When I was a kid, I periodically visited the now vanished Sedgewick Studio, a bird store owned by the eccentric Erling Kjelland. He believed in ´witching´– the process of sexing birds by suspending a pendulum over its head.
Some frequently asked questions and answers..
Every day I receive messages about birds being sick. Everyone of these persons is asked about water quality. By water quality I am not asking if the water is clear. I am asking about the process through which it passes before it is given to the birds.
Some time back I visited a home for unwanted birds. As I walked around, I discussed with the director the problem of unwanted cockatoos. Like me, she has found that males are the gender most commonly found in rescues. This is because males can become exceptionally aggressive as they reach sexual maturity, or when the unpredictable nature ingrained in their genes emerges.
When I started keeping birds, information on diet was very deficient. A sunflower or safflower seed based diet supplemented with a bit of apple, endive and maybe a piece of carrot was deemed adequate. Fast-forward 40 years and our understanding of diet for cage birds has evolved considerably. Today we truly understand that to own a healthy parrot the cornerstone is a good, balanced diet.
The common name ´macaw´ is used to describe a group of often very gaudily colored neo-tropical parrots that range from very large to small.
The day was typically hot and humid. It was 1979 and I had been invited to visit Ramon Noegel and Greg Moss, the former the doyen of Amazon parrot breeding in the US. Noegel achieved what at the time was seen as the impossible—producing young from multiple pairs of Amazon parrots year after year.
… The birds were Black-headed Caiques Pionites melanocephalus. The coloration suggested it was a pair and their three young. As is typical of many small parrots in the neo-tropics, the bird slept in the cavity. ..
I can recall that day in the 1970s as if it were today. I had walked into a quarantine station to see several pairs of a new species… a species that was commanding a hefty price– $800.00 per pair.
Over many months and two separate trips, I watched as a pair of Bue and Gold Macaws Ara ararauna nested in a dead standing Buriti Palm Mauritia flexuosa.
The Guaraní Indian word for parakeets of the genus Brotogeris is tuí. In Psittaculture I used this name to describe the group as a whole, as the generic “South American parakeets” could be applied to many species in multiple genera.
I watched the bird in amazement. It would walk across a clothes line in an enclosed porch, chattering, lunging and moving, its tail open. I was probably 7 years old.