Saturday, December 26, 2015

How Some Of Us Feel Day After Christmas



Saturday, December 19, 2015

We've Always Wanted To Use Kyrgyz and Parrot In The Same Sentence

This story, published in its entirety, appeared on the AKIpress news website, December 19, 2015:


Kyrgyz national attempts to smuggle 140 parrots from Ukraine to Russia

Bishkek (AKIpress) A Kyrgyzstani citizen was detained on Russian border while trying to smuggle 140 parrots from Ukraine to Russia on his car's trunk, Rosselkhoznadzor said. Import of live birds to Russia is impossible without the official permission of Rosselkhoznadzor, which issues documents confirming compliance with veterinary and sanitary requirements. The man was detained at the Nehoteevka international checkpoint. Rosselkhoznadzor inspector decided to return the birds to the neighboring territory.

That's it! 140 parrots on the car's trunk. We're guessing they weren't Blue and Gold macaw parrots like the accompanying photo suggests, or the crate would be about a half mile tall.

And why were the parrots on the trunk? And not, say, in the car? It is winter over there, so how were the parrots even alive? And can we call the guy a smuggler while driving a car with 140 parrots sitting on the friggin' trunk? Presumably in a box or crate? Presumably very noisy?

So the parrots were returned to the neighboring territory. Were they just released and shooed off? What happened to the parrots? What happened to the smuggler? How did this writer ever get a job writing news stories?

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Two Peas In A Pod. Our Congo and Timneh African Grey Parrots

Two Peas In A Pod! Our Congo African Grey Parrot Arua (left) and Timneh African Grey Parrot Tillie (right). Notice how much darker Tillie's body feathers are, whereas Arua has the notable red tail. Arua is significantly larger as well, although the size difference doesn't really come through in this video clip.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Northwest Parrots Pinup Parrots Calendar for 2016

The mission of Northwest Parrots Fund is simple. Saving Parrots One Parrot At a Time! Introducing the Northwest Parrots Fund Pinup Parrots Calendar for 2016:

The Northwest Parrots 2016 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, October 24, 2015

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness


Those of us who have experienced Goffin's Cockatoo parrots in our lives appreciate the irony of this photo, showing Dino, the Houdini of Brookline, Robert F. Kennedy's childhood home, surrounded by two of Boston's Finest.

Dino became an Internet sensation after he took flight this summer from his Brookline apartment and taunted his would-be rescuers by refusing to be rescued. One of the best things his people said of the escape artist was; “He’s a troubled bird.” No surprise to us Goffin's people. “This bird has an extraordinarily annoying screech,” said Nancy Gertner, a retired federal judge and a senior lecturer at Harvard Law School. Yep.


Instead of letting himself be rescued he relocated to one of Brookline's toniest streets, where he got to work terrorizing the residents. Without local historic preservation commission approval, Dino started remodeling the historic structures. The embattled Bostonians fought back as best they could. One tried turning on the house alarm, letting it blare. Dino didn’t mind, and recently greeted a Gertner houseguest by shrieking outside the bedroom window at dawn. Classic Dino. Some neighbors, the retired federal judge said, are worried that Dino, a Goffin’s cockatoo native to Indonesia, wouldn't survive the winter outside. “Candidly, we are no longer concerned about that,” Gertner said.

The battle lines were drawn. On one side the Catch Dino crowd led by the retired federal judge and the parrot's owner, Shawna Payne. On the other side, the Free Dino camp led by Tai Ta who has taken it upon himself to feed the parrot three squares a day. “This guy parrot has declared his independence,” Ta said, “with his own life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Attempts to capture Dino were complicated by the competing motives of various would-be rescuers.“They all want the glory,” said a woman named Jude, a self-described “bird person” who devoted the better part of the last week to trying to trap Dino. What with plots, cross plots and mis-plots, as well as Boston Animal Rescue League and police interventions, Dino's crime spree eventually ended.

This story should serve as a cautionary tale for anyone wanting to own a Goffin's cockatoo. Dino is back home with his flock of six other parrots and probably sharing some great bedtime stories of his life on the lam with his mates. And we are reminded how Goffin's cockatoos were once best described as juvenile delinquents that should come with warning labels.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Parrot 101: How Parrots Do What They Do

Parrot 101: How Parrots Do What They Do


Featuring Our Ruby Macaw Parrot Mr. Cracker

Featuring Our Hyacinth Macaw Parrot Princess Tara

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Pope Francis Blesses Male Stripper's Parrot Amore

Pope Francis is a hot commodity these days, so when we found this story, although somewhat dated, we couldn't resist.


