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Category: Conservation

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My Question: I spoke with a gentleman from Africa at the Loro Parque Convention in Sept. I related to some bird people his story that African Grey body parts, not just the live birds themselves, are collected and sold in Africa. He said sometimes grenades are thrown into flocks to kill them for ease of collecting parts. One of the bird people, a frequent naysayer said he thought these were just made up stories and not true. Would be nice if I am wrong, but I wonder.... Could WPT shed some light on this issue? Are the birds being killed for their body parts? If true are there some on-line reports that I could distribute to these unbelievers?

Thank you.
Janice Boyd

Answered by Jamie Gilardi:

Dear Janice, This is a good question and one we've puzzled over for the last few years. You may recall that we ran a short piece on this in the PsittaScene with some grisly pictures of grey parrot heads and tails which were apparently being traded for sale. Clearly there has been at least one incident of this type in Cameroon, and at the time, the suggestion was that the parts were being sold in Nigeria.

Since that time, we have asked all our contacts in that part of the world if they know of substantial trade of any parrot parts. From what we've heard back, it sounds like this might have been a fairly isolated incident, possibly the result of a trader making the best of a group of birds which died off unexpectedly. This sort of thing happens from time to time, including a tragic incident involving the deaths of over 700 greys in South Africa recently (traded live birds that didn't survive the flight). Although this was not the case in South Africa, my guess would be that traders who find themselves with a bunch of dead birds might well try to find a market for their feathers or other parts. In the end, just about anything is possible, so it's probably hasty to rule anything out, however, we haven't encountered any solid evidence that such a trade exists on a scale even remotely like that of the trade in live birds. I've heard the grenade rumor too, but haven't heard of any direct observations of such barbarism, nor indicators that is at all widespread.

Of concern here is how people perceive the value of working to stop the wild bird trade. For many years, we've faced a lot of opposition from governments and even 'conservation' ngo's who feel that either the wild bird trade is a positive activity which provides jobs for local people, or that it can't be stopped, or some combination of both. Typically when a ban or a moratorium comes into play, there are large groups of birds in the pipeline which are suddenly caught in an awkward situation - they've already been harvested despite the policy change, but the traffickers can't get export permits. In general, we work pretty hard to release these birds back to the wild, and ideally to reintroduce the species in question into areas where they are locally extinct, but many people who favor the trade see these incidents as "proof" that the trade can't be stopped and shouldn't be stopped. Naturally, if birds are being eaten for food or being killed and sold for their parts, these same voices are likely to latch on to such observations as justification for their pro-trade positions. There is a fairly detailed discussion of some of these issues on this thread in our forums if you'd like to delve in more deeply.

In the end, we feel that major bans on trade like the ones in Australia, USA, and EU have had dramatic and lasting consequences, nearly eliminating the international legal trade in wild birds. Recent figures from the WCMC suggest that the EU ban alone has eliminated over 90% of the legal trade - many millions of birds each year, as illustrated in the chart below.

image

There is still a lot of work to do in places like Africa and South America, but we're making strides now country-by-country, including Cameroon where thousands of greys have been confiscated from traffickers and released in recent years (more info about that here)

All best wishes,
Jamie

filed under: Conservation

Miami Florida has a feral flock of over 20 Blue and gold Macaws that have been existing for over 30 years. Bill Pranty wrote an article published in the Florida Field Naturalist (Vol.38, No 2) published by the Florida Ornithological Society. I'm second author as I've collected data and been involved with the macaws for 15 years. I am asking for advise about building suitable artificial nest boxes. The wild flock's main problem is finding dead palms as people in an upscale urban immediately cut dead palms down.

The Tropical Audubon Society is 100 % in favor and helped me put up a commercial box that failed because we probably used the wrong tree and bees inhabited it immediately. I have the financial means to put up these nesting boxes myself but want to do it properly this time. Correct design and correct location. By the way, the wild macaws are attracted to my backyard feeder because I live opposite a wildlife refuge, near Fairchild Tropical Gardens and I have 5 large macaws (hens) as pets that I let fly free ( supervised). Part of the flock come daily.

Daria Feinstein

Answered by Jamie Gilardi:

Dear Daria, Interesting question indeed! While we don’t advocate for the promotion of non-native species, especially non-threatened species well outside their historic range, we can provide a bit of background as most of this information is readily available on the web and in published papers and books.

