Light Up Your Bird Cage with Florescent Budgies a Gift from NASA

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Okay that’s a bit of a stretch but if you could see what budgies see – not so much.

A couple weeks ago we talked about not fully understanding the effects of ultraviolet lighting on our birds. Something that not a lot of us including myself fully understand.

Leave it to NASA to set the record straight on the correlation between parrots and the center of our galaxy. Admitted science geek that I am, lots of interesting content crosses my desktop daily.

Rummaging through the archives of Science Magazine there’s an article from January 2002 entitled ”Fluorescent Signaling in Parrots” by Katherine Arnold At the University of Glasgow.

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About a week later in the Journal of Nature you’ll find reports on the fluorescence that has been seen in the Galactic Center in an article by astronomer Q Daniel Wayne of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

The first article explains how ultraviolet light is absorbed by budgies (as well as other parrots) feathers on the crown and the cheeks and then the light gets re-emitted – as yellow light which is a longer wavelength.

budgies shown under ultraviolet light

Figure 1. Budgerigar’s head (A) under white light and (B) under UV illumination to induce yellow fluorescence. (C) Crown irradiated with UV light only (dashed line), resulting in human visible fluorescent emission (solid line). (D) Normalized visual difference between the emission spectrum of plumage, measured as radiant emission from feathers (solid line) and the spectral sensitivities of the four single cones classes of the budgerigar’s retina (dashed lines) (4). (Credit: K.Arnold et al., Science, 295, 92)

Basically what Ms. Arnold found was that both boy and girl budgies used the fluorescence of birds of the opposite sex and their glowing feathers that fluoresced in a light spectrum range that neither you nor I can see as an indicator for the quality of a possible mate.

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Going back to the second story the geeky science astronomer guys and gals using pics that mere mortals have no access to because they have the Chandra X-ray Observatory to play with and made really cool images of the Milky Way Check it out!

A 400 by 900 light-year mosaic of images located about 26,000 light years from Earth in the constellation Sagittarius.

This Chandra image exposes a wealth of exotic objects and high-energy features at the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way. In this new and deep image from Chandra, red represents lower-energy X-rays, green shows the medium range, and blue indicates the higher-energy X-rays.

Hundreds of small dots show emission from material around black holes, neutron stars and white dwarfs. A supermassive black hole — some four million times more massive the Sun — resides within the bright, blue-white region on the right.

The diffuse X-ray light comes from gas heated to millions of degrees by outflows from the supermassive black hole, winds from giant stars, and stellar explosions.

This 400 by 900 light-year mosaic of several Chandra images of the central region of our Milky Way galaxy reveals hundreds of white dwarf stars, neutron stars, and black holes bathed in an incandescent fog of multimillion-degree gas. 

The supermassive black hole at the center of the Galaxy is located inside the bright white patch in the center of the image. The colors indicate X-ray energy bands – red (low), green (medium), and blue (high).

Now that I’ve got you spun around scientifically, what the science guys and gals are saying is, forgetting fluorescence from parrot feathers for a moment, if you look at iron atoms that happen to take up a really big portion of the Milky Way galaxy (see image above), this fluorescence happens when – following x-rays that bump into electrons knocking said electrons out of the insides of the iron atoms which somehow excites the atoms so much so they produce more energy.

 

fluorescent suits are NOT chick magnets – you’ve been warned
Rounding third base here: The atoms calm down emitting a fluorescent x-ray which is a longer wavelength and is basically the same process that causes budgies to glow fluorescently (I think I made that word up) in the eyes of other budgies.

caveat: 

Some people are able to reflect the light that lands on them, to take directions or assets or energy and focus it where it needs to be focused. This is a really valuable skill.

Even more valuable, though, is the person who glows in the dark. Not reflecting energy, but creating it. Not redirecting urgencies but generating them. The glow in the dark colleague is able to restart momentum, even when everyone else is ready to give up.

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At the other end of the spectrum (ahem) is the black hole. All the energy and all the urgency merely disappears.

