Saturday, November 21, 2009

Snowball's Sponsors

Snowball wishes to thank the sponsors who so generously pledged to make the dance-a-thon on Saturday, November 14, 2009 a success for the children. Not only did Snowball raise enough money to provide clothes and toys for disadvantaged children at Christmas, but enough money was raised to purchase school uniforms for those living in gang areas. School uniforms will replace street clothes that promote gang colors, resulting in less gang violence on school grounds. And finally, 50 families will each receive a 12 pound turkey with all the side dishes for Thanksgiving.

Snowball continued to receive donations for the children after the sponsor board was created, so we wish to thank not only those who did make the sponsor board but those who did not. The complete list up to and including November 21st is as follows:

  • Pet Supplies Plus (Dyer, IN) - in addition, PSP has provided bird food at a very reasonable cost to Snowball and his friends at Bird Lovers Only Rescue.
  • Bird Paradise (Burlington, NJ) - in addition, BP has provided toys and food at a very reasonable cost as well as Snowball's show cage. Snowball liked this cage so much that he now uses it as his regular cage where he retires for the night.
  • Sy Montgomery, national best-selling author - not only has Sy been a wonderful supporter, but she has become my mentor and adventure hero.
  • Global Ideas, Japan - an innovative and creative company.
  • Beth Krum - for creating the beautiful sponsor board.
  • The Platinum Parrot (Lisa & George Bono)
  • Ellen Cook DVM - an avian vet who I greatly admire for her knowledge of parrot behavior.
  • Christy Woloszyn from the Hair Cuttery (Dyer, IN).
  • Su Gould - in addition, Su has been instrumental in acquiring a professional photographer for Snowball and in volunteering her skills in graphics.
  • Michelle and Brandon Grabarek
  • The Garvey family
  • Dawn Satkowski
  • Joseph Rybicki
  • Mike and Sylvia Wilson
  • Nancy Gray
  • Jeanette Lesich
  • Ramona Cooper
  • Christine Misiak
  • Main Event Music - to Jef Jarecki for providing DJ service for the dance-a-thon (219) 322-6309
  • Joe Fisher
  • Sarah Katherine
  • Jan Kullman
  • Juanita Jarecki - for making the Snowball costume
  • Jim Beil
  • Sandy Kowalski
  • Lynne Jackson
  • Sammy Chow
  • Gayle Podowski - for Snowball's "red carpet"
  • Kay Sheridan
  • Hoosier Sports - Judy Hein
  • Carole Young - for continuing support of the birds at Bird Lovers Only as well as promoting avian education and awareness.
  • Lynn Watts
  • Nancy Stannard
  • Carol Baskas - for dressing up like Snowball and entertaining all the children!
  • Prairie Junior High School
  • Dyer United Methodist Church
  • Chuck and Irena Schulz
  • Bird Lovers Only Rescue
  • The dancers who took part in the dance-a-thon.
  • The 'behind-the-scenes' volunteers that made this happen.
  • And a very special thank you to Natasha, Dan, Jef, and Chris. There would not have been a dance-a-thon fundraiser for the children if not for you! Thank you for two fun-filled days!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Snowball's "Angel Tree" Dance-A-Thon Fundraiser

Snowball will be hosting a Dance-A-Thon Fundraiser on Saturday, November 14th, 2009 between 1pm and 3pm at the following location:

Dyer United Methodist Church
2016 Church Street
Dyer, Indiana 46311
(219) 865-8947

We need dancers, but we also need sponsors to make this a financial success! The "Angel Tree" program purchases clothes and toys for disadvantaged children in the Northwest Indiana region so that they may experience Christmas. The families of these children have experienced job losses, foreclosures, and other financial burdens. With your help, and with Snowball's help, we can make this a success.

Snowball, the world famous dancing cockatoo, has been on programs such as Letterman, Inside Edition, Ellen, Leno, Animal Planet, Mike and Juliet Show, Good Morning America, Bonnie Hunt, and numerous other tv, radio, and news programs around the world along with writeups in magazines, newspapers, and books worldwide. Snowball has also been in commercials such as Taco Bell and Geico in the US as well as Loka bottled water in Sweden.

Snowball is also looking for those willing to sponsor him. Sponsors may contact Irena Schulz directly via email or by calling 219-322-0037. Snowball will be making his appearance toward the end of the Dance-A-Thon, but there will be two "Snowball impersonators" to try their best to mimic Snowball.

