The theme of the book is that people should not own birds that are purchased from breeders or imported. Presumably, the author would find it acceptable for people to own a parrot from a rescue because the rescues are over crowded. In addition, the author herself owns a parrot. Ideally, though, we should only enjoy birds in their natural habitat.
I have struggled with many of the ideas in the book. I try to give Audrey and Conner the best life that they could have by giving them attention, large cages, and toys, but I'd love to have a larger parrot, such as an African grey.
When I was little, we had an African grey parrot named Merlin and he was wonderful. He knew over 200 words. He had a great setup too. He lived in the pantry in branches that were cut regularly from outside. He had no cage. He received constant attention and was very happy. Merlin died of natural causes after over 15 years in our care.
I would love to have another African grey, but I could never give him the requisite attention. My boyfriend and I work pretty long hours. Plus, any attention that I gave to a parrot would be taken away from the cockatiels. Conner would be really hurt by that.
I've thought about getting more cockatiels. Mickaboo is a parrot rescue that, as a result of the recession, has received so many cockatiels that they can no longer accept anymore. That means that people who want to give up their cockatiels may give them to a rescue that euthanizes them or simply put them outside. But again, I don't have the time for more birds. Plus, I worry that if I got one, I'd want to get them all. Sometimes I daydream about having a room dedicated to cockatiels, filled with fresh tree branches and toys for 20 birds. But that's only a daydream.
"Of Parrots and People" provides an excellent argument for why we should not buy birds from breeders. Of course not all breeders are like the ones described in the books, people who keep the birds in cramped cages with one perch that causes their feet to form sores, with no toys, and too many hours in the dark to encourage breeding. But even if the birds were in ideal situations, taking their babies away is cruel.
On a happier note, the book describes a trip with Dr. Munn to Brazil to visit hyacinth macaws that sounds wonderful! Someday when I'm ready to spend money on a vacation, I want to visit Dr. Munn's Wildlife Lodge in Brazil. Mary has some great entries about the Tiskita Jungle Lodge, which is also on my list of places to visit. Does anyone have any experience with an ecotourism lodge? If so, I'd love to hear about your experiences in the comments.