Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What Drives Us to Tears!

This is what makes me crazy!

We received a phone call yesterday that left me at a loss how to respond.

A woman in Eastern Washington rescued a presumed female special needs Blue and Gold macaw named BJ about six weeks prior. The macaw had a broken wing that never received veterinary attention, had plucking and screaming issues, and could be sweet one moment and a terror the next The person that rescued the parrot was quickly able to ascertain the conditions necessary to calm and manage the bird. But after six weeks she concluded that she could no longer offer the parrot the environment that the bird needed. So this person, someone I didn't know and never met, was going to drive the parrot across the state to Seattle the next day, and was phoning to ask if she could drop the parrot on our doorstep! 

Blue and Gold Macaw BJ

BJ lived with her previous owner for about two years. This person's avian veterinarian estimated BJ to be about fifteen years old. BJ lived in a shuttered room, because an open window caused her to start screaming. A television kept BJ company during the day. BJ would only come out of the room at dinner time to eat in the kitchen with the couple that rescued her. During the day, BJ roamed between a play stand and a wire dog crate (see photo below) measuring 18 inches by 18 inches by 30 inches. At night, the macaw was coaxed into the crate with her favorite treats, and closed in and covered for the night!

BJ's previous owner was afraid to handle the macaw for fear of bites. BJ instead picked the woman's forty year old daughter as the one person who was allowed to handle the parrot. BJ would let the daughter scratch her head and would step up on her arm.

When BJ's previous owner acquired the parrot, the bird was living in an outdoor aviary with other macaws. She never left the aviary, and never came indoors, even in winter. BJ was under constant stress, having to fend off the alpha macaws with her. During this time, one of her wings was broken. BJ received no veterinary attention. BJ also developed respiratory problems. Her new owner finally took BJ to a veterinarian where she was diagnosed with aspergillus fumigatus, and treated. BJ is also under treatment for high blood pressure. At some point BJ additionally developed a plucking problem.

BJ seems to have a healthy appetite, favoring Kaytee rainbow pellets, Zupreem pellets, hookbill mixes, and lots of fruits and veggies (cooked and raw). She exhibits a limited vocabulary, saying: Hi BJ, Awwww, Bad Bird, Shut Up! Quiet! and some other phrases.

Two weeks ago BJ moved out of quarantine and into her current caretaker's flock. The change did not go well. BJ became agitated, screamed loudly as in a panic, and started biting without provocation. BJ moved back into isolation, into a room alone with natural lighting and a radio for company. This move seemed to calm the macaw considerably. Unfortunately, because of family considerations, this room is no longer available. Thus we come to the late night phone call to us last night. 

BJ's Home

It's stories like this that fervently cause us to wish to believe in reincarnation. We can only hope that whoever is responsible for BJ's sad state of affairs comes back in their next life as a cockroach! Clearly there are people who should not be allowed to keep parrots as pets. We continue to wonder about the suitability of parrots as pets.

We are happy to report that a home here in Seattle has been found for BJ, on very short notice. We're keeping our fingers crossed!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Parrot Soup: Episode 3, Treasure Hunt

Bosun Bubba and Second Mate Sammy have been dispatched to the desert island by the Pirate Parrot Aboo to find the buried treasure before Captain Kid Kadra and First Mate Roxanne can find it. They've found the cursed cave where the treasure was buried. If they find the treasure they'll have to deal with Captain Kadra and Roxanne. If they don't find the treasure, they'll have to deal with the Pirate Parrot Aboo. Which of them will face the dangers lurking in the cursed cave? Will they find their fortune? Or meet their cruel fate? Stay tuned!

Parrot Soup: Episode 3: Treasure Hunt

The Pirate Parrot Aboo

And in case you missed the first two episodes of Parrot Soup:

Parrot Soup: Episode 2: The Pirate Parrot

Parrot Soup: Episode 1: Lost

Will Second Mate Sammy wrest the Number One spot from Roxanne? Will Bosun Bubba find his fortune? Or will he meet his cruel fate? Will Captain Kid Kadra quell the mutiny and regain control of his ship, The Alligator? Will Roxanne find true love?

Stay Tuned!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Our Carnivorous Parrot

Readers of this blog know that we live with a flock of parrots, currently numbering nine, including five macaws, two African greys, a Goffin's cockatoo, and a Budgie parrot. Well, we also have an additional parrot, that we haven't much noted. This parrot lives out back. This parrot is carnivorous! This parrot also lives with a flock of its own, so to speak.

We're speaking of the Parrot Pitcher plant, Sarracenia psittacina.

Not our Parrot Pitcher, but an interesting video of the Parrot Pitcher.

Why is a Parrot Pitcher plant called a Parrot Pitcher? Because the head of the stalk vaguely resembles a parrot's beak.

In late summer, the Parrot Pitcher (as does other pitcher plants) shoots up a striking flower on a tall stalk. Typically the flowers tower above the plant. The idea is to get bees to pollinate the plant, not get eaten by the plant!