Most macaw nest boxes are made either out of wood or PVC plastic, and there are benefits and drawbacks to both options. You can get lots of dimensions on the web, but in practice it seems the bigger the better for the internal dimensions. If the entrance is just big enough to allow the adults in (check with your captive birds), that should be fine. Often people staple wire mesh from the entrance to where the eggs and chicks sit so that the adults and later the chicks can easily climb up and down that surface. Or you can use roughened wood there if you prefer.

Some birds seem to prefer horizontal boxes rather than vertical ones, or a vertical entrance with a lower chamber which has a lot of floor space. Our field teams have reported that this species seems to nest almost exclusively in palms, so you may want to attach your boxes to palm trunks at least at first.

Bees are likely to be an issue for just about any box, and these non-natives are a serious pest of many cavity nesting birds, especially parrots. There are four options you might try, 1. hope for the best, 2. add another box for the bees with a small downward facing entrance and a pheromone lure (commercially available), 3. remove any hives that set up shop in your boxes, or 4. treat the boxes with an insecticide which is toxic to bees and not to parrots (Permethrin and Vapona have been used with success. The other thing that can help is to line the underside of the top of the box with plastic which the bees will have a hard time attaching their combs too and that seems to help. Obviously if you’re using PVC for your lid, you’re all set.

Given that you work with the Tropical Audubon Society, you should definitely address the fact that this species is not native to Florida, nor has there ever been a large macaw in North America as far as we know. Cuba isn’t far off, and there was a Scarlet-like macaw there, so who knows, maybe some macaw bones will show up in the FL fossil record someday. In any case, at minimum, you should be clear from the start what your intention is with these birds. Is it a small and stable population there, is it a growing population, are you hoping these birds will represent an ecological replacement for a species which is now extinct? Feral parrots in FL are both common and controversial as I’m sure you’re aware.

Good luck and please let us know how the birds are responding to your efforts,

Jamie

filed under: Conservation

Hi, My latest information from WWF is that Carnaby's Black Cockatoo in South Western Australia is in trouble with recent fires and extreme weather causing many deaths. This endangered parrot is in danger of being wiped out. Do you have any new information on this situation?
Thanks,
Rachel Cassidy

Answered by WPT Administrator:

Hi Rachel, thank you for your great question! We've asked Birds Australia to comment, as they have has an ongoing conservation program for the birds for many years. Here is the reply we received from Cheryl Gole, Manager, Important Bird Areas Project - Birds Australia

"...Despite the fact that a number of Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoos have been killed or injured in severe weather events in the last few months, the species is not highly localized, so the impact on the species as a whole was not immediately critical. Across its range, the species is declining; it has disappeared from approximately one third of its historic range.

Birds Australia WA initiated a Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo Recovery Project in 2001 and, in one form or another, the project has continued ever since. Some, but not all, of the project history and current action is captured on the Birds Australia WA website here: http://www.birdsaustralia.com.au/our-projects/carnabys-black-cockatoo-recovery.html

Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo is a south west Australia endemic. Two other south west endemic parrot species (full species, not sub-species) are also under threat: Baudin’s Black-Cockatoo is now listed as Vulnerable under Australian Government legislation. Western Ground Parrot, formerly thought to be a sub-species, is now recognized as one of Australia’s most endangered birds. Not yet listed under the Australian Government’s EPBC Act, it is listed under Western Australian State legislation as Critically Endangered..."

We expect to receive additional details soon and will post the information here upon our receipt.

Many thanks again,
Best, Steve Milpacher - WPT Webmaster

filed under: Conservation

Do you think that it is a hopeful/useful developement that certain parrot species are living successfully in cities? Should conservation biologists support and aid these developements? IF so would this be world wide or only in the birds natural ranges? IF not, what are your reasons?

Dot Schwarz UK

Answered by Jamie Gilardi:

Dear Dot, I believe that would be three questions - actually four because the first is really two bundled together wink.

First, is it hopeful? Absolutely. It’s great to see these parrots showing us how flexible they can be, sorting out all sorts of new challenges and solving the many problems of urban live. To paraphrase ol’ blue eyes, if they can make it there …

Is it useful? Sure, if we’re observant and resourceful, we can learn from parrots regardless of where they dwell, whether that’s in our living rooms, in New York City, or on some lush tropical island. Last time I was watching some of the Amazons in Los Angeles, a small sub-flock was demolishing some dark green, very unripe persimmons with relish. If you’ve ever tried to eat a slightly unripe persimmon, they are extremely astringent, about the nastiest thing you can imagine putting in your mouth! More recently, I had the pleasure of watching some of the famous “Parrots of Telegraph Hill” in San Francisco. Among their many interesting behaviors, they were consuming impressive quantities of the outer bark of a huge elm tree (that wasn't very tasty either). There are a lot of useful things to be learned from watching and living around these birds, things that should help us better care for our captive charges and in some cases even inform our work with wild parrots in their native habitats.

