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Feb 28, 2017

First Report of 2017

Beanie looking good
Beanie looking good

Looking at the calendar today, I cannot believe we are already at the end of February.  Time seems to go by way too fast for those of us who work in rescue.  PEAC is starting out 2017 in good financial standing, due to the great success of our year-end fundraiser. Not only did we have Globalgiving matching our donations on one of these days, we also had an anonymous donor who pledged a donation of $1 for $1 up to $20,000, which we took full advantage of.  2016 saw PEAC running at a deficit, due to some significant veterinary expenses that we had for parrots including Major, Blaze, and Beanie. With the large matching donation, we will be able to pay off all charges that we had incurred in 2016.

90% of our budget each year goes directly to veterinary costs.  Each parrot that comes into the foster program undergoes a comprehensive veterinary evaluation, which includes various tests along with the physical examination.  The cost for this is $300-$400 per parrot.  Some of the parrots come to us with serious psychological problems, requiring the use of prescription medication to help ease their anxiety.  Currently we have two parrots that are struggling with feather destructive behavior (FDB).  On entering the program, KT and Rubio each had very little feather covering on their chest, abdomen, and legs; additionally, Rubio was destroying his wing feathers.  After just a few months, the changes in them are quite amazing.  Both are showing tremendous feather regrowth, and are preening naturally, without any signs of over-preening, which is part of FDB.  PEAC, alongside its team of avian vets, has worked hard on a protocol that seems to show promise with parrots suffering with FDB, when they receive treatment at the early stages of the condition.  The protocol is not only about using medication, but also includes dietary changes and environmental enrichment, which includes daily showers and plenty of time in natural sunlight and fresh air in our outdoor aviaries. Toys are provided which simulate the texture and design of a parrot's feathers, and we try to get them to use these to relieve their anxiety, instead of taking it out on themselves. 

PEAC has a busy calendar with our outreach events so far this year.  We have been invited to participate in the South Orange County Pet Expo, the America's Family Pet Expo, the Turquoise Animal Hospital Exotic Pet Expo, and Pirate Days at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, as well as our regular monthly outreach events at the local Petco stores.  Additionally, we are working on getting approval to do a monthly outreach event at the local Petsmart stores.  PEAC's main focus continues to be education, and we try to participate in as many events as we have sufficient volunteers to cover, as this is the best means of getting the message out about the plight of companion parrots in the USA.  As we are all aware, cats, dogs, and fish are the three most common companion pets in our country; parrots have recently dropped to fourth place.  Even though this may signal that fewer parrots are being purchased as pets, it does not reflect the large number of birds needing to find new homes, for a variety of reasons.  PEAC's education focuses on providing information to people considering a parrot as a pet, so that if they choose to go forward with this, they are prepared for the longevity of the bird, as well as the cost and care of the animal.  In the Spring of 2017, we will resume our pet therapy program that we offer to the local military personnel in San Diego.  With San Diego being a big military town, PEAC feels it is important to give back to the community that supports us. We are also hopeful that in the Spring, Rady Children's Hospital will allow us to begin doing an outreach event, to provide the children there who are struggling with illness to have an afternoon of fun while learning information on these amazing winged wonders. 

Each year your financial support goes toward purchasing teaching aids, such as the coloring book we use for kids 12 and under, which explains how to care for a pet parrot. This year with your donations, we will also begin to offer a "Congratulations on Your Adoption" care package, which among other items, will include two videos by a world-renown avian behaviorist: one on parrot body language and the other on basic training techniques using positive reinforcement.  With the growth of the organization, we have realized the importance of liability insurance, especially when you consider that we are working with wild animals.  Without your donations, PEAC would have been left open to liability, should an accident occur.  Our webpage will soon begin to have links to PEAC-approved informational sites, so that when someone logs on to our webpage, they will have, with one click, a large resource library which we hope will answer most questions on parrot care.  

