I am aware that I dropped the ball on Parrot Earth’s Sponsor a Parrot Programs for the month of May. Actually, I got busy with a week’s vacation in Maui (no I’m not bragging, well not too much) and other things with Parrot Earth have distracted me from updating the site. I apologize! So, to make up for it, I contacted Ms. Vicki’s Parrot Village for a special story and of course a special bird. Granted, I agree that all birds are special and deserve the best in continuity of care and even you have to admit that some stories need to be told!
Parrot Earth’s Sponsor a Parrot Program’s bird for May/June is Joey!
Miss Vicki sent me a picture of Joey, and I immediately fell in love with this little guys spirit and moxy. You can just tell he has charisma, with a capital “C”.
Photo Courtesy of Miss Vicki’s Parrot Village
Joey is a 25 year-old White-Fronted Amazon who lived in the same home with the same family his entire life. That’s a rare thing in the avian world, especially when it comes to rehoming birds. The couple that owned him and several other birds (15) became too ill to care for them all. Even their diligent home care specialist fed them for a while, but she couldn’t keep up with them all. At a request of the local vet office, Miss Vicki eventually went for a wellness visit and discovered Joey on the bottom of his cage. Miss Vicki asked the family if she could take Joey in for a visit to the local avian vet, the family willingly agreed. According to the vet that had taken care of Joey for years, he had lost 20 grams and she had not seen him since 2008.
After Miss Vicki’s brought Joey into the vet office, some things in his history began to unfold. You see, Joey has some unique and conjoined medical issues.
Firstly a few years ago, little Joey was stepped on. Because of that he had to have a vertebrae fused. Due to Joey being first stepped on, then having to get vertebrae fused, it has left Joey with limited flexibility. This means he cannot get into a good position to poop and therefore has caused a small prolapse. After extensive research, there is nothing that can be done for poor little Joey. He will have to live with his prolapse for the rest of his life. Vicki said they bathe him regularly, and do “wipe” clean ups, because poop sometimes sticks to his feathers, but it is manageable.
Photo Courtesy of Miss Vicki’s Parrot Village
To add insult to injury, Joey also has a touch of arthritis which, trust me, I understand. Aging isn’t for wimps. When I think of what this little guy has been through! This little guy has been stepped on, broken, fused and now has a prolapse and arthritis. Sheesh. What do we do?
First, start of by visiting Miss Vicki’s Parrot Village’s website. www.parrotvillage.org you can donate to Miss Vicki’s Parrot Village here. I love Miss Vicki’s Parrot Village, because they are so organized and continue to go above and beyond in the avian community!
Second, Joey needs a home that has the time to pamper him and give him the special care he needs. If you know someone who might be able to give Joey a home, send them this article. Joey deserves a home that can shower him with all of the time, love and attention and that he needs.
I know I would appreciate it, Miss Vicki would appreciate it, but more importantly…
Spring is here, and it’s been awhile since I had the time to sit down and write you a letter. Napping and scratching is time-consuming, don’t judge. As we all know I’m still a puppy, regardless if I am 85lbs or not. As my dad says, for what I lack in smarts I make up for in looks. Hey, I’m pretty.
I’ve been watching The Godfather and boyz n the hood and it got me inspired to send you a message. I would have sent you a horse head in your bed, but your cages aren’t big enough, I couldn’t find one on eBay and I am not allowed to play with knives. That’s beside the point, it’s the thought that counts.
Firstly I would like to cover some things with Dexter and Cooper. You two are like Batman and Robin, always ganging up on me with your mind games. Calling and whistling for me, then scolding me with “No Sheldon, bad boy Sheldon”, and it’s getting old. Awhile back I got a treat and watched “Lady and the Tramp” and to be honest you remind me of those Siamese cats with feathers. Plotting and scheming diabolical things. I want you to know that I am on to you. I am still trying to convince the dads, but sooner or later they will see your true colors.
