Monday, November 30, 2009


Scooter is a lesser sulfur crested cockatoo. He's about 7 years old. As far as we know, Scooter spent the first 5 years of his life in an 18" X 18" cage -- much too small for a cockatoo, even a small too like Scooter!

A woman purchased him at a flea market. She already owned a cockatiel and thought it would be cool to also own a cockatoo. After all, how much extra work could a too be than a tiel? (If you're thinking about getting a too, you must visit MyToos to see exactly how a too is different! Beware -- cockatoo screams start up when you go to that website, so be careful if you're at work!)

Less than a week later, she surrendered Scooter to us, after he bit her, and she realized that perhaps she'd bitten off more than she could chew. Cockatoos are wild animals and are not suitable companions for most homes.
We placed Scooter in a home, but his new owner started showing allergies and couldn't keep him. They tried selling him on craigslist. However, our adoption contract clearly states that any bird adopted from us must be returned if he can't be kept. We try very hard to place birds in homes where they can stay for the rest of their life; however, we know that isn't always possible due to changing circumstances. For that reason, we insist that all birds be returned to us so that we can do screening of homes and try to find the best home possible -- to try to stop the cycle of these parrots being sold from home to home.
To make a long story short, Scooter is back at the Center and once again looking for a new home. He hopes that this time, he'll be lucky and find someone who will take good care of him for the rest of his life!

Friday, November 27, 2009


Meet Peaches -- due to her name, you probably thought we'd be introducing you to a Moluccan Cockatoo, but Peaches is a Blue and Gold Macaw!

Isn't she gorgeous?
Peaches has a very sad story, and we don't even know most of it. She's wildcaught. We have no idea how old she is, but our best guess is that she's in her 40s.
She is arthritic, wobbly, and not in the best of health. She had a severe scissor beak that we fixed so that she can once again eat normally. She also had not been unsheathing and preening her tail feathers, so we helped her with that as well. In just a week with us, her health has improved considerably. We're working on converting to her to great diet and teaching her to play with toys.
The person who surrendered her told us that a child poked her left eye out with a stick. As you can see, she is missing her eye, though we have no way to verify that story. Her right eye is not much better, and we suspect she is mostly blind. She appears to be able to see some light/dark shadows, but her remaining eye does not pin as a macaw's eye should.Peaches is not yet up for adoption, as we need to get her on a better diet and stabilize her health. However, we are already looking for the perfect home for her, once she gets to that point.

In the past, our volunteers would often take home birds like Peaches -- the birds who needed hospice care. However, as we've had more birds in these circumstances released to us, it is no longer possible as the volunteers' homes are filling up. Also, once they receive care, these resilient birds amaze us with their ability to live years longer than originally thought, which is great, but requires more homes able to care for these special-needs birds!It's more difficult for us to place larger special needs birds, like macaws and cockatoos. It's not that difficult to find a home that has room for one more special-needs budgie or conure, but the space requirements of large macaws and cockatoos make it more challenging.

If you are interested in meeting Peaches and perhaps providing her a wonderful last few years to her life, she'd love to meet you!

Friday, November 20, 2009


Lemon is a lesser sulfur crested cockatoo that was surrendered to us several months ago. He had been a loved companion until his owner got married.

Since Lemon had been raised in a way that made him think he was this person's mate, he was understandably upset by the intrusion of someone else into his household who acted as though she was his mate's mate! What about Lemon?

Lemon responded by attacking this interloper, and who can blame him? Sadly for Lemon, this resulted in him being locked in his cage for years, in order to protect the humans from his bites.

Here he is the day he was surrendered to CARE. One of our volunteers was drinking water from a bottle. Lemon begged for some. Who knows if it reminded him of being syringe-fed as a baby, or whether his previous companion shared his water bottle? In any case, Lemon was starved for attention!
Lemon found his home this week, with a family that understands that cockatoos need to be treated as part of the family and not as decorations.

Lemon is yet another example of why it's important to not treat companion parrots as though they are mates. This just sends mixed signals to the parrot, and often results in aggressive behaviors towards the human's actual mate. That, in turn, often leads to birds being passed from home to home, or locked in their cages for months or years. Additionally, in females, this can lead to egg-binding or other potentially fatal conditions.

Some ways humans encourage this mate bond include petting their parrots on their backs or under their tails, and allowing regurgitation, vent-rubbing, or tail-lifting while the bird is perched on the human. Instead, confine your petting to the neck and higher. If your parrot begins to show breeding behavior, don't reinforce it. Just set the parrot down and walk away giving him time to cool down.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Adams County hoarder -- help needed

We realize this is the second non-bird post in two days, but these are unusual circumstances and we'd like to help out as much as possible.

Lori received this e-mail today:
I don't know if all of you have seen the tv coverage on the hoarder bust up in Adams/Friendship but it's a bad one. 37 dogs, tons of rabbits, two horses, guinea pigs, was bad. I'm working on coordinating the relief effort for the shelter with Lori Fowler of Wisconsin Dog Rescue. If any of you are in the area, they can use rabbit food and bedding and cages. They also will need money!

I'm pasting in the link to their home page where they have a Donate Now button through PayPal (if you donate, note on the comments section that you're doing it as a WI Chi Rescue member so Christina knows) and you can also do an internet search for the stories. I was up there this past Sunday doing triage and documenting the abuse with the staff of Shelter from the Storm. It was bad to say the least. All the animals are still court evidence at this time and cannot be moved from where they are or released to rescue groups. The first court date is set at Dec. 12 but we're hoping the costs of caring for all the animals will make the owners relinquish them. This is a very very small rural shelter with only one full time person on staff.

