Natures Corner

Intelligence in animals in nature, our backyards, and our homes!

January 30, 2009

Bring Back the Magic


Do you love animals? Then you’ll LOVE my book! It’s a memoir about how my relationship with my animal companions profoundly transformed my views of animals and Nature. The book walks the reader through the process of opening up to Nature and it unveils the intelligence, sentience, and individuality of animals and other critters of Nature. It’s educational and entertaining. And it’s about LOVE!

The book also clearly explains the differences between Animal Welfare and Animal Rights, and it presents the reader with the reasons WHY I believe that becoming animal guardians, instead of animal owners, is a very dangerous and bad idea.

If you suffered emotional pain in childhood… if you love animals, Nature, and your pets… then you will identify with this book. It’s MAGICAL!!!
Learn more HERE (link: )

Maggie Wright

Posted by sue at 12:50 PM | Comments (0)

January 27, 2009

African Greys Stolen in Cameroon

For Immediate Release
Urgent Appeal Launched to Aid Confiscated Parrots
Hayle, Cornwall, UK
January 2, 2008
Cornwall-based World Parrot Trust has launched an urgent appeal to aid hundreds of African Grey parrots (Psittacus
erithacus) recently confiscated by wildlife authorities in two high profile raids in Cameroon. Funds raised through this
appeal will be used for temporary housing, rehabilitation eventual re-release of 400+ parrots back to the wild.
Illegal shipments bound for Mexico and Middle East
Two separate groups of parrots were intercepted in Cameroon by Last Great Ape Organization’s (LAGA) wildlife
agents and local wildlife officials. Each group of 500-700 individuals was bound for Mexico and parts of the Middle
East. Had officials not recovered these parrots their futures would have been grim. One half of all smuggled wild
birds do not survive all stages of their capture, handling, transport and quarantine to reach their final destination.
With African Grey parrots the mortality rate can often be higher due to the species’ high strung and sensitive nature.
The African Grey Parrot has been one of the most heavily traded bird species on the international market. From
1994-2003, 359,000 individuals were exported from various parts of Africa. The Grey Parrot’s popularity as a pet is
unparalleled due to its longevity in captivity and its ability to mimic human and other sounds. Demand for this bird
has always been high in North America and Europe, and is increasing in China. (Source: BirdLife International)
A temporary home and eventually...freedom
The confiscated parrots now rest in relative quiet at the Limbe Wildlife Centre (LWC), the hub of a dedicated group
of rescuers nestled at the foot of Mount Cameroon. The process of capturing, smuggling, and transport has left
many of the parrots stressed and vulnerable to illness. Of the 1220 birds initially received, 681 were immediately
released, and more than 100 birds perished. A group of 417 birds remain at the center due to illness, emaciation and
feathers damaged by glue trapping. For their rehabilitation and eventual release these parrots require food, shelter,
medical attention and extra staff for their care. LWC has enlisted the help of The World Parrot Trust (WPT) to
provide support.
US$2,000 in emergency funding sent - more urgently needed
The World Parrot Trust has sent US$2000.00 in emergency funding. Due to the urgency of the situation and the
large number of parrots involved these funds have already been spent. More funding is required to provide ongoing
care for this convalescing group of parrots, now and for up to 9 more months.
Urgent Appeal off to strong start
In the first days of the appeal, donors from around the world rallied strongly to show their support. “We’ve had
donations from the UK, Europe, Australia, the US and a number of other countries,” stated Alison Hales, Chairman
of the World Parrot Trust. “We’re hopeful for a continued strong response.”
Interested supporters are urged to visit the Trust’s website at or email to learn how they can help or view updates from the project.

Posted by sue at 04:14 PM | Comments (0)

January 23, 2009

Whistling parrot halts soccer game

A parrot halted a football match with a perfect impression of the referee's whistle.

Me-Tu is a regular at matches at his local ground and often entertains fans by repeating what they say.

But referee Gary Bailey was not impressed when the parrot mimicked his whistle and brought the quarter-final of the Hertfordshire Senior Centenary Trophy to a standstill.