Our carnivorous flock: The Yellow Trumpet to the left (Sarracenia flava), Purple Pitcher center (Sarracenia purpurea),  and Parrot Pitcher.

The young shoots of the Yellow Trumpet tower over the Parrot Pitcher.

Gorgeous Yellow Trumpet flower just left of center.

The towering stalks of the Yellow Trumpet remind us of parrot chicks with their mouths open, waiting to be fed!

Close-up view of the Yellow Trumpet flower.

Wondering how well these guys eat? Each stalk is stuffed to the brim with flies and wasps!

Why the insects don't just back out of the stalk once they go in.

Nice to have at least one parrot that can feed itself!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Wild Parrots of Seattle: Update

A parrot friend of ours who gardens at the Ballard P-Patch just off NW 85th Street and 25th Avenue NW in North Seattle, was tending his garden Friday, September 16th, as were several other people in the garden, when a pair of Mitred Conure parrots flew up to feed for a short time in the garden, then flew over to some nearby apple trees to feed, before taking off again. Our friend and every one else in the P-Patch got a really good look at them. The Conures announced themselves with their incessant squawking. These would be the Golden Gardens Conures that people have been telling us about for years. In our eleven years here in Ballard we have not yet been lucky enough to see them. Apparently they roost at the top of Golden Gardens Park somewhere near NW 85th Street and 32nd Avenue NW.

A pair of Mitred Conure parrots photographed in Golden Gardens Park, January10 2010,
published by the local Ballard News-Tribune.

Better known are the Mitred Conure parrots of Seward Park. A member of the Northwest Exotic Bird Society, Karyn Jensen, reported:

If you go out to Seward Park to see the Mitreds, they usually hang out at the Point-- you cannot drive to this spot. You have to walk around the loop path to spot them. I live about a mile from Seward Park and occasionally see them (actually, I HEAR them in advance of seeing them) when I'm in my backyard..There are at least thirteen individuals, if not more. When they fly over, my Conures make a racket--that's what alerts me most of the time! They usually start migrating to the Maple Leaf neighborhood just about this time of the year (when it starts getting cold at night) and then back to Seward Park when it warms up in the Spring. I have also seen a couple of other parrot species at Seward Park as well (other types of Conure parrots and an Amazon)!

To see our original blog post about the Wild Parrots of Seattle, click here. For a story and several photos about the Seward Park Conure parrots in the Columbia Citizens neighborhood blog, click here.

Three Mitred Conure parrots photographed feeding on a Hawthorne tree in Shoreline, September 15, 2008.

To see a photo of one of the Seward Park Mitred Conures taken May 19, 2009, click here.

Anyone with further information and photos of the Wild Parrots of Seattle, please contact us.

Support Your Local Invasive Species!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

1951 Was a Very Good Year!

1951 was a very good year!

60 Is Not Old! It's Retro Tee shirt
60 Is Not Old! It's Retro Tee

Cars had class and style!

Coins contained actual real silver!

Mailing a letter cost a whopping 3 cents!

A Democrat was still President of the United States!

And we were born! On this day.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Parrot Soup: Swashbuckling Adventure on the High Seas

Arghh Matey! Swashbuckling Adventure on the High Seas! The pirate captain Kid Kadra and his First Mate Roxanne are stranded on a desert island while a conniving pirate parrot, Aboo, leads a mutiny on his ship, The Alligator. Will Captain Kid Kadra reclaim his ship? Will First Mate Roxanne find true love? Will the pirate parrot Aboo become parrot soup? Stay tuned!

The Pirate Parrot Aboo

The Continuing Adventure

The Original Episode

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Don't Just Be Any Superhero: Be a Parrot Trooper!

Princess Tara Parrot Trooper

Fight for Truth! Justice! And Embattled Parrots Everywhere!

Join With Princess Tara
Be a Parrot Trooper!

Save the Parrots!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Parrot Soup

Swashbuckling adventure on the High Seas! In this first episode of our animated feature Parrot Soup, the pirate captain Kid Kadra and his First Mate Roxanne are stranded on a desert island while the conniving pirate parrot, Aboo, leads a mutiny on Captain Kadra's ship.

Will Captain Kid Kadra reclaim his ship? Will Roxanne find true love? Will the pirate parrot Aboo become parrot soup? Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's a Bird. It's a Plane. No, It's Super Parrot!

The Adventures of Princess Tara, Super Parrot

It's a Bird. It's a Plane.
No, it's Princess Tara, Super Parrot!

Fighting for truth and justice for parrots everywhere. Join our new action adventure series as Princess Tara fights evil parrot smugglers and battles parrot hoarders to free captive and abused parrots! Princess Tara is ably assisted by her sidekick Roxanne, Diva parrot by day, seductress by night!

Will parrot poachers be slain? Will captive parrots be freed? Will truth and justice prevail? Will dinner ever get served?

Stay tuned. Same time, same station.