Christina Ackerman is the director and is working her tail off along with three part-time staffers. They are doing an incredible job. If you are close enough to go and volunteer some time cleaning cages, feeding animals, whatever, please let me know and we'll put you on the schedule. Don't call the shelter though...they are not answering the phones as they don't have the manpower and it's just too much for them right now. Thanks!

CARE has worked with Christina Ackerman (the director) in the past -- she has sent birds down to us so they could receive the specialized care birds need and that most shelters, geared towards dogs and cats, are unable to provide. She's a fantastic woman, and we'd like to help her help these animals.

Lori has a trip planned to that area sometime next week and would be able to drop off any donations you may have. Here is a link to their normal wish list, and as listed above, they need rabbit food, bedding, and cages. If you have any physical items to donate, please drop them off at CARE and Lori will bring them with her.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Greyhounds in Need

This isn't the typical "grey" posting you'd normally see here (ours being normally of the African and avian variety), but we'd like to help get the word out, given the unusual circumstances and large amount of placements that we hope will happen.

As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported last week, Dairyland Greyhound Park in Kenosha, Wisconsin is closing shortly, leaving many greyhound dogs without homes.

Please contact Greyhound Pets of America - Wisconsin if you have the space in your home and heart for one. Here is some additional information on what they're like as pets.

Perky -- another happy story

What a wonderful week we've had in terms of updates from parrots we've placed! Perky is a sulfur-crested cockatoo that was particularly challenging to place. He had severe aggression issues and we needed to find exactly the right home for him. This was a case where the bird really needed to pick his person instead of the other way around.

Perky made a good choice, as the person he picked was interested in adopting him!

Here is an update we recently received, along with this picture:

As I am E-mailing, Perky is in the cage right next to me. He is doing fantastic! He is so soft and fluffy now; remember how he had no downys at all before?

He and my Congo African Grey talk back and forth. I have never put them together as I do not want to risk any physical aggression between the two, but they like being side by side in their cages. One of their more humorous interactions comes when my CAG says, "What's your name?" and he replies "Perky Bird!" They also exchange a lot of hellos (what polite and gracious parrots I have!).

He is out with me most of the day when I am home. I'm still trying to figure him out and what triggers his screaming. But, from what I hear about Toos, it's just something they do. And I'm lucky because he doesn't do it that much, just occasionally.

He'll also yell, "Bye Bye!" and I really think it's when he wants to be alone.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Niko Update

Over the past year and a half, we've occasionally posted updates about Niko, a senegal parrot who was surrendered to us in deplorable conditions. Here are those posts.

We are very happy to report that Niko found a wonderful forever home! Here is what his new family wrote to us:

Niko gets to see a nice variety of weather out his window. He has a very large cage. It is 30 inches wide and 20 inches deep, and 36 inches tall, plus it sits on a stand, so the top of the cage is at 61 inches tall. He gets to look out a sliding glass door and loves all the birds at the feeders in the back yard.

He still plucks his feathers and looks mostly like down. Mid-Summer he actually let all of his feathers grow back, just like a senegal should look. He was really beautiful!!!! I should have taken photos of him then, but I guess I thought he'd stay that way. Towards later summer he plucked them out again. I don't care though as long as he's happy.

He has a lot of perches and boings to climb on. I did this especially since he doesn't have feathers in his wings to fly, so he climbs around. He is a really good eater and
I love giving him a variety of seeds and nuts. You're right in that he loves almonds!!

He has his daily schedule of things to do for the day as well. First thing in the morning, he is very sleepy when I take his cover off his cage. His head is down like he's praying his morning prayers. So cute. Soon he's bright eyed and bushy tailed and making what I call his morning calls. He calls out to the birds outside perhaps. He makes the house very cheery in the morning. I really love hearing his morning chirps and tweets (and some screechy notes thrown in) as he's just so happy!! A couple times during the day he likes to nap.

When I come home, he sees me through the glass and usually greets me with a certain call that sounds like a couple trucks screeching to a halt, and I really love that as well. I come right over to his cage to greet him properly as well!!

My mother has moved in with me as she started with mild ahlzeimers, and she loves him as well. I also have 2 dogs, a basset hound and a shih tzu. So the bird and dogs keep her busy when I'm at work. When I come home, she always has some stories about all that went on during the day, and often it's Niko she talks about.

At night, he loves to watch TV with us and especially likes the noisy parts of the shows and especially music. He loves to add his notes and it's really funny to listen to him and how happy he is being part of the nightly entertainment!! ha!!

My step nephew and neices came up with the nick name of "Firecracker" as that's just what he sounded like they said. That fits him also.

So, I wanted to let you know all is well with little Niko. He is happy and well in his new forever home, and, he is most certainly loved here and thoroughly enjoyed!!!

Hope this finds you well and doing good also.

Thanks for taking such good care of him before us.

Blessings.... and a BIG THANK YOU to you from NIKO !!!!

We LOVE getting reports like these. It's what makes everything worth it. When we first met him, he was terrified and we could not get the smell of cigarette smoke off of him. His foster home did a wonderful job of getting him to trust people again, which ultimately paved the way for him to finally find happiness.

What a great report!