Billy, Jason Crean’s Aracari.
I attended the 2013 Midwest Bird Expo this past weekend. I was lucky enough to be a speaker and did my presentation, “The Chop Revolution.” Su Gould, who is an absolute whiz with graphics, designed this really cool sign for me to promote the presentation:
Graphic by Su Gould. Isn’t it wonderful?
I have no idea how many people attended, but there were tons of them walking around and visiting the booths to snatch up the steals and deals on bird products. There were plenty of informational booths as well including the AFA table:
Photo courtesy of Concetta DellaRocco Ferragamo
It was held at the Kane County Fairgrounds in St. Charles, Illinois which is a really nice venue for it. Hotel rooms are reasonable and downtown St. Charles, known as “Rush Street West,” has a huge offering of dining options. It simply works. Here is half of the event:
Photo courtesy of TASC.
One of my favorite spots is “Wok on Fire,” a Thai and Japanese restaurant. After the Expo, Jason Crean took the speakers out for dinner and that’s where we went. Naturally we had to have a little fun:
Photo courtesy of Concetta DellaRocco Ferragamo
I find this Expo a well-balanced and fun event that evenly combines shopping, education and fun into the mix. This “Mix” makes it a very enjoyable experience. There are great deals on toys, food and other supplies as well as jewelry, books, magazines and clothing. Here is Concetta modeling a gorgeous bracelet:
Irena Schulz and Su Gould were there to promote Sy Montgomery’s book about Snowball the Dancing cockatoo.
Irena autographs books while Su sweats the details.
Su Gould does graphics for Bird Lovers Only and I’ll say it again. Su is one amazingly talented graphic artist. Here are some buttons she made for the event:
Su even did some buttons for me. Here is one that made me laugh!
Paula Rossow and Linnea Nicholson Faris came in for the event to help Irena and Su out, although Linnea got roped into giving me a hand. I was a bit scattered and Linnea calmly looked after some of the details that escaped me.
Linnea and Paula
I had a little corner of the Bird Lovers only booth where I could settle in for a bit and work on some details of my presentation. Su made up a poster board for me:
There was one thing I had to look after and it all worked out. When I fly, I have to wear my ID in plain sight in the airport. At many events, ZuPreem Bird Food Company supplies the lanyard you wear to the event. Years ago, I began using the ZuPreem Lanyard to wear while flying because they just work for me. There’s a little zippered pocket wear I can stash my FAA ID, a pen, my business cards and a lipstick. It’s very convenient and I love it. However, getting dragged around from flight to flight, they wear out after a few months. I was on my last one and it was literally taped together:
So I swung by the ZuPreem booth showed them my pathetic lanyard held together by tape and a wire bread bag tie and offered to purchase a few to wear while flying. They gave me two, admonished me for waiting so long and told me to call anytime I needed a new one and they would send some to me. ZuPreem rocks!
New lanyard on the left. Worn-out piece of crap lanyard on the right…
Sandy Lender was there to promote her magazine “In Your Flock” which is a terrific magazine. I’m happy she got quite a few new people signed up for new subscriptions:
Sandy at her Booth.
Jason did an amazing job putting the event together and the Midwest Bird Expo just seems to get better every year. Here’s Jason with Avian Vet Dr. Karen Becker, one of the speakers. By the way, Karen is hilarious!
Jason and Karen.
If you do not attend this event every year you’re missing out on so much. You can learn, shop, socialize and experience an absolutely terrific event. I highly recommend the Midwest Bird Expo as something you simply don’t want to miss.
All of us who participate have the Monday Morning Quarterback thoughts going on in our heads. We could have done this, I should have said that… But Su Gould summed it up perfectly in this charming Snowball cartoon about the aftermath:
I couldn’t have said it better. In the end, it is what it is. And the Midwest Bird Expo really is a must-do avicultural event.
Posted in Events, Midwest Bird Expo, People in Aviculture, Reviews | Tagged american federation of aviculture, Bird Blogs, blogging about parrots, Dr. Karen Becker, Irena Schulz, Jason Crean, Midwest Bird Expo, Parrot Blog, Parrot Blogs, Parrot Nation, Patricia Sund, Snowball the dancing cockatoo, The Chop Revolution, ZuPreem | 7 Comments »
Su Gould’s nod to the Midwest Bird Expo!
And here we go yet again! I love this event because it’s not far from where I grew up. And I run into some really wonderful people. Irena Schulz, Su Gould, Paula Rossow, Nancy Walker and Linnea Nichoson Faris will be there and I always look forward to seeing them.
