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October 31, 2007

Lonely in Baghdad? Chat up a bird.

~A friend of Natures Corner Magazine sent this along via Email, the only reference I have is france.com I was unable to search and locate the story. ~sue

Dozens of Baghdadis flock to the centre of the Iraqi capital on Friday mornings, ignoring the threat to their lives, with a sole aim -- to ease their loneliness in the company of a bird.

Their destination is not a cinema, theatre or concert hall -- a rarity in the Iraqi capital -- but central Baghdad's Al-Ghazl bird market.

All kinds of birds -- from rare species smuggled in from Brazil and Africa to noisily chirpy parrots -- are the focus of these pet lovers.

"I know parrots are expensive birds, but it's nice to spend time with them at home," says Mohammed Fuad as he moves along a row of cages checking each and every bird.


Al-Ghazl, a textile and garment market until the 1960s, turned into an animal market as new traders moved in.

"Our situation at the time of Saddam was much better," says Amir Casco, son of Baha'a Hussein al-Tamimi, a prominent seller of exotic animals at the Al-Ghazl.

He said during the former regime pet lovers from Iran and even Russia used to regularly visit Al-Ghazl.

"Today we have local customers who like to have birds in their homes, as these people do not step out," he said.

Fuad is one of them. "I do not go out of my home. Because of the dangers, I prefer to stay at home rather than seek work."

"So I decided to buy a parrot who can entertain me," says Fuad, an unemployed graduate.

And for them the Al-Ghazl market is the place to be every Friday, the weekly Muslim holiday.

"We sell just parrots smuggled from Brazil or Ivory Coast," says Casco without hesitation.

"Lebanese merchants first brought the birds into Lebanon, then into Syria and finally into Iraq aided by local traffickers."

Trading in birds of extinct species is internationally banned and it became more restrictive after the bird flu crisis.


But the demand from Iraqis, traditionally known as bird-lovers, has not dried up and they are willing to pay a high price for rare species.

"The price of a parrot depends on its ability to speak. Some may utter 50 words and another 500. Such a bird can fetch up to 2,000 dollars," says Casco.

But the high price does not discourage enthusiasts.

"I already have two in my house," says Mohammed Arshad, a student of natural sciences. "One is from Africa and one from Brazil."

The young man has used the Internet to learn how to make the birds talk and now claims to be a "real professional."

"I am now looking for another parrot to teach as I taught the other two. Those who take to this passion can't live without it."

But in these troubled days where Baghdad is still reluctant to believe that the relative calm in recent weeks may last permanently, buyers quickly disperse after their purchases.

In March, three explosions rocked the neighbourhood killing and wounding dozens of people.

The past few months have, however, seen a dip in the violence, though not enough to make Baghdadis venture out for long.

Though he is not nostalgic about the former regime, Casco can not help but regret the relative calm under Saddam.

"Even the officials came to buy birds. I remember that one of them wanted a parrot who could sing the praises of the president," he said.

"In three days I taught a bird a song glorifying Saddam and offered it to the official who wanted to present it to the president."

But times have changed.

Casco points a finger to a group of animals and suddenly an African Grey parrot -- a new arrival -- shouts out "Down with Bush!"

Posted by sue at 06:43 AM | Comments (0)

October 30, 2007

In the Valley of the Wolves, November 4 on PBS.

Posted by sue at 08:10 AM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2007

stuck squirrel

A squirrel got into a wire bird feeder and ate so much.. it got stuck!

"After the squirrel had stuffed itself with nuts it had a stomach too large to escape the feeder"
RSPCA inspector Graham Hammond


Read the Press Association story here

Posted by sue at 12:14 PM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2007

Parrot Saves Family

A parrot's alert may have saved the life of a Muncie, Indiana father and his son.

Their house burned this weekend, leaving them without a home.

Shannon Conwell and his nine-year-old son fell asleep on the couch while watching a movie.

They were soon awakened to find their home on fire after hearing the family's parrot, Peanut, imitating a smoke alarm.