Read the full story

Posted by sue at 12:57 PM | Comments (0)

January 08, 2009

All Red African Grey!

Well I know they have been working on this for a long time. I myself had a *red factor* pair. My Naja has red feathers all along her shoulders and wings. But now there is an unrelated pair for sale for just 150K.. and a baby at 6 months. (no price given) Or you may PAY to see them. Here is the link for you international travelers and curious types!

Posted by sue at 11:03 AM | Comments (0)

January 02, 2009

Bird Spooked by fireworks..

Fireworks used to ring in the New Year instead led to a horrific scene at a local wildlife conservation center, officials said.

Workers at the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation doing a routine morning check-up today discovered a dead red-browed Amazon parrot with severe head and face injuries.


It was obvious from the bird's injuries that it had thrashed itself to death against its enclosure, said Paul Reillo, director of the conservation center.

The parrot was part of a recovery project to breed the rare species and reintroduce it to its natural habitat in the lowland humid forests of Brazil. The wild population is estimated to be between 1,000 and 2,500 birds, according to Birdlife International, an international conservation organization.

Reillo said the birds and other animals always get spooked by the fireworks, but this is the first time an animal has reacted so violently.

Read Full Story HERE

Posted by sue at 12:35 PM | Comments (0)

January 01, 2009

Bring Back the Magic


Over the next few years, we are going to be hearing more propaganda about how we should become “guardians” of our pets. We will be told that it makes people better appreciate their pets. We will be told that it is much better for us and our pets to be their guardians. BUT is it really? What does it really do?

Right now, we own our pets as “property” under the US Constitution. That means no one can take them from us without a search warrant and we have Due Process of the Law. But if we are guardians, we don’t have that power. A neighbor could complain if your dog barks and a judge could revoke your guardianship. Someone could complain that your home is too dirty… or your birds’ cages have not been cleaned…and turn you in.

It is SO important for all of us animal people to be aware of the illusions around the issues of “guardianship” versus “ownership.” There is a very important chapter written about this in my new book: Bringing Back the Magic. I hope you will read it and get your friends to read it.

Here are the links:




Posted by sue at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2008

Amazon saves family from fire!


Peanut the Amazon saves family by mimicking a fire alarm!

Read full story

Posted by sue at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)

November 07, 2008

Dr Pepperburg book signing

Dr. Irene Pepperberg will read from and sign her "New York Times" bestselling book, "Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Uncovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence - and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process."

When: Wednesday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m.
Where: Borders
1 N. LaGrange Road
LaGrange, IL 60525
(708) 579-9660

the full story of his relationship with Irene was a story of emotional ties - parrots mate for life, developing unique duets with their partners. In addition, parrots exhibit affection and jealousy, and crave attention -- Alex did all this with Irene. His last words to her were "I love you, too. You'll be in tomorrow?" He passed away that night.
Full Press Release

Posted by sue at 02:06 PM | Comments (0)

October 30, 2008

Lovebird Behavior: Nature or Nurture?

Great Article about lovebird study, and their genetics and behavior and how they are connected. I found this posted on Science blogs.

"Is behavior genetically "programmed" or is it the result of learning? Or is it instead a little bit of both? This is the old "nature versus nurture" argument that has occupied behavioral and evolutionary scientists, psychologists and even the general public for decades. Interestingly, nearly 50 years ago, a series of elegant experiments by an ornithologist and aviculturist revealed that, in lovebirds, at least, nest-building behavior has a very strong genetic component combined with surprisingly little experiential modification."

Read the full story and download the experiment PDF here.

Posted by sue at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)

October 27, 2008

Woman braves fire to save her *Babies*!

To her, not rushing in would have been unthinkable.

"If your kids were in the house, would you do the same thing?," she said. "The birds are my everything. They're my family."

the air conditioning unit on fire. It spread to the carpet.
She grabbed her Cockatiels and had to go back in for her two Ekkies.
She pulled them from their bulky cage and put them outside on top of the cockatiel cage.

