Archive for Marco Island

Avian Encounters – The Aftermath

Posted in Avian Encounters - The Trilogy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2010 by angelsofflight

It was the most phenomenal production of the Trilogy.  It captured the audience both in-house and online.  It swept the world with emotion and a longing to learn more about these beautiful creatures.  But in reality, it was for one purpose…to save our seabirds.

Flash keeping Christina and Patricia calm!

The premiere of Avian Encounters III took the stage on August 28, 2010 at 6:00pm.  People filtered into to the lobby with anticipation of a film that had gotten so much local press it was silly to think you were going to miss it.  People were dressed to the nines and the production crew worked around the clock getting ready for the event.  Patricia and I ran around like “expectant fathers” as Flash, Leigh Anne and Michael all stood calm and collected easing our nerves that this event would go down in social media history…and it did.

233 people gathered to watch the premiere and considering the horrendous weather conditions outside that day, that was more than expected.  The power went out, we had technical difficulties, but hope prevailed and we delivered an outstanding event.  Now that it is a week later people are asking…what’s next?  It’s been a comical week on Facebook with questions such as…Avian Encounters IV – The Encore?  Sorry…no.  The era of Avian Encounters is done…That chapter is closed and it is time to move on to bigger things.  As I always say, If you can’t dream big, what’s the point in dreaming?

L to R: Michael Porpora (Visual Production Assistant), Leigh Anne Tubbs (Graphics Design Director), Patricia Sund (Public Relations/Media Consultant), Christina Giordano (Director/Executive Producer), "Flash" Kellish (Music/Sound Director)

For the Angels Of Flight Production Crew, this has opened many doors for us.  Flash and his family are making arrangements to move to Florida, Michael and I are embarking on a music video for the theme song to AEIII, “Now Do You Believe You Can Fly?”.  Leigh Anne has new ideas on graphics and photography for our next production.  Patricia has continued to fly the friendly skies while writing her book “Parrot Nation” and creating the marketing background for personalized films for people and their parrots.  It’s safe to say that the production crew is always busy and we are coming up with new and innovative ways to express each of our gifts.  We are a collaboration of 5 people who each bring a different talent to the table.  This is what makes up the foundation of Angels Of Flight Productions.  Without the 5 production crew members, this would’ve never been the event it was… and continues to be.  We are bound to each other through Angels Of Flight and will continue to work together to bring the world together.  Our volunteer assistants at the event, Shawn Beers (Financial Adviser), Lisa Licare (Donations Director), Constantine Makovetsky (Theater Usher), Dawn Carvotta (Theater Usher), and Steven Carvotta (Lead Photographer) of Stefano’s Photography played a huge part in this event as well.  Assisting the crowds of people coming into the theater and helping the event run as smooth as it did.  Without their help…again Patricia and I would’ve had to have a bit more wine than we did.

More Wine For Christina and Patricia!

As for the close of the era of Avian Encounters, we are setting up the Angels Of Flight Productions website to accept credit cards for the DVD.  In the meantime if you would like to purchase the DVD we have 2 editions.  The limited edition is $25.00 and consists of all 3 films (Avian Encounters I, II and III) as well as the credit film for Avian Encounters III.  What makes this the “limited edition” is the fact that the DVD case is signed by all 5 members of the production crew.  The regular edition is $20.00 with all 3 films and the credits in a plain clear case.  You may send a check or money order to:

Christina Giordano
132 Greenview Street
Marco Island, FL  34145
Please make check payable to Christina Giordano.  If your payment method is a check, please note that there is a 7 day waiting period for your check to clear. All proceeds from the sale of the DVD will go to Save Our Seabirds.

For now the production crew will be taking a rest.  It is a deserved rest.  After preparing for the last 3 months we feel like we have just put Chelsea Clinton’s wedding together on the fly.  For the next few months you can be assured that we will be brain storming about our next conquest, however a long weekend in the Bahamas on the beach sounds just about where we need to be.  Stay tuned to the Angels Of Flight Facebook page for updates on what’s going on as well as the Angels Of Flight Productions website.  Until then…We’ll see ya at the movies!!!

Thumbs Up For Avian Encounters - thanks for the ride!