Please read the whole story from KTTC HERE

Posted by sue at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2007

Tune on On Sunday, October 28, for NATURE’s ...

season premiere Silence of the Bees joins scientists and bee experts as they race to solve an urgent global mystery – the widespread vanishing of honeybees, an insect crucial to the world’s food supply and economy.

Academy Award-winning actor F. Murray Abraham narrates. Available in HD.

For a video preview of Silence of the Bees, please visit our online pressroom.
please also visit NATURE on YouTube.

Posted by sue at 01:20 PM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2007

Talking to wild birds in Australia - Live Radio Show!

This Monday, October 22, 2007 at 12 Noon Eastern, join Conscious Animal Radio Host Christine Agro in a fascinating conversation with Australian based Gitie House. Gitie will be sharing her stories of communication and cohabitation with wild birds: from Crows to Thornbills, her stories will encourage you to see birds through different eyes!

Gitie and her husband Ron have been talking to the wild birds that live in the open Australian bush in Southern Queensland for over six years. The birds range from big and aggressive such as the crows to the small and vulnerable like the thornbills. Six of the species that have formed long term friendships are considered to be amongst the top eight most aggressive birds in the country. Chief amongst them are the magpies, who are well known for attacking humans particularly during breeding season. Yet these birds have taken Gitie and Ron to their nests, and brought their young to them, even leaving their chicks behind with their human baby-sitters, while they go off bug-hunting.

Conscious Animal Radio is a live call in internet radio show. If you have your own stories, comments or have questions about the animals in your life (Christine is a clairvoyant natural healer) call-in to 646-716-7281 or you can send an IM. All contact information can be found at www.consciousanimalradio.com

Access the show live at http://www.consciousanimalradio.com If you can't listen live, archived shows are available for download at the Conscious Animal Radio website and also as a podcast at iTunes.

Posted by sue at 05:06 AM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2007

Snowball, the dancing Cockatoo !!

Snowball is a member of the Bird Lovers Only Rescue and Sanctuary in Schererville, Indiana, which is near Chicago. The sanctuary is a donation-based not-for-profit rescue. They take in unwanted, abused, neglected, and special needs birds, from finches to cockatoos and macaws. They screen applicants thoroughly by checking character and vet references and also by conducting home visits, which are mainly for educational purposes.

Visit their Rescue BLOG here:

Posted by sue at 05:47 AM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2007

Elephants in the Denver Zoo

MARC BEKOFF, Animal Advocate and Professor Emeritus Ecology and Evolutionary
Biology, gives us permission to reprint his position statement on the issue
of whether or not more elephants should be added to the Denver Zoo. It was originally published here:

For more information about Marc's FABULOUS books on animal emotions and his
latest book, "The Emotional Lives of Animals," click here:

To learn more about the organization that he and Jane Goodall founded, click

Thick Skins, Tender Hearts and Broken Spirits: Should there be more
Elephants in the Denver Zoo?

By Marc Bekoff
Sunday, July 22, 2007

Should the Denver Zoo spend $52 million to increase the size of its Asian
elephant habitat and boost the number of captive elephants from two current
residents to as many as eight, who they'll keep in what they call an
"elephant park" furnished with a hot tub?

Five major zoos in the United States - the Bronx Zoo and those in Detroit,
Chicago, San Francisco and Philadelphia - recently decided to phase out
their elephant exhibits, despite the fact that they're money makers, because
they cannot meet the social, emotional and physical needs of these awesome
mammoths, and also because of the high cost of keeping captive elephants.
Elephants are highly intelligent, extremely emotional, very social and like
to roam. By definition, zoos are antithetical to these needs. The proposed
10-acre elephant park is merely a bigger, but thoroughly inadequate, cage,
and the elephants won't get it all.

The Denver Zoo justifies its intentions by claiming...

