Monday, October 25, 2010

(Cook)Book Review

I must admit, I love love love reading cookbooks. I think it must be an inherited trait from my grandmother. Oddly enough, I also hate following recipes, either for baking or cooking, but there ya go. Both of these details apply to parrot food as well, although parrot cookbooks are few and far between. In fact, I only know of 2 cookbooks, and just a handful more that include a recipe or two among other information. One of those cookbooks I consider fairly useless, the other, which came out last December, I consider simply amazing.

I had been waiting with great anticipation once I heard Phoenix Landing was publishing a cookbook, Nourish to Flourish, and I was not disappointed. It is a lovely size, and spiral bound in wipe-able pages, which is very important both for a cookbook and for something that parrots might (will) be around. It is wonderfully organized into sections, with great information in the front, followed by veggie, fruit, grain, legume and protein sections. It has not just great information, but also great and very healthy recipes, and a wide variety of them at that. Truly something for everyone, and I will most definitely be recommending this book for anyone in the future that adopts a bird from me, or in fact anyone that doesn't, as well.

Despite my overall raves about the book, I would be quite disappointed in myself if I did not mention a few facts I find confusing or misleading.

-One, couscous is treated a a grain in the book. While that in itself is not bad, as it is in fact a grain product, people need to realize that couscous is simply a type of noodle. It is often times made with a different kind of wheat, but if you are buying standard couscous in the store, it is the same as buying standard white noodles. However, don't despair quite yet, couscous lovers! Just as there are a healthy types of noodles, there are healthy types of couscous. I have found whole wheat couscous to be readily available, though I myself, due to Chester's wheat allergy (and my own gluten issues), stick with organic brown rice couscous made by Lundberg Farms.

-Two, some fish is mentioned as being healthy as an occasional treat for parrots. Again, that in itself is not bad. However, one of the fish mentioned is tuna. Never, ever, ever, ever feed your parrot tuna. Ever. First of all, some types of tuna are sorely over fished, but ignoring that, tuna is very high in mercury. In fact, almost any large ocean (or river or lake or pond or...) fish is high in mercury, as such contaminants are always concentrated the higher up the food chain you go, as the larger fish have absorbed all the contaminants from the smaller fish they have eaten. With all the potential toxins our parrots put up with daily in our households, mercury has no need to be one of them.

-This a small detail, but one I find important. Some of the stock pictures included in the book are those of dried fruit that is as brightly colored as fresh. Please be aware that if your apricots are still yellow/orange instead of a dark brown red, they are treated with sulfur, whatever the package does or does not say. The same applies to other dried foods. While some parrots may not have a problem with sulfur as a preservative, many do. It was definitely a problem for both Frank and Claudia. I had gotten a very popular parrot food for them that contain dried fruit and did not list sulfur. In fact, it is touted as all natural, nothing added food. If you talk to the company, however, as I did when I almost immediately noticed problems, you discover that they can make these claims because they do not add the sulfur, they buy the fruit already sulfured. Yes, that is correct. They can sell it without listing it as long as they did not add it, even though they know full well it is there.

Now, back to the things I like! The wonderful folks at PL did a great job of explaining about the different types of foods, and the different ways to serve them. They also place emphasis on avoiding many foods that are commonly fed by well meaning parrot caretakers, such as white flour and jiffy mixes in birdie breads. And if you don't believe jiffy mixes should be avoided at all cost, just read the label!

Nourish to Flourish, Phoenix Landing Press

P.S. It is worth buying alone for the oh-so-adorable pics of parrots eating. Seriously.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Jeffrey found a home!

I am more than thrilled to be able to report that Jeffrey finally found a home, and through this blog! I had been trying very hard to find a home for Jeffrey after his foster Mom contacted me last year, but it was an extremely hard and fruitless search for many reasons, such as the overpopulation of tiels, the fact that Jeffrey was not tame (however cute) and, of course, the distance between me and where he was in Kentucky.

The woman that had taken Jeffrey in to foster (the foster bit being imposed by her husband) had made great strides with Jeffrey in the year she had had him. However, she finally had to take him into the pet store this summer so they could find him a home, as her husband finally said that her "foster" had stayed far too long. And so there at the pet store Jeffrey stayed for two months, and was fed only seed, put in a tiny cage rather than the one he had been brought in, and without most of his toys and perches (which was not how the store said they would treat him, of course, they had seemed far nicer.) Just this past week, however, a woman contacted me through my blog about him, even though she was unsure it would reach me as my blog had not been active for so long! It did, however, reach me, and I was able to put her in touch with Jeffrey's previous foster mom. They went together to the store and not only got Jeffrey, but many many things to spoil him with!

Jeffrey, now named Tommy or Tom Tom, is happy at his new home, with a new Mom that loves him and is willing to let him be himself and spoil him rotten in the meantime. He is quickly settling in and coming out of his shell, even starting to play again! He will also be able to play with his new friend Buddy the tiel when he comes out of quarantine.

Who could ask for a better ending than that?

Long time gone!

Goodness it has been a loonnngg time since my last post! Actually, it has been a long time since I have been on the computer at all. Last winter was rough for me, and I finally became so sick I was completely off the computer until a couple of weeks ago; I have spent that time trying to get all caught up, both on and off the computer! Fortunately, I have some wonderful bird loving family members, like my Mom, that helped me out and took care of the birds and any issues that arose with the rescue birds I have adopted out. Now that I have recovered somewhat, I am busy looking for a safer place for me to live MCS-wise (again, yes, home-searching is hard for those with MCS.) Obviously the birds are always a consideration in this, and they are always good sports. If I end up living near a rescue, I will volunteer with them, or continue my own work, just as I have done in the past.

I am going to try and get caught up on all the blogs; so much has happened, both good and bad! It makes you feel quite lonely, having been away from your friends for so long. I also hope to be posting again (and much more frequently than last fall/winter) starting with a sweet story about Jeffrey the tiel!