problem arose when Andrew and his partner David de la Mare, 63, moved back to the UK from Turkey, where they had lived and worked for around seven years. Becky’s move to Turkey had been straightforward and, when arranging her return to the UK, the pair paid a specialist animal transportation company £1,000 to complete all the necessary paperwork for them. The couple checked whether they needed a CITES permit for Becky but received a categorical assurance from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency that they did not.  But upon arriving in the UK, Becky was seized by Border Force officials who said she did need one.

A CITES permit, which is inexpensive and easy to obtain, cannot be applied for retrospectively so Andrew and David have had to instruct solicitor Philip Day to help get Becky back. His initial request for Becky to be returned was turned down and they are now appealing this decision. Mr Day said there was “no public interest” in keeping Becky apart from her owner. “This is, at worst, an innocent story of a gentleman who has had a much-loved pet parrot for in excess of 25 years; who went to considerable time, effort and expense to ensure that when he moved to Turkey, his pet Becky could join him there and, when he returned, that the bird could remain with him.” David said: “We are now faced with a situation where we may have to go to court to get Becky back. “It is incredibly stressful, particularly as the Border Force is notoriously difficult to deal with, and we just can’t seem to get any answers from anyone.” And Andrew said: “I’ve put my trust in the system and always thought that if you do things properly you will be okay. “We have been let down through no fault of our own but we just want Becky back.”

A spokesman for Border Force said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases, so cannot comment on this case unfortunately.”

Fucking bureaucrat.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Zygodactyl: Cannabis Butter Coffee

Seattle has long been the Center of the Coffee Universe, and now has become Cannabis Central after Washington State became only the second state in America to legalize recreational pot. So it only makes sense to marry the two. Pot and Coffee. Cannabis Coffee. We have created a coffee drink we're calling The Zygodactyl: Cannabis Butter Coffee. Here's how you make it:


2 cups of brewed coffee (While you're at it, might as well use the best 100% parrot friendly Red Tail Brand coffee on the planet from Coffee Parrot Coffee)

1 heaping tablespoon of Pot Butter*

Coconut Milk (NOT coconut water or coconut juice; Coconut Milk!) Coconut milk is the liquid that comes from the grated meat of a brown coconut. It should not be confused with coconut water. The color and rich taste of coconut milk can be attributed to the high oil content. Most of the fat is saturated fat. Coconut milk is a very popular food ingredient used in Southeast Asia. Don't worry about the calories. Life is too short.

Which brings to mind a coconut and parrot joke. Question: A monkey, a squirrel, and a parrot are racing to the top of a coconut tree. Which will get the banana first, the monkey, the squirrel, or the parrot? Answer: None of them, because you can’t get a banana from a coconut tree!

Sorry, but that was the best we could do.

Okay, back to making Cannabis Butter Coffee.

First, heat the container you are going to froth your coffee and pot butter in with hot boiling water. Dump the water.

Put the brewed coffee and the pot butter into a hot mug or hot blender. Wait 10-15 seconds for the butter to melt. If adding sweetener, add it before blending the beverage. Froth the coffee (either with a hand held frother or a blender).

Lastly, top with coconut milk. Serve immediately. Delicious iced or hot.

Bon Appétit! You might keep a bag of Doritos handy.

*Vary serving size according to personal taste and temperament.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I am S. Shiva, Parrot Astrologer

Parrot astrology is a tradition that originated in India. In the world of parrot astrology, the parrot (usually an Indian Ringneck Parrot) picks your fortune card and the fortune teller takes the role of an interpreter and conveys the message of the card. The first parrot astrologers originated from the South Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Typical tools of trade include a set of 27 fortune cards based on the Indian cosmic system, images of Hindu gods, charts, a notebook, a simple cage crafted out of bamboo or wood, and most importantly, a parrot.

Upon receiving a customer’s name and birth date, the fortune teller taps on the cage signaling the parrot to walk out of the cage along the stack of 27 fortune cards, almost as if it is deliberating on which one to pick. It will then pull out a card with its beak, seemingly at random. Finally it would retreat into the cage. The fortune teller would then reveal the card and interpret the message for the customer, sometimes while referring to his or her notebook.

This profession is explicitly banned in India, along with the ownership of any wild parrot or other animal. Wildlife groups within India such as the Fauna Police are working to put an end to this traditional practice. The parrots involved in this practice are confined in overly small cages, mistreated, mutilated, and malnourished. Yet the practice survives. This article, in its entirety, was published in The Hindu, October 15, 2014:

I learnt parrot astrology from my father. It is our family profession and I have been doing it for the past 14 years. I belong to Tirunelveli but I keep travelling to various town and cities. After Diwali, I plan to leave Madurai and go to Pollachi. Parrot astrology is famous in Tamil Nadu and parts of Andhra Pradesh. Most astrologers come from Kambalathu Naicker community and we worship goddess Jakkamma. The method of astrology is more like tarot reading or soothsaying. We keep a set of 27 cards symbolising as many stars in the cosmic system. And these cards contain pictures of various Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Depending upon the card my parrot picks, I predict the fortune for the customer. Nowadays, people also have images of Mother Mary or Jesus.I have an eight-year-old male parrot and I call him ‘snake babu’. I had a female named Meenakshi which I gave away to a friend. Parrots are trained by elders and the experienced astrologers to pick cards. ‘Snake Babu’ was trained by my father. He had bought him for Rs.500 from Meenakshi temple. I feed my parrot grains like rice and wheat. Parrots that are bought from temples are considered auspicious for the profession. Though female parrots are traditionally used in astrology, male parrots are also used these days. For one reading, I charge Rs.20.* In a day, I get around 20 customers. Once I get married, I may take up some other business as part-time to support my family. My elder brother works in a textile shop in Tirunelveli. Since, it is compulsory for one member of the family to pursue kili josyam, I took it up. However, I like the job.

*At today's exchange rate, 20 rupees translates to 33 cents (US). So a day's wages equals $6.60.