The Denver Zoo justifies its intentions by claiming that its park will help
to conserve this endangered species. In an interview I did on Colorado
Public Radio with Craig Piper, vice-president of the Denver Zoo, Piper
called these elephants an "insurance population." Insurance for what? The
Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) that oversees accreditation of zoos
in the United States admits in its own executive summary "Little to no
systematic research has been conducted on the impact of visits to zoos and
aquariums on visitor conservation knowledge, awareness, affect or behavior."
Terry Maple, renowned director of Zoo Atlanta, notes, "Any zoo that sits
around and tells you that the strength of zoos is the SSP (Species Survival
Plan) is blowing smoke." The SSP is an AZA program that attempts to ensure
the survival of certain wildlife species using managed breeding programs and
reintroducing captive bred wildlife into proper habitat. The Denver Zoo puts
less than 10 percent of its annual budget into conservation efforts (and
about the same into education), one quarter of what the Bronx Zoo devotes to
conservation. Piper admitted that it's extremely unlikely - impossible -
that any of these insurance elephants would ever be reintroduced to the
wild. Every conservation biologist knows that retaining suitable habitat for
animals is enormously difficult and there's no hope that habitat into which
elephants could be released would be saved for them in their absence.
Captive elephants merely insure a zoo's income.

There also is a lot concern about how captive elephant groups are
established and maintained. Piper said that the zoo might be able to house,
for example, six bull elephants and use them for breeding and also for
sending around to other zoos. Redecorating zoos with any animals raises
serious ethical questions. In order to maintain the new elephant park,
individuals will be shipped in and out, and friendships, and strong and
enduring social bonds, will be broken repeatedly. Elephants are highly
emotional, sentient beings and they suffer from post-traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD) and psychological flashbacks. They grieve, often
irreversibly, when life-long friendships are broken. Elephants have thick
skins, but tender hearts.

A recent essay in the New York Times concluded we're driving elephants crazy
by keeping them in captivity and by shipping them here and there as if
they're pieces of furniture. In spring 2001, Asian elephants were regularly
moved in and out of the Denver Zoo as if they were couches being moved from
room to room. Rocky Mountain Animal Defense (RMAD) and I got involved
because of the lack of concern of the Denver Zoo and the AZA. Dolly, a
32-year-old female, was removed from her friends, Mimi and Candy, and sent
to Missouri on her "honeymoon," as the zoo called it, to breed. A few months
later, Hope, a mature female, and Amigo, a 2 -year-old male (who had been
taken from his mother), were sent to the Denver Zoo, where they lived next
door to Mimi and Candy.

In the following months, Mimi got increasingly agitated. In June 2001, Mimi
pushed Candy over, she couldn't get up, and had to be euthanized (the zoo
didn't have a proper elephant hoist). Two days after Candy died, and a day
after she was autopsied within smelling distance of the other elephants,
Hope got angry, escaped from her keepers and rampaged through the zoo.
Miraculously, no one was seriously injured. Hope was then transferred out of
the zoo, and a new elephant, Rosie, was brought in. When elephants move in
and out of groups, their social order is severely disrupted and individuals
get very upset. I've seen this first hand among wild elephants in Kenya and,
not surprisingly, this is what happened at the Denver Zoo. And it could
happen again. Playing "musical chairs" with animals that have no choice can
be serious business with dire consequences.

Zoos are no place for elephants. As humans, we can do just about anything we

want to other animals so let's make the correct choice phase out the
elephant exhibit and send these amazing animals to sanctuaries where they
can live out their lives with social and emotional stability and respect and
dignity. The Denver Zoo should put the money elsewhere so that other
residents can have the better lives they deserve.

Marc Bekoff is professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the

University of Colorado. His latest book, "The Emotional Lives of Animals,"
discusses these and other issues about animals in captivity.

Posted by sue at 07:25 AM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2007

Parrot chirping "hello" wakens Texas man who shoots burglar

A Friend of Nature's Corner Magazine sent this along to me in an Email, I have no further info on the source. ~ sue

Texas man who shoots burglar

A parrot chirping "hello" woke his Texas owner up to find, and then shoot, a burglar in his garage Tuesday, local media reports.

"I guess you could call him a stool pigeon," owner Dennis Baker told the Dallas Morning News.

It was the fifth time the home, which is also used as a locksmith shop, was burglarized this month.

So when Baker woke to the sounds of Salvador, his Mexican Red-headed parrot, saying "hello, hello" he knew something was wrong.

Baker grabbed his gun and shot the burglar in his garage. The man died at hospital, police said.