The fire did about 250K in damage to her home.. but her birds were safe!

Full story here

Posted by sue at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2008

New Santuary in Georgia

FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. — The world's busiest airport has taken time to transform a dried lake bed into a serene 56.5-acre sanctuary nestled 15 miles south of the bustle.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport quietly opened the Sams Lake Bird Sanctuary park this month in Fayette County with the help of the Southern Conservation Trust.

"The idea of man creating wetlands is a very new and modern idea," said Kathryn Masters, the airport's lead engineer on the $5 million restoration project. "It is going to be fun to watch it grow over the next 20 years."


Posted by sue at 09:38 AM | Comments (0)

July 31, 2008

UCSF researchers identify virus behind PDD!

News Release
Source: Kristen Bole

29 July 2008

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, have identified a virus behind the mysterious infectious disease that has been killing parrots and exotic birds for more than 30 years.

The team, led by UCSF professors Joseph DeRisi, PhD, and Don Ganem, MD, also has developed a diagnostic test for the virus linked to Proventricular Dilation Disease, or PDD, which will enable veterinarians worldwide to control the spread of the virus.

Results of the study will be published in “Virology Journal” and will appear online in August. The findings also will be presented in full at the August 11 annual meeting of the Association of Avian Veterinarians, in Savannah, GA.

The new virus, which the team named Avian Bornavirus (ABV), is a member of the bornavirus family, whose other members cause encephalitis in horses and livestock. Working with veterinarians on two continents, the group isolated this virus in 71 percent of the samples from infected birds, but none of the healthy individuals.

“This discovery has potentially solved a mystery that has been plaguing the avian veterinary community since the 1970s,” said DeRisi, a molecular biologist whose laboratory aided in the 2003 discovery of the virus causing Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, in humans. “These results clearly reveal the existence of an avian reservoir of remarkably diverse bornaviruses that are dramatically different from anything seen in other animals.”

The discovery could have profound consequences on both domesticated parrots and in the conservation of endangered species, according to DeRisi and Ganem, both Howard Hughes Medical Investigators at UCSF. Those species include the Spix’s Macaw, currently one of the most endangered birds in the world, whose number has dwindled to roughly 100 worldwide and whose continued existence is threatened by PDD.

The research was spearheaded by Amy Kistler, a postdoctoral fellow in the DeRisi and Ganem labs. Together with veterinarians Susan Clubb, in the United States, and Ady Gancz in Israel, Kistler analyzed affected birds using UCSF’s ViroChip technology.

The ViroChip, which DeRisi and Ganem developed, is a high-throughput screening technology that uses a DNA microarray to test viral samples. The team was able to recover virus sequence from a total of 16 diseased birds from two different continents. The complete genome sequence of one isolate was captured using ultra deep sequencing.

The virus they identified is highly divergent from all previously identified members of the “Bornaviridae” family and represents the first full-length bornavirus genome ever cloned directly from avian tissue. Analysis of the Avian Bornavirus genome revealed at least five distinct varieties.

PDD is a fatal disease that causes nervous system disorders in both domesticated and wild birds in the psittacine, or parrot, family worldwide. The disease has been found in 50 different species of parrots, as well as five other orders of birds, and is widely considered to be the greatest threat to captive breeding of birds in this family, the researchers said.

The disorder often leads to the birds’ inability to swallow and digest food, with resulting wasting; many birds also suffer from neurologic symptoms such as imbalance and lack of coordination. Regardless of the clinical course the disease takes, it is often fatal.

Scientists have theorized for decades that a viral pathogen was the source of the disease, but until now, no one had been able to identify the likely culprit.

“This provides a very compelling lead in the long-standing search for a viral cause of PDD,” Ganem said. “With the development of molecular clones and diagnostic tests for ABV, we can now begin to explore both the epidemiology of the virus and how it is linked to the disease state.”

