When Parrot Adoptions Go Wrong *Update*

Mealy at APR

Mealy at APR

Back in July, I wrote an article and did an interview about All Parrot Rescue and The Brewers, Sonya and Steve.  You can read the interview in its entirety here.  A few weeks ago I was sent the information on their court date and unfortunately was unable to make it.  I contacted Sonya for information, however at the advice of her counsel, she had to decline any comment.

The Brewers were not sentenced to any jail time, but 240 hours of community service and probation, by Judge Julia Garratt.  “Many times, a set of circumstances arise where truly good people do really stupid and potentially dangerous things,” she told the couple.

According to Kiro7, Cheri Eir-Jones plans on bringing trying to persuade the courts to give her back the birds that were taken.  

Kiro 7 News was in the courtroom and broadcasted this video on their newscast.   

 

I think this is a learning situation for the avian community. It shows that things can escalate very quickly and there is always going to be another persons view and their truth.  If this teaches anything to anyone, learn the local laws in your area, know your rights as a rescue and as an adopter. Schedule regular home checks. Review your contracts and know if you are signing something that is truly legally binding.  If you are going to repossess birds for whatever reason, make sure you have law enforcement there, so there are no “he said, she said” moments.  Also, have your own camera for evidence. It’s very important to protect yourself.  

I have worked with the Brewers in various projects and even fostered a bird for them, a Timneh Grey named Bella. In my opinion, they have great intentions and do great work for the birds that they take in at All Parrot Rescue.  knowbetterI have also never had any kind of negative experience with them or anyone at All Parrot Rescue. I hope they are able to continue the very much-needed rescue and adoption work that the Pacific Northwest so desperately needs.  

Personally I like to look at situations like this with an open eye and try to learn lessons from them. I have my own views and in this case I will leave it up to you to decide.  I wanted to make sure that I brought this case to light, so others may learn from someone else’s heartache.  

Because as Dr Maya Angelou said…

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, you do better”.

Copyright – 2015 – Parrot Earth – When Parrot Adoptions Go Wrong *Update*

 

2014 in a Nutshell.

I got reflection here.

I got reflection here.

Every year about this time, I like to do reflection time.  I love to focus on errors in the past year and see if maybe I learned anything from those errors, therefore making me a more rounded person.  Sounds good doesn’t it?  Yeah, sometimes it takes a few times slamming your hand in the metaphorical car door before you get the idea.

house.2

I figured the double rainbow was a sign.

This year has been one of happiness and stress.  We spent over a year looking for the perfect home, not just a house that would “work” but a house that we could make a home for our entire family (cats, birds and dogs).  If you have never house hunted before, let me just explain the amount of stress that one incurs.  The constant hustle and bustle of firstly finding said house, then the competition to buy said house can be utterly horrific. There are constant ups and downs, the excitement of getting the offer accepted is like winning big at the casino.  However the realization that there may potentially be over $100,000 in repairs is enough to make you feel like Mike Tyson just punched you in the gut.  Yep, we had that happen and we were smart enough to walk away and wait for the house that was truly indeed “ours”. In the end we ended up with an acre of land and the birds have their own room.  My husband and I also got separate bathrooms and offices, which I truly believe is the key to a happy marriage.

I wrote some great articles and even had some published overseas in various publications.  I did some freelance writing here and there which made me grin from ear to ear.  There is nothing quite like putting it all out there on the page and it be appreciated by the reader.

PEOutdoor.BannerParrot Earth grew on Facebook “Likes” and blog subscribers, not to mention daily views and emails thanking me for starting the website and blog, which of course, at times brought tears to my eyes.  It’s nice to know that what I am doing with birds is making a difference.

This year has also been a learning experience for people running rescues and people working in them.  One rescue in particular was written about by a guest writer who later asked to be anonymous, it was such an amazingly emotional story, it had to be broken up into a series of three chapters. 2 3 There was another article “When Parrot Adoptions Go Wrong” written about a rescue who “repossessed” a bird that was allegedly being neglected in the house she was adopted into. This brought on a legal battle that is currently going on and charges of assault and theft.  However the bird was relinquished back to the rescue and had various infections and was very ill from the alleged abuse. This story is still unfolding and I will try to keep you updated as much as it develops.

Myself and Barbara Heidenreich

Myself and Barbara Heidenreich

I got the chance to get to know some of my hero’s and “movers and shakers” in the bird world and I happy to say that some have become good friends.  

I also learned some things about myself this year, especially being active in the avian community.  It is incredibly important that going into any diverse niche group of people, you have the ability to develop survival skills and a thick skin.  There can be some venom spewed and those keyboard vipers (as I like to call them) can really force you into a retreat.  It really can get to a person.  social-media-bullying-390x285Personally I have seen a lot of great aviculturists go into retirement over being bullied via social media and the internet (yeah, that thing that was supposed to bring us all together).  In fact I lost an amazing writer over the scrutiny of social media and it’s a damned shame.

