Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Just How Strong Are Those Macaw Parrot Beaks Anyway?

Just how strong are those macaw parrot beaks anyway? On the macadamia nut scale of hardness, macaw beaks are pretty darn strong.

The macadamia (or mac) nuts you typically find in most grocery stores come shelled, for the simple reason that most nut crackers, like the one in your kitchen drawer, are not capable of cracking open a mac nut shell. Try it sometime if you ever come across a mac nut in a shell.

For that, you need a specialized mac nut cracker costing about $100, usually available from purveyors of macadamia nuts, such as California's Gold Crown Macadamia Nut Association.

Or you can get one of these, usually quite a bit more than $100, and not available from most mac nut purveyors. This one is ours, our Hyacinth macaw parrot named Princess Tara. And yes, she is a princess. Her parents are a Duke and a Duchess.

Princess Tara can pop those mac nuts open with no problem whatsoever. For reasons we won't get into in this blog post, and unlike any other parrot, Hyacinth macaws require a 50% fat content diet. Macadamia nuts are 80% to 90% fat. Princess Tara eats a lot of macadamia nuts. As a general rule, we don't feed them to any of our other parrots.

Although unable to pop the mac nuts open like Princess Tara can, a few of our other parrots are able to drill into the mac nut shell and literally excavate the nut, such as our Ruby macaw Mr. Cracker is doing here. No small feat in itself. The other macaws just play with the mac nuts like big marbles.

An excavated mac nut, courtesy of our Ruby macaw Mr. Cracker.

Princess Tara in mac nut heaven.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Visions of Sugar Plums and Parrots Danc'd in Our Heads

We don't usually remember our dreams, but we remember this one. Christmas Eve, for whatever that's worth. We have eight parrots. All live inside our home with us here in our Ballard neighborhood in North Seattle.

Our Congo African Grey Parrot Arua

Well, in our dream our Congo African Grey parrot Arua was living in her cage outside on a hillside, while all the other parrots seemingly lived indoors. The strange thing about living on a hillside was that Arua's cage was tethered to a somewhat short radio transmission tower.

Arua and Her Perfectly Fine California Cage

It gets weirder. We're at work and come home for lunch. Home must be near this hillside. We find that the radio tower had been dismantled apparently as a prelude to building a taller one. When the workers took down the tower, for some reason they also took out the wall of the cage that had been tethered to the tower. So Arua is left on a hillside in her cage with one of the cage walls missing. But being the good girl that she is, she stayed in her cage instead of flying off. That's where we found her when we came home for lunch. Last thing about the dream we remember is stepping her up to take her home to find a new cage.

That's pretty much the gist of the dream. We're probably forgetting a few details, but for the most part that's it.

So what the hell does that dream mean? We need to buy Arua a new cage? She's got a perfectly fine California Cage. She needs to go outdoors more? Strange. And what does this have to do with Christmas?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year From The Zen Parrot

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from The Zen Parrot and the cast and crew of Parrot Soup, the animated high seas adventure drama featuring the pirate ship The Alligator, the Pirate Parrot Aboo, his nemesis Captain Kid Kadra, and First Mate Roxanne.

The Pirate Parrot Aboo

Captain Kid Kadra

First Mate Roxanne

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Our Favorite Day of the Year

December 21st. The shortest day of the year in the northern latitudes. Here in Seattle, the sun fails to rise until 7:55AM and sets at 4:20 in the friggin afternoon! Tomorrow we'll have an additional THREE SECONDS of sunshine. Eight seconds the following day. And fourteen seconds the day after that. Before you know it, we'll be complaining about the heat. Bring on summer!