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  1. This website is Dedicated to Educating Caregivers about the Physical, Emotional, Psychological, Intellectual and Nutritional Needs of the Parrots in their Lives. 

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 Sally Blanchard's Book Sales, Tongue-in-Beak Clayworks, Color Pencil Drawings, Parrot and Bird Collectibles
For more interesting Facts about PARROTS, please to to the extensive alphabetically arranged COMPANION PARROT ONLINE GLOSSARY

In World War One (WWI) parrots were kept on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France because of their remarkable sense of hearing. When the Parrots heard the enemy aircraft coming they would warn everyone of the approaching danger long before any human ear could hear the noise.

Back in the 1950s, the Howdy Doody show was often sponsored by Poll Parrot shoes. It had a parrot as a logo. More information about Poll Parrot Shoes in the Parrot History Section.

The Palm cockatoo beak never completely closes because of its unique anatomy. This allows the bird to open very hard nuts. The male Palm will break off a branch and one of the highlights of anyone’s travel to see wild Palm Cockatoos is to watch and hear a demonstrative cockatoo sit atop a snag tree in full display and banging a stick or rock on the hollow trunk. The sound can carry a long way.

Each toe on your parrot's foot has
a different number of bones in it.

Is it normal for African grey parrots to dig in the ground? Yes! In the wild they spend a great deal of time on the ground digging for calcium rich grasses. This behavior seems to be instinctive for baby greys who can spend a lot of time digging in their cages. Several years ago, I watched a video sent to my by Liz and Bob Johnson of Florida that started out simply showing the ground with what appeared to be a hole in it. Then a flash of red appeared. Soon it was apparent that it was the tail of an African grey. Then the bird backed his whole body out and peered into the hole he had dug. Then his entire body slowly disappeared into the opening of the earth again. This process was repeated a few times until the video ended. A job well done!

In the wild, some Hyacinth Macaws pick through cattle dung for predigested nuts. Hopefully no one will get the idea to merchandise cow patties with nuts in them for companion Hyacinths. 

Ancient Parrots
Most parrot fossils were excavated in Europe. The earliest dates back to the Eocene, and are 50 million years old. Most of the complete skeletons were found in Germany and England. These birds are considered the great “parrot ancestors.” However, fossils of modern parrots—with the same bone structure and appearance as the ones we see today, are about 23 million years old

The Patagonian Conure is crepuscular and sometimes nocturnal. This means that the bird is active at dusk and during the night. 

Most artificial fragrances are made from petroleum and can have toxic effects on fish, birds and mammals. The same is true of many artificial colors. In addition to their toxicity, they can also be a cause of allergies.  

Many male birds mimic sounds to impress the ladies with their vocal dexterity. In Australia, a Satin Bowerbird confused a group of bird watchers who reached for their cell phones when he added the ringing to his repertoire.  

What's a few Creepy Crawlies? If you find a worm in your bird's seed or food, don't worry about it. As long as the food is not full of them, it can just add a little protein to the diet.
 When a baby parrot is in the nest or aviary, the gland on the side of the cloaca (the 'vat' at the end of the digestive system) called the Bursa of Fabricius actually “sips” in aspects of the environment to assist the development of the immune system. If the baby’s area is filthy, the immune system may be overwhelmed and the baby will most likely become ill. On the other hand if the baby’s area is compulsively clean, the immune system will not develop properly because there is nothing to gauge in the development of the immune system. It is essential to establish a balance to create a healthy parrot. Once the baby's immune system has developed, the Bursa of Fabricius dissolves into the cloacal wall. 
A chimera is an animal with characteristics of both genders (or in mythology, one that has the characteristics of different species such as a fire-breathing combination of snake, lion, and goat.)  With most species (including humans) it is difficult to visually identify a chimera. Some chimeras could also be called hermaphrodites in that the single animal has characteristics of both genders. However, since the genders of most parrots are monomorphic (meaning the male and female are usually similar) chimeras in most parrots may remain unknown. However because Eclectus are sexually dimorphic (the male and female have obvious differences in their external characteristics) a chimera, although very rare, is obvious. The Eclectus shown has female characteristics on one half and male characteristics of the other. 
The Illustration below is called "Our Polly"
 and is from The Illustrated London News - January 13, 1872
The first written reference to Polly as a 
name for a parrot was published in 1616 "Epigrams" by Poet Ben Johnson. 
Up until that point the most popular 
name for a parrot was Mary -
nickname Molly - or Moll and 
this eventually became Polly - 
perhaps because of the alliteration.