A reunion with one of my scarves and her new owner!
Angela’s infectious smile made ME smile!
The Avicultural Society of Chicagoland is once again hosting the Midwest Bird Expo next Saturday, May 11th.
Amy Bergman? Are you coming too?
The event runs all day and there is a great lineup of speakers. I’ll be speaking too. My presentation, “The Chop Revolution” is on the program.
Here’s the link for all of the information you’ll be needing in order to attend. Click on the image for the link:
Jason Crean is one of the principles behind planning it and I simply love how he manages to integrate education, information and fun into the program. There is so much to see with dozens and dozens of vendors, demonstrations and local groups showing off their expertise.
It really is a wonderful time! So, I’ll be winging my way to Chicago next week for this amazing annual event. I always look forward to attending because I get together with old friends and always make new ones. Please make plans to attend! I’m looking forward to seeing you there!
Posted in Events, People in Aviculture, Stuff Bird People Like | Tagged "Chop" Concept, Bird Blogs, Bird Events, blogging about parrots, information about parrots, Irena Schulz, Jason Crean, Midwest Bird Expo, Parrot Blog, Parrot Blogs, Parrot Nation, Patricia Sund, Su Gould, TASC | 11 Comments »
Rebecca needs to do a little upgrading!
I’m not normally one to run around for this cause and that cause on Facebook. From what I have read, signing some bizarre petition to save the hissing cockroach doesn’t do much. But apparently this particular organization is helping small businesses, and that’s something I believe in and can get behind.
Here’s the deal: Rebecca Stockslager is a very cool lady. Very Cool. It’s hard to explain. She looks like one of those ladies in the movies that wears an apron and says “Land Sakes Alive!”
See what I mean? Rebecca as “Julia Bird,” her take on Julie Child.
But do not let appearances fool you. Rebecca is one twisted sister…but in a good way. She is outspoken, firm in her beliefs and does one flying hell of a job helping parrots find new homes. She’s also funny as hell. She’s a good business woman and she has one of the most beautiful parrot supply stores I’ve ever seen. She knows her stuff. And she really is a lovely, lovely person.
If you don’t know precisely who she is, Rebecca Stockslager is the proprietor of Bonnie’s Birds in Port Charlotte, Florida. It’s a gorgeous parrot supply store and she has lots of birds. But they’re not for sale. Rebecca fosters these birds and helps place them in suitable homes for Florida Parrot Rescue.
Rebecca, along with Bonnie Grafton helped Janet Hilton and I raise over ten thousand dollars for Florida Parrot Rescue with the first Chopalooza. She helps FPR in so many ways as well as parrots and adoption and rescue in general. She and Bonnie were instrumental in helping get Scout, the Blue and Gold Macaw into a home after years of camping out on a perch in someone’s back yard. I wrote about it in the story, “The Good Scout.” It could have been a tragedy but Bonnie and Rebecca were able to make the save and get Scout into a good home where she is happy and thriving.
Scout after her relinquishment from a really rough situation.
Now, with all that good work, good intentions and tireless contribution, I think it’s time we give a little back to Rebecca. Here is what you can do:
Here is a link to a contest sponsored by a little company called Intuit. Intuit has some pretty cool products like Turbotax, Quicken and Quick Books. They are no slouches. What they are doing is sponsoring a contest for small businesses like Bonnie’s Birds and giving them a hand up. I like small businesses and I like supporting them. I think they should be the backbone of this country.
Bonnie’s Birds needs a new Point-Of-Sale System. In other words, it needs a cash register that simultaneously keeps track of the sale and the inventory simultaneously, which is not only a time saver, it’s pretty cool.
This would leave Rebecca with more time to spend working with the birds she is trying to place for Florida Parrot Rescue. I would like you to go and enter the link, and then click to vote for Bonnie’s Birds so she can get this point-of-sale system for her shop. You don’t have to register, or fill out a form. It’s a simple click. Two seconds. That’s all we’re asking.
She’s not asking for a truck, or a new building. She simply needs a new cash register.
This is the link:
I really want this to happen for Rebecca and Bonnie’s Birds. I believe in reinforcing something good. And what Rebecca at Bonne’s Birds does is absolutely outstanding. I can’t do it by myself. But with your help, your two seconds of effort, maybe we can get Rebecca her cash register. Won’t you please take a moment and vote for this? For the link to vote for Rebecca at Bonnie’s Birds, just click on the image of Noah playing ball:
Thank you so much for your vote. And please share this link with your friends so that we can make this wish come true. I thank you so much!
