You don’t need to have birds...
You just need to love them!
WLABC Established 1991
NOVEMBER 2016 ISSUE
T H E N E W S L E T T E R O F T H E W E S T LO S A N G E L E S B I R D C LU B
Keep Your Parrot Safe
This Holiday Season
It’s getting to be the holiday
season and while it can be a busy
and joyous time, it is important to
think about pet bird safety as there
are many dangers lurking for your
parrots this time of year. Here are
five important tips to look out for
to keep your parrot safe:
Teflon is a danger to pet birds.
Many ovens have Teflon pans and
if heated to a certain temperature
for an unknown length of time,
they can be deadly to birds. To be
on the safe side, if you are cooking
for any length of time, make sure
the parrot is in a well ventilated
location away from the kitchen.
When cooking on the stove, it’s
easy for a curious little bird that
wants to be with its owner to
come flying in if it’s unclipped.
While cooking, keep birds safely in
their cages. This prevents you from
being distracted while cooking
and prevents something horrible
from happening to your pet bird.
3. Christmas Trees
Needles from Christmas trees can
be deadly to pet birds. Flocked
trees are pretty to look at but
are toxic to birds. Christmas tree
decorations are not bird toys.
4. Toxic Plants
The Christmas poinsettia plant can
be dangerous to your birds. Be
cautious of Christmas wreaths and
table decorations around your pet
bird. Many of these items can be
poisonous to birds.
Your guests may leave open
windows and doors. It’s best to keep
your parrot in the cage or in a secure
location around guests. There are
instances of pet birds getting lost
even when owners thought that the
parrot could not fly. Nothing can
spoil a holiday season like a lost pet
bird or parrot.
n Cockatoos 3: An Interview with Darlene Parker
n How to Stuff your Parrot on Thanksgiving
n SAVE THE DATE for the WLABC Holiday Party - 12/14
JOIN US FOR OUR NEXT MEETING:
Nov. 9th at 7pm - Dr. Frank Lavac
Read more about our upcoming meetings on page 3.
2016 West L.A. Bird Club
Officers and Committee Chairs
Newsbeak Editor; Membership
Special Events & Field Trips
CrossBird Puzzle Editor
November is one of my favorite months. I think Thanksgiving is the best
meal of the year. Desi and Arriba agree too. Desi, my little green vacuum
cleaner, loves to eat just about anything but Thanksgiving dinner has
some of his (and mine) personal bests such as stuffing, mashed potatoes,
peas, corn, rolls, green beans, sweet potatoes, and (sorry vegans) turkey.
Arriba is more of a purist. He sticks to corn and rolls. I, of course, love the
pumpkin pie and whipped cream. The birds don’t get any because sugar
is not good for them. Of course, it is not good for me either. However, if
you would want to donate a few holiday treats for our November meeting
we would never turn them down. I plan to bring something.
I hope you and your birds had a happy Halloween. Desi has a variety of
costumes to choose from. Sometimes he is a little beaver chewing all the
wood in sight and throwing the remains on the floor, perhaps in hopes
of building a dam. Other times he dresses up in a Macaw suit and chews
toys four times bigger than he is. Of course, his favorite is his imp suit,
making mischief anywhere he can think of. Arriba usually just wears his
angel halo, being the good, cooperative boy that he always is.
The October meeting was a huge success. Susan Doggett, a migratory
bird rehabilitator, was there with her raptors. I was on vacation in
Ashland, Oregon but I was told by all who attended that it was an
interesting and informative meeting. Dr, Lavac will be speaking at our
November meeting on Advances in Avian Medicine. I hope we have a big
turn out for him, as he is a great speaker as well as one of our sponsors.
November also means that Christmas and Hanukah are coming. Our
club has always had an outstanding holiday party. We always need
donations of gift baskets ready to be put on our wonderful raffle table. If
we want to our club to continue, we must have a successful party. It is our
major fundraiser of the year. We actually lose money at most meetings
after paying the rent, providing the snacks, and purchasing items for
our terrific raffle. We need everyone to pitch in this year. At the next
meeting, it is imperative for all our members to contribute a gift basket
for the raffle. Sign up as early as you can for the party and bring friends
and loved ones. There are items on the table not just for birds but people
too. Remember our club isn’t just for bird owners but bird lovers as well.
