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Of Parrots and People: The Sometimes Funny, Always Fascinating, and Often Catastrophic Collision of Two Intelligent Species Hardcover – August 14, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Trenchant analysis woven together with colorful personal narratives from expert scientists, conservationists, eccentric pet owners and amateur animal rescuers reveals the deleterious consequences of mankind's penchant for keeping exotic birds. Tweti (Here, There and Everywhere) begins by debunking the myth of the "bird brain," citing the story of Alex, an African grey research parrot who was proven to have the cognitive skills of a toddler, not uncommon for his breed. The author's research illuminates the staggering variety of the thousands of species of parrots and indicts the individuals who breed, sell and smuggle birds to feed consumer demand. ("Parrots are a luxury item, deprived of liberty purely for human amusement. No one needs to keep a parrot.") She discusses the unacknowledged crisis of a species being hunted to extinction despite the frequency with which they are abandoned by pet owners. Tweti's account is factual and passionate-she likens even the prettiest bird cage to "a slave's shackles"-but she makes it clear where the science ends and her opinions begin. Tweti's work is a valuable resource of astonishing thoroughness, richness and accessibility-despite the occasional ideological inconsistency.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Parrots, along with parakeets, are described here as “compact, short-necked birds with stout hooked bills, noisy and gaudily colored.” Mango, a rainbow lorry, was the author’s decade-long muse and the inspiration for this book. He also was the reason she began writing about birds for newspapers and magazines, why she joined a bird club, and why she spent two years making a documentary film about pet birds. Chapters include such subjects as birds' brains (they are intelligent), their species (there are 350 of them), the crisis of unwanted birds (they make excellent companions, but terrible pets), where they can be seen in North America, the parrot industry in the U.S., the problems facing them in captivity and in the wild, the illegal trapping and wild harvesting of parrots around the world, and smuggling. The author also discusses protecting endangered birds through conservation. A captivating and ingenious examination. --George Cohen
Top customer reviews
It made me sick to read about the state of the plight of parrots. It has only gotten worse in the years since this book was written. I commend the author for her efforts in educating people. It's unfortunate that so many people still won't take the time to consider that these are complicated, intelligent and emotional creatures that should stay in the wild. Unfortunately, the damage has been done and people will continue to keep them in horrible conditions. I can only try to do my part, small is it may be.
Most recent customer reviews
I've been doing avian rescue for over 5 years, the stories told in this book reflect so much...Read more