If you would like to be a dancer, please print the forms shown below and inform Irena Schulz through email or phone that you will be participating so that we will have an accurate number on those participating in this event. There will be a film crew there, so those participating will need to sign a release form stating that it will be ok for them to appear on tv.
Fundraiser Information Form -
Fundraiser Pledge Sheet -

Please feel free to contact Irena Schulz
or Dyer United Methodist Church
if you have any questions regarding the event.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Snowball's Rise to Viral Fame

I was interviewed recently regarding the story of Snowball's rise to fame. I had expected, once again, for my words to be edited into a much more glossed over version of the actual story. Much to my surprise, and a very pleasant one at that, my words appeared as I had written them...unedited!

I have had many people ask me if I work in addition to what I do at the rescue. I have to chuckle to myself because I work over 80 hours per week at the rescue without a break even for weekends, holidays, or other special occassions. My duties include everything from being Snowball's manager and a collaborator in scientific research to scrubbing and disinfecting bird cages. At the end of major cleaning days it's not unusual for me to look like Mel Brooks in "High Anxiety" after he's been satirically pooped on by a flock of birds.

I've been judged by some for the content of the tv programs which I have been on with Snowball. But I have never had control over what is edited out and what is left to be shown to the audience. Heaven knows I've tried to emphasize to the interviewers the abuse and neglect that I see and how much I want to do something about this in the form of legislation, but Snowball's charm always prevails and the sad parts end up on the floor of the editing room.

I have recently been able to write, direct, and produce my own videos and have them show up on Jennifer Viegas' blog "Born Animal" which is found on Discovery News. This also happens to be one of my three favorite blogs (and I do follow many), so I was overjoyed at the prospect of having my unedited (albeit rough and amateurish) videos appear there.

So when my words do go unedited and I am able to speak my mind, I am grateful. To those of you who have allowed this...a very, very sincere thank you!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Snowball Challenge

I enjoy reading all the blogs that write about Snowball. Bird owners have known for years that birds can dance, yet there are so many skeptics stating that Snowball is just mimicing me. How does a child learn to dance? Does he watch his parents? His teachers? His friends? TV? Or is it something much deeper within one's self that inspires that child to dance? If so, what is it?

I cringe every time I watch myself dance in the World Science Festival video. Elaine from Seinfeld is a graceful ballerina in comparison. Yet as good as Snowball's dance moves are, so many think he's really mimicing me. To those who think that...thank you, but I can't take the credit for any of his dance moves.

I've even left comments on some of the disbelievers' blogs. I've invited them to come see Snowball for themselves. No reply.

So, I invite all skeptical bloggers and scientists to...

Bird Lovers Only is a 501c3 charitable bird sanctuary. Donations are down because of the state of the economy. Individuals donating a minimum of $200 (donations are tax deductible) are invited to come and watch Snowball dance in person. I may even be able to have a camera crew come to film the event. Let's set a date for Saturday, November 14th, 2009. Those interested should contact Irena Schulz at Bird Lovers Only at the following email address:

To view the latest article on Snowball in Psychology Today:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Music Has Power Awards

IMNF Scientific Advisory Board member and The Neurosciences Institute Ester J. Burnham Senior Fellow, Dr. Aniruddh Patel, was honored for his contribution to the therapeutic power of music alongside New York native and long-time IMNF supporter, Peggy Rice, in New York on September 9th (far right photo). Dr. Aniruddh Patel and wife, Jennifer Burton, are pictured in the far left photo. For the full story, click on the link.

Snowball at IUPUI

Dr. Aniruddh Patel, lead scientist on the Snowball studies, was recently interviewed at IUPUI. Dr. Patel presented research that included findings published in Current Biology in May, 2009.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Snowball in Indianapolis, Indiana

Irena Schulz discusses the science, the entertainment, and the high maintenance behind the famous cockatoo...Snowball.

Dr. Aniruddh Patel of the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, California will be presenting the research on Snowball in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Biennial Conference of Society for Music Perception and Cognition on Wednesday, August 5th at 1:30pm.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Snowball in The TIMES newspaper

Snowball makes front page news once again. This time he is on the front page of Sunday's The TIMES newspaper. His story is also told online alongside his Taco Bell commercial at the following link.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pilots N Paws

This is a human and non-human interest story worth reading. Click on link below to read more about "Pilots N Paws." (written by: Jennifer Viegas)

Pilots N Paws, an online forum that connects animal rescue groups and volunteer pilots, is launching the Pilots N Paws 5000, the largest pet airlift ever. From September 12 to 20, Pilots N Paws volunteers will attempt something that’s never been done — transport 5,000 homeless animals in a single week.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bird Paradise

