Thursday, November 27, 2014

Amid the Swarm of Humans, a Conclave of Parrots

Simply being thankful for parrots. For once, an organized gang of parrots not ravaging anyone or any place! Just parrots that are appreciated for being parrots.

More than a thousand rose-ringed parakeets still find a safe place to roost in the trees near Orion Mall; their presence is a gift

This article, in its entirety, written by Vishakha Chanchani, appeared in the Bangalore Mirror, November 7, 2014:

As I look out through the window of my brother's apartment, I see a host of high-rise buildings against a grey sky. Pigeons hover inside, and make human habitats their own. They find small balconies and settle down on potted plants, making a mess, to the detriment of some plant loving residents!

The Orion Mall in the Brigade Gateway complex in Rajajinagar attracts many human visitors, who gather here in the evenings to enjoy open spaces, the water body, and all the shopping and eating joints. Humans of different ages, shapes and sizes, rub shoulders with each other, taking a break from work and home to enjoy the small pleasures of an evening outing.

Well, allow me to tell you of the other visitors that frequent this place. The flying foxes, the kites, stray dogs, and flocks of parakeets that roost here. The latter gathering together, every evening unfailingly, just as humans flock together in the same complex, in the very same hours!

Wasn't I amazed one evening, when I suddenly discovered that right at the entrance gates of the Mall, a host of rain trees offer their branches to hoards of parakeets? After about six in the evening, I see them arriving in small flocks. One flock after another screeches its way to the crowns of these trees, adding to the green of existing leaves.

The parakeets fall silent as they settle down; the dark takes over, and spots of light from below highlight the glimmering green of the birds. People walking up to the complex may mistake the parakeet-laden trees for leaves. As for the parakeets, they do not seem to mind; not even those lights under the trees that turn this every day event into a well-lit drama. Some watch, whilst some miss the charm altogether.

Maybe, these rose-ringed parakeets are visitors to us; but for these birds, this has been their nightly spot, their home of many decades.

Long before manmade constructions made their presence felt, these areas were populated with trees and shrubs that might have been hosts to more wild life. The parakeets continue to roost here, braving the changing city, glaring lights, a human population, and the traffic that beeps and whizzes by the roads, above which they settle.

Thank god, for their trust, for continuing to make their homes amidst us. Why on earth do we need to trap and cage these birds, when we can invite them to live with us -- allow for trees in our landscapes, and have these special green exchanges? More than a thousand parakeets still find a safe place to roost in, in this part of the town.

When their feathers were molting, I collected them. Feathers flecked with gold, green and blue, brown and graying, straight or slightly curled. Somebody once wrote a poem saying that if you find a feather, pick it up and put it in your pocket -- it's a gift from a bird.

Well Nagarvasi, the presence of winged wild life, in a multiple and urban complex like this, is certainly a special gift. May we always remember, and never forget, to look after it.

Take care till then.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Northwest Parrots Pinup Parrots Calendar for 2015

The mission of Northwest Parrots Fund is simple. Saving Parrots One Parrot At a Time! Introducing the Northwest Parrots Fund Parrots Pinup Calendar for 2015:
The Northwest Parrots 2015 Calendar features some real beauties:

Hyacinth Macaw Princess Tara

Timneh African Grey Tillie

Ruby Macaw Mr. Cracker

Congo African Grey Arua

Greenwing Macaw Roxanne

You'll need to purchase the calendar the see the rest of the Northwest Parrots Fund Pinup Parrots. As Good As Advertised! You will not be disappointed. Plus, your purchase supports a worthy cause. Northwest Parrots Fund is a nonprofit charity registered in the State of Washington and recognized as a 501(c)3 nonprofit under the regulations of the Internal Revenue Service.

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.