Thursday, May 31, 2007

We are sometimes asked why we don't take payments when someone wants to adopt a bird. First, we have tried that in the past, and have found that more often than not, the person making payments fell behind, requiring the Center to spend time trying to recover the cost. This is time that would be better spent socializing the parrots. And the money is important to the Center. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, we receive no government or outside funding. We need to pay for rent, electricity, bird cages, quality bird food, etc. Every dollar the Center receives, whether through donations, adoptions, boarding, grooming, toy/cage/food sales, or any other method, goes directly to help the birds.
Secondly, and perhaps most important, owning birds is expensive! The actual cost of the bird is nothing compared to what you should spend on the bird during her lifetime.
  • There's the cage -- and that may need to be replaced in a few years, depending on the type.

  • There's the food -- generally a pellet diet, high quality seed mix, and fruits/vegetables.

  • There's the vet bills. A well-bird exam can cost in the neighborhood of $200, and if there's a problem with the parrot, you can expect to pay many times that. At least 4 of the Center's volunteers have spent over $1,000 on vet bills for one of their parrots in the last year. The Center's vet bills average around $2,500 per month.

  • There's toys -- parrots need lots of different types of toys -- wood destructible, other destructible, beads/leather, preening, puzzle, foraging, etc. And these toys need to be rotated often. A medium-sized bird can easily go through over $50 per month in toys. We have cockatoos and macaws at the Center that go through toys valued at over $200 each month.

  • Other items including playstands, travel cages, harnesses, informational books, magazine subscriptions, etc. can also figure into the cost.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

We had to put this picture on our blog because it made us laugh! We were taking Jade's picture (he's the Calaquin macaw in the foreground), and when we started going through the pictures to decide which one of Jade to put on our website, we noticed that a nosy Butch was in the background keeping an eye on things!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill will be shown on Milwaukee's PBS station Channel 10 at 8 pm tonight. Although the story predominantly concerns cherry-head conures, there are a few other types of conures, including mitreds, like our own Millie and Sasha!

The picture here is of Kellie, white-eyed conure, and Sasha, mitred conure. Millie was pictured just recently on the blog!

Friday, May 25, 2007

We'd like to wish everyone a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! CARE will be open on Saturday from 12-5, closed on Monday, and will resume normal hours on Tuesday. We hope to see you soon!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Millie is a wild-caught Mitred Conure. We don't have a lot of information on her. Her previous owners were afraid of her, so she didn't get out of her cage very much. Like many conures, especially those who haven't been handled frequently, Millie can be a bit nippy. However, she has already made great progress during the months she's spent at the Center. Millie is looking for a home who will understand that she might need to take things slowly and let her just be a parrot! She is very intelligent and would probably quickly learn to do tricks if someone were to take the time to work with her. Although her calls are dwarfed at the Center by those from macaws and cockatoos, conures can have a loud call, so they are not suitable birds for apartment-dwellers or people with sensitive hearing. But someone who wants to experience a little piece of the jungle in their home might be looking to add Millie! If you are interested in meeting Millie, please stop by the Center!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

When someone comes in and they're considering adopting a cockatoo, we direct them to check out this website. Cockatoos are very difficult birds to live with because they can be very demanding and are quite different from other parrots. You sometimes only hear the good things about them -- how cuddly, intelligent, and funny (among other positive qualities) they are. And they can be wonderful! But we feel it's important for prospective cockatoo owners to get as much information as they can about these magnificent creatures to set themselves and the bird up for future success.

Last week we captured a video of Alex, a male wild-caught umbrella cockatoo, screaming. While it isn't normal for any parrot to continually scream, it is a natural way for them to express themselves, especially near sunrise and sunset (although it depends on the bird).

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

We had a little celebration at the Center last Saturday, and the macaws joined in! Here is a picture of Blue, a B&G macaw and alum that's boarding at our facility with a piece of cake on the tip of her beak.

Cake certainly isn't the most healthy food item for parrots to eat, but in small amounts on special occasions, it's enjoyed!
Here is a video of Butch, a B&G macaw that's up for adoption, enjoying a bite of cake. You can hear him say "It's good!" near the end of the video.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Kermit, a YNA alum of the Center, came to visit us last Saturday! All of the volunteers could not believe how beautiful she looked. She is very well-taken care of in her home and almost glows. You can tell how happy she is now.
Kermit has a huge vocabulary and is very friendly. She loves exercising (which is a great thing -- particularly for Amazons who have the tendency to become obese).
A big thank you goes out to her family for taking such great care of her and for bringing her for a visit! Even though she didn't stay at the Center very long before she found her family last year, her winning personality captured our hearts!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Several years ago, the company Cages by Design donated a large cage to CARE. This cage is big enough, with dividers, to house 3 large macaws, and we used it for that purpose for several months. However, we decided to instead transform this cage into an aviary for some of our smaller birds.
This set-up allows various small birds, including at times budgies, cockatiels, and Bourke's parakeets, to live their lives in a much bigger enclosure than if they were in individual cages. It is very interesting to see how they all interact with each other!
Here are some pictures of this enclosure:

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Toys play such an important part in captive parrots' lives. At the Center, we strive to provide every parrot with several types of toys, including wood, other destructible, preening, foraging, puzzle, leather and beads, etc., etc.!

