BIRD TALK Editor Laura Doering and her nanday conure Ollie.
Two events are worth writing home about this month. First up, the Parrots International Symposium aboard the ocean liner RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA. This famous ocean liner, built in 1934 and longer than the Titanic, is now a hotel permanently docked. So, while you can detect a bit of gentle rolling and can practically taste the salty ocean breeze, there’s no chance you’ll be taken out to sea. Parrots International appropriately named this year’s event, “Parrots of the Caribbean.” This meant a lot of pirate-parrot themed flair. (There’s a company that makes rubber duckies done up like parrot pirates!) Many of the presentations spotlighted parrot species found throughout the Caribbean. I hope to highlight these in an upcoming issue. Each year, Parrots International brings together ornithologists and researchers from around world, many of which literally live (at least for part of the year) under jungle canopies and in tropical habitats. They painstakingly count nests in the wild to determine parrot populations and work with locals to save habitats.
My other trip was to Chilton, Wisconsin, for the grand-reopening of the Kaytee Avian Training Center. This was a day of fun and games that incorporated information about birds and small animals. The center is free to the public, and many in this town of 3,000 came to check it out. Kaytee’s 5,000 square-foot center displays more than 50 birds and small animals and is full of fun interactive displays. A free-flight aviary lets you see various species interact and fly about. “We plan to be open the first Friday and Saturday of each month (August through June) as part of our educational mission and also as a way to give something back to the community,” said Michelle Goodman, the center’s manager.
Chilton is about as family friendly as it gets. And if you’re ever in the area, try the sweet potato cobbler at the Center House restaurant, you won’t regret it!