The Lives of Parrots and People - Part III
Today we continue our journey through the Valle Department of Southern Honduras. Last week we visited Tio's (Uncle's house) and this week we visit three other homes with parrots.The first house as two little parakeets sharing a cage (orange-fronted and orange-chinned parakeets). The owners seem proud of their birds, whom they report do not have clipped wings and eat everything that the humans do. They also never get out of their cage. I asked the husband how the birds came to be in his home, and he said he shot them down with a slingshot and gave them as presents to his wife.
Cage of mixed parakeets
The next house has two siblings that came to the home as young chicks. Their diet is more restricted: mango, rice, and corn mush. Like the previous house they do not have clipped wings and never leave their cage.
Sibling orange-fronted parakeets
Our last house has two parrots - an endangered yellow-naped amazon and an orange-fronted parakeet. The amazon has severe feather damage brought on most likely from stress, boredom, and malnutrition, although we cannot rule out disease just by looking at the bird. This household also engages in poultry production, and I suggest to the owner that she can improve the diet of her parrots by feeding them high quality chicken concentrate feed.
Self inflicted feather damage for this yellow-naped amazon parrot
At these homes we make suggestions on improving the welfare of their parrot companions, and also deliver a conservation message.All these birds need more diversion, better food, exercise, company, better sanitation, and access to clean water. The humans who share their lives with these parrots seem open to ideas, and mostly treat their birds badly because they do not know differently.
As we drive away I think how little money and resources it would take to vastly improve the lives of the parrots here, as well as to protect them in the wild from the rampant poaching. I vow, along with my companions, to return, and do just that.
Chicken with beak clipped to curtail destructive behavior
This blog first appeared on Lafeber Conservation.