reading for those that care about parrots
usual manner, Mira Tweti has written a compelling and comprehensive account
about the relationship between parrots and humans
.of all motivations
named of Parrots and People. Per Jane Goodall Ph.D, DBE; founder, Jane
Goodall Institute; UN Messender of Peace:
Tweti shares engaging stories about individual parrots and their dedicated
owners. But she also tells of the multitude of parrots suffering in captivity,
and how the pet trade has brought many species to the brink of extinction in
the wild. Informative, compassionate, and very entertaining. Of Parrots and
People is a book for animal lovers everywhere.
can read in the article below, Tweti revisits Martha Scudders Parrot Depot in
her book. While all of the book is important reading for those that care about
parrots, chapter 6, Death Row and a Death Row Reprieve: The Notorious
Scudders Parrot Depot and the Stellar Cockatoo Rescue should be of
particular interest to readers of this site.
timing of this article is of added importance because of a fluff piece that
was published in the Nisqually Valley News October 31: http://www.yelmonline.com/storynews.php?subaction=showfull&id=1225495015&archive=&start_from=&ucat=1
will be interested, if not horrified, to see that Martha Scudder and her
live-in boyfriend Bob Vincent have opened a new parrot business in Yelm, WA, called Parrotique. They are selling not only parrot products but, of
course, parrots which they proudly announce to hand rear. More amazingly, in
the Nisqually article Bob Vincent twice states that he and Martha were
are a lot of people who do backyard breeding, but they havent bought a
license, Vincent said.
process makes the pet owner wait, it is important to buy from a licensed
breeder because many parrots are endangered species, Vincent said.
Were puzzled about to what kind of
license Vincent is referring. Vincent, Scudder and the majority of the breeder
contingent have successfully fought against aviary licensing since it was first
proposed in Pierce County in 2004. The licensing ordinance has never been passed
in the County, therefore no breeder license existsVincents comments are
disingenuous at best. Most likely he is referring to a business license,
easily obtained in Washington State by submitting nothing more than a simple
form and $15.
The editors want to thank Mira
Tweti for her continued dedication, extensive research, courage, and unfailing
spirit. We hope the readers will read this very important book and spread the
word of the plight of parrots everywhere. We also hope that those in Washington will not forget the case that provided most of the documentation for this site
or the plight of the parrots still living in that breeding facility.
Author probes the ways we mistreat
Mira Tweti heaps so much praise
on parrots in Of Parrots and People that readers might want to bring one
home. Thats exactly what she hopes to prevent.
reveals parrots to be human-like in their intelligence, vocabulary skills and
social sensibilities traits that have doomed them to cages for centuries.
the praise is prelude to 300 pages of investigative journalism aimed at
discouraging parrot ownership.
explains why life in a cage is particularly miserable for parrots. She
documents the cruelty of breeding operations and follows firsthand the chain of
parrot possession from jungle to living room. Its not a pretty story.
possibly descended from dinosaurs, have the intelligence of a 3- to 5-year-old
human. They mate for life, grieve for lost flockmates, defend one another
fiercely and bond strongly with humans.
introduces us to birds that use hundreds of words in their proper context. With
focused training, parrots can learn to count, grasp such concepts as time and
grammar and even dictate poetry.
those brains and beauty besides: Who wouldnt want one as a pet?
parrots are loud, annoying, destructive and able to inflict painful bites. Rare
is the person who will hang in there with a high-maintenance pet that might
live for upwards of 65 years.
who lives in Los Angeles, defines a good parrot home as one where the bird is
free to fly and has such enrichments as daily baths, time outdoors, mental
stimulation, nurturing and social interaction.
homes are rare, and when the honeymoon is over, parrots become hand-me-downs:
Hidden in back rooms, closets or garages until a new owner is found. Neglected
parrots can become psychotic and many resort to self-mutilation.
devotion to parrots was inspired by her muse, a green-naped lorikeet named
Mango whose intelligence she began to appreciate after the bird apologized for
biting her. The book, the product of five years of travel, research and
writing, is dedicated to Mango, who died in 2006. Its pages are filled with
villains, including trappers, smugglers, breeders, retailers and the owners of Americas millions of neglected birds.
heroes are attentive parrot owners parronts and rescuers who devote their
lives and homes to abandoned birds. Tweti visits several of the avian rescues
that house unwanted birds brought to the U.S. during a 20-year boom that began
in the 1970s (TVs Baretta with his yellow-headed cockatoo, Fred, helped feed
couple who run Foster Parrots in Boston keep 280 parrots in their house, yard
and barn. Their lives are an endless cycle of cleaning, feeding and looking for
Lori Rutledges Cockatoo Rescue in Stanwood, Snohomish County, colonies of
birds flock together in airy cages on 40 secluded acres.