Should conservation biologists support and aid these developments? Conserving nature is always a complex and difficult task. The fact that some parrot species can live and even thrive in developed areas is well known, it is hard to ignore, and oftentimes these birds are impressive spectacle to experience. That does not necessarily mean that 1. these populations are a positive development for conservation, or 2. that precious conservation dollars should be spent on them.

As you know, most urban parrots are found well outside their natural ranges and most are recently introduced. Often, what we’re looking at is the first couple of decades after they’ve become established, and sometimes less. What we do not know, and in many cases can not predict, is where these populations are going to go 50 or 100 years from now in terms of numbers of birds, where they will live, and what they will eat. Will they expand their ranges well beyond the developed areas, much as Ring-necked Parakeets have done in parts of the UK and on the continent, and as Monk or Quaker Parakeets have done in many places? Some species clearly do expand, whereas others may not.

When they do expand, their populations create at least two serious issues, conflicts with native birds and conflicts with agriculture. The first can be a conservation concern, particularly since native birds which nest in cavities are often limited by nest site availability (humans and loggers like to cut down dead trees and remove dead branches and other non-natives birds are a problem here too). The second issue – conflict with agriculture - is more likely to be a welfare concern because when dollars/pounds/Euro are involved, people are bound to start killing parrots by the thousands (think Australia and Florida).

In parrot conservation, there is always a lot more work to be done than there is funding available to do it. Ideally then, we would all be extremely careful about how we spend these limited funds, and to be sure that we prioritize our efforts to save the most threatened species first. And given that there are over 90 species considered globally threatened by the IUCN, we clearly have our work cut out for us. So, let’s just say, we’re talking about a high priority species – is it worth studying, supporting, or otherwise investing in individuals of this species living in a city. In most real-life situations, there will be many options available to help support the recovery of a given species, and some of these will include the possibility of saving them in their native habitat. In every case we’ve encountered in our 20 years of saving parrots from extinction, conservation cash has always been far better spent helping these birds in the wild, in their native range, and in their native forests, wetlands, deserts, mountains, or wherever it is the parrot naturally occurs.

And of course, conservation of a parrot species involves more than just making sure there are X thousands of birds of a given species on the planet, it involves understanding and resolving the threats to the species in the wild, ensuring that each species has ample healthy habitat, and that its prospects for the foreseeable future are secure. This can only work when we are able to save the bird and the bird's natural habitat.

There is yet another important benefit from focusing our conservation effort on the birds in their natural ecosystems. Because parrots are among the most spectacular and compelling inhabitants of nearly every place where they naturally occur, they make outstanding ambassadors or conservation 'flagships' which can encourage the preservation of these natural places, including of course all the plants, animals, fungi, etc. living there. In the end, saving a parrot where it belongs saves more than just that one species, it saves the whole ecosystem.

It is maybe worth mentioning as an aside here that in recent years we have encountered some unique situations where parrots have been released in to urban and suburban areas, sometimes with success and sometimes with local conservation consequences. In most cases, these are birds which have been confiscated from traders, rehabilitated and released. Anytime this occurs and the birds establish populations in an area where they have been extirpated, that action is clearly beneficial to those individuals involved as well as the biodiversity of that area. We’ve supported some of this work in past years, most recently the release of confiscated Grey Parrots in Cameroon, but also see a story on the successful release of Gold-capped Conures in Brazil from the November 2002 Psittascene (free download at psittascene.org). When done right, these efforts can generate substantial welfare benefits, sparing thousands of birds’ lives, and also send shockwaves through the trafficker and trapper networks.

While we at the Trust more than open to creative approaches to conservation of parrots, for the time being, it appears unlikely that urban parrot populations will make a truly significant contribution to the recovery of a threatened species in the wild. For these reasons, when we work to save wild parrot species, our efforts are nearly always focused on doing so in the species natural range and in their natural habitat.

