News on the fly

Longest recorded migration of tagged bird from Sweden
Preaching Parrot Lost
Parrot foxes burglars
Fungal Disease Strikes House Pets Parrots
Parrot Smugglers Arrested

Refuse to Talk
Bird Accused of Spying
Bureaucracy loses
Fine feathered love story

cp oddities news
Wednesday, Dec 10, 2003

Museum reports longest recorded migration of tagged bird from Sweden

STOCKHOLM (AP) - An Arctic tern found dead in Southern New Zealand flew 25,000 kilometres from Sweden, a museum spokesman said Wednesday.
"It is the farthest-ever recorded migration of a tagged bird in Sweden," said Thord Fransson, who oversees the tagging and release of birds at the Swedish Museum of Natural History.

The tern was tagged in June in the northern Swedish province of Haelsingland. It was found dead Dec. 1 on Stewart Island in New Zealand. The distance between the two locations is 17,500 kilometres, but the bird flew southward along Africa's west coast, passed South Africa and then turned eastward, researchers surmised.
Fransson said the museum tags their birds with small aluminum rings, provided with location and identification data on the birds, but the tags don't offer a blow-by-blow account of where they have been.
"It is possible that the tern hitched a ride with a ship, or that somebody intentionally smuggled the bird to New Zealand and planted it where we found it, but I find that very unlikely," he said. Another possibility, Fransson raised, was that the bird drowned and drifted along with the tides before washing up in New Zealand.
"We've discussed how long the tern could have drifted in the water, but we are fairly certain that it doesn't amount to any great length of time since it would have dissolved by then, and the bird is still in pretty good condition," he said.
"We found a dead Swedish tern on the Australian West Coast in 1963, but that's not nearly as far as New Zealand," he said.

The birds usually spend the winter in Antarctica.

Loss of preaching parrot puts owner through hell

A Medicine Hat man has renewed hope that his prized preaching parrot is still alive and spreading God's word after disappearing last month in central Alberta. Dale Doell's prized African grey parrot, Solomon, has a 2,600word vocabulary with an evangelical Christian message. The bird has been missing since Aug. 3 when it escaped Doell's father-in-law's home near Rocky Mountain House. The town's radio station broadcast an item last month about a parrot being found. A caller said the bird had flown into his garage. Unfortunately, said Doell, the station threw out the contact information. But the tip has given Doell the best lead yet that Solomon may be alive. Solomon had been scheduled to speak to about 1,000 people at a Christian-themed jamboree in Caroline, Alta., on Aug. 24.

Parrot foxes burglars

A couple's pet parrot frightened off thieves that broke into their home.
Burglars who entered the Burnett's home near Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough, received a fright when a voice greeted them. When the thieves entered the property, African grey parrot Matilda greeted them with 'Hello, who are you?'.
When the intruders failed to answer she sternly demanded, 'Hey you, come over here!'. The terrified burglars fled with nothing but a handful of tools from the garage. Little did they know that Matilda had been trained by owner Jacki Burnett to greet anyone entering the remote property and to shout the second sentence if they failed to answer.
Matilda was home alone when the break-in occurred, but the feathered talker managed to see off the villains. Mrs Burnett was given the 14-year-old bird four years ago as an anniversary present. She said: 'My husband and I believe that Matilda saved us from any further property being stolen and we are grateful for her action.
'Matilda is a character and always reacts to house lights going on and off. When we switch them off at night she always says 'See you later'.'
A police spokesman commented, 'It is suspected the verbal deliberations of Matilda disturbed the burglars. 'We are investigating the burglary but, at this time, are not intending to interview Matilda.'
It is the second time Matilda has left intruders in a flap. On the first occasion she was in her cage upstairs and objects were taken from the ground floor only.

08 August 2003

Fungal Disease Strikes House Pets

Mystery/Cryptococcus Neoformans has claimed 118 animals on Vancouver Island since 1999.BY: Catherine Litt "The News Bulletin" Monday Nov 10th,2003.Nanaimo BC
A 30 year-old cockatoo is the latest animal to fall victim to Ctyptococcus Neoformans. The bird owned by a Nanaimo woman, was kept indoors all it's life but still managed to contract the fungal disease, which has affected 118 Vancouver Island animals since 1999.

The case is baffling because no one knows for sure how the bird came in contact with the fungus, but researchers studying the disease say it could have travelled by air through an open window. Yet; he warns pet owners not to be alarmed or overly cautious about their own animals.

Dr. Craig Steven of the Center For Coastal Health says Cryptococcus is a rare disease."It's certainly not going to be a plague upon the people and the animals of the Island." Steven's research center has been studying Cryptococcal disease ever since the fungus was discovered growing in Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park in Parksville two years ago.

Of the diagnosed cases to date,Cryptococcus has shown up in dogs, cats, llamas, porpoises and a ferret.The disease affects each animal differently. Cats get lumps under their skin, likely due to the disease being transferred by their claws during fights.Cats can also suffer upper respiratory problems caused by the fungus. Some will also develop central nervous system disorders or pneumonia.

Dogs tend to show upper respiratory problems, likely because of their habit for sniffing things. But researchers haven't determined why some animals get infected while others don't. "We haven't found any obvious risk factor in terms of breed or activity or health impacts,"said Steven. "It's a bit of -for lack of a better term- a bad-luck lottery."

