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From the parrot's beak: and a Happy New Year edition

Updated on December 31, 2016
Put your wings in the air like you just don't care! It's New Year's Eve! - Photo by George Sommers
Put your wings in the air like you just don't care! It's New Year's Eve! - Photo by George Sommers

- The Birds and the Bees: Africa's Cape parrot and Brazil's Lear's parrot share a habit of nesting in tree cavities. and a problem. The cavities are often invaded by Africanized honey bees. Researchers tried nesting boxes and other methods to discourage the bees, but with little success .Dr. Caroline Efstathion, combining a PhD in entomology and an interest in parrots came up with a "push-pull" system to solve the problem. A bee repellent pushes bees away from the nest while bee traps with a chemical lure attracts, or pulls, bees in. Trapped bees are relocated to beekeepers' hives, as the bees are important to pollination and agriculture. The highly successful program added an educational component, in which local school children were taught about the Cape parrots, the issues with bees and how honey bees were important for the environment and the community. Children had the opportunity to extract honey, make candles and put on a bee suit; and many got to taste honey for the first time. Local farm workers also received training on how to manage bees for pollination and honey production.

- The Maine Issue: Remote and wintry Maine seems like an odd place to be putting restrictions on parrots; but nonetheless they're there. Restricted or prohibited are Endangered Species Act listed species and all CITES Appendix I species; plus sun conures, greenwinged macaws, blue & golds and many more. These birds require a permit to possess which requires insurance from $250,000 to one million dollars, enclosures that may include moats and high fences, evacuation plans and no contact with the public.

- If You Can't Stand the Heat: Australia's night parrot was considered extinct for 3/4 of a century before some specimens re-emerged in 2013. Foxes, cats and other introduced predators were fingered as the "usual suspects" for the species' decline but recent research suggests that global warming is also playing a part. The desert dwelling night parrots don't need much water. They take cover in the highest heat in the shade of spinifex bushes - but the heat can rise there as well. The increased need for water becomes a vulnerability to predators that stake out the waterholes. "It was actually quite shocking to recompute what we've calculated for the last 20 years and project that to 2070. It really made it dangerously hot for the birds at the site," says University of Melbourne Associate Professor Michael Kearney. Because the night parrot population is very low, Kearney used another desert dweller with a similar physiology as a template - the budgerigar, or parakeet.

- Talk Training Tip: Parrots are naturally most vocal in the early morning and at sunset. They are more likely to learn if training is conducted at these times. Speak clearly and repeat phrases.

- Psittacine cinema: HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! TALKING PARROT WISHES YOU A HAPPY ... - YouTube

- New Year's Eve Resolutions: We of the human persuasion like to have fun on New Year's Eve, but temper it with caution. When birds are included in the mix, as our friends at the Society of Parrot Beeeders & Exhibitors remind us; we need to throw in a few extra precautions. Prepare your parrots for the noise and flash of parties and fireworks. Remove them to a designated quiet room, play "white" noise or soft music, and leave a bright enough night light on so they do not thrash around in cages or aviaries when experiencing unexpected lights and noise from fireworks, party guests, loud music, or television. NEVER allow anyone to feed your birds chocolate, avocado, alcohol, or drugs of any kind - all of which are fatal to birds - or any junk food that is meant for humans to enjoy.

- Parrotrivia: Astronaut Tony Nelson tries to convince Dr, Bellows that a wedding between his buddy, Major Roger Healy and Jeannie's twisted sister isn't a good idea because the sister (also named Jeannie) will treat the hapless Roger as a pet at best. Bellows replies, "You mean like a puppy dog or a parakeet?" From a classic "I Dream of Jeannie" episode.

- Farewell to Jasper: 27 year old Jasper, an Amazon.parrot resident of the Sacramento Zoo, has passed away. He was born in the Phoenix Zoo and known for his hearty "Hello" greetings to visitors. He developed a heart condition two years ago, and succumbed despite the valiant efforts of caregivers.

- Quote o' the New Year's Week: Don't drink and drive. Your parrot won't understand why you never came home

- Parrot Out of Water: Animal Planet's "Tanked" guys are known for creating unusual and outrageous aquariums, but in a commercial for some of their holiday themed shows, one of them holds a scarlet macaw on his arm.

- Editor's notes: Donald Trump and UFOs are just a few of the topics covered in "Aquarium Headlines of 2016" by George Sommers in the January '17 edition of the "Pet Gazette". duxburypetgazette -- Have you missed a previous edition of "From the Parrot's beak"? Past issues can be seen on the Facebook page, Pet Bird Owners.

- Hot Dates: Current-1/5: 117th Annual Audubon Christmas Countdown

12/31-1/1: New Year's; New Year's Eve: Make sure you bird is safe and secure during what might be for them loud and scary New Year's activities. Make some resolutions: clean that cage more often; more variety of food, more interaction with our birds-- are some good ones. -- Official bird show/club/event activity pretty much suspended during holidays

1/5: National Bird Day

1/7: Franklin Park Zoo celebrates National Bird Day with dozens of species of birds including parrots. Zookeeper encounters, guests invited to ask questions about winged creatures, crafts and activities for kids, and an education station all about birds. 10:30-2. 1 Franklin Park Rd., Boston, MA -- Parrot 101 class. 2 pm. Parrot University Pineville Towne Market, 321 South Polk St., Suite 2C, Pineville, NC

1/8: Oracle Workshop to benefit Nevins Farm: Learn to read, and what's in the cards for you. Many birds and animals live at this Mass. Society for the Protection of Animals Sanctuary. Advance registration and a fee required, call for info. 10-1. MSPCA at Nevins Farm, 400 Broadway, Methuen, MA -- Natural History class. 2 pm Parrot University Pineville Towne Market, 321 South Polk St., Suite 2C, Pineville, NC


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