Again please donate a gift basket for the holiday party that would
encourage someone to spend money for tickets. Remember the members
are the club, not just the Board. We all need to pitch in.
Board Medical Advisor
See you in November,
Dr. Annelise Spira
Doreen and Desi
Mailing Address: 531 Main St, #133, El Segundo, CA 90245
Our mission is to help all pet birds have happy, healthy, and full lives while living in captivity and to
provide a vital community for bird lovers. We aim to do this by educating and informing pet bird
caretakers on the best possible ways to treat, feed, and house their companion birds. Further, aware
of the amount of abused and neglected birds nationally, the club realizes the importance of helping
to eradicate this crisis through education, community outreach, and by helping abused birds directly
wherever possible. West L.A. Bird Club does not discriminate; to us, all birds are created equal.
OUR PASSION IS AVIAN MEDICINE
Special interest in Birds
• Experienced Veterinarians & Staff
• Open 7 days a week
• Emergency Care
Frank W. Lavac, DVM, MS • Jim Schulke, DVM, DABVP
Gregory Scott, DVM • Jessica Baron, DVM • Pernilla Edstrom, DVM
VCA WILSHIRE ANIMAL HOSPITAL
2421 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90403
Mon-Fri 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Sat 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sun 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
AT VCA ANIMAL HOSPITALS, WE CARE
Parker on White
Written by EB Cravens
Darlene Parker has for over 30 years now been the
owner of one of the most reputable bird stores in the
U.S., Feathered Friends of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her vast
avicultural experience with domestically-raised hookbills
spans literally decades of pet raising and training with
dozens of psittacine species; while her notable clientele
includes Hollywood movie stars, playwrights, and Los
Alamos National Laboratory scientists. We approached
her about doing a brief interview for inclusion in our
three-part series of white cockatoo articles, and she kindly
consented to share her expertise. Here is a transcript of
1) Do you have any cockatoos in the shop right now?
No, not right now.
2) When is the last time you acquired a baby cockatoo
to handfeed and sell in the shop?
Every year we get two baby Rose-breasted
cockatoos from a trusted breeder in Florida. Rosies are
the only cockatoos we sell anymore. We find them smaller
than most cockatoos, less loud, less destructive. People
do not tend to pass them on to new owners. They retail
3) Do you like cockatoos?
Yes, very much so. I think they are some of the
sweetest birds around. But they can be a real handful as
pets. It takes a committed kind of owner to have a happy
4) What species have you handfed and raised as pets
in the past?
Moluccans, umbrellas, citrons, bare-eyed (little
corella), medium and lesser sulphur crested, goffins, rose
breasteds, Major Mitchell’s DuCorps. We have also had
Tritons in the shop but not as babies.
5) Some cockatoo people claim the diminutive
DuCorps makes one of the best pets. What do you
They are really nice, but they can be nervous and
6) So which species do you think make the best
companion parrots in the home?
Well, rosies like I mentioned. Also the smaller the
cockatoo, usually the less the challenges and problems
that might arise. But let me be clear about this, I have
known lots of great cockatoos that are happily settled in
pet homes. Especially if they are in the right environment
with plenty to see and do, like with a big outdoor play
aviary where they can fly around sometimes. Why, one
of our good customers has a twenty-eight-year-old
umbrella cockatoo that is wonderful. This couple take the
bird everywhere with them—downtown, to the market,
everywhere. They never had kids and this parrot is their kid.
If you have the time, cockatoos can be marvelous pets.
7) What percentage of the past pet cockatoos you
have sold from Feathered Friends have come back
to the shop for re-placement or been passed on to
We have really only had two white cockatoos
come back to us in the past because they were not working
out with the new owners. How many were passed on
without our knowledge, it is hard to say because we do not
hear about them. We have not had a Moluccan for sale in
over 15 years. My problem is I kept trying to talk prospective
buyers out of buying one of our former cockatoo babies
because it did not seem like the perfect home. One lady
had her male Moluccan who was her good pet just “go off”
one day while on her shoulder and it bit a hole through
her lip. She got rid of it, of course. I have over thirty years of
‘cockatoo stories’ if we had the time…(laughs!)