All best wishes,

Jamie

filed under: Conservation

Jamie, I have been studying the Parrot Action Plan, trying to find a way to help the WPT with the small amount that I have to donate. I have a few questions for you:

2.) This question pertains to page 100 of the Parrot Action Plan. I'm going to quote a portion of it for other readers of this message:

"Parrot biologists can help to identify critical linkages in habitat connectivity for species facing severe habitat fragmentation. ...the current multi-national effort to implement the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor in Central America should maintain and in some cases, create, key linkages for habitat connectivity.
Brazil's recent strategic plans to establish a network of biological corridors between protected areas may advance conservation possibilities for severely threatened parrots... ...increasing both the connectivity between reserves as well as the altitudinal representation of mosaics of important habitats. Since most Andean reserves were historically designed with altitudinal lower limits, many parrot species appear to be suffering from lack of continuous altitudinal habitats for seasonal foraging or reproductive migrations."

The Vinaceous Amazon comes to mind here because they only exist in isolated pockets of habitation right now. They are endangered and I'm afraid that they will be extinct in the wild soon if something like this isn't done. This bird is being bred now in the USA for the pet trade, but that isn't going to help the indigenous parrots who may end up going the way of the Spix's Macaw.

So my question is this: Is this the smartest place to donate money to help parrots in the long run? (For the establishment of some flight corridors.) Or, would it be wiser to donate to the WPT and allow them to make the best choices? I'm thinking here of the future of parrots in general, and survival for the most species possible.

My first thought about where to donate this money was toward the Patagonian Conure project. If it would be possible for the WPT to actually buy up those cliff sites and some surrounding land, just think what it would do for that species. I have 3 Patagonian conures right now and I adore them. I understand that their habitat is becoming more and more threatened.

Cindi Eppers

Answered by Jamie Gilardi:


Dear Cindi,

I think that's maybe several questions in one! You're right that the remaining Vinaceous Amazons are distributed in patches and have suffered a great deal of habitat loss. They are also targets of the illegal trade, primarily for the domestic markets in Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. Aiding the recovery of this species is unfortunately not as straightforward as buying or restoring habitat between these patches, and there may even be movements among some of the patches which would negate the value of such corridors, at least for the parrots. Moreover, working on supporting enforcement of existing laws, educational campaigns, and other efforts to protect the birds in the wild may be the most cost effective and rapid way to support the recovery of this species.

Over the past 20 years, we've come to understand that there are a number of really important components in any successful conservation project, and chief among them is the presence of a local researcher or NGO which is competent and enthusiastic about saving the species. Where I think we can be very helpful at the Trust, is working through our networks of researchers, identifying collaborators who are going to get the job done, then doing our best to provide them with the funds, tools, and technical support to make the project a success. Asking these kinds of questions is a GREAT place to start, as we can help give you a sense for where we think such support can be most effectively spent, both in terms of geography and in terms of the species in question.

For the Patagonian Conures, it's not possible to buy El Condor itself, and there is a great chance that it will receive full protection very shortly. On the other hand, there may be other colonies where a land purchase (or other creative arrangement) may be possible, and it may make a big difference in the end. That said, one of the primary threats to this species was the widespread and LEGAL harvesting of this species for the European pet trade. As this has now stopped, the Argentine government is no longer allowing thousands of these birds to be taken from the wild each year.

All best wishes,

Jamie


filed under: Conservation

Jamie, I have been studying the Parrot Action Plan, trying to find a way to help the WPT with the small amount that I have to donate. I have a few questions for you:

1.) Recently a couple donated $15,000 and the "campaign" they ran on was to match whatever donations the other WPT trustees could donate. Happily, that amount was raised and they matched it. This basically doubled their contribution to the WPT (in a sense). It was a great way to raise funds. If I wanted to donate somewhere between one and two thousand dollars, is it possible to do something like that? How would I go about it? Do I need to contact someone, in particular, get it put on the WPT website, in the Psittascene magazine, or what?

Cindi Eppers

Answered by Jamie Gilardi:

Dear Cindi,

Great question!  We were thrilled with the initial donation and the fact that it inspired so many people to contribute, effectively doubling the outcome.

And yes, by all means, simply contact us at any of our branches by either email or telephone and we’ll work with you on how best to proceed.  To set up a matching campaign like this requires a bit of work, so it really only makes sense when the added value more than compensates for the staff time required to set it all up and to get the word out.  One thing that works very well is for supporters to talk to their good friends who care about nature conservation in general, to see if they can make the initial pledge more significant from the get go.  There are few things more convincing than someone making a compelling case for something and for them to be putting their own funds forward to support the cause in question.  So the idea my be that you can grow your initial sum by several fold, then take that sum and use it to catalyze a matching funds campaign. 

