<![CDATA[Crossroads Bird Haven - CBH Plog (Parrot Log)]]>Sun, 28 Feb 2016 19:12:55 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[teflon - really dangerous or just an overreaction?]]>Sun, 09 Mar 2014 19:51:22 GMThttp://crossroadsbirdhaven.weebly.com/cbh-plog-parrot-log/teflon-really-dangerous-or-just-an-overreactionQuestion:

I have concerns about Teflon and have read many different opinions about it. What is your view? Is it safe to use? If it's too risky I would get rid of it all, but I won't do that if it can be used safely.


Answer:

I'm so glad you asked about Teflon. This is a very good example of how inaccurate information on the internet can be and how important it is to cross-reference and find reputable sources. Parrot science is changing literally every day. Even though parrots have been kept as companions for thousands of years, we only began intensive study about them within the last few decades and we learn new things all the time. Unfortunately, there is a lot of bad information spread around by people who really don't know what they're talking about - in fact, there is more inaccurate information than accurate information. I strongly recommend taking the necessary time to verify information thoroughly.

For years there certainly were a lot of "opinions" about the danger of Teflon. Dupont (the maker of Teflon - the brand name) claimed for a very long time that it was not dangerous to humans or animals (they now warn about the risks of using telfon, both for humans and birds). However, we now have science to clear up any questions. This is no longer a question of opinions - we now have the facts.

Teflon is dangerous to birds and to humans under particular conditions. When it is heated to 446 degrees, Teflon begins to emit toxic particulates. At 680 degrees, it releases at least 6 toxic gases, two of which are carcinogens, and a chemical called MFA which is lethal to humans. In other words, the danger comes when your teflon pans are heated up.

We used to think that normal cooking would not allow pans to get hot enough to release these toxins, but a recent study by the Environmental Working Group, showed that a typical frying pan can reach 736 degrees on a regular electric stove in 3 minutes and 20 seconds. The overheating happens most commonly when a pan is put on the stove to preheat or more commonly, when someone forgets about a pan of boiling water and it boils out leaving the empty pan to burn.

If teflon burns in a home with birds it is almost always tragic. They can die within moments of inhaling the fumes. However, the scariest thing about teflon is that prolonged exposure can also lead to very serious illness and death. Over time, teflon coatings break down and that makes it easier for the chemicals to be released. When you burn a pan, it's obvious, but teflon can regularly reach heats that are high enough to spread small amounts of the toxins without anyone knowing it.

Teflon poisoning (polytetraflouroethylene intoxication, or PTFE) kills parrots by causing severe edematous pneumonia. They will show severe respiratory distress...open-mouthed breathing, raspy breath sounds, tail bobbing and finally, falling off their perches...all within minutes. This happens because their lungs are filling with fluid - they drown right in front of you. In most cases, there is nothing you can do and there typically isn't even enough time to get to the vet.

Long term exposure that is not immediately deadly makes the bird more prone to respiratory infections and sensitivity. This can cause them to die a slow, painful death.

If you have burned a pan or your bird is showing the symptoms I described, you need to:

1. Get the pan off the heat and out of the house immediately.

2. Open windows and begin airing the house out immediately.

3. Turn on fans to increase ventilation. You can also take your bird into the bathroom, turn the shower on hot and let him breath the steam in.

4. Call your vet, tell them what's happened, and tell them you're on your way for an emergency visit.

If you make it to the vet, he/she will give the bird oxygen and medication (antibiotics & diruetics) to try to flush water out of his system to prevent it from filling the lungs.

If you choose to continue to use teflon or until you're able to buy new pans, you can use teflon safely by taking these precautions:

1. Never leave pans unattended - remember, overheating is the real problem.

2. Throw away pans when they begin to show wear and tear (i.e. scratches, thinned out coating).

3. Keep your bird and his cage as far from the kitchen as you can - this is a good idea for many reasons, the kitchen can be a dangerous place!

The bottom line is that teflon can be used in such a way that the danger can be significantly reduced and if you diligently maintain your safety measures, you can continu
e to use it. Accidents are part of life and there is now way to protect your bird, yourself, or your family from every risk...so, I always recommend leaning on your own common sense to help make the right decisions for your loved ones. We had teflon pans before we brought birds into our lives and we continued to use them until it was time for them to be replaced - and we then bought stainless steel.

Whatever you decide, on any parrot topic, get informed, think carefully, ask your vet if you're unsure...and then trust yourself. That is the best anyone can do.

Best wishes!


