Meet our adoption coordinators: Liz, Hickory, N.C.

Continuing our celebration of National Volunteer Week and the numerous volunteers who make what Phoenix Landing does, possible, today we are highlighting our Western North Carolina adoption coordinator, Liz! Liz has been volunteering with Phoenix Landing for years, but is our newest adoption coordinator, having just agreed to officially take on the role last week!

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Liz and Mango

1. For what area are you the adoption coordinator for Phoenix Landing?
Western NC, Hickory Metro, covering approximately 5 counties. My home is in Morganton NC, Burke County

2. How long have you served in this volunteer role?
Just agreed to become official last week. But have helped teach a few classes at The Landing in Asheville and with the help of our volunteer and friend Lannie Ellison, I have set up education booths at bird fairs and pet expos for the last 4 yrs.

3. How did you first learn about or get involved with Phoenix Landing?
We met them at a booth that was set up at the Pet Expo in Hickory about 7 or 8 years ago. We adopted some Bourke Parakeets that had come out of a situation in Catawba County.

4. There are many causes and non-profits out there to get involved with, why did you choose this one?
Local and common interests and viewpoints. My husband and I also work with National Shetland Sheepdog Rescue, and Carolina Great Pyrenees Rescue.

5. What do you like most about volunteering with Phoenix Landing?
It’s rewarding to meet and talk to people and educate them on the care and long term commitments to our feathered companions. I love spending time at the Landing in Asheville and am constantly learning new things.

6. What else would you like to share about yourself, about volunteering, or about Phoenix Landing?
I’m Tuki’s mom! Nuff said. HaHa And working with Ann, Mary, Kevin, Leigh Ann, Jenny, and everyone else I’ve met along the way. I consider them all personal friends.

Meet our adoption coordinators: Nina, Wilmington, NC

In honor of National Volunteer Week, we are continuing our celebration of the numerous volunteers who make what Phoenix Landing does, possible! Today we are highlighting our Wilmington, NC area adoption coordinator, Nina!

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Nina, Wilmington, NC adoption coordinator

1. For what area are you the adoption coordinator for Phoenix Landing?Wilmington, NC.

2. How long have you served in this volunteer role?
Almost 7 years.

3. How did you first learn about or get involved with Phoenix Landing?Recommendations of other parrot lovers when I was in Asheville for a veterinary conference.

4. There are many causes and non-profits out there to get involved with, why did you choose this one?
Outstanding reputation, philosophy, and focus on education.

5. What do you like most about volunteering with Phoenix Landing?
Teaching others about parrot behavior, nutrition, health, and care.

6. What else would you like to share about yourself, about volunteering, or about Phoenix Landing?
I highly recommend the “Step up” classes and the Parrot Wellness Retreat for anyone who loves parrots and wishes to expand their knowledge.

Information about the “Step Up” classes is available at http://www.phoenixlanding.org/events.html. The next Phoenix Landing Wellness Retreat will take place in 2018. Stay tuned for details!

Meet our adoption coordinators: Jenny, Virginia

It is National Volunteer Week! As an all-volunteer organization, Phoenix Landing Foundation would not be able to do the work it does for parrots without our numerous volunteers! It isn’t possible to highlight everyone individually, but we decided this would be a wonderful opportunity to help everyone get to know our volunteer Adoption Coordinators a little better. So, for the next few days, we will profile them!

We will start with Jenny, our Virginia adoption coordinator!

Jenny with her Cockatoo and African Grey

Jenny, with her Cockatoo and African Grey

1. For what area are you the adoption coordinator for Phoenix Landing?
Virginia

2. How long have you served in this volunteer role?
10 years

3. How did you first learn about or get involved with Phoenix Landing?
In 2003, I was in a pet store with my grey Henry. She was on a harness, and spent most of the time chewing on it, desperately trying to remove it. (We don’t do harnesses anymore). While checking out, a Phoenix Landing volunteer who happened to work behind the register gave me a newsletter, and I contacted the main email to see how I could help. I was the education coordinator until 2007 – helping to put together the newsletters back when they were a quarterly magazine, and developing classes. I later moved into writing books about behavior, but since 2007 have been the adoption coordinator.