In past parrot literature, The Caique was often called "La Petite Peruche Maypouri." This translates as the little tapir parrot. The connection? The call of the Caique sounds much like the whisting sound of the tapir.  

The names of all four of New Zealand's unusual native parrots start with a K; Kaka, Kakapo, Kakariki, and Kea. 

Several years ago I had access to the U.C. Berkeley Library. I found a lot of intriguing and interesting information about both parrots and wild birds. There were some periodicals from the late 1800s and the early 1900s. I found an issue of an Avicultural Magazine from that time that had a short article about the "first American breeding" of the African grey. It was one really weird article and described a man named Gilbert Lee who had purchased African greys from a shipment from Africa in 1903. He put 17 greys into a dark barn loft. There only food and liquid source was a once a week sheep's head that he threw in without any contact with the birds. Three years after adding the greys to the barn, he opened it up and found that there were 54 greys and 11 skeletons. So there were 48 birds born in that barn in 3 years. This was part one of the article and I have never found the issue with Part II so I can't report any further on this absurd story of a breeding success.  

It is interesting to 'translate' the genus and species of parrots to see why they are called what they are. For example, the Budgerigar is Melopsittacus undulatus. The genus translates as 'song parrot' and the species name means 'wavy'. This could apply to the fact that their flight is 'wavy' or it could be the feather patterns in their plumage. The name Budgerigar come from a native Australian word betcherrygah, which means 'good parrot'.

Calyptorhynchus is the genus for several Australian black cockatoos. The genus name was given for their habit of covering their beaks with their feathers when they are relaxed. The calypto part means veiled or hidden and the rhynchus means nose, or in this case beak. 

What bird is the best Mimic? You say African Grey, while others would suggest an Amazon or perhaps a Mynah bird. In the wild bird world, maybe its the mocking bird or the catbird?  According to many bird experts the answer is that none of the above even come close to the Australian Lyrebird Menura novaehollandiiae. This almost nondescript (except for its amazing tail) brown bird lives in the forests of south eastern Australia and is a ground bird that rarely flies. For more information on this bird, his repertoire and why hhe is considereed the best mimic: https://companionparrotonline.com

When parrots from other parts of the world were being studied and imported into Europe, it was difficult to classify how the birds were related to each other. In 1801, the book The Natural History of Parrots by Francois le Vaillant classified several Blue-fronted Amazons as different species because of their differences in plumage. But, to me, the most interesting classification at the time is the Grey-trunked Ara. Ara is the genus of several macaws but the bird that was labeled the Grey-trunked Ara was the Palm Cockatoo. Why was it considered to be a macaw? Despite the fact that Macaws are from Central and South America and the 'Grey-trunked Ara' was from Australia, the bird was classified as an Ara because of its bare facial patch.

 The Australian Golden-shouldered Parrot is also called the Anthill Parrot because it nests in termite mounds and anthills. 

Amazona aestiva is the genus and species name for the Blue-fronted Amazon. This translates as the Amazon of Summer. Do you know which parrot is the Amazon of Fall?  

Hybridization has long had a negative connotation with many naturalists and scientists. In fact the word comes from Latin hybrida which is from the Greek hubris — a term meaning arrogance against the gods.

Have you ever noticed that the eyes of some parrots are proportionately smaller than others? It is a biological principle that most animals that live in darker areas have larger eyes to let in more light. Parrots with proportionately larger eyes usually live in habitats with dense foliage and parrots with smaller eyes usually evolved in areas where there is less protection from the bright sun. 

The zygomatic arch of the Hyacinth Macaw consists of three fused bones no wider and not much longer than a Q-tip. Fragile as they are if too much pressure is put on this area, the operation movement of this arch is one of the reasons Hyacinths have such powerful beaks. In the drawing the zygomatic arch is the long angled bone in the center of the skull.

Blue-throated Macaws have a two tone tongue with a sharp division between the dark tip and the light base. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. 

If you heat your parrot’s food in the microwave, it is best to use a glass container.  It is believed that plastic wrap and plastic containers can release potentially toxic chemicals into the food. Also make sure the food is well stirred before feeding so there are no hot spots that could injure your parrot’s mouth, crop, and digestive system. 