Your glow in the dark colleague knows that recharging is eventually necessary, but for now, it’s okay that there’s not a lot of light. The glow is enough. Seth Godin

written by mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing
approved by nora caterino

your zygodactly footnote
(no inventory of budgies in space videos so we’re going with our favorite animals in space video)

Running a fowl of copyright law

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I sell bird toys – on the face of it it shouldn’t be that hard. Under the hood it’s hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

We’ve had a retail facility burn to the ground. We’ve had another retail facility flood with sewer water because of improper plumbing practices.

We’ve had another facility where the landlord blocked our loading dock with several thousand boxes of documents for months – the loading dock was the only reason we took the space to begin with.

By the middle of the second quarter of 2015 we were out of stock on close to 80 of our top selling SKUs because either the vendors had gone out of business or the food manufacturers couldn’t source the products. That was a 20% revenue hit.

We begin to recover from that when our web host released an operating system that does nothing but damage the website and blocks people from checking out among other things.

I see threads on LinkedIn people talking about selling. I’ve been out in strange neighborhoods knocking on doors till 10 o’clock at night seeking someone that I could pitch my home improvement products to.

I understand headwinds are part of life and must be dealt with to achieve success. Why then am I in receipt of an email and certified letter indicating that I’m about to be sued for using  pictures of birds standing on a piece of rope.

I’ve complied with the attorneys for the vendor weeks ago. The pictures are off our website.

No formal DMCA Take-Down Notice Pursuant to the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) enacted in 1998.

Two years ago I did get a formal DMCA Take-Down Notice from Getty images. They found a parakeet on top of an avian scale and the parakeet was part of Getty images stock collection for sale. They demanded $1300.

My first defense was all birds of the same species are identical. Apparently they had heard that before because they said they had some sort of pixel counting matching software thingy so back off.

I had digitally scraped the avian scale image with the parakeet from the vendor’s website a common practice in e-commerce. I forwarded the information to the vendor who admitted that their webmaster had in fact Photoshopped the bird onto the perch (you’ve been warned) and promptly paid the $1300 “fee”.

That is how I benchmark the value of a royalty-free income producing image.

Here’s what we’re going to do now Bonnie Jay. People all over the Internet are going to be sharing your “copyrighted” pictures from Kara’s Facebook page that is selling your nets onto the WindyCityParrot.com Facebook fan page (273,000 likes) because we can – that’s how Facebook works.

I’m going to use those shared images to demonstrate the superiority Aronoico nets – your chief rival. Were going to make videos – and we’re going to ask – 273,000 cage bird keepers across the planet how they feel about your company and your products

We will be having our worker bees post ALL the images of your Original products from Kara’s Facebook Fan page with images of me in between each and every one your images onto our Facebook fan page – The only way to get those pictures off of our Facebook fan page is for you to remove them from Kara’s Facebook fan page.

Have a nice day.

Would you buy cigarettes, beer or gasoline from a parrot?

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As a mid 20th century child a.k.a. baby boomer I grew up in what would be called “naïve time”. Let me illustrate.
 
 
 
We had our priorities as a nation in the 1950s. We didn’t allow ourselves to be exposed to things that might hurt us. TV shows like Leave it to Beaver and Ozzie and Harriet supported the notions of the idyllic stay-at-home moms. One thing we’re certainly clueless about was birds and parrots as pets. Actually it wasn’t really until the turn of the 21st century that we began to accept and understand the brilliance and complexity of companion birds.
 
Doral cigarette ad with parrot and pirate
A ship’s captain has to trust the opinion of the ship’s parrot
especially when talking about cigarettes – right?
 
Every once in a while I’m asked what it is I do for a living. If it’s a friend, stranger or acquaintance my answer might be a little flippant “I’m the bird toy guy”.
 
Vintage cigarette ad Japanese woman with two parakeets and canary
The only thing I could think of looking at this is
“what could she possibly be looking at – hello?”
 
If I’m at a nerdy networking event my stock answer is “I’m a digital marketer”. That means something like I get asked a bird question and then research cool stuff about birds and push the information to places all over the internet.
 
 
 
try a parrot cigar vintage poster
You would think someone said
let’s name a cigar line after a parrot – once.
 
