From the parrot’s beak: 9/22

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PHOTO: Blue & gold macaw replica in Cape Cod antique shop. – Photo by George Sommers

WILD PARROTS IN THE USA: You needn’t travel to a far off foreign land to see wild parrots. “The US is home to dozens of feral parrot species. Using data from eBird and the Christmas Count, scientists recently tallied 56 different parrot species sighted in 43 states, 25 of which are now breeding in the wild across 23 different states,” says Justine E. Hausheer of Cool Green Science. Likely the most common and widespread is the Quaker, or monk parrot; which builds large communal nests which helps them to survive in cold climates as far north as Chicago, New York City and Connecticut. Unfortunately, it’s too late for the most truly all American parrot, the Carolina parakeet which like the passenger pigeon went from abundance to extinction. The thick billed parrot once ranged into Arizona and New Mexico, but shooting, logging, and development drove the species back across the Mexican border. The bird was last seen in the US in the Chiricahua Mountains in the late 1930s. Reintroduction attempts in the 1980s and ’90s were unsuccessful. The species still hangs on in Mexico. The range of the Green Parakeet and the Red-crowned Parrot  occasionally extends into southern Texas.  How and if Trump’s proposed border wall will impact these species remains unclear. Either way, both birds  have become naturalized elsewhere in the country. – For more, go to https://blog.nature.org/science/2019/09/09/a-field-guide-to-the-feral-parrots-of-the-us/

THE DEADLY PARROT POOP: A colony of a ring-necked parakeets or rose-ringed parakeets that was about 100-strong four years ago at The Fairway Villages at Waikele, Hawaii has turned into over one thousand. Every night, they roost in the palm trees lining the community’s main entrance. According to Lou Jones, the treasurer on the board of directors; the toxic, acidic droppings of these birds concentrated in one areas burned right through their mailboxes and decimated six palm trees. Jones says the community has spent over $140,000 dealing with the damage these birds cause. Many parrot supporters are disputing the allegedly corrosive properties of the droppings. – From https://www.kitv.com/story/41050513/bird-invasion-threatens-waikele-community?fbclid=IwAR2jlJEqwhau09i9t0MYzBQ_K4cUrmtyv_ED2Zq-OD-gLJT-ufSoKmHfo7I

RELEASE YOUR INNER PIRATE: Aaargh, ye scalawags have a couple of opportunities coming up to dust off that old pirate costume – and we’re not just talking Halloween.  Even better than last week’s “Talk Like a Parrot” day is the “Dress Like a Parrot” contest at the Long Island, NY Parrot Expo on Oct. 5. Lending a hook, or a hand, will be Ye Pyrate Brotherhood, a non-profit organization dedicated to education about the lifestyles of sea going men from 1650-1730.  Although there will be plenty of parrots to see, visitors are asked not to bring their pets. Not clear is if losers will be required to walk the plank.  — Jack  and the Rogues’ Armada (copyright infringement issue?) drop anchor at Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo next Saturday to pose for photos and teach landlubbers of all ages how to be buccaneers. While there will be parrots on hand at the zoo to observe; you’ll want to leave your pet at home. — Pirates with parrots are a staple of stories and movies right up to “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “SpongeBob SquarePants”. Ironically, there is scant historical evidence linking the pairing, although talking colorful birds from tropical lands may have been valuable booty. “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson is apparently the first literary reference linking the two. (See this week’s HOT DATES for details on the zoo event and next week’s HOT DATES for more info on the Expo.)