Co-authors on the paper include Amy L. Kistler, Peter Skewes-Cox, Kael Fisher, Katherine Sorber, Charles Y. Chiu and Alexander Greninger, from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Medicine at UCSF; Ady Gancz, from The Exotic Clinic, Herzlyia, Israel; Susan Clubb, Rainforest Clinic for Birds and Exotics, Loxahatchee, Fla.; Avishai Lublin, Sara Mechani and Yigal Farnoushi, of the Division of Avian and Fish Diseases, Kimron Veterinary Institute, bet Dagan, Israel; and Scott B. Karlene, of the Lahser Interspecies Research Foundation, Bloomfield Hills, MI.

The research was supported by funding to DeRisi and Ganem from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Funding for US specimen collection and veterinary care was provided by the Lahser Interspecies Research Foundation.

The DeRisi Laboratory is part of the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, known as QB3, a cooperative effort among private industry and more than 180 scientists at UCSF, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz. The collaboration harnesses the quantitative sciences to integrate and enhance scientific understanding of biological systems at all levels, enabling scientists to tackle problems that have been previously unapproachable.

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. For further information, please visit

Posted by sue at 09:41 AM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2008

Houston Zoo welcomes birth of rare parrot

On April 25, 1972 the Houston Zoo made history, recording the first hatching in captivity of an endangered St. Vincent Amazon parrot. That first birth was followed by a second hatching in 1999. Today, the Houston Zoo is proud to report that history has repeated itself again and Zoo bird keepers are caring for a St. Vincent Amazon that hatched on May 28, 2008. The chick has been named Vincent after the father of the first St. Vincent born at the Houston Zoo.


“The chick hatched after 25 days of incubation and is being hand raised at the Zoo’s off exhibit Avian Conservation Environment (ACE) building,” said Houston Zoo Bird Department supervisor Chris Holmes. “For the first 28 days Vincent was hand fed every two hours from 5 in the morning until midnight. He went home with me in the evening and came to work with me every morning,” said Holmes. Vincent was transported in a specially made climate controlled carrier.

Read the full story at the zoo site

More coverage here with a great picture of full grown parrot.

Posted by sue at 09:54 AM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2008

Remembering Alex...

Letters To Alex

Thank you to the members of the Remembering Alex group for your submissions.
Would you like to submit a letter to Alex? Please visit the site here.

Posted by sue at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)

July 07, 2008

Meet Griffin

In this video, we are introduced to Griffin, Dr. Pepperburgs next Parrot. It's very interesting, but much to large to embed it here!
Please do watch it here.

Posted by sue at 08:24 AM | Comments (0)

June 20, 2008

Grey Bird *Called Home*


Clay, an African Grey parrot, spent two nights stranded in the forest this weekend after flying away from her owner, Roseburg’s Carrie Boothe, during a camping trip Saturday. The 12-year-old bird, the smaller type of Grey known as a Timneh, helped keep Boothe apprised of her location by mimicking a cell phone ring.
Courtesy photo

Posted by sue at 06:38 AM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2008

parrot gets a new leg

( Sue note: Emailed to me by a friend of Natures Corner)

A PARROT who likes to say 'bloody hell' will have more cause to be cheerful now that he's being fitted with a prosthetic device for his missing leg to help him sleep.
The false leg will be fitted by University of Salford experts after George, an African grey parrot, lost his leg when he was attacked in his aviary by a wild animal 18 months ago.
The poorly parrot has been having trouble sleeping ever since as he had to balance on one leg all night.


As a result, his owner Sheila Weare contacted Dr Glyn Heath of the University's School of Health Care Professions who runs Lacerta - a company that specialises in fitting prosthetics to animals.
Glyn has designed a specially moulded slot that will be fitted to George's perch so that he can rest his injured leg in it at night and get some much-needed rest...