Secondly, I would like to address our foster bird Bella. You are worse than the other two. You talk more than any parrot I have ever met and you interrupt my naps and quiet time. Constantly making whistles, barks, laser beams and now you have learned to figure out which one of us is barking outside and call out the appropriate name. Rude! So that makes you a snitch. You know what they say, “snitches get stitches”. So watch your back… I will be waiting for you to drop a toy, or treat off the top of your cage. Then it’s mine. No give-backs.
Clay (13) and Sheldon (10 months)
That all being said, finally, you birds may out number us (Clay and I) for now, but eventually Bella is going to be moving to Colorado with Nana, and it will be all even Steven again.
Last night I was just about to hit the hay and I got an email from a member of the Flight Club Foundation board. It simply said,” I caught this on King 5 news at 6:30, thought I would share”. Of course I thought, Bob Dawson and Macaw Rescue & Sanctuary in the news, must be something great? Right? So I clicked.
After I watched the video, I thought, “why the hell would anyone complain about that place?”. I sat shocked with my husband as we discussed our trip to the Macaw Rescue & Sanctuary for last year’s “It’s For The Birds 2012″ Fundraiser and BBQ. I remember when we drove up and parked, a long distance from the road on a rather long driveway, you could hear some bird calls in the distance, faintly. Not the shrieking that was shown on the newscast video.
As we got closer it did get louder, but we were even further from the road than I thought. I even made the joke, “are we in Canada” because it was quite a walk. As we wandered up the heavily wooded path to what I thought was one of the most amazing places I had ever seen since moving to Washington.
It is truly a place of serenity and a feeling of peace surrounds you. Believe it or not, when you are not considered a stranger or a threat, the birds go on with their day. Ignoring you while preening and enjoying the sun. Since most birds nap during the day, they can get very quiet and sometimes you can hear a slight breeze through the trees. Not the manic behavior of birds portrayed, but the cohabitation of birds snatched from the wild, from your neighbor’s house, or your local pet store/breeder.
Did you know that most of these birds have been tossed away. Not because they asked to be born, not asked to be bought from a pet store and taken home. Not because they asked to be misunderstood in their homes, not because they asked to be sold over and over. Not because they asked to be eventually taken to a sanctuary. But because of us, human beings.
I got Theodore Roosevelt and his Hyacinth Eli, here.
Birds have been in captivity for thousands of years, throughout history. The egyptian pharaohs owned African Greys because of their amazing ability to talk. Hieroglyphics document them as pets. Let’s not forget the Greeks and their fascination with parrots. Fast forward a bit shall we? Teddy Roosevelt and his Hyacinth Macaw, Eli, Winston Churchill and Charlie, his Blue and Gold Macaw, who is supposed to still be living at 104. Yes I said, still alive. These animals aren’t like any other “human pet” they live years beyond dogs, cats, horses and even most likely beyond their owners. This is exactly why it is so important to have a place like Macaw Rescue & Sanctuary. If your pet was going to out live you, or you weren’t able to care for it any longer, for whatever reason…just what do you do?
Andy Weiss the realtor who King 5 interviewed said,”This is all part of living in the country, dogs and fences, and you know houses, I rather enjoy the noise“. Then he makes a comment about the birds making a lot of noise, yet he makes no reference to the sounds of the loud barking dogs or the speeding cars on the road behind him. Seemingly nor did the interviewer, John Langeler, as the black BMW X5 drove by obviously speeding faster than the posted 35 mph speed limit. Maybe they have become immune to the noises of civilization, similar to that of our society and a car alarm. Eventually sounds just seem to fade away into the scenery.
View Larger Map(click + 2 times)The Sanctuary is the whole property in the middle, including the main house north of the “A”, with two neighbors on each side
Regarding potential buyers in the area, Andy Weiss also added ”they came out listened to the birds, and that was it. They did not want to buy that house“. So clearly it is not like the sanctuary was not a kept or hidden secret from anyone looking to purchase in that part of the Carnation Washington area. Actually as you can see, if you zoom in a bit on the overhead map view on Google Maps, with the sanctuaries 20 acres (860,000 square feet) of land, the closest noise pollution to the neighbors of Macaw Rescue & Sanctuary, on either side, would be road noise. So why is it, you move into an area, where you KNOW there is an exotic bird sanctuary and then complain about the noise?