BAHAMA DRAMA: Hurricane Dorian was probably not the feared knock out blow to the rare Bahamas parrots. Dr. Caroline Stahala Walker, Program Coordinator at Audubon Florida is comfortable that “the parrot population is ok.” Dr. Walker said she is ‘fairly comfortable’ the Bahamas parrots have enough food to have survived Dorian, since, she said, the impact and damage done was less severe in the south of Abaco, as opposed to that in north and central Abaco. Also cautiously optimistic is Bradley Watson, with American Bird Conservancy’s (ABC’s) partner organization Bahamas National Trust although he is concerned about  short term loss of food supplies and nest sites and if the storm disturbance allows more invasive plants like bracken fern to spread, or if there is further damage caused by saltwater intruding into the parrot’s breeding habitat.From Facebook posts including https://abcbirds.org/bahamas-birds-future-in-question-in-hurricane-dorians-wake/?fbclid=IwAR0a80WW_JWoPmoEh3Hl_jOn_LnHm4H-tav8cjIcQWtf5mUsdQ4_EEe-xOU

PSITTACINE CINEMA: September 16 was the anniversary of the Weston, CT parrot seizure (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2016/09/30/he-was-known-for-rescuing-animals-now-hes-accused-of-starving-hundreds-of-exotic-pets-to-death/?noredirect=on) . Rhode Island Parrot Rescue took in 117 of the beleaugured birds; one of the biggest challenges RIPR has ever faced. Here is where some of those birds happily landed:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uig8ydQwEMI&feature=youtu.be

DIDJA KNOW: Not aware of any parades of fireworks for it, but September 17 was National Pet Bird Day founded by the Bird Enjoyment & Advantage Koalition (BEAK). According to the American Pet Products Association’s 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey, 5 percent of U.S. households own a bird, equating to 5.7 million households. Of these bird owners, the most cited benefit associated with owning a bird is that pet birds are fun to watch and have in the house, followed by the benefit of birds bringing love and companionship to their owners

SHOOTIN’ THE FEBREZE: The Febreze website states that the product is safe to use around children and pets BUT pet birds should be moved to another room until the area has had time to properly ventilate. Some in the bird community are grumbling that the warning should appear on the product; that birds should be removed from the house when the product is used; that they haven’t technically stated correctly why the product can be hazardous to birds, etc.; but we give them credit for acknowledging birds, not just dogs and cats.

QUOTE O’ THE WEEK: The bank found suspicious activity on our credit card. There’s a charge here that’s not parrot related.

GET THE RED OUT: The scarlet macaw, one of Belize’s most iconic bird species, is in  danger of becoming extinct, according to a new report issued by Friends of Conservation and Development (FCD). FCD  issued a release  entitled “Macaws in Danger of Disappearing,” about Guatemalan poachers. In 2019 alone, it has documented more than 25 macaws being taken by poachers. “Other Guatemalan communities may well be engaged on this activity; therefore, the losses can well be double or triple. If this trend continues, the species will become extinct in a relatively short period,” the FCD said. The organization is asking for more funding and rangers; stiffer penalties for poachers and volunteer citizen participation in biomonitoring. It is estimated that the country has somewhat more than 334 wild scarlet macaws. – From https://www.breakingbelizenews.com/2019/09/13/belizes-scarlet-macaws-are-in-danger/?fbclid=IwAR2KBxH3kGHqJy0lRew2oKgSIqVeWPNPAYu6jrsG5Yfk1tJg-stYtFXQkEA

IT DON’T COME ESA:  A proposed federal bill, HR-2603, would have removed all non-native species from the ESA. Approximately 31 states have ESA laws that prohibit ownership of non-native ESA listed species. Each states has different laws and Oregon exempts parrots from their law, but not other species of exotic bird. Proponents of the bill argue that current regulations put up a roadblock against domestic breeding; with the unintended consequence of keeping some species’ populations low. Although the bill was killed and some proponents criticize a perceived lack of transparency, some still see “glimmer of hope”. In his zeal to cut the ESA, President Trump – not generally thought of as a friend of the environment – may ironically hold the key. — Meanwhile, current pet passports will not be accepted in post Brexit Britain. The British government has warned that pet owners should start planning four months before travelling. This means that for anyone planning a trip with their pets at Christmas time, it could already be too late.