With the bird (ownership) category paling in comparison to the dog and cat category (in retail sales) birds are not really mainstream yet you’d be surprised how many products birds & parrots have shown up “squawking” their merits over the last 2 centuries.
 
search of parrots with cigar ads
yet marketing many marketing folks and 
cartoon artists have felt parrots and cigars are a great match
 
What this post really highlights is how dumb we’ve been about the use of birds in marketing. Can you imagine the outrage from the bird community if some these ads showed up in today’s media?
 
Vintage Chesterfield cigarette poster with parrot taking a cigarette out of the pack
parrots apparently were valued for their
opinion of cigarette mildness at one time
 
I actually get paid to find a lot of both smart and silly stuff about birds. In doing so I’ve accumulated collection of advertising images with of course parrots. Because you’re a bird person, would you be more influenced by a large cockatoo than a sports personality in guiding your purchasing decisions?
 
Vintage old gold cigarette ad with 2 Budgies
“We perch our case on just one fact” really????
They needed a 911 call to Don Draper (Madmen TV show)
 
Much like sports personalities and advertising there’s not a whole lot of relationship between spokesperson and the product other than compensation. We do know that certain birds out there work for money but the birds in these ads – well I guess they should have unionized early on.
 
 
vintage illustration of parrot on perch light sexy womans cigarette
When clicker and stick training really got results
google “peter driben parrot art” for more of these tasty pics
 
1929 Vintage Lincoln car ad with parrot over car
Parrots were used to sell cars in the last century – but why?
 
The connection between cars and parrots totally eludes me. Parrots come with their own mode of transportation namely “wings”. Perhaps that’s the “lift” car companies were seeking.
 
ad for Infinity q45 interio with sulfur crested cockatoo on steering wheel
And parrots are still being used to sell cars in this century – the question really is
Is a Sulfur crested cockatoo the best way to test Infiniti’s Voice Recognition System? Or do you have to squawk commands at the car for it to work?
image of all sign for poly gasoline from the Wilshire oil company in Los Angeles California
not only did parrots sell cars but they sold the stuff you put in cars
 
portable bar with Polly's brand oil logo
you gotta admit this pretty cool whatever it is/does
vintage image of Blue Parrot cranberries tin
Food must be trustworthy if it’s named after a parrot
 
Clearly people in marketing back in the day felt that name and a product after parrot gave it additional credibility.
 
vintage tin of parrot quality lard
i rest my case
 
vintage post for Karo pancake syrup with a parakeet
our cockatiel always asks us about ingredients 
before she eats something – not
 
 
this takes “Polly want a cracker” to the next level
 
The creativity of marketing people should never be underestimated especially when it comes to parrots.
 
 
they even made a second commercial
 
I get the whole “Polly wants a cracker thing” but this next commercial for Doritos chips had to of been influenced by a mind altering substance.
 
 
what do you do with a trained parrot? 
Put him in a Doritos commercial
 
Vintage poster for Sheraton hotels in latin america
ok – so this makes sense
 
ad for carribean cruise naive man holding parrot
this has always been one of my faves
 
 
vintage tin of Parrot brand sewing needles
but sewing needles? makes as much sense as cars
 
ad for cellophane with parrot
who knew parrots were your go to source for cellophane info?
then again this was from a time zoos kept parrots close by leg chains. 
Vintage ad for Le gramaphone with several parrots
I get the concept – birds and sound – but not how the cockatoo 
got in the picture (think different continents) it’s a mystery
 
bird using beak to play record on turntable
and sometimes the bird IS the phonograph
 
 
vintage poster for making cookies with baby ruth candy bars
before chocolate made it to the “no good for birds” list
 
Polly wants a cookie made with a Baby Ruth. Here is the classic recipe – 2 sticks butter, softened 1 1/2 cups sugar 2 eggs 1 tsp. soda 1/2 tsp. salt 1 tsp. vanilla 3 scant cups flour 5 Baby Ruth candy bars, cut up. Cream together softened butter and sugar. Beat in eggs. Add soda, salt, vanilla and flour. Fold in chocolate chips and pecan pieces. Drop teaspoon size dough on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes about 6 dozen cookies. You’re gonna need a lot of milk
 
vintage poster for Ghirardelli's chocolate with parrot
a diabetic’s and parrot’s food dream/nightmare
 
Amor Bern chocolate poster with parrot
what parrot doesn’t like chocolate?
 
