April, 2003

The President’s Perch
Steve Fitzsimmons, 2003 MACAW President

Happy 20th Anniversary Madison Area Cagebird Association of Wisconsin (MACAW)! Can you believe it was just twenty years ago that MACAW was started? Where were you in April 1983? It all started with just a few people gathering in someone's home to share information about their birds and learn from one another. Now, twenty years later and 75 members stronger, MACAW continues this tradition of helping one another understand companion birds and is still reaching out to the community to help the many avian causes that need help. Hello and welcome to the April issue of the MACAW Flyer. We sure have come a long way in twenty years, and here are just some of our accomplishments during these first 20 years!

First, let's talk money! MACAW has donated tens of thousands of dollars to the community to help our companion birds. Whether it's a small donation to help conserve the Great Green Macaw or bigger donations to help our feathered friends at the Humane Society, local bird rescues or our zoo. We have also supported externships at the UW veterinary school to help future veterinarians and have donated funds for avian research too, just to name a few of our good efforts to help our avian community. For our members, we have held hundreds of monthly educational meetings, hosted numerous seminars, peaked behind the scenes while attending tours of vet schools and zoos and have even held several huge successful bird fairs. We even find time to make bird toys during selected meetings to give birds something to play with while they stay at the Humane Society or Fine Feathered Friends Bird Sanctuary. Today, we have two web sites and a library with over 100 avian related books, tapes and magazines. We offer four forum sections for members to ask questions and use to keep up with the latest information. We print monthly newsletters, and some of us have even appeared on TV as well as in the local newspaper. We maintain close relationships with many pet industries resulting in member discounts at MADCAT Pet Supplies and Animart and free birdcage cleaning through Fine Feathered Friends. This is MACAW, a club working hard for its members and helping support the avian community! Thank you for your support and for being a part of all of this. Happy Anniversary!

Speaking of anniversary, please join fellow members as we celebrate MACAW's 20th year anniversary, next Sunday, April 13th at 2:00PM. Everyone is welcome, the cost is free, and at 2:30PM we have great educational speakers lined up to speak after our celebration. So come have fun, enjoy some cake, learn something new and meet new friends who share a common interest in birds! Paula has written a couple of interesting articles on our speakers this month, who are also this years extern recipients. These speakers and topics are going to be crowd pleasers.

Here is a summary of events that took place recently or are coming in the next few months. All I can say is - as sure as the temperatures outside are rising, so are the activities at MACAW. We have a lot to write about this month, both in events and in changes.

First, thanks to everyone who attended our last meeting on March 9th. Naya Brangenberg's presentation on the Kakapo Parrot from New Zealand was very entertaining and educational. Thank you Naya! Ruth will have a more descriptive article on what we learned about the Kakapo later in this newsletter. Our lottery drawing winners were Kathy Thimling (a three time in a row winner!), and Craig, congratulations to you both! Everyone will have another chance to win a ticket at our next meeting. Will Kathy win a forth time?

Did everyone get a chance to see the article written about MACAW in the February 22nd issue of the Capital Times, titled Bird Buffs? If not, there are pictures and links to this article on our web site. On March 2nd, many of us were on hand to promote MACAW at the Busy Bird Toy Bird Fair at the VFW. On March 13th, Sandi attended the UW Vet School Bird Club meeting and helped promote our club and her rescue to their members. On March 16th, Kathy and Sandi staffed a MACAW information table at MADCAT Pet Supplies and on April 6th we will be at the Busy Bird Toy Bird Fair again at the VFW. Future events include staffing MACAW information tables at the Humane Society and our zoo when the new aviary opens. We will also kick off our Adopt a Highway program, recruit volunteer Bird Ambassadors for the new Aviary and may even help the scouts earn badges for their efforts to learn more about our birds. In May, our MACAW web site at Madison.com will be their featured web site of the month. As a result of all these efforts, membership is rising and more people are learning more about MACAW and their own birds. Speaking of birds, our upcoming bird seminar is close to being sold out. I hope that everyone who wants to attend have already purchased their tickets. Your contributions go to the many worthy causes mentioned above. I welcome and invite all members to join in any of our club's activities, get involved and yes, even have fun. There are many opportunities available to you to get involved with MACAW. One popular event coming up in May 2004, is the annual MACAW Bird Fair. How many of you would like to help put this event together? Send me an email, I'm interested in hearing from you.