"I have tools in my garage, my house and my van," Mr. Baker said. "They were coming here like they owned the place. I hate what happened, but somebody has to do what's necessary."

The bird also chirped "hello" when police arrived, Baker said.

"Sometimes he says 'hi,' but you can't get him to speak on cue," Mr. Baker said. "He has a mind of his own."

Texas has recently eased restrictions on people confronting intruders in their homes, businesses or cars. They are no longer obligated to retreat before responding with deadly force.

But police told the paper that this was not the reason behind a recent spat of home or business owners shootings intruders.

"We get them over the year from time to time," Sergeant Larry Lewis said.

Neither Baker nor the police were immediately available for comment.

Posted by sue at 07:34 AM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2007

Deer in the Yard

Posted by sue at 07:53 AM | Comments (0)

October 09, 2007

Temple Grandin is getting the cow's eye view


For more information on Dr. Temple Grandin, author of "Animals
in Translation," click here

Posted by sue at 01:05 PM | Comments (0)

October 06, 2007

Light a Candle in Rememberance of Alex

Today is the one month anniversary of Alex’ death. Thousands of people around the world will light candles at 8:00 PM your time zone.

If you want to take pictures, and send them to Arlene or, they will be placed in the Remembering Alex web page. When you email the put your location and see if we can have candles going around the world. Please make the pics low resolution so we don’t choke the servers :)

Please use unscented candles with a lead free cotton wick for safety of our birds and your self

Mail your Photo's to..(getting an addy, check back later today!!)

Posted by sue at 12:33 PM | Comments (0)

October 05, 2007

Cockatiel on the Road to Recovery

A friend of Natures Corner Magazine sent this to me via Email, I have no reference for it. ~sue

A cockatiel that narrowly escaped death in a city trash compactor last month is doing well and expected to make a full recovery, Animal Control Officer Charles Theobald said this week.

He said caretakers had to feed the small, pretty bird via a tube to get it back on the road to health.

"It's still being rehabilitated," Theobald said. "It's gaining more weight and getting healthier.

"The bird's been doing great ever since that day."

The day to which Theobald refers is Sept. 6, when workers on a city garbage truck came across a plastic trash bag by the curb on Mathews Avenue.

Inside the bag were a female cockatiel -- cage and all -- and its partner lying dead by its side.

Had city garbage collector Shawn Caron and his trash-truck partner not gotten curious and opened the bag, it would have been tossed into the packing compartment and crushed.

Caron, 19, said "something told him" to open the bags along that stretch of Mathews Avenue.

"We opened the bag and it started chirping; it wanted out real bad," Caron said at the time. "It started squawking the minute we ripped that bag open."

Waterville police said there would not be criminal charges brought because it is not known how the other bird died. The homeowner reportedly told officers that she thought both birds were dead when she put the bag out for the regular trash collection.

Theobald this week said the surviving bird remains at the same undisclosed location to which it was taken the day it was found. He said the facility specializes in taking care of birds.

Theobald said he has been asked not to divulge the name or the location of the facility for fear that too many people would contact the place.

After its ordeal, animal welfare workers had trouble getting the cockatiel to eat, Theobald said.

"At first it wasn't eating," he said. "It was given food, like baby food, through a tube. It got healthier that way and then it started eating on its own. It's eating like crazy now."

Theobald said the bird is going to need more time to recover before authorities can begin thinking about adoption.

"It's going to need a lot more attention," he said. "It's still very skittish just because of the incident it went through. They really don't know when yet, but it will be sometime in the near future."

Posted by sue at 04:38 AM | Comments (0)

October 04, 2007

Squawkers McCaw Furreal Friends Parrot

The toy parrot looks amazingly real. It responds when kids touch it and it even dances. But maybe Squawkers will require parental supervision at times because as Hasbro points out, the parrot can also repeat words that it hears.


The parrot, suggested for kids 4 and up, will launch in the fall with a suggested retail price of $69.99.

Posted by sue at 09:28 AM | Comments (0)

October 02, 2007

Seagull steals a snack!

Here is the long version from You Tube that many of you have seen a part of in emails..

Posted by sue at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)