You can't make this up. Pope blesses male stripper's parrot. This story, in its entirety, appeared on the ANSA English website, January 29, 2014:

Milan, January 29 - Pope Francis blessed and took into his hands a green parrot that belonged to a former male stripper during his general audience on Wednesday. The parrot's owner thought it best to admit he was the bird's proud father after press reports saying it belonged to a traveling circus from northern Italy. "It was fun," Francesco Lombardi, the former stripper known as Ghyblj, told ANSA. "A sort of mixing of the holy and the profane. I am a world champion stripper and have the leading role in (erotic filmmaker) Tinto Brass's next movie". Lombardi, who has also been the head of the town council of Trezzano, near Milan, said he had come to Rome with his wife and two daughters to attend the general audience, bringing with him the parrot named 'Amore' ('Love'). "Pope Francis, who I am in love with," he said, "called it 'a beautiful gift from God'".

We're thinking that the Italian town of Trezzano must be a fun place.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Original Zen Parrot Avatar

In Hinduism, an avatar (/ˈævəˌtɑr, ˌævəˈtɑr/; Hindustani: [əʋˈt̪aːr] from Sanskrit अवतार avatāra "descent") is a deliberate descent of a deity to Earth, or a descent of the Supreme Being (e.g., Vishnu for Vaishnavites), and is mostly translated into English as "incarnation", but more accurately as "appearance" or "manifestation".


Then





And Now

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Maharashtra Parrot Summoned by Cops for Obscenities

In the annals of parrots in crime, this parrot named Hariyal ranks with the Don Corleones of crime parrots. This story, Say what? Maharashtra Parrot Summoned by Cops for Obscenities, in its entirety, was published on the Press Trust of India website, August 18, 2015:

The woman accused her stepson of teaching the parrot to shower abuses at her.

PUNE:  In a bizarre case, a parrot accused of "hurling obscenities" at an octogenarian woman was summoned to a police station at Rajura in Maharashtra's Chandrapur district today after a complaint against its owner that he had allegedly tutored his caged pet to do so.

The police was at its wit's end after 85-year-old Janabai Sakharkar accused her stepson Suresh of teaching his parrot 'Hariyal', to shower abuses at her whenever she passed by his house.

In order to verify the agitated woman's complaint, the police called all the three involved, including Janabai, her stepson Suresh and Hariyal the parrot to the police station. However, the parrot seemed to have became conscious of khaki clad policmen and kept mum when his cage was brought near Janabai, to see if it would hurl any obscenities at her.

"There is a dispute over land and property between the woman and her stepson. We watched the parrot carefully but it did not utter a word at the police station after being confronted by the complainant," Police Inspector P S Dongre told reporters. (Emphasis Added by Editor)

Although Hariyal never showed any alleged penchant to abuse the woman, the police decided to hand it over to forest department officials, after taking into account the harassed mental condition of the aged woman.

We watched the parrot carefully but it did not utter a word at the police station after being confronted by the complainant," Police Inspector P S Dongre told reporters. This parrot ain't no stool pigeon. The coppers could watch him all day but the parrot wasn't going to snitch on his owner. Don Corleone would be proud.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha Blue Tara Brazilian

In Tibetan Buddhism, Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha is an ancient mantra that is related to Tara, the Mother of all Buddhas, and especially to her manifestation as Green Tara. Tara is commonly thought to be a Bodhisatva or Buddha of compassion and action, a protector who comes to our aid to relieve us of physical, emotional and spiritual suffering. Tara has 21 major forms, each of which has a different color and spiritual attribute.

Blue Tara is associated with the transmutation of anger. A protector manifesting ferocious, wrathful, female energy who destroys all obstacles to producing good luck and spiritual awakening. She removes fear of enemies, spreading joy and good fortune. She guides and assists our path to spiritual awakening.


Although the mantra Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha is related to Tara, the Mother of all Buddhas, Blue Tara also has her own special mantra Om Bhim Tare Vrim. Bhim pierces and Vrim cuts through all obstructive and destructive energies. Both syllables also cover and protect, as does the name Tare, which can mean both Saving Mother and Star Mother.

So how is a Hyacinth macaw parrot like a Tibetan goddess? Click here to find out more.

Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha
Blue Tara Brazilian
Brazil Fazenda Passeio
Organic Shade Grown Fair Trade

Blue Tara Brazilian is the Caffeinated Parrot's very first single source microroast, a Full Body Full City roast. Brazil Fazenda Passeio is one of the finest Organic, Shade Grown, Fair Trade Brazilian coffees on the market, in homage to the New World home of the most endangered parrots in the world including the Hyacinth macaw. We are proud to feature our Hyacinth macaw and Spokesparrot Princess Tara on our new label. And yes, Princess Tara really is a princess. Her parents are a Duke and a Duchess.
Fazenda is the Portuguese word for ranch or plantation. Fazenda Passeio is located in the southern part of the Brazilian State with the Middle Earth-sounding name of Minas Gerais, where an abundance of specialty coffees are grown. Headed by Rodolfo Henrique Vieira Ferreira, the estate focuses on not only the production of fine coffees, but the preservation of the surrounding environment. Situated at an elevation of about 3,500 feet, 130 hectares are devoted to the production of coffee. The Vieria Ferreira family has been producing coffee in the region for over three generations. Their aim is to improve and increase productivity with respect to the environment and the local workforce, which is a large part of the operation. There is a strong emphasis on social improvement as well. All of the local workers receive social support, such as schooling for their children, workforce training, and environmental education.

The coffee is picked by hand. This is quite rare for Brazil. The coffee is pulped the same day to avoid the possibility of fermentation. It is then dried on the patio for a few days before it is placed in the mechanical drier to finish. The coffee is rested for 45 to 60 days and then sorted to eliminate defects before it is readied for export.

Fazenda Passeio is full bodied with a mix of dark chocolate, dried fruit, and earthy flavors. Blue Tara Brazilian is a Full Body Full City Roast.

Get your Coffee Parrot Coffee Red Tail Brand Blue Tara Brazilian whole bean coffee at The Caffeinated Parrot: CoffeeParrot.Coffee. You read that right. Coffee Parrot Dot Coffee.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Sekar the Birdman of Chennai

This story, in its entirety, appeared on the Bringing Humanity Back website, August 5, 2015. Bringing Humanity Back is an initiative sponsored by the Bollywood actor Varun Pruthi. (Gently edited for consistency and clarity):

Camera mechanic feeds up to 3,000 parrots every day. He spends 40% of his income for feeding up to 3,000 parrots two times a day, In ten years, he might have missed a meal, but never let these parrots miss a meal,

His name is Sekar the Birdman. In this fast moving world, we find space for cold coffees, bling cars, blockbuster movies, end of the season sales, crazy selfies and more. But do we find space for KINDNESS? ‘Impatience’ being the new lifestyle, the rhythm of humanity is missing the beat of kindness, as it is busy catching up with the next second. But somehow, as in all matters of heart, love does find its space through all the situations. Such one inspiring story of Love and Kindness is “THE BiRDMAN”, a documentary of a person named Sekar, living in Chennai on the small yet crowded street of Royepettah. There is something that makes him large, magnificent and, most importantly, humane. How a random act of kindness can bring so much life and so much change to this world stands vividly in his acts. Apart from being a simple camera mechanic winning his bread by his hand skills, what he has been doing for the past ten years will stun you, just the way it stunned us. Take a look!



Saturday, July 25, 2015

Coffee Parrot Coffee Red Tail Brand Zygodactyl Blend

Zygodactyl Blend, the Caffeinated Parrot's very first microroast blend, a full body Full City roast combining the finest Organic, Shade Grown, Fair Trade Ethiopian and Brazilian coffees, in homage to both the birthplace of coffee and the New World home of the most endangered parrots in the world including the Hyacinth macaw. We are proud to feature our Hyacinth macaw and Spokesparrot Princess Tara on our new label. And yes, Princess Tara really is a princess. Her parents are a Duke and a Duchess.
Brazil Fazenda Passeio

Fazenda is the Portuguese word for ranch or plantation. Fazenda Passeio is located in the southern part of the Brazilian State with the Middle Earth-sounding name of Minas Gerais, where an abundance of specialty coffees are grown. Headed by Rodolfo Henrique Vieira Ferreira, the estate focuses on not only the production of fine coffees, but the preservation of the surrounding environment. Situated at an elevation of about 3,500 feet, 130 hectares are devoted to the production of coffee. The Vieria Ferreira family has been producing coffee in the region for over three generations. Their aim is to improve and increase productivity with respect to the environment and the local workforce, which is a large part of the operation. There is a strong emphasis on social improvement as well. All of the local workers receive social support, such as schooling for their children, workforce training, and environmental education.

The coffee is picked by hand. This is quite rare for Brazil. The coffee is pulped the same day to avoid the possibility of fermentation. It is then dried on the patio for a few days before it is placed in the mechanical drier to finish. The coffee is rested for 45 to 60 days and then sorted to eliminate defects before it is readied for export.