Please let us know if we can help with more details or suggestions along these lines, and thank you for your enthusiastic support!

All best wishes,

Jamie

filed under: Conservation

Hi. I am writing with more of an educational question. I am currently an
undergraduate Biology student and wish to go on for my M.S./PhD. I have a
general interest in avian conservation but I would like to focus my
research on parrot conservation. With this in mind, I have searched the
internet exhaustively to find professors doing research on parrot
conservation and can't seem to find anyone - in the U.S. that is. I've
come across many professors studying parrot vocalizations, but no one
really doing conservation work. Do you know of anyone in the U.S. that is
studying parrots, or would be willing to support a student who would like
to? I'm not sure how closely my interests have to correspond with the
interests of the professor, but it would be nice to work with someone who
knows a little about parrot ecology and behavior.

Any help you could provide me with would be greatly appreciated!

Answered by Jamie Gilardi:

Dear Sandra,

Your question is a very good one, and one we are often asked at WPT, and if you don't mind, I'm going to assume you're asking about field work on wild parrots. Although there is a lot of student interest in such work, I'm afraid there aren't a lot of slots out there waiting for new students to come along and show such interest. One short answer to your question is to simply spend time on Google Scholar searching for as many current papers on parrots, conservation, behavior, and the other things that interest you, read the papers, learn which professors are focused on things that interest you, and narrow down your search that way.

In addition, because parrots mostly live in countries other than where these graduate schools are located, there are nearly always language and cultural challenges which need to be addressed. If you haven't already traveled to the country or area in question, when possible, we encourage students to take the time to do so, and to try to visit field sites while they're there. That usually gives you a very clear and direct experience with all sorts of realities which will be crucial to designing and carrying out a successful field research program. It also helps you make a credible case when you're approaching the faculty members you've selected as to why you've chosen that country (or site or species), how you think you can get the work done, and what research questions you think are important and answerable.

In my experience, most faculty feel they have a full plate most of the time. But they are also inspired by new students who have shown initiative and have taken several steps toward the launch of a serious graduate research effort.

Best of luck, and I look forward to one day hearing from one of my parrot colleagues about this "highly motivated new student named Sandra ...." grin

All best wishes,

Jamie

filed under: Conservation

My Question: What facilities breed the Blue Headed Macaw (worldwide), that are CITES approved.

Bart

Answered by Jamie Gilardi:

Hi Bart, Most of the Blue-headed Macaws in captivity outside of South America are to the best of my knowledge, in Europe. Only a small number are here in the USA, and I think you can still see them on exhibit at the Houston Zoo.

As you may know, CITES is an international agreement which primarily regulates trade in endangered species. If someone wants to move an appendix I or II animal from one country to another, then CITES permits may or may not be issued by the importing country and the exporting country depending on many details of the individual birds themselves.

Many countries, particularly in Europe, have domestic regulations and paperwork which hinge on the CITES Appendix where the species is listed, however they just use the CITES categories, but CITES as an organization is not involved.

There are a few facilities (mostly outside Europe) which are registered by CITES for captive breeding, primarily for crocodilians and a few raptors. A few species of parrots are listed - the list can be found here http://www.cites.org/common/reg/e_cb.html then click on "List of species" on the left hand side - but no Blue-headed Macaws.

I hope this helps,

Jamie

filed under: Conservation

I am currently a biology student and have a great desire to gear my career toward parrot conservation and research. With this in mind, I was wondering what suggestions you had as far as getting experience in this particular field. Whether it be through interns or strictly volunteer positions, I really want to get my foot in the door as soon as possible and wanted to know what the best way to do this was. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Sandra

Answered by Jamie Gilardi:

Dear Sandra,

You’ve asked and excellent, if difficult, question. As you know, parrots live in parts of the world which are generally quite different from where you’re likely to be (I’m assuming USA based on your ‘foot in the door’ comment). So field work is likely to involve different climates, different cultures, and nearly always different languages.

Some people are really interested in a particular species or region or habitat type and that interest should probably be a guide for where to get started. Find out who is working in that area or on that species in the wild, looking as broadly as possible, then start communicating as much as you can. What you’re after is pulling together enough background such that you can plan and carry out a trip to the area which will open your eyes to the realities and opportunities awaiting you on the ground there.

