Friday, May 28, 2010

Meet a quaker

This quaker was found outside; a stray. He was either an escapee or was intentionally released outside when his owners tired of him. Despite extensive efforts, we have been unable to find his previous owners, so we suspect his release may have been intentional.

Although he is a bit cage aggressive (like many quakers), he is very sweet once he's out of his cage. I am saying "he," but we are waiting for sexing results, at which time we will name him or her.This little guy deserves to be loved and wanted. He will be up for adoption shortly, so stop by if you're interested in meeting him!

And of course I couldn't miss the opportunity to warn about taking parrots outside, unrestrained. Even if a bird's wings are clipped, even if they haven't flown before, with the right combination of wind and adrenaline, a parrot can go quite far, out of eyesight, and perhaps lost forever. Please be sure to always have your parrot in a secure carrier or harness when you're outside, even if it's just for a short time.

Every year, we get calls from people who have lost their parrot. And we hear the same things: "She doesn't know how to fly! His wings are clipped! It was just for a minute!" Some people are lucky enough to recover their bird, but many others are not.

Please be safe!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

We've got hamsters!

I know, what's a bird rescue doing with hamsters? Animal control recently had a large number of hamsters surrendered. They were able to place most of the hamsters in local humane societies, who will work to find them homes. However, there were a few remaining. Since we work closely with animal control on birds, they asked if we might be able to help them out with the hamsters.

We didn't want to see them euthanized simply due to lack of homes, so we agreed. We were able to place most of them, but we kept back one female who was suspiciously bigger than the others. Our suspicions were confirmed the next day when she gave birth to a litter of 8 babies!

Since that time, we've learned more than we ever thought we'd know about hamsters! In this video, they are exactly 2 weeks old. Their eyes are open and they are beginning to eat on their own. They should be fully weaned and ready to go to their new homes when they are 4 weeks old -- around June 3.

The mother has been incredibly sweet and tame all throughout this process. We have a home for her, and for several of the babies, but we are looking for homes for the other babies.

Our hand model graciously agreed to let me take a picture of one of the babies. We are handling them from a young age in an effort to keep them tame and gentle.If you're interested in adopting one of the babies, please contact the Center. We're hoping to adopt them out as soon as they are ready since they can reproduce as soon as they are weaned! We need to prevent that, so we will have to house them in separate enclosures once that occurs. They would be much happier going directly to a forever, loving home!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Alumni story: Fred

Meet Fred, a beautiful Moluccan Cockatoo. It is very rare to see an adult fully feathered Moluccan Cockatoo in captivity, as they are among the parrots that suffer most in our homes. Though Fred was hatched in captivity, he didn't really have any exposure to humans until he was 8 years old. We suspect this might be the reason he is so well-adjusted now.Fred was adopted by a very patient woman who allowed him to come to her on his own. As stated above, he wasn't used to people, but he learned to trust his new owner. Soon, an amazing transformation took place as an incredible bond formed.

Fred had an adventurous summer several years ago. His owner was bringing him here for a nail and wing trim. She placed him in the carrier she always used. Being a cockatoo, Fred had steadily enlarged the holes in the plastic of the carrier and escaped through them while being brought to the car!

Fred ended up spending over a month outside, flying around the trees in Milwaukee. His owner never gave up hope and, with the help of friends and neighbors, managed to get him back. The vet bills necessary to bring him back to health after his escape totaled over $2,000! But he is back to perfect health now.

He serves as a reminder about how important to make sure your bird is safely contained while outside. His story had a happy ending, but not all do.

Fred was recently boarding here while his owner was on vacation. He is very mechanically inclined and managed to escape out of several different cages, despite our best efforts at rigging up a Fred-proof cage. Finally, we found a cage that could contain him. His owner told us that he has escaped from his cage at home on occasion as well!
As always, if you're thinking about adding a cockatoo to your house (not Fred -- he's got a home!) , please visit mytoos. As always, if you're going there at work, be aware that cockatoo noises will start while you're on the welcome page.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Magi Update

Magi is doing incredibly well. While we normally don't advocate allowing parrots on shoulders as that can lead to face bites (even unintentionally), due to Magi's poor balance, he feels safest here. As his feathers regrow and he regains his balance, we will work on getting him off of shoulders and perching on hands/arms where the handler can watch his body language!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Meet Olive

Meet Olive, a quaker. She has been with us for several months now. When she was first surrendered, she was mutilating under her wings. She stopped mutilating, but the way the healing took place, she would flap her wings and reopen her wounds. What a distressing way to live.
We discussed the options with our vet -- trying to make the best decision for Olive. Our vet, Dr. Bloss, suggested something a bit experimental. She performed surgery on Olive to remove the scar tissue that had built up over many months of mutilation. The big problem? Olive can't flap her wings for two weeks, or it's likely she'll reopen her wounds and we'll be facing the same problem.