Strategically placed toys can also provide a hiding place for your prey animal when she just doesn't want to be seen. This is especially important if your parrot's cage is in front of a window, as he will need to have a hiding place in case he sees anything scary outside.

We sell many different toys at the Center, through our retail area and our online store (which we are currently in the process of updating). All proceeds from these sales go directly towards the parrots under the Center's care.

Keeping some parrots in toys can be an expensive proposition! Every year we have parrots surrendered to us with only plastic toys, and sometimes with no perches because "he just destroyed them anyway." But that's the point! Parrots need to destroy! Luckily, there are some low-cost alternatives. Many parrots love chewing on catalogs, magazines, magazine inserts, phone books, adding machine tape, and other inexpensive items.

If you're having trouble finding the perfect toys for your parrot, stop by and we may be able to help!

Here is our wall of Chip'n Chew toys. These wood toys are designed and manufactured by shelter volunteers. We also sell many other toys, manufactured by us and others.

Here is a picture of a senegal parrot on one of her favorite toys that her owner bought at the shelter. It's a very versatile toy because is can be used as a perch, destructible toy, and foraging toy!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

We recently received two baby cockatiels from Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservancy ("The Domes"). As a side note, if you've never been there, we would strongly recommend a visit! CARE participates in Rainforest Night at the Domes every year (this usually happens in the Fall and we will post information about that as the date nears).

When people tire of their birds, they sometimes release them into the Domes, probably thinking they're giving them a natural life. But that is not the case! Many birds do not recognize the food left out for the resident birds of the Domes as food, and starve. Additionally, introduced birds could bring disease. If they do survive, they might reproduce and overpopulate the area.

Please do not release your birds in the Domes or outside. Parrots that have lived their entire lives in living rooms do not have the skills to survive. Contact us and we should be able to help out with rehoming your parrot!

Here are a few pictures of the Domes babies. They will be put up for adoption once they are completely weaned and properly fledged. Check back for more information!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

One of the most rewarding aspects of volunteering at CARE is when a parrot falls in love with and gets adopted by a new family! We love hearing updates of how our alumni are doing, and it's so much fun when they come for a visit!

Keegan, the white-capped pionus pictured here, was adopted into a loving family last year. He came to visit last Saturday for a nail trim, and we got to see how beautiful he is. He gets tons of attention and is starting to speak. He loves every member of his new family and is very gentle with the children. Additionally, his family has begun clicker training him, to let his intelligence shine through!

Pionus parrots can make fantastic pets. They are a manageable size and often have gentle demeanors. They are extremely intelligent and not too loud! They are also gorgeous, especially when natural light reflects off of their feathers.

A big thank you goes out to Keegan's new family for providing him with such a fantastic life!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Although this doesn't concern parrots, we thought it was important enough to mention on our blog. Plus, we'll tell a cute parrot story at the end!

OK to Forward and Cross Post
We are asking that people continue to click on the links to the two news videos by TMJ 4 on Puppy Mills.

We'd like to see this be the most often viewed story of the month.

Even if you have already seen the coverage, please click on the links below to keep this story in the news. More clicks mean more coverage. More coverage means more pressure on our legislators.

Click on the video link to see the actual broadcast.
Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project

Visitors to the Center may have met Ernie and Amy, 2 chihuahua mixes that often visit. Ernie is getting older and sometimes wanders a bit, so volunteers are often asking, "Where's Ernie?" Several months ago, a timneh grey was adopted by a friend of the shelter. When she visited a month or so after the adoption, she asked who Ernie was. Apparently this bird picked up the phrase "Where's Ernie?" while he was at the shelter, and was asking that question in his new home!

Friday, May 11, 2007

If you've visited the shelter, you've probably met our mascot, Joey. His story was told in a previous entry. Here is a video of him in our retail area. Can you see the dark marks on his crest? Joey loves to play with newspaper!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

This is Butch, a blue and gold macaw, hanging from a toy in our aviary. We just love this picture of him!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

We currently have 8 quakers up for adoption at the Center. These guys have a lot of personality packed into a mid-sized body. They are playful, intelligent, and can be great talkers. They can be wonderful companions in a home with older children. They can be loud and messy, like most parrots!