Our March 9th board meeting took on a few tough challenges and the board recommended some important membership changes. First, it was suggested that all membership renewals be set to April 1st. This will help everyone keep track of membership renewals and will also be a good time of year to hold our membership drives. For our current members, there will be a little adjustment, but the board has worked out a very easy and fair prorated formula. Jan will write more about this later in the flyer. Second, the board reconsidered its earlier decision to cancel the mailing of the MACAW Flyer, which was made in the hopes of saving the club money. We still planned to mail the flyer out to any member requesting it in the mail, but planned on members going to the web site to read the flyer instead. It was decided that in the best interest of the members, we would continue to mail our flyers out and continue to keep it available on our web site. Members can request to not receive the flyer in the mail if they chose. Third, the board took up discussions on our budget and revenue and made the tough and reluctant decision to increase our dues to $20 a year. This is necessary so MACAW can continue. Our club cannot operate in deficits like our governments, and rising expenses such as postage and printing the MACAW Flyer alone are now more than $15 a year for every member. Many clubs charge much more than $20 for a family membership, so MACAW is still a bargain on cost alone. When you add to that your discounts, and benefits in membership listed above, the many opportunities to get involved, to be entertained and educated and the opportunities to help the community, I hope that you will continue to feel good about your MACAW membership. Our club is making a difference to the avian community and continues to provide educational meetings and events for you our valued member. MACAW doesn't stop there either, we continue to look for new ideas and improve. We also use the feedback we receive from you for future events and opportunities.

Here are some helpful tips and reminders. MACAW Insider readers are connected to the grape vine! Get breaking news as it happens in the club, to subscribe, please send your email to me at stevenf@charter.net. Our two web sites are http://macaw.axisdata.com/ (main site), and our web site at Madison.com is http://www.madison.com/communities/macaw/index.php. Buying your bird supplies from MADCAT Pet Supplies or Animart helps save you money through member discounts. Sandi will help you clean your bird cages (donations appreciated), and the upcoming bird fairs at the VFW are April 6th and May 4th.

I said there is a lot happening, and there's much more waiting for you inside. Thank you for sharing your day with us. I now invite you to read through our April issue of the MACAW Flyer. Thanks again, hope to see you April 13th! Happy Anniversary!


Steve Fitzsimmons, MACAW President

Why You Can't Afford to Miss the MACAW Seminar
Paula Fitzsimmons , MACAW Education Director

Have you registered for the MACAW seminar yet? If so, great. If not, consider what you're getting for a mere $25.00. Even if your cost included just the presentations by four well-respected avian veterinarians, you'd be getting superior value. But you will also enjoy free refreshments, in part donated by MadCat pet supply store. And you will receive free samples of Nutriberries or Avicakes; the Lafeber Company generously donated about 200 bags. For $25.00, you are getting an awful lot of bang for your buck!

The silent auction is an opportunity for you to win some really great prizes, while supporting our club. As of today (March 15th) we have the following prizes. And with about two more months to go, we expect many more donations. We do ask that you patronize the folks who support us; they will help make our event a success. If you would like to donate a prize, please contact either Jackie or me.

