Friday, December 12, 2008



i like birds. and this time i mean the feathered variety. among the species of birds i think i like parrots the most. parrots are some of the most beautiful of birds species and as a group they are one of the most fascinating. And there are so many different types of them. From the huge grey african parrots to big and exuberantly colored macaws (which is a form of parrot) in the amazonian jungles, to the beautifully crested galahs of australia which is a type of cockatoos which is a type of parrot. their smaller cousins the cockatiels are no less beautiful. Some are small and gather in huge flocks like the budgerigars or the lorries and some are very streamlined and multicolored like the rosellas. and there are the nice lovebirds which is a type of small rather dumpy parrots and there are also parakeets and lorikeets. they may come in different shapes and sizes and names but one thing is common to all of them. they have funny looking hooked beaks.

i've never seen flocks of budgies or any other parrots in nature. have to make do with those beautiful nature programs on tvs except one species. i've seen flocks of perhaps a hundred or so galahs on gum trees in central tasmania on quite a few occassions. they were amazingly grand and beautiful but farmers simply hate them because they can be real pests which is a real pity.

i used to keep a pair of budgies when i was a student in tasmania but i soon get tired of them and gave them to a school girl who later went to study acting or theatre or something artistic. don't know if she ever become an actress or amount to anything much. i haven't heard from her for years.

i also used to keep a pair of indian ring necked parakeet (Psittacula krameri manillensis) . this species is very common in nothern india and i saw many of them all over the mughal monuments around agra and new delhi. but these birds screeched like mad every the morning and evening that i soon got very pissed off and in the end let them fly away. the moment i opened the cage door the pair shot off into the sky like bats out of hell. i guess i wasn't too good in taming these birds.

i also once kept the hanging parrot Loriculus g. galgulus. This is one of the smallest parrots in the world at less than 5 inches from the tip of the beak to the end of the tail. and it's an endemic species to our land malaysia. it's bright green in color and one of the unique features of these little birds is that they hang upside down when they sleep. they are very beautiful creatures but one thing i really hate about this species is that they shit a lot and scatter the shit all over the place. but i continue keeping the pair until one day when i was in bangkok and got an sms from my worse half. she said one of the birds died. i got terribly upset and asked her to make sure she feed the other one properly. and when i came back the remaining bird was nearly starved to death. my wife knows nothing about biology (and not much of anything else either) and she feed my parakeets with bird seeds instead of fruits which is the only food the hanging parrots eat. in the end i felt too guilty to keep the bird by itself in the cage and let it flew away.

and so now i have no more parrots but i do have one of the best books on parrots. it's a big coffee table monograph first published in 1977 Parrots of the World. one very good review of the book was available on and an exerpt is below. you can read the full descreption of the book here.

It was the first monograph on parrots published in over a century, and it's still overwhelming. Approximately 340 species of parrot, including all extant species, are represented and described. There are 155 full-page illustrations by William Cooper. Most have more than one bird in the picture so that nearly 500 birds, including divergent sub-species, are illustrated.

and quite incidentally i'm now (still) reading a patrick white's short story "the cockatoo" in his short story collection the cockatoos. which is a very nice 'quiet' story about old people and feeding cockatoos.

The title story centers around a couple that have stopped speaking to one another, communicating only by written notes they leave for each other. A stray cockatoo in the yard that returns when fed brings them closer together again, but as more cockatoos come a peaceful world is again shattered.

white's story makes me feel moody but the good thing about parrots is that there are many parrot jokes to cheer you up. I've mentioned one already in my old post ( a bald patch September 09, 2008). and here's another one. One day a woman went to a pet shop to buy a christmas present for her teenage daughter. she asked for a parrot but the shop owner said that unfortunately all parrots have been sold except that one over there. the woman took a look and seemed to be happy with the parrot. can it talk ? she asked. oh yes, the man said but i have to warn you. she was kept in a whorehouse before it was sold to this pet shop. the woman said too bad but i'll take it anyway. i promised my daughter a parrot. and so she brought back the parrot to her house. when the parrot saw the new house she commented. hmm... very mama san, and new house.after a while the teenage daughter came back from school and the parrot made another comment...hmmm..very nice... a new mama san, a new house and a new girl... and in the evening the father came back from work. the parrot took one look and said... hmmmm... a new mama san, new house, a new girl but same old customer...hello there mr simeonides...

and talking about that, i'll be travelling to bangkok again next week and perhaps i'll go and drink coke in that go go bar in soi cowboy again... the best one if you must know is 'de ja vu' and i'm feeling quite de ja vu already....

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?