Fazenda Passeio is full bodied with a mix of dark chocolate, dried fruit, and earthy flavors. Blue Tara Brazilian is a Full Body Full City Roast.


Ethiopia Yirgachefe Bunna

Bunna is the Ethiopian word for coffee. The sweet flavors and aromas of Ethiopia Yirgachefe Bunna or coffee are its strongest assets along with a medium to light body. Ethiopian Yirgachefe is very spicy and fragrant, often with a slightly chocolate or nutty quality. Subtleties include notes of citrus or tangerine (which is why Ethiopian Yirgachefe is often preferred for iced coffee). Ethiopian Yirgachefe is known for its bright and shining acidity and clean taste. An array of sensual floral notes gives Ethiopian Yirgachefe a wonderfully bright complexity in its aromatic qualities. Often Ethiopian Yirgachefe will exhibit tones of toasted coconut. Also noted are cedar sensations with a background of caramelly chocolate. Coffee connoisseurs appreciate not only the delicate orange blossom fragrance of Ethiopian Yirgachefe, but also its sweet and elegant finish that is typically very clean like the flavor. ​Ethiopian Yirgachefe is grown at elevations ranging from about 5,800 feet above sea level to 6,600 feet. Few of the world's finest coffees are grown at such high elevations as these Yirgachefes. The town of Yirgachefe is located in central southern Ethiopia in the Gedeo Zone named after the Gedeo people. The Gedeo region extends along the eastern escarpment of the highlands of Ethiopia

Get your Coffee Parrot Coffee Red Tail Brand Zygodactyl Blend whole bean coffee at The Caffeinated Parrot: CoffeeParrot.Coffee. You read that right. Coffee Parrot Dot Coffee.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Parrot Bliss: Finding the Right Spot

Bliss. Bliss is a parrot finding that perfect spot. Bliss is a parrot being his own best friend.


Our male Blue and Gold macaw parrot Aboo in bliss. For more about Aboo please visit his blog post: Our Flock: Our Guard Dog: Aboo.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Smell of Coffee Makes Women More Likely To Give Out Their Phone Number


We have a feeling that coffee sales are going to go up. Way up! Hey guys. The smell of coffee makes women more likely to give out their phone number. This story, in its entirety, appeared on the website Barking Up The Wrong Tree under the head 5 Things You Need To Know About That Wonder-Beverage, Coffee:

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Drive My Car

A photo posted by The Zen Parrot (@the_zen_parrot) on


Asked a girl what she wanted to be
She said baby, "Can't you see
I wanna be famous, a star on the screen
But you can do something in between"
Baby you can drive my car
Yes I'm gonna be a star
Baby you can drive my car
And maybe I love you


Beep beep'm beep beep yeah

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Organized Gangs of Quaker Parrots Ravage America, Or, Uruguay's Secret Plot to Take Over the World

The invasion of the Quaker parrots must be serious if even the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis has noticed. Apparently the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis is tasked with monitoring and protecting America's borders from feathered dinosaurs. This story, based on the National Institute's research, appeared on the ScienceDaily website, April 27, 2015:

Monk parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus)

The monk parakeets [aka Quaker Parrots, editor] that have invaded Europe and North America over the last 40-50 years fortifying their massive communal nests atop utility poles in many urban areas appear to have originated from the same small area in South America, according to a new study.

Considered one of the best speaking parrots, thousands of these bright green birds have been imported for the pet trade, and feral populations began appearing in the United States in the 1960s and in Europe in the 1980s. And yet, these two independent invasions -- in the United States and in Europe -- appear to have originated from the same small area in the native range, likely located in Uruguay, according to the new study, which appears online in the journal Molecular Ecology.

The study, which unravels the global invasion history of the monk parakeet, also found that that the North American and European monk parakeets have lower genetic diversity in their invasive populations compared to the genetic diversity in native populations. This is unusual because invasive species with greater genetic diversity often have a greater chance at survival -- a more diverse gene pool means more variety in traits of individuals for natural selection to act upon and allow the species to survive and thrive in a new area.

Until now, very little has been known about the genetic processes linked to successful establishment of invasive parrots. Yet, a better understanding of the genetic linkages could shed light on the potential success of an invasion.

For the study, an international team of researchers based at institutions in Spain, the United States, Canada and Australia used mitochondrial DNA and microsatellite genotypic data to investigate the levels of genetic variation and to reconstruct the history of the invasions.