* (6) Passes to Star Cinema, http://www.starcinema.com

* (1) Haircut at the Ultimate Spa & Salon, http://www.ultimatespa.com

* (3) Sandwiches at Big Mike's Super Subs, http://www.bigmikesdelivers.com

* (2) Exquisite Lady Gouldian posters, donated by http://www.ladygouldianfinch.com

* (2) 30-minute massages at Kneaded Relief Therapeutic Day Spa, http://www.kneadedreliefdayspa.com

* (2) Avian wellness exams at East Towne Pet Clinic

* (1) One-year subscription to Bird Talk Magazine, http://www.animalnetwork.com/birdtalk/

* (1) $50.00-off certificate to Raintree Resort and Conference Center in Wisconsin Dells, http://www.dellsraintree.com

* (6) Passes for various attractions at George Vitense Golfland, http://www.vitense.com

* (1) $25.00 gift certificate to Drs. Foster and Smith, http://www.drsfostersmith.com

* (2) Passes to the Milwaukee County Zoo, http://www.milwaukeezoo.org

* (1) Beautiful duck print, donated by Claude Leroy

* (1) Cockatiel cage and starter kit, donated by Hagen Corporation, http://www.hagen.com

* Various bags of bird foods and vitamins, donated by Hagen Corporation, http://www.hagen.com

* (1) Brand-new set of four wine glasses, donated by Steve and Paula Fitzsimmons

* (1) Dog kennel, donated by a friend of MACAW

* At least one 105 Careers for Animal Lovers, donated by Paula Fitzsimmons, http://www.pjpublications.com

* Peacock wall hangings and bird cage, donated by Ruth Gundlach

* Polly’s Perches, donated by Polly’s Perches

* Autographed, soft cover book, The Joining Tree, donated by Clarence Cameron

* Pewter Owl, donated by Clarence Cameron

April Meeting: Two for One
Paula Fitzsimmons, Education Director

Presentation I: Egg Binding in Caged Birds, by externship recipient Allison Shreve

Many of you are likely familiar with the term "egg-binding", a condition that occurs when a female bird's uterus or oviduct is blocked by an egg. The results can be devastating for a hen, and may even cause her untimely death. Allison will arm us with the information we need to protect our female birds. She will discuss the various aspects of egg-binding -- contributing factors, signs, diagnostics and possible treatments.

While working as an air-traffic controller nine years ago, Allison also volunteered at the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary. She enjoyed caring for the animals so much, that she earned her rehabilitator's permit and raised orphaned animals at her home. Her experiences with injured wildlife prompted her to apply to veterinary school. Throughout her training, Allison has had numerous opportunities to work with both wild and domesticated birds, during which time she developed a special -- though not exclusive -- interest in avian medicine. After graduating in May from the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, Allison will begin a one-year internship at the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

Presentation II: The Avian Physical Exam and Bird Anatomy, by externship recipient Maria Verbrugge.

When your bird receives a physical exam, what can you expect? Do you understand what your veterinarian is checking for, and why he or she runs a gamut of tests? Maria will explain what a proper examination by a qualified avian veterinarian consists of. This is useful information whether you are a new or experienced bird parent. Included in her presentation will be a brief explanation of avian anatomy and flight dynamics.

Maria grew up in Michigan, and moved to Madison 7 years ago, with the intent of earning her graduate degree in chemistry. But she found veterinary school to be more to her liking. She lives here with her husband and her "kids" -- 5 cats and a 3.5 year old Blue and Gold Macaw named Berry.

The Kakapo Parrot
Notes on a presentation by Naya Brandenburg
Ruth Gundlach, MACAW Secretary

Also known as the Night Parrot, these flightless nocturnal herbivores are the heaviest parrots in the world, weighing up to 8 pounds. Kakapos are indigenous to New Zealand. Only 86 individuals remain in the world, all in "captivity" on island sanctuaries. Kakapo faces look like a cross between a parrot and an owl, and the birds have a distinct sweet smell, like flowers and honey which betrays their presence to predators.

Kakapos use a lek breeding system, in which the males create and dig "boom pits", often in natural depressions. Those with rock walls are most favored, as many of their subsonic booms reverberate in the earth. Their booms are created by inflating special air sacs which magnify the vibrations their vocal cords make. Kakapo sounds include growls, "skrocks", "chings" and booms. They nest in burrows.

