December, 2003

The President's Perch
Steve Fitzsimmons, 2003 MACAW President

Happy Holidays! Hello and welcome to the December issue of the MACAW Flyer. This is one of the most important months of the year for MACAW and one of the most fun. It is at this meeting that we hold our annual elections, celebrate the holidays, reflect on the past year, and even make bird toys for needy birds. Please mark your calendars now for Sunday December 14th for the MACAW Christmas Party. This year we will have our holiday party at our new meeting place, the Dane County Humane Society on Voges Rd.  It promises to be a fun time. Ruth has an article later in this flyer with more details. I hope to see you!

Our November speaker was Dr. Robert Porter, who talked about the interesting work he does at the UW diagnostic lab. Dr. Porter brought in his slide projector and showed members pictures of the many internal organs within our birds. He showed us what their normal organs looked like, and the damage certain diseases and viruses can do to a bird that becomes ill. Dr. Porter talked about what some of the signs are to look for if a bird becomes stressed or ill and ways to prevent certain diseases like fatty liver. It was an educational meeting for those who attended. It was also our first meeting that was taped for MACAW TV. Parts of this meeting will be aired at a later date after I finish editing.

Fine Feathered Friends had a grand opening celebration for their new rescue in November. Can you believe that they have been open just over a year and already had to move to a bigger building? Did you know that they have taken in over 300 birds already?  That's 300 birds people in our area are surrendering to them. Can you see the need to reach out and educate more people here? Every one of those 300 birds comes with a story.

What did you do this Halloween? If you were a MACAW member, you would have been invited to spend time at the zoo helping with crowd control and educating some of their 30,000 plus visitors as a volunteer there. Ruth Jensen and I were there and can tell you some good stories from that weekend. We have been invited back next year, so mark your calendars for next year if you are interested. Our relationship with the zoo continues to be strong. Mr. Hubing is working with me to get their new bird ambassador program at the new aviary off the ground. We are always recruiting volunteers for this.

Every month I ask you, our most valued member, for feedback. Are we accomplishing our goal to bring value to your MACAW membership? Do you have any complaints? How can we attract more members to our monthly meetings? How do we attract new members to MACAW? How do we get more members involved through volunteering? What can we do to improve our club? You may have the answer. Send me an email.

The discounts offered to members at MADCAT and Animart help defray the membership dues, but there is more to membership than discounts. MACAW is a gathering place for everyone who has pet birds. It is a place to share bird stories and recipes, make new friends and ask for advice or recommendations. It is also a place where guest speakers teach us new things about our birds every month. Then there are the many opportunities to get involved with MACAW too. Opportunities such as volunteering as a member on the MACAW Board, submitting an educational article to our newsletter, helping with Adopt a Highway, Bird Ambassador, MACAW TV, bird fairs, legislative affairs and seminars are all opportunities awaiting MACAW members. 

The Pet Facility Bill vote has been delayed until sometime in December. Some of our legislators feel there is no interest. Please watch your local news or visit our MACAW website for updates as things change.

There are many members I wish to thank for their past year of service to MACAW. Please look for this article later in this newsletter.

If you would like to help your bird club, please consider joining the MACAW Board of Directors. All positions are currently open for the upcoming year 2004. Members will be elected during this December holiday meeting. It is a great opportunity!

Thank you for sharing your day with us. I now invite you to read through our latest newsletter and as always, welcome any feedback you may have.

Wishing you and your family a happy, healthy and safe holidays,

Steve Fitzsimmons
President, Madison Area Cagebird Association of Wisconsin

MACAW Annual Meeting and Holiday Party! 
Ruth Gundlach, MACAW Secretary


On Sunday, December 14, 2003, at noon, we will have a pot luck feast at the Dane County Humane Society, 5132 Voges Rd., Madison. Look for us in the large meeting room. We will not be at the Fellowship Hall of the church. We will be meeting at DCHS from now on, until further notice. Following dinner, we will hold our (short!) Annual Meeting (see page 3), including nominations and elections of Officers and Board of Directors. If you are interested in one of the positions but can't attend, please contact a current officer or board member. 

The meeting will be followed by toy making activities to benefit Fine Feathered Friends. MACAW will provide all toy making materials and lots of ideas and tips.

