Saturday, December 11, 2010


Here is our update!
The Amazon parrot has a new name, Una, one of the students from Whitney Young School in Chicago is doing a science project on parrots, so she named her, because she said "she's the One!"

Una is still living at the vets office. She has had parasite tests and fortunately these turned out negative, so that is good news. She still has not had x-rays or blood work yet because of the state of the air sacs, so we are waiting to see if we can actually perform these tests! Her feathers are coming in and she is finally eating more variety of foods in her diet, so progress is good.

Little Jou-Jou the Kinkajou is sleeping all day, like the nocturnal creature she is, and eating well at night and running around the house and following me everywhere. She is still very skinny, but overall she is improving, she has increased her weight a bit, and the sores on her feet are now healed and she is much more energetic! She is also accepting goats milk and pedialyte which is good for her development. Yesterday morning, I put her on the sloth perch so that she could do her morning necessities, and start to use her prehensile tail, and I walked into my bedroom for a few minutes. When I came out, I noticed our huge Doberman Magic sitting up from his bed...(yes, they sleep inside, ) and I thought that was strange, it was very I looked down and there was Jou-Jou trying to climb up on Magic's bed! Thank Goodness Magic is such a great dog and used to the animals, he has never harmed any of them! And so now of course, I keep a much closer eye on Jou-Jou when she is awake! I also wake her up and take her for a walk outside daily, and let her practice her climbing!
The weather has been horrible for about 2 weeks, wind, very cold (for here) and misting alternating with heavy rains. Most of the pet birds have not been able to go out, or the sloths. We took advantage of this to put up new perches in the outdoor flights and we re-perched the sloth play tree as well. One evening it was nice enough to bring Millie out and as you can see, she approves of the new branches on the perch.
We have been having fun watching the progress of these two hummingbird babies in a tall tree by our house. They are Rufous-tailed hummingbirds and have progressed well and are getting larger every day! The other night it was very windy and wet and we noticed at dusk that the mother had not come back to sleep on top of the babies, so we were very concerned. I climbed up on a tall ladder to check on them and they were fine, so we decided to leave them there and make sure Mom returned in the morning to feed them. The book states that mother's feed the babies every twenty I put my raincoat on the next morning and sat out there with my binocs waiting... I must of just missed her, because I had to wait the full 20 min. and sure enough there she was, flew in to feed and back out again! We figured out that the babies are now large enough that the mother does not fit in the nest with them!
Hummingbird nests are incredible, made out of lichens, moss and spider webs, so that they are elastic and expand with the growing babies.

Lastly, as many of you know, we have written a book all about Millie and her rescue, "Millie the two-toed sloth" this is available on please keep this in mind for the holidays! I recently found these great stuffed animals to go with the book, the macaw, toucan and sloth!! So if you are interested in purchasing one of these to give with the book please e-mail me and I can send you the details!
I know that several of you readers are indeed Dog People! We have 9 dogs, 4 Dobermans, 3 Shelties and 2 adopted mutt farm dogs...I have been thinking about blogging a bit about the challenges of the farm dogs and our dogs here, let me know if this is a blog you would be interested in! Thanks!
Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Adopt Jou-Jou the Kinkajou!

About four days ago, a man that Jorge knows at the farm called us to say that he had found a baby Kinkajou on the ground several months ago. He took it home and was raising it, but that he needed help and wanted to see if we would accept the animal. We talked about it and said yes, that was fine. I expected the Kinkajou to be healthy, and getting bigger and I assumed that is why he wanted to give it up, since it was no longer a baby, nocturnal and can be a real handful. So, you will understand when I prepared a large kennel, and sent Jorge up to the highway to a drop off point so that he could receive it. About an hour before they were suppose to meet, the guy calls us and says, "the kinkajou is very sad, not doing well at all"
I called back to clarify and ask more questions, but that is all he could say.

Jorge took off to go pick up the Kinkajou, returned home with tears in his eyes and said, "Look at this, how can anyone have an animal in these conditions, call the vet immediately!" I took one look at the poor little animal and decided we had to get her out of that stupid crate as soon as possible, so Jorge went to get some large wire cutters and we cut her out. She was in shock, freezing cold, and biting her tail, as she did not know what she was doing. I called the vet and said, please hurry she is more dead than alive...

We got to work quickly, she was wet and horribly soiled, we dried her off in the sun, tried to give some hydrating fluids and she was not doing well at all. Heating pad, more fluids and warmth for about an hour and she finally looked up and the color started coming back to her skin. By then the vet showed up and did a good check on her. We have started antibiotics and now have a protocol for the Kinkajou...our first.

