FROM THE EDITOR
Dick Ivy, Educational Director
of Bird Clubs Of America, has sent us his recently completed information
sheet on legality of Quaker Parakeets. We are publishing it in this
issue. Compiling this ever changing information is a difficult chore.
What is even more difficult is to safely assess just how much influence
this information should have on pet ownership.
As an example, Connecticut has
on the books regulations prohibiting
the sale of Quakers but allowing ownership. Friends there tell me that
Quakers are to be found in many pet shops and are even advertised for
sale in the local newspapers. In Georgia the emphasis seems to be on
prohibiting transporting these birds across the state line. I have
traveled back and forth across Georgia, to and from adjoining states, to
attend bird shows, dozens of times. To date, no one has ever stopped me
to check if there were Quaker Parakeets in all those cages in the back
of my station wagon.
As David Wright has explained
in articles in previous editions of our news letter, the highly
individual nesting habits of the Quakers actually control their spread
in the wild. When the fledglings leave home they rarely move more than
500 yards from the nest site. This recognized authority on feral Quakers
assures us that they pose little if any threat to being a problem in the
We have subscribers in every
one of the states where outright bans on ownership exist. We are working
with elected officials. If we unite in any cause we have the power to
FROM OUR READERS
We enjoy reading articles by
other "owners" about their green family members. Our Ollie is
a great little friend. He started traveling with us after about two
weeks, and has been in about 31 states. We’re going to the New England
states in about a month. He loves to travel and asks "Can we
go?" when we leave the house. Sherry from Georgia
You apparently have had no
problems in entering the states with laws forbidding Quakers. I have
heard tales of owners being stopped at the state line, particularly in
California, with demands that the Quaker be sent to another state.
Perhaps you have encountered border patrols who are not too familiar
with the various species and are easily put off by giving your Monk
another name. We would be interested in hearing about your experiences.
- - - - - - -
Micki, my Quaker Parakeet, is a
favorite pet for my visitors. He loves to talk and it seems that he
knows the right thing to say. (Here Adele included a complete page
listing the various sentences Micki speaks. Among the most interesting
are " Get up you sleepy head." "Good morning Merry
Sunshine, and "How are you today?" "Turn the TV
off." And "Take me to Mac Donalds.") She continues - The
nicest thing Micki did for me is to call me Adele on his own. I didn’t
teach him my name - he taught himself.
- - - - - - - -
I have a little Quaker and it
amuses me no end. I have a neighbor who brought me over this little
bird, cage and all, hoping to bring me out of depression. I wasn’t
happy then. I had it just two days when it did wonders for me and no
money could buy it from me now. She says many words and phrases but the
most interesting is an old jingle "Dad’s Old Fashioned Root
Beer." I would stand in front of her cage (She is on top most of
the time.) singing that jingle. One night I was in the kitchen doing
dishes while she was in the living room alone and she said it over and
over. I couldn’t believe my ears. She is a little doll and so
As you can tell when I start
talking about my little Quaker "Snuggie" I go on and on.
Kathryn from Indiana
What a wonderful neighbor you
have. Although it wasn’t written about a Quaker I am including a
little article of mine published in Bird Talk a long time ago. Our birds
are often the best medicine for us.
- - - - - - - -
What causes my Quakers to shave
the eggs to membrane (killing the babies} a day or so before the eggs
are to hatch? The Quakers are on Netherlands Vita Crunch pellets and
anything else they will eat in small amounts. Charlie from North
It is pretty disturbing to get
the eggs that far and lose the babies. I have never experienced this
shaving of the eggs but with occasional egg eaters I have tried putting
a cuttle bone in the nest box when I set them up, replacing it as they
chew it down. If that doesn’t work, replace their eggs with artificial
eggs, incubating the real ones. As the babies hatch exchange them for
the artificial eggs, allowing the parents to take over the chore of
feeding from day one. When possible, I have given the eggs to an already
nesting pair of good parents, marking them with the nest box number of
the true parents.