Kakapos can only breed in nature when 2 species of plant "mast", which is to have an abundant production of their fruits and seeds. Masting is thought to happen every 2-5 years. It is suspected that the natural Kakapo diet is so poor in nutrition that they depend on this abundance for egg production and chick rearing.

The Kakapo was never very abundant. It was found only in New Zealand, and limits itself to locations where good food and boom pits can be found. They prefer dense underbrush, and are nearly invisible in it when they are just a few feet away. Kakapos travel on trails they make between boom pits. This trail and bowl system makes them susceptible to disease spread, because droppings on the trail end up on the feet and thus in the mouths of others. That is what Naya went to New Zealand to study.

The decline in their population is attributed to hunting by early Polynesians and early Colonists in the 1840s. The colonists also brought habitat destruction through farming and introduced predators in addition to their own hunting. Cats and stoats (weasels) are among the worst introduced predators. Rabbits also introduced by the colonists are thought to compete for scarce food and burrows.

Left without predators, it is thought that Kakapos might be among the longest-lived parrots. No data on their age is available yet, but because individuals known to be 35 years old are still breeding, it is thought that they must live a very long time indeed.

Current Kakapo conservation efforts began in the 1970's with a census. In the 1980's Kakapo population fell below 100 individuals. The 1990's saw the first captive offspring, and the entire Kakapo population was moved to two islands which had been cleared of predators, Maud Island and Codfish Island, both protected by the New Zealand government. This century has brought an increase in breeding frequency (largely due to a better understanding of nutrition and courting needs), a decrease in chick, mortality, and monitoring the population for disease. In the last couple of years the masting plants have been studied for nutrition, and pellets developed which are much closer to that than the Almond & Macadamia nut diet of the 1980's. 2001 saw the best year ever in the captive breeding program, when 24 of 26 fertile eggs hatched. Chicks are raised solely by the hen, and stay with her for well over a year.

Disease Project Background: In the winter of 2000 passerine bird deaths (sparrows) were reported in the area. The cause of death was found to be Salmonella typhimurium DT160. It is estimated that 15-20% of the area sparrows may have recovered from symptoms of this disease but still be carriers. Therefore, to protect the Kakapos, any sparrows that find their way out to either of the 2 island sanctuaries are euthanized.

It appears that the Kakapos aren't breeding this year. Naya said there is still plenty for volunteers to do with disease monitoring. During the breeding season, volunteers also extend "heat packs" into Kakapo burrows after the hen has gone out to feed for the night, which is signaled by a sensor she trips as she leaves the burrow. The volunteers keep eggs and chicks warm until her return, which tends to be noisy enough that they can slip away unnoticed by her. This support is needed because the island sanctuary is much colder than their natural habitat.

A great website where one can learn much more and view photos of this very interesting parrot can be found at www.kakaporecovery.org.nz

An offer from Drs. Foster and Smith
Paula Fitzsimmons, Education Director

One of our auction contributors, Drs. Foster and Smith, would like to offer each of our members a catalog and a $5.00-off coupon. If you would like to be included in this mailing list, please contact me.

LARRA, INC. presents….
Saturday, April 5, 2003 - 9 am-6 pm, Buffet lunch Included

Friday April 4, 2003 - Speakers Dinner & Book Signing featuring LARRA, Inc. Director, Tracy Bockenhauer, 7 pm (Extra Fee)

Nationally known avian speakers highlight this exciting day!

Nancy Sloan Burke, "How to Improve Your Relationship With Your Parrot"

Liz Wilson, CVT, "How to Keep Your Parrot Out of Rescue"

Bonnie Kenk (PEAC), "Sex and the Single Parrot"

Tracy Bockenhauer, CAS "Redirecting Negative Behaviors"

Patti Christie, CVT, RN, "Updates in Avian Medicine and Bird Care"


More Q & A and shopping time this year!