I want to reach out to all of you and thank you for your support during our year-end campaign, as this is not an accomplishment of PEAC; it's an accomplishment of you, our supporters.  Outside of financial support, PEAC is also in desperate need of volunteers, especially those who are willing to open their homes to a foster bird.  In just a couple of months, we have gone from having no birds on our waiting list, to having to reopen our waiting list, as we just do not have the foster homes necessary to take in all the parrots that come to us looking for a second chance.  Along with our growth has also come the need to form some new committees, including the event committee, the fundraising committee, and the committee on grants; and we are in need of volunteers to sit on these committees.

WITHOUT THE PHYSICAL SUPPORT OF A STRONG VOLUNTEER BASE,

PEAC WILL NOT SURVIVE OR GROW,

NO MATTER HOW MUCH MONEY WE GENERATE WITH FUNDRAISERS. 

As spring approaches, we who have parrots will begin to deal with the breeding behaviors that come around for most birds every year.  Keep an eye out for information relating to this topic, as one of our new monthly seminars will be about how to manage your feathered friends during what can be a very tense time of year, not only for them, but for you, their owners, as well.

In closing, I want to thank all of you for everything you do that helps keep PEAC moving forward.  We are in the middle of celebrating our 20th year of service to the Southern California area and abroad, and we hope to be around for another 20 wonderfully successful years.

Blaze at her new doctor's office
Blaze at her new doctor's office
Major in his new home
Major in his new home
Nov 29, 2016

Director's letter 4th quarter 2016

Blaze ready to go to her new home
Blaze ready to go to her new home

 

It’s so hard to believe we are publishing our last newsletter of the year.  Along with the last newsletter also comes our yearly fundraising campaign.  Last year’s campaign failed to reach our budgeted need for $20,000.  We raised slightly over $10,000, which for an organization of our size is nothing to be ashamed of.  This year our budget has only increased by 25%, due primarily to the rising costs of veterinary care and housing needs of our foster flock.  This year, we are looking at a budget of $30,000, which goes 90% to the care and needs of our foster flock, and 10% to our educational work.  This year, we may just make it, as we have an anonymous donor who is willing to match dollar for dollar up to $20,000.  This is a first for PEAC, and is absolutely amazing.  So with that being said, once you receive our fundraising emails, postcards, and calls, please give generously, so that in 2017 we may continue to grow our organization in its goals of educating people in all things parrot related and providing a safe haven for birds who are in our foster flock and in need of finding a home.

To update you on our educational work, we are still setting up an informational booth at the Temecula Petco every third Sunday of the month.  We are starting to fill out the application to Petsmart so that we may set up at various stores one Sunday a month.  After the holidays, we will start a new program on the last Sunday of the month, a discussion at the Department of Animal Services Conference Room on Gaines Street, on a variety of topics related to parrots, both companion parrots and those living in the wild.

Just two weeks ago, we started working with our military on pet therapy sessions with the larger parrots under our care in Jamul.  This is a very exciting program as we endeavor to help those in our community and at the same time get some good socialization for our foster parrots, especially those who have not had much handling in their lives prior to entering the PEAC foster flock.  Due to privacy issues with this outreach program, including the HIPAA laws, we are not able to identify those participating in the project, but we definitely are able to give you updates on how the people and parrots are benefitting from it.

PEAC is always there for the parrots in our area, but we also feel strongly about participating with those people who make up our beautiful community.  Being a military town, we felt it was a positive thing for the military personnel and the parrots to join ranks.

The last item I want to update you on is our greenwing macaw, Blaze, who came to PEAC in terrible condition and poor health.  We found her in a 36”x36” cage with no room to move around.  Due to weak muscles and bones as a result of having a blood calcium level of 30% below normal, and weighing only 845 grams, she ended up fracturing her wing and needing surgery to re-set it with a pin placed to stabilize the bones while they healed.  She is having the pin removed in one week, and is now weighing in at 1031 grams and looks amazing!  Her feather and skin color are healthy and brilliant and her sweet personality is coming out more and more every day.  She has a long way to go before she is strong enough to leave her 24x48x24 acrylic cage that was generously donated to PEAC by San Diego Plastics, Inc., and move into a normal parrot cage and be safe to climb about and play in one of the outside aviaries.  We already have someone interested in potentially adopting her, and we are hoping that this may be her forever home.

