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Don’t breed, Don’t buy... Adopt a rescued bird!

Howard, The Handsome Hawaiian
a love story

Howard moved to the mainland with his family from Hawaii, but once here, his family's lifestyle changed so much that Howard no longer fit in. Rather than neglect him, the family surrendered Howard (an eclectus) to Mickaboo to be sure he would get a good home with someone who had the time to give him the attention he needed.

Howard struggled a bit as his situation changed to a foster home. Not having known any other family than his original one, he was distressed and scared. He even got a bit nippy for a while, which did not endear him to prospective adopters. His foster Dad worked with Howard and taught him how to trust again.

After almost 2 years in foster care, a qualified adopter saw Howard's story and stepped up to ask for him, hoping that he would be a good buddy for her own eclectus, Sanger.

After receiving a wicked bite

from Howard when they first met, she did notice that he began asking for attention and forgiveness almost immediately afterwards. Her heart melted.

Now settled in his new home, Howard is once again displaying his adorable nature! He devours all kinds of food; he whispers "Mama" to get his mistress' attention, and he likes to sit and watch the wild blue jays through the window over-looking the garden.

Howard’s new Mom describes one exceedingly funny exchange between Howard and Sanger: "Two nights ago, I was sitting at dinner and heard them down the hallway having a talking war: 'Tickle Tickle' got countered with 'Peekaboo,' promptly checked with 'Quack Quack Quack,' foiled by 'Hey There, Pretty Baby,' followed by a hearty ‘WOO WOO WOO,' which was immediately parried with a loud 'OW! Don't Bite!' I laughed so hard, I nearly choked on my dinner!"

The biting, you ask?

There is no more biting, but there are plenty of very loud kisses!

Handsome Howard
"I am so in love with this little green guy and every day brings a new insight into his shy and loving personality. Any doubts I had about whether this was the right choice are totally gone, replaced instead with a deep thankfulness that Howard has come into my life.”
- Howard’s Mama

October 2008
Quarterly News

Inside this issue:   
Angel Program
The Jetsons
Tips & Tricks
Birdie Recipes
Home Hazards
Avian Humor
Upcoming Events
Bird Care Classes
Maddie's Rainbow Bridge

Links of Interest:
Birds Ready to Adopt

Success Stories!

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

Lost and Found

How to Help

Mickaboo Library


The Mickaboo Store

A Liddle Miracle

Did you know that by donating that old car, truck, RV, or boat, you will be making a vital contribution toward rescuing birds in need and avoid the headache of selling a used vehicle? Mickaboo will receive 70% of the net proceeds from the sale of the vehicle while you save money at tax time!

Our representatives at Car Program LLC will make all the arrangements for towing, title processing, receipt distribution, appraisal if required, sale at auction or dismantler, accounting and distribution of sale proceeds to Mickaboo. Your car doesn't have to be in working order and can generally be picked-up at any location in the continental U.S. and Hawaii. To donate your vehicle, call toll free at 1-800-237-5714 and designate Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue as your charity.

Update - September 15, 2008
Thanks to increased donations in response to our calls for help, our financial status has improved. Although we are still in need of donations in this declining economy, and our vet bills have not decreased, we are lifting the total ban on intake of birds while we revise our intake policies.
The Mickaboo Angel Program
"Give of yourself as the Angels do and wonderful things will come to you." - Ramadan

Mickaboo currently has approximately 250 birds in foster care. Our first commitment is to these birds and their ongoing care. For this reason, we need to use our regular donations to maintain a cash reserve for them.

As you know, we suspended intake on May lst, unless we had Angels who were willing to help us "endow" new birds to cover their immediate or future veterinary expenses.

Thanks to Mickaboo's generous supporters, the Angel & Sponsorship programs have been a huge success.

Our Angels & Sponsors have enabled us to take in 64 birds since intake was suspended. These are birds we would not have been able to help without you. Keeping track of Angels & Sponsors has become rather confusing! Because everyone who donates as an Angel or Sponsor is considered an 'Angel' in the eyes of a Mickaboo bird, we are merging the two programs.