All through the day she would sleep and wake up and eat a little fruit and each time she was looking better, so the initial scare of immediate death was over, and I was greatly relieved. She even bit me at one point when I touched her feet. As you can see in the photos, she has sores all over her feet and tail, from the wet and dirty conditions that she was kept in, so we are also treating these!

Last night I woke up at 3am to check on her and she had not eaten, but when I held her she did eat some fruit and was hungry, so that was a good sign.

And as you can see this morning, she is hungry and looking at all her food options! Still sleeping lots, which is to be expected, as well as the fact that they are nocturnal, but overall has made great progress.

She is skin and bones, completely emaciated, so diet is going to be very important, not only for her development, but also for her fur....which is not soft, and lacking in spots. She should have a good solid coat of honey colored fur.

According to my Costa Rican mammal book, the word Kinkajou originated with indigenous people of Brazil. It is also know as a honey bear, and the Latin name, Potos Flavus meaning Yellow drinker.
They belong to the same family as the raccoon, have a prehensile tail and are arboreal.

So please "Adopt" little Jou-Jou for the holidays, we will send you a nice certificate, 5x7 photo and have regular updates on this blog about her! $100 donations can be made to pay pal, on the website, and e-mail me the address of who the Adoption Certificate should be made out to and sent!
A wonderful holiday gift, knowing that you are helping with her needs. Or if you have another animal in mind of course this would also be welcomed, you can "Adopt" one of the Sloths, Toucans, Parrots, Issy the spider monkey or Quilla the porcupine or one of the many owls!
I thought that maybe we would receive a phone call from the guy asking how she was doing, but he never called, just asked us to "save her" and I am happy to report that indeed she was saved, half an hour longer in that condition and she would of been gone for good. She decided to live and we are happy for her.
Thank you all for your support!
P.S. With the kind help of two friends of The Toucan Rescue Ranch, the amazon in the previous post is now having blood tests done and various other lab work to try and determine the cause of the air sac problems! She is currently living at the vets and everyone is falling in love with her since she is so friendly and talks non-stop! Thank you all for your support, it means the world to us and our animals!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Please help!!

No Name and in a jail for 25 years. This is really one of the worst cases that I have seen of feather picking, and overall poor health. So bad in fact that I immediately called the vet and asked her to come up here (45 min. drive) and take her back to the clinic. This bird was given up voluntarily after several neighbors had complained to Minae (our Fish and Wildlife folks) about her conditions. She was living with an elderly couple who said that she is 25 years old. The cage is iron, completely peeling after so many years, the horrible feather conditions make me suspect some type of lead poisoning, along with very strange respiration and air sac problems. Her feet are hard from standing on metal perches, instead of the nice natural wood ones that we place in all our cages.

But here is the amazing thing: I stood looking at her yesterday in the back of the pick-up truck wondering just what to I say yes, do I refuse to take her and send her away to another facility, make her chances of survival even less? I just kept staring at her and she back at me and the folks were waiting for my decision, and I said, well, leave her here for now, but I may send her away to someone else. The bird kept studying me, so I was intrigued, I just felt like I could not let her down. Once I placed her in the corridor she looked at me and whispered "Hola".
The report from the owners was that the feathers were so horrible because mice go into the cage every night and eat the feathers...bizarre. Yes, there are probably mice, but they are not causing this feather problem. She is so overweight and not able to breathe that I really think it will be amazing if we can recuperate her. She has some beautiful new feathers coming in, and with that I am hopeful that once she is in a proper cage with a great new diet, rain showers and overall improvement in health she will get better. Plus, she has spunk, amazingly she does not look depressed.
She has refused any type of food, I have put in some nice fruit, seed mixture, clean water and nothing. So, this morning I placed coffee and bread and rice (horrible) and she actually took a bite. We will have extreme challenges with her diet.
This leads to my petition for help with all the lab tests that we need to perform on her. We will need to do extensive blood studies, feather studies, the x-ray the vet is willing to cover and of course the medications that she will need. Cheaper than the states, however still a huge expense for us.
So depending on what all the tests reveal, that will be the deciding factor in whether she can come stay with us. I am not willing to risk our other birds health, and that is why she is in quarantine at the vets office. I desperately need a hospital quarantine area here for cases just like this one.
By now you all must be thinking I am crazy or addicted, even I think I should of said no, (logically speaking) but that look in her eye and the idea that she might get better with help had me once again offering to care for her. It's very difficult to be placed in this situation deciding this poor birds fate, I have to do what is right for her, she has suffered enough in the hands of her "caretakers"
Please help if you can, and please pass this blog along to friends, family and social networks lets be Thankful for what we have this Thanksgiving and give a little to help this unfortunate lively soul.
If anyone has any great names please send them along! You can donate using Pay Pal on the website.
Thanks so much and
God Bless you all this holiday season. I will keep you posted on her progress.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Another visitor-Collared Aracari

Another unexpected visitor. Every morning I wake up to the songs of the various toucans, the macaws vocalizing, the group of parakeets being really loud, the roosters and my African Grey talking, this morning it was " Feliz Navidad, Merry Christmas ho ho ho..."we always start that in Nov. and he readily remembers it and starts saying it for Nov. and Dec! Anyway...I sort of do a mental check half asleep that I hear everyone and that they sound alright. It would be horrible to wake up and not hear any bird noise! But this morning the Aracaris were particularly noisy and they have a very high pitched song. I rolled over and that was it.