Snowball and Irena Schulz were recently in New York City to take part in the World Science Festival. Bird Paradise kindly donated a cage for Snowball to make him comfortable during his stay in New York for the Festival. They also donated numerous toys for Snowball and his friends back home, as well as food and some of Snowball's favorite treats...pine nuts!
When we went to pick up Snowball's cage, we could not believe how many different types of toys they had in the store. There were countless aisles of shreddy toys, leather toys, wood toys, acrylic toys, and you name it. If the toy was not found in this store, chances are that it's just not available. And if you wonder about cleanliness, this store was fastidiously clean. I've been to numerous pet shops over the years and none compared in product availability and cleanliness. This is a place that you have to see to believe. Below is a link to their online store.

Snowball and all his friends at Bird Lovers Only Rescue Service, Inc. wish to thank Bird Paradise for their generosity and kindness in making Snowball feel so comfortable in his donated show cage as well as countless hours of enjoyment playing and tearing apart his donated toys.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Snowball's Taco Bell commercial

We hope you will enjoy Snowball's Taco Bell commercial. If you do enjoy it, please consider donating to Bird Lovers Only Rescue. The donations that are generated on behalf of Snowball provide quality vet care, food, and toys for all the birds at our sanctuary.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Snowball at the World Science Festival

Snowball made a grand entrance at the World Science Festival on Saturday, June 13th where he strutted his stuff and proved that a non-human animal can dance to a musical beat. At the Avian Einsteins venue we had a distinguished panel of scientists dance along with Snowball. At the end of the dance, Snowball was so proud of himself that he took several bows. But he had just warmed up and wanted to dance more.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Irena and Snowball(TM) on Good Morning America

Irena Schulz will be appearing with Snowball (TM) on Good Morning America on Thursday, June 11, 2009. They will then be participating in the World Science Festival in New York City that weekend. Irena is one of the speakers during the Avian Einsteins programs on Saturday, June 13th. Snowball(TM), the prodigal parrot, will make a special appearance during this program. They will both be attending the Street Festival on Sunday, June 14th.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Thank You to Care2 Petitionsite!

I recently received the following email from the Care2 Petitionsite. Rescuing birds is never-ending and it can wear down even the strongest person because there never seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel...there will always be another bird that needs a home. So this email touched my heart at a time when it needed some mending. One can only imagine how much this meant to me. Thank you all so indescribably much!

To: Irena (and Snowball especially!),

This is a thank you. We created a petition on the Care2 web site to say thank you for your work and Snowball for raising human's consciousness.

Jean Linsavage
Janice Wharton

Petition: I think that sometimes a petition can just be a thank you. I just wanted to thank Irena and her site for helping and rescue birds. There are so many other links to Snowball the dancing Cockatoo on Youtube. Animals and humans are the same. That's all.

Please click on the following link to see the petition:

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Threatened Blackbirds Get a Chance to Hatch

The following link contains a story written by Cameron Bird in the "OCRegister" on May 5, 2009. Both federal and state fish and game code make it unlawful to destroy bird nests. Please keep this in mind if construction is scheduled in an area where you see bird nests full of eggs or baby birds.

Snowball in Bird Talk Magazine

Snowball's research will be discussed in an upcoming issue of Bird Talk Magazine. A research paper which debuted on April 30, 2009 in Current Biology made news around the world which inspired an interview with Dr. Aniruddh Patel, lead scientist, of the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, California.

Irena Schulz was interviewed by Bird Talk Magazine for the June 2008 issue. Here is a link to that article.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Snowball Makes World News

Pictured: Dr. Aniruddh Patel (left) and Dr. John Iversen (right)
Snowball, the prodigal parrot, has once again hit the airwaves. But this time it's the science side of Snowball that has everyone talking. Music has always been believed to be unique to humans. Thanks to Snowball and the scientists at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, California led by Dr. Ani Patel, that theory no longer flies - pun intended.

