The internet is full of “expert” advice. Often such advice covers key areas like diet, avian medicine and pet ownership.
The breeders wanted to know what species I recommended that was easily bred, required little care and would make them money. My first thought was a wooden parrot carving: it would require no care, cleaning or feeding, could never become ill and would always be beautiful..
Some time back, a person who could no longer own her Goffin´s Cockatoo approached me. She was looking for a home for her bird.
It was 1976 when I first saw the species. In the quarantine of George Kroesen there were hundreds. The birds congregated in the farthest corner, each trying to hide.
During my more than 40 years´ as an aviculturist I have been a prodigious note taker. I write down everything of interest, or have ledgers where I continuously add notes. An old edition of Joseph Forshaw´s Parrots of the World has a broken spine and is full of pieces of paper containing notes, or these are added to the margins of text or illustrations.
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.
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 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.