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2009 January

Parrot Blog > 2009 January | You are here

2009 January

Caption Contest

January 29th, 2009

Daggone renters - always leave a mess when they move out!

Daggone renters - always leave a mess when they move out!

If you’ve got a better caption for this picture, just add it to the comment section >>>

Electric Company Issue

January 28th, 2009

*** RANT ALERT ***


I have been driven nuts by our Electric company …. I’ll start at the beginning… as we do all of our electric account online we don’t get paper bills and we pay £138 each month by direct debit so no need to look much, I had not checked the bills for the past 14 months, this was about 3 months ago and watching Watchdog made me check it, our account was £900 in credit!! I rang and got a refund of £800… they also reduced our direct debit to £118… great we thought… bonus…

BUT – on Monday I received a letter saying they are raising our direct debit to £212 a month!!! so I checked online to see what’s going on with our account and the electric bill this quarter is £700!!!! £700 is a huge increase, I looked back over our account and the last 2 years the January bill has been £138 and £118 so a rise of nearly £570, We have not ever had a bill that high not even our April bill which is our highest.

I rang them up and they said it was estimated and to take a reading and call them back that might be why, so I did that and our reading is nmore than what they estimated it to be so the bill should be higher than they originally thought!! I rang the consumption department that take details of everything we use, they said they will ring me back yesterday.. no call so I rang back again and the lady said the bill looks right, I said how could it be nothing has changed in the last 2 years we have everything the same, and from the bill it is saying we are using nearly 6,000 kw on our night rate (we only heat our water over night) and nearly 3,000 in the day, for a quarter which is ALOT! so this works out to nearly 9,000 kw a quarter which is what most people will use in a year.

The second lady I spoke to said to take a meter reading of both rates and then boil the kettle and see which one moves as we are on a day and night rate so I did and she said they have read the readings the wrong way round, great I thought sorted… but after coming off the phone I said to Rick that is just going to make our bill even more money!!!!!!! As we will now be paying the 6000 units at the 3 times higher day rate instead of what they billed us at the low night rate, making our bill over £1k now…

That is where we are at… they don’t seem to listen to me that the amount of units they are saying we are using is huge and totally out of our normal range… I have no idea how we are going to get through to them… It got me thinking how much electric we use breeding the parrots, lighting, heating, and all that stuff, I know it is not that much!!! I am going to cancel the direct debit before they start taking double each month and refuse to pay anything more till it’s sorted…

After watching watchdog on Tuesday night it seems I am not the only one who is having this problem, but ours seems not to be in our favour like others!

African Greys vs Kids Dust Comparison

January 27th, 2009

This weekend just gone we spent most of the day on Sunday moving around, cleaning out, and rebuilding the kids bedrooms, this involved sorting the girls and boys into seperate bedrooms, building a set of bunk beds Paula picked up on Saturday, moving and fixing the wardrobe the monkey boys seem to have taken pleasure in hanging from like erm monkeys, and dust …. I mean DUST … I’ve never seen so much dust in my life, this sparked off the idea about this post, when I was hoovering the dust up my question to Paula was “what’s dustier? our kids or the african greys?

I’m pretty hyper sensitive to dust as I suffer from asthma, particularly in the summer when the pollen count is high, living in the middle of a bunch of fields usually packed with some sort of crop, corn, barley and most dreaded for me rape seed oil doesn’t help it much either, so this is only amplified more when we have a load of greys in the house.

African greys are notoriously known for being dusty pets, so for those like me that have breathing disorders, disfunction, issues whatever you like to call them I guess owning an African grey parrot isn’t the best idea.

Saying that though my mother-in-law has severe breathing problems with chronic lung disease and she’s owned an African grey parrot for YEARS, for as long as I’ve known her and more, while she does suffer more on some days than others she is able to tolerate the dust enough to own a grey.

So those of you wondering if it’s a bad idea or not to own an African grey because of the dust problem there’s a little ray of hope, I would say if you were looking to own more than one grey then that really is a bad idea, you will really suffer without doubt.

Some tips I’ve learnt to help me tolerate the problems of breathing in the dust of our greys are:

1. Make sure that I don’t sit or spend long periods of time sitting next to where the greys cage or stand is, they tend to shake, scratch and ruffle their dust everywhere and being so close to the source means I am highly likely to breathe more of it in … watching the dust come off them in the rays of sunshine through the window really astounds me at how me at how much there is.

