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?
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.
Parrots may be adorable pets and beloved additions to a family, but that doesn’t change the fact that a parrot is still a wild animal. A domesticated animal is genetically different from its wild counterpart. Dogs are a prime example of this – though they all descended from wolves, they have been selectively bred over many generations and are now genetically distinct from their wild ancestors. Despite parrots being one of man’s oldest companions, the only parrot that might reasonably be described as domesticated is the English budgie – a larger version of the native Australian budgerigar that is not found in the wild, and which was bred to be large and have certain features.