Carolyn's Creative Connections
Carolyn's Creative Connections


Welcome to "Carolyn's Creative Connections". This issue contains a plea for help for an endangered pet bird, a contest to win a free subscription to RubberStampMadness magazine and a tutorial on how to cut your own stencils and use them in craft projects. I hope you enjoy it!


Carolyn's Creative Connections
A plea for the humane treatment of Wiggles the pet starling

Wiggles the pet starling Wiggles is a disabled human-raised pet starling that was confiscated by the government in the State of Pennsylvania. You can familiarize yourself with the story here -

The owner's son has autism and the whole family has been traumatized by a government raid on their home. My contribution to the letter writing campaign in support of Wiggles is as follows:

"I am writing this letter in the hope that it will help the cause of trying to reunite the tame starling Wiggles with his owner.

I live with two rescued starlings. People found them both at the age of about five days old and raised them in captivity. Imprinting in starlings I understand starts at about the age of one week old. Both of my starlings see humans as their flock. Typically when it's time for their "out" time and the cage door is opened, they explode out of it and fly straight to me. After spending some time with me they take their bath, explore the room a bit and come back to me at intervals to visit. One or both birds usually ends up napping on my arm or shoulder after they've been out awhile. Although my understanding is that it's not typical for starlings to enjoy being petted, my starling Pooky does like it when he's in certain moods.

My two starlings are no more "wild" than any other pet bird you could have. They do everything other more common pet birds do - they play with toys, they play with their human, they learn to perform certain tasks on command such as entering the cage when their out time is done and coming when called, they talk with a vocabulary of dozens of words and phrases and sometimes use human words in the correct context. Clearly they understand the meaning of some words I use with them, such as "worms", "cheese" and "come here".

My starlings like the company of most other humans and will land on them and climb on them. They are even friendly to the vet and vet tech when they get their annual checkups. Needless to say a wild starling would not do this and it's good that they don't because given the way many people feel about starlings that behavior would be likely to get them killed or abused cruelly if they were turned loose outdoors. I do believe that they have a special bond with the people who raised them even if they do like other humans. My Dad sometimes watches my starlings for me when I go out of town. From time to time if I'm away I'll call Dad and he'll put his phone on speakerphone so the birds can hear my voice. They tend to respond with an excited chirp when they hear it. Once when I came to pick them up, my other starling Attila did back flips on her perch. It's hard to say what's going on in an animal's mind but it sure looked like excitement to me.

Recently I went on a four day trip and when I went to get the birds they both got extra animated and started to sing and chatter. Dad said that was more chattering than they had done during the previous four days. I let them out for a time before I put them in their travel cage to take them home and Pooky snuggled under my chin and let me pet him for nearly an hour. His usual tolerance for this is about five minutes. I don't think Pooky would have behaved this way if he weren't glad to see me.

It is rumored that a rehabber is currently caring for Wiggles. If true I hope the rehabber is kind to Wiggles. Even if that is so I believe Wiggles would be a lot happier in his original home due to what I've observed in my own birds' behavior and some things stated in the book "Holistic Care for Birds" by David McCluggage, DVM and Pamela Leis Higdon, an author of several books on bird care and training. On page 97 it states: "If you used to work part time but have taken a full-time job, your bird will become emotionally stressed... If you develop a new relationship with someone the bird will feel neglected; they know you are diverting some of your love and time from them." If those kinds of things can stress a bird, what kind of suffering is it experiencing by being confiscated by strangers and taken to a strange place, possibly a succession of strange places, and being in the care of unknown people who may not even like the bird or care what happens to it? There are lots of people out there who hate starlings. The thought of our bird being in the hands of such a person is the stuff of nightmares for starling owners (literally I have had nightmares about this). In real life when I found my first baby starling I posted on Facebook that I had found one and what advice people could give. A couple of ideas were "drown it" or "put it in a plastic bag and tie it to the exhaust pipe of your car". Five years later that bird is sitting on my forearm getting ready to take a nap by singing herself to sleep, murmuring such phrases as "you're sweet" and "I love you" as I write this. I'm sure glad I didn't take any of that advice!

Read more: A plea for the humane treatment of Wiggles the pet starling.

Article about Wiggles: Free Wiggles, and return him back to his Surrogate Mother - A Beautiful Love Story between a Bird and Human

Wiggles' Facebook page

How to help Wiggles and his family:

Petition: Free Wiggles and Make European Starlings Legal to Own in PA

Fund for legal fees: Help rescue Wiggles and get him home

Pennsylvania Game Commission:

Pennsylvania Governor Corbett:

Senator Alloway:

Representative Todd Rock:

Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners

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Carolyn's Creative Connections
Carolyn's Creative Connections
Fun with Stencils Fun with Stencils

During the 1970s, my Mom was really into Pennsylvania Dutch style stencils for home decor - I still have some of her old stencil brushes! I myself used stencils for some of my printmaking projects in the 1990s. Recently I've been experimenting with different ways of applying inks and paints on fabric, which is an application stencils are very well suited for, along with mark making on walls, furniture, paper and other surfaces. You can cut your own stencils or use pre-made commercial stencils. In this project I'll explain how to cut your own and show some samples of how they can be used.

Click here for Fun with Stencils.

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Carolyn's Creative Connections

Carolyn Hasenfratz Thank you for reading Carolyn's Creative Connections! Until next time,

Carolyn Hasenfratz

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