2. Make sure you hoover and dust every day, if you don’t you’ll know about it, Paula chases the kids around all day with the hoover and me when I get home from work so our place is always pretty dust free considering the parrots in the house (we’re down to two as of writing this).

3. This one requires some initital cost and running fees, go and buy an air purifier (something like this) which is pretty effective, we even use one of these in the breeding shed to keep the air clean (ironic isn’t it), the only thing to note is you need to clean the air filter quite frequently, as you can imagine it gets pretty dusty and clogged up.

Anyway to get back to my original question … what’s dustier the kids or the parrots, well … after seeing the amount of dust in their rooms this weekend I think it’s too close to call … sorry kids!!!

Smuggler Caught With 353 African Grey Heads

January 26th, 2009

A new trade in parrot heads and tail feathers is adding to the pressure on the world’s wild population of African Grey Parrots, which is confined to the tropical forest area of West and Central Africa.

African Grey

African Grey

This is highlighted by a recent post by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) from Cameroon, which reports on a suspect arrested by game rangers who was found to be carrying 353 parrot heads and 2000 tail feathers. The suspect stated that he had collected the material for a witch doctor who was treating his mentally ill brother.

The African Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus) is a medium-sized parrot, endemic to the rainforests of West and Central Africa. The birds are highly valued for their beauty and ability to mimic humans – they cost a minimum of US$ 500 each.

Between 1994 & 2003 more than 450 000 parrots were captured and exported under controls that required a permit from a national authority to certify that the export was not detrimental to the species in the wild. However, this trade along with illegal capturing, exceeding of quotas and other demands resulted in considerable stress on the African Grey populations. As a result and following investigation, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) recommended zero export quotas for several range states and decided to develop regional management plans for the species. In particular it recommended a two-year ban on the export of African Grey Parrots from Cameroon. It is interesting that the United States and the EU have banned the import of wild caught parrots since 1992 and 2007 respectively.

This introduction of regulated trade does not effect the illegal export of African Grey Parrots, which is apparently quite well established although very inefficient. For example, it is believed that about 15,000 birds are taken out of the Lobeke region of Cameroon every year but that almost half of these die in transit due to poor handling.

The constraints on the movement of live parrots has probably contributed to this even more threatening trade in heads and feathers, which are more easily stored and transported. The market for these products in not yet understood. Balla Ottou, a leader in Cameroon’s wildlife management, thinks the heads are probably mainly exported to India and China and the tails to Nigeria. This needs to be clarified so that the authorities can develop counter strategies

Unfortunately this kind of trade is likely to flourish as the financial difficulties of the world bite deeper and the unemployed poor in Africa become more and more desperate.

Interestingly a search of ebay, shows that there is a substantial trade in the red feathers of the African Grey. The feathers appear to be used for craft and fly fishing. On 24/01/2009 there were 16 auctions for feathers with one seller parrotinthegarden having 125 feathers on auction, supposedly molted by his African Grey Pandora! These feathers sell for from 50c to just over a dollar each. Another person sells African Grey Tail feathers as “Pluma De Loro Africano” for religious purposes at US$ 7 each!

Senegalese Parrot Blows The Whistle

January 22nd, 2009

Senegalese Parrot

Senegalese Parrot

I was sitting on a train today when I was going to spend the day in the Swindon office for my online spectacles company Glasses Direct (quick plug) and for once I got to read a paper (The Metro to be exact) which is a rareity for me as I usually commute on my motorbike.

Anyway to cut to the chase I read an interesting story so thought I would share it for those of you that probably haven’t seen it.

The article headline was “Me-Tu left sick as a proverbial at cup ban” and there was a picture of a Senegalese parrot so grabbed my attention for obvious reasons.

The story reads

“Players and fans were sick as a parrot when a tense cup game descended into a farce because of constant whistling form the touchline.

Players thought it was the referee’s whistle – but instead it was Me-Tu, a Senagalese parrot brought along by its owner.
‘I’ve never known anything like it in my football career. It was a big game and there were quite a lot of people there.’ said ref Gary Bailey, after the Hatfield Town v Hertford Heath (real big game, no really!!) match in the Herts Senior Centenary Trophy. ‘ Every time I blew my whistle, the bird made the same sound. The players all stopped, so I had to ask to move the parrot to the stands’

Hatfield Town chairman Ted Collie said: ‘I suppose of you can take a dog to the ground, you can take your pet parrot. If I hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t believe it.'”

Now that’s what I call dedication … fair play to him 🙂

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