The singing Cockatoo.
The interview was also edited with the sounds of the squawking birds in the background, when in reality it was filmed with a strange camera crew coming in and standing feet away from the birds territories, of course they are going to make noise. Wouldn’t you and your pets make noise if a stranger came into your home?
I think the part that really ticks me off about the complaint, the interview, the fact the complaint is anonymous and refused to be identified, basically the whole shebang is…Bob Dawson didn’t get to explain really what the mission of the Macaw Rescue & Sanctuary is all about. He did not get to explain why the majority of the birds, he and his family are caring for day in and day out, are actually there. They didn’t ask him why he even had the parrots, or why he decided to open and commit his life to the rescue and sanctuary he loves so much, other than showing him say, “it’s my life’s passion”. I feel that he deserved much more camera time, to plead his case, to explain to the general public what his beloved sanctuary is there for. I briefly met Bob Dawson last year and took some footage for our video of the fundraiser. Bob has a reputation for being a very gently person, he isn’t looking for accolades, he didn’t decide to do this because of his ego, he does it because he has a “calling” to help these animals. Bob is a very well-respected man, and commands attention when he walks into a room. Not boastfully, but because he has earned the respect of his colleagues and has shown the utmost integrity, therefore people want to hear what he has to say.
The part the interview should have added was, Bob Dawson simply does it because he loves birds. That’s all. Plain and simple.
It comes down to a need, the Pacific Northwest needs rescues and other sanctuaries, because if places like Macaw Rescue & Sanctuary don’t take are of these birds, then who will?
A song written by Patti Griffin and performed live by Kelly Clarkson & Reba McEntire
I am a firm and solid believer in people having their callings in life. Granted it may take you awhile to get there, but I think people are innately good at something. I have been writing since I learned my alphabet and would enlighten my family with the tales that I had written. I took a hiatus when I felt as though I had to please the world that surrounded me, instead of doing what I really wanted. Eventually I began to figure out it’s about your life and your dreams, not the ideals of other’s that is the most important. It’s a rough row to hoe sometimes, but eventually you can find a clearing when you travel the road less traveled.
I feel that I got my calling to get involved in the avian community when I picked up that first Bird Talk. That was 25 years ago. Since then I have been drawn to birds and their intelligence for as long as I can remember. Watching them calculate how to get from point A to B, seeing them solve the puzzles that entertain them. Listening to them speak full sentences, or ask for a grape when they really want a grape. It’s just captivating.
Some of my closest friends don’t really get what I do, they don’t get why I am so enamored by birds, because to them, society has deemed them “just a bird”. I have seen bird owners in the past value birds as a decorative item, or a piece of the artsy decor. However at the smallest level when these same people were children, and their parents didn’t convey a respect for the lives of animals in them, sadly it simply carried over. Because, after all, aren’t birds just like goldfish. A dime a dozen and not very smart? That could be nothing further from the reality that exists in the world of birds. However it essentially comes down to the views that we instill in the next generation. The very kids of today that you raise to respect the lives of animals, may be the very care givers for your birds when you are gone. It’s sad, tear jerking, but true.
I like to take stock in my life and reflect if you will. I see colleagues busting their humps to make a difference. They throw their hat in the ring, help promote health and nutrition, spend every penny to help rescues, raise thousands of dollars and want nothing more than to help birds and they end up getting chastised. They want to help change the world of aviculture, so that the knowledge they have, will indeed carry over to the next generation of bird owners.
I see how avian education and networking is so important. Look at the Roaming Parrot, and their crusade to join rescues together into one network that would enable placement of parrots into the proper adoption or sanctuaries. That’s what I call a “calling”.