Why Become an Angel to a Mickaboo Bird? Unfortunately, many of the birds that come into Mickaboo's care have been injured, abused, neglected or are very ill. As a result, they need medical attention, behavioral training and extra love and nurturing before we can place them in adoptive homes. These birds are often times considered unadoptable at shelters and by society in general. We believe that every bird deserves a second chance. We allow each and every one of our birds as much time as they need to find that special adopter who is willing care for them.

As Mickaboo has grown, and we have taken in more birds from shelters, our monthly vet bills have increased significantly, averaging between $8,000 and $10,000 per month.

We understand that not everyone can foster or adopt a Mickaboo bird, but would still like to help. Becoming an Angel to a bird in need is the perfect way to do that! You can help us take in birds from shelters or from private surrenderers who are in a financial crisis. Your donations will help us defray the cost of their sometimes astronomical vet bills while they wait for forever homes.

Visit The Mickaboo Angel Program to find out how YOU can become an Angel too!
“Max and Rico”
"I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again." ~ Anonymous
Meet The Jetsons!
a heartwarming "Mickaboo Miracle"

We were contacted by the owner of the Jetsons on the day he was being evicted from his home. He said that if we were unable to help him, he intended to open the aviary door when he left for that last time -- hoping the tiels could fend for themselves.

Mickaboo volunteers immediately responded and raced to his home to rescue the tiels. When they arrived, they found two of the tiels (Valient and Gelato) on the bottom of the aviary floor, filthy, thin and unable to fly or reach any food

other than what the others dropped on the ground. Val and Gelato were rushed to the vet.

Gelato found a forever home after warming the heart of a loving vet tech while in recovery.

Val is still at the vet due to serious injuries, but is recovering well and will be available for adoption soon.

The healthy Jetsons are now in a permanent Mickaboo home and living in a beautiful new aviary complete with perches, toys, good food and sunshine!

Tips and Tricks:
Seed Moths and Grain Beetles:

Prevention: Seed and other grain-based feeds are sometimes contaminated with moth and/or beetle larva, eggs, and/or adults. Although they are generally harmless (nontoxic and they do not destroy wood), these "pantry pests" are very difficult to safely and permanently rid yourself of, and they will find their way into--and infest--just about any dry food your pantry has to offer (bread, rice, flour, other pet food, spices, crackers, cereal, and so forth). Preventing their presence is much easier than eliminating it once established, so keep the following tips in mind.

  1. Check all containers of feed for "freshness" before purchase--never bring home a container of feed that has bugs crawling in it, or appears to have webbing or a lot of dust in it.
  2. Freeze any newly purchased bag of feed for 7 days before feeding it to your birds.
  3. Store all feed in clean, air tight containers (glass jars that pressure seal with rubber gaskets work best), and preferably (if space allows) keep the containers in the refrigerator.
  4. Properly discard the remains of feed from the birds' feed dish, emptying it into a trash receptacle before washing and refilling the dish. Dumping old feed onto the floor of the cage only provides a breeding ground for the bugs, as does tossing it out in the yard for the wild birds..
  5. Clean your bird cages frequently, as the lifecycles of these insects is short enough (as short as 27 days) to allow them to reproduce very rapidly.

Recipes for the Chic Beak:
Nutri-Nuggets (substitute for Nutriberries)

* 1 cup dried fruit (unsulphured)
* 1/2 cup organic currants or raisins
* 2 Tablespoons unsweetened coconut shreds
* 1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal
* 1/4 cup small seeds and/or crushed nuts
* 1/4 cup raw organic wheat germ flakes
* 2 Tablespoons organic almond butter
* 1 Tablespoon agave nectar or blackstrap molasses

* Optional coating: fine ground coconut, wheat germ, ground almonds , millet, sesame seeds. flax seed

Blend all dry ingredients in a food processor until chopped finely. Place mixture into a bowl and add almond butter and molasses. Mix well; the mix will be sticky. Roll mixture into small 1/2" balls and shake them in bags of your choice of coatings. Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes. Cool and serve. For multiple birds, use four times all the ingredient amounts for about a hundred Nutrinuggets.

- from Carolyn Swicegood's Land of Vos

(these were tested at the recent adoption fair in Hayward and were a big hit with Bentley, Tookie and Parry!)

