Our world holds a whole host of glorious natural spectacles, from great starling murmurations to the ethereal display of coral reef spawning. But to me, none is more thrilling than catching a glimpse of the majestic macaw. Screeching their way through the Amazon rainforest, leaving scattered fruit, broken branches, and a considerable quantity of parrot poop in their wake, parrots are simply animals like no other. But high in the treetops, flying far above the dense, dark foliage below, how can you ensure that you see their bright colours?
Today is Amazon Day and The Nature Nook will be releasing a number of Amazon-related articles. Just to clarify, we aren’t celebrating the world’s largest online marketplace – but we are celebrating the world’s largest rainforest. Today’s What Animal Is It? features a bird that not only lives in the Amazon, but – potential spoilers ahead – also has the word ‘Amazon’ in its name.
In global terms, the rarest bird you stand a chance of realistically seeing in the wild in the British Isles is the aquatic warbler. Even then, you need to be in the right place at the right time and have a bit of luck on your side, because the aquatic warbler doesn’t breed here, or even spend the winter – it is only a rare passage migrant to our shores.
As I covered in this article, there are many things around your home that present a physical threat to free-flying birds. But some of the dangers lurking in our four walls actually come in the form of silent or invisible threats that can be toxic to parrots, causing long-term health implications or even sudden death. Parrots are extremely good at hiding illness or injury, a trait they share with most other prey animals. Opportunistic predators in the wild will jump at the chance to pick off any member of the flock that looks more vulnerable than the rest, so if a parrot is unwell it pays to pretend as if they’re fine.
When I was young, the first bird of prey that I was able to easily identify was the kestrel. I suspect the same is true of many other people. The kestrel’s silhouette, suspended in the sky as if by wire over some heathland or motorway, became instantly recognisable to me, for no other British bird of prey can hover in place with such utmost precision.