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From the parrot's beak: Happy Hookbill Holidays edition

Updated on December 19, 2015
Christmas party at the budgies' house. - Photo by George Sommers
Christmas party at the budgies' house. - Photo by George Sommers

- A Christmas Party Story: From the woods came an eerie sound like children playing or in distress- or maybe even a g-g-ghost.. Friends Lynn and Elaine thought it strange that kids would be out in the woods on a cold and wet March day in New England.Setting aside any fears that something weird or dangerous was going on, they decided to take a looksee. Shivering in the bushes was - a blue fronted Amazon. Lynn adopted the bird, which lived for another 24 years. (Story told to the editor at a recent holiday party.)

- Tool time: Greater vasa parrots have joined the ranks of other clever birds, including Goffins cockatoos and crows, that use tools. Five out of ten captive vasas documented by the Department of Psychology at York placed pebbles or date pits inside seashells. which the parrots used to grind against them, or as a wedge to break them apart and get at the calcium. Moreover, the birds also actively shared tools among themselves.

- An offer they couldn't refuse: Could the Mafia have been responsible for the flocks of wild quaker parrots that have thrived in New York City since the '70s? We'll get to that later, but first: New York's winter has been surprisingly mild so far. Feral quaker, or monk, parrots have managed to survive through much harsher winters, like last year's, since at least the 1970's. The lush landscape of Green-wood Cemetery, located on Brooklyn's highest point, has become an unlikely tourist destination as a quaker haven.How native Argentinian quakers got there remains a mystery to this day. One story involves a Mafioso type opening an air cargo of the birds destined for the pet trade to see if it was something worth stealing. Another version has a fleeing black market smuggler dropping a box of the birds in the cemetery as the law was hot in pursuit.

- Psittacine cinema: Parrot Sings Jingle Bells All The Way Through -- VIDEOS: Watch These Birds Sing Christmas Carols -BirdChannel.com -- Where everybody knows your name, aka How a Parrot Learns its Name in the Wild - YouTube -- Disco in actionYo, Aren't You a Little Short... - YouTube

- Parrotrivia: Potty the marionette parrot made his first appearance in SpongeBob Squarepants' first holiday special, "Christmas Who?", along with Patchy the pirate. In the second Christmas special, "It's a SpongeBob Christmas!", Potty and Patchy try to deliver a letter to Santa Claus at the North Pole.

- Christmas parrot joke (somewhat inappropriate): A man wants to buy the perfect Christmas gift for his wife. He goes to the pet store. The owner says "I have just the thing" and takes the man to see a parrot. He gets out a flashlight and says "Watch" as he shines it on the parrot's right foot, and the parrot starts singing "We wish you a merry Christmas" The man buys it, on the way home he wonders if he'd sing if the light it shined on the left foot. He tries and the parrot sings "Jingle Bells." The man gets home and shows his wife. They wonder what the parrot would sing if it was shined between his legs. They try it and the parrot sings... "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire..."

- Oh Christmas tip, oh Christmas tip: "While we love the look of a home dressed for the holidays we need to give our birds something to distract them from the wonders of human decorations. Create a holiday space for your bird that can be eaten, shredded, chewed and destroyed. Decorate the play stand with holiday offerings. It’s like having a kid in a candy store having so many obviously (well obvious to a bird of course) chewable items around. Give your bird options that are good enrichment that will keep your human decorations festive, safe and intact," From Robin Shewokis, Pres. Leather Elves bird supplies in Weymouth, MA.

- Help parrots in need: It's not quite the island of misfit parrots, but this from Foster Parrots, located in Rhode Island. "Nine years ago as Foster Parrots Founder, Marc Johnson, and then Co-Director, Karen Windsor, stepped carefully around the filth and debris that littered the old, abandoned property known as Chickadee Farms,it was impossible to imagine anything positive ever coming from such a tragic and decrepit place." Now the old farm is host to hundreds of rescued parrots and exotic animals that might otherwise have been doomed to a tragic fate. Foster Parrots' Year-End Mini Match has become a vital fundraising event, helping to fill those final budget holes. Donate at fosterparrots.com or send checks to Foster Parrots Ltd, PO Box 650, rockland, MA 02370.

- Hot dates: 12/19: Volunteer orientation, Parrot University 1 pm, 321 South Polk St, Pineville NC

12/20: Positive reinforcement, Parrot University 2 pm, 321 South Polk St, Pineville NC

12/24: Christmas, Eve, Dick!

12/25: Christmas, Ebenezer! Most bird related events on hiatus until mid_January. Be sure those birds get plenty of toys and treats for Christmas.

- Lost: African grey; Richmond, VA. Belongs to special needs child (autism, Tourette's syndrome, OCD, sensory issues) that is very attached to this bird. This bird wakes her up every day and he calls her name all day long. She will not be able to cope with his absence.(804) 347-5315.


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