You maybe looking at the title, thinking, “Bloody, Psittacoidea. What the f–k is the Brummie going on about now?!” or “F–kin’ pretentious knobhead with his little Honduran slang words and long words.” Well, I’m not too bothered about what you think if it’s negative, but if you’ve a curious head on your shoulders, the word Psittacoidea is latin for the “parrot family”. As you might have guessed, “de amor” means “of love”. So, “parrots of love” you’re thinking, “why not just say “love birds”?” Well, I want to dedicate this to all parrots. When I was young, I kept budgerigars, cockatiels and quails. It started off with James that was a blue budgie. For whatever reason, he died, so we got a another blue budgie called Suzie (she was a bitch to tame and my dad’s name for her became jaws), then a year later we had a young spritey companion called James 2 who was gray (James and Suzie were named after two friends at school). We used to let them fly around the room and they would land on my head and I would feed them from my hand. My brother reminded me recently that I once wanted to be “the budgie man”. I thought they were the best thing ever and claimed they could kill Golden Eagles (I bet Suzie would had a good go) and I took them into school on pet days and they would interrupt Mr. Waller but everyone in the class enjoyed it because they thought Mr. Waller was a grade A dick (yes, even at 10 years old we can tell the difference between a good and a bad teacher, unfortunately Waller (who were referred to as Wanker) was the latter).
We decided to try and breed the budgies and had some advice from my father’s colleague who was professional breeder. I’ve forgotten his name but I think it was Ray. Anyway, Ray the budgie man got us started with a professional breeding cage with a couple of budgies. Suzie never took to James, neither in a bird cage or my friends at school. We went to bird shows at the NEC, and finally we found a pairing. I can’t remember the colour of the budgie, but he was a randy bugger, as was Suzie because after they had one batch of eggs, they were soon after some more. In fact, it was the second batch which gave us Joey, a blue and white little thing, that was made a bastard because Suzie pecked him out of the nest prematurely so she could carry on with her freestyling lovemaking. Poor Joey was unfortunately on the brink of death and was barely able to fly, so for a short while my father and I handreared him until he was able to go with the others. There is a picture of him looking a bit healthier, along with myself when I was healthier.
This young budgie one day went on to have chicks of his own.
Later we had an avairy which my brother loved because they would wake him four in the morning when sun rose or when a cat prowled by. We would hsve some great breeding seasons and then others barely any. It was highly political who would get the nest box. Survival of the fittest doesn’t get near to the animosity we experienced. Toes went missing. One female had her chest ripped off by another. All budgies wanted the highest nestbox by the window. With six females eyeing for it, you can imagine the warfare.
In summer the squawks and chirpy chats were wonderful and I really thank my mum and dad for helping me with them. Thousands of pounds and hours went into the maintenance and food. All worthwhile. I miss them. Unfortunately sulky teenagehood took over and I didn’t maintain my interest as much as I should have, something I still regret. In the end we decided to donate them to Cannon Hill Nature Centre which had a wonderful giant walk through avairy which I loved. They had given me some cockatiels as a thanks for the work experience I did there.
You must wonder why I’m recounting all this. Well, about two or three months ago, I noticed some feral love birds flying in a flock over Lomas de Guijarro close to where I work. Love birds are actually African, and quite a bit more intelligent than budgies (I feel like a traitor saying that) and durable to survive. They’re tough little things apparently! Very territorial and stronger than the indigenous little colourful finches around. Even though I love having budgies as pets, seeing love birds out in the wild let my imagination run loose. I would love one (though they’re expensive, our apartment has lots of windows, I don’t think that I can commit the time to tame it and I’m sure my housemates are not wanting to a loud little feathered friend while they’re working) but I do need more interaction with an animal which isn’t an antisocial turtle. It’s great to see the parrots roam free as well. I especially enjoyed seeing it at Copan Ruinas with the giant red Macaws flying overhead. It’s the national bird (I think) and one that Hondurans love; the only suitable cage at the Picacho zoo is for the macaws. Its wild, forest like and high, wide and handsome, which is what they need. I made friends with this one a week or so ago.
I do believe they are one of the most interesting of bird spieces. They are more intelligent and playful than the finch like birds and more sociable than birds of prey and duck like creatures. I would love to tame a parrot like the guy did in the attached video. Beautiful relationship he (or she) has with his/her parrot
Anyway, I’ve written a poem. When do I not. Here it is. Ode to the wild parrot.
Ode to the wild parrot
A wild parrot is a symbol of liberty,
With its own rules, with its own judgements, having fun,
Like love, set free, to be yourself,
Happy in pelting rain or in the desert sun.
You fly to the highest branch or furrow at the ground,
Collecting food and substance to build your nest,
You preen your silky feathers to keep up appearences,
Shining proudly and brightly from your crest.
You arm yourself witha ferocious beak,
From enemies you duck and dive,
You take your share of the farmer’s crops,
You scream your squawks to survive.
You sometimes like to be alone,
Sometimes you flock keeping predators at bay,
In captivity you love your owner for life,
In the wild you gossip with the bird lady in May.
You thank life for a precious berry,
You don’t waste a drop at a watering hole,
You fluff your wings and sing your joy for life,
To let other creatures know you’re a happy soul.