Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Mike Reynolds

Mike Reynolds, who was a founder of the World Parrot Trust, has died in Cornwall, England, at the age of 76.

Fortunately, he lived to see the enactment of a ban of importation of wild parrots and other birds into the EU, something we have had here in the US since the Wild Bird Conservation Act of 1996. Rest well, Mr. Reynolds.

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another Tuesday parrot update

For those who are following the parrot saga....

Aziza got her third shot on Saturday as scheduled, as soon as I got home from my conference. She seemed a bit sleepy, apparently, through Friday, and looked a bit run down on Saturday as well, though she was eating well. Since Sunday morning, however, she has been acting really different...more like the Aziza I used to know - a regular chatterbox of Pionus squeaks, flaring her tail, and offering her head for scritches. Don't know what's gotten into her. But the past few days she has seemed much better, though she is still too thin. She's also drinking an unusual volume of water, I'll have to ask the vet about that. So far, no more eggs (knock on wood). Her next injection is scheduled for this Saturday morning.

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on yesterday's disaster

I'm just going to say one thing about yesterday's tragedy in Virginia. It seems that some on the Right are already blaming the victims for not being "heroic" enough to stop the gunman.

Statements like this are not only vile and presumptuous, but they ignore the facts. We already have accounts of students, some of them already wounded, barricading doors to classrooms so that the gunman could not enter to do (further) damage. I also read that one of the professors, a Holocaust survivor, did the same and urged his students to escape, while he was killed for his efforts. An RA at the dorm where the first shootings took place was a victim because he tried to intervene in an argument the (same?) gunman was having with a girl there. Acting to help and save others is more heroic than some idiotic Steven Segal fantasy of taking out the gunman.

My heartfelt condolences go out to friends and families of all the victims of this tragedy.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

today's parrot news

Aziza seems to be recovering from her latest egginess. She still looks awfully sore, though, and there has been some intermittent blood in her droppings. None this morning, though, so we are just going to keep an eye on that. She has been eating well, and has been coming to her dish as soon as she is fed, so her appetite is good.

I will try to post up a pic or two of the latest egg this weekend...it is long and skinny, so it looks funny. The weather is supposed to clear up in a few days, it would be nice for Aziza if it were nice enough that I could give her a bath without worrying she'll catch a chill.


media overload

For the most part, I don't check out the video clips now being posted on news sites. As poor as the editing is getting on news websites, I usually stick with reading - it's faster than waiting for a video to load. And then when I see a link like this:

Well, I'm thinking, What are they actually going to show here? A clip of a big grumpy croc? Been there, done that. I did watch Steve Irwin on Animal Planet. A clip of a big grumpy croc chomping off someone's arm? Eewww! No, THANKS!

Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as too much information!

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

a step forwards, a step backwards

So, just as I was posting my update yesterday about Aziza and her latest round of hormone treatments, she threw another wrench in the works! I got a call from home at about 1:30 in the afternoon: "Her vent looks really big!" To which I replied, "Yes, that happens when she's hormonal, she's looked that way for a few weeks." Actually, what was meant was: "Her vent is really red and inflamed, and she's pushing, and when she does, something white shows."

So, when I got home it took about 5 minutes to discern that she was, indeed, straining on an egg which was right there but which she could not push out on her own. After a panicked call to the vet, I packed her up and drove her back to the office. I should have known her awesome weight gain over the last three days was suspicious. The vet helped push the egg out, gave her a calcium shot, and I brought a much lighter Aziza and a 12-gram egg back home. She spent an hour or so looking sleepy, but later in the evening was eating and drinking. She looks sore, though!

This morning I put her on the headboard while I went to the kitchen to fix the birds' morning rations. She walked over to the far side to look out the window, as usual. As I was dishing the food out, she walked back over to be put on her perch - without any prompting - and started eating right away (usually, she isn't in that much of a hurry). So she was hungry this morning. Hopefully, she will keep this up, because she's down to about 215 g now, and remember, I would really like her to be around 240 g. She has been eating well the past few weeks, but has been putting all of that into making eggs!

