February 26, 2012
Our Trip to C.A.R.E.
On Saturday, 2/25, Emily and I drove about an hour up to the Center for Avian Rehabilitation and Education in Hubertus/Richfield, WI. The plan was to pick up an aquarium stand they had for sale, possibly pick up a bigger travel cage for Spencer, see some of the birds, and just generally check the place out. I'm not looking for a new-to-me bird at this time. I swear. What we found was much "more" than I ever expected.
As for what I expected, I don't really know. They have a large number of birds listed via PetFinder, so I should have expected a large space, but I was not prepared. I also knew they had toys and some 'miscellaneous items' for sale, but I guess I never really thought about how 'big' it would be. I expected a small rack of toys, a few cages and, I don't know, a back room with the 'other stuff.'
First of all, when we pulled up and I got out of the car, I IMMEDIATELY knew I was in the right place. I could hear parrot sounds, muffled, but many, coming from 'everywhere.' We walked in the door and were immediately greeted by women, one with a macaw and the other a cockatoo on their arms. In front of us was a HUGE selection of toys, cage accessories, and foods. I was instantly overwhelmed. I lead my daughter on a quick tour of the 'store' part and noted where most of the noise was coming from - a door with signs warning that birds bite HARD and that children needed to be supervised. I didn't know the protocol - could we just go back and see the birds, did we need to ask, etc., so I hesitated. One of the women there asked if I needed any help and I mentioned that I had exchanged some e-mails with Mary and was interested in some of the used items they had. I was lead to the front counter and after Mary finished up a phone call, she took us out to "the garage."
The garage, a separate, very large garage/storage space, was FILLED with bird cages, stands, aquariums, critter habitats, etc., of ALL sizes. We looked around for a while and found the aquarium stand I was interested in and also, after brain overload, picked out a bigger travel cage for Spencer. This much I know - if I EVER need another cage or aquarium, I'll be checking with them to see what they have. The items were in good shape (some needed some cleaning) and the prices were quite reasonable. Unreasonable for them, actually.
After we got the items, Mary was going to look for some food dishes to go with the cage. I wasn't too concerned about that since I figured I'd use some Quick-Lock crocks or similar, but while she and another woman looked for those, Em and I went on a shopping spree among the toys and treats. We made a little pile of items on the counter and since they were still looking, we wandered back by the birds.
Overwhelmed. That's the main word for it. Overwhelmed and heart-broken. I was in such a tizzy, I only thought to get one picture the whole time.
Buddy the scarlet macaw says "Hello."
The main bird room is a very large 'warehouse' type area (but it's heated and well-lit) with cages down both walls and a double-row down the middle. I really wish I'd gotten an overall shot. The number of birds there was just staggering. They're quite obviously well-cared for, with a bazillion toys each, so I'm not saying they're overcrowded, I'm saying it was gut-wrenching how many poor birds need homes. Many were plucked to some extent - especially the 'toos and a couple of the macaws. Happily, some looked to be regrowing some feathers. The noise was mind-boggling as many of the birds were vying for our attention. Buddy the scarlet macaw pictured above was pulling my heart-strings by repeatedly calling us over with a "Hello!" He SAID "Hello!" but he really seemed to be saying, "Pick me!!!" Again, I was so overwhelmed that I hardly spent more than a few seconds in front of each cage. Em thought the naked birds were funny, but I had to point out that it was actually sad - that they had done that to themselves out of frustration, boredom, or illness. Several of the other birds seemed to yell "Pick me!" in their own ways as well. For some it was "Hello!" or their name, for others, just a loud SQUAWK! And some birds, sadly, barely noticed us passing at all.
After a quick spin through the birds, Mary found us again and took me to yet another storage area packed with 'bird stuff' to show me a play stand they had available. It was HUGE and far too large for me (until I get a macaw, whenever that may be), so I passed on it. We then went up to the counter to pay for our shopping spree. While back up front, it looked like one of the Blue and Gold macaws was getting ready to go to a new home. That was sweet to see.
I left there with a cage, aquarium stand, treats and toys for my two birds, a sheet of bird stickers for Em, and a new appreciation for the plight of 'discarded' birds. It was both amazing and heart-breaking - the two words I've used most to describe it. In addition to the cost of my items, I left a meager donation (I'm still reeling from Anya's vet bills - I need to put up a post about her). Since I don't feel able to take in another bird at this point, it really was the least I could do. I know I'll be back up there to spend more time visiting the birds and plan to do most of my toy, if not food shopping there.