- - - - -
- - - - - -
I wrote to you two years ago
about whether to return my "Willie" to an aviary when she was
severely mutilating herself. I took your advice and kept her ( which I
wanted to do anyway). She wore a collar for six months and when we took
it off she picked pin feathers but did not mutilate herself. A few
months later the Vet put her on hormones for 9 months and it worked. For
the last 5 months she has been plucking out all pin feathers and she
chews her leg a bit, but she is not mutilating and ripping off her skin.
She is still delightful and funny and I hope that a cure will be found
someday soon. Susan from Michigan
Back in early "94 I found
my Quaker in my yard. Since then he has been a great companion. Over the
years I have had him I have been trying to introduce him to a variety of
foods. His favorite pastime is to get into the cockatiel cage (I have
six tiels in this big cage) and play with their toys. He chases the
tiels but has never done anything more than pull on a tail or two. He
was in that cage originally with the tiels but when they all had crooked
tails I put him in another cage with my one aggressive cockatiel. They
respect each others’ corners. I have been trying to decide if he would
like a buddy like a conure - someone who is about the same size. I haven’t
found any good candidates yet. Pam from Florida
Not all of the small conures
can be depended on to get along with other species. Our readers report
all sorts of friendships between the most unlikely varieties - but go
carefully. Birds can severely injure or even kill each other.
ANY SUCCESS WITH
We have had a number of
requests for information on potty training our Quakers. We have had two
articles on this subject in the Quaker News (April, 1994 and January
1996). Perhaps some of our readers have had success either by following
this advice or by other methods. I have to admit that I have never found
either the time or the patience to even attempt this. Please share your
experiences with us - good or bad.
Just in case yours is not a
success story, to get droppings off upholstery and carpets, scrape off
solids and sprinkle with baking soda. When dry, brush briskly with an
old tooth brush and then vacuum. I know that this works.
A LITTLE BIRD
MADE A BIG DIFFERENCE
BY Linda Greeson
Grandma was nearing
the age of 98 when we introduced her to Squeeker. He was a little Gray
Cheeked parakeet, one of my own hand fed babies. We gave him the name
Squeeker because even at a few weeks of age he was standing on his tip
toes, begging for food in a strange, shrill voice. He was the smallest of
the clutch but had such an endearing personality that I couldn’t bear to
part with him. I added him to our already too large collection of pets.
Grandma had always
been a bright, interesting little lady. For years she had gotten around
only with difficulty but kept busy with crocheting and reading. She was
interested in everyone who came to our house. Over the last month she had
changed drastically. She sat in her usual corner of the patio, but her
fragile old hands rested idly on her crocheting, and books sat unread on
the table beside her. She ate little and took no interest in the activity
around her. All of our efforts to rouse her from her lethargy were
fruitless until I tried wheeling Squeeker’s cage over to her chair.
Theirs was an
instant love affair. He delighted her by whistling "Dixie" and
performing on his swing. She became interested in teaching him to talk,
and he was an apt pupil. His voice remained high and shrill, but he
pronounced his words quite distinctly and the high pitch was just right
for her defective hearing. They were completely devoted. She did not
resume her crocheting or reading but spent more waking time enjoying the
little bird in his cage close by her chair.
Squeeker learned to
say "Good Morning" when Grandma first settled in her chair. He
accepted tidbits from her meals with many "thankyous". He seemed
to adapt his activity to her pattern. When she napped with her head
resting back against the cushions, he either sat quietly or napped too. As
soon as she awakened he became active again in entertaining her. He did
not settle down to sleep in the evenings until Grandma was taken off to
her room for bed.
The day came when
Grandma was no longer able to leave her bed. The doctor said that her old
heart had just given out and that there was just nothing left to help her.