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<![CDATA[rejected adoption applications]]>Tue, 04 Mar 2014 02:04:38 GMThttp://crossroadsbirdhaven.weebly.com/cbh-plog-parrot-log/rejected-adoption-applicationsWe recently received an application for adoption from a family that did not meet our adoption requirements. When this happens, we respond right away explaining that the application was denied and offering to answer any questions. This particular family did ask why they were rejected, stating that they were very good pet owners. So, I thought this might be a good opportunity to give a little insight into how we review applications and why we might deny an applicant.

When we receive an application, it is reviewed by each of us and one member of our Board of Directors. We review it individually and then discuss it together. We have minimum adoption requirements, which are posted on our website (I recently dedicated a separate page for that list). If an applicant does not meet each of those requirements, they are typically denied immediately. In these situations, the decision is very straight forward and simple to make. And we usually include the reason for denial in our decision email, which is sent immediately.

Our list of adoption requirements are the minimum standards that we set forth, but applicants can be denied for other reasons. There are a number of “red flags” that cause us to take pause when considering an applicant. When these issues arise, we discuss it together and typically question the applicant further before making a decision.

There is one question in particular on our application that often has a great impact on our decision. Other rescues may not choose to share that information, but our goal is to place parrots in good homes and we know that some people are just not very good at expressing themselves succinctly. There are a number of questions that will “tip us off” to someone who may not be an ideal candidate and after years of doing this in combination with a process that has proven to be highly effective, we feel confident that we spot those less than ideal candidates fairly easily. So, I am willing to share a bit of insight on this one question.

“What characteristics of a parrot are most important to you?”

I'm going to pull the curtain back a bit here. We've gotten some pretty unique answers to this question and frankly, this one can make or break you. I wouldn't say it's a trick question, but we feel it requires some time and thought. Those that obviously took that time provide answers that are encouraging. Those that don't usually end up with a denial.

One very common answer is “talking”...in other words, they want a parrot because having a talking animal is cool. And we agree! We regularly laugh until we cry about some of the things that come out of our bird's beaks! Talking parrots are delightful and so much fun. Teaching a bird to talk is pretty amazing – especially the ones that can mimic your voice. I have a young Blue Fronted Amazon that I've raised who says, “I love you.” in my own voice...and I LOVE that!

However, this answer is a big fat red flag for us. If this is the only questionable answer on an application, we will generally overlook it after some conversation with the applicant, but when it's combined with some other concerning answers (which it most often is), the applicant is almost always rejected.

Why?

These applicants often ask this question and unfortunately, they don't often seem to understand our position, but it goes like this...

In any relationship, each individual has their own expectations. When these expectations are met by the other person, the relationship works out. When expectations are NOT met, things go wrong in a hurry. Homeless parrots are an epidemic and there are a number of reasons for that, but one of the biggest reasons is that people buy birds with an expectation of what it will be like and find out that the reality looks nothing like what they imagined.

We know that a number of parrot species are fantastic talkers (African Greys, Amazons, etc.), but we also know that each bird is an individual – as unique as each human being. This means that even an African Grey may never utter a single word. Even a parrot that was previously a great talker may never say a single thing in a new home. There is never any guarantee.

So, what that comes down to is that someone with expectations that do not always align with absolute reality is bound to be disappointed. Alan and I (and our Board) take our job very seriously. Each of these birds has been entrusted to us and that means that we are ultimately responsible for their quality of life going forward. We are absolutely committed to doing everything possible to ensure that they get the kind of home and life they deserve. We will never spare the feelings of a human being at the expense of a bird...and we will always err on the side of caution.

With that being said, we also do our best to remain open-minded and make decisions based on fact rather than personal feelings. We often give people a chance to better explain their answers in cases where we have concerns. Our goal, again, is to place these parrots and we make every effort to do so in good faith. In addition, just because we might deny an applicant does not mean that we feel they are bad people or bad pet owners.

The last applicant we denied asked us to explain further and she responded, asking us to reconsider. Because we are always willing to do so – especially when asked in a polite and reasonable way – and we read what she had to say. We did end up making the same decision, but we did try to make it very clear that we felt she was a sincere animal lover and would quite possibly make a great home for a parrot – just not one of ours in her current circumstances.

In conclusion, we take no pleasure in rejecting applicants. In fact, with every application we receive comes a great deal of hope that one of our parrots is about to meet their human soul mate. When we do deny someone, it is not done so lightly and it certainly isn't done based on trivial judgments. We are always willing to reconsider and have someone apply again if their life circumstances have changed in such a way that they will be better able to meet the needs of a parrot. Finally, nearly every application we receive is clearly from someone who truly loves animals...and parrots, in particular. We recognize that just taking the time to visit our website and fill out the application shows that their interest in giving a parrot a good home is genuine (in most cases). When we thank each person for their interest in a CBH bird and for taking the time to go through the process we've implemented, we are sincerely grateful. We also genuinely hope that each application will introduce us to the next member of our CBH family.