Glyn, a former zoologist has successfully manufactured and fitted artificial limbs for animals including dogs and even rats, and hit the headlines last year when he helped a panda by giving her a false leg to help her mate.
Glyn said: "While I've worked on dogs, rats and even a panda, George is my first bird. He's quite a challenge as he'll be more difficult to train than a dog. But with the simple solution of the slot, I'm hopeful that we can give him a little more comfort."
George's owner, Sheila who lives in Onneley near Crewe, is hopeful that George can now have a better quality of life.
She said: "You can tell by the way he fidgets that he's not comfortable and he has to bite the bars of his cage at night to balance. I'm really happy that Glyn has agreed to take him as a patient."
As for George, his vocabulary is limited to 'bloody hell', 'good morning' and 'good night'. But with his new prosthetic giving him a decent night's sleep Glyn hopes, it'll be the last phrase he'll be using most often.

Posted by sue at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)

January 25, 2008

1,200 parrots rescued at airport

(The World Parrot Trust has more info and ways for you to help.)

Over 1,200 exotic African Grey Parrots have been seized from traffickers in Cameroon after 2 two shipments were intercepted by the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife in Douala International Airport.


The parrots were being illegally shipped to Bahrain and Mexico for the exotic pet trade, and are now being cared for by the Limbe Wildlife Centre (LWC).

“As you can imagine it was pandemonium here when they all arrived, squashed into tiny crates, the live birds standing on top of their dead cage mates. It was a terrible scene” says Felix Lankester, Chief Veterinarian of LWC., that has now received 2 truckloads of the dying parrots.

Under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), only limited numbers of parrots can be moved or traded.

please read the full story here!

Posted by sue at 09:44 AM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2007

Alex the Grey and Washoe the Chimp

From the NY Times.

There is, no telling what tales they had to tell, the two greatest nonhuman linguists of our day: Washoe, the sign-language-wielding chimpanzee with an intense footwear fetish; and Alex, the wildly outspoken parrot, an African gray known to regularly order about his human researchers and to purposely give them the wrong answers to their questions just to alleviate his boredom. After all, we only ever gave them our own words to work with.

Please read the full story

Posted by sue at 12:16 PM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2007

Parrot Returned..there are still angels in the world!

Eighteen year old African Grey Franklin was stolen while boarding at a bird store in New York City. He was then sold to a lady in Queens off of the street, and she learned that he was a stolen bird. She returned Franklin to his grateful pet humans

Read the whole story Here

Posted by sue at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2007

Einstein on Animal Lovers United!

Einstein the Grey is on our Sister site Animal Lovers United! This is a quick tribute to *who let the dogs out*. Einstein has uploaded a bunch of fun video's.. you don't have to be a star to upload pictures or videos of your Companion on the site.. you could be a star too!!

Posted by sue at 12:23 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)

September 12, 2007

Alex, Our Prince of Hearts


Over a decade ago, one of my CAG's Merlin and I traveled to Tucson to see Irene and meet Alex. Alex took a special "liking" to me, which was an honor since he usually preferred to court men. My Merle was horrified and put a stop to that... "That's MY human!" But ever since that first meeting, Mr. Alex has always had a special place in my heart.
God bless this little bird-man with an attitude that turned the science community upside down. To science, he will always be remembered as "that damn bird" because he always proved them wrong. To the rest of the world, he will be remembered as the Prince of Hearts, who showed us that animals are smart and they have feelings.
Please continue the story, at Maggie Wrights African Greys Site.

Posted by sue at 01:08 PM | Comments (0)

September 11, 2007

New York Times on Alex the Grey

Read the New York Times sstory from the Sciene section about Alex.

Posted by sue at 02:31 PM | Comments (0)

September 10, 2007

remembering Alex....

Maggie Wright, has written this in memory of and in defense of Alex..
you may also read the full press release on the foundations site.

Hello Everyone,

I just wanted to add to the discussion here. Irene called me this morning about Alex and was DEVASTATED. We were hoping the news would not seep out until next week so she could go through the grieving process….or at least start it.

The “lab” that is being discussed is a room with cages and with a kitchen area, not much different from some people’s homes. Alex was surrounded by students daily (except some weekends) from 9 to 7, plus an incredible lab manager……very different from most homes where the pet humans go off to work and leave their birds with the radio. Another difference is that the “lab” is very secure and has an incredible ventilation system…..although small.