4. There are many causes and non-profits out there to get involved with, why did you choose this one?
Easy! Because I love birds and want to help them.

This group is focused on the birds: providing optimum care, being good role models, and educating caregivers. I have learned so much from the speakers we’ve had through the years.

We’ve had just about every significant voice in the parrot community share their wisdom with us.

And of course, Ann [Brooks] makes everyone feel appreciated and welcome. She is the best!

5. What do you like most about volunteering with Phoenix Landing?
Making a great match between bird and family. Sometimes it takes a while. I remember placing a grey with a family. The bird loved the dad, but wasn’t too crazy about the rest of the family. After a few months, it was obvious that the placement would not work out. However, I was struck by how kind they were, and how they wanted for the parrot to go to the right home. It was painful for them to give the parrot up, even though he wasn’t the best match for them. A few months later, we received a relinquishing form for a caique. I thought of them, and contacted them out of the blue to see if they would be willing to try again. They were happy to hear from us, and decided to try fostering the bird. It was a perfect match! The entire family interacts with and loves the bird – and when on vacation, they wait for pictures from their bird sitter daily! It was a very happy ending.

6. What else would you like to share about yourself, about volunteering, or about Phoenix Landing?
I have a Moluccan cockatoo, a grey, a pionus and a quaker. My web site, jennydrummey.com, has videos, articles and more information about parrot care.

We have a great group of volunteers but can always use more! The species we need the most help with fostering are the big birds: macaws, cockatoos,and amazons, and this need continues to grow daily. Anyone who is interested in what it’s like to live with larger birds should consider fostering through us first. You can learn if the commitment necessary for large parrots is one that you can deal with.

If you are interested in volunteering with Phoenix Landing, email us at phoenixlanding@earthlink.net. 

Lost Birds, What Do We Do?

By Suzanne Cromwell

IF YOU HAVE LOST YOUR COMPANION PARROT

  • Don’t panic and don’t take time to beat yourself up
  • Realize that your bird most likely got startled and took off
  • Have heart and don’t give-up. Many parrots are found because most parrots will seek out humans, especially when they get hungry.

1. If you can see your bird:

Call to him. It might help him find you. Try to keep your bird in sight.

Watch the direction the bird is flying, the height, how windy it is, available trees in the area and also how tired your bird looks. These are all cues to where he might land, especially if you lose sight of him.

Use your cell phone: If you can see your bird or not call/ text everyone you can to come help you locate your bird, notify everyone on your Facebook or other social medium that you use to spread the word and to get help looking for your bird if possible.   Take photos when you see him.

Ask for local help: Do not hesitate to ask people you see if they have seen a parrot flying around or perched somewhere. Don’t forget to ask kids too; they can be very helpful in the reach. Tell your postal carrier!

Try to communicate: Birds respond to familiar sounds; call out to him as you search and also use words or sounds that are familiar to him and give time to listen in case he responds. This could help you locate him. If you have an established contact call, this is the perfect time to use it.lost bird sign

Create a sign: As quickly as possible, make a sign that can be posted inside and outside. If you have a recent photo, make it the largest part of the sign to catch people’s attention. Add his name and your phone number.   DO NOT DO NOT PUT YOUR BIRD’s BAND NUMBER OR MICROCHIP NUMBER in any publication or signage, this is the only proof that you have that the bird belongs to you.

2. If you cannot see your bird and need to search:

Start from where you last saw him. If you have a group, then spread out and circle the area you last saw him in realizing that you need to cover a 1 mile radius.

Try to communicate: See note above

Search with awareness: You bird may not be sitting on an exposed branch but might be hiding in the branches and although very colorful you might not be able to see him but you can watch for movements within the foliage. Your bird might see you and relax and remain quiet. Remember early mornings and late afternoons/evenings are the most likely time the bird will come to you.   It is especially important for you to look at dawn and dusk during the first 4 days, because this is when your bird is most likely to be vocal and active.


