DEAR MISS-INFORMATION by Muffy Hibiscus
A popular column on the Fun Page in the first 11 issues of the Pet Bird Report was the tongue-in-beak look at parrots and their people Dear MissInformation by Muffy Hibiscus. Many early readers have written they missed Muffy after the announcement in issue #12 that she was going on "sabbatical to study Aviarian Wallpaper Motifs at the famous Kitsch Design Institute." We haven’t been able to coerce Muffy out of retirement to continue her greatly popular column with its archaic myths, stereotypical generalizations, ridiculously absurd misconceptions, and atrocious advice. However, since several of the issues that her column appeared in are now out-of-print, I have decided to reprint a few of her most popular responses. There are many myths about birds. Muffy Hibiscus is dedicated to perpetuating them and has been in the pet and home decorating business for many years. Please do not take her seriously, she is quite deranged.Dear "MissInformation", One of my favorite parrots is the long-tailed blue and red cockatoo. I have never seen one in a pet shop. Where can I buy one as a pet?Dear "Bird Person", It is sad today that many of the parrot species we are most familiar with are gone forever. Tragically, the crested macaws and long-tailed cockatoos are a thing of the past. We will never see their true beauty. There are those who say these birds never really existed. However, I am sure they have because we see them so commonly depicted on wrapping paper, greeting cards, and wallpaper design.Dear "MissInformation", My Amazon, Sam, loves chicken — particularly the bones. I've recently been told that a small amount of fresh, very-well cooked chicken is a good source of protein for him. Should I continue giving it to him?Dear "Bird Person", That little cannibal!! The definitive statement on feeding parrots meat was discussed in the Practical Book of Caged Birds, published in 1912. It stated that feeding meat will turn your parrot into such a carnivore with a gustatory lust for blood so intense he will take to plucking his own feathers solely for the purpose of sucking the blood from the stem. Even the smell of cooking chicken may start him salivating. Once fed any kind of meat, even the timidest baby parrot will lunge at your fingers to satisfy its craving for flesh. This, of course, is the origin of the terms "hand-fed" baby and "finger food.". Dear "MissInformation", I have recently talked with a breeder who gavage feeds all of her baby birds until they are weaned. My understanding is that this involves sticking a tube down their throat to their crop and running the food in like filling a car with gas. It doesn't seem very natural or nurturing and it can't teach the babies anything about learning to eat. Isn't this just a way to feed quickly and save work without considering the needs of the chick?Dear "Bird Person", I think that garage feeding is much simpler than feeding baby parrots in the living room. Feeding babies can be such a messy task with them flinging formula all over the walls. I always feed baby birds in the garage and just hose it down afterward. Dear "MissInformation", We have been told by our avian veterinarian that a predominantly seed diet can shorten our parrot's life by many years. Muffy, you are always telling us that seed is all they need to eat. How long have you owned some of your parrots?Dear "Bird Person", Since it is a bore to keep any records and the birds all look alike to me, I have no idea how old any of them are. I just keep getting new ones all of the time. I do, however, have an acquaintance who works in a huge chain pet store where they sell birds cheep. Her mechanic has a customer whose neighbor's brother's mother-in-law goes to a beautician who knows of a lady down the street whose landlord asked her doctor's nurse who said she had a patient who had her gall bladder removed whose daughter came to visit and was dating a boy who told her his aunt remembered her grandparent's shopped at a pet shop for dog food where the proprietor had a cockatoo who was over 200 years old when she was a little girl. The bird ate nothing but seed. That is enough evidence for me!