The study raises interesting questions about why the two separate invasions show such similar genetic patterns.

"One possibility is that these invasive populations may be under similar selection pressures. Most of the invasive populations are restricted to urban and suburban habitats, which may be selecting for some key traits that increase fitness of individuals in those environments," said co-author Elizabeth Hobson, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, which helped support the research.

Social behavior may also affect invasion success, Hobson said.

"It could make it easier for a species to invade a new area and survive, or it could inhibit invasions in other circumstances," she said.

In their native range in South America, monk parakeets have become notorious crop pests devouring cereal grain and citrus fruits, and they have the potential to become the same especially in Florida with its citrus crops, although so far they have had minimal impacts. In their invasive range, monk parakeet activities can cause problems for electrical companies. Their massive nests of sticks atop utility poles can disrupt power and damage equipment.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, tens of thousands of parakeets were imported to the United States as pets. Many birds have been released either deliberately or by accident by their owners, and some may have also escaped during transport. The monk parakeet has now been documented in at least 14 US states with the highest concentrations in Florida and Texas. They also roost in urbanized areas such as New York City and Chicago where they form large, noisy flocks that can be heard for great distances.

Some people still keep the birds as pets, although ownership is illegal in some US states.

(The study, which unravels the global invasion history of the monk parakeet. . . Such a big threat from such a small package. Somewhere, the FBI is keeping a Parrot Watch List. Editor)

Saturday, May 9, 2015

When Parrots Go Cold Turkey

The sad lot of the opium addicted parrots of India. This article, in its entirety, appeared on the Times of India website, May 1, 2015:

The parrots who have been feasting on the poppy seeds for the past few months, will not survive without their regular dose of addiction.

CHITTORGARH: Around this time in the poppy fields of Chittorgarh district, many a parrot will perish. The carcasses of these dead birds will be dismembered by crows, that wait for this opportunity. The opium season has ended around 15 days back and the pods have been removed from the fields. These parrots, who have been feasting on the poppy seeds from these pods for the past few months, will now be without their regular dose of addiction, without which, they will not survive.

"It is inevitable," Nandkishore Dhakar, an opium farmer in Sukhwara village of Chittorgarh district is sure that this dance of death will be enacted again. "This phenomenon has never failed," he continues. "These birds break open the pods and devour the seeds still drenched in the milky fluid." This fluid has a cocktail of alkaloids that can enslave the mind. Soon these parrots become addicts and this drug becomes essential for their survival.

"Once we cut the pods, they are deprived of their addiction. They lose their appetite, start behaving strangely and even lose the will to live. Eventually, they just die." It's a sad truth, but for these parrots, their first taste of poppy seeds is also their first step towards death. And death is a certainty , says Nandkishore. "Each one of them will die," he proclaims in a matter-of-fact way.

Of course, for Nandkishore and his ilk, it also means wastage of precious opium, which fetches them huge profit. This farmer is one of the 25 in the village who has been able to hold on to his licence granted by the narcotics department to cultivate opium.

Nandkishore has devoted half-a-bigha of his farm for poppy . From a quintal of opium production, he earns Rs 30,000. When you compare that with other farmers who grow lady finger and earn just Rs 3,000 for the same amount, you would know why Nandkishore continues to nurture poppy plants in the winters despite all the problems associated with it.

Parrots are not the only reasons for loss. Nilgai are a much bigger menace, more so when they come in the darkness of night. "Parrots damage a few pods, but Nilgai destroy the entire crop," Mukesh Dhakar, who lost his opium-farming licence around 10 years ago, informs. "They come in groups, trample crops, eat the plants and run away before we can do anything."

The solution: spend night after night on the field with enough arsenal to scare away these mammals. The narcotics officials are rarely willing to accept nilgai or parrots as excuses to revise the minimum acceptable yield set for the season.

Nilgai too become addicts, says Mukesh. "If a Nilgai gets the taste of opium, he will come every night, disregarding the dangers." But unlike parrots, they are a lot more resistant to the change when the opium season is over. "If the nilgai doesn't get poppy, he will soon start eating other crops. There are no side effects to show," informs Mukesh.

However, for the fragile parrots, this addiction is a matter of life and death. Next season, a new group of parrots will sink their beaks into opium-rich pods and become addicts. And their days will be numbered.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Secret Sex Lives of Parrots

Smokey is a male Congo African Grey parrot that we fostered for a time. He has one particular toy in his cage that he favors. On occasion in the middle of the night, in the pitch black dark, we would hear the bell on the toy start ringing. Now we know why.


