On-line review of Understanding Parrots: Cues from Nature from Florin Feneru.

Review of Understanding Parrots: Cues from Nature

Loro Parque blog September 27 2018


The great hall of the Auditorium of Tenerife has been witness, in the afternoon of yesterday, Wednesday, September 26, of the delivery of the prestigious Gorilla Prize 2017 to Rosemary Low, a passionate defender of parrots who has dedicated her life to these birds through breeding and conservation. This year celebrates the fifteenth edition of this award, which emphasises environmental responsibility, addressing strategies and actions to conserve biodiversity and promote the sustainable use of resources.

The event, which was held within the framework of the IX International Parrot Congress organised every four years by the Loro Parque Foundation, welcomed more than a thousand guests. Numerous authorities, civil, military, consular and private sector representatives accompanied the hundreds of congress attendees, of more than 40 nationalities, who are visiting the island this week attracted by this world famous convention.
Wolfgang Kiessling, President of the Loro Parque Company, wanted to highlight the work Rosemary Low, who for years was a Bird Curator at the Parque, and who has dedicated her entire life to the breeding and conservation of parrot species. Her principles and values, Kiessling emphasised, are the same that move Loro Parque, prioritising the protection of nature at a time when the human population is growing exponentially and, consequently, the resources and habitats of wild animals become more limited and are in worse conditions.

For her part, Rosemary Low highlighted Loro Parque Foundation's conservation achievements in a speech that recalled her first visit, in 1984, and her more than 30 years of relationship with a Parque to which she has a special affection. "It has been a privilege to be involved with Loro Parque and the Foundation for so long".

Rosemary Low is a prolific writer, and her numerous articles and books have been translated into many languages. She was the first to publish a book on parrot conservation: Endangered Parrots, first published in 1984, and a revised version was published in 1994. Rosemary has visited 29 countries, many in South America, to observe parrots in the wild. There she has been involved in conservation projects, about which she has written extensively and for which she has been invited to numerous conferences in Europe, Australia, the USA and Brazil. She is a tireless fighter for parrot conservation. Since she raised money for the Imperial Amazon during the first International Parrot Congress in 1986, she has been involved in numerous parrot conservation projects for which she raises funds.

She has owned parrots since 1958 and says: "We are privileged to be able to enjoy these sensitive, impressive, beautiful and intelligent creatures".
We can share these feelings of hers in her book Understanding Parrots - Cues from Nature.


Notts Parrot Club and Cambaquara, Brazil
In the 16 years of its existence, Notts Parrot Club, founded by Colin Palmer and me, has regularly made donations to parrot conservation and rescue. Sadly, the November 28 2016 meeting  was the last. At that gathering I showed a Powerpoint presentation of my  visit to south-eastern Brazil earlier that month, including the  work of Cambaquara.
This organisation was set up by Pablo Melero and Silvana Davino and funded by themselves. It exists to rehabilitate and release Mealy Amazons, Maroon-bellied Conures, Maximilian’s Parrots and Plain or All-green Parakeets (Brotogeris tirica).  When chicks fall out of nests or are illegally removed by local people, the authorities take them and pass them on to Cambaquara.
Silvana feeding conure chicks
In 2014 it was officially named as ASM Cambaquara, an organisation that could receive, rehabilitate and release the four parrot species and the Green-billed Toucan (Ramphastos dicolorus).
In November 2015 the first Mealy Amazon release occurred from the flight aviary.  One bird  returned to the aviaries and needed to be  recaptured but the others successfully integrated into the wild population. In a tree about one kilometre away a pair of Mealies had fledged two young only four months after being released. Because they were ringed, their identification was certain. It was a very proud day for everyone concerned when the parents brought their young back to the release aviary. Many Maroon-bellied Conures have also been reared and released, after the chicks have been removed from nests in the roofs of houses where they are considered a nuisance.
 Released Maroon-bellied Conures
Cambaquara has two release sites. One is on their property and the other is in a less populated area. Release goes hand-in-hand with  education. This is on-going but occurs especially after birds are released. Flyers are distributed and, equally important, Silvana and Patrick Pina, their environmental consultant, have a lot of contact with local people In schools and in communities they make them  aware of the importance of the project and of protecting the local bird life.
 Mealy Amazon in the forest reserve
This personal contact has made an enormous difference to the attitudes of the local people in valuing and caring for the birds. Indeed, it has been so successful that in 2015 the Mealy Amazon was declared the official bird of Ilhabela!

If you would like to stay at Silvana and Pablos beautiful property, in their bed and breakfast chalets, or if you would like to donate to their work, you can e-mail Pablo:


Michael McKaig, USA

Amazon Parrots: Your descriptions and comments describe these wonderful birds perfectly. And your personal experiences and careful observations are what make all your aviculture books so much better than anyone else's. I now have all your books, and they have pride of place in my library.


John Fisher, UK 
Thank you for the lovely books; they are all superb. I have found all the books very helpful and interesting. My family has learnt much about parrots. We all have a lot to thank you for.
Gail Brankin, South Africa, 
I have just finished “Understanding Parrots -- Cues from Nature”. Wow!  What  a fabulous read!! Thank-you for opening my eyes, growing my  understanding and highlighting my responsibilities. I have lots of work ahead of me. None of it difficult but now that I have a better idea of what needs to be improved and why, I am going to be busy. My understanding of enrichment to date has been limited -- buying all those bright toys in pet shops.
Ashley Herrod, Australia, January 2014
I am a big fan of your philosophies on bird keeping, especially in regard to the enrichment of parrots’ lives while in captivity. This is something more bird keepers, particularly in Australia, need to consider, and put into practice, to make their parrots happier and healthier: it really is an ethical obligation to do so, I think.
I really enjoyed reading your book Understanding Parrots -- Cues from Nature, particularly all the references you made to wild examples based on your observations in the field.


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