Friends have come and gone this year, over various things, I believe that people are meant to come into our lives for a reason, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. It stings at first, but accepting the fact is almost inevitable.

My charity foundation raised another $12,000 for local charities and that is something I will scream from the rooftops. There is one thing to do what you love, but when you can do everything that you love it’s the best feeling in the world.

I got my scathing email of the year from someone who didn’t appreciate me expressing my opinion on MY BLOG, because I don’t like to let my parrots run all over my house and chew on baseboards or kitchen cupboards or my new furniture.  I politely responded with an appreciation for taking the time to contact me, for the occasional four letter word(I’ll let you use your imagination), misspelled word, grammar and a link to the poisonous ingredient fact sheets for varnish, paint and other toxic household chemicals.  Surprisingly,I never received a response.

This kid is still learning....

This kid is still learning….

Overall 2014 has been a year of successes, wisdom, more gray hair and understanding of myself.  I don’t have to be the best and most knowledgeable parrot owner in the world, but try my best. I also don’t have to be the best writer either, just the best writer I can be.  “When you know better, you do better”.  I also don’t always(I’m working on it) have to be the “last word person” because 95% percent of the time, you can’t change anything by having the last word, you’re just sucking up more oxygen (and I learned the last word person usually has a problem with control and self-esteem).

I know I have been a bit vague about what 2015 holds….

Parrot Earth is expanding into rescue work and foster placement.  I believe that writing about parrots is good but I want to do more.   Very soon the applications go in for our 501 (c)(3) and the next chapter begins. Thank you for supporting another year with my baby “Parrot Earth” and my crazy journey in aviculture, keep reading and we will see you next year.

Happy New Year!

Copyright – Parrot Earth – 2014 – 2014 in a Nutshell

 

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Last week I was sitting with a cold beverage watching the news and I saw a story about Lovebirds was “coming up”.  I was hoping that it was a happy article, well insert Mr Grinch and you will get the idea of the news story.  

tikiLinda Barfoot of Shoreline Washington (which is a suburb of Seattle) owns two lovebirds Tiki and Hoppy, who happen to be her almost constant companions. Linda bought tickets with US Airways back in August for a trip to see her 80-year-old mother in Phoenix for Christmas, as a surprise.  Accommodations were also made for Tiki and Hoppy to attend the trip and have a warm snowbird holiday.  However, in October US Airways changed their animal policy and removed birds and other various animals from their acceptable pets roster.  Linda was never informed of the policy change.  Nor was she given more than a week prior to her trip to make other arrangements.  She was told they would not honor her original reservations and would only be able to refund her money.  You may be thinking, “hey, at least she got a refund” and you may have a point, however I feel that her original reservations and contractual agreement should be honored or they should pay for the change to another airline that does accommodate birds or let her fly.. Of course that’s just me.  I contacted US Airways and they were aware of the issues with grandfathered in tickets, however  a spokesperson had “no comment” if anything would change regarding the tickers being honored. 

I understand some people having the opinion “it’s only a week trip, her birds will be fine” however we as bird owners know that certain stresses can affect our birds (especially our absence) and in less that 24 hours we can come home to a bald plucked chicken.  I am sure that her birds will be fine during her trip, I just wish that one of the airlines that accepts birds would have seen the news story and stepped up to give her the holiday trip that she, her family and her birds were hoping for.  That would have been a lovely holiday story happy ending.  

I got Tiki and Hoppy here.

I got Tiki and Hoppy here.

 

I have spent hours doing research, and the only airlines that currently list  (birdchannel.com has US Airways listed, also Air Tran merged with Southwest and they no longer allow birds so scratch that off.  Also Northwest Airlines merged with Delta.) allowing birds on board are,

Alaska

Delta

United

There are various restrictions depending on the airline and it is important to call with any questions regarding travel. I called Alaska Airlines who also is subsidiary/partner with Delta and they were very knowledgeable about in cabin travel, dimensions of the pet carrier needs, fees and check in times etc.  I don’t know about you, but I love talking with someone who knows their stuff and has it together.  It just makes me want to do business with them over and over.  

If you’re planning a trip with your feathered friend, make sure you  yourself are updated with the airlines policies on birds, or any other animal for that matter.  It’s very important that if there is a policy change, you aren’t stuck out on a wing without a parachute because we all know how expensive last-minute flights can be.  

Copyright – Parrot Earth – 2014

The Flash!

I got The Flash here.

I got The Flash here.

