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From the parrot's beak: March 6 edition

Updated on March 5, 2016
Take a look at "Parrot's beak"!- Photo by George Sommers
Take a look at "Parrot's beak"!- Photo by George Sommers

- Controversial parrot rescuer steps down: Marc Johnson, founder and director of Foster Parrots/New England Exotic Wildlife Sanctuary in Rockland, MA and Hope Valley, RI is stepping down as CEO and semi-retiring, although he plans to remain active in the organization. Johnson is a lightning rod of controversy with many parrot fanciers lauding his rescue and conservation efforts and others decrying his perceived efforts to discourage the breeding and keeping of parrots domestically.

- Size doesn't matter: despite recent statements by Donald Trump- at least where brain size is concerned. Some birds like ravens and parrots are considered to be smarter than most mammals, and equally as clever as apes despite having much smaller brains. While smaller, bird brains apparently are more efficient, according to research from Germany's Ruhr University.

- That's no peppermint patty: What do you do if you're a wild hyacinth hungering for nuts and you can't find any? Sometimes you can find them - pre-digested no less; in cow "patties" - aka dung. Kinda "ewwwww", but at least they apparently prefer to do this after the palm nuts have been washed clean by the rain and dried by the sun. Enrichment or not; we'll pass on the concept of commercial "Nutty Patties", if someone ever comes up with the idea. Miore info in Sally Blanchard's

- March as National Parrot Month promoted. It ties in with Martians, Julius Caesar and the Alamo. The Pet Gazette feature story by George Sommers

- Hey, hey; we're the monk-ees: The feral monk parakeets that lived across his street were the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington's "good luck talisman". After Washington's death in 1987, the USDA sought to eliminate the monks, also known as quakers - but local fans formed a defense committee and the parrots were spared. Meanwhile, in Austin, the light posts at University of Texas' Intramural Fields, a favorite nesting spot for monks, are scheduled for demolition. Speculation is that the displaced monks will turn to electrical and cell phone towers. Suggested viewing places for the Austin monk parrots include the Central Market on North Lamar Boulevard at 38th Street, and the Starbucks on Guadalupe at 38th Street.

- Psittacine cinema: Animal Island: Parrot People | News 12 Long Island -- Cute Cockatiel Sing My Neighbor Totoro - YouTube

- Footsie: "A very common concern among caregivers of cockatoos is them chasing people or feet when they are on the floor," says Lara Joseph of The Animal Behavior Center, LLC. Speaking of her own cockatoo Rocky, she continues, "I taught him the contingency that feet mean an elevator ride to my hands and my kisses. The behavior of him stepping on feet and waiting for the ride remain very strong."

- Conservation score card: The critically endangered western ground parrot has turned up in an Australian nature preserve for the first time in then years since much of its habitat was destroyed by fire. Prior to the fire, there were about 100 left in the wild. -- Nine Lear's macaws, captive bred in Loro Parque were recently shipped to Brazil to boost the wild population. -- It is feared that half of the endangered Carnaby's black cockatoos could be lost under a new government land use plan in Perth-Peel, Australia.

- Presidential parrotrivia: Pres. Theodore Roosevelt and family kept a virtual menagerie of pets in the White House, including a hyacinth macaw named Eli Yale, likely after Elihu Yale, a Welsh Phianthropist after whom Yale University was renamed.

- Band aid: "... it is important to know the BLOODLINES of birds, particularly budgies and cockatiels. Some species do come from larger stock or grow larger than their parents, and organizations provide Extra-Large Band Sizes for these babies. Once you start breeding larger birds, it's best to stick with the larger size bands, otherwise, yes, you might end up with flesh embedded in the bird's band and must remove it immediately. Band size selection, therefore, is critical. Best to check with organizations like the Society of Parrot Breeders & Exhibitors, Inc. and with other breeders to be certain the band size is correct," writes Linda Rubin of SPBE in response to last week's item about a leg band having to be surgically removed from a cockatiel.

- Kiss my grits goodbye: Contrary to popular belief, parrots not only don't need grit, but it may also be harmful to them, says an "old wives tales about parrots" website. Avian veterinarians say it can be over consumed, causing life threatening impactions and can be unsanitary as it is customarily placed on the bottom of cages. By way of contrast; canaries, finches and doves DO need grit as they tend to swallow seeds whole.

- Quote o'the week: (From Janet Lansbury) "In my world there are no bad birds, only impressionable, conflicted creatures wrestling with emotions and impulses trying to communicate their feelings and needs the only way hey know how."

- Your bird can be a Youtube star: The BirdTricks folks are looking for questions from birdowners and encouraging readers to submit a question via video for BirdTricks Tuesdays, a youtube show where they show how to fix your bird's problems. Go to for more info.

Hot dates:(All times EST unless otherwise specified)

3/4-6: Long Island Pet Expo - Suffolk Community College Expo Center, 1001 Crooked Hill Road, Brentwood, Long Island, NY - Fri 4-9 pm, Sat 10-7 pm, Sun 10-5

3/5-6: Tim Vogle's Southeastern Exotic Bird Fair - Atlanta State Farmers Market, 16 Forest Pkwy, Forest Park, GA 30297 - 9-4 both days. -

3/5: Avian Health and Medicine class. 2 pm Parrot University 321 South Polk St, Pineville NC

No Place Like Home class. 10-12. Good Shepherd Lutheran, 1415 West 7th St., Frederick, MD. [satisfies Phoenix Landing adoption proces

3/6: Sex and the Single Bird class. 2 pm Parrot University 321 South Polk St, Pineville NC

3/8: Dr. Kristin Sinclair kicks off The Parrot Club's '16 programs with a discussion about avian diagnostic tests. 7 pm The Parrot Club Veteran's Memorial Veteran's Memorial Clubhouse 100 Sunset Ridge Road East Hartford, CT

3/12: The Wisdom of Wild Parrots- special event - 4 pm Parrot University, 321 South Polk St, Pineville NC

3/13: Bird Gardens of Naples group trip. for Palm Beaches members (nonmembers welcome, too.) Early morning deprture for 11 a.m. guided tour of nonprofit parrot sanctuary.

Hernando Exotic Bird Club 18th Annual Bird Mart - Hernando County Fairgrounds, 6436 N. Broad St., Brooksville, FL - 9-4 -

Parrot training and behavior workshop with Barbara Heidenreich. 10-5. Cornell Universtiy, Ithaca, NY.

Parrot 101 class 2 pm Parrot University, 321 South Polk St, Pineville NC

- Lost: African grey, Mineola NY( 516) 298-8534. -- Lost: Quaker 'Kiwi' E. Northport, NY.Email : -- Lost: sun conure 'Chloe'. Port Washington, LI, NY. reward offered. (347)451-6065


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