Wondrous Wildlife

By Vern and Lori Gieger

Birds of a Feather


wonderousWe would like to dedicate this months column to a very dear friend and a true friend of the animals: Linda Wood, a long-time resident of Ajijic passed away Dec. 29th after a courageous battle with cancer. Linda loved all animals but her passion was parrots. It was because of Linda that we came to understand how intelligent and amazing parrots are. Linda always said she wanted to go where all the animals go; somehow I think she has her own flock now, soaring high above us.

Parrots are beautiful and intelligent birds. Unfortunately, people who purchase them as pets are often disappointed when they get to know the other aspects of what makes a parrot a parrot. Parrots are charming, social, loving, and comical; they are also emotional, noisy, easily bored, destructive and messy.

Whoever coined the phrase “bird brain” was not referring to parrots, and smarts that surpass dogs and cats sometimes their owners. A parrot’s intelligence may rival that of a four-year-old child, with the emotions of a two-year-old. Because parrots are brainy, they need interaction, attention and toys they can destroy. It also means that a parrot can absolutely not be locked in a cage all day. They need stimulation. It is important to add new toys, change the cage setup every week or two to keep them on their mental toes. This can be a costly endeavor.

Yes, some parrots can talk. However, human language and cute tunes are not the only things to escape that hooked beak. They love to hear themselves make noise, any noise, they scream at any opportunity, especially when you’re on the phone. Some of the noise can be curbed, but it is part of their social structure. They love to chew, shred and otherwise destroy whatever they can get their beaks around; not only that $20 toy you just got them, but also the couch, the TV remote and other items in your house. This can be dangerous behavior the possibility of electrocution or poisoning exists. They cannot be left unsupervised.

In the wild, the forest floor is their litter box. The remains of their meals (parrot poop) distributes seeds around their habitat. This is an important link in the delicate “web of life” of the rainforest. However, just because a bird moves indoors, does not mean their manners improve. Food scraps and bird-doo are going to be left in a parrot’s wake.

It is not uncommon to see parrots for sale, but remember, without proper legal documentation, it is illegal for you to have them. Before you buy, be sure the vendor can give you the correct legal documents. Possession of any bird or wild animal without proper legal documentation is a federal crime. Most of the birds for sale on the street are not legal, are usually sick, and will most likely die. You may think that by buying the parrot, you are saving it, but in reality, you are supporting an illegal trade, and creating a market, encouraging people to catch and sell wildlife. Think of it this way: for every one bird that makes it to the market three died.

Parrots have become one of the most threatened groups of birds in the world, primarily because of international trade and habitat destruction. An estimated 50,000 wild parrots are caught or plucked from their nests in Mexico each year.

Wondrous Wildlife - May 2010
Wondrous Wildlife By Vern and Lori Gieger   As many of us have found out the hard way, a scorpion sting is painful, to say the least. However,
Wondrous Wildlife - September 2009
Wondrous Wildlife By Vern and Lori Gieger Wildlife Mexico 911   Approx. a month ago we received a call from a local orphanage, “Love in Action.”
Wondrous Wildlife - July 2009
Wondrous Wildlife By Vern and Lori Gieger Wildlife Mexico 911   Like many others we find ourselves needing to cut back on the services we offer.
Editor’s Page - January 2014
Editor’s Page Guest Editorial By Dr. Lorin Swinehart WILDLIFE CRIME—A Moral Outrage!   (Foreward: The recent passing of Nelson Mandela,
Hearts at Work - June 2015
Hearts at Work A Column by Jim Tipton A Rag Doll in the Wilderness   It is Sunday afternoon here at Lake Chapala--a day “to loaf and invite
Wordwise With Pithy Wit - January 2011
Wordwise With Pithy Wit By Tom Clarkson   This morning, my pal F.T. – who shared the Iraq experience with me during my third trek there – forwarded
Victoria Schmidt
  VICTORIA SCHMIDT   Column: Editor’s Page   Website:   Victoria Schmidt came to Mexico with her husband, in 2007. 
Lakeside Living - November 2012
LAKESIDE LIVING Kay Davis Phone: 376 – 108 – 0278 (or 765 – 3676 to leave messages) Email: November
Alejandro Grattan-Dominguez
  ALEJANDRO GRATTAN-DOMINGUEZ   Column: Editor’s Page   Website:   Wrote/directed first movie about Mexican-Americans, Only
Michael Warren
  MICHAEL WARREN   Column: Front Row Center   Website:   Michael Warren grew up in London, England and lived on Baker