On the flip side are the bird mills of breeders.
Tweti visits Martha Scudders Parrot Depot near Roy, a concentration camp for
birds that she exposed in a 2005 article in The News Tribune. Subsequent
attempts to get birds added to a Pierce County ordinance regulating the humane
treatment of animals failed. Scudders operation is one of 20 breeding
operations in Washington.
of the happiest parrots are those who have escaped or been set free to flock
together in friendly climates. California and Florida are home to thousands of
parrots in a variety of species.
Americas only native parrot, the Carolina parakeet, became extinct long ago. With trapping and
smuggling kept profitable by worldwide demand, the same fate threatens parrots
all over the planet.
Only 10 percent of birds trapped in the wild live to
see the inside of a cage. Replacing lost flock mates is a slow process for
these long-lived birds.
has exploded with innovation such as fertilized eggs, the Internet and global
shipping services. The huge profits have attracted the likes of the Russian
mafia. Tweti is critical of international agreements that she believes are tailored
more toward business than conservation.
takes an inside look at bird smuggling alongside U.S. Fish & Wildlife agent
Sam Jojola of Los Angeles. She finds dozens of smuggled birds on sale at Los Angeles swap meets and pet stores.
a Spanish-speaking friend in tow, Tweti poses as an American bird buyer in Tijuana, Mexico, where roadside sellers tell her how easy it is to carry an illegal bird
across the border. The intrepid Tweti peppers them with so many questions about
their filthy cages that her interpreter worries for her safety.
travels to South America to meet Charles Munn, an American who devotes his
inheritance to saving the wild parrot. Since 1976 Munns nonprofit conservation
organization, Tropical Nature, has secured millions of acres of habitat in Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil, where rain forest is sacrificed on the altar of agribusiness at
the rate of a football field every second.
strategy is to convert trappers to a more sustainable enterprise: eco-tourism.
It works, but acquiring habitat before it goes under the plow is tricky and
costly. Tweti follows Munn deep into the Brazilian jungle to see the endangered
hyacinth macaw, the largest of parrots (3 feet from head to tail). In an area
where Munn is buying up land, 50 birds scrape out a living finding piacava nuts
on 1,000 acres.
Brazilian adventure continues in the Barreira Valley, one of the Lear macaws
last strongholds. Led by a reformed ex-trapper, her group must avoid being
followed by a man who recently stole six baby Lears from their nests. Only 600
remain in the wild.
journey continues at the zoo in Sao Paulo, where seven Spixs macaws, possibly
the rarest bird in the world, are in maximum security, protected by guards.
They are extinct in the wild, and the zoos captive breeding program is their
only hope of survival.
officials appreciate Tweti as a true friend to parrots and grant her a rare
visit to the Spixs. Her English evokes a happy response from Presley, a male
Spixs rescued after 25 years in a Colorado living room. It is one of many
intensely personal experiences Tweti shares in a book best described as a labor
of love. The final chapter is a scary vision of Earths future if changes
arent made in humankinds relationship with Mother Earth.
the parrot, save the world? It isnt that simple, but keeping parrots alive in
their native habitat would be a good start.
a creature that thrived for 65 million years can vanish from the planet, then
so can we.
Parrots and People: The Sometimes Funny, Always Fascinating, and Often
Catastrophic Collision of Two Intelligent Species
Penguin, 317 pages, $25.95
by Mira Tweti
There and Everywhere: The Story of Sreeeeeeeet the Lorikeet
by Lisa Brady
Press; 47 pages, $19.95, recommended for ages 9-12
one dollar, Eco-Libris will plant a tree as compensation for the paper used to
publish your copy of Of Parrots and People. Go to www.ecolibris.net/parrots.