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<![CDATA[Blue & gold Macaw banned?]]>Thu, 20 Feb 2014 00:18:40 GMThttp://crossroadsbirdhaven.weebly.com/cbh-plog-parrot-log/blue-gold-macaw-bannedQuestion: I have heard that in October the United States will be banning Blue & Gold Macaws from being sold or kept as pets. Is this true?

Answer:
No, that is not true. What you may be referring to is the Blue Throated Macaw. In November of 2013 because the species was listed as 'Endangered', it became illegal in the United States to SELL Blue Throated Macaws across state lines.

In addition, states have different laws about what types of parrots are allowed to be kept as pets. Some states require special permits for different types of parrots while others have regulations about breeding and transporting birds. You may want to find out what the laws are in your state.

Finally, the only recent nationwide 'ban' was in 1992 and that banned importing parrots into the U.S. - all parrots. Since then, domestic breeding has grown exponentially.

Blue & Golds are not endangered and are one of the most popular pet parrots in the country - no bans. :)
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<![CDATA[Amazon t.v. watching & screaming]]>Thu, 20 Feb 2014 00:14:57 GMThttp://crossroadsbirdhaven.weebly.com/cbh-plog-parrot-log/amazon-tv-watching-screamingQuestion: My Blue Fronted Amazon loves watching television and he screams when I turn it off. He also screams when I turn it on sometimes though. He screams a lot, especially when I don't give him the attention he wants, but if I'm watching TV, he is quiet and watches with me. Is it normal or ok that he likes to watch TV?


Answer:
I am an Amazon lover and besides having worked with many, many Amazons, I am also owned by a Blue Fronted. They are wonderful companions - in spite of the bad reputation they have been saddled with - but they do need to be well trained and socialized.

These birds are as individual as human beings and in this case, your boy likes television - nothing to be concerned about. Not all parrots like the same things, just like people.

The reason I decided to respond to your question was the screaming you described. This is a bad habit. While parrots are very noisy and general and are prone to "calling" a couple times a day (which is very normal), this screaming he's doing is something you should strongly discourage.

What he's doing is demanding your attention. He's learned, like a spoiled child, that if he throws a temper tantrum he gets what he wants. Some people don't mind the screaming and perhaps you don't, but parrots who scream for attention have been known to scream for hours on end and allowing him to make demands that you comply with can promote other negative behaviors like biting.

I would recommend putting an end to the screaming. It's not necessarily easy - he didn't learn to do it overnight and he's not going to learn to stop overnight, but with some effort he will stop and you'll all be better for it.

In order to stop the screaming, there are a number of training techniques you can use, but the first step is to stop giving in to his demands. His screaming must be ignored. Do not acknowledge or even look at him when he's screaming - leave the room if you can until he stops. When he stops and uses an indoor voice, praise him and give him treats - go over the top to make it clear that his quiet behavior is what you want.

Another technique that I highly recommend is replacement behavior. It is absolutely acceptable for him to ask for your attention, just not to demand it. So, you can give him an option to ask...I have trained screamers to ring a bell rather than scream when they want attention. You could also train him to say a specific phrase. When he does the replacement behavior you need to consistently respond to him. That doesn't mean you have to drop what you're doing to pick him up and play, but you need to respond in some way so he knows that asking nicely (i.e. ringing the bell or saying "come here please") will get him further than busting everyone's ear drums.

Here's a couple of websites that offer great training information:

www.birdtricks.com
www.behaviorworks.org

I hope this helps!

P.S. My BF and my African Grey have movie night quite frequently, they watch disney movies and they absolutely love it! My BF speaks "Minion" from the Despicable Me movies and it's hilarious!! It's perfectly ok for your boy to watch TV with you!! :)
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<![CDATA[using my leftover antibiotics for my bird]]>Tue, 28 Jan 2014 22:23:42 GMThttp://crossroadsbirdhaven.weebly.com/cbh-plog-parrot-log/using-my-leftover-antibiotics-for-my-birdQ: I recently adopted a parrot and the rescue where I got him told me if he got injured I could give him leftover antibiotics that had been prescribed to me. They told me to crush the pill in water and give a couple drops a day for a week. They suggested saving a pill or two for my bird whenever I was prescribed an antibiotic. Is this true?