In the Kitchen:

  • Avocados - While the pit is poisonous, the flesh can also become tainted with the toxin.
  • Chocolate - contains theobromine which can cause neurological problems and eventually death.
  • Sugar - can cause severe digestive system problems, as well as diabetes and heart disorders.
  • Mayonnaise - food may sit in the crop for awhile and mayonnaise can go bad rather quickly.
  • Fruits and Vegetables - wash all fruits and vegetables to remove pesticides and bacteria.
  • Bananas - wash bananas prior to peeling to remove any monkey urine residue that may be present.
  • Rhubard - contains oxalic acid which can be toxic to birds.
  • Spinach - while healthy for your bird, spinach also contains traces of oxalic acid and should be fed in small amounts.
  • Fruit Pits - contain cyanide; the dark discoloration in the fruit around the pit is due to toxins that have bled into the fruit and should be cut out. Branches and leaves from a pitted fruit are also toxic to your bird.
  • Dairy Products - Birds are lactose intolerant and cannot metabolize dairy products.
  • Eggs - always wash all shells before using to eliminate salmonella.
  • Caffeine - causes nervousness, hyperactivity and irritability.
  • Salt - birds do not sweat and excrete salt as humans do, can cause high blood pressure.

  • Keep your birds out of the kitchen while cooking! Hot stoves, boiling water and cooking fumes can cause serious injuries and death.
  • The Dangers of Nonstick Cookware and Appliances:

    NEVER cook using nonstick cookware if your bird lives in the house. Nonstick cookware has a special coating which emits colorless and odorless fumes when heated that kills birds almost immediately. It was originally thought that only burned or overheated nonstick cookware emitted these dangerous fumes, but it was recently discovered that this cookware could kill birds even at normal cooking temperatures.

    Nonstick coating can be found on griddles, waffle irons, deep fryers, bread makers, crock pots, and many other kitchen utensils and appliances, including self-cleaning ovens.

    To be safe, only use cookware made of stainless steel, copper or other materials that do not have nonstick coating present.

    Other household items that could contain nonstick coating are irons, portable heaters, heat lamps, hair dryers, curling irons, and ironing board covers.

    Keep your bird away from any of these products and potentially harmful fumes if you are not sure!

    Avian Humor:
  • A pigeon was pacing up and down anxiously in Central Park when he saw his friend hop up on the curb. "Where have you been, I've been waiting here for hours?" The new arrival looked around him and said, "It was such a nice day, I said to myself -- what the heck, I'll walk!"

  • A guy goes into a pet shop to buy a parrot. There he sees a parrot with a red string tied to its left leg and a green string tied to its right leg. He asks the owner the significance of the strings.
    "Well, this is a highly trained parrot. If you pull the red string, he speaks French; if you pull the green string, he speaks German," replies the shop keeper.
    "And what happens if I pull both strings?" our curious shopper inquires.
    "I fall off my perch!!" screeches the parrot.

  • Chirpes: A canarial tweetment.

  • Upcoming Events:
    October 5, 2008 - Walnut Creek Farmers' Market: 8 am - 1 pm, Mickaboo table

    October 11, 2008 - Orinda Farmers Market: 9 am - 1 pm, Mickaboo table

    October 25, 2008 - Pleasant Hill Farmer’s Market: 10 am - 2 pm, Mickaboo Table

    December 6, 2008 - Annual Holiday Fundraiser Party, Berkeley

    Scheduled Bird Care Classes:    [ email to sign up ]
    October 5, 2008 at 1:00 PM SF Basic Bird Class - Pet Food Express, 1975 Market, San Francisco

    October 7, 2008 at 6:30 PM South Bay Basic Bird Class - Andy's Pet Shop, 1280 The Alameda, San Jose

    October 12, 2008 at 1:00 PM East Bay Basic Bird Class - Clubhouse, 27930 Pueblo Springs Drive, Hayward

    October 19, 2008 at 1:00 PM South Bay Basic Bird Class - For Other Living Things, 1261 So. Mary Ave, Sunnyvale

    October 19, 2008 at 1:00 PM Sacramento Basic Bird Class - Sylvan Oaks Library, 6700 Auburn Blvd., Citrus Heights

