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Dear Parrots magazine,

Just couldn’t leave him there

It was some years ago when I took one of my daughters to a garden centre as she wanted a hamster, but we didn’t come back with a hamster instead, we came back with a parrot. Like all children, they love to wander around pet shops looking at all the different animals, and in this case some grizzly looking spiders and snakes. That was when we looked at a very bedraggled looking parrot, which stopped my daughter’s attention in its tracks.

I did say to her let’s find the hamsters, but she stood firm and was fascinated by this bedraggled looking parrot. She said we couldn’t leave him here and must take him home. I repeated that we had come here to buy a hamster, not a parrot, but wasn’t getting very far, and she stood her ground seemingly obsessed with this poor looking bird. She has always been an animal lover and will always go to the rescue or any animal in distress, so her action was, perhaps, not surprising.

Although I understand how she felt about this bird, I did try to persuade her away from such a purchase, as we had no knowledge of parrots, or indeed the cost, which was somewhat higher than a hamster. I have to say that I did feel the same way and found it hard to walk away from his poor creature.

We must’ve been talking to the staff member for ages who didn’t seem to know much more about parrots than we did, but it was clear that this bird needed a proper home. It was a fight against my emotions that thinking if we were to make the purchase, it would only be replaced by another, so it was real difficult decision to make. But the big factor was the pressure my daughter put on me.

Following a lot of discussion and soul-searching we did make the purchase and the reduction in price also helped, as it seemed the shop wanted to see the back of this parrot, which had been there for some weeks. Yes, I did cave in and the parrot came home with us to the negative reaction of my husband.

As a household, we knew nothing about parrots so started to look up on the internet to try to find out what it was and how best to look after it, and as a result of our research, we identified it as a Black-headed Caique. I don’t need to mention the fact that we all started to love this little bird that found his comical character and personality winning the hearts of all of us, including my husband.

This was all going back around 12 years ago and Mango, as we called him, was a truly valued member of our family. However, it was with great sadness that we lost him just before last Christmas when we came downstairs and found him at the bottom of his cage. We had no idea what had caused him to suddenly die, as he was bright as anything the night before. We could only put it down to one of those sad occasions that can happen to any living creature, and the family did not want a post mortem carried out. We were all devastated at losing Mango.

While we had many very happy years with Mango, there was always this nagging feeling I had that should we have bought him when he would probably have been replaced by another sad looking parrot. I constantly think about how these exotic creatures are treated, bought and sold just like any other product, and have always wondered whether there should be some kind of legislation to make sure such exotic creatures are better cared for and sellers have qualified and experienced people to advise the uninitiated.

Pauline Sellwood, by email




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