We discovered that Smokey's amorousness (if that's a word) was not solely focused on his bell. Hands would suffice just as well.


And since we're on the topic of birds masturbating, we know your life is not complete if you've never seen a hummingbird masturbate. So here you go.


We are happy to report that Smokey's new mom hears that bell ringing on occasion in the middle of the night. Now she knows why!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Rainbow Lorikeet Parrots Eating Meat Leave Experts Astonished, Or, So Perfectly British

Wildlife carer says she is 'horrified.' "I'm absolutely amazed and horrified!" We love this story because it's so British. Even if it is set in Australia.

The following story, in its entirety, appeared on the ABC News Australia website, March 23, 2015.


By Matt Watson

The behaviour of a population of rainbow lorikeets who frequent a backyard feeding station on a property north of Brisbane has left bird experts baffled. The lorikeets are eating meat and Griffith University's Professor Darryl Jones is shocked. Professor Jones, who is researching the impact of backyard feeding on bird populations, said lorikeets usually eat nectar and pollen which they obtain from native plants and shrubs. "I have researched what birds feed on all around the world," Professor Jones said. "I'm up to date with all the kinds of crazy things that birds are eating all over Australia." To see a lorikeet eating meat astonishes me completely. I have never heard of such a thing before. "For years, Bill, who owns the Elimbah property, has put out pets mince for magpies, currawongs and kookaburras. He also puts out seed for vegetarian birds like galahs, king parrots and the lorikeets. He feeds about a dozen birds each day and knows they are spoilt for choice when it comes to food. Bill's property is home to native trees and shrubs, and there is untouched forest nearby. He is happy to offer a few scoops of mince and seed to the birds that come in for a free feed. It was about seven years ago when Bill first noticed the lorikeets eating meat, and they have been eating it ever since. "At first they went for the seed but then they started chasing the other birds away from the meat, which surprised me," he said.

Professor surprised lorikeets are defending meat. Professor Jones said the availability of food on the property made the lorikeet's decision to eat meat mystifying. "It makes no sense at all," he said. "It makes me wonder very strongly that these particular birds, the individuals in the picture, are probably needing some protein. "But the birds look extremely healthy in those pictures." He said lorikeets always get around in pairs and tend to be nasty with other bird species when it comes to food. He said it is not surprising that the lorikeets are chasing magpies and kookaburras away from the meat. "What is unusual is that the food that they're defending is actually meat," Professor Jones said. "That's the strange part about it. "Maybe the lorikeets saw what the other birds were eating and simply decided to try it and liked it. "It's extremely unusual. "Professor Jones believed that lorikeets eating meat had never been documented before. "If it was a genuine idea that lorikeets would eat meat I'm sure it would've come up by now," he said. He said the lorikeet population had increased dramatically in south-east Queensland in the past decade. What once was a common species has now become the most abundant bird in the south east. Professor Jones said people tend to plant native, nectar-bearing plants in their gardens and local councils do the same in their parks, which provides ample food for lorikeets and other birds. He said lorikeets are also being fed by thousands of Queenslanders in backyard feeders. "I would very much like to know if people who put out meat for other birds are getting lorikeets coming and eating it as well," he said.

Wildlife carer says she is 'horrified.' Licensed wildlife carer Fran Sanders has been looking after native animals and birds in Brisbane for 25 years. She has never seen lorikeets eating meat or heard of them doing it. "I'm absolutely amazed and horrified," Ms Sanders said. She has assisted hundreds of people who backyard feed mince to carnivores like butcher birds and magpies and kookaburras. "I've never heard any of them talk about lorikeets coming down and eating mince," she said. "I know when people are backyard feeding, lots of birds will come down and eat because it's easy. "Like us I suppose they get a little bit of a lazy streak and they come down and it saves them hunting or finding food. "They will eat things that aren't really their food." Of the lorikeets eating meat at Elimbah, Ms Sanders has no answers. "Whether it's just a habit they've started because it's there and they've found it, I don't know," she said. "They're not meat eaters, that's for sure. "It's incredible, I'm just so stunned." Ms Sanders said although people enjoy backyard feeding birds, they need to be careful with the food they put out. She said birds do not naturally eat seeds, which can damage their tongues, preventing them from naturally feeding on pollen and nectar. "And meat like pets mince can cause fatty liver disease in carnivorous birds." Professor Darryl Jones would like to hear from anyone who has observed lorikeets eating meat. He can be reached at d.jones@griffith.edu.au

Two rainbow lorikeets tuck into pets mince in a backyard feeder in Elimbah

A population of rainbow lorikeets enjoying a feed of meat while a bird waits patiently on the fence for its turn

Rainbow lorikeets have baffled scientists with their meat-eating behaviour

Rainbow lorikeets take over a backyard feeding station as the bird they kicked out waits patiently on the fence for them to finish

A pair of rainbow lorikeets take turns at getting a beak-full of meat

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Bhopal Man Buys Thirty Parrots Every Month

File this under One Man Can Make a Difference. This story, in its entirety, appeared on India's Daily Bhaskar News Network, March 31, 2015:


Bhopal: Dharmendra can't stand the sight of birds being caged. But there is precious little that he alone can do to make birds free again, fly in the sky.

Every month he purchases around 30 parrots from the bird market. Then he takes the cages to an open space, opens the doors and makes the parrots fly out.


"It gives me immense pleasure to see the birds embracing freedom again, living the life God bestowed upon them," says Dharmendra.

He has a message for all of us: Stop keeping birds as prisoners, let them fly as freedom is dear to all.


Editor's Note: Naysayers will criticize Dharmendra's actions as tantamount to encouraging illegal bird sales. But these illegal bird markets (illegal under Indian law) will continue their activities whether Dharmendra makes his monthly purchases or not. The lives of the thirty parrots every month will be immeasurably improved however.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Organized Parrot Drug Gangs Ravage Jaipur

The problems India's farmers face are a bit different from the problems American farmers face. This story, in its entirety, appeared in ZeeNews India, March 8, 2015:

Jaipur: Poppy farmers in the Indian State of Rajasthan's Chittorgarh district are facing a unique problem. (Editorial Note: Or, When Good Parrots Go Bad).

Parrots in the Indian State of Rajasthan slurp on the milk oozing out of cuts made in poppy pods

Come March, parrots descend on their fields in large numbers to slurp on the milk oozing out of cuts made in the pods to ripen the yield.

Opium poppy Papaver somniferum with white latex milk

"Once they have their fill they sit on trees and sleep there for hours. Some of them can be seen circling or staggering before falling from the trees due to overdose of opium," says Kishore Kumar Dhaker, a poppy farmer in the Sukwara village of Chittorgarh. Several parrots are also found dead on the ground, some killed in their somnolent state by predatory birds. There are other birds in the area, but parrots seem particularly to be attracted to the intoxicating produce. No one seems to know why.

Farmers are annoyed with the 'winged thieves' as the avian addiction eats into their profit. Moreover, the narcotics department officials look with suspicion at their explanation of a shortfall. According to the terms of their licence, low output can result in the permit being denied in future. Poppy farming is a highly controlled activity since its product, morphine, commands very high prices in the illegal narcotics trade.

Farmers say five to seven per cent of their yield is eaten up by the parrots, despite precautions to frighten them away. "It is difficult to control these parrots. We have to spend hours in our fields to shoo them away," says Bhairulal Jat, another poppy farmer from the same village.

Some farmers use nets to cover their fields, some try to scare them away by beating on tin cans while a few carry catapults with them. "We are not able to sleep fully in the night," says Jat.

Dhaker, whose family has been in opium farming for over four decades, says the birds are addicted to opium because he has been seeing this happening for several years, in March and April, when the poppy seeds are cut to make their milk turn brown for harvesting.

Traditionally poppy farming is carried out in Chittorgarh, Baran, Jhalawar, Udaipur and Bhilwara districts of Rajasthan and usually at the start of March when the plant blooms.

As per the Central Bureau of Narcotics website, opium poppy farming involves lancing and collection of latex from the incised capsule or pod. It is a skilled and laborious job requiring considerable manpower to accomplish the task in a short time span. The capsule is the most important part of the plant as it provides raw opium - a milky exudate. It contains about 70 percent of the total morphine synthesised by the plant.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Meant To Be Free

We have a soft spot for mushy stories about parrots that have happy endings. This article, in its entirety, written by a columnist under the name Chauburji, appeared in The Nation Pakistan, March 9, 2015:



One of my domestic help hailed from a village in Mohmand Agency. This individual stayed with the family for around fourteen years, serving us faithfully and then bid us goodbye to take care of his meagre land holding, which had become unproductive because of his continued absence. Like all good people, he was a great animal lover – a quality which resonated perfectly with me and my brood.