Later on when I was up I walked outside to do the morning rounds there was a Collared Aracari in the tree near our flight cages. Again, like yesterday, I quickly checked that it was not one of ours (we have 4) and then realized that he was visiting. They are not from this zone, so he has to be an escaped pet. He looks older and is not very afraid of us. He also lands right on top of the cages and came to the feeder to eat. So, that is good that he is eating. That is the most important factor, that he now has found some food that he recognizes, we will keep the feeders full of fruit for him.

This is one of ours that we raised from a small rescued baby.
Will keep you posted!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Unexpected visitor

Today at coffee time (3pm, daily Costa Rican custom) we were sitting on our porch and Jorge, my husband said, "hey look, a Black Faced Solitaire is on the sloth perch" I glanced over and sure enough, there he was. The sloth perch/tree sits right in our front yard. "Oh gosh," I jumped up and quickly went around to our 5 solitaires to make sure it was not one of ours that had escaped or that the cage had not been eaten by a squirrel (as happened last week to a good friend of mine) and ours were all accounted for.

So, this was interesting: they are at higher elevations, so we discussed the idea that maybe he had come down the mountain...a possibility, but more likely he had escaped from some neighbor or someone local that had we waited to see what he was going to do. We have lots of papaya on a table feeder in the yard, so we thought he could eat there and we sat back to observe. Within 3 minutes he was on our porch trying to get into one of our other birds cages. He was aiming at the papaya and was hungry. So, I ran out back to our storage, grabbed a bamboo cage like the ones they are always in and placed a nice chunk of papaya in it. Came back to the porch, hung the cage up and zoom, he was in it. Poor thing was very hungry. I don't know his story, but he must belong to someone. We will wait and see if any neighbor comes by asking for him.

These are the song birds that we have received so many of, probably 30 total and most we are able to release if they have been recently captured...but this guy today was very comfortable with the cage, even looking to be in one. Very sad that he cannot enjoy his freedom, that being free is foreign to him. Of course, he was attracted to our birds who are constantly singing, so he came to the right place...somehow they just know :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Meet Toucan Mick!

Toucan Mick has been with us for three years now. He is a Keel Billed Toucan who was being sold on the streets by a drug addict for $10. That's right $10. His next fix. A very nice lady bought him and immediately took him to the Fish and Wildlife offices and they called me to go pick him up! This photo is when he arrived, is after I had washed his beak several times with warm water and a toothbrush. He had a cement like mixture of feces, fruit and dirt all stuck to his beak. You could not see any of the colors. He started to go into shock the first night here because he was so dehydrated, so we pumped him full of fluids for several days and he made a great comeback. We named him Mick, because he had this peculiar habit once he started to eat well, of sticking his tongue out and shaking his head. He was having trouble with the normal food after being so sick, so he is named after Mick Jagger, of the Rolling Stones!

It took several months and several different medications to get Mick healthy again, but as you can see he has turned into a lovely great guy. When toucans are dehydtated we notice the more intense coloration around the eyes, and as the normalize the color becomes more natural and lighter. Mick was recently attacked by very large aggressive bees that swarmed the toucan aviary, he was stung several times on the skin around his eyes, but fortunately we got him out in time and we started medications, he took a few weeks to recover, but he is the every ready bunny, he keeps on going!

He is not a candidate to be released because of his history of coming in so sick and he is totally accustomed to people.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Sloth Pictorial!

Some days I wish I was a Sloth!

I could lay around and sleep peacefully for 18 hours a day.
Suck my thumb or my blanket :)

I could hang out with my buddies or do a little Yoga!

Then Sleep some more!

Then have a little snack!

Then Sleep some more!

Wake Up!

Do a little exercise climbing around.............................Or just think about it!!!

Take time to smell the trees!

Another Snack.

Smile a lot

Lick my stuffed duck and hug my pet toucan!
and sleep even more!!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

It continues, but good news!