 If you bring an unused bird toy or other bird item you’ll receive 1 door prize ticket for each $5 of value of the item you bring. Carol Giffin will donate a stained glass sun catcher, and we hope there will be other donations for door prize drawings. 

- Bring your own plate, utensils, a dish to pass,   and beverage (hot and cold apple cider available)
- Bring an unused bird toy or other bird item. 
- Bring toy making ideas, pictures and stories   about your birds, good cheer. 

See you there!

Help Wanted: Your Creativity
Paula Fitzsimmons, MACAW Education Director


We invite you to help make bird toys at the MACAW holiday party in December. The toys we make will be donated to Fine Feathered Friends Sanctuary in Madison, some which may be sold at MadCat Pet Supplies. MadCat is generously donating retail space to FFFS, with ALL profits from sales of the toys going to the sanctuary. Supplies will be provided; just bring your imagination!

To Our Members Who Served MACAW in 2003  - Thank you! 
Steve Fitzsimmons, 2003 MACAW President


President: Steve Fitzsimmons
Vice President: Lois Moorhouse
Secretary: Ruth Gundlach
Treasurer: Pam McCloud-Smith
Education Director: Paula Fitzsimmons
Librarian: Kathy Thimling, Sandi Meinholz
Newsletter: Christene Crubaugh
Website: Ed Almasy
Board Members: Kathy Seals, Jan Hickey, Claude Leroy, Carol Giffin, and Jackie Hugo

 MACAW could not exist without your help, support, sacrifice and dedication. Thank you!


MACAW’s New Meeting Place
Paula Fitzsimmons, MACAW Education Director


Effective January, 2004 MACAW will no longer be meeting at Midvale Community Lutheran Church. Our new meeting place will be at the Dane County Humane Society, on 5132 Voges Road in Madison. The phone number is 608-838-0413. We will be meeting in the large classroom; if not available, we will meet in the small classroom. Please let me know if you have any questions or need directions to the shelter.


 What a year! Here is looking back at 2003
Steve Fitzsimmons, MACAW President

MACAW web site added monthly MACAW Flyers
New MACAW web site at
Bobbie Webster talked about saving the Great Green MACAW
MADCAT offers members 10% all bird food and  supplies
Gave away lottery tickets to random attendees
MACAW members at Busy Bird Toy Bird Fair  (1st Sunday of every month)
Ask the vet article returned
Bird Buffs in the news as MACAW is featured in  the Capital Times
Dr. Stanley Temple - efforts to save the Peregrine Falcon and California Condor
MACAW members at Kids Expo
Naya Brangenberg - Research involving the endangered Kakapo parrot of New Zealand
Membership renewals set to April 1st every year;   Membership dues were raised to $20
Animart offers members 10% discount on all non  food purchases
Celebrating 20 years!
Adopt a Highway recruitment begins
Members raised funds at humane society Bark and Whine event
MACAW web site featured web site of the month at
MACAW members taught girl scouts about cockatiels at humane society
Maria Verbrugge - What to Expect from an Avian Exam
Allison Shreve - Egg Binding in Caged Birds
Annual Seminar held at the Dane County Humane   Society Doctors Joanne Paul-Murphy, Jean A.   Paré, Peter Sakas, and Rob Porter. Topics were -   West Niles Virus, the emerging Exotic New   Castles Disease, Avian Pain Relief, Household   Hazards, and The Avian Respiratory System
New Tropical Rain Forrest Aviary opened at the Henry Vilas Zoo
Bird Ambassador recruitment starts
Pet Facility Bill efforts to help regulate birds sold at pet stores
MACAW volunteers help at Halloween at the Zoo event (2,000 ads for MACAW)
MACAW Library moved to Fine Feathered Friends Sanctuary
MACAW TV training and filming recruitment begins
Fine Feathered Friends Grand Opening
Holiday party held at new MACAW meeting  place - DCHS
Pet Facility Bill vote

Annual Election of Officers    
Ruth Gundlach, MACAW Secretary

Each year at the December Annual Meeting, MACAW conducts its election of officers.  Nominations are held open until the election on December 14th, but the Board of Directors begins to accept nominations at the Nov. meeting. So far, here are the nominations:

President: Steve Fitzsimmons; Vice President: Sandi Meinholz; Treasurer: Pam McCloud-Smith; Secretary: Ruth Gundlach; Board of Directors: Kathy Seals, Claude Leroy, Jackie Hugo, Kathy Thimling, Joe Kazda (we need more nominees). The Board of Directors recommends appointment of the following members to positions: Education Director: Paula Fitzsimmons; Librarian: Kathy Thimling; Historian: Steve Fitzsimmons; Membership Director: Ruth Gundlach; Newsletter Editor: Christene Crubaugh


Dane County Humane Society Corner
Christene Crubaugh, MACAW Editor

As of this writing, the Dane County Humane Society has 2 finches. Please contact Doug Brown with questions about bird adoptions at 608-838-0413, extension 101.
Find Special Gifts at This Special Shop
The DCHS gift shop has a nice selection of animal-related gift items, such as books, stationery, t-shirts and wall hangings, as well as pet items, including bird food. Of course, proceeds benefit the shelter. Consider doing some holiday shopping there, and even pick up a trinket for yourself.

From November's Meeting
Ruth Gundlach, MACAW Secretary

From November's meeting: Dr. Rob Porter, on Selected Cases from the WI Veterinary Diagnostic Lab

(NOTE: This article describes some graphic things.)
Dr. Porter works for both the UW Department of Veterinary Medicine and he is also a veterinary pathologist with the WI Veterinary Diagnostic Lab.  He gave us a slide presentation of an avian necropsy, which included slides from other necropsies to show us other things he has encountered as he dissects the bird carcass to attempt to determine the cause of death. He started by explaining that pathology is the study of disease, and his job is to find the agent or toxins that caused the death. The agents and causes can be divided into one or more of these major groups:
- Degenerative
- Acquired (trauma)
- Metabolic
- Nutritional
- Infectious
- Toxic (poisons, such as Teflon)

Before making his first incision, Dr. Porter examines the skin, feathers, vent, feet; basically an external examination. He showed us examples of how calcium/phosphorus deficiencies in chicks can make their bones rubbery. 

Dr. Porter makes his first incision through the skin, from the base of the throat to the vent. He takes many cultures and slides throughout the process of internal organs and matter he encounters.  He examines the breast muscle and abdominal cavity. We were shown how a Salmonella infection might appear on a breast muscle. He evaluates the bone quality by, among other observations, the sound the ribs make as he cuts through them to examine the chest cavity. There Dr. Porter views the heart and upper intestine. He showed us how gout (kidney disease) might appear, and how a bacterial infection can enlarge the spleen. Polyoma virus and other diseases can cause hemorrhage on the heart, and he showed us slides of how that looks. He showed slides of thyroid tumors.

Birds have many air sacs that run throughout their bodies as part of their respiratory system. Dr. Porter showed us how aspergillus mold infection (aspergillosis) appears in air sacs and lungs. This is seen when birds live in environments in which mold has been allowed to grow, and the spores grow in their respiratory system. This mold can also grow in human lungs and cause permanent damage. 

Dr. Porter goes on to examine the trachea (wind pipe). He showed us a picture of trachea mites, which can cause a small bird to suffocate by blocking their ability to breathe. He then examines the gizzard and spleen. He cuts a large bone to examine the marrow, and showed us how avian tuberculosis would look in the marrow. He had slides showing blood parasites, which are often found in raptors (eagles, hawks, etc.), and are spread by mosquitoes and other blood-eating insects. Dr. Porter examines the liver. He had many slides showing staph infection, cancer, iron storage disease, and fatty liver disease. He spoke about iron storage disease, a problem for toucans especially, that has been solved by feeding them a specialized diet. Fatty liver disease is often found in obese birds and birds with a poor diet. The fat deposits enlarge and weaken the liver, and if the bird has a fall, the liver can rupture which causes the bird to bleed to death internally. He spoke of the importance of watching our birds' diets and ensuring that they get enough exercise. 

The oral cavity and digestive system are examined next. Dr. Porter showed us examples of Papilloma virus, vitamin A deficiency, candida (yeast), crop burn, and crop puncture from improper tube-feeding. He examines the entire Gastro-Intestinal tract for infection, continuing to culture as he goes. He showed how proventricular dilatation disease (PDD) distends various digestive organs. He opens the skull to examine the brain. Sometimes when he can't find any other cause of death, he finds a sub dural hematoma (blood in the brain tissue) from a head injury. 