How about the people who have turned their homes into rescues. Losing out on their own space and free-time, simply because they want to save that plucked bird from the bird flipper that is currently advertising it on craigslist for over one-thousand dollars. Trust me, when it comes to the daily activities in a well-organized rescue, there is no “ego” when you are scraping dried strawberry off your wall, or walking around with poop in your hair. It’s a thankless job, but it’s just something you have to do.
I wrote an article a while ago about a horse trainer who immediately impressed me with his calm demeanor and simple, no-nonsense approach to animal training. One of my favorite quotes from him is “The horse is a mirror and sometimes you might not like what you see in that mirror”. So simply stated, a parrots behavior can simply be a reflection of the energy you are bringing into their space. That is also a reason why I love my birds so much, because they help me reflect. Reflect what I am feeling, by showing me that mirror and helping me learn more about myself. Learning that silence doesn’t have to be deafening, learning that I don’t have to be the best writer or blogger, animal trainer, singer, or marketing genius, but just the best version of me.
I know that being active in the avian community is part of my calling in life, it fulfills my yearning to make a difference for these animals, to help and to educate. I am so glad that I got the chance to meet my greys and look into their eyes, because really what it comes down to…. it’s
When I hear the name Sebastian, I immediately think of a certain movie called, The Neverending Story. It’s one of my favorite “kids”movies, and I will definitely admit the fact I have seen it probably over one hundred times. Hey, I love sci-fi!
It’s one of those stories that has the under dog, the bully and this book that leads poor bullied Sebastian into a world of fantasy. Eventually Sebastian ends up to be the hero in the end, and of course it has a happy ending.
Of course, happy endings are just in the movies, or are they?
I am a big fan of The Roaming Parrot and one of the women behind it, Emily Trimnal. Emily and I chat quite a bit and the other day I saw that she was going in to rescue a bird. I contacted Emily as the saga was unfolding and tried to give her support just like many many others did. It’s a sad and touching story, with a happy(ish) ending. When I realized that April was here, I automatically knew who I wanted to make the Parrot Earth’s Sponsor a Parrot Program’s Bird for April 2013, Sebastian.
Photo courtesy of Emily Trimnal.
I contacted Emily Trimnal, the knight in shining Chevrolet, who happened to save the day. I asked her if she would be willing to write down her experiences and how she found Sebastian.
Courtesy of Emily Trimnal:
My online friend Arizona found an ad for a cockatoo for $200 in a local buy/sell publication called the Iwanna. He called about the bird and was told that the cockatoo was actually $250, and that it was cheap because it had a ‘overactive sex drive’ and currently had a ‘cherry’ hanging out where the sex drive is. He requested that they send him a photo of the bird, which they texted to him, and he forwarded to me. It was clear this bird had a prolapse, although the initial photo didn’t let us know how severe the prolapse really was. As soon as I saw the picture, I knew the cockatoo needed immediate medical attention. I quickly scraped together the money, grabbed a friend, and drove an hour and a half to pick up Arizona. We then drove to the address we were given to pick up the cockatoo. Pulling into the driveway my heart sank – you could just feel this wasn’t going to be a good situation. Arizona told me that one the phone the cockatoos owner indicated that the bird was living outside in a separate building. We were hoping that the owner would leave the bird in the building so we could evaluate the surroundings and condition of its living situation.
Photo courtesy of Emily Trimnal.
As soon as we met with the birds owner she led us to a dilapidated shack at the back of her property. This shack was no more than about 10 feet wide and maybe 12 feet long. It was stacked with cages – mostly smaller birds like finches and quail, and was unheated with no ventilation other than the holes in the walls and the door. We could only squeeze three people in the building at a time, and what we did see was appalling. Only 3 of the dozen or more birds had food and water, and of the ones that did have water, it was slick with feces. Each of the cages were piled high with waste, and the air was stifling and dusty. As soon as I saw Sebastian I knew we needed to get him out – his prolapse was obvious and severe.