Of course Alex would get bored at times. He had to repeat the same experiment 500 times (exaggerated estimate) to prove to non-believers that he knew what he was doing. Looking at this from a higher perspective, he dedicated his life to helping Irene educate the world about how smart and emotional BIRDS can be! Oh my! BIRDS…..they used to be seen as stupid…”parrots that ‘parrot’ what you say.” It took a special soul to come into this existence to pull this off. We are all better off because of what Mr. Alex did.

Alex was a sweetheart…..and I guarantee you he would be willing to do it again.

God bless this beautiful little bird-man with an attitude that turned the science community upside down. He’ll always go down in history as “that damn bird” because he always proved them wrong. That was our Alex ……and I love him!!!

God Bless you all. Give your babies an extra hug tonight please.

GREY’T Blessings,


Posted by sue at 11:19 AM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2007

Family's pet parrot survives encounter with hawk

From Daytona Beach Paper.. Long Video story HERE:

ORMOND BEACH -- African grey parrot Bogart can talk, but he hasn't yet said a word about an incident most of his kind never live to contemplate.

What happened between the time a hawk ripped him from a screened-in porch and when his human -- the one he calls "Mom" -- Elise Ewaniuk found him lying under a tree in the thick woods probably went beyond words.

On Bogart's seventh visit to the veterinarian in a row Wednesday, the prognosis for survival was good -- even if he might always carry the scars. His veterinarian, Dr. Mark Andersen, isn't sure whether Bogart's neck will ever straighten.

And Ewaniuk hasn't quite recovered herself.

"Four days have been like four months," she said.

It all started in the early afternoon Aug. 2 when Bogart was sitting on a perch on the Ewaniuk family's screened pool deck of their home in north Ormond Beach. Then, Ewaniuk heard screaming -- but she didn't know it was her beloved "little man."

"It sounded like something scared, something being attacked," Ewaniuk said of what brought her from her home office to investigate. "I came walking out because we have a bunch of baby (wild) turkeys back there."

What she saw, though, was beyond her imagination -- and something she still sees when she closes her eyes: her pet in the talons of a hawk.

"He was just heading from the screen into the sky," Ewaniuk said. "I thought, 'He's gone. He's got him.' "

The hawk, it appears, had been able to burst through a small tear about the size of a softball in the screen and grabbed the bird known among the Ewaniuk family's friends for asking, "You talking to me?"

Ewaniuk said she ran back in the house for her shoes, ready to run into the forest behind her house.

"I guess I was going in there to see if I could find him eating him," she said.

She ran 20 feet and saw her feathered child lying under a tree.

"I couldn't believe it. I don't even know what made me run in that direction," she said, explaining that she had seen the bird fly in the opposite direction.

Bogart was rushed to Ravenwood Veterinary Clinic in Port Orange. There, he received oxygen, antibiotics and painkillers. He spent a few nights in an incubator.

"He certainly is lucky," said veterinarian Andersen. "Most attacks like that . . . I've seen birds with the wings torn off, their legs torn off.

"The bird (hawk) was probably startled by screaming and yelling," Andersen said.

He advised people not to leave their exotic birds on a porch or outside unattended.

"If they see a bird in a cage, they will reach right into the cage," Andersen said.

For now, when Bogart's not resting on her chest, Ewaniuk keeps the feathered patient in a makeshift structure formed of blankets and pillows on the sofa. She can't wait until he's back to his old tricks: chasing people out of the kitchen while laughing, attacking her husband even as he mimics Bogart's voice and insisting that Ewaniuk take a shower.

Tuesday she knew he was back on the road to recovery when he took the first sip of his favorite liquid treat: hot coffee with cream and sugar. Hope that he would be back to his old self blossomed moments after Ewaniuk brought Bogart home.

"I put him down and he said, "C'mere."

Posted by sue at 09:43 AM | Comments (0)