Posted in Contests, Parrot Adoption and Rescue Sites, People in Aviculture | Tagged Bird Blogs, blogging about parrots, Bonnie's Birds, essays and articles, Florida Parrot Rescue, Intuit, Parrot Blog, Parrot Blogs, Parrot Nation, Patricia Sund, Rebecca Stockslager, rehoming parrots | 8 Comments »
We’ve lost Liz Wilson.
I found out when I landed last night on a flight from Antigua. From what I understand, Liz passed away Saturday afternoon of complications from emphysema.
I am upset about it. I cut my teeth on Liz Wilson’s written work about parrot care. And I am proud to say I was able to tell her so. I admired her dedication and her decades in the field.
The ironic part about it is that I never met her. Never talked over the phone with her. But we emailed. Messaged. We had a relationship of sorts. She helped me and was so supportive of my work.
Ironically, her death comes right on the heels of the death of someone I’ve known for a while.
A neighbor I’ve known for about 7 years just died last week. I knew him fairly well. He used to be a friend and then things sort of went south after he and his girlfriend did some rather shady stuff. They just sort of went off the rails.
After that, he and his girlfriend was off my list of friends. I wished him no ill will. I just wanted nothing to do with him because he couldn’t be trusted.
Well, he had an aneurism about a week ago. Apparently the aneurism destroyed his brain and while his body was surviving on life support, essentially “Elvis had left the building.”
They removed life support last Thursday. And I feel nothing. His death doesn’t bother me. But the fact that it doesn’t bother me, well, bothers me. Here is someone I know. He dies and I really don’t have much emotion about it.
Yet, I am upset about Liz. I never met her, but I am grieving over Liz. I find that telling. And what that tells me is that sometimes people can effect your life positively even if you never met them. And sometimes people you know fairly well have no effect whatsoever.
I feel bad that I never got to meet Liz. I got to know her in a way, but I never even talked to her over the phone. But to her, somehow that didn’t matter. We were writers so we wrote to each other.
She was kind to me. She helped me clarify stuff some of my ideas and thoughts.
Bird Clubs of Virgina put together a video tribute to Liz on You Tube. Here is the video. Fast forward it to 3.00 minutes to see the tribute to Liz:
Judith Archer got to know Liz when Liz and her husband and moved to Saint Simons Island, Georgia from Philadelphia. Judith told me about first meeting Liz:
“When I first met her, after she moved south, I came screeching into a gas station in Southern Georgia. I came to a semi-stop, she jumped in, we zoomed off, and she was like meeting my best friend from high school. She was one of those friends where you can pick up your conversation thirty years later without msising a beat, even though we’d never met before.”
Judith continued with more thoughts about Liz:
“Liz was another Yankee who simply grew up speaking plainly with no frills or flourishes. She was blunt and to the point, but she was also witty, snarky, and under it all, constantly looking to help people and birds. And over the years, as we learned more about parrot behaviour, her advice also changed.”
Longtime friend and Phoenix Landing Founder Ann Brooks has this to say about Liz:
Photo: Courtesy of Ann Brooks
“When I think of Liz, the words “Loyal” and “True” first come to mind. Liz was fiercely loyal to the truth, speaking it always with direct and often humorous honesty. She was deeply loyal to improving life for parrots in captivity, and she had little patience for the more selfish-hearted. She was as loyal a personal friend as one could ever have. This meant we could talk about anything, no matter how uncomfortable, knowing that our relationship was never at stake. And she was a true friend to the mission of Phoenix Landing, I cannot yet imagine not having her solid wisdom at my side day-by-day.”
Lisa Bono of the Platinum Parrot got to know Liz over the years as well.
Photo: Courtesy of Lisa Bono
Lisa was devastated by the news. But she was kind enough to give me her thoughts about Liz:
“I met Liz nearly 20 years ago. I lovingly say I grew up learning from her writings, lectures and friendship. I found her to be an enthusiastic and entertaining speaker full of knowledge and and compassion for companion parrots. She was an excellent teacher willing to share her knowledge with anyone who would ask. She refused to tolerate fools and spoke her mind. Liz was honest and to the point. She was always willing to help with questions, bounce ideas off of and she was my editor for several of the articles that have been published.
