July 1, 2008

Want a pet bird? Read this first

No, this isn't a post about psittacosis. Gina's covered that. This post is a reminder — OK, a warning — that parrots and macaws and cockatoos live longer than many people and need more care than the most demanding human infant. When pet birds don't get the care they need and deserve, they go nuts. The cockatoo in the photo is wearing a collar to prevent him from self-mutilating. Hell of a life for a creature that may live to 90.

Charlie the macaw is one of the lucky ones. Charlie lives with artist/author and most excellent blogger Julie Zickefoose, and you can read [or listen to] her NPR commentary on Charlie here. "Parrots can be delightful," she says. "But they are raunchy, awful pets." On her blog Julie posted a link to a great site about cockatoos, and how badly suited they are to captivity:
Though cockatoos are special head cases in captivity, much of what appears on this site applies to other large parrots and macaws. It's well-written and honest. I wish I'd been able to visit this site in 1986.
Here's the link. Give it a read before you take on the humongous and in many cases lifelong responsibility of a pet bird. [One more warning: you might want to turn the speakers down if you're at work.]

1 comment:

Caveat said...

Our neighbour, about age 40, had a parrot, which I discovered when clearing out my Mum's house prior to the sale (after her death). I asked Sheila what that awful screeching coming from her house was.

"A parrot" she said in her flat manner.

I said "Those things live a long time, you know. Often, their owners predecease them."

She replied "Yes, and the owners are glad to go."