8) What are the primary reasons preventing cockatoos
from staying long term in a household pet situation?
There are four major reasons I have found. One, these
parrots live a very long time. They quite often will outlive their
owners and if someone in the family does not want to take
them on, they are moved to another situation. Two, many
persons end up being allergic to the white powder down. It
can cause serious lung problems. Three, cockatoos tend to be
very loud and very destructive. We know of persons who have
gotten kicked out of an apartment because of the screaming.
‘Termites with feathers’ some people call them. One bird
shoppe customer had a Triton Cockatoo that was loose and
one day chewed up her $20,000 antique grand piano! Four,
they are very co-dependent birds. It is their nature; I never met
a white cockatoo that was not co-dependent on its owners.
And they are very sexual too. I could not own one because I
do not have the time. For example, ‘Beamer’ my thirty- yearold eclectus male loves to hang out with us, but if we do not
have the time or are busy, he is perfectly happy to be there and
watch or be in his cage. He does not screech to be let out or
insist on being petted.
9) Do you know breeders who no longer breed cockatoos?
Some like Phoebe Linden, but when you have been
in the business as long as I have, it is more common that the
breeders of before have gotten out of it or have died. A friend
on the east coast still breeds cockatoos; that’s where I get my
baby Rose-breasteds from every year.
10) Can you cite some subjective comparisons between
male cockatoos and female cockatoos?
I have to admit I have always found the females to
be a bit nicer, not as aggressive, they stay calmer with sexual
maturity and tend to be in homes for a longer time. The males
are more unpredictable, quicker to nip. It shows up in pairs of
birds where the males can go off on their mate and rip
part of the upper beak off the hen!
11) Have you known of many white cockatoo pets
that disfigured their feathers? How prone do you
find these parrots to be feather pickers?
Gosh, it has been so long since I regularly sold
white cockatoos, but I have known some. Umbrellas,
Goffin’s for sure, Moluccans. You only need to visit an
adoption agency. The white cockatoos are just like
African Greys I guess. If you do not keep them in a good
environment, these birds are just too smart; they will
get bored and start picking. On the other had we have
a lady who comes in to the shop and she has had her
white cockatoo for over 25 years. She does not work, is
retired; she makes little sweaters for her pet, bakes little
cakes, and that parrot is spoiled! You need to make them
a part of your flock, a part of your family.
12) What kind of advice would you give someone
contemplating getting a white cockatoo as a
I would say to them: “Do your research.” Learn as
much as you can about a white cockatoo species before
acquisition. Maybe consider a rescue bird because there
are so many out there in need of a loving home and an
older bird will show you exactly what they are going to be
like. We know of one customer who bought an umbrella
cockatoo and really loved that parrot. Then a year
later she came into the shop and said she would like to
‘strangle’ that bird. It had chewed up all the window sills
in the house. Cockatoos need structure in their lives to be
taught to behave in a home. Realize this is a long term
commitment--years. These birds need toys and lots of
time out with their owners. Some sellers will emphasize
the baby cockatoo, one of the sweetest parrots on the
planet, and not mention any of the negative stuff. My
problem was I told prospective owners so much that I
ended up talking them out of buying a white ‘too!
Treat Parrots to
Bird Bread This
This holiday, treat your feathered friends to a festive batch
of pumpkin spice bird bread. The bright orange bread is
rich in Vitamin A, which The Bird Clinic identifies as one
of the most common deficiencies in pet birds, thanks to a
generous dose of pumpkin puree.
I like to use assorted toppings and mix-ins to add a variety
of textures and colors to my re-homed green-wing macaw’s
homemade treats. Whether he nibbles indiscriminately at
the bird bread, picks out a single veggie chunk, or simply
pulverizes the treats into a crumbly mess, he does so while
making gleeful murmurs interspersed with excited yelps
that echo through his food dish.
One batch makes approximately 6 cupcake-size bird
treats and 18 minis. Both sizes are foot-friendly and easy
to handle because the pumpkin spice bread is somewhat
denser than pound cake.
Pumpkin Spice Bird Bread Recipe
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Use a fork to combine egg, oil, water, and pumpkin puree.
Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and flax
seed in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add
the pumpkin puree mixture. Stir until combined. Add
mix-ins and stir to disperse.