Join us for this Educational Opportunity


A raffle, auction and free will donation will be part of this fundraising effort.

All proceeds go directly to support LARRA, Inc.

For more information contact LARRA, Inc. at 608-452-2732 or www.LARRA.org

M.A.C.A.W. Education Calendar
Paula Fitzsimmons, MACAW Education Director

April 13th - Externship recipients Allison Shreve and Maria Verbrugge, students at the UW-Madison Veterinary Medical School. See front page for topics.

May 3rd (Sat.) - MACAW seminar and silent auction, at the Dane County Humane Society.

June 15th - Presenter or field trip

*I am working on next season's education calendar. Below are a few ideas for topics I have in mind. And of course, I would like to include more field trips in the calendar. If you have any suggestions on topics or speakers, please feel free to contact me.

Possible Topics:

- How to make sure your bird is getting adequate exercise

- Finches and softbills -- The "forgotten" birds

- Avian diseases update

- Bird behavior: What is "normal", and how to correct negative behaviors

- Is your bird a dinosaur? A look at bird evolution

- What it takes to run an avian rescue

- Your bird, a flying machine: A close look at the dynamics of flight

- How to protect exotic birds through legislation and advocacy

- Should you let your bird fly?

- Proper nutrition for your birds: Perspectives from an avian veterinarian or nutritionist

What did you DO to our DUES?
Jan Hickey, MACAW Board

At the March 9th Club Meeting, the Board of Directors made some important decisions relating to membership dues. After much deliberation, the Board decided that it is necessary to raise MACAW dues effective immediately. Dues have been $15 for several years. Increased costs for operating our organization and preparing newsletters have made it necessary to raise the dues from $15 per year to $20 annually. Even at the higher amount, MACAW dues are still one of the best buys around! For the price of a parrot toy, you get newsletters, an informative website, great speakers and events that are both educational and fun.

The second decision the Board made was to change renewal dates for members' dues to April 1st for ALL MEMBERS. This means a change-over this month to get everyone onto the new schedule. By moving all the membership renewals to a single date, we will save both time and money on the renewal process. Your cooperation will be very much appreciated.

Almost all Club members will owe some amount for dues in April, 2003. This payment will roll your membership forward to March 31, 2004. Check the date on your newsletter mailing label. Follow the table below to figure out how much you should send with your 2003 Membership Renewal form.

Renewals can be mailed to the MACAW Treasurer at the address shown below. Be sure to complete the renewal form and include it with your payment. Checks should be made payable to MACAW. Dues may also be paid at the April Club meeting.

MACAW Renewal Form

Renewal Month Amount Due in April 2003

April or May $20

June, July or Aug $15

Sept, Oct, Nov or Dec $10

Jan, Feb or March* $ 5

Fine Feathered Friends Sanctuary meets UW Vet School Avian Club
Sandi Meinholz, MACAW Board Member

On Thursday, March 18th Sandi & Randy Meinholz from Fine Feathered Friends Sanctuary were invited to speak about their exotic bird rescue at the monthly meeting of the UW Vet School Avian Club. The club consists of vet school students as well as teaching staff. Fine Feathered Friends talked about their sanctuary and rescue efforts, adoption procedures and some of their concerns with birds being sold in pet stores. After their talk there was a lively question and answer period. The interest in the birds was very impressive and Fine Feathered Friends has been invited to bring in several birds of varying sizes on April 18th for the 4th year vet students to exam them, get to know them, trim nails etc. to help them determine if Avian Medicine would be right for them to specialize in. All in all it was an informative and fun hour and we look forward to returning with the birds in April. The vet school Avian club meets the 2nd Thursday of every month at noon in room 2255 on second floor of the school.