The Imaginarium

Posted in African Grey, Birds, Cage set up, Chloe, Chop, Cleaning, Education, Enrichment, Kacey, Macaw, Moluccan Cockatoo, Nutrition, Patricia Sund, Recall, Rescue & Rehabilitation, Simba, Training, Zazu with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2010 by angelsofflight

When I set out on this little adventure of building The Imaginarium I knew it was going to be a huge undertaking.  My father is an old man and really doesn’t use the downstairs of his house.  In fact he doesn’t even like to bend or climb stairs so it’s undeniably ridiculous that he built a 2-story house.  However, it benefited me and my flock.  While still in the beginning stages, I have cleaned up the cement slab and all that was “stuck” to it.  Some green slimy stuff and threw all the old decrepit furniture that he was saving (for god knows what) to the curb side for pick-up.  Now I have begun setting the stage for The Imaginarium.

The Imaginarium - After clean up

I chose the name, The Imaginarium, instead of simply saying “My Aviary” for the simple reason that not only do my birds need an Aviary, but I need some peace as well.  Here I will be able to relax, reflect, be alone or with friends, dream, escape and simply imagine.  I’ve added a few little friends to the landscaping.  There is “Diva: The Pink Gecko” for some character and of course the faithful “St. Francis” to watch over the birds and I while we are in The Imaginarium.  I imagined the most beautiful sanctuary complete with music, wind chimes, lush green trees, beautiful colorful flowers, and a small vegetable garden with herbs, strawberries, tomatoes and a few others I have yet to pick out.  It is a work in progress for sure.

St. Francis: To watch over my flock

Diva: The Pink Gecko

So needless to say, my 2 non-flyers are enjoying the scenery for the moment until the fencing is put up.  I’ve already started sitting out there with Chloe and Simba and imagining the day away.  Simba and Chloe have become really good friends.  They dance and sing together to the playlist I made for Angels Of Flight Productions.  It has all the music from all of our videos on it and a few Jimmy Buffet songs as well as Kenny Chesney’s “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems” which has quickly adapted as the motto for hanging out at The Imaginarium.  There’s a big wooden sign going up on the wall with that motto on it.

Chloe & Simba: Enjoying the late afternoon

Chloe & Simba: Hanging out after a bath

I am anxiously awaiting the actual fence to go up.  The materials should be here sometime this week.  My contractor assures me that it will be finished by next weekend.  I can’t wait to let Kacey and Zazu out in it.  I love watching them hang upside down on their perches and do all the comical Macaw stuff.  I can only imagine what there going to do with a 20′ x 12′ x 11.5′ Imaginarium.  The possibilities are totally endless.  I’ll be blogging most of the construction and doing some video too.  But for now…relax, pour yourself a “Green Parrot” cocktail, kick off your flip flops and imagine…

A Year In The Making

Posted in Birds, Chloe, Education, Enrichment, Kacey, Macaw, Moluccan Cockatoo, Nutrition, Recall, Rescue & Rehabilitation, Training, Zazu with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2010 by angelsofflight

Zazu at 16 weeks old

The  day my life was blessed by a little Blue and Gold Macaw was June 13, 2009.  She was 16 weeks old and for some reason I was drawn to this little one with 3 of her toes missing instead of the cosmetically perfect other young Macaws that  happened to be at Sue’s aviary.  I always wanted a baby of my own.  I had seen all the bonding and fun people around me had with their baby birds that I never got to experience.  Not that I am complaining about being the permanent rescue home for Kacey and Chloe but, I just wanted a baby to call my own and that would have the same home for the rest of my natural life…and one I could train properly with no hangups.  I guess you could say I wanted to see what all the hoopla was about.  I realized, there is no difference except in patience.

Kacey: The Mistress Of Mayhem

Kacey was by far my biggest challenge.  It took 9 months of training and getting to know her before she trusted me and I trusted her.  She was my first big bird and she will remain with me until I no longer exist.  She tests my patience on a daily basis to see if I will still respond.  Every now and then she will snap at me through the bars of her cage…I suppose it’s sort of a game to her to see if I still love her.  The snap comes and then the scratching of her head to say “YooHoo…I Love You…”  she’s very comical in her testing, I think that’s one of things I love about her so much.  She’s a content bird now and I adore her as my first child.  She’s a very independent bird…unlike the others.  She has adapted well to my fascination with different species and has excepted her other 2 sisters and her brother.  After all she was the only one in my life for a year until Chloe entered the scene.

"Lady Chloe"

Chloe was a sweetheart of a bird…she was  a barber of her wing feathers and every now and then would hit a blood feather that scared the wits out of me.  Back to the computer for more research.  This time I was searching for remedies on feather picking and barbering.  I quickly realized, there’s nothing much I could do except love this sweet beautiful bird who would eventually most likely start picking at other areas as well.  She has now started picking at her chest instead of her wings and I am once again beside myself.  I haven’t changed anything so my wits are strung out again.  I try everyday on a daily basis to help and correct it but this habit is stemmed from something much deeper than before I had her…I will never know Chloe’s whole true story.  All I know now is that she is loved by me and I will take the best care of her I can.

Now…a year after enters the famous Zazu

My friends have enthusiastically watched Zazu grow up on Facebook.  From the awkward, wing clipped, clumsy little Macaw with only 5 toes collectively to the magnificent Blue and Gold Angel she has become over the past year.  This past Wednesday (March 17, 2010…St. Patrick’s Day) was her 1 year birthday…we call it a hatch day.  I look back over the last year to see all that has gone on…  The controversy of me recalling a wing clipped bird at the beach, the fact that she was a baby and not a “real” rescue, the decision to harness train her or not, how to feed her, what to feed her…everyone has their opinion and I took all of those opinions and made my own opinion out of it.  With the help of  few trust worthy friends and a strong heart and mind, Zazu has turned into a dream come true.

Targeting started at the onset of my time with Zazu.  The first night I got her home, I was mixing formula and BOOM…I had a 16 week old Macaw recalling to me…yes it was because she was hungry…and no that is not how I trained her in the months that followed.  I was fortunate enough to know that she had fledged before her wing feathers were hacked so I did have a bit of an advantage.  The following months, once again, brought alot of online research, opinions, and training.  I started inside the confines of my home for the first 3-4 months and then ventured outside.  This was the scary part…although I had all the confidence in the world with Zazu’s and my relationship, accidents can happen.  I was getting the guidance I needed by a well-known trainer and without his help I would have never even thought about doing this.  Her first recalls were in the backyard…a place her and I were familiar with and where I knew if an accident should occur, I would be able to retrieve her.  These training, targeting (on ground and in flight) and recall sessions in the backyard went on for about 2-3 more months with the same sessions going on inside as well.

Let’s jump to the 6 month mark…the first outdoor experience in recall and target training away from the house.

Zazu recalling at the beach

Zazu had become confident as well as I had on the recall and targeting so I decided to take her to the beach one early morning.  Packed up with water, treats and a few birdie friends with their birds, we headed to Port Royal Beach in Naples, Florida on a Sunday morning.  I started out slow with some ground targeting work in the sand for about 20-30 minutes then we graduated to a few recalls ascending off the ground.  As the morning went on, we were recalling off the pilings on the edge of the shore and just had a grand old time.  Zazu was confident and bold and never skipped a beat or a perfect landing.  As the next 6 months went on, friendships were diminished, relationships were severed, and jobs were lost but the one thing that stayed constant was my relationship with Zazu.  She has always been there for me and has never disappointed me.  During the recall training process people kept telling me…be careful, are you worried she’ll fly off and never come back…so forth and so on.  Yes, of course that weighs in the back of my mind. But, with proper training and all the elements that come with proper training such as: Positive Reinforcement, Operant Conditioning, Food Management, etc. the scenario of Zazu flying off and never coming back under normal circumstances are highly unlikely.

Enter…the spook flight…

About a month ago Zazu  and I were having our normal training session in the backyard.  This consists of a few obstacles that I make her overcome on a daily basis such as flying down off the second story deck of the house while I stand in the backyard and recall her…as well as flying into and out of our favorite oak tree that I climb with her as well and have her target to the different branches downward for a safe recall land.  I live behind a middle school and take into account the different times that the kids are changing classes because they can be a distraction sometimes…I learned that this distraction needs to be dealt with.  This one particular day I did not time the distraction correctly and the physical education teacher decided to hold his class in the back of the school near my training session with Zazu.  A flood of children came running across the field and spooked Zazu into our training oak tree in the lot next door.  This wouldn’t have unnerved me as much as the fact that the spook flight occurred off the second story deck.  As I was frantically making sure I knew exactly where she landed I was thankful she targeted to her second obstacle.  Although watching her fly across the field was beautiful I do believe my heart skipped a beat as I walked calmly across the field.  Equipped with a referee whistle and a whole almond (her jackpot emergency recall treat) I could see exactly in the tree where she landed and, gave a quick chirp of the whistle, and a reinforcing “Come here Zazu”, she flew down out of the tree effortlessly, instantly on cue and directly into my hand.  Upon her landing I was greeted with an enthusiastic Macaw “Hi!!”  and a beak snuggle into my neck.  This particular recall could not have been achieved without proper training…and the circumstances could have been alot worse.  This has not stopped our training outside and now after a few sessions of training during the class change at the school, her distraction has turned around to a concentrated effort.  Zazu is by far the smartest Macaw I ever met…I may have that opinion because she is mine but she is very attentive and her concentration and willingness to work to get the job done is far more than I ever expected.

With only 3 more wing feathers on each side to grow out since that first and only hacking…and a year of training under our belt, she just celebrated her 1st birthday.  She gets stronger and more skills everyday.  Turns and banks on a dime like a Cessna and soars like an Eagle…The making of the past year has been one hell of an experience with Zazu…I am enthusiastically looking forward to the next as well as I think Zazu is too…

Zazu and Me: Best Friends Forever

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xcloa1_angels-of-flight-the-ambassadors_animals

The Fundamentals Of Being A Baby

Posted in Birds, Education, Enrichment, Macaw, Recall, Training, Zazu with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2010 by angelsofflight

Zazu

Although I have no human children of my own, I do know what it is like to be a mom and hear those first words spoken by my baby blue and gold macaw…Zazu.  The first time I heard her say “Hi” in the sweetest little baby macaw voice I got tears in my eyes.  Then came “Hi Mom” and now she promptly tells the dogs “Outside!”. and may I say it’s a very forceful tone.  Her constant chatter of mumbling and a “Hi” in every other mumble leads me to believe she is going to be an avid talker.

While most of you know that I have been recall training Zazu since the day I brought her home at 16 weeks old…you also know that I never say “Step Up” to her…it’s always “Come Here”.  Well, now she tells me to “Come Here”.  This is her little signal to me to say “I am ready for a training session”.  While we train she usually does her funny quirky things like roll over on her back, play dead and all the good things in a training session.  However there is one hysterical thing she does that just gets me everytime…she takes a 50 foot flight to me from the top of her cage, lands ever so gracefully in the palm of my hand and says with a big bold baby macaw voice “Hi!!!”  It’s the funniest thing I have ever encountered and to tell you the truth with her quirky little attitude, it’s just that much more funny (I have yet to be able to catch it on tape).

Favorite things to do...PLAY!!!

Another favorite...EAT!!!

While yes, birds do mimic what people say…they also seem to know and understand what the words mean.  More or less how to get a reaction out of you that they want.  For instance, when Zazu wants to come out of her cage, she’ll say “Come Here”…instead of a constant screaming and screeching.  She knows she gets more attention with a kind “Hi” instead of a 3000 decibel anxious scream.  Thank goodness cause that’s enough to knock you off your rocker when you got three of them going all at once!

I think the most fun of owning and raising a baby bird would have to be watching the development and enrichment that they totally get off on!  When Zazu finally gets a trick like dunking the basketball, the excitement she displays is amazing!!  She is so proud of herself and she knows her jackpot treat is waiting for her…she flaps those wings and then comes the “Hi!!!…Hi!!!…Hi!!!”  I am thoroughly impressed with her and she knows it…maybe sometimes I get overly enthusiastic with her but for the most part, it is definitely a bond that cannot be broken!

Zazu and I having a pep talk at the beach

I would have to say that my journey with Zazu as my first baby has been extraordinary.  It is filled on a daily basis of learning, teaching, excitement and fun but most of all love.  My love for my birds is an undieing one…a love that NO ONE can take away from me and an unbelievable learning experience of patience, kindness and heartfelt emotions.  They amaze me everyday…especially Zazu.  Her flicking of her wing to get my attention, her little gestures and sounds, trying to figure out what she is mumbling to see what her next word will be are just a few of the wonderful things life has to offer when we are together.  She helps me wash the dinner dishes by taking the clean pots and pans and throwing them to the tile floor…I think this is her way of putting them in the so called “floor cabinet”.  When drying the dinner dishes she seems to think that the drying towel is a peek-a-boo toy that she sticks her head under and yells “Hi!!” in a classic macaw voice.  The faucet of spraying water is a whole other world for her…she jumps in the sink and begins the ever popular macaw water dance as only they can do…SHAKE YOUR TAIL FEATHER SISTER!!!  The comical acts of a baby macaw are a fascinating thing…especially the wall paper of flung food like a scud missill…when you can actually hear the “thud” of food hitting the wall you know they are enjoying what you’ve given them for dinner.

She NEVER disappoints me!!

I’ve learned in the past that if you love something…set it free…if it comes back to you it was meant to be.  As much freedom and flight as I give Zazu…she has never disappointed me and she has always come back on recall.  She is an amazing friend, confidant and companion.  Life is a journey…especially when you own a baby Macaw!!! For your viewing pleasure…here’s a little video dedicated to my “Superstar”…enjoy!!

Time To Clean The Cage(s)

Posted in Birds, Cage set up, Chloe, Chop, Cleaning, Kacey, Macaw, Moluccan Cockatoo, Patricia Sund, Zazu with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2009 by angelsofflight

Oh the day I dread!!!  Cage cleaning day.  Once a week the cages get scrubbed and the surrounding areas get cleaned…including the walls!!  Yes…you can’t tell me that the occasional flicking of food stays neatly in your birds cage…falls through the grate at the bottom and precisely onto the news paper in the tray…life just isn’t that easy!!!

I’ve experimented over the years with several types of cleaning methods.  The obvious soap and water effect does absolutely nothing but make my arms feel like they are rubber extensions of my torso that are about to fall off (due to incessant scrubbing).  The ever popular take the birds out to the aviary and scrub with a potent all purpose cleaner and then pass out from the fumes…then there is the natural all purpose cleaner with enzymes…which costs about as much as my brand new monthly car payment and I have to use 3 times as much and more scrubbing then soap and water…not to mention that the walls need to be scrubbed as well so now I am spending my car payment plus 2 weeks worth of gas!!  Now while an enzyme based cleaner can be used while my birds are still inside, my pocketbook will not allow the dollars to be spent…then one day it hit me…hydrogen peroxide!!!!

Hydrogen peroxide is used to kill germs in cuts and wounds, why can’t it be used to clean, disinfect and clean germs on the surface.  It’s about 97 cents a bottle at the local grocery store and guess what???  It bubbles!!!!!  Although I was so intent on trying it out on the cages, I was a bit hesitant and wanted to check its cleaning capacity first.  My tile floor became the guinea pig.  Kacey (my 11 y.o. Blue and Gold Macaw) has this fantastic little thing she does with her butt…she hangs on the side of her cage, does a 3,000 decible jungle call and then proceeds to shoot her poop about 5 feet across the room being ever so precise through the bars of her cage.  It’s actually a quite amazing little trick…however…it sometimes gets annoying when her aim is at me!!  So with that said, I managed to break out the 1970’s vacuum cleaner, vacuum the bird floor and then down went the Hydrogen Peroxide.  WOW!!!  Would ya look at all those bubbles!!!  Could my floor be that dirty???  There’s no smell to the peroxide so it’s safe as far as my birds respiratory systems are concerned and I’m not passing out from fumes either…hummm…I think I’m onto something here.

After a few sweeps across the floor with my mop to spread the peroxide around I noticed something else…it evaporates!!!!  Yeah!!  No drying!!!  My tile grout is white????  Didn’t know that!  And the tile has a beautiful design to it??? hummmm…thought it was grey but it’s actually a pretty coral color!! And the dried up Kacey poop???  Lifted right up with those fun little bubbles!  Now the real test…the cage grates…ugh!

Ok…even though you might think with Kacey’s little trick with her poop shooting she wouldn’t get that much in her cage…HA!!!  She’s the messiest out of all three of them!  And talk about the food mess as well…you all know I am OCD about the CHOP method of feeding so you can imagine the flinging of food that goes on in my house!  I have what you would call…CHOP wallpaper!  It’s actually quite unique looking…Thanks Patricia!!  Anyway, back to the grates…I filled up a spray bottle with the peroxide, took the grate out of the cage and onto the porch to start spraying away.  I cracked off the larger amounts of waste and then started spraying…COOL!!!!…More bubbles!!!!  Left the peroxide on for about 5 minutes (drank a cup of coffee) and then took a sponge to it.  Talk about sliding right off!!!  This is going to be a good cage cleaning day!!  I got all 3 grates in the sun drying in about a half hour.

Now I got time to enjoy the beach this afternoon!!!

Happy cage cleaning!!!!!