My day yesterday: Drive to work. Drive back home, pack up bird. Drive bird to vet's office (which is actually not far from work). Drive bird back home. Drive back to work. Drive home at end of work day. Drive back to vet's office with egg-bound bird. Drive home with egg-relieved bird. Total: About 85 miles, a lot of asshats in traffic, one exhausted bird, one exhausted bird owner, and $105 in vet charges.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Tuesday parrot update

Aziza has started on her series of shots. She got the first one on Saturday, and the second one today. I will give her the third one this Saturday, and then back to the vet the following Saturday! The shots are less expensive than the previous ones, which is good, but since she will have to have them more often, it runs a little more. I'm hoping she will calm down and them maybe not need them. I've ordered a cover for her cage, so we can regulate how many daylight hours she's getting, and that should help.

I will say that she seems to be less "put out" by these shots - the other ones left her looking a little peaked the following day, while these seem to make her hungry. She's been eating quite a lot since Saturday, and has packed on several grams between vet visits. I'd like to see her calmed down (not so hormonal) and getting fattened up (say, above 240 g) by her next vet visit. She has now been on the terbenifine for 3 months, so she's halfway done with that. It would be nice to get her to the stage where she isn't having to be medicated/poked and prodded all the time.


dead to me

Comic Bill Maher, CBS News political analyst Jeff Greenfield and former Carter administration official Hamilton Jordan all appeared on “Imus in the Morning” today.

Anyone who continues to defend and enable this particular asshat should not expect me to buy their books or watch their shows. Remember the comments that got Howard Cosell fired? Ah, the good old days!

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Wednesday wildlife blogging

Just so you know things haven't been all doom and gloom, here are some neat pictures of critters we've seen recently around the place.

Here is a moth that was in the house, trying to blend in on a wall:

And here are a couple of photos of the pileated woodpecker that has been hanging around the past few months, working on a snag left after the mid-December storm:

The woodpecker is interesting to watch - he is perfectly aware that you are approaching, but he's big enough, I guess, that he doesn't seem too concerned about it, and he lets you get pretty close. He's really been excavating this snag, and finding ants and other insects to eat. As the excavation area widens, he strips the ivy down, out of his way.

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parrot update early April

On Friday, Kianga crushed her remaining egg. I had been noticing that she was starting to look a little bored with sitting anyway, so I cleaned everything up Friday evening and - voila! It was like flipping a switch. I have my parrot companion back. She's back to her normal smartass self, talking, making her usual rude noises (she loves to make belching sounds), and asking to come out in the evening so she can get into things and have head scritches.

Aziza, on the other hand, has been more of an issue. She was due for a hormone shot last Saturday, but on Monday and Tuesday was already acting the way she did in the week before she got eggbound. Oh no, not again! I called the vet and got her in for a shot last Wednesday, but apparently it was not enough. She was just beside herself all weekend, and Sunday night she kept waking me up with shredding and digging in her cage papers. Finally at 2 am I removed them, but she spent all night on the floor of her cage. The next day and night she did act more normally, and was on her perch most of the time, but Tuesday morning I woke up to find that during the night she had laid a soft-shelled egg off her perch. It was broken on the floor of the cage, but I had slept Soundly enough (being tired from the previous night, I guess) that I didn't hear a thing. (I was at least relieved that she had managed to pass her egg without needing intervention!) I cleaned up, and called the vet.

The next option is to try a different hormone (more expensive no doubt, and it has to be given more frequently, so I will have to administer the shots myself). I hope we can work the schedule out, because there are three injections during the first week, and it just so happens I have to be out of town for two days next week at the local SETAC meeting, presenting a poster. If we can do them Saturday, Wednesday or Thursday morning, and then Saturday or Sunday, it will work fine, but if one of the shots has to be on Friday, we may have to delay, because nobody will be around who can give her that shot. Matt will be feeding and watering the birds and giving Aziza her oral meds (we can put them on a treat that she will eat), but he is scared of needles, and probably couldn't administer a shot to a bird without some help anyway.

I'll see what the vet says when I take Aziza in on Saturday. She has been eating and seems like she is doing pretty well otherwise - she has been engaged and even feisty since Monday.