So, if you’re interested in macaws in Central America for example, you might want to spend some time in the Yucatan and then also in Costa Rica. If you make contact with researchers in both places, ask if you can visit and possibly volunteer on their projects, then line up a trip itinerary which will work to spend time in each area/project of interest.

When you get there, you’ll likely get an immediate feel for whether the place, people, language, habitat, etc. are a good fit for you. Some people get into a rainforest for the first time and they find the humidity and darkness to be incredibly uncomfortable, others find it to be comforting, beautiful, and rich. Of course, lots of parrots live in dry forests, or not even forests at all, and you may find that such open areas are either boring or spectacularly beautiful … depends on you!

The same issues hold for the species in question, your fellow researchers, and the local cultures – you may click, you may not, and the only real way to know is to go see for yourself. You may find that the cockatoo in your bedroom which is endlessly fascinating, is incredibly hard to see in the wild. Maybe just when you finally do see one, it flies off over a huge canyon and disappears over a mountain on the horizon.

When you do find a place which you find comfortable and exciting, keep your mind open about study subjects and questions. It may be that you really love this one particular macaw, but in fact, the more common parakeets in the area are much more easy to observe, and they’re clearly up to some interesting things worth studying. It might not even be a parrot, or not even a bird you end up studying … at that point, especially if you’re doing graduate work, you should focus on what you find to be intellectually most stimulating, challenging, and tractable, such that you become a great researcher in the end.

One thing to bear in mind is that most people with active research projects can always use functional people who are willing to volunteer and to really help out. But they also don’t have time to baby sit and they don’t want to deal with people who are just figuring out that the rainforest is rainy and sometimes you get wet! If you approach them and you’re honest about your experience and what you have to offer the project, and you make it clear that you’re willing to work, you’ll likely find people are quite receptive.

Good luck!

Jamie

filed under: Conservation

I have a 2 year old Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoo hen, Perdy . She lives in 35 meter aviary with 15 mixed species or in the house with 2 pet Greys. I think she needs a companion. Should I look for a male or a female given that her species in CITES1 in the wild. Dorothy Schwarz

Answered by Jamie Gilardi:

It really sounds like your bird has a LOT of potential companions already, but back to that in a minute. I suspect what you're really wondering is whether there is a sound conservation justification for breeding your female cockatoo because this species is quite rare in the wild (recall that CITES status isn't specifically about rareness, rather the potential or real threat from trade). Given your bird's history of being around other parrots in the west, it would be very difficult for your bird to be paired for conservation breeding strictly from a disease standpoint. Even if your birds are extraordinarily healthy, they clearly have had opportunities to pick up all sorts of things from all over the world - directly or indirectly - and many of these diseases can be hard to detect. As there are some islands in Indonesia with reasonable numbers of these birds, it is unlikely that captive pet birds like yours or their progeny will play a direct role in the recovery of the species in the wild. Clearly, there are a few species of parrots for which every individual is of potential conservation significance, but these are tremendously rare species like Kakapo, Spix's Macaws, and the like.

But that of course does not mean that your bird(s) can't have huge conservation significance in terms or raising awareness and support for the conservation of their brethren in the wild. Your birds are great ambassadors for their species and for parrots in general. Because they are such engaging and spectacular animals, captive parrots create great opportunities to educate and inspire individuals to help conservation all over the world. Many of the most consistent and generous supporters of parrot conservation have been inspired by a relationship or experience with a single bird and yours may well have the same great influence on people.

In terms of companionship, it's very hard to guess what would be best for your bird without experiencing the individual(s) in question and watching very carefully. My colleagues and I go back and forth on the question of the specific benefits of companionship with a bird's own species vs. other species. Part of the reason for this must be that species and individuals vary a great deal, and some treat birds of their own or other species like potted plants, while others would happily move in with the neighbor's cat (I've had both extremes in my time). If your cockatoo really doesn't get much out of your other birds, you might ask around local rescue centers to see if there is a cockatoo you might introduce her to to see how they get on. But as a cockatoo owner, I'm sure you're aware that there are big and sometimes dangerous gender differences, so be careful, talk to other's knowledgeable about this, and tread cautiously. And of course, practice very careful biosecurity whenever introducing your birds to others or others to your flock.

All best wishes,

Jamie

filed under: Conservation

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