What to do? Dr. Bloss built her this box, where she will live for approximately two weeks. As you can see, she is playing with toys and is about as happy as one could expect under the circumstances.Soon, Olive can be in a regular cage again and we'll see how well this treatment worked. We have high hopes! We'll keep you updated on her progress.

We are very lucky to have such an experienced and intelligent vet who is willing to work with us to develop innovative solutions to the problems the birds surrendered to us face!

Obviously, Olive is not yet up for adoption as she is on medical hold as we work through her problems. However, we do have many other quakers up for adoption, and Olive will be looking for a home once she is healthy again.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Aftermath of a hoarding situation

Last week, we got a call from animal control in another county. Over 40 birds had been found in deplorable condition. Their owner realized they needed help and agreed to sign over the birds to us.
The birds were fed a diet of canned cat food and sunflower seeds. As parrots are mainly herbavores, this was not good.
The birds had many wounds, recent and healed. It appears that some occurred when they attempted to flap their wings while housed in too-small cages and other occurred from fights.
These birds are not yet up for adoption, but will be shortly. We were already full at the Center, so these additional birds are placing strain on our resources as several will likely require expensive vet care to get them healthy again.
In just a few short days, they have shown remarkable improvement. Parrots are incredibly resilient and these guys just need the right homes to come around. We are working with several other parrot rescues near us that share our values, in hopes of reaching a broader range of potential homes to get them placed more quickly.
These pictures were taken at the Center, in their travel cages, before we did intakes on them.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

2009 in review; 2010 so far

During 2009, we had 322 animals surrendered to us. That's fewer animals than in 2008, when we had 366, but many of the animals surrendered in 2009 had more severe medical and behavioral problems than we've seen in the past.

Here is the breakdown:

8 African Greys
11 Amazons
53 Budgies
9 Canaries
67 Cockatiels
16 Cockatoos
25 Conures
14 Doves
4 Eclectus
21 Finches
1 Frog
2 Lories/Lorikeets
23 Lovebirds
9 Macaws
25 Parakeets
7 Parrotlets
6 Pionus
4 Poicephalus
14 Poultry
1 Bearded Dragon
2 Tortoises

Through May 15, 2010, we have had 195 animals surrendered to us, which far outpaces last year. They are as follows:

3 African Greys
3 Amazons
15 Budgies
9 Canaries
54 Cockatiels
7 Cockatoos
9 Conures
8 Doves
21 Finches
12 Lovebirds
6 Macaws
7 Parakeets
3 Parrotlets
3 Pionus
2 Poicephalus
1 Rosella
5 Poultry
1 Bearded Dragon
1 Gecko
3 Guinea Pigs
20 Hamsters
1 Rat
1 Turtle

As you can see, yet again the most common parrot surrendered to us is the cockatiel, with budgies, finches, and lovebirds not far behind. If you're thinking of adding a parrot of any size to your house, please consider adoption! Many of these animals do not have severe medical or behavioral problems -- they were just given up when their owners' circumstances changed or when they lost interest. We can work with you to find the right fit for your family.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sheboygan meet and greet postponed

The meet and greet in Sheboygan scheduled for this weekend, mentioned here, is postponed due to an injury sustained by the volunteer in charge of the event.

We hope to reschedule and will let you know when it will take place.

Attention, gardeners!

This summer, we seem to have a larger than usual number of large, veggie-loving parrots. We've been going broke buying produce! (Don't worry, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but these parrots do eat a lot!) Now that nicer weather is upon us in Wisconsin, we're hoping that some of you might be able to help us out!

This is what the parrots love to eat:Made from fresh veggies:If you have a garden that produces more than your family can eat, we'd love some of your excess! Or, if you have an extra plot of land and want to plant a parrot garden, give us a call and we can let you know some of their favorites (like jalapeno peppers...)If you're not sure if something is parrot-safe or not, give us a call and we can let you know.

Thanks in advance for helping us to feed them a great diet!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Meet Daisy

Daisy is a yellow crowned amazon who is in her mid-20s. She is very personable and loves attention. In particular, she loves being the center of attention! She is very intelligent and loves learning new things.
Daisy is our newest resident parrot. She will do educational events with CARE, so you may see her around.Daisy's owner realized she wasn't getting the attention and stimulation she needed, which is why she came to us. Isn't she gorgeous?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Alumni story: Cinder

Cinder came to us several years ago when a local pet store shut down. He had spent several years living in the pet store. That is not a good formative environment for a bird! He was frequently harassed by people sticking their hands in his cage. As a result, at a young age, he learned to defend himself by biting.

