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Dear Parrots magazine,

Amazon playing in wisteria

I am writing about the article on page 31 in the March 2014 issue by Sylvia Rush, “Freedom is playing in the wisteria.”

I have two Amazons and a Senegal Parrot, all rescue birds from Birdline Parrot Rescue.  Having read the article, I thought great, I too have a wisteria plant outside where my birds could interact, when outside in the summer.

I then began browsing an article online listing toxic plants and was concerned to see wisteria came within that category.  I went on Facebook and linked with other Birdline members and general parrot people, and a discussion was started over my concerns about wisteria.  Many, many articles state that the plant has toxic elements, including the plant’s leaves, flowers and seeds.

So we came to the conclusion on Facebook, that wisteria was not a good plant for parrots and our main concern was that the article could be misleading to other parrot owners who have not double-checked whether wisteria is toxic or not.  We are also worried about the health of the Amazon mentioned in the article.

Lyn Phillips, email

In answer to your worries about wisteria being toxic.  The bird in question perches in the branches of the mature shrub and is based in the shrub, but it is also free to move around in a courtyard surrounded by many, many other plants too, and he forages and plays as he pleases.  He obviously gets a proper diet from his owner too.

Birds in the wild often perch in toxic trees but instinctively know what to eat and what not to eat.  The Amazon in question has been living there for several years and the same obviously applies to him.  Presenting a single toxic branch in a cage for a parrot, that has no other alternatives or choice, is a very different thing and certainly would be dangerous.  

Hope this helps to alleviate your worries - Editor



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