Educational Seminar Update
Jackie Hugo, MACAW Board Member

Can you believe that our educational seminar is already next month? I hope to see everyone at this, our only big event of the year. Here's an update. Things are coming along very well. I sent out registrations about a week or two ago and we already have 55 people signed up, so we are well on the way to selling out. Remember we only have 90 seats available! Please do not wait until the last minute to sign up for this seminar. I would like everyone who wants to come to have the opportunity. So, please send in your registration form and check today.

There will be several area avian vet clinics that will be sending their staff members to our seminar this year. Here you can attend and learn from the experts in the field along with other professionals. This seminar is for professionals and non-professionals alike. At $25, a great bargain too! It also helps us with the mission of our club to help educate people about birds.

We are however falling short on the donations area of the seminar, and we could use some help in soliciting. As you all know, since 9/11, everyone is digging a little

deeper in their pockets and choosing where they donate their money more selectively, so with that said, please contact either Paula or myself so that we can get you started if you would like to help. Paula is at paulaf@charter.net  Jackie Hugo is at crzybird@chorus.net.

Remember to sign up, and sign up soon, as you don't want to miss out on this on time event!

You might be a bird lover if...

· Someone yells "Duck!" and you jump up and shout "Where?"

·Your kids are named Scarlet and Budgerigar.

·Your spouse says… "It's either me or the bird," and you have to think about it.

·You try to talk your kid into going to college in Costa Rica so that you have an excuse to go there and look for the Great Green Macaw.

·Clouds take on the shape of birds, and you can distinguish psittacine from passerine.

·A machine squeaks at work and you describe it to maintenance as sounding like a Peach Faced Lovebird.

·The first time you meet your future in-laws you demonstrate the courtship dance of the Gouldian Finch, hip hopping up and down.

·You spend fifteen minutes preparing dinner for your family, and thirty-five minutes preparing dinner for your birds.

·You lose friends from fighting over the pronunciation of "psittacine".

·Your two favorite movies are "Dr. Doolittle" and "Paulie".

Answering "yes" to of these questions qualifies you as a bird lover! Welcome! --- Anonymous

Dane County Humane Society Corner
Sandi Meinholz, MACAW Board Member

As of this writing, the shelter has two white doves and two parakeets (one yellow & one blue) available for adoption. Please contact Jane Hanson with questions about bird adoptions at 608-838-0413, extension 101or search the website for adoptable birds and other animals at http://www.giveshelter.org. Be sure to search for adoptable animals under list of animals in the community section.

Fine Feathered Friends Update
Sandi Meinholz, MACAW Board Member

Fine Feathered Friends Sanctuary, Inc. has 4 young male parakeets available for adoption. For more information or to adopt one of these great birds, please contact Sandi at smeinie@charter.net. Thank you.

2003 Busy Bird Fairs
(First Sunday in month)
April 6, May 4, June 1, July 6, Oct 5, Nov 2, Dec 7

VFW Hall , 301 Cottage Grove Rd. , Madison, WI
10 am -3 pm, $2.00 Admission

Sheila at 608-362-4696 / email BusyBirdToys@aol.com

Stop by the MACAW table and say hello to Kathy and other members staffing the table!

105 Careers for Animal Lovers
Paula Fitzsimmons

If you think that jobs involving animals are limited, you will be pleased to learn of at least 105 different paths you can take. 105 Careers for Animal Lovers is a 39 page booklet listing 105 career ideas including resources and tips to help the reader zero in and help jump start that career search. www.pjpublications.com


Pet Supply Retailers
7820 Mineral Point Rd
Madison, WI 53717
MACAW Members receive 10% discount on all bird supply purchases!

Feathered Fid's Bird Boarding
Jackie Hugo

Reasonable Rates

Health Exams Required
Including Blood Work

MACAW Members 10% Discount

Fine Feathered Friends Sanctuary, Inc.
Sandi Meinholz


Will bird sit for you in your home or ours.

We are a 501©3 non-profit exotic bird rescue and will care for your bird/birds in your home or ours. All proceeds go directly back to the birds in the sanctuary. For more information please call (608)274-2615 or email smeinie@charter.net.


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