Cinder lucked out by finding a great home, with a family who'd recently lost their timneh. He realized that he didn't need to bite to communicate, though he still will occasionally try, so his family has to be on alert for his body language!

I'm not sure why these pictures are showing up so small, but here is Cinder on one of his play stands:And another picture:
Cinder is definitely one of the lucky ones, despite an unhappy beginning.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Meet Tango

Tango is a male severe macaw who is approximately 8 years old. He came to us from animal control after his previous owners were evicted, so we don't know much about his history.

Tango has been with us for several months now, and has wormed his way into the heart of most of the volunteers. He is one of the most entertaining birds we have ever had here. It's hard to be in a bad mood when Tango's around! He loves to sing and dance, even when there's no music around. He'll make the music!He came to us with a beak that was so overgrown, due to malnutrition and lack of chewing opportunities, that we wondered how he was able to eat. Even now, he has what's called a scissor beak, where the top and bottom parts of his beak do not align properly. You can kind of see that in this picture, though it's very pronounced in person:Tango currently needs frequent beak trims. We are hoping that now that he's on a good diet, and has tons of chew toys, beak trims may become a thing of the past. Maybe his beak will even align properly, though, if that does happen, it's likely to be years down the road.

Severe macaws do not make good pets for most people. They tend to be very beaky birds (Tango is no exception) and that beakiness can escalate to biting when they get too excited. They usually bond very strongly to one person in the house and actively work to show their displeasure to the unchosen person. They are also very loud and scream frequently (once again, behavior we see in Tango).

Additionally, they go through a lot of wood, so keeping them in toys can become a major expense. A higher percentage of severe macaws come in with overgrown beaks than any other parrot surrendered to the Center, because their owners tire of spending so much money for toys and perches for such an ungrateful and irritating parrot (words we have heard from several different owners surrendering their severe macaws).

Despite the characteristics that make a challenge to live with in captivity, Tango is a delightful parrot. In the right home, where his owners will work on getting him enough physical and mental exercise, he will thrive.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Meet Magi

Meet Magi, an absolutely adorable baby senegal. She was purchased from a local pet store. She is only 18 months old! It is heartbreaking.

At the time these pictures were taken, Magi had been with us for less than a week. During those few days, she has made incredible feather growth progress -- imagine what she looked like before!

Magi will be going in for a full vet work-up shortly (and by the time this post is published, it's likely she'll already have been to the vet), though we suspect she was pulling out her feathers due to a peanut allergy. In her previous home, she was fed a diet of almost exclusively peanuts and peanut butter. We have eliminated all peanuts from her diet.
We have to be very careful when handling Magi -- you will see one of our volunteer's hands behind her, ready to catch her should she fall. Because she has no tail feathers and almost no wing feathers, she would fall like a rock and risk potential serious injury.

Part of the reason Magi was surrendered is that she loved her owner, a woman, but hated that woman's husband. Instead of working out a solution that would allow Magi to stay in her home, the husband issued an ultimatum (either you get rid of that bird or I will). Because she loved her so much, Magi's owner did the compassionate thing and surrendered her to us.Magi willingly steps up and seeks out the attention of humans. She is not yet up for adoption, as we need to get her health issues figured out. But once she is stable, she will make a loving companion for some lucky person!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Meet Stormy

Meet Stormy, a Moluccan Cockatoo. We don't know much of Stormy's history, and what we do know is very sad. She definitely spent some time living in a meth house. After being confiscated by animal control from that situation, she went to a humane society which was not equipped to deal with the complicated needs of parrots in general, much less those of a Moluccan Cockatoo!
Stormy's luck changed due to some compassionate people who found out about her plight. They arranged transport to get her to us, where she will begin her new life.She's still settling in, and not up for adoption until we can get her health issues under control. Stormy does not know how to step up, but she has an amazingly sweet personality. We are working with her on learning to step up, and we're sure she'll have mastered that skill in no time!

Since Stormy is likely to be with us for a significant period of time, we will try to update you regularly on her progress!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

We've got food!

Last week, we got huge shipments in from several of our food vendors. Our shelves are overflowing. We have over one ton of food in stock!

At the Center, all of your purchases go directly back to the birds -- providing them with shelter, food, toys, vet care, etc., while they stay with us.
We only carry the highest quality foods -- products that we feed the parrots at the Center, and that our volunteers feed their own birds. Brands we carry include Harrison's, Goldenfeast, WingNuts, Totally Organic Pellets, and Zupreem.Our volunteers can help you find the right food for your birds -- just stop by and we can help you out!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Kahlua Update

Kahlua, the senegal we introduced to you last month, is still here. He was helping us to stock the shelves last week. And by helping, I mean keeping us company! What else could you ask for from a parrot?Sometimes we get parrots who are so well-mannered we don't understand why they haven't been adopted yet. Kahlua is one of those parrots. Many poicephalus parrot are one person birds, and it's certainly possible that Kahlua will be one in a home environment, but at the Center, he has been an absolute delight to everyone.

