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Dear Parrots magazine,

National Parrot Zoo

I have not visited the National Parrot Zoo, much as I should like to do so, so I cannot comment on all of the points raised by D Woodbury and Greg Glendell in their letters in the May issue. I am surprised, however, that the lack of heated accommodation is criticised, as I should not have thought it common practice to provide heat for the majority of parrot species, especially not medium to large birds. I have visited many zoos and bird gardens where there is clearly no heated accommodation for psittacines and I cannot imagine many private aviculturalists would provide it for their aviary birds - I certainly should not consider doing so for any but the smallest and most delicate species. Deaths are always unfortunate but no animal is immortal and disasters can happen. My local zoo at Sewerby Hall, Bridlington has had a very unlucky few months with snow causing the roof of the aviary for foreign finches to collapse resulting in the escape of most of the birds, and repeated incursions by predators. A Stoat killed several birds including some psittacines and a Fox killed many more specimens, mostly waterfowl and pheasants, over a period of several weeks until it was finally thwarted by an electric fence.

As for the presence of wild animals, I have seen them in aviaries in numerous public collections around the country. Only the day after reading the two letters criticising the National Parrot Zoo I saw Chaffinches, House Sparrows and a Dunnock in the Blue and Yellow Macaws’ aviary at Sewerby. Frequently Grey Squirrels are in it too stealing the Macaws’ food. On a visit to Harewood Bird Garden last summer I noted an absolute infestation of House Mice in the aviary for Green-winged Macaws. In the case of large parrots I feel the mesh size should be large enough for the birds to use it as a climbing frame and that they should not be denied this means of moving around their territory.

I should like to add that Sewerby’s Blue and Yellow Macaw hen arrived from the National Parrot Zoo last year and is a superb specimen.

Finally D Woodbury comments that East Lindsey District Council shows “apparent disinterest”. Whilst I realise “disinterest” can be used to mean “uninterest”, I prefer to use what to me is its primary meaning, and therefore I hope it is disinterested in this matter as that means it is without bias in its dealings with the National Parrot Zoo.

Andrew Stevens - by email



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