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NEIGHBORS : A Different High : Minister offers pet birds as a way to keep young people off drugs.

January 31, 1991|LEO SMITH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Just Say Coo: Paul Christian, an ordained minister from Oak View, has come up with what he thinks is a good way to keep the nation's youth off drugs: Give them birds. In particular, he suggests a breed that he raises called doneks, which are part falcon, part pigeon.

"People take drugs because there's nothing else to do," he said. "They need a sport, an animal, a hobby." And as it happens, your average donek kind of falls into all three categories.

"It's a New Wave stunt bird," Christian said. "You can throw them up in the air 1,000 feet. They'll hover like a harrier jet until you tell them to come down and then they come down like a corkscrew, out of control. Then they ventilate their wings at the last second."

The birds are the size of large pigeons and Christian says they are easy to handle. "You don't need a lot of land for them."

In all, Christian has more than 50 doneks as well as an assortment of other birds numbering about 200.

He's got parlor rollers (so named because they can roll over about 100 times in succession), Asiatic crack tumblers (while in the air they clap their wings and do somersaults) and Thailand laughers (they have a unique laugh, or coo).

So how did Christian get involved with raising birds? "I was doing a funeral one day and a white dove landed on my head," he said. "It wasn't an act of God or anything. It was probably somebody's pet."

The Critters and Creatures toy store at the Oxnard Esplanade is selling teddy bears dressed up as soldiers. They're called Bearatroopers. They come complete with military fatigues and bearachutes.

It's time once again for that annual rite of winter, the Girl Scout cookie sale. And like last year, the Caramel DeLites are expected to be hot items.

What makes them so popular? "People have been known to lick the bottom of the tray," said Tammy Reddy, the "cookie chair" for the Moorpark area. Reddy explained that the cookies tend to suffer caramel seepage while in the package and for many people that, as it turns out, is the main attraction of the product.

"The company that makes them said they were going to try to stop them from leaking and there was a big groan," Reddy said. "There is a really passionate group of Caramel DeLite people out there and they'd be very disappointed to hear they don't leak."

'It's a New Wave stunt bird. They'll hover like a harrier jet until you tell them to come down and then they come down like a corkscrew, out of control. Then they ventilate their wings at the last second. It's hard to believe, I know.'

PAUL CHRISTIAN

donek raiser

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