Use your technology:
If you have your bird recorded on your iPad, cell phone or any other device put it on speaker and play it while you search.

Bird buddy: If your parrot has a bird he likes in your flock bring the bird to the area you last saw the missing parrot. Walk away and the second bird might call out and the lost bird may call back, by listening you might be able to locate him.

Put a small cage outside.   Place a cage with food and water inside in a place close to the house.   Your bird will be hungriest by the 3rd day, and that is a very common time for the bird to return to a cage for sustenance.   If you leave the cage outside at night, close the door so predators won’t get inside.Quaker in tree.png

3. If you can see your bird but can’t reach him:

Do not: Freak-out, have a crowd of people around, try to grab him, hose him, or scare him in any way. Avoid ladders and cherry pickers to reach him. Don’t ask him to fly down to you from a high distance or in a steep angle, if he is not in danger let him stay where he is. If he just landed he probably won’t fly again any time soon.

Enticements: Bring bird’s favorite foods (bowl), treats, person and birdie friend (in a cage), if possible to the area your bird is located in.

Fly down steps:
1. Try to position yourself or birdie friend to allow for short flights or short climbs to a lower branch, preferably ones that are similar to the one he is on.
2.  Use your bird training tools to help lure him down.
3. Be patient especially if the bird has to land on different surfaces. He will probably be scared so don’t introduce unfamiliar sticks, etc. If scared he may fly again.
4. You may want to hide from your bird to get his interest in coming to you but be ready to come back into plain site once he is ready to fly.
5. Watch and listen to your bird: birds usually eliminate before flying, start to move around and (in this type of situation) may scream before or as they fly – be ready!
6. Give the bird’s favorite person lots of room – don’t crowd him. Be ready to move if he flies so you can track him.
7. When your bird looks like he is ready to try to fly down call to him, but don’t overdo it. 8. If you have reached him but are afraid he might take off again you can wrap him in a towel or if size permits it put him under your jacket until you get him to his cage.

If your bird doesn’t want to come down, he/she is probably afraid or doesn’t know how to get to you. If you climb up to get him, take a pillowcase with you. If you can reach the bird, put him quickly into the pillowcase for safety and transport.

Watch his body language – if he is preening or playing with leaves and/or branches he is relaxed. You can try calling to him to get him excited enough to come to you.   Have food and water visible and ready!

End of the day, the sun is setting and he still is in the tree if he is fluffing his feathers he is getting ready to roost for the night. Unless something scares him he won’t fly again until morning

Sunrise – make sure someone is there because he may be ready to fly and it may be difficult to locate him again. Try again to get him to come to you.

4. If  you can’t hear or locate your bird – the bird has been lost for 24 hours

Put up poster of your bird with a picture of him. (see example) You want to include the bird’s name, time, date and location the bird was lost. Contact information to include email, pone, etc. If you are offering a reward. Words or phrases your bird might respond too. Make it personal from your companion parrot. Reach out up to 10 mile radius from the location the bird was lost from.

Contact the following:

  1. 911 Parrot Alert: http://911parrotalert.com/index.asp this should be your first posting. Copy and paste the entry for use on other boards.
  2. On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/911ParrotAlertOfficial/
  3. Call local animal control
  4. Call the SPCA/Humane Society
  5. Call any local parrot/bird organizations or clubs
  6. Call local wildlife rescue centers
  7. Call local veterinarians
  8. Call local pet stores
  9. Call local zoos
  10. Call the police
  11. Call local Fish and Wildlife
  12. Put an ad in the local newspaper and also your community newspaper, if applicable. DO NOT PUT YOUR BIRD’s BAND NUMBER OR MICROCHIP NUMBER in any publication or signage
  13. Post it on all the social media you are in
  14. You can also notify local TV and radio stations to put out your message
  15. **Tell your postal carrier, as they are active in your neighborhood and may have seen or heard something.

If your bird has a MICROCHIP, it will not help you find your parrot because it is not a GPS. But it will help an animal shelter or vet find you so that you can get your bird back. Animal shelters will scan a bird before adopting out (or euthanizing it).

