Parrots make bad pets
I must express concern with the main message 7-year-old Jonathan Kowalