From the parrot's beak: true crime stories/Easter/April Fools mashup edition
- It's the Easter 'too: Pippa, a 17 year old cockatoo, spotted a bowl of chocolate eggs left on a table at the Nuneaton and Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary. "She went straight over, climbed on the creme eggs and that was it. She thinks they're her eggs," explains owner Geoff Grewcock. And there she sat- and may still be sitting- for days. We don't recommend this for humans as sat on chocolate eggs become all melted and icky.
- Mob Parrot in Witness Protection program: Under the cover of darkness in a covered cage; Echo the severe macaw showed up at the Heckhaven animal rehabilitation center in Lake Charles, LA. Corina King, the woman who brought Echo in, claimed he was owned by a New Orleans crime boss and that Echo might just "talk". Disturbingly, the crime boss was under investigation for child abuse. Sometimes late at night, shelter owner Suzy Heck heard the sound of a child crying, moaning, a THWACK and maniacal laughter. She'd rush into the room and see that it was Echo. A year later, King; a wildlife rehabilitator, resurfaced to take Echo supposedly to Texas. As all this played out in the '90s, Echo is still likely alive, although his current whereabouts are unknown. The crime boss has been convicted; according to Hess, but not identified.
- Pollytics '16: Donald Trump addresses the immigration of Mexican parrot populations to San Diego and other California cities. Speaking before a section of the wall separating California and Mexico, he gestured toward a flock of parrots flying overhead and declared, “These greenbacks come in here without permission, without going through the proper legal channels." For more on these important developments, dateline April Fools Day, go to: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2016/mar/21/sdqt-trump-avian-solution/
- The Prodigal Parrot: Spyke has returned, again. The blue and gold macaw vanished when owner Mike Mularz left her unattended on his Harley, painted to look like Spyke, during Bike Week in Daytona, FL. There was a shortlived flurry of relief among parrot owners a few days later when a report popped up that Spyke had been found and returned. Turns out that in 2009, Spyke went missing from a St. Petersburg auto shop where Mularz worked. That report referred to the '09 incident. However, there's a happy ending to the recent 'toonap, too. Mularz received a cryptic anonymous phone call from a man who said he found Spyke but did not want the $1000 reward. The following day the Seminole County Parrot Rescue in Geneva, FL called and said someone turned in Spyke.
- Didn't you already have your 15 minutes of fame?: Remember Ted Richards, the man who lopped his ears off and is tattooed all over so he can look like a parrot? Fugettabout that name; he's had it legally changed to Ted Parrot. Photo and more info: Parrot man Ted hopes name change won't ruffle feathers .
- My parrot takes the morning train: A blue & gold macaw was spotted riding the escalators in London's subway system last week, apparently unaccompanied by its human owner. Photographer Robert William captured the bird on film as it boarded the Bakerloo line at Waterloo. Unknown is if the bird's wings were clipped and that's why this transportation method was preferred.
- Time running out for the Mandai Birds Sanctuary in Singapore, home to 3000 macaws, cockatoos, etc. as their lease has expired and the Singapore Land Authority is demanding their land back by May '16.
- Parrotrivia: On a classic "Get Smart" episode Secret Agent 86, Maxwell Smart has to fake his own death for a mission. He complains to the Chief about some of the chintzy funeral arrangements, griping, "You call this a headstone? I've seen better headstones for parakeets."
- Case of the Missing Monks: Feral quakers have been a forty plus year fixture in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, and former Mayor Harold Washington's "good luck talisman" - but a mysterious population decline was noted in 2008. Peregrine falcons were suspected, especially as efforts were being made in the area to boost their population. However, there's only one known pair of peregrines in Hyde Park and . “Peregrines generally don’t like parrots. Unless the peregrine captures the parrot carefully, the parrot could bite the peregrine’s leg off," explains Stephen Pruett-Jones, ecology professor at the University of Chicago. Power companies have been blamed for removing quaker nests from their lines as potential fire hazards but the birds are even vanishing where nest removal wasn't a factor. We try not to destroy nests. We’ll remove them carefully and make sure that there aren’t any eggs or chicks in them,” adds John Schoen, a spokesman for Commonwealth Edison.says they work with the Greater Chcago Cage Bird Club to relocate nests with eggs or fledglings. west Nile or other disease hasn't been ruled out but also, "These birds thrive in large colonies," points out Nat Miller, director of conservation at Audubon Chicago Region. "Doubling or tripling year-to-year. That's a lot of stress on bird feeders, plants and food availability in general, so they'll distribute into additional colonies somewhere else." So the quakers are spreading out. However, they are still thinning out with a Christmas Bird Count record of 4,452 cut to half in subseqent years. “We don’t know why the numbers are going down and I don’t think anyone in the country knows why they are,” Pruett-Jones said. “I think it’s safest to say it’s a mystery.”
- Quote o' the week: ”Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip" -Will Rogers
- Obit: Popular performer John Lege AKA "That Guy With The Birds" lost his fight against cancer
- Hot Dates: (All times EST unless otherwise specified.)
3/26-27: Easter weekend; most public bird activities on hold.
3/28-30: Fundamentals of Animal Training Workshop for Zoo Professionals Boras Djurpark, Boras, Sweden with Barbara Heidenreich
3/29: Cracking the Egg- Discovering the Bird Inside presentation 6:30 pm.East Bridgewater, Public Library (Community Room) 32 Union Street, East Bridgewater, MA
4/1: Parrot ownership becomes illegal in United States. (Please note the date.)
4/2: Avian Behavior Consultant, Sheila Blanchette presentation on decoding avian behavior, positive reinforcement based behavior modification and improving the quality of human-avian life. FREE.1–3 pm. MSPCA Nevins Farm Training Room, 400 Broadway, Methuen, MA -- Rhode Island Bird Expo VFW Post 602 55 Overland Ave. Pawtucket RI FREE -- Peninsula Caged Bird Society Spring Festival - The Columbian Center, 100 Columbus Way, Newport News, VA - 9-5 pm Apr 3 Manchester, NH - Abnormal Avian Behavior Phoenix Landing class with Leslie Sinn, DVM. 10-12. Grace Presbyterian Church, 7434 Bath St., Springfield, VA
4/3: The Great Cocky Count annual citizen science surveying black-cockatoos of Western Australia. Volunteers monitor known roost sites and count 'toos as they come in to their roosts. The survey takes an hour, starting 30 minutes before sunset. http://birdlife.org.au/…/southwest-b…/great-cocky-count-swbc -- Birds of a Feather Spring Expo - All Dogs Gym, 505 Sheffield Road, Manchester, NH - 9-4 pm -- No Place Like Home Phoenix Landing class. Providing the good life for your bird. [satisfies PL adoption process requirement]. 1-3 pm. Hope Advanced Veterinary Center, 1 Taft Court, Rockville, MD. -- Avian Health and Medicine Parrot University class. 2 pm. 321 South Polk St, Pineville NC