The relationship between parrots and alcohol runs deep. We just don’t know why or when it began. We have a small collection of Corby’s “drinking paraphernalia” everything from cocktail pics to bottle pourers to lighting fixtures .
 
Vintage Corbys whiskey poster Parrot
Corby’s used parrots to sell it’s whiskey until they went out of business
 
corbys whiskey plastic parrot light up sign
part of the Windy City Parrot collection
 
vintage poster for Fleishmann's gin with old sailor and Cockatoo parrot
who drinks gin anymore? 
once they stopped using parrots to market it – it got boring
 
vintage poster 3 generations of family and parrot - all drinking beer
back in the day beer was good for the whole fam damily including pets (is that beer in the goldfish bowl?)
note: parrot beer glass perch – currently out of stock
note 2: time to cut off dad – but no one cares – because the beer taste so damn good
 
 
you know this really happens!
 
Poll parrot neon sign
what animal than a bird with zygodactyl 
feet is better suited to sell human shoes than a parrot?
 
 
proof!
 
Poll Parrot & Howdy Doody comic book
If you remember this – you’re old
 
Vintage 1963 harley motorcycle ad with 3 macaw parrots
Harley got it’s marketing (and motorcycles) right – but it took 2 more decades
 
Hope you enjoyed our trip down memory lane and had some fun.
 
written by mitch rezman
approved by cathrine tobsing

Presidential Parrots & Birds – A Brief History

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Almost all of the 43 presidents, from George Washington to President obama., have had at least one pet. Information is sketchy so we tried to aggregate all the facts we could find about presidential pet bird ownership

George Washington (1789 -1791) Had Polly the parrot which was actually Martha’s. George didn’t like the bird – apparently the feeling was mutual and they kept a close eye on one another when in the same room

James Madison (1809 -1817) Dolly Madison owned a Macaw that out lived both of them. When British troops set fire to the presidential residence during the War of 1812, she heroically rescued the parrot as the fire was engulfing the White House.

John Quincy Adams  (1825–1829 Louisa Adams, wife of this president, known at the White House for her silkworms, also owned a parrot during her husband’s term. 

Andrew Jackson (1829-1837) Pol the African Grey parrot had bought as a gift for his wife Rachel. Unfortunately, Rachel died, and the President had to take care of Pol himself. Pol was taught to swear and screamed curse words at his funeral. The African Grey had to be ejected from the funeral ceremony when he started cursing in both English and Spanish, all learned from the president! 

Zachary Taylor: (1849–1850) Had a canary Named Johnny Ty

James Buchanan (1857–1861) Had an eagle

Rutherford B. Hayes (1877 – 1881) Hayes had four Canaries with clipped wings. It’s said one regularly spent time between one of his cats paws (in a a good way)
 

Abraham Lincoln (March 1861 – 1865) Mr. Lincoln was well known for his fondness of animals in would rescue them a regular basis – Here’s one account: Oh,’ said he, ‘when I saw him last’ (there had been a severe wind storm), ‘he (Lincoln) had caught two little birds in his hand, which the wind had blown from their nest, and he was hunting for the nest’. Hardin left him before he found it. He finally found the nest, and placed the birds, to use his own words, ‘in the home provided for them by their mother’. When he came up with the party they laughed at him. Said he, earnestly, ‘I could not have slept tonight if I had not given those two little birds to their mother’ Kenneth A. Bernard, Glimpses of Lincoln in the White House, Abraham Lincoln Quarterly, December 1952, p. 168. 

Thomas Jefferson (1891 – 1809) Had a Mockingbird he bought for five shillings from one of the slaves of his father-in-law John Wayles. In 1803 Jefferson paid $10 and $15 which was the going rate for the price of the “singing Mockingbirds”. The person he bought them from saying the birds knew American, Scottish and French tunes and could imitate all the birds of the woods. 

He took one of them to France where the bird learned more sounds that added to his American repertoire. Because the trip to Europe trip took a month the bird learned to imitate the creaking of the ship’s timbers. 

A memorandum book indicates that Jefferson had at least four mockingbirds, “Dick” being his favorite. He retired surrounded by his mockingbirds.