    November 8, 2008 at 10:00 AM Marin Basic Bird Class - Marin Humane Society, 171 Bel Marin Keys Blvd. Novato

    November 9, 2008 at 1:00 PM East Bay Basic Bird Class - Clubhouse, 27930 Pueblo Springs Drive, Hayward

    November 9, 2008 at 1:00 PM SF Basic Bird Class - Pet Food Express, 1975 Market, San Francisco

    November 16, 2008 at 1:00 PM South Bay Basic Bird Class - For Other Living Things, 1261 So. Mary Ave, Sunnyvale

    December 14, 2008 at 1:00 PM SF Basic Bird Class - Pet Food Express, 1975 Market, San Francisco

    December 21, 2008 at 1:00 PM South Bay Basic Bird Class - For Other Living Things, 1261 So. Mary Ave, Sunnyvale

    Maddie's Rainbow Bridge:

    In loving memory of Tiffany the cockatiel, who passed away at the age of 25. She was the beloved bird of Shirley and Jere McGinnis, who were blessed with her sweet chirps and whistles every day. Shirley tells us that Tiffany was happy and lively right up to her time to pass over the rainbow bridge.

    Tiffany will live forever in their hearts and will always be thought of with love.

    Mickaboo's Madison Takes Flight

    Sadly, just days away from taking her departure flight to The Oasis Sanctuary, our "Maddie" passed away.

    Madison was a blue and gold female macaw found in a field near Sacramento, California. She was severely plucked, her head completely bare except for a tuft of green feathers. The leg band she was wearing proved she was "wild caught", a bird taken from her natural environment and imported into the United States many years ago. The pattern of her plucked feathers indicated that she had been kept as a breeding bird for many years. Another bird, probably her mate, plucked the feathers from her head.

    Mickaboo was called and transferred Madison, via their network of volunteers, from Sacramento through San Francisco to Monterey, where Madison was cared for by foster "dad" Nathan Birnbaum. Because of her wild nature, Madison was deemed unsuitable for adoption. Mickaboo worked to locate a permanent sanctuary where she could join other macaws. Such sanctuaries are rare; they need lots of space for these big birds to fly, and distance between them and human beings who might otherwise complain about their noise.

    The Oasis Sanctuary came to the rescue!

    The Oasis Sanctuary in Cascabel, Arizona was there to help and, as we had hoped, approved Madison for admission after she passed all her medical tests. Approximately 50 miles east of Tucson, the Oasis Sanctuary is a life-care facility for captive exotic birds. A true sanctuary, the Oasis offers a loving environment and optimum care for the lifetime of the birds who reside there. It means ensuring the birds have the companionship of other birds in naturalistic habitats (free-flights), as well as humans they come to know and trust. "Lifetime" for many of these birds can literally mean lifetimes far longer than ours, and often even longer than the lives of our children.

    What a wonderful future this could have been for Madison.... to live in sunshine in a huge aviary, to stretch out atrophied wings, feel the rain and enjoy the desert never have to return to a small breeding cage. Most importantly, to be in a safe social environment with her own feathered kind and to stop screaming, plucking and trembling because she did not fit in our world.

    Madison will be in our thoughts as she flies across the Rainbow Bridge, and our hearts go out to Nathan, her foster Dad, who did so much to make Madison's last days loving and peaceful and gave her the opportunity to interact with humans without fear or confusion.

    Your donation really helps — become a Mickaboo supporter!

    Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue is a nonprofit organization. We are not government funded, working solely on private donations and adoption fees, and staffed entirely by volunteers. Your donations go directly to providing medical care for our needy rescue birds.

    For more information on how you can help, visit our website at MCBR

    Supporting Vendors:

    The fine folks at Polly Pajaro are happy to support Mickaboo! If you purchase their products (such as the Pistachio Treats) they will send 20% of the sale to Mickaboo.

    Just click on their logo and type "Mickaboo" in the "Special Notes" section when you check out.

    If you have suggestions about what you would like to see in our newsletter, have articles to submit that you think would be beneficial to our readers, or just want to say you liked what we posted this quarter, feel free to contact our Newsletter Staff.