Below are links to some articles regarding a paper which was released in Current Biology on April 30, 2009 entitled "Experimental Evidence for Synchronization to a Musical Beat in a nonhuman Animal" by Patel, Iversen, Bregman, and Schulz. You can find many more links by Googling "Snowball dancing cockatoo."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Snowball on Animal Planet

Snowball can be seen instructing children on how to dance at a dance studio in Chicago, Illinois on Animal Planet's "Most Outrageous Animals." This segment can be seen on the following days (Eastern Time):
May 2, 2009: 10pm
May 3, 2009: 1am & 5am
May 9, 2009: 5pm
May 11, 2009: 9pm
May 12, 2009: 12am & 4am

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Snowball and the Geico gecko

Introducing Snowball's latest competition...the Geico gecko. The Martin Agency which produces the Geico commercials may have the recipe for the animal world's version of "Dancing With The Stars" by creating this adorable video. Personally, I think this would make a playfully amusing SUPER BOWL commercial!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


The countdown to the 2009 World Science Festival has begun.

From climate change to the cosmos; from neuroscience to nanotechnology; from mathematical magic to the multiverse--this year's Festival will feature some of the world's leading scientific minds, celebrated artists and innovative thinkers including:

Nobel Prize-winning scientists James Watson, Harold Varmus, David Gross, Frank Wilczek, Sir Paul Nurse and William Phillips; renowned authors Bill McKibben and Irene Pepperberg; esteemed researchers E.O. Wilson, James Hansen, Daniel Wegner, Erich Jarvis, Daniel Levitin and Margaret Livingstone; acclaimed artists Alan Alda, Marin Alsop and Anna Deavere Smith; and Irena Schulz from Bird Lovers Only Rescue.

2008 Festival Event Videos - Now Online
For those of you who may have missed one of last year's programs, many are now available to view online. To watch 2008 program excerpts, please visit:

For Information
Complete information about the 2009 Festival's programming and special guests will be announced later this spring. Tickets will go on sale in late April.
Please keep visiting for new announcements about programs, participants, and tickets. You can also follow the World Science Festival on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bird Brain vs. Brainy Birds

If someone calls you a "bird brain," thank them for the compliment. Birds are highly intelligent according to Edward A. Wasserman of the University of Iowa. He had much to say on this subject during the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

For the full story, please click on this link.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Magic of Music

A surgeon struck by lightning and a dancing parrot hold clues to music’s profound effects.
by Geoff Olson

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Midwest Bird Expo 2009

TASC is hosting the Midwest Bird Expo 2009 on Saturday, April 25th, 2009. The show will run from 9:30am until 4:00pm at the DuPage County Fairgrounds (Main Hall) located at 2015 Manchester Road in Wheaton, Illinois.

Chris Davis, bird author and behaviorist

Australian Animal Trainer Mick McAuliffe

Dr. Karen Becker, avian veterinarian

Hoffman's Wild Animal Shows

Avian veterinarian Q&A with Dr. Pete Sakas

Indoor Summits' Clay Lick Climbing Cliff

FSBEC's How-to-Show-Birds Booth

Birds of Prey from the Great Lakes Falconers & Northern Illinois Raptor Center

Chicago Zoological Society Brookfield Zoo

Dr. Jean Dubach, animal geneticist

Many wonderful bird breeders

Bird Rescues and shelters including Bird Lovers Only Rescue Service, Inc.

Northern Illinois Parrot Society

Bird Supply vendors

HUGE raffles throughout the day

Grand Prize Raffles including "Zookeeper for a Day" experiences and huge parrot cage setups

The famous TASC kitchen featuring Portillo's beef and more

TASC's Education Stations, Games, prizes and fun for all!

First 200 people get free goodie bags!!!

To view our sponsors or to order your ALL ACCESS PASS and register for the events listed in advance this year please go to

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Dr. Aniruddh Patel was interviewed by the New York Times Magazine on cognitive music studies involving Snowball. Studies were done to test whether Snowball's rhythmic movements matching the differing tempos of music were by chance or whether Snowball truly moves to the beat. Those studies revealed that Snowball does in fact feel the beat and adjusts to the tempo of the music. Click on the link below to read more about the research.

Snowball in VANITY FAIR

Here is an enjoyable article from Vanity Fair regarding Snowball and the American Ballet Theatre. Personally, I would love to see Snowball in ballet slippers and a tutu!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Studying synchronization to a musical beat in nonhuman animals

The recent discovery of spontaneous synchronization to music in a nonhuman animal (the sulphur-crested cockatoo Cacatua galerita eleanora) raises several questions.
How does this behavior differ from non-musical synchronization abilities in other species, such as synchronized frog calls or firefly flashes? What significance does the behavior have for debates over the evolution of human music? What kinds of animals can synchronize to music, and what are the key methodological issues for research in this area? This paper addresses these questions and proposes some refinements to the “vocal learning and rhythmic synchronization hypothesis.”