He is very intelligent and curious. His eyes are constantly pinning, as a sign of interest, and he mumbles in his hard-to-understand senegal speak. He frequently laughs along with us, and is a joy to be around.

Of course, he is a wild animal, so there are no guarantees on his behavior in a private home; however we feel strongly that in a loving home where he is provided with the right environment, including activities to keep his mind and body active and healthy, he will be a much-beloved addition to the family. It's just hard to believe that he hasn't become so already!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Meet Thor

Meet Thor, a 12 year old scarlet macaw. Isn't she gorgeous?Thor was owned by a woman who also owned another macaw and a cockatoo. She recently lost her house, and was unable to keep her parrots.

Thor was very much loved and is quite a delight to be around! If she feels she's not the center of attention, she will call attention to herself, and greets new entrants to the room with a cheery "hello!"

She is the first scarlet macaw we've had up for adoption in several years. We are looking for an experienced macaw home for her, since scarlets can be a bit of a handful at times!

If you'd like to meet her, please stop by the Center!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Meet Polly

Meet Polly, a blue and gold macaw who's around 20 years old. She's been here a couple of weeks now, and is doing much better, but when she was surrendered to us, she was in horrible shape.

She'd had an e-collar on for over 6 years with no respite, because of plucking. She was over 250 grams underweight, and over 1 inch had to be taken off of her overgrown beak. Just by looking at her you could tell that something wasn't right.
We rushed her to the vet, where science confirmed our suspicions that she wasn't in top health. Her white blood cell count was around 45,000; 11,000 would have been normal. Our vet did a barium series and found a "mass in dorsal abdominal coelom composed of dilated intestines."

She was placed on three medications -- Baytril (antibiotic), Fluconazol (antifungal), and Metacam (pain relief). She needs to take these for 30 days, and then she goes back to the vet for reevaluation.Despite her illness, Polly has a wonderful macaw personality! She sings several song snippets and loves to dance!

Obviously, Polly is not yet ready for adoption. We need to get her healthy first.

Polly is yet another example of the importance of yearly vet checks. She was much loved by her owner, who is a wonderful person. However, had her owner taken her in for yearly vet checks, it's very possible that Polly could have been saved years of pain and would now not be facing a shortened lifespan.

Birds are experts at hiding illnesses. In the wild, a sick bird is frequently driven out of the flock to die and also becomes more susceptible to predators. Often, by the time physical symptoms are such that humans recognize there's a problem, it can be too late. Yearly vet checks can keep an eye on trends and resolve problems before they start.

We'll update Polly's progress here. She's an incredible girl!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Upcoming events

CARE will have representatives at the following events:
  • Saturday 5/8/10: Fond du Lac Pet Expo
  • Sunday 5/16/10: Pug Fest at the Milwaukee Sports Complex
  • Saturday 5/22/10 & Sunday 5/23/10: 2nd annual Meet & Greet in Sheboygan at the Farmers' Market
Please call the Center at (262) 628-3719 if you have questions about these events or would like any additional information.

Additionally, the Animart on Madison's East Side will have an end cap to feature CARE's toys during the month of May!

Thank you for all of your support! Every time you purchase toys, food, cages, etc., from us, all proceeds go directly back into the Center, to help unwanted parrots find homes.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Meet Jerry

Meet Jerry, a mousebird. He stayed at the Center for several months while looking for the right home. Mousebirds (micebird?) are not very common in captivity. They do well when housed with other mousebirds.

Jerry was so social that he even perked up when housed near finches! He wouldn't be happy as an only mousebird, so we kept up the hunt for a home for him where he could have a companion.

And wouldn't you know that we found that home for Jerry? His new owner is very experienced with mousebirds. She was able to cuddle him immediately upon meeting him -- it was love at first sight for both of them!

She's told us that he gets along well with her other mousebird. What a happy ending for Jerry!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Meet Sapphire

Meet Sapphire, a pacific parrotlet. She was transferred to us from another humane society, so we don't know much about her history as we were not able to speak directly with her former owners.

What we do know is that she was caged with two budgies, who ganged up on her and were in the process of scalping her. Had they remained cagemates for much longer, Sapphire would have died. She is now almost completely healed -- you can still see a small scab on her head.
She is still a bit skittish and is still learning how to step up, but she is quite the delight! She really enjoys hanging out with people. Here, she'd flown up to land on the head of one of our volunteers:If you'd like to adopt Sapphire, stop by the Center and see if she might fit in well in your house.