In the wild, these birds risk being caught.
Prized as pets, they are worth a lot.
Suddenly a male parrot swooped from a tree
and perched on the table right beside Dolly.
A “rare bird”, captured in illegal pet trade for speaking ability, often suffers abandonment if it cannot learn to speak by association of words to human activities and identities.
Rare Jewels? A rare bird is something unusual. Rarity often adds value. This value in a parrot is beauty and an ability to learn to speak with human words stimulated by their environment. Parrots are not the only talking birds.
Captive Audience? Crows, ravens, mockingbirds, Myna birds of the starling family, such songbirds as finches and other wild birds kept as pets can learn to mimic human words. The MBTA makes it illegal to own migratory birds.
Black Magic? The nocturnal Kakapo Owl Parrot is unique. It does not fly. It is friendly to humans. It is noisy at night, making it a poor pet choice. In any event, it is nearing extinction and protected from hunting or harm.
Sour Orange? Some birds are poisonous to eat or touch. The ifrita, pitohui, rufous shrike-thrush and spur-winged goose are dangerous. Their skin and feathers are toxic to humans, causing numbness, paralysis and death.
Love Hue? Parakeets are members of the colorful, intelligent parrot family. A Budgie is a type of parakeet, so it also is a parrot family member. Although a Parakeet is not necessarily a Budgie, neither species is rare.
Soft Touch? A fast-rising star is the Parrotlet, or “pocket parrot”. This miniature parrot fits in a pocket. Small parrots need less space, care and food than large ones, like macaws. Most macaws are extinct or endangered.
High Fidelity? Cockatiels are members of the parrot family. These popular Australian natives thrive in captivity. They make friendly, small, playful pets for first-time owners. They may perform better as whistlers than speakers.
Learn to Speak
Fired Up? Here's how parrots learn to speak: They gradually associate words with human activities or identities, such as greetings and names. Their vocabularies may be limited to a very few words.
Moving On? Not all parrots learn to talk. It takes regular practice to teach a bird to talk. Training begins with simple sounds and words. The slow process frustrates expectations for instant gratification.
Wild at Heart? Parrots are sought for beauty and talking ability. Those with bad character may not sell. These may be abandoned where they cannot survive. Some species have fewer than 100 members left in the wild.
Says It All? About one third of parrots face extinction. This is largely due to human activity. Many species are endangered by hunting, pesticides, pollution and loss of habitat. Animal welfare volunteers are needed.
All Tied Up? Protection of native species benefits everyone. Communities are involved in protecting the parrot species native to their locations. Creating alternative means of income may reduce crimes against birds.
Mixed Feelings? Dolly is a lucky bird. Her story stirs emotional changes. It ends in renewal and restoration. Poultry generally is not so lucky. Meat and egg-laying exploitation delivers brief, captive lives to painful slaughter.
The Future Looks Bright? Facts may end bird hoarding, killing and neglect. To learn which parrots are most at risk and what actions may help this family, Parrot Fun Zone offers additional bird-friendly insights and information.
Illegal Pet Trade
Tough Luck? Wildlife traffickers are criminals. Tourism and travel sectors should become involved. Urgent collaboration is needed to halt the decline in animal health and welfare. Foul Someone's Nest is an understatement.
Be Moved? Forest and timber crimes are industrial in scale. Valuable habitats are chopped down or burned. Habitats are compromised by human migration and encroachment of residential and commercial development.
Evolutionarily Distinctive? The Giant Ibis (Thaumatibis gigantea) is far larger than its small, common lowland relative. This majestic species has the smallest living population, making it the world's most endangered bird.
Ahead of the Curve? Organizations and laws are in place to reverse the losses. Organizations manage and restore habitats. They re-introduce species into once-native environments. Laws prevent capture and egg poaching.
All the Moves? CITES protects wild flora and fauna. It pledges strong action against animal crimes and requires registration of commercial breeding operations. It holds World Wildlife Day among global events.
Free as a Bird? The Beatles' song named after this expression asks:
Whatever happened to the life that we once knew? Always made me feel so free. Birds should live safe and free to do as they want without worries.
Depressing Song? In Free as a Bird, John Lennon looks back with fond nostalgia. It became a swan song. After this composer's untimely death, and before disbanding, the rest of the group finished his final effort.
Nature Video The author's “grand chicks” and “grand bird dog” prepare the site of a future coop. They'll live days free and spend nights safe from predators. The video is provided courtesy of her daughter. (31 seconds)