Another phone call and another car full of confiscated birds. 11 Solitares and about 15 small birds. Some sadly did not survive the first night. But the good news is that today most of the Solitares are being released up by Poas Volcano!
My biologist friend is driving a car full of the last 2 groups of confiscated birds to an area that is off the main road where there are not that many trappers.
The last two days we had children here for educational groups. When we do educational tours, someone always has a pet bird. So, we talk about the importance of taking care of the ones you have, and not purchasing more from the trappers. As always, I say, please do not give your amazons coffee and bread, and your toucan only papaya...the heads nod, giggles start, and we have an honest conversation about nutrition. Education is the only way to help our feathered friends, and the sloths, porcupines, monkeys....all wild animals of Costa Rica :)

A good day for a bath!

It is a little cloudy today and the air feels heavy...a great day for a bath according to our birds!

When the weather is moist, they automatically know it's a good day to get wet, and relish in a great bath. The little owls bathe themselves while splashing around a nice bowl full of water, while the parrots enjoy a good rainstorm or a spray bottle bath.

The toucans do both! They love a good rainstorm and they also jump into their water bowls, then begin to scratch their beaks to clean them off! Water is extremely important to birds and their feathers. I remember years ago, I adopted an African Grey parrot who we named Jackson. He was about 1 1/2 years old and looked like he had never had a bath! His feathers were sticky, he smelled and you could see the ear holes in his head since the feathers were so thin around his face. Now, he is originally genetically from the Congo African Rain forest, so he should like rain. He hated bathing. Little by little I sprayed him, every few days and made it into a fun game so that he would not be scared of the water, and now he loves to bathe. Birds in captivity need to be taught to like water, it is good for their health and most native birds enjoy bathing. Feather health depends on it, and good feathers regulate heat in birds which is very important.
When I was in the Peruvian rain forest studying the macaws, we saw them bathe as well. Once on a trail we came across this Black Hawk Eagle and he was having a nice lunch of some rodent. Other tourists stayed for a few minutes to watch and take photos. I stayed until he finally flew away (about an hour) long enough to see what he did after he ate and had a nice mess of rodent parts hanging around. He jumped off the log he was on into a small creek and took the most fantastic bath. I felt privileged to be witness to such an event.

So remember that if you have birds in your care, a good bath is always welcomed and much needed! If you have pet parrots, turn on some good music, get out the spray bottle and have a fun bathing dancing session!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Confiscated by Fish and Wildlife, very Sad

These young parrots were part of a group of 7 parrots, and 10 small song birds that were confiscated by Minae last week. We received a call from one of the representatives down south to see if we would accept these birds, because he had called all around and everyone had refused to accept he was really counting on us helping, so of course we said yes. The officer of Minae had to get up at 5 am and drive for 4 hours to bring these birds to us. He is very dedicated. He opened the back of the car and you can see what I saw:

These little song bird, seed eaters were given to my biologist friend to try and release. He has a farm in the middle of the country where he has a mobile cage set up over grasses that these birds eat (seeds of the grass) and so he puts them in there and watches their progress and eventually has been able to release birds this way :)

Poop, poop, poop, sunflower seed and dirty horrible conditions.

This little one is very ill and completely emaciated...we started a protocol of hand feeding and antibiotics to see if we can get her to gain some weight and make progress.
I think the folks that had these birds thought that since the bird had feathers it was OK to be on it's own, but this one is still a baby that needs hand feeding. No telling how long he has been without food, he is extremely weak. Luckily for him, he has a buddy that is showing him how to eat and keeping him warm!
We think these are young Crimson fronted parakeets, when they are older we will know for sure.
Then there is this cute trio of Orange chinned parakeets, they look pretty good, have horrible wing clips, but generally are much better than the others. They have not stopped eating and started to fight for the food when they first came. Now they are settling down and eating normally, like happy little parrots.

And finally this Mealy Amazon came in from the University Vet School, he has been some ones pet for a long time, but they dropped him off at the school saying they want him to be free. If only it was that easy. He has been in captivity for his whole life, he does not seem that young and is totally used to humans and probably would not have a clue as to how to survive. For days he just sat in the cage with his head down...and it was really bothering me, then I realized that he was used to being in such a small cage he did not raise his head! Very sad, but I do think I am right. He has been here for three weeks and now eats fresh food (which he was scared of at first), is playing with toys and holding his head higher :)

This is the SAD REALITY that these birds live, at the abuse of us humans. They should be free and not having to live this way. These are the "lucky" ones that ended up here where we can help and love them, however for every group like this there are many more that are dying in captivity, going to the pet trade.
PLEASE help us HELP these! Adopt a parrot today!!! Your donation can help in so many ways.
Thank you all for your support, they really need our help! If you are on Facebook or any other mailing lists, please post this so that everyone can see and the more people that see our page, the more help we might receive.