Video – Northern Mockingbird Singing
Video Mocking bird imitating sounds

Ulysses S. Grant (1869–1877) Had a parrot – not much else is known

Grover Cleveland (1885-1889 and 1893-1897) Had several canaries and mockingbirds belonging to Mrs. Frances Cleveland

William McKinley (1897–1901) Had a Double Yellow Headed Amazon parrot named “Washington Post” who would finish whistling the songs McKinley started whistling like Yankee Doodle Dandy

Theodore Roosevelt (1901–1909) The Teddy Roosevelt-era White House was crawling with pets, including roosters and parrots. Once the president wrote to Joel Chandler Harris, author of the Uncle Remus stories, that he wasn’t so keen on his son Ted’s pet macaw a Hyacinth named Eli Yale “Eli is the most gorgeous macaw, with a bill that I think could bite through boiler plate, who crawls all over Ted, and whom I view with dark suspicion.”
 

Warren Harding (1921–23) Had a Canary named Bob 

Calvin Coolidge (1923–1929) – Had Nip and Tuck, canaries , Snowflake a white canary, Old Bill a Thrush, Enoch a Goose and a Mockingbird, name unknown.

John F. Kennedy (1961 – 1963) – Had Robin, a canary, Parakeets named Bluebell (after a famous racehorse) and Marybelle

Lyndon B. Johnson (1963 – 1969) – Owned Lovebirds


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What Kind of Parrot was in A Hard Days Night w/ the Beatles?

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Working on the Windy City Parrot website late last night and the movie A Hard Days Night, starring the Beatles came on. I remember going to the Howard movie theater as a sophomore at Sullivan High School in Chicago.

My kinky hair (when I had hair) forced down over my fore head, a turtle neck dickie and bell bottom trousers made me look well, maybe I need to delete that part of the memory.

Anyway, Not really paying attention to the movie on cable but looking up now on then easily following the loose plot . Watching the scene in the bar where Ringo gets himself into trouble (and almost misses the “Big Show”) by throwing darts. The first one lands in a patron’s sandwich. The second dart passes through a bird cage but misses the African Grey parrot.

I’ve tried to do some research on the bird in the scene. No luck. I did find this picture of Ringo with what I think is a Macaw. Tough to tell in the black and white photo.

Any additional information on Ringo and parrots would be welcome. Simple leave a “comment” below.

Birds That Work for Money

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The Police featuring Sting, one of my favorite artists (and groups) were singing a great little ditty the other day on satellite radio and it got me thinking. The name of the song was Canary In A Coal Mine. The theme of the song was “you live your life like a canary in a coal mine. We’ve all had friends like that, but I digress.

For the unindoctrinated or too young to know about this, years ago caged canaries were brought down into coal mine shafts. They acted as the first warning sign that oxygen was being depleted and replaced with dangerous gases such as methane or carbon monoxide. Their method of warning the coal miners – was to die. Better a canary than a miner, and so it went. The next time you see a lovely little canary singing his heart out you’ll remember what it’s ancestors withstood.

Continue reading “Birds That Work for Money”

Joke about Parrots and Jesus

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A parrot joke about jesus

A burglar broke into a house one night. He shined his flashlight around, looking for valuables when a voice in the dark said,

‘Jesus knows you’re here.’

He nearly jumped out of his skin, clicked his flashlight off, and froze. When he heard nothing more , after a bit, he shook his head and continued.

Just as he pulled the stereo out so he could disconnect the wires, clear as a bell he heard

This photo illustrates a burglary or thief breaking into a home at night through a back door View from inside the residence

‘Jesus is watching you.’

Freaked out, he shined his light around frantically, looking for the source of the voice.

Finally, in the corner of the room, his flashlight beam came to rest on a parrot.

‘ Did you say that?’ he hissed at the parrot?

‘Yep’, the parrot confessed, then squawked, ‘I’m just trying to warn you

“that he is watching you.’

The burglar relaxed. ‘Warn me, huh? Who in the world are you?’

‘Moses,’ replied the bird.

‘Moses?’ the burglar laughed. ‘What kind of people would name a bird Moses?’

‘The kind of people that would name a Rottweiler Jesus.’

Rotwieler Dog

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