I have been a huge fan of Parrot Nation‘s own Patricia Sund, not only for her commitment to parrot nutrition but for creating the “Chop” concept and bringing it to the forefront of the avian community.  There are not a lot of people, that I know, who would put it all out there.  Trust me, writing a blog about your life and opening your veins to let them bleed onto a computer screen just to be judged is no easy feat.  I learned the hard way, it’s all about not taking things too harshly and with a grain of salt.  It can be however the most rewarding experience that a writer can experience.

Awhile back I ran into a “different” approach to “Chop” on Facebook, actually it was in the Parrot Pantry group to be exact.  Emily Swezey author of “Life from Scratch” came up with the idea of flash freezing chop.  This is geared to be an alternative to bagging chop, granted, at first I was a little reluctant but now I’m sold.  I am the type of person who usually lives by the “if it aint broke” modo especially when it came to “Chop” and feeding my birds, however I am open to improvements, especially when it comes to my animals.  A few weeks ago, I began pondering Emily’s logic and research.  I decided to contact a professor friend of mine back at Colorado State University Agricultural Experiment Station, who specializes in growing, harvesting and transportation of various crops (including most of the vegetable ingredients in “Chop”). I asked her about “The Flash” and if it was going to be more beneficial than what I was doing.  Indeed, I came to find out that flash freezing can be incredibly beneficial in saving the nutritional integrity of your ingredients.  It can also help the cell structure of the ingredients not lose their integrity (which causes them to become mushy) while frozen, then allow the thawing process to restore them to their “almost original form”.  Hmmm, I was intrigued.

chopimage2So, what’s “The Flash” freezing process you ask?  Ok….Let me tell you.  After you put in all of your various ingredients into your “Chop” mix, you take something shallow that will fit in your freezer (I used a casserole dish).  Spread your “Chop” into the dish and place the dish into the freezer.  Wait about two hours and comeback.  You will notice that there will be a nice sheen of ice crystals throughout your “Chop”.  Now this is where it gets good.  The next thing you need to do is grab a spoon and begin breaking the “Chop” apart.  It’s very similar to fluffing rice in a rice cooker.  After the fluffing is done, you simply pour the frozen product into your freezer containers.  I used small individual freezer Tupperware and I also used a large freezer Tupperware container because I wanted to see if there would be a difference. I will report there was no difference in the consistency nor the quality of product after using both for four weeks.  I even put some in traditional freezer bags to see if that would make a difference.  Nope.  With this experimental batch, I only made ten quarts, simply because I was not sure how it was going to work. But it worked out marvelously!

How do I feed? In the morning and evening both Dexter and Cooper get a tablespoon and a half, while little Hugo (our lovebird) gets a teaspoon.  This is the kicker, the birds love the new method of pulling it right out of the freezer and into their bowls.  The consistency is crunchy and eventually thaws into something totally different (the thaw only takes about 15-20).  As we all know, birds love novelty and anything that is a bit off the beaten path. The bagging method of “Chop” without “The Flash” involved doesn’t really allow to add fruits to your mix because.  However with “The Flash” method, you can flash freeze your “freezing friendly fruits” separately and then add them into the containers you feed your birds right out of the freezer.  Talk about saving time, if I can just pull it out of a container, scoop fruits and veggies into the bowl and place it in my bird’s cage for a couple of hours, until they are finished ravaging it, then why the hell not. When fed the birds would eat for a bit then give up, with this method I am happy to report, it’s like having a two course meal in one bowl.

Exciting right?  Okay, maybe only for us “bird folk” but taking a method and adding a twist to keep our birds happy is worth it in my opinion.  Before you abandoned all of you know about “Chop” I still recommend alternating between the original bagged method and “The Flash” because just as I said…..variety is the spice of life!

WWSJDI think it’s such an exciting time in the parrot community! We can all share ideas and make changes to existing formats to help suit our needs.  I have referred to Patricia Sund as the Steve Jobs of the avian community, and I stand by those words.  Without her Parrot Nation blog and her conceptualization of her own “Chop” mix formula, we would not be having these conversations today. I also would not have had the courage to begin Parrot Earth and write about the birds that I love so much.  I’m also impressed with Emily Swezey for bringing us a different view-point regarding flash freezing fresh parrot foods and “The Flash” method.  She had the gumption to see “Chop” a bit differently and try to create her own that would work for her household.  Good job Emily.

Whatever your methods for feeding your birds are, remember who has paved the way for your journey into aviculture, tell them how much you appreciate their accomplishments and look to the future.  Because with a world of innovative people the parrot nutrition train is picking up steam and who knows where it will go!