Liz was a trusted confidant and staunch supporter who pushed me to excel. She was never too busy to lend a hand, offer advice or keep me grounded. I appreciated her pep talks, wise cracks and cards she would send when I had a bad day. She always let me know she was there. Liz believed in me, even when I did not believe in myself.
When I found out I was accepted to speak at this year’s Long Island Parrot Societies annual show, the place I met her all those years ago, I contacted her to say I wanted to make her proud. She told me I already had.
I will always be greatful to the woman who took me under her wing, helped shape who I am, and taught me to fly. I will miss her and hopefully continue to make her proud.”
I was always happy to hear from Liz. And even though I didn’t know her, I feel grief. I’ll miss her articles, her interesting posts on Facebook and her occasional emails to me. She was a well-known authority in the field and her work will go on teaching many that come after her.
Unlike the experience with my my neighbor, I never experienced anything but good things from Liz. She was kind to me, gave me solid advice and made me laugh! Here is a portion of one of the last emails I got from Liz.
Always enjoy your columns, Patricia – great humor plus you write well so I don’t
find myself editing you in my head as I read! SO much more enjoyable that way, yes?!
Oh, you edit in your head too? Thank
God! I thought I was the only one!
Ha! Far from it, Patricia. Mental editing other people’s writing is a sad off-shoot of being a writer, I’m afraid. Can ruin the enjoyment of a good story when you suddenly think, “Why the hell did he say it THAT way?!”
I got an email from someone who had written for
BIRD TALK a few times. She said that when they printed her work, they had edited it
so much she couldn’t even recognize her own work and “…did they do that to me?”
I had to be honest and say “Umm, no.” They really don’t touch my stuff very much.
But I try to be fast and accurate. My crap is in at least a month early.
Thanks so much. With Respect and a hell of a lot of gratitude,
You honor me, thank you. And the feeling is mutual, Patricia.
I was proud to be on the masthead with her:
Photo: Courtesy of Lisa Bono
Posted in essays and articles, Events, People in Aviculture, Writing | Tagged Ann Brooks, Bird Blogs, Bird Talk Writer, blogging about parrots, essays and articles, Judith Archer, Lisa Bono, Liz Wilson, Parrot Blog, Parrot Blogs, Parrot Nation, Patricia Sund | 10 Comments »
I love volunteering at Best Friends Animal Society. It is an amazing place with incredible people. I worked hard while I was there. I washed windows, cleaned baseboards, scrubbed floors and bathrooms. I left it cleaner and better than I found it. So I consider my experience and visit a successful one because I feel good about what I accomplished and the Parrot Garden benefited from my time there. Win-Win.
The work I saw as necessary will stick for a while and I chose to do that as a way of giving to the Parrot Garden. Most volunteers have no interest in doing that sort of thing. They want to work with the birds. But I saw deep-cleaning as the best way to help out. I don’t have the money to give them a huge donation. But I can clean a bathroom. And I will go back. Probably again and again.
I think a clean and bright bathroom makes it a nice place to work. They let me choose what I wanted to do and they let me do it. I liked that. I like making things better for the volunteers and staff as well as for the birds.
The Parrot Garden has changed since the two years I’d been there initially. They’ve added more flights and more plants. They’ve put in a dog run for the Vicktory dogs that stay at the Parrot Garden learning social skills. The Parrot Garden has expanded and improved. It was a gratifying thing to see.
But a visit to Best Friends changes your view of the world. Things simply appear differently to you when you return home. The effect and change within yourself is profound.
When I returned home, I thought, “I was there yesterday and I made a difference. But they are there today making a difference and I’m not. Their work goes on. Without me.”
Their work is important. And unfortunately, it’s very necessary. I did find out a couple things about the Parrot Garden. It exists not because Best Friends wanted to have an adoption program for parrots, it was because a few parrots ended up in the “Feathered Friends” area. They didn’t know where else to put them, so that’s where they ended up: with the doves and hawks, geese and owls.
Eventually, they created a separate area for the parrots, renamed the two areas “Wild Friends” and the “Parrot Garden” about five or six years ago and the Parrot Garden simply grew from those first initial few parrots.
They now care for about a hundred birds with a long waiting list. They do good work. The Staff loves what they do and they are very good at it.
That’s all well and good but I feel the homeless parrot problem is growing all over the nation. Some people in the field don’t see it that way. I have not seen the statistics so I can only go by what I read and what people discuss. Obviously there are people out there who don’t see it as a problem, but then again, they aren’t the ones doing intake at the Parrot Garden, Phoenix Landing, Florida Parrot Rescue and a myriad of other rescues across the country.