Steven cautions pet owners to be aware of any signs of health problems that could be linked to Cryptococcus, but he says they shouldn't be overly preventative. "The biggest advice I give people is two-fold"said Steven. "The health benefits of getting out and taking your dog for a walk are far going to outweigh the risk protection of locking your animal inside. If they do get infected, certainly the earlier there's detections the better the likelihood of a successful treatment."

Vancouver Sun


Border police arrested four women trying to smuggle an unusual cargo - 420 parrots hidden in their van and on their person, news reports said. Customs officers at the Malko Tarnovo border crossing, some 400 Kilometres southeast of Sofia, found the exotic birds as the women tried to cross into Turkey, the Daily Standart said. Between 15 and 20 centimetres long, some of the green birds were hidden in compartments in the van and others in special pockets sewn into the women's clothes, said the report.

The smugglers expected to get the equivalent of $28 Cdn per bird in Turkey where people often give a parrot as a declaration of love. The parrots will now go to several zoos in the region, a customs official said.

Parrots Refuse to Talk About Pot Growers

ABBOTSFORD – Police said it was a typical case of “jail birds” refusing to talk.

On July 26, at 6:20pm, the Abbotsford Police Marijuana Task Force executed a drug search warrant at a residence in the 3400-block of Interprovincial Highway. To the officers’ surprise they located 1,500 marijuana plants, at various stages, three suspects and 160 parrots.
The marijuana and the birds were located in a barn on the property, but in separate
rooms. The three suspects, two males aged 58 and 50, and one female aged 44, were taken into custody and later released on a promise to appear. The suspects, from Abbotsford and Coquitlam, will be back in Abbotsford Provincial Court on September 7, to face charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking, production and theft of hydro.

The residence, which is a bird refuge for abandoned or injured parrots is a registered charity that helps parrots get well. The 160 parrots that were in the barn appeared to be in good condition; however, none were willing to talk to police.

Abbotsford Police continue to bust marijuana grows in the area and have now torn down 59 grow operations since the task force started in May of this year. This now brings the total number of grows busted in 2000 to 103. Since January, 53 people have been arrested, 11,167 plants have been seized and 72 pounds of marijuana bud has been confiscated.

Bird Accused of Spying in Custody
October 11, 2001 7:20 CDT

Police in Burundi, Africa have a suspect in custody. The charge is attempted spying. No effort was made to handcuff the alleged spy at the time of his arrest, however; the feathers covering it would have made that next to impossible. Their latest inmate is in fact, not human at all. It’s a South African Stork.

The name of the alleged spy is “Saturn”, and he was one of a 5 member flock that was involved in a Cape Town research program designed to monitor the immigration patterns of the birds. They were all fitted with a tracking device, which was attached to their body.

The remaining four members of ‘s flock died in February after heavy rains in Mozambique. Saturn was apprehended with an injured wing after apparently mourning the loss of his flock-mates by turning to a darker life of crime. He crash-landed in a village in the Muyinga Province.

When the villagers discovered him, the suspicious looking electronic device attached to the birds’ body intrigued them. Wondering turned to speculation, which lead to consternation, and in short order our intrepid bird found himself in the custody of the local police officer for investigation. The police in Burundi then sought for and got the assistance of Mary Murphy, an English-speaking woman who lives in the area.

Fortunately for our feathered friend, the electronic device had a sticker on it with the
e-mail address of Professor Underhill at the University of Cape Town on it. Contact was made and the villagers were quickly assured that their homes and secrets were very safe and that no ones’ privacy had been invaded. He in turn was assured that the bird’s wing was healing and that he was in the care of local police. No mention was made of the fact that his medical attention was being received as he was being kept in a locked cell under 24-hour armed police guard.

Upon learning of this small, lost detail in the birds’ care the Professor said that in light of todays’ concerns over recent international events even he would have to concede that such concern was very understandable. After all, the device does look very “space age” in design and contains an aerial and a small solar cell to help charge the battery. He does remain hopeful that the bird will eventually be returned to him unharmed upon its’ release from the slammer.

Source: The Times UK; BBC

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Fine-feathered love story
Proving the power of love, .a pair of parrots from different species went cuckoo over each other, set up nestkeeping and hatched a whole new breed.

Tom, the male, is a golden mantle rosella. The rainbow plumed-dandy stands about a foot high. His partner is a kakariki named Cheeky, a green-feathered jungle princess only about 5 inches high.

Their love-birds' eyes met across a household aviary and set both their hearts aflutter. "Ever since the rosella could fly, he has flown over to the kakariki's cage and fed her," says owner Paul Taylor, 37, of Wakefield, England.

"They groom and feed each other and can't stand to be parted. We tried splitting them up, but they created such a fuss we had to put them back together.

"There has always been some chemistry between them. But it's really weird to see them together_ one multicoloured and the other pure green."

For 16 months, the mixed marriage produced eggs but no hatchlings. Then Paul heard the proud parents screeching in the aviary.

"I opened the nesting box and saw this furry thing," says Paul.

"As the mother moved out of the way, I realized there were two chicks. It's a bit of a shock, really. Everyone reckons it's a million-to-one chance."

The Taylors-including wife Julie, 42, and daughters Rachel, 19, and Tricia, 23-treat the new chicks like part of the family. They've named the fluff-balls Betty and Jack after Paul's late parents. And they've named the new breed the Wakefield kakarella.

"I've been feeding the chicks every day," says Julie. "They are a joy, really gorgeous. It's a real love story."