A Place for Every Parrot and Every Parrot it’s Place.

cage.afterI take great pride in my home. I also take great pride in my parrots. I have had friends visit that own parrots and they just can’t seem to figure out how I keep everything together with owning two greys and a lovebird. Well, let’s be honest shall we?  I work my tuchus off to keep it that way. Greys are powdery birds so we have air purifiers in every room, not to mention I have my cleaning gadgets (3-1 Steam Mop, Hoover Floormate and Dyson Animal) that help in the process. I don’t know what we all did with just a mop bucket and a mop back in the day.  Don’t get me wrong, if that is your preferred method, I salute you. I just personally love the idea of making a couple of trips around the room with my Floor Mate than having to do seven buckets to get my bird’s area clean. If it works for you, then that’s all that matters. With the spectrum of animals that we have in our house we have to vacuum and use our other cleaning toys every other day, if not every day. I am very fortunate that I live with a man who has the same standards of cleaning that I do (thank you Rita, my mother-in-law).

However, you can be the cleanest and most organized of housekeepers but the truth is everything has its place and everyplace has it’s thing. That includes your birds.  

I am not the type of person to let my birds run around my house like a cat/dog. There are too many dangers that are out there and let’s be honest, parrots can be a demolition crew in a pint-sized package.  One of my Facebook friends saw some of my photos and sent me a private message asking me how I kept my baseboards and framework intact. I immediately responded with “I keep my birds away from them”. They are expensive to install and you have to think about the things that are also associated with wood in your house.  There is almost always paint or stain, glue and other chemicals that have soaked into the wood when it was being installed.  Granted parrots don’t ingest everything their beaks come into contact with, but I would rather not risk it. It’s just dangerous.  You may think that your house is “parrot proof”, but you never know.  

chew.1

I got Chew here.

I have also seen photos on social media of parrots destroying laptop keyboards.  I don’t agree with this at all.  You are allowing them something to chew on that is expensive firstly, and secondly by allowing them to chew on the item you are reinforcing the behavior.  So when you get up and walk into another room and your bird flies over and rips off your space bar and nine other keys, in reality you have no one to blame but yourself (P.S. if you know your bird is going to destroy your keyboard, then why would you allow it anywhere near it or any other expensive object?).  It’s similar to giving a dog an old shoe to play with and then getting upset when he eats your Manolo Blahnik or Jimmuy Choo heels.  You have given him an item that looks like Jimmy or Manolo, smells like Jimmy or Manolo yet he cannot differentiate the difference between that designer shoe and the old converse sneaker you gave him.  Same with a parrot. Granted, things happen, I get it.  But you don’t have to enable the behavior along. 

When I brought the greys home, they were both shown where their areas were. They have a variety of play-stands around the house.  Some of you may be reading this and thinking “my bird doesn’t stay put and goes where he/she wants”.  Hey I understand, parrots can be free-spirited, but do you let a two-year old run around your house with no supervision? Yeah I didn’t think so and they probably even have their own playpen. I try to make sure that my birds have a wide variety of toys that they can chew on, all with different textures and in different locations. I also have a backup supply, that I trade out and rearrange, so it’s something new.  Novelty and variety is a parrot’s spice of life.  In the wild they fly sometimes over sixty miles foraging for food, and things rarely get “boring”.  Try to keep them entertained.  They also have the attention span of a two-year old at times.  You can be in the middle of training them and then…. SHINY OBJECT!! appears and it’s all over.

store-500x500I spend time with the birds together and separately.  I also like to grab one and take them into the bedroom or while I’m vacuuming, so they get that one on one time and a change of scenery. I take them in the shower with me, even when it’s not their shower time, I look at it as a “flock” bonding time.  They are however never left to their own devices nor are they left unattended, unless they are on a play-stand.  If your birds are fully flighted, it may be more difficult to have them stay put.  

standI recently bought a lovely manzanita play-stand that was exceptional quality and it was beautiful.  There was just one problem.  Because it didn’t have a tray area above the floor, Cooper was able to climb right down and go on “walkabout”.   Before I knew it, he would have Sheldon cornered or be searching for human toes to attack.  I knew I had to find an alternative stand that he could not get down from, but also had enough area for him to explore.  I discovered the bottle brush stand which both birds love! It has a tray below the play area, and I am overly impressed with its quality. Every bird is different and every house hold is different. It’s important to keep your parrot from destroying something valuable, but it’s also more important to keep your parrot safe.  

Bottom line, that’s how I keep my parrots from destroying my house and everything in it.  Like I said, every household is different, and I’m not preaching, I’m just teaching.  By all means do I want to tell anyone how to live?  No, but maybe just a tip or two on keeping your life sane and own parrots too.  I like to learn from other people’s mistakes, if I have the opportunity.  

Someday (as all of us bird owners say) I will have that aviary/atrium in my home with the water feature, trees, plants and ample space for my birds to roam. However until that time comes, I make due and…

I make sure that my parrots have their place and that place has my parrots.  

Copyright – 2014 – Parrot Earth – A Place for Every Parrot and Every Parrot it’s Place