DO NOT GIVE UP!!   Many parrots are found within 24 hours – in many cases it is more about finding out who and where it is.  Sometimes it takes 3-5 days for the bird to be hungry enough to come down.

Be prepared just in case you lose your bird in the future  Have a picture of your bird with his info and contact numbers on file and in your phone, so you can expedite a search, if necessary.

The Wild Magical Parrots of Peru

Our 2016 ecotour took us back to the beautiful rainforest of Peru along the Tambopata River, and time with one of our favorite conservation and research scientists, Dr. Donald Brightsmith. Seeing parrots in the wild always leaves me with mixed feelings – to see birds flying, interacting and responding to their native environment is majestic and overwhelmingly beautiful. On the other hand, I feel so frustrated by the limitations placed on the captive parrots in our homes. No matter how much space, enrichment and opportunity we give them, it just doesn’t compare. However, after viewing the antics and busyness of wild parrots, we can’t help but be inspired to do more for the birds in our homes.

Here are some photos and movies from our trip. I hope these give you some new ideas about how to make life better for your parrot.

Thanks to the group that joined us for this trip, we were able to make a donation of $3,750 to Dr. Brightsmith for his work at the Macaw Project at the Tambopata Research Center. It’s important that we help conserve areas where wild parrots can thrive, and also learn as much as possible about their way of life. Please help support conservation and research for wild parrots! We also hope you’ll join us on a future ecotour, we will be planning another one soon.

This video includes mealy Amazons, blue headed pionus and severe macaws at the Chuncho claylick: youtu.be/WOvbU8MlO3E.

Here is a video of a greenwing macaw and a blue and gold macaw having a “discussion.” They hang from the branch and hold each other’s feet.https://youtu.be/996f2oSPaHw. Thanks to Angie Yeung from Celltei.com for this amazing video!

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Blue headed pionus parrots

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Greenwing and scarlet macaws at the Chunco claylick along the Tambopata River

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Greenwing, scarlet and blue and gold macaws at the claylick

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Two blue and gold macaws.  What might they be discussing?

Personal Space, Birds Need It Too

By Emily Sharp

If you have a bird, there is a chance that you may be giving it too much phyiscal affection. Yes, there is such a thing as too much love, especially with birds.

Imagine being a bird in captivity, where an entirely different species than your own is gawking all over you. It doesn’t feel natural for them, and it certainly doesn’t build a trusting relationship. Birds need their own space in order to feel safe. Being too touchy-feely with a bird can be smothering and uncomfortable. In order to build a trusting relationship with your bird, focus more on using positive reinforcement to teach other hands-off type activities.

Using positive reinforcement with your bird for behaviors that you wish to increase (think of different training exercises) is much more satisfying for them. In training, parrots are using similar thought processes as they would in the wild. This gives them a vital element of mental health while they learn new concepts. Providing training opportunities using positive reinforcement for success is giving them recognition for their accomplishments, while respecting their intelligence.

I know it is difficult to avoid over cuddling your parrot, but it’s something we must do in order to give birds a satisfying life in captivity. If your bird notices the lack of physical contact, I’m sure it will have even more appreciation for you because you are respecting its needs.

Emily lives in South Carolina.  As part of a school project, she fostered Cupid for Phoenix Landing. She taught Cupid many skills and tricks using positive reinforcement, and realized that one of the best ways to build trust with a parrot is to do things together that don’t always involve touching, which can make some birds uncomfortable.  Emily has recently been accepted to work with the Blue Throated Macaw Conservation Project in Bolivia.  We thank her for her dedication to wild and captive parrots!  

