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In memory of our Beloved Pumpkin

    Pumpkin had the type of personality of " I'll do anything just love me". He was an abused bird before we got him at the age of 3. After he learned to trust us he was the most loving creature on the face of this earth. Please heed his story.

Pumpkins Story

     Over the past year and a half, we've lost three pet birds from the use of a Teflon coated grill plate on the gas cook top stove in our house. The first incident occurred in May 1992.

     We lost an 8-yr.-old Moluccan cockatoo named Pumpkin, while I was cooking. The Moluccan was atop a large exercise gym in the family room, which adjoins the kitchen. A large amount of steaks were grilled on the gas grill portion of the cook top stove. At about 4:30, the Moluccan lost his balance and fell off the exercise gym. He fell about 2'. I rushed to him to check for injuries. He was having difficulty holding his balance and maintaining a grip. Approximately 10 minutes later, the bird died. We pulled into the parking lot of Actin Animal Hospital on Portsmouth Blvd as he took his last breath. They performed an necropsy, but the results were inconclusive because we believe the necropsy was performed incorrectly.

     The second incident occurred in May 1993, while we were again cooking a large amount of food on the grill of the stove. This time we lost a male peach-faced lovebird. The conditions were nearly the same. I went upstairs about two hours after our guests left and discovered him dead in his cage. His mate was alright and showed no signs of stress other than the loss of her mate. A necropsy was done but it was determined to be stress.

      The third incident happened in mid-July. Again, a large amount of food was being grilled. A Moluccan replacement for the first bird was on his perch 6' off the floor in his large cage in the foyer just off the kitchen. Our son passed by the cage and called to me that the bird was having breathing difficulty. I took him out of the cage, his grip being weak, and put him in a room that had been closed off the foyer. We moved an air nebulizer already in operation for an Umbrella cockatoo which had aspergillosis, and tried to administer air to him. The bird was dead within 15 minutes. We took this bird to Dr. Ruth Ann MacQueen for a necropsy. She performed an observation exam and sent off specimens for detailed tests. Lab tests confirmed her findings: toxic poisoning consistent with exposure to heated Teflon.

      We had originally selected this stove for installation in our new house in early 1992 because it did not have any kind of non-stick cooking surfaces. When we first inquired of the store saleslady, she said that the stove did not have any Teflon or similar non-stick coating surfaces. We suspected that Teflon was the culprit when the first bird died. Back to the saleslady, I explained all about non-stick and birds in great detail because she had a cockatiel, and wanted to reconfirm that there was no Teflon anywhere on the stove. Once again, we were told no. A few months later, I wanted to clean the oven and wanted the store to check with the manufacturer about Teflon being on any of the stove parts, even to its screws or washers, on the under-side, she said again that there was none.

      I had read the book to see how to clean the stove and to see what the stove was made with. Nothing was in the cleaning section. After the death of the 3rd bird I read the book from cover to cover, on its last 2-3 pages at the end of the book. It mentioned that the cooking grills were covered with a non-stick surface. The store our builder got the stove from was A&B Propane on Military Highway.

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