The website of the Quaker Parakeet Society has lots of information on these delightful birds!
Quakers are illegal in some states because they are very adaptable and have established feral flocks as far north as Chicago! They are considered to be agricultural pests.
If you've been thinking about adding a quaker to your flock, consider adoption!
UPDATE on several birds discussed in previous days: Cassie (lovebird) has been adopted! Everyone else is still looking for their new family.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Jake, an approximately 14 year old Nanday Conure, was the 100th bird released to CARE during 2007.

We don't have a lot of information on Jake, but she was obviously well-loved as she is one of the sweetest birds we've ever had here.

Jake's previous owners had taken her to the vet to euthanize her because they were no longer able to take care of her. Luckily the vet was able to convince them to release her to us and give her a chance at a wonderful life with a new family. She is very healthy and has a wonderful disposition.

Along with several other adoptable birds, Jake appeared on WTMJ Channel 4, NBC's local Milwaukee affiliate's show The Morning Blend on May 7, 2007. You can see that show here, and we will probably have it on our website shortly.

Nanday Conures can be extremely loud, so they do not make good pets for people who live in apartments or are noise-sensitive. Jake loves to play with toys and is a voracious wood-chewer.

If you're interested in adopting Jake or any other bird at our shelter, please fill out a Bird Wanted Questionnaire. And please help us spread the word about our facility, so when people can no longer care for their birds, they know there is an option other than euthanizing or releasing them outside.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Cockatiels survive dog attack

Two female cockatiels, Lucky and Paige, were recently brought to the Center because they had been mauled by their owner's dog, and their owner didn't want to incur the veterinary costs necessary to bring these ladies back to health. The pictures below were taken almost a week after their surrender, but you can still see some redness on her wing.
We vetted them and they had serious injuries, although not life-threatening. They are on meds and healing up very nicely. They are currently recovering, but will go up for adoption once they've completely healed. We would like these two to be adopted together. They have delightful personalities and love eating! They are approximately 5-7 years old.
If you're interested in adopting Lucky and Paige, or any of the other cockatiels that we have up for adoption, please fill out a Bird Wanted Questionnaire!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Resident Profile: Sasha (Mitred Conure) & Kellie (White-Eyed Conure)

Visitors to our shelter may recognize Kellie (left) and Sasha (right). These teenagers are very entertaining! When Sasha was released to us about 5 years ago, we didn't think he'd make it through the end of the month. He was in horrible shape, having spent the majority of his captive life in a cage that was so small he couldn't turn around. We improved his diet & environment, and have been rewarded with an entertaining fellow! Sasha prefers birds to people, and found his soulmate in Kellie a few years ago. Both are males. Kellie is tame, but prefers spending his days with Sasha.

These guys have a zest for life! When they see someone they like pass their cage, they run to the front of their cage and begin begging for attention. They love to play peek-a-boo with visitors. They absolutely love destroying egg cartons and soda boxes.

In the following video, a volunteer was trying to capture their happy reaction to egg carton destruction. However, once they realized they were being watched, they came over and started showing off for the camera!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Scooter is an umbrella cockatoo that was released to the Center in 2003. After spending about two years at our facility, he found his forever home with one of our volunteers, and is now a member of a very active family! Anyone who has spent time around umbrella cockatoos knows that they love being silly. One of Scooter's favorite things to do is put a box on his head and run around!!! His family was able to take a picture of him pretending to be a stick of butter. He also loves Girl Scout cookie boxes!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

As previously mentioned in this blog, representatives from CARE appeared at the AWARE pet show on February 10, 2007. In addition to having a booth where we sold toys and interacted with the public, Lori and John spoke about the commitment that owning an exotic bird requires.

We anticipate returning to AWARE's annual show in 2008!

We recently received some photos of that event from someone who was there (thank you!) and we wanted to share them!!!
Morning Blend Appearance!

Lori and Lisa will once again appear on WTMJ NBC Channel 4 on the Morning Blend!

They are scheduled to be on Monday May 7 at 10:00 am. They will be bringing small and medium adoptable birds on the show with them.

As with past appearances, video will be on the Morning Blend's website later in the day, and we will also have the video on our website.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Custom Bird Portraits

If you've ever thought about commissioning a portrait of your feathered friend, now might be the perfect time! Talented artist Mary Hughes paints close-up portraits, capturing the personality of your bird. Here is a link to her website.

From looking at the images above, you might think it's not possible that the actual paintings look even better than the pictures of the paintings, but they do!
If you're interested in commissioning a painting of your friend, please contact Mary directly. All you need to do is provide some pictures, and maybe answer some questions so that she can capture your friend. Mary is also able to do other animals -- contact her for more information! Her contact information can be found on her website.
Mary has generously agreed to donate a portion of the proceeds of each painting to CARE, so please mention that you heard about her from us!