Pet Bird Behaviour and Training
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Why Does My Parrot...?
Rosemary Low
224 Pages
ISBN: 978 0 285 64305 5
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Why Does My Parrot...?

In my time as an undergraduate at The Royal Veterinary College London, from 1965 to 1970, total tuition on birds amounted to under three hours, which covered poultry and Budgerigars. Today’s UK curriculum has expanded to embrace avian and exotic species somewhat more, but it still lags behind equivalent teaching in the USA and Europe. Those of us from that period who developed careers working with avian patients have largely done so by trial and error and experience, because of a personal interest in birds, links with associations of like-minded colleagues, and publications on this specialist subject.


The keeping of parrots in captivity has a long history, yet it is only in very recent years that we have really started to understand the complex psychological and environmental requirements of this large group of fascinating and intelligent species. Rosemary Low is a world-renowned author and lecturer on parrot care and welfare, with years of experience breeding and maintaining her own birds, and also as curator of large collections in bird parks in the Canary Islands.


Why Does my Parrot…? was first published in 2000, but has been significantly revised and updated for 2015. This comprehensive, but very readable volume is compact and reasonably priced. It is printed on good quality paper with a soft-back cover, and will make a useful addition to every bird keeper and veterinary practice library.


It begins with a general introduction to parrot biology, behaviour and species variation. Rosemary emphasises throughout the book the social nature of these birds and their need for physical and mental stimulation. Learning how to read a bird’s behaviour and attitude is important, and she exhorts ‘learn to think like a parrot’ many times. The need for time, patience, kindness and perseverance on the part of the human carer is emphasised.


The book continues with a comprehensive alphabetical series of questions asked about parrot behaviour and problems which are answered in detail with sensible, practical advice. Many answers are illustrated with examples drawn from the author’s years of personal experience. Common, but to the uninitiated, curious natural activities like beak-grinding and blushing are described, as well as more complex and serious conditions and behaviours like screaming, biting and feather-plucking. There is much useful cross-referencing and linking of related subjects.


Rosemary provides sound comments on attitudes to parrots and the need for education in their requirements, to breeders, dealers, and pet-bird owners. This book is an invaluable aid to any would-be parrot keeper, as well as to veterinarians interested in developing the avian side of their practice.


Reviewed by Alan K Jones BVetMed MRCVS



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