This concluded the slide presentation. Questions and answers followed. One very important question was, "What do we do to preserve a bird carcass for necropsy?"  Answer: Wet the feathers, which will allow the carcass to cool faster, wrap the wet carcass in wet paper towels, place that in a plastic bag, and refrigerate. This will only work if the necropsy will be performed within three days. If it will be longer than that, the carcass should be frozen. 

Many thanks to Dr. Rob Porter, for a very interesting "tour" of what can go wrong inside of our birds, and for showing us what healthy organs are supposed to look like as well.


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

December 14th- MACAW Holiday Party at the DCHS, noon - 3:00 p.m. See front page.
January 11th- Ellen Hooker, DVM with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Topic: Bird Behavior.
February 8th- Lori Drew, CVT, Director of the Pet Network Exotic Bird Rescue of West Allis, Wisconsin. Topic: Administering basic first-aid to our birds.
March 14th/April 11th- Tentatively UW-Madison externship recipients' presentations and a private behind-the-scenes tour of the Henry Vilas Zoo
May 9th- To be announced.
Each month the schedule is as follows:
The Board meeting starts at 1:00. All MACAW members are welcome to attend board meetings.
Hospitality break is at 2:00 pm.
Speaker is at 2:30 pm.
M.A.C.A.W. meetings are held the second Sunday of the month (excluding June, July, & August).

Meeting Location:
Dane County Humane Society, 5132 Voges Rd., Madison, 608-838-0413.

From October's meeting: Jim Hubing, Zoo Director, Henry Vilas Zoo
Ruth Gundlach, MACAW Secretary

 Jim spoke to MACAW about the Henry Vilas Zoo, which is one of only 208 zoos in the nation that have been accredited by the American Zoo Association (AZA). Only 6 of this 208 zoos are free to the public, as is the Henry Vilas Zoo, which receives 20% city and 80% county funding. Recently $4 million were raised for the aviary through various fundraising efforts. The zoo is dedicated to education and conservation. They follow endangered species survival plans, and genetic records are kept to prevent inbreeding. The zoo is understaffed, and could use help from MACAW with cage cleaning, as well as with the zoo ambassador program. See Steve Fitzsimmons if you are interested in becoming a zoo ambassador. 

We were then shown a film of one of the Zoo's most recent arrivals, a recently born lion cub. He was about to make his debut out of the "den" enclosure and into the exhibit. Questions and answers about the zoo and the lion cub followed. 


Upcoming Community Events & Dates
Steve Fitzsimmons, 2003 MACAW President

December 2003
4th -  DCHS Pet Loss Support Group Meeting
6th & 13th - DCHS Calendar signing
6th-20th - FFF Santa & Parrot Pictures with Santa
7th -  Busy Bird Toy Bird Fair
14th -  MACAW Christmas Party and Elections
17th -  FFF Gift Wrapping for Tips
20th -  FFF Holiday Party with Parrots!
January 2004

1st - Happy New Year!
5th -  National Bird Day
11th -  MACAW meeting, guest speaker topic "Bird Behavior"
17th -  FFF Borders Benefit Days
18th -  FFF Borders Benefit Days

If you would like your event listed, please send a brief description and the date of your event to

   Advertise in the MACAW Flyer!
(It's easy, it's cost effective, it supports MACAW!)

Business Card Size:
Size:  3 1/2 (w) x 2 (h)
Cost: Members: $2.50 per issue
Non-members: $5.00 per issue


For more information on advertising please email Christene at
MACAW reserves the right to limit ads to businesses which provide competent and humane avian care, as we define it.


Birds Available For Adoption 

Fine Feathered Friends Sanctuary Inc.
2410 Daniels Street, Unit F, Madison, WI  (608)  222-6420
Sandi Meinholz

The Pet Network Avian Placement List
For information please send an e-mail to or call (414) 464-8808
Christene Crubaugh

 Dane County Humane Society
Please contact Jane Hanson or Doug Brown with questions about bird adoptions at 608-838-0413, extension 101
Sandi Meinholz/Christene Crubaugh

LaCrosse Avian Rescue, Rehabilitation and Adoption
608-452-2732, Email:
Christene Crubaugh

2003 Busy Bird Fairs
First Sunday in month
 December 7


VFW Hall , 301 Cottage Grove Rd. , Madison, WI
10 am -3 pm,  $2.00 Admission
Sheila at 608-362-4696 / email

Please 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.


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

We 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:
         Web Site:

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