So in closing, I just want to encourage you all to reach out to your co-workers, friends, neighbors, and family to donate to PEAC during this year’s fundraising campaign.  Globalgiving now allows you to donate via texting on your phone. It's an easy way to give a $10 donation. Just Text GIVE 15372 to 80-100 to donate $10 to Save Companion Parrots through Rescue & Education.  It’s simple and easy!  So let’s together make a difference in the lives of our companion parrots by doing our part in raising this year’s goal.  I know it’s possible, as I know how dedicated our volunteers and members are.  PEAC, for 20 years, has gained an outstanding reputation, not only here in Southern California, but throughout the state as well as the country. 

I want to thank all of you in advance for your generosity and hard work in reaching our goal.  I wish all of you a wonderful upcoming holiday season, and I look forward to reporting to you the results of this year’s fundraising campaign. 

20 year anniversary
20 year anniversary
Sep 9, 2016

Blaze- serious neglect-help with Vet Expenses 9/16

Blaze with RVT Amber
Blaze with RVT Amber

Recently, PEAC was involved in one of the most serious cases of neglect of a large parrot we have ever seen.  Blaze is a 20-year-old greenwing macaw who was being cared for by her owner’s 80-year-old mother at the time PEAC was notified of the case.  On August 23, a call was received from a social worker at the Scripps Encinitas Hospital, just outside of San Diego.  The social worker notified PEAC that a patient of theirs, who owned a greenwing macaw, was not going to make it through the night. The macaw needed to be taken into a rescue, as the family was not able to continue caring for it.  At first, PEAC was not overly alarmed, as about 30% of all the parrots that come into the foster program are from owners who have passed away; and their families, who do not want the birds, relinquish them to PEAC so that a new home may be found.
The director, Eric Kern, and a volunteer, Carrie Mix, arrived at the home to find a parrot in very poor care.  Her cage was only 36" square, not even large enough for her tail to hang down, and definitely not enough room to move around to properly groom herself.  She had sores on her wings from rubbing on the bars of the cage, and she was covered in feces, not only on her tail but on her wings, back, and chest.  The cage had not been cleaned in a very long time, and had droppings 10” deep in the bottom tray which came up over the grate. Her tail was resting on this pile of droppings, as she could only relieve herself in one spot, since she could not move around due to the size of the cage. The room Blaze was kept in was full of fruit flies and other insects drawn by the deplorable conditions of not only the room, but the entire residence. 
Blaze appeared to have not been handled very often, and when we opened her cage door she showed fear behavior and had to be wrapped in a towel for restraint so that she could be safely placed in a carrier for the ride back to our facility in Jamul. We were not aware of how poor her condition was, and because she was covered in feces, she was placed on a stand in a shower room.  Once Blaze saw the water come on, she became very animated and began to call and talk and act like a bird that finally felt the comfort of water on her dirty feathers, and she danced back and forth on the perch.  As accidents do happen, even with skilled handlers, Blaze lost her balance and fell off the perch. For a parrot with strong bones and good health the fall would have been a minor mishap, and the bird would have promptly gotten back on the perch to continue its shower.  This was not to be the case with Blaze. 
Due to weak bones and poor muscle tone, she shattered both bones in her left wing, and was rushed to one of our avian vets for an emergency evaluation.  X-rays where performed, and it was obvious that she would require orthopedic surgery to place a pin in one of the bones. It was hoped that this would stabilize the other bone, which had a couple of smaller fragments that had sheared off.  The x-rays also showed evidence of an old fracture to the femur in one of her legs.  It had obviously never been treated by a vet, and had healed on its own without being set, which caused that leg to have a permanent slight bow in it and carries the risk of arthritis developing as she gets older.  Surgery was performed on her wing the following day, and she did amazingly well.  The pin pulled the one bone together and allowed it to act as a splint for the other bone, which aligned well; and the fragmented pieces fell back into place.  Blaze stayed in the hospital for a couple of days while PEAC worked hard to secure a company that could provide a 24"x48"x24" acrylic box for her to call home for the next six weeks while the fractured wing healed. 