Paco, a 68 year-old Amazon
Echo at Miss Vicky’s Parrot Village
Despite the growing need for it in the world of animal adoption and rescue, I feel that the plight of homeless parrots still remains one of the “Red Headed Step-Children” of the National Adoption and Rescue scene. I believe we are indeed a distant third behind dogs and cats both in regard and perception of importance.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I find it ironic that HSUS puts out an article about homeless parrots that makes a lot of noise (The No Fly Zone) and yet they do no work in the field. I’m also unaware of any parrot rescues and adoption organizations affiliated with the HSUS.
Sweetie at Black Hills Parrot Rescue
When I was at Best Friends last September, I talked with John Garcia, one of the first response team leaders on the ground at Bad Newz Kennels when the Vicktory Dogs were first being assessed. He is now in charge of the Emergency Response Team Program. In setting up this team and their protocol, John had to train with Wendy Hatchel and others at the Parrot Garden, learning how to safely restrain a parrot, toweling and other skills many of us already know. But John was primarily a “Dog Guy.”
John Garcia at Best Freiends: Dedicated and a really nice guy.
John wasn’t well versed in the area of caring for parrots but he had to learn it as part of the Emergency Response protocol. John told me he really enjoyed being at the Parrot Garden learning about parrots and how to help them should the need arise in the field. Unfortunately, I think those skills John learned will serve him sooner than later.
He did mention that he’d rather take a bite from a pit bull than a parrot. I was surprised at that, but then again, I’ve never taken a bite from a pit bull. A Pig? Yes. Penguin? Yes. Pit bull? Well, not yet.
BooBoo at Phoenix Landing
Apparently John has taken bites from both parrots and pit bulls so I’m not going to question his assessment of the situation. My point is, John is well-versed in rescue work, but he had to be specially trained to work with birds. Face it, this particular arena takes a group of people with specialized skills.
Not everyone knows how to handle a parrot. So I must applaud all of the people out there who do parrot adoption work as well as care for those birds needing help: As you might realize, there is a growing need for Foster Families.
Jaws at Black Hills Parrot Welfare & Education Center,
So in the meantime, what should we do about this “Third Place” situation? I don’t know. But I think if we continue with education, publicity about the need for adoption, fostering of parrots, and keep making noise about their specific needs, we might get somewhere.
Posted in Best Friends Animal Society, essays and articles, Parrot Adoption and Rescue Sites, Patricia Sund, People in Aviculture, Writing | Tagged Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, Bird Blogs, Black Hills Parrot Welfare and Education, blogging about parrots, Miss Vicky's Parrot Village, Parrot Blog, Parrot Blogs, Parrot Nation, Parrot Rescue Sites, Patricia Sund, Phoenix Landing, taking care of parrots, Visiting Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, Wendy Hatchel | 15 Comments »
Graphic Artist Su Gould created this Snowball cartoon and I simply had to post it here. How often does one become associated with Snowball and Oprah in a cartoon due to a snarky, potty-mouth quote? Well, once as far as I know. This cartoon had to do with the release of Sy Montgomery’s latest book about my friend Irena Schulz’s bird, Snowball the Dancing Cockatoo. It’s a children’s book and you can find it here: Snowball the Dancing Cockatoo
The quote came from a recent post about my feelings about people who have cockatoos. I think they are saints. I think cockatoo people are the most patient, tolerant and incredible people in the world. I could not have a cockatoo. Couldn’t do it. Why? I simply know better. I would be a withered pile of raw nerves piled into a weeping mess within a week. I wish more people knew themselves as well as I do when it comes to cockatoos. Greys? I’m good. Finches? No problem. But I am simply not cut out of cockatoos or quakers. Well, at least I won’t ever be giving one up.
Read the cartoon. Then read this post so you understand how I explained my inadequacies regarding cockatoos: The No Fly Zone. Don’t get me wrong. I love cockatoos. They are gorgeous, fun, smart and charming. However, just a like a Grandmother, I prefer to play with them, spoil them, give them treats and then hand them back to Mom.
Posted in essays and articles, People in Aviculture, Reviews, Writing | Tagged Bird Blogs, Cockatoos, information about parrots, Parrot Blog, Parrot Blogs, Parrot Nation, Patricia Sund, Snowball the dancing cockatoo, Su Gould, Sy Montgomery | 7 Comments »
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