If you're in the area, definitely check them out. They were very friendly, helpful, and welcoming. If you're NOT in the area, check out one or many of the rescues in your area. I don't think I'm overstating things to say that the visit changed my life.
February 25, 2011
Field Recording the Pet Room
Look, an MP3 in my feed!
I set a recorder on Spencer, our African Gray Parrot this morning. I missed his more talkative period, so there's some talking, but this is mostly clicks and whistles. It's pretty amusing to me, so I'm sharing it with you. I might try to pull out some specific speaking parts as well, or just record him another time to get more of his routine.
It's time compressed, so sounds really regular (could almost make some techno out of it) and dynamically compressed as well. I warn you, though, do NOT turn it up too loud without looking at the waveform. Even compressed, some quiets are quiet and then some louds can hurt your ears.
BTW, the occasional thumping is Maggie the bunny hopping around in her castle.
April 01, 2007
Our girl Martini is a mommy!!! She had her puppies early Friday morning at our breeder friend's house. She had:
- 5 chocolate girls
- 2 chocolate girls
- 1 black girl
- 2 black girls
We were able to visit for a spell today and took about 50 pictures which are in a Flickr set. She's been away from home for about a week and a half. I can't believe how much I miss her - and how much she missed me. She couldn't get enough pets. I can't wait for her to come home. It'll be a few more weeks, but we'll be able to visit a few more times.
We're not sure if we're going to keep one of the puppies. It seems like it would be a bit crazy what with the baby and all, but they're so undeniably cute.
We took some video too, but I haven't processed that yet.
March 07, 2006
Martini Frost Jam
033_martini_frost_jam.mp3 - 23.7MB - 50:35
Stuff is all out of order. I have stuff I MEANT to put out last week, but now it'll likely wait for NEXT week, unless I get some new stuff this weekend that just HAS to go up before it. Or whatever. Who cares?
Anyway, I start out talking about our Wunderhund, Martini.
Click the pic for a full photo set of the weekend. Darling Rose took the photos at the trial and outside. I took the ribbon photos at home.
Although Martini had run in competition before, this was my first time handling her. It was an AKC Novice Agility trial put on by the Smack-Dab Agility club of Warrenville, IL. We ran in "Standard" and "Jumpers with Weaves," one of each both Saturday and Sunday. Going in to the weekend, she needed one more qualifying run (or 'leg,') for her Standard title, and two more legs for her Jumpers title.
On Saturday, we knocked it out of the park. Not only did she pass both runs, thus earning one title, she also took a 1st place and a 3rd place. She was dead on - though I miscued her once, likely costing us Second Place in the Jumpers run by losing about 3.5 seconds. But we lost out to one of our friends - a relative of Martini's, actually - so it's all good. In both events, she earned perfect 100 scores.
Sunday wasn't as over-the-top successful, but she did pass both events again. There were no placements and no perfect scores. In the Standard run, I wasn't paying attention to her, and didn't give her enough direction to avoid going to the wrong obstacle right off the bat. We recovered pretty well from that, but it cost us 5 points. In the Jumpers run, she missed a jump (called a refusal), but I was able to call her back and take another run at it to finish the course. However in both runs, she had problems doing the weave poles - something she did perfectly on Saturday. Since I had to reset her a few times on those, we ended up get a 5-point deduction for going over the allowed time. I think by that point, she was just really tired.
But a pass is a pass is a pass, and the second Jumpers pass on Sunday earned her second title. In two days, she picked up 8 ribbons, 2 titles, and 4 stuffed toys. Can you guess which were her favorites? Though tiring, far away, and early in the morning, it was a whole lot of fun. Winning is fun, I guess.
On my way into work this morning, Tuesday, there was a kickass fog over everything. Serendipity had whispered in my ear and told me to grab my camera in the morning, and I also happened to have the camcorder from work with me, so I went on a photographic spree. On the drive in, I had my co-pilot shoot video of the passing shrouded scenery. I hope to edit that into some kind of music-backed video in the not to distant future. And once I got in to work, I found that the fog had actually frozen to the trees and buildings. I took 144 photos, recording the whole while. Click the photo below to get to the full photo set on Flickr.
I end the show with a song from The Podsafe Music Network, Elliot Smith's "Memory Lane." Very cool stuff. The background music interspersed throughout is stuff I played live on my Korg Karma as I mixed the recorded audio segments together. Let me know which parts sucked the hardest.
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September 22, 2005
018_sadie.mp3 - 7.8MB - 22:39
Oblivion and Rose get their first kitty, a mainly whilte calico named Sadie. Not much in the way of notes. Photos are on Flickr.