Here is a video that Emily made for her project:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0shOapmOavpMHF6VllaUk1UY28/view

My Life in the Balance, A Medical Mystery

Hi there, my name is Jazzy. You all call me a blue and gold macaw. I’m 24 years old and I’m a girl.  I was adopted through Phoenix Landing in 2005.

jazzyHave I got a story for you. It’s about me being sick and Dr. Costanzo saving my life. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

This story probably starts in October of 2015. I had gone to get my annual physical with Dr. Crum at Stahl’s Exotic Animal Veterinary Services (SEAVS). He was my primary care physician, a nice guy and a good doctor but he leaves a girl with no dignity. And after all of that poking and sticking me with needles, he told me everything was okay. Shucks, I could have told him that.

About a week later, though, my poop was shiny and black. The good folks at SEAVS said I had blood in my poop. They gave me some kind of stomach coating and some kind of antibiotic. I didn’t like the taste of it but I was forced to take it. And it seemed to work.

In November of 2015, I went back for a follow up visit. This time they gave me some kind of whoopee stuff that put me to sleep and they X-rayed me. After I woke up, they told me the X-rays were fine. That was good but was I ever glad to get out of there.

In April of 2016, I had some more blood in my poop. They gave me some more medicine for my stomach and an antibiotic which I was again forced to take. At this point my weight was about 1,010 grams. That is a good weight for me and I have a nice, girlish figure at that weight.

But by July of 2016, my weight was down to around 910 grams. My clothes were just hanging off of me and I just wasn’t feeling good. I pretty much stayed in my room and I didn’t even want to talk to or play with my mom.

I went back to SEAVS and met Dr. Gregory Costanzo (my new hero). He did every kind of test imaginable. He drew blood, he checked my poop which still had blood and a bunch of other stuff in it, and he gave me a shot of some sort. I know he was trying to be helpful and make me feel better, but was I ever glad to get out of there and get back home.

About a week later, my weight was down to about 875 grams so I went back to Dr. Costanzo. This time they kept me there all day. They gave me some stuff called Barium and then kept putting me to sleep and taking pictures. They did some more blood tests and even checked for avian Bornavirus. Fortunately I was negative for that, but I still had blood in my poop. And they sent me home with some more medicine. This time I had to get a shot twice a day and take some positively foul tasting stuff for two weeks. Yuck.

In early August, I still had blood in my poop and I had convulsed after getting one of those awful shots. By now my weight was down to about 830 grams. I went back to see Dr. Costanzo. He didn’t make me get those shots anymore but he did give me some new medicines to take. He also showed me the differences in the X-rays from last November and the Barium pictures from the week before. Something was clearly pushing up into my digestive track. He even suggested that maybe it might be the “C” word. They fed me that night before I went back home. I was expecting something a little romantic, you know, candlelight, white table cloth, some exotic fare. But no, they stuck a tube down my throat and force fed me some yucky stuff.

Over the next week or so, I went back for dinner a few more times (really, they should never open a restaurant). My poop still had blood in it and now there was some undigested food in it. Even my new blood tests had issues. They changed some of my meds and gave me some new meds. Dr. Costanzo assured me that I didn’t have PDD, another one of those terrible diseases. My weight was still down, my clothes were just hanging off of me, and I just wasn’t feeling good. I pretty much stayed in my room all day long.

Unbeknownst to me, Dr. Costanzo had been talking with other doctors about me behind my back. He talked to Dr. Crum and Dr. Stahl, DVM, Dipl ABVP (Avian) who are at SEAVS. I think Dr. Stahl is his boss. He talked about me with a Dr. Susan Orosz, PhD, DVM, Dipl ABVP (Avian) & Dipl ECZM (Avian). I can’t pronounce her last name much less understand what all of those letters mean after her last name. Then again maybe that name I can’t pronounce is really her middle name and I just can’t read or understand all of those letters that make up her last name. At any rate, she is a really smart doctor and Dr. Costanzo calls her Dr. O. I guess he can’t pronounce all those letters either. He even talked with a Dr. Robert Dahlhausen who owns Veterinary Molecular Diagnostics where some of my blood and stuff got sent for diagnosis.

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Drs. Susan Orosz, Robert Dahlhausen and Gregory Costanzo, August 2016

Even my Auntie Ann got involved. She’s in charge of something called Phoenix Landing. When my mom and dad can’t take care of me anymore, I’ll go live with her. I guess she was also checking around with a bunch of doctors trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I think she loves me, too.