PEAC is so grateful to San Diego Plastics, which in just two days fabricated the box and donated it to us. It would have cost around $2000-$3000 for the grade and thickness of Plexiglass we needed to use.  We will be publishing their logo and contact information in our upcoming newsletter, and will be placing them on our website, which is once again under construction.  The initial cost for veterinary services for the emergency evaluation, surgery, and three nights in the hospital cost PEAC around $2000.  Blaze has already had one recheck visit, which included blood work again to check for infection, a change of dressing on the surgical site, and a prescription for antibiotics, which cost around $300.  She will have several more rechecks and dressing changes before the healing is complete.
Blood work on the first recheck showed a very elevated white blood cell count, which could be caused by the fracture but could also indicate infection, so we are continuing the injections of antibiotics for two more weeks.  When things are all said and done, Blaze’s medical care will cost PEAC around $5000.  This unexpected emergency comes just a few months before our year-end fundraising campaign.  Life is always unpredictable, which we discuss in our adoption class when we address making arrangements for your parrot in the event of your death.  PEAC already was operating on a shortfall of $10,000 for the 2016 yearly budget.  We rely solely on donations from caring people like you, who give so generously during the year and always come through when we ask for our year-end campaign; that is when we collect 90% of the next year’s operating budget. 
PEAC is celebrating its 20th year of educating people on topics that relate to parrot ownership, in addition to finding forever homes for parrots that make up our foster flock.  Blaze, like many of our foster birds, will have a long rehabilitation process before she is ready to go to her forever home.  She will be one of the first birds used in our latest outreach project, which involves active-duty service personnel.  On Sept 15, four active-duty service members will begin coming twice a week to our facility in Jamul, to work with and interact with the parrots that are in various stages of being rehabilitated.  These individuals are struggling with mental illnesses such as PTSD. Many of the birds that come into our foster program also suffer similar emotional issues, and these are addressed and worked on during the rehabilitation process. San Diego is a military town, and this is one way our organization can give back to the community which we call home. 
We will conclude this report by just once again asking you to consider making a donation to PEAC to help cover Blaze’s vet expenses, as well as new cages that some of our foster birds desperately need, educational expenses, and our daily operating expenses that we struggle with due to the shortfall on our fundraising for this year’s operating budget.  Thank you in advance for your generosity, not only with your financial gifts, but also for the time you give by reading and keeping up with our work, and for the hours of volunteering many of you give each year.

Sincerely,

Eric Kern, Director

Note:  Some of the pictures of Blaze are hard to view, so please be aware before viewing.

Blaze with RVT Amber
Blaze with RVT Amber
Blaze stabilized in hospital waiting for Surgery
Blaze stabilized in hospital waiting for Surgery
Blaze in her hospital container
Blaze in her hospital container
Blaze at PEAC 1
Blaze at PEAC 1
Blaze after surgery in her new home
Blaze after surgery in her new home
Blaze in her home donated by San Diego Plastics
Blaze in her home donated by San Diego Plastics
Blaze settling in for her 6 weeks of healing
Blaze settling in for her 6 weeks of healing
Blazes former home on the way to the dump
Blazes former home on the way to the dump
The tray has 10" of feces built up on it
The tray has 10" of feces built up on it
This cage will NEVER contain another parrot
This cage will NEVER contain another parrot

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