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Reflections on Avian Intelligence: The Smaller Psittacines – Part I

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Complete Psittacine by Eb Cravens

Welcome to the wonderful world of parakeets!

And Lorikeets, and Conures, and Lovebirds, and Caiques, and pocket parrots, to name a few. It is a realm fascinating in its breadth. There are literally hundreds of thousands of keepers around the globe owning small to tiny hookbills, myself included, and the reasons for this appear to be as diverse as the psittacines themselves.

All of us share one thing in common, however, we have been captivated by the delights of having one or more of these diminutive, active avian personalities inhabit our home space. Small as they may seem, these birds can dominate a living room or lanai (a type of roofed, open-sided veranda, patio or porch, originating in Hawaii) every bit as much as a larger parrot.

Spend some hours in a room with a Pyrrhura conure sometime. Watch their attentiveness to every movement, every outside noise, every hors d'oeuvres placed in every human mouth. Listen to their soft ‘conure comments’, their admonishments, their warnings of something amiss. Then have someone take that same parrot out of the room while you remain seated. Notice the emptiness? What is missing? For me it becomes self-explanatory. Absent is that small birdie presence, the lightly-heightened awareness which comes included with the package of every avian creature on earth.

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