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From the Parrot's Beak: Aug. 20 Edition

Updated on August 19, 2017
At the seasonal Aussie Aviary in Boston's Franklin Park Zoo, visitors can stroll among and even handfeed hundreds of colorful budgies in an outdoor aviary. - Photo by George Sommers
At the seasonal Aussie Aviary in Boston's Franklin Park Zoo, visitors can stroll among and even handfeed hundreds of colorful budgies in an outdoor aviary. - Photo by George Sommers

- Parrots and the Eclipse: Will your parrot go blind by looking at the eclipse? Short answer - probably not, as most birds and animals tend not to look directly at the sun. To be extra safe, you may want to keep your bird inside during the event - or make them wear a tiny pair of eclipse glasses, provided you can find some and your bird will put up with it. What might happen is that they think it's bedtime and go through their pre-bedtime routine, making noise or whatever that involves. - For more: https://www.livescience.com/59628-how-solar-eclipse-will-affect-animals-pets.html

- Trump Flies the Coop: No, not the one currently occupying the White House. "Trump" is a jenday or sun conure so named because "when he was a baby parrot he had yellow hair that stuck straight up,” says owner Michelle Agosto. She continues, “He was on my ex-husband’s shoulder and he flew off over the trees and then over the house.” The conure was lost in the Norwalk, Connecticut area. Still unknown is if the bird is hiding out embarrassed because he shares the name of the current White House occupant with the plummeting poll numbers. Anyone with info on the missing bird is urged to call (203) 274-0072. - From http://www.thehour.com/news/article/Trump-flies-the-coop-in-Norwalk-11879539.php

.- California Here They Come: How did thousands of parrots representing dozens of species thriving in California as "naturalized citizens" originally arrive? Some think parrots migrated to Southern California from the jungles of Mexico, but that's unlikely. Most parrots migrate only short distances to take advantage of weather changes. There are 4 prevailing theories.1.) Verified reports of small bird traders in the 1940s and '50s had accidentally released their wild-caught parrots. 2.) In 1959, parrots were released from Simpson's Garden Town Nursery in Pasadena when it caught fire. Rather than watch 65-70 birds in the pet shop burn up, an employee and firefighters freed as many as they could. 3.) In the San Fernando Valley, parrots are said to have been released in 1979 by Busch Gardens - the tourist attraction theme park set up by Anheuser Busch to draw the public to their Van Nuys beer facility. When the company moved to a different location, they attempted to place their birds in zoos and private homes, setting free those they were unable to place. 4.) Most of California's pet parrots showed up when importing parrots was legal - approximately 41,550 in the early '80s, according to Long Beach's Press Telegram News. However, as some species became endangered, their importation became illegal and smugglers released parrots to avoid being caught. - From https://owlcation.com/stem/Wild-Parrots-Multiplying-in-Southern-California

- Parrot Legals: Five bills in congress related to the Endangered Species Act may impact parrot keeping. HR 2603 removes non-native species from the ESA. However, people continue to be prosecuted for smuggling birds, eggs and body parts of non-native birds into the US. The ESA duplicates other laws; including the Lacey Act, the Migratory Bird Act, the Wild Bird Conservation Act and CITES (which is international) which continue to give birds legal protection. If HR 2603 passes it will be legal to keep exotic birds in 26 of the 27 states where it is now illegal.(Maine state law includes all CITES appendix I species and some Red Book species.) HR 3131 caps the amount of money that any group suing USFW or the USDA can receive for attorney fees if they should win. At this time there is a cap of $125.00 an hour if groups sue other branches of our government. However, groups suing over the ESA have gotten as much as $800.00 an hour in attorney fees. There have been over 1,500 lawsuits against USFW and the USDA over the ESA. The same groups that sued have been given $800,000 in grant money from the government. - For more info, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbype--5tMo

- Firefighters Attempt Dog, err Human, err Parrot Rescue with Squeaky Toy: A firefighting crew from north Hull in England was dispatched at 6:34 one morning after reports of a man stuck up a tree. However, when they arrived, the man wasn't in the tree and the macaw he was trying to retrieve flew to another tree. A firefighter from the local station said, "We didn't have a ladder or the right equipment to get the bird down for them." What they DID have were squeaky toys, with which they tried to coax the bird down. Apparently offended by the thought that he could be lured by a dog toy, the macaw eventually flew off about two streets down. "We gave the guy advice but really it was a job for the RSPCA," continues the firefighter. And, sorry; no information on whether the man ever got his pet back. - From http://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/news/hull-east-yorkshire-news/firefighters-use-squeaky-toys-coax-318503 -

- Didja Know: Naturalized parrots living in the USA and crows or mockingbirds will often chase each other around, apparently for fun.

- From the Too Much Information Bureau: "It's a beautiful thing watching the greys munch down gorgeous organic blackberries. However it's rather disturbing watching those blackberries exit. Jeez!" - writes a Facebook poster

.- Good News for Blues: Blue-throated macaw chicks fledged from 5 Nido Adoptivo™ nest boxes during the 2016-17 breeding season. 10 year total is 71 blue-throated macaws added to the wild population in Bolivia.

- Playing Your Cards Right: One trainer advises that you can teach your bird to communicate yes and no with flashcards colored red and green.Initially they choose randomly, and then they realize that the green flash card means yes and the red flash card means no. After that you can pair all kinds of vocabulary: water, food, pets, cuddles, kisses, walks, toys, etc. - From My Reading Pets: The Learning Adventures of Ellie and Isabelle

- Train Tracks: While training birds for a new free flight bird show may sound like a dream job for some it can be rather repetitive, notes animal behaviorist Barbara Heidenreich. She was working on training a flock of Quaker parrots to carry a stick back to a nest. There are many components to consider including holding onto the stick, taking the first stick offered, flying distances, flying without latency , flying with more than one bird, entering a crate for reinforcers, entering the crate with more than one bird at a time, flying to different people with sticks, flying though an opening, placing the stick in the right place, and so on. Barbara headed back home before the Quakers finished their training for their new behavior but says they are doing well! - A peek at some of Barbara's work. https://www.instagram.com/p/BXjSybDDWv5/?taken-by=barbara_heidenreichthe e

- Quote o' the Week: Cats and dogs have owners. Parrots have staff.

- Hot Dates: 8/19: Clear the Shelter Day. It's not just for cats and dogs! Many shelters also have adoptable birds.The Cape Cod Adoption Center, run by MSPCA in Barnstable, MA has three colorful budgies in need of a "forever home". Another facility is Northeast Animal Shelter - 347 Highland Avenue, Salem, MA -- 8/21: Huge serpent to swallow the sun. Or so it seems- actually, total/partial eclipse depending on where you live in the USA. See related story above.-- Want your parrot oriented show/speaker/event featured here? Email georgesommers@yahoo.com



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