FIRED UP: The Hyacinth Macaw horror of unchecked forest fires. Another difficult time for a flagship parrot species. Please support the efforts of Neiva Guedes and the Hyacinth Macaw Project to save this species. Please donate via the PI page. http://parrotsinternational.org/index.php/donate/ ….. click on the dropdown list to specify that 100% of your donation is sent to the Hyacinth Macaw Project ASAP. From Dr. Guedes: “Dear friends. The Pantanal of Mato Grosso do Sul is facing the largest burning in recent years. Fire has destroyed large areas, and among them is one of the most important research centers of the Hyacinth Macaw Project, the Caiman Ecological Refuge. In this farm, the project has a research base and a multitude of nests that are important reference for research collected for over the of 30 years of project. The data collected and analyzed there are important indicators for the conservation results obtained over the years. Damage to the population of hyacinth macaws is incalculable. In addition to direct impacts such as burning nesting trees and smoke that kills the chicks, there will be indirect impacts such as food shortages, which will lead to competition and predation. We know that nature will recover, but the process is long. The Hyacinth Macaw Institute is engaged in all the technical and scientific actions that are being organized at this time and will bring many enlightening results to society. We will certainly have a lot of work and new research fronts and strategies to keep the macaw’s population in the wild. For this fight to continue, the support of everyone is very important and through Parrots International you will be able to contribute to this project to continue with its important conservation achievements. Visithttp://parrotsinternational.org/index.php/donate/Hyacinth Macaw Project. 

JUSTICE SOUGHT FOR PARAKEET KILLER: Online petition sign link:
https://t.co/bTbmIC1TxP

HOT DATES: 9/21: Virginia Beach Pet Expo Costume contest, talent contest, most adorable pet contest,  microchipping FREE. 10-6. Virginia Beach Convention Ctr., Virginia Beach, VA — FRIENDS OF ATTLEBORO ANIMAL SHELTER 16TH ANNUAL HARVEST FAIR.  Crafters, artists, rescues, kids play, raffles, food. $5 donation per car. 10-3.  27 Pond St., Seekonk, MA. — 9/22: Erie Cage Bird Club Annual Bird Auction Erie Cage Bird Club. 11 a.m. New Perry Highway Hose Company, 8281 Oliver Rd., Erie, PA —Southeast Exotic Bird Fair – 9-4. Adults $4.00/ 16 & under FREE. 9900 Normandy Blvd., Jacksonville FL —BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS part of a mostly dog oriented Family Fun Day to benefit Taunton Animal Care Facility. Face & pumpkin painting, raffles, games arts & crafts, photos with superheroes. Rain or  shine. 10-2.  $5 adults/$3 3-12/FREE under 3. Araujo farms, 1522 Williams St., Dighton, MA.– 9/28: Peninsula Caged Bird Society Bird Mart and Dual ACS Cockatiel  Raffle, Jafet Valez; US Fish & Wildlife – Puerto Rican parrot specialist, speaker. FREE. 9-4. Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church, 60 Traverse Rd. Newport News, VA. — Green -Wood Cemetery Wild Walk by One Earth Conservation  Home of naturalized quaker parrots. $10. Brooklyn, NY.  Information at info@oneearthconservation.org. —NY Finch & Type Canary Club Annual Show  Raffle, Auction. 10:30. St. Jude Church, 1696 Canarsie Rd., Brooklyn, N.Y. — PIRATES & PRINCESSES AT FRANKLIN PARK ZOO. Jack and “the Pirates of the Rogues’ Armada” invade the zoo. Pose for photos with the pirates and princesses. Crafts,  animal encounters, education station. And there should be some parrots around, including the hyacinth parrot seen in the promo pictures. Unclear is if the warm weather Aussie Aviary – where visitors can interact and hand feed hundreds of freeflying budgies – will be open for the event. 11:30-2:30.  Franklin Park Zoo, 1 Franklin Park Rd, Boston, MA. — 9/29-10-3: ExoticsCon  Veterinary professionals meet for classroom and hands-on education, networking, and opportunities to meet with new and potential vendor contacts.Hyatt Regency, St. Louis at the Arch, St. Louis, MO.

 

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