For birdie bites, use a mini muffin pan or baking sheet.
Lightly coat the pan with vegetable oil. Fill the muffin
cavities about 1/2 full OR drop the batter by the spoonful
about an inch apart on the sheet pan. Bake until slightly
browned, about 10 to 12 minutes.
For larger discs, use a standard muffin pan. Lightly coat
the pan with oil. Fill cups about 2/3 full. Bake until slightly
browned, about 15 to 20 minutes.
1 tablespoon oil, preferably organic coconut oil
1/2 cup fresh cooked OR canned pumpkin puree
Store prepared pumpkin spice birdie bread in the fridge or
freezer to maintain freshness. Allow chilled treats to reach
room temperature before serving.
2/3 cup water
Pumpkin Spice Bird Bread Recipe Tips
1/2 cup all-purpose OR whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground flax seed
1/4 cup mix-ins, see tips below
The mix-ins are a great opportunity to boost your bird’s
veggie intake and sneak in foods he is hesitant to try. You
can forage a variety of unseasoned veggies from your
Thanksgiving pantry. Diced bell peppers, cooked black
beans, peas, green beans, and corn work well in this recipe.
If you prefer, use a bit of chopped apple in your mix-ins to
add a touch of sweetness.
Use fresh, organic ingredients whenever possible. If
using canned veggies, choose those without added salt.
You’ve probably seen this same tip on every pumpkin
recipe ever written, but it is worth repeating; canned
pumpkin puree is different than canned pumpkin pie
filling. Pumpkin pie filling or pumpkin pie mix usually
includes a blend of sugar, spices, salt, and flavorings.
For added texture, sprinkle the batter with millet or
sesame seeds before baking.
Should parrots eat turkey? Of course, as long it’s a
Thanksgiving turkey topper made from veggies. Cut a
large, flat slice from the side of a bell pepper. Use a mini
turkey cookie cutter to cut through the pepper. Place
the pepper on top of the batter and press gently before
baking. Alternatively, you can use a paring knife to cut
To create fluffier birdie bread, replace half the baking
powder with baking soda.
TIPS FOR COOKING FOR BIRDS
The basic list of no-no’s includes salt, caffeine, chocolate,
avocado, dairy, apple seeds (a source of cyanide), fruit
pits (stone fruit pits contain amygdalin), garlic, onions,
tomatoes, mushrooms, alcohol, tobacco, junk food, and
sugar. BirdChannel.com cautions against feeding celery
to birds because the stringy component may cause
health issues such as crop impaction.
The Bird Clinic’s list of diet hazards includes acidic foods
such as oranges, Granny Smith apples, raspberries, and
pineapple because they change the crop’s pH and inhibit
or stop the crop’s normal function.
Since metals such as aluminum are toxic to birds, it
is important to avoid foil paper when preparing and
storing this homemade bird treat. Why take a risk that
an errant piece will stick to the pumpkin spice bread?
Use aluminum-free baking powder. It costs a little more
than its traditional counterpart-maybe an extra quarterand is widely available from brands such as Rumford
and Bob’s Red Mill.
At extreme temperatures, non-stick bakeware and
Teflon-coated surfaces can release toxic fumes that are
lethal to birds. Birdkeepers should avoid these materials.
How to Stuff your Parrot
Mashed Potatoes with Gravy
Hot rolls and Butter
Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream
1. Get up early in the morning and have a cup of coffee.
It’s going to be a long day, so place your Parrot on a perch
nearby to keep you company while you prepare the meal.
2. Remove Parrot from kitchen counter and return him
3. Prepare stuffing, and remove Parrot from edge of stuffing bowl and return him to perch.
4. Stuff turkey and place it in the roasting pan, and remove Parrot from edge of pan and return him to perch.
5. Have another cup of coffee to steady your nerves.
6. Remove Parrot’s head from turkey cavity and return
him to perch.
7. Re-stuff the turkey.
8. Prepare relish tray, and remember to make twice as
much so that you’ll have a regular size serving after the
Parrot has eaten his fill.
9. Remove Parrot from kitchen counter and return him
10. Prepare cranberry sauce, discard berries accidentally
flung to the floor by Parrot.