A: We would NEVER recommend that you give your parrot any medication that was meant for you. While some medications can be used effectively for both humans and birds, you should always rely on your Avian vet to prescribe medicine for your bird.

First, you have no idea what dosage your bird needs and even if you did, there is no way to ensure the proper dosage just by crushing the pill and mixing it with water. In addition, not all pills can be effectively mixed with water.

Second, not every injury requires an antibiotic and when an antibiotic IS necessary, it's important to have the right TYPE of antiobiotic.

Finally, if your parrot is injured or ill, it is extremely important that he be examined by your certified Avian vet. Bleeding and illness can cause your bird's health to deteriorate very quickly and medical care is urgently needed. Please do not take chances on advice that is questionable - it's simply not worth the risk.

Best wishes.
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<![CDATA[cbh loses a special friend]]>Tue, 24 Dec 2013 06:27:40 GMThttp://crossroadsbirdhaven.weebly.com/cbh-plog-parrot-log/cbh-loses-a-special-friend The moment I saw you I knew your pain,
Of endless loneliness and loved that waned,
A cage in the corner, a foodless dish,
Crying out for love, a hopeless wish.

I took you home and called you mine,
Patiently I waited, to give you enough time,
To learn that I loved you, that I always would,
That I would never leave you, that I never could.

In your eyes I saw your fear and loss,
I saw that you were broken, and I knew the cost,
To learn to trust again would be no easy task,
To see life as it should be, not through a painful mask,

But as time passed you began to live again,
You had the courage to try, so brave to call me friend,
You grew so much, so healthy and strong,
You cast your fear aside, as I knew you would all along.

You, dear friend, changed my heart and my life,
You put into perspective my own sorrow and strife,
My love for you gave me a new purpose,
And I committed myself and made a promise.

To give a voice to birds like you,
To see through your eyes and speak the truth,
For those I cared for, for those lives I saved,
To honor the message you so lovingly gave.

And now you’ve left me, you’ve crossed that Rainbow Bridge,
And I feel pain in my heart where my love for you lives,
We will celebrate your life, those you’ve left behind,
We will keep your memory close, in our hearts and minds.

Through life and in death you’ve left a legacy
A lesson of forgiveness and vulnerability,
A story of hope, of strength, of grace,
…Of the best of humanity in a feathered face.


~ We love you, sweet boy and will miss you always.
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<![CDATA[q & A: pesticides]]>Tue, 24 Dec 2013 06:13:50 GMThttp://crossroadsbirdhaven.weebly.com/cbh-plog-parrot-log/q-a-pesticidesQuestion: I want to give my bird a healthier diet, but I am super paranoid about the pesticide. Right now I am putting the veggies in hot water to get rid of it. Would that work? Or is there a better method?

- Concerned
I understand your concern as it is not always easy to determine what farming practices were used in growing our produce. I would recommend certified organic produce as the safest bet, although I'm not sure what standards are applied in countries other than the U.S.

There are other dangers than pesticides to be concerned about as well and you should clean fresh produce, organic or not, better than how you'd clean it for your own family. Pesticides on the skin can be successfully removed, as well as other bacteria.

You can try using products like Avicine (a bird safe disinfectant) or GSE to clean the produce. Do not use any other chemicals to clean the food, just use clean water and thoroughly rub and scrub the entire surface of the food. Do not wash produce until you're going to use it to prevent introduction of microorganisms. Store fresh produce in the fridge in cloth bags or perforated plastic bags to allow air circulation. Peeling is an effective removal of bacteria or pesticides but do be sure to rinse to prevent cross-contamination.

Finally, don't worry yourself to death...that's a good way to end up in a padded room, with your stressed out and likely plucked naked parrot in the padded room next to you! You can only do so much to prevent accident and illness in your bird...or in your family for that matter. Use your best common sense and continue to seek out advice when you're not sure. It's clear that you are a responsible, caring pet owner and I'm sure your parrot will thrive!

Best wishes!
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<![CDATA[Parrot Property Laws]]>Wed, 24 Oct 2012 23:02:51 GMThttp://crossroadsbirdhaven.weebly.com/cbh-plog-parrot-log/parrot-property-laws1. If I like it, it's mine.
2. If it's in my mouth, it's mine.
3. If I can take it from you, it's mine.
4. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.
5. If it's mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
6. If I'm chewing something up, all the pieces are mine.
7. If it just looks like mine, it's mine.
8. If I saw it first, it's mine.
9. If you are relaxing with something and put it down, or if you are playing with something and put it down, it automatically becomes mine.
10. If it's broken, it's yours...and you need to buy ME a new one.]]>