Among all the objects in an African Greys cage is a plastic food cup holder with a hole in it about 1½ wide. There are several properly sized perches throughout the cage. Where does the average grey perch most of the time? Why is it that greys love to wrap their toes around the smallest perch possible? Does the fact that they like to hang upside down contribute to their intelligence because the blood rushes to their brain???

Mark Twain: "She was not quite what you would call refines. She was not quite what you would call unrefined. She was the kind of person that keeps a parrot." 
Will Rogers said:
"Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip."

Marie Corelli said: " I never married because there was no need. I have three pets at home, which answers the same purpose as a husband. I have a dog which growls every morning, a parrot which swears all afternoon. and a cat that comes home late at night." 

    Is it just a coincidence that the fictional master of the spy game and a famous ornithologist who wrote the book Birds of the West Indies have the same name?  When Ian Fleming, who was in Jamaica at the time, was looking for a name for his character in the spy novel, he happened to notice a name on a bird guide in his library that sounded perfect. It was short, masculine sounded, and easy to remember so Fleming named his super macho secret agent James Bond after the ornithologist author of the Birds of the West Indies.

Herbst's Corpuscles 
 I doubt that any parrots actually sleep soundly during the night. Since parrots are prey animals in the wild, I am sure that they have to be somewhat alert even in the dark since there are night predators such as owls and snakes. One of a parrot’s night defenses are encapsulated nerve bundles in their legs and hips. These are called Herbst's corpuscles and they act as vibration detectors. They are important at night because these nerve endings can send a message to the parrot's brain that a snake is crawling up the tree where they are roosting. These vibration detectors may actually be responsible for night frights in some companion parrot family birds. 

Night Frights & Fright Molts
Some parrots, particularly cockatiels, experience night frights where they thrash around their cages. If the birds aren’t where lights from cars flash across the room and frighten them, they may be picking up vibrations from nearby highways. They could try to fly and instead crash into the cage bars and become even more frightened and thrash in their cages. Some birds, particularly 'tiels will experience a fright molt where they lose the feathers on their tails. These may save them when a predator flies down and tries to grab their tails. One client of mine stopped the problem by putting her cockatiel in a small sleeping cage on top of folded towels that seemed to absorb the vibrations.

Diurnal, Crepuscular, Nocturnal
Diurnal animals are active during the day, nocturnal animals are active during the dark hours and crepuscular animals are parrots active at dawn and dusk. A few parrots seem to be crepuscular including the Patagonian conure and the Great-billed Parrot. 
Rose-breasted cockatoos are raised in a creche. Clutches can be up to 8 babies, which are too many babies for a pair to raise properly. Once the babies are fledged, they are led to a nursery area where they are gathered together for care from other adult birds for feeding and care until they are weaned.  

On an Antiques Road Show, a woman brought in an old quilt to be appraised. She said that during the devastating 1906 San Francisco earthquake, her mother grabbed the quilt and her grandmother took the parrot. Her grandmother certainly had her priorities in order! 

Police in Tucson, AZ broke down the door of a home after neighbors reported a woman screaming for help. The damsel in distress turned out to be a 2-year old Yellow-nape Amazon named Oscar who was laughing as much as he was screaming. 

It is presumed that the first parrots imported into Europe were in the Psittacula family from Asia (probably ringnecks or Alexandrines) by the soldiers of Alexander the Great around 325 BC. Of course this is where the Alexandrine parakeet got its name. 

According to the Large Macaws by Joanne Abramson, studies of chromosomes show that the Severe Macaw is more closely related to the Blue and Gold Macaw than it is to the Yellow-collared Macaw. 

When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber. 
Winston Churchill

I bet the sparrow looks at the parrot and thinks, yes, you can talk, but LISTEN TO YOURSELF! - Jack Handey (Saturday Night Live)

I have been told that according to local folklore, owning a red parrot in India is an indication that you belong to the world’s oldest profession.

Remember that it is not just the smoke from cigarettes and cigars that is dangerous for parrots. Nicotine on the hands and clothing can create be toxic causing contact dermatitis, which can also cause plucking because of skin sensitivity. 

Raising Resilient Children by Robert Brooks and Sam Goldstein talks about island’s of competency to refer to a child’s areas of strengths and states that these “islands of competency” should be encouraged in a positive manner. The same concept easily applies to our parrots as far as “giving them a job” they can do according to their special talents. Some individuals are wonderful acrobats, other are good talkers, and some are show offs who love to do tricks for applause and praise.

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