Photo courtesy of Emily Trimnal.
We were able to bargain with the owner and talk her down to a purchase price (what I am referring to as a ransom) of $150. We quickly got Sebastian and his small, rusty, unclean cage into my car and drove off. It was clear this poor bird was not only in pain, but that he had been starved for attention. After dropping Arizona off and making the two-hour drive home, I settled Sebastian in a quarantine area at my friend’s pet free home. We fed him, gave him water, and I gave him a much-needed preening on the head. I had arranged with Vicki of Miss Vicki’s Parrot Village to drive Sebastian down to her the next day, where she would place him into a new cage in quarantine, and get him into her vet immediately. The drive to Atlanta took about 5 hours with traffic, and the entire time there my head was churning with thoughts about the bird in the back seat. His owners informed me that he had been prolapsed for 6 months, that they had purchased him like that because they ‘felt sorry’ for him, and that it wasn’t a ‘big deal’. They also made reference to the prolapse saying they would sometimes ‘put it back by themselves’ but it would fall out again.
Photo Courtesy of Emily Trimnal
So, some of you may be saying, “what is a prolapse?” and a few days ago before Sebastian’s story, I was one of those people. I contacted Dr. Atilla Molnar, Parrot Earth’s consulting avian physician, to see if he could explain what a prolapse is.
prolapse- the slipping or falling out-of-place of an organ (as the uterus)
- an abnormally downward position of the intestines in the abdominal cavity
- slip or fall out-of-place, as of body parts; “prolapsed rectum”
“In some cases, this will occur if the bird has ovulated a lot. With stress, hormonal and sexual factors birds can prolapse since Waste, discharge and eggs come out of the same hole- the vent. Sometimes they can easily be put back into place with some lubricant, but most of the time the issue never resolves, therefore it needs to be surgical to be permanently resolved. The bird will probably need to go under anesthesia, and some minor suturing and placement will need to be done.” ~ Dr. Atilla Molnar
Miss Vicki’s Parrot Village has taken Sebastian in and immediately took him to their avian veterinarian for treatment for his prolapse. Vicki posted this update on the Miss Vicki’s Parrot Village Facebook:
“The prognosis for Sebastian is not so good, but Dr. Shepherd is helping us work with him. She put the tissue back where it belongs, sutured his vent, gave him some pain meds and antibiotics, and even trimmed his nails while he was under anesthesia…I am sure he is grateful for that. We are going to give him the best shot possible. Hopefully getting him on a good diet and in a healthy atmosphere will help him improve enough where his quality of life is not inhumane. We are always looking at new research and treatments, so if you have any info you can give that will help us help Sebastian, we would greatly appreciate it. He will be going back in for another surgery, but we are going to work with the other issues while these sutures are in place. He is going in the week of the 15th for x-rays, we are checking him for metal poisoning. The inside of his cage was bare metal, and it has been spray painted, so it is hard to tell what he ingested.”
When I was a kid, watching The Neverending Story, things seemed so black and white. Good always triumphed over evil and there were always happy endings. Then you grow up and you realize that there are no guarantees. No guarantees that just because Sebastian was “rescued” by Emily, he will be the spitting image of cockatoo health. No guarantees that the people who neglected Sebastian and let their ignorance and selfishness, will be punished.
However, I choose to see things as optimistic as I can. I choose to believe that if Sebastian receives enough love, compassion and proper care, he will have the life he deserves. I also choose to believe that everything happens for a reason, and if it wasn’t for Sebastian having to endure this, various people would go through their lives never knowing about this condition. They may never have known its causes or treatments. It’s this very view that makes me grateful that people like Miss Vicki and Emily Trimnal are in this world. They will go above and beyond to make a difference in the avian community. To often in this world, we can let the ego to cloud our judgment and lose focus on the most important part of the bird community. The birds.
Click here to contact Miss Vicki’s Parrot Village and help Sebastian… he has helped us learn, now it’s time to return the favor.