September 07, 2014

Vinny got Paged on Facebook!

Now that the dust has settled around Vinny and his Facebook account, let's put into words what actually happened and how we're dealing with this.

What happened last weekend, was that Vinny was logging in to Facebook, checking up on his bird-friends and family, ready to click some like buttons, and possibly even post a selfie. Upon logging in, Facebook popped up with the message that Vinny is not a real person and that his account was converted into a Facebook Page.

Alright, in hindsight I can understand the 'not real' statement. We knew this was going to happen. It's not Vinny's website, it's Mark Zuckerberg's, so he sets the rules. And if he says that parrots and other pets can be on Facebook, but not with a full account, then so be it. I guess it was inevitable that Mark stumbled upon Vinny's account and said "NO MORE, VINNY!". So now Vinny has a fan page instead of a full account.

In reality, this means that Vinny's friends got converted to profile-likes and followers of the page. Vinny won't be able to see other people's posts on his own timeline anymore, but we'll see how we can work around that later. Another effect is that Vinny's own timeline content (photo's, video's and other posts) got lost in the conversion. They were simply not there anymore. All the fun comments are gone, the likes, the links, you name it. I'm sure it was just a technical issue or someone at Facebook HQ being in dire need of a nap, but it added up to the anger we felt last week. Blurry images of wrecking balls came to mind.

Of course we can get mad at Facebook for doing this without warning, we can discuss how Facebook should be more pet-friendly, we can try to claim that parrots are very smart beings, that many parrots get as old as humans or sometimes even outlive them, that parrots are often treated as a full member of the family, and that Facebook sucks, but what's the point?

The thing is: Vinny's Facebook Page has been 'empty' for a week now. Nothing on the timeline other than the fact that he hatched on January 1st, 2012, plus of course the banner and profile picture. And still his page got 30 more likes just for being there.

Vinny's profile picture on Facebook
So we figured: what happened happened and let's just deal with it. If his page can get likes just for being there, maybe actually having content on there might have a positive effect.

This whole thing started with Vinny's parronts wanting to share their experiences as first-time parrot owners with the world. Put their mishaps and tips into words, and maybe even let them be of some benefit to others. And connect to other parrot owners.

If Vinny's 'new' fan page helps in any way, then kudos to Facebook for that. This blog will always be the basis of operations when it comes to Vinny's online presence, but who knows, maybe Mark will lend a hand.

So without further ado, I present to you:

Ps. Don't forget that Vinny can also be found on Youtube, Twitter, DailyMotion, Vine, Google+ and some other sites.

August 23, 2014

Vinny completes the Ice Bucket Challenge

If you haven't heard of the Ice Bucket Challenge by now, for the past month you must have been living in a cave, have been cut off from the internet and all other media, have been floating around on a life raft, or have not been talking to anyone else.

I'm sure you have seen video's on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and TV about this phenomenon. People emptying buckets of ice water on themselves has become THE hype of 2014 and will definitely be remembered as such.

Even more important: this hype is all for a good cause. ALS (or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) is a very serious disease that has no cure yet. I will not go into explaining what it is right here, but you might know one famous person who has it: Stephen Hawking.

Let me explain what's going on:
It all started with Pete Frates, a former baseball player who was diagnosed with ALS and his advocacy for awareness. On June 30th it was time for the first TV appearance of the challenge, in the form of a news caster performing it on live television. After that it went viral. Many celebrities did it and challenged other celebrities.

The rules are simple:
After getting challenged, within 24 hours, you shoot and post a video of yourself emptying a bucket of ice water over your head. In the video you state that you have accepted the challenge, and you can in turn challenge other people (usually 3).

Of course you don't have to do the thing with the bucket of ice water but in that case you are challenged to donate $100 to an ALS related charity. In the USA the ALS Association has been the receiving end of most donations. Many people donate even if they have accepted and completed the challenge.

Now, what all does this have to do with Vinny?

Well, on August 13th, Vinny received an Ice Bucket Challenge himself, through Facebook, from his Aunt Julie. Unfortunately Vinny doesn't really check his own Facebook wall. It also took a while for his parronts to notice it. But there it was, and of course Vinny had to accept and comply within 24 hours after learning about his challenge. And he did just that. After all, nobody calls Vinny chicken !!!

So, without any further ado, Vinny proudly presents the completion of his Ice Bucket Challenge!

Of course, no parrots or buckets were hurt in the making of this video. No stunt-parrots were used and Vinny received extensive training leading up to him completing the challenge.

Please note that if you would like to receive a challenge from Vinny, please leave a comment below. And if you would like to support the ALS awareness campaign and research, please go to and hit the donate button.

This video can also be found on DailyMotion

July 05, 2014

Vinny roots for the Netherlands!

Even though Vinny is an Eclectus parrot and thus not indigenous to the Netherlands, Vinny was born and raised here. And thus Vinny has successfully been intoxicated with a subtle dose of 'Orange Fever'. This phenomenon comes up about every 2 years, mostly during global sports events.

This Winter the Netherlands did very well at the Winter Olympics with speed skating. Vinny often cheered along with the crowds on TV. And now the World Cup Soccer is upon us! Well, in the USA it's called soccer, anywhere else, in English, it's called Football. So that's what I'll call it from now on.

We, as Vinny's parronts, are normally not big on football (or most other sports, to be honest). However, when huge tournaments like the Olympics, European Cup Football (Netherlands won in 1988) and now the World Cup Football, are there, we get a bit fanatic. And by 'we', I mean Dutch people and parrots in general.

See, the biggest sport in the Netherlands is football. Every two years there's either a European Cup or a World Cup. We won the European Cup in 1988 and the Dutch people went crazy. The football team was honored in Amsterdam during a boat tour through the canals.

Four years ago, in 2010, we reached the finals, but lost from Spain, as predicted by Paul the psychic octopus, seer of all seers.

Before Paul, but even more after his success, many animals have given it a shot at predicting outcomes of games. From hamsters, elephants, kangaroos, turtles, penguins, armadillo's ... even parrots have given it a try. A few examples can be found here.

Some become famous, others don't. I would say this probably depends on their success in predicting the correct outcomes. Duh!

The point is that nobody knows what's really going to happen. Vinny has tried predicting a game once (see below), but that's it. Vinny just enjoys watching the games, above anything else. He jut sits there, cheers a lot, goes 'oooh' and 'aaah' when the crowds on TV make those sounds, and that's pretty much it.

But don't be mistaken, he's very fanatic! Recently he posted a few pictures on his own Facebook wall that lead me to believe that Vinny is secretly a fanboy that knows no limits! All in good sports of course. A bit of friendly banter here and there, but other than that always with a positive note.

I just found it so remarkable that Vinny posted these pictures, that I had to show them here on his blog as well. So here goes ...

Right before the game against Mexico, he posted this. This is his first prediction ever. He predicted the win correctly, but was off on the score. Either way, let's not encourage him to strive for world fame when it comes to being a psychic parrot.

Then after the game, he posted this:

With vinny in the picture is Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, the player who scored the winning goal by means of penalty. What many people don't know is that Mr. Huntelaar had failed to score from penalties the last 3 times (in other matches). So Vinny probably believed he not only needed some encouragement, but also directions. Either way, it worked, so that's what counts in the end.

And then today, in the hours counting down to the quarter final match between the Netherlands and Costa Rica, he posted the following picture:

His artwork seems to be getting a little bit better, but in all honesty, isn't he getting a little bit overconfident here? He even colored the world cup orange already. Don't worry, I'll have a heart to heart with him in a bit.

Anyway, I just wanted to share this with you and hopefully you won't think of Vinny being a cocky bird. Although, I have to say, I do hope he's going to be correct!

June 15, 2014

Vinny will work for food!

Just a quick shout-out ... we haven't been writing a lot lately, but we will get to work over the Summer and get some articles out. We have a few ideas of what to write about, but your input is very welcome of course.

Also check out Vinny's on Facebook. His flock of friends is growing fast! Feel free to add Vinny as a friend.

And of course Vinny can be found on Twitter.

Warm regards,
Vinny & family

March 08, 2014

Vinny has the Winter Blues

It's early March. Vinny turned Two not long ago. And Vinny has the Winter Blues.

A while ago he was still fine. He was talking, chatting, showing many many signs of happiness, playing, learning, he just picked up the awesome skill of whistling, and did I mention talking and chatting?

He would just sit there at the top of his cage, especially around sunset, he would just talk away, go through his whole vocabulary in all directions and especially when stimulated, he would whistle. We had this thing where I would do a simple 2-tone whistle (high-low) and he would repeat it. Sometimes this went back and forth over 10 times. Always followed by laughter from both Vinny and me.

During our morning showers, we would have complete discussions about anything that fits his vocabulary.

But now?

It's gone. He lost his mojo. He still does all the same things, being cute, showing signs of happiness, playing, communicating, but sans the talking and whistling. One day, about 3 weeks ago, he just stopped.

All he does now, is make short sounds. Like humming, but a bit higher pitched. Sometimes he does it in an asking way, sometimes just to give confirmation. Like someone just saying 'uh-huh' instead of 'I agree'.

Actually, come to think of it, it stopped around the time when we were giving our bathroom a big overhaul. We used a lot of chemicals and the bathroom had a very strong swimming pool odor, so obviously the bathroom was not a very healthy place for a parrot. We had to put showers on a hold for a little while.

After the smell went away, we gave it a few more days and an extra, very thorough, hose-down. And this week we have resumed giving Vinny showers in the morning. Yesterday he uttered a half-baked '.. come out' or something, but today he's back to uh-huh and uuuumm.

Of course we did our usual Google sessions, where we tried to figure out if other people have dealt with this before. And people have. Apparently it's a pretty common thing for a bird to stop talking, and we read a million and one reasons for why it could happen. But you know... everyone's just guessing, no final answers or studies on this behavior.

Our advice:
Don't google this particular problem. If the no talking persists and if your parrot shows other signs of trouble (depression, physical signs of illness or injury, other very strong behavior changes), just give your vet a call.

Vinny has been and is as happy as a parrot could be. He's affectionate, playful, trainable, he's been eating well, need I go on? He's also not going through a hormonal phase. No molting, no biting, etcetera. In fact, now that he just does the humming thing, he's actually more communicative. Vinny has just stopped using words.

So what is the cause, in Vinny's case?

No clue. But we suspect that it's just a case of the Winter Blues. Lack of sunshine and thus vitamin D12 deficiency, like in humans? He has been sleeping a bit more than usual.

Although the Dutch Winter of 2014 was extremely mild, we haven't had a lot of sunshine. It's been a pretty dull and grey winter. And today, this weekend, is actually the first weekend of beautiful weather. This morning Vinny had the longest shower in quite a while. He kept asking for more by fluffing up, spreading his wings, the usual. And now he's been sitting in front of the window, in the bright sunlight.

Maybe it's an instinct to look for natural light? We like to think so, and this has also confirmed another valuable lesson for us ...

Vinny Is Sunbathing After A Shower
Watch your parrot's behavior closely. Be a true bird whisperer. Just read the signs, weigh them, and draw your conclusions. Don't panic. Discover what your parrot's sad, neutral and happy sounds are. "It's elementary, my dear Watson!", as Sherlock would say.

We are not worried. We are confident that he will be his old chatting self soon enough!