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In issue 309 -
When an Older Parrot Has Never Learned Skilful Flight – Complete Psittacine by Eb Cravens
In issue 309 -
Scarlet Macaws – were they really bred by indigenous people in the 12th century? Rosemary Low asks the question
In issue 309 -
Understanding the link between nutrition, hormonal behaviours and the avian endocrine system, Part 1 – The Holistic Parrot by Leslie Moran
In issue 309 -
The Yellow-eared Parrot – continues to expand its range in Colombia. By David Waugh, Correspondent, Loro Parque Fundación
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Living with Alex and his friends the crows

Parrots magazine 150th issueJacquie Sands from the hinterland of Byron Bay, NSW, Australia, is quite a character and is well-known locally for being ‘The Parrot Lady’, who free-flies her birds. She and her Blue & Gold macaws and Eclectus parrots have been on the front page of the local paper, have won a local pet show, and Jacquie has even had two TV camera crews follow her escapades with her birds, for the programmes, Totally Wild, and Burke‘s Backyard. Here, Jacquie takes up the story, and shares with us the ups and downs of allowing parrots to fly free.

I actually started free-flying my parrots by accident. Alex, my adorable, tame, and talking, 14 year-old, Blue & Gold Macaw, with one wing clipped, used to enjoy sitting in a tree in the garden, when we were outside. But, I was never really happy clipping his wing, and just decided one day, never to do it again. But, of course, once the feathers had almost grown back, Alex was not slow in realising that he had the power of flight, and one day took to the air briefly, with disastrous consequences.

Alex, shocked by suddenly becoming airborne, only flew a short distance, before trying to land on a barbed-wire fence. But, because the wire was so spindly, and his feet were so big, he couldn’t get a proper grip, and he spun right round in a full-circle, like a performing trapeze artist, and became horribly tangled-up. One of the barbs had penetrated deep into his thigh, and in a desperate bid to free himself, he began frantically biting at the wire, and then his leg. I am sure, that if I hadn’t got there as quickly as I did, he would have bitten right through his ensnared limb.

I screamed out to a neighbour to help me, and together we ran to his aid. While he held the fence taut, I unravelled Alex and gently eased the barb out of his leg. It had left him with a deep and bloody gash, so we bundled him into the car, and rushed him to my avian vet, where he was immediately anaesthetised. Thirteen stitches were needed to repair him, but thankfully, no lasting damage was done, and he made a full recovery.

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