Although psittacosis is a real disease that can afflict people, I am not here to talk about that. I’m here to talk about our trip to the the Woodland Park Zoo the other day. Besides the raptor center, we also wanted to see Willawong Station, which is where they display the Australian Parrots. I love parrots. Well, at least I love looking at them. Keeping them is another question. I have only tried to keep a parakeet, and not very successfully. I have lusted after a Quaker parrot, but never could afford one. From the time I spent with my own parakeet, and The Tall One’s Society Finches, I knew that birds are messier than any other pet I’ve ever kept. But I still like to look at birds, preferably in zoos or through binoculars.
Willawong Station is pretty cool. You get to be in the aviary with the birds, and you can even feed them from the little seed sticks they sell you for an inordinate price. But I’m sure the money goes to help maintain the birds in the manner to which they have become accustomed. Onward.
The pictures aren’t very good, I don’t think I was taking my time. We went to the station near the time that they close up that exhibit, and I was in a hurry. Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
One of the most colorful birds in the exhibit is the Eastern Rosella Parrot. There were quite a few of them, but they seemed a little more stand-offish than some of the other birds, which would come to you quite readily to eat. And of course, there were the ubiquitous budgerigars, you know, the birds we call parakeets. And there were cockatiels, several pairs of them. The Boyo and I didn’t have much luck with feeding the birds, but some other folks did.
One of the strangest birds we saw was the Kea. The kea is the only alpine parrot. They live in the highlands of New Zealand, and are one of the largest of the Southern Hemisphere parrots. They had a reputation in the past of being sheep-killers and ranchers in New Zealand hunted them until they were down to about 5000 birds. The government of New Zealand had to step in to save them, and they did this by pledging to replace any sheep that it could be proven was killed by a kea. Since that time, it has been shown that the sheep that keas had been feasting on had died of cold or other diseases, and that keas are scavengers, much like magpies in the US. They also have a fondness for rubber, however, and like to strip the rubber bits off of cars at the ski areas in New Zealand. Parrots? Ski areas? Strange what you learn at the zoo. I have circled the kea in the picture because he doesn’t show up very well through all mesh he is behind in this picture.
And so, with trips to the Raptor Center, Willawong Station, and the peacock who visited us at lunch, it was a very birdy day at the zoo. Of course the peacock didn’t bother with displaying his tail, since there were no peahens around to impress. Isn’t that just like a male.