About this time, Dr. Costanzo had to go out of town to a big meeting in Portland, Oregon. Apparently there were a lot of other doctors there that also treat boys and girls like me. He even took my X-rays and showed them to people trying to figure out what was wrong with me. He also had a meeting with Dr. O and Dr. Dahlhausen to talk about me. Out of those meetings, it was suggested that maybe I had heavy metal toxicity. So he called me from Portland and had me go in for another blood test for heavy metal toxicity. That test came back negative.

But before he left, he told me that the next step should probably be an endoscopy exam. I think that means they would cut me open somewhere below my neck and stick something in there and look around to see what they see.  And they would also cut me open in my tummy area and look around. Of course he told me that they would put me to sleep for all of this and I wouldn’t feel any pain. Dr. Costanzo also told me that if they saw something that was not medicinally fixable, they would let me stay asleep and not wake me up. That was a sad day and we cried. But I knew he was doing what was best for me.

In early September, when Dr. Costanzo got back from Portland, he changed the plan from doing an endoscopy to doing an ultrasound. He gave me some more whoopee gas and put me to sleep for that. He saw something wrapped around my intestine. It was definite and the findings were repeatable with the ultrasound and by palpitation. The good news was that he found something. The bad news was that he didn’t know what it was.

He scheduled me for exploratory surgery for two days later. He even arranged for his boss, Dr. Stahl, to be there to assist and advise. That made me feel pretty special. He again cautioned me that if they found something that wasn’t medicinally treatable, they would let me stay asleep and not wake me up. Again, I knew that he was doing what was best for me, but it was still a sad day and we cried again.

On the morning of September 8 I had my hugs and kisses and tears with my mom and dad and then I went to see Dr. Costanzo for my surgery. They gave me the whoopee gas and I went to sleep, not knowing if I was going to wake up again.

My next realization was waking up and through groggy eyes seeing that sweet face of Dr. Costanzo, beard and all. I was awake. You know what that meant? I was awake! They must have been able to fix something. That was the best day of my life.

It turned out that there was some kind of plant material that had perforated my duodenum. It had detached and sealed off from my duodenum and it was in a sac that was closed off on both ends. My duodenum had healed but it had been pinched by this thing all this time. It was pea soup green, kind of in a ragged semi-circle, and was hard enough to knock around inside the bottle that Dr. Costanzo had put it in. That thing accounted for all my symptoms and it was now out of my body. I don’t understand Latin, so you’ll have to ask Dr. Costanzo about the exact details.

jazzy-in-collarDr. Costanzo sewed me up, put a collar around my neck so I wouldn’t mess with the incision site, and put me in the intensive care unit for a few days. They fed me until I was eating on my own. Dr. Costanzo brought in some really good cucumbers. My poops got back to normal, I gained back some weight, and I got ready to go back home. The doctors and nurses at SEAVS took wonderful care of me. Nadia even speaks Macawinese. You know, that Oscar guy is kind of cute. I think he likes me.

After a few days I went home. I think my mom and dad were really glad to have me home. I know I was glad to be home. Dr. Costanzo had arranged for a hospital bed for me so I wouldn’t fall and hurt myself. I got out of bed a lot, walked around with my mom, and took a lot of naps. After a week or so the collar came off, I was weaned from the post-surgery meds, and Dr. Costanzo took out my stitches, I could now move around freely, brush my teeth and comb my hair, take a shower, and eat anything I wanted.

It is now near the end of October, my incision is healed, my weight is now up to a 1,000+ grams, my clothes fit again, and my poops are normal. I’m eating anything I want, I’m climbing around my room and my tree, I’m going over and messing around in my brothers’ and sisters’ rooms, I’m getting out of my room and walking through the house, I’m climbing the stairs looking for my mom, I’m talking back to my brothers and sisters, and life is just plain good.

It is good to be awake. Thank you, Dr. Costanzo.

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Jazzy and Bobbie Kerns