It was one of those bright sunny afternoons, when he turned up carrying a green ball of mud splattered feathers in his cupped hands and gingerly handed it over to me. I held the little parrot and to my horror found that one of its legs was dangling at an unnatural angle. The nature of the injury convinced me that it had been inflicted either by a callous human or by an animal higher up in the food chain. We gingerly set the limb in makeshift splints and bandaged it, while a small red beak tried weakly to sample our fingers. We then tended to the bird day and night and watched nature’s marvelous healing process take hold.
The latest member of our family gradually adopted me as its surrogate parent. He (the gender discovery came about much later) was named ‘Mian Mithoo’ simply for want of a better name and turned out to be a standup comedian par excellence. His favorite perch was on top of a metal piece of art on the mantelpiece, where he would sit all day long giving ‘I dare you’ looks to anyone who tried to approach him. As I returned from my office and entered the gate, he uncannily became aware of my arrival and emitted strange sounds, turning round and round on his perch. My appearance at the door would generate a fresh burst of energy signified by the flapping of wings and a change of perch from the mantelpiece to my shoulder. Efforts to dislodge the wonderful rascal, so that I could have my sustenance were foiled, forcing me to have my mug of tea and biscuits much like Long John Silver.

As ‘Mithoo’ reached his prime, his flights became longer and more and more oriented towards the window. Around this time we decided to move our residence to another sector and had barely settled into our new home, when an open door provided the sought after opportunity to ‘Mian Ji’. A panicky shout from one of my children was enough to tell me that our green feathered family member had escaped. I rushed to the first floor terrace and saw the familiar figure flying round in circles above the house, oblivious of all the commotion he had caused on the ground. Suddenly he appeared to have decided on a destination and was soon beyond our sight. Utterly crestfallen and sad, I bid him goodbye and rejoined my family downstairs.

As dusk arrived, I began coping with horrific scenarios, where our parrot always ended up becoming cat-meal. I made one last trip to the terrace and stood watching the sun slowly sink behind the Margalla Hills, when something ‘whirred’ out of the gathering darkness and I felt a familiar weight on my shoulder followed instantly by a cold nibble on my ear lobe. I gave a whoop of joy and rushed down the stairs with the news, and a somber evening turned jovial to celebrate the ‘return of the prodigal’.

‘Mian Mithoo’ took flight twice more after this incident, but always returned, till I was advised firmly to clip his wings. I ignored the suggestion on the plea that birds were created with the ability to fly and that neither I nor anyone else was empowered to change what nature had provided. Then one day, carrying ‘Mithoo’ out on the lawn, I heard and then saw a flock of green parrots flying overhead. As on cue, the bird in my hands began squirming and biting in the most frantic manner. Seconds later, realization dawned on me and with a tearful look at my wonderful companion, I released him. A most wonderful thing then happened – ‘my’ parrot raced to join the flock, raising a cacophony of sounds and I watched in awe as the whole group turned back and circled above the house as if performing a final farewell manoeuvre. I never saw ‘Mian Mithoo’ again, but I have been happy in the knowledge that he is amongst his own kind and free as he was always meant to be.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

For the Love of Parrots


Ancient Hindu Proverb:


One day a man asked God: What is your love and what is my love?

God replied, son do you see the parrots flying in the sky?
That is my love...


And do you see the parrot caged in your house by you?
That is your love....

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Parrot and The Dress

Well, we tried to avoid it. We really did. The controversy over ‪#‎TheDress‬ that is. But the power of social media pulled us in. So we're joining the controversy. Here it is: Is our Congo African Grey parrot Arua Red and Grey? Or is she Grey and Red? ‪#‎TheParrot‬

Sunday, February 22, 2015

This Some Serious Gourmet Shit

The Gourmet Coffee scene from one of our favorite movies of all time, Pulp Fiction, the movie that proved John Travolta can really act, costaring the inimitable Samuel L. Jackson as one of the most erudite coffee loving killers in movie history:

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Now For Something A Little Bit Different

This post, in its entirety, appeared on Seattle Craigslist Pets Community, February 19, 2015:


Toby is 5 years old please call if u see him and pick up with towel he bites everyone but my husband he got spooked and flew off by golf course he was hiding in my husbands hoodie not knowing he was there my husband went outside and is heart broken we all miss toby if u see him please call any time night or day thank u oh we r by broadway and 5 th street

he was hiding in my husbands hoodie not knowing he was there my husband went outside and is heart broken

Okay. That's a different excuse for a lost parrot. But peoples! Senegal parrots are not teeny parrots. How do you not notice a Senegal parrot in your hoodie? Fer chrissakes. If you're a parrot person, check out your hoodie before you go outside. Keep you parrot safe, okay?