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From the parrot's beak: don't let the door hit you on your way out February edition

Updated on February 25, 2017
Goodbye, Guv'nuh; hola, amigo! - Photo by George Sommers
Goodbye, Guv'nuh; hola, amigo! - Photo by George Sommers

- Bye, Bilingual: Nigel the African grey parrot used to speak with a British accent, at least up until he went missing 4 years ago. He showed up last February but speaking Spanish. Nigel was turned over to a southern California veterinarian, Teresa Micco, who had been running ads about her own missing parrot. Nigel's whereabouts for most of those 4 years is a mystery. Julissa Sperling found Nigel outside her home and brought him to Micco after seeing one of her ads. But first, she took Nigel to her dog-grooming business. "He was the happiest bird. He was singing and talking without control," Sperling said. "He was barking like the dogs. I'm from Panama and he was saying, 'What happened?' in Spanish." Micco checked the bird's microchip and determined that he was the pet of a Brit living in Torrance, Darren Chick. It was a joyful reunion for Chick, but Nigel wasn't so sure, delivering his original owner a bite when he tried to pick him up. Dr. Micco has actually successfully returned 5 missing parrots to owners. Ironically, her own parrot; named Benjamin, darted out an open door. and she has been running ads for several months. - From

- The Not So Great Depression: Pet birds are coming down with some very human ailments including depression and obesity. Vets are treating birds for ills ranging from cancer to diabetes to heart disease. "The problems occur not because people don't care for the birds--they are adored as if they were family--but because of the lack of knowledge about how to handle them," says avian vet Dr. Henna Ganjwala. "If it is a very complex case, then you have to use mood-elevating drugs," she adds. She describes the case of an African parrot which had serious anger-management issues when it realized that its owner wanted to give it up for adoption. The key seems to be enrichment. Since these birds are intelligent, and need a lot of attention, owners are advised to spend more time with them or find other ways to stimulate them, by leaving the television or radio on or keeping mirrors inside the cage. There are special toys and puzzles to help the bird cope. Homeopathy is supposed to work very well. - From

- Return of Sunshine: Sunshine, the blue & gold macaw, was stuffed into a pillowcase and stolen during a home invasion in Arizona last summer. Sunshine is a retired educational bird from the Wildlife World Zoo and the owner was Sunshine's trainer. After six months, the bird was returned, due to diligent police work. Details are unclear, but apparently Sunshine was sold to a woman. The perpetrators remain at large.- Compiled from and

- And Another Happy Ending: Champ the macaw had only flown twice before, according to the owner. The third time was not exactly a charm. Champ flew away and got stuck up a tree for three hours. The Alexander NY Fire Department was called in and they in turn had to call in Ladder 25 from the Batavia Fire Department to get up to the bird, which was 40 to 50 feet in the air. Rescuers were able to get the bird back down to safety. Champ was said to be "exhausted but unharmed." - From

- Blues Clues: From May to November of 2016, Dutch researchers reported record breaking sightings of 118 blue-throated macaws, many of them juveniles. Beginning in November, the birds begin to “disappear” and scatter to unknown sites and return once again in March. Blue-throated macaws never nested and raised young at the 27,000 acre of Barba Azul Nature Reserve and the site(s) outside of the reserve where the macaws reproduce are a mystery to science. - From

- Not so Lucky are critically endangered Australian orange-bellied parrots. Their population has reached the lowest levels ever - just 14 are left in the wild. The obp spends the summer breeding in Tasmania, then migrates to Victoria and SA in winter. The news is not all bleak, however. At least 11 groups; including the Adelaide Zoo, are working to boost those numbers.This season has been a good one for breeders, with five pairs delivering nine chicks, according to bird keeper Emma Macchia. In addition, a crowdfunding campaign late last year raised $140,000 for researchers to intervene in the wild birds' breeding process. It began after statistics showed nestling parrots raised in the wild were far more likely to migrate back to Tasmania, compared to those raised in captivity. The program focuses on the cross-fostering of young captive-reared parrots in wild nests. - From

- Size matters: At 3.3 feet from beak to tail tip, the hyacinth macaw is the largest flying parrot. The heavyweight champion, though; is the ground dwelling kakapo. Males can weight up to 9 lbs., although the average is 4.4. The 6 species of pygmy parrots, found in New Guinea, are the smallest; including the buff faced pygmy parrot at 3.1 inches long. - Compiled from Wikipedia

- Interesting start to the day: I went into my bathroom, looked out my window and there was a wild cherry-headed conure perched on the window sill...five stories up. I was within six inches of him before he flew away and perched on the power line across the street. He was gorgeous! - From a "Bird Talk" contributor and Florida resident.

- Didja know: If your bird is listed on the Endangered Species Act it is illegal in 27 states..

- Parrotrivia: Fred and his verbal duels with Aunt Esther were a frequent "Sanford and Son" subplot; with the junkyard proprietor once declaring, "Polly-Esther - that's you. Half woman, half parrot!""

- Quote o' the week: "No" to a parrot means to wait and try again the moment your human's back is turned.

- Hot Dates: -2/26: Georgia Companion Bird Society Meet Up. Featuring speaker avian nutritionist Jason Crean, 1:00. [contact GCBS for more info] -- Coffee With The Critters - Lara Joseph of The Animal Behavior Center LLC and anthrozoologist Dr. Patricia Anderson discuss anthropomorphism; the assignment of human emotions, feelings, or behaviors to animals. Following the talk, one of the animals at The Animal Behavior Center will pull a contest winner’s name for a free webinar. 9am Eastern. See Lara Joseph Facebook page. -- 3/2: "Routine Diagnostic Testing: The Why's and How's" with Dr. Kristen Sinclair, DVM at Connecticut Parrot Society meeting. 7:15. Wadsworth Glen Health/Rehabilitation Center, 30 Boston Rd , Middletown, CT -- Want your parrot show/event/speaker featured here? Email info to

- Found: Budgie (parakeet); blue and white. Bellmore, NY. (516) 724-6842. --Found: Budgie (parakeet) Colorado Springs, CO. (719) 332-6093 -- Lost: Panama Amazon 'Caesar' Roosevelt, NY. Reward for safe return. (718) 304-6831/

- Have an issue missing issues? Past issues of “From the parrot's beak” and current “Pet Gazette” feature articles by George Sommers can be found on the Facebook Pet Bird Owners page.


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