11. Peel potatoes remove Parrot from edge of potato
bowl and return him to perch.
12. Arrange sweet potatoes in a pan and cover with
brown sugar and mini-marshmallows.
13. Remove Parrot from edge of pan and return him to
14. Replace missing marshmallows.
15. Brew another pot of coffee. While it is brewing, clean
up and replace the torn filter.
16. Pry coffee bean from Parrot beak. Have another cup
17. Remove Parrot from kitchen counter and return him
When it is time to serve the meal:
1. Place roasted turkey on a large platter, and cover beak
marks with strategically placed sprigs of parsley.
2. Put mashed potatoes into serving bowl, re-whip at last
minute to conceal beak marks and claw prints.
3. Place pan of sweet potatoes on sideboard, forget presentation as thereZ’s no way to hide the areas of missing
4. Put rolls in decorative basket, remove Parrot from
side of basket and return him to perch.
5. Remove beaked rolls, serve what’s left.
6. Set a stick of butter out on the counter to soften. think
better and return it to the refrigerator.
7. Wipe down counter to remove mashed potato claw
8. Remove Parrot from kitchen counter and return him
9. Cut the pie into serving slices.
10. Wipe whipped cream off Parrot’s beak and place
large dollops of remaining whipped cream on pie slices.
11. Whole slices are then served to guests, beaked-out
portions should be reserved for hosts and hostesses.
12. Place Parrot inside ca ge and lock the door.
13. Sit down to a nice relaxing dinner with your family
– accompanied by plaintive cries of “WANT DINNER!”
from the other room.
Lost or Found Bird?
If you have lost or found a bird, please
contact your local pet stores, vet offices,
and post an ad in your local media outets,
including Craigslist. You can also post
flyers and use social media to spread the
Finally, contact WLABC and these great
parrot “lost and found”websites:
What To Do If Your Bird Is Lost
1. Make and distribute flyers (with a picture!) in
2. Notify the Humane Society or Animal Control
3. Enlist the help of neighborhood kids. Children
love to help look for lost parrots.
4. Call area pet stores and vets.
5. Place classified ads in newspapers.
6. Put up posters in local convenience stores and
at your post office.
7. Don’t limit your notification activity to the
immediate vicinity where the parrot was lost.
Frightened birds often fly a long way.
8. Use social media.
9. Post notices on local websites like Craigslist.
Why tell people to join the
West LA Bird Club?
There are many benefits of being a
member! Here are just a few:
Attend monthly meetings where you can hear great
presentations by bird specialists and professionals
Enjoy free snacks and beverages at all meetings
Win great prizes with our popular monthly raffle
Bring your birds to meetings and meet other birds
Have fun and make great friends who love birds too
Get discounts at local pet stores
Support bird rescue organizations and sanctuaries
Dave’s CrossBird Puzzle
Correctly solve the CrossBirdTM puzzle and win a prize. Bring your completed puzzle to the
November meeting. The solution to this puzzle will appear in the next issue of Newsbeak.
Don’t YOU Be a Turkey …
Try the WLABC CrossBird TM Puzzle!
It’s Thanks-Giving Time, Turkey!
CrossBird (TM) puzzle #1116, © 2016 by David Friedman. All rights reserved.
Patron saint of
Help, as a hoodlum
Castle city in Shogun
Part of a full house
Small part of
U.N. workers' agcy.
Pin-on for a hero
Not "with it"
Billboards or omens
Prop for Mr. Peanut
They may be tight or
Part of DJIA
Set of tools
Get the lead out
Apollo program's O.J.
Ship's sail support
Hang with cloth
Long thin fluffy scarf
Sally's Norma (1979)
Weapon made from
Popular brand of
Prepare eggs (2 wds)
A promise or
Austrian light cake
"Mister", to a Hindu
George, the lady poet
What are you __??!!
Dole family's island
Like a jewelry box
Word after saddle or
Roth saving acct.
Solution to previous puzzle:
Weapons Of Mass Distraction
The Final Conflict
E L I N
P L A
L I E D
R L I E
S T E
O C H E
R U M
A M I N
S M O
H E R
A T T H E
S W A N
S T A R S
T A R T
A G P H O
D E I
H E R O
Y O G I
O U R E M
U R E
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