At the same time we noticed a scratch on Squeeker’s leg that seemed to
be infected, and he too seemed very sick. The Vet treated him with
antibiotics and an ointment for the injured area but he did not seem to
improve. The infected area was healing but he still sat quietly on his
perch all day without whistling or talking. He ate very little and soon
lost his plump, round look. His shiny plumage became drab.
Thinking that it
might do them both good, one afternoon I wheeled Squeeker’s cage in next
to Grandma’s bed. She was too ill to give him more than a weak smile
before she dropped back into the deep sleep that soon she would never
awaken from. Squeeker brightened up when I first brought him into the room
and called out "Good Morning" several times. After that he sat
silently watching her for some time, but he seemed so sad that I quietly
wheeled him out to his usual place on the patio beside her chair.
Soon that chair was
empty for good, and shortly afterwards there was an empty cage next to it.
The Vet said that the infection had responded nicely to the antibiotic and
he could not understand why Squeeker had died. I understood. I knew that
with the loss of his beloved companion his heart too had just given out.
It was Squeeker’s companionship that gave Grandma some extra time in
this world. I will always be grateful to him for the pleasure he brought
to the last months of an old lady’s life.
THE FLAPS OVER
Courtesy of Bird
Clubs Of America
Quakers (Monks) make
large nests of twigs and such, and raise large clutches in them.
don’t like them building on their transmitter poles, and complain to the
like them because in breeding season Quakers in nearby nests chase away
the native birds
from their feeding areas. ( we know of one backyard where the Quakers and
others take turns at the feeding bench.)
Quakers are hardy
and can live in zero degree weather.
People who bought
Quakers at $50 years ago or received them free released them when they
could not bear the rachety screaming of such wild birds in captivity.
WHAT CAN AVICULTURISTS DO TO
REDUCE THE OBJECTIONS OF HOMEOWNERS AND GOVERNMENT?
Band all Quaker
Sell only to
educated pet owners/breeders.Have potential pet owners observe, even help,
hand feed babies before taking them home.
If you are
accustomed to giving Quakers free time outside their cages, have their
wings clipped to prevent accidental escape.
If you no longer
want the bird for whatever reason (marriages, divorce, allergy, going
overseas,etc.)find a breeder to give your Quaker(s) rather than give them
veterinarians remove leg bands. You might have to move to a state that
If you are a leader
or influential in a bird club, publicize your state laws concerning
Quakers. If in a state that has restrictions, organize those who could
meet with the state regulators ( different names in different states) when
regulations are up for review to arrive at reasonable and effective laws.
State regulators are usually most reasonable to reasonable folks and want
to have laws that can be effective. Often states copy regulations of other
states thinking there must be some good reason for the restriction there.
get state approval for a rescue group to take babies from unwanted nests
in trees, etc. Band babies. In banned states adults may be euthanized.
If your state has no
laws but you have Quakers, be sure to write stories and spread the word
about the voluntary responsibilities of owners and breeders.
Bird Clubs Of
Virginia club presidents and directors, a zoo director, a commercial
store, and others met in Richmond and reasoned with reasonable Virginia
regulators at their invitation on restrictions on pest birds. They settled
on grandfathering those Quakers already owned, issuing permits for them
free for a period of six months. Owners would have to inform VIDGF of
dispositions and respond to a 5 year renewal of the permit.
Quakers bred in
Virginia must have a closed band and folks can own, sell, buy, or trade
such Quakers without a permit, including from pet stores. Some
Veterinarians, unaware of the regulation, are removing the bands even
though the bird has no physical injury. Even then, the owner should
request and keep a certificate of band removal from the Veterinarian.
OUTRIGHT BANS ON
OWNERSHIP OF QUAKERS
Wyoming, Kansas, Pennsylvania (will euthanize}Kentucky, Rhode Island
Connecticut - OK to
own but not sell
Georgia - owning,
breeding discouraged but legal. Cannot transport into state.
Kentucky - you can
own a MONK Parakeet but Quakers banned!
New Jersey -
Breeding only by strict permit - (
New York - close
banded only - registration
Ohio - clipped wings
only. Ohio subscribers to Linda Greeson’s Quaker News were instrumental
in getting it changed from "pinioned" wings.
OR CORRECTIONS WELCOMED
FROM OUR LOCAL
ODD COUPLE - BIRD
PICKS CAT FOR BUDDING FRIENDSHIP
Kiki and the
No, this isn’t
some goofy movie about a pair of oddball cops like Freebie and the Bean.
This is a true life, heartwarming story about two enemies at birth, who
overcame their petty prejudices to form a friendship that tests nature
itself. You see, Buddy is the parrot. And Kiki, Buddy’s best buddy is a
cat. Instead of Kiki being at Buddy’s throat, Buddy is comfortably
perched atop Kiki’s head.
discovered their attraction by accident about two months ago. She was in
the back of her house and thought she heard one of her grandchildren
calling to her daughter’s cat, Kiki.
Here Kiki" I heard,she said. The calls continued and she wondered why
the grandchildren didn’t just let Kiki in. Until she entered the living
room. No one was there except Buddy, her nine month old Quaker parrot. He
was frantically pacing along his perch calling for his feline friend. I
told Buddy that Kiki wasn’t there, she said, but Buddy persisted. "Kiki’s
a good boy." He repeated over and over. I opened up the door to show
him but when I looked down there was Kiki. The cat promptly entered the
house, much to Buddy’s delight.
One day the Quaker
tangled with the tabby when Kiki was resting on top of Buddy’s cage.
Buddy was trying to snack on Kiki’s tail. Kiki shrieked out loud but did
not retaliate. That is the only incident the owner says but despite the
curious friendship she stays in the room when Buddy is out of the cage.
Buddy will tell Kiki
" Give me a big kiss." Says the owner, but I tell him "Be
careful. Kiki is still a cat."
Beth Eldridge -
Flying Colors Aviary
Just how intelligent
is a Quaker? This question is one I am frequently asked by people thinking
of bringing a Quaker Parakeet into their lives and homes. The answer that
I give is based on years of living with these incredible birds. I say
"They are smarter than you are." How did I arrive at this
conclusion? Well, let’s see ..
First and foremost,
the Quaker Parakeet uses human language, and very frequently uses it
correctly and to the advantage of the bird. Let me use some examples to
illustrate this point.
I brought home my
first and most loved Quaker, Beeper, 5 years ago. At 8 weeks old he was
just weaned and a loving, interactive sweetheart. He was quickly
established in a cage in our living room-dining room area and soon became
a regular member of the family.
Several weeks after
his arrival he began to say "Hi!", and his vocabulary rapidly
progressed after that . . . soon he was chattering baby talk and singing
constantly. I assumed that he was just mimicking the sounds around him
without understanding them at all. That assumption was soon proved to be
My first clue that
my bird used language as we do was when I heard him sing a song that I had
not taught him. He had taken his favorite saying "good bird" and
set it to a very simple tune of his own making. I was amazed to hear him
singing "Good bird. Good bird. You’re a good bird" followed by
many kiss noises. But still I felt that this could not really be a sign of
intelligence, just excellent mimicry.
The next observation
I made was that Beeper was able to identify his bath water as being
"wet" and being a place for "sploshies", That didn’t
seem exceptionally intelligent to me until Beeper and I surprised my
husband coming out of the shower. Beeper looked at David, declared that he
was "wet-wet-wet" and then inquired "Sploshies?"
Obviously a bird who knew a wet person when he saw one!
The most conclusive
event took place when Beeper was about a year old. Our excellent Avian Vet
had just pronounced Beeper fat and we had placed him on a diet. His
disposition, not unlike a dieting human, suffered. In fact, he was just
plain grumpy! His best friend was a sweet little Peach Faced Lovebird
named Opal. The two of them often played on top of Beeper’s cage and had
always been so good together that I never felt the need to supervise.
David and I were
eating our dinner while the two birds played on the cage top. Suddenly the
Lovebird let out a screech of a type we had never heard before, and we
both spun around to see Opal cowering on the top of the cage, obviously
hurt, while Beeper towered over him.
I jumped up and ran
to the birds. A quick check showed no
permanent damage to
Opal, but I was furious with my Quaker. I screamed at him "What did
you do to Opal! You hurt Opal!" Then to my utter amazement Beeper ran
over to Opal, kissed him all over and said "I’m sorry!" This
was a phrase that he had NOT been taught! David and I looked at each other
wide eyed. David said "Maybe you had better stop talking baby talk to
There are many other
incidents I could relate regarding Quaker intelligence, but I have come to
take for granted that my Quakers understand simple concepts (and some not
so simple ones), work at their relationships with their mates and with
people, have a terrific sense of humor and play, and enjoy learning,
composing, and singing music. All these traits speak of an intelligence
that is quick, social, and verbal. Quakers are far from being only mimics.
They are friends in the true sense of the word.
ARE YOU A BIRD
Answer Yes or No to the following
1.Your bird eats better than you
You have more goodies in your
grocery cart for you birds than you do for yourself.
You spend more on bird food
than human food.
You consider cleaning cages
Your bird room gets remodeled
before your house.
The baby pictures you show off
to friends are of birds.
You carry pictures of your
birds in your wallet with your kids and grandkids
After you get your check and
pay bills, you try to stretch it to buy another bird.
You’ve ever bought a bird
You think all baby birds are
Your idea of eating out is
usually MacDonalds so you can get home quickly and feed the bappies. Or
if you do go out to a sit down dinner you check out the salad bar for
goodies for the birds. You also can’t seem to enjoy your birds’
favorite vegies . . without them.
You make your spouse and your
birds scrambled eggs and forget and give your spouse the ones with the
shells. ( Its OK because he’s a bird addict too.)
You let your kids talk you into
taking birds to school so THEY can give a report on caring for birds .
The Rain Forest Extinction, etc (I’ve given most of the reports and
deserve an "A" for my grade point.)
You make unbuttered. Unsalted (yuch)
popcorn because the birds like it and try to sneak butter on yours
You go out somewhere and have
feathers on you and or seed in your pockets.
You’re in public and someone
notices bird droppings on you . . . and you don’t freak out.
You consider the bird club
meeting the most important event of the month.
You end up eating junk food
because you are too busy and tired from making healthy bird food.
You fight with your spouse over
who gets to read Bird Talk/Breeder first.
Your remote control buttons don’t
work right because all those tasty buttons have been chewed off.
You constantly have scratches
on your arms from your birdie pals and close encounters with the cages.
You consider going hundreds of
miles to bird shows, staying up all night talking to bird people,
getting up at 5AM to put your birds in show cages, chew your finger
nails while they judge your birds - usually do this for two days. Then
drive home - and that’s your idea of vacation and fun
IF YOUR "YES" ANSWERS
0 - 4 You’ve probably gotten
your first bird and aren’t addicted . . . yet!
5 - 8 Be prepared, Addiction is
creeping up on you. You’re acquiring more birds, buying bird food in
bulk, and starting to
attend bird shows and fairs.
9 - 14 You are a bird addict. It
is strongly recommended that you join a bird club. While you will not be
cured, you will be surrounded by wonderful people suffering from the same
15 + Forget it - you are addicted
for life. You should be
on the board or on committees for
your bird club. You are in it because you love birds. You are the ultimate
bird addict. Welcome to the club!
There has been so
much published lately about the dangers to our birds from scented candles
I will only give it a mention just in case some of you have not read about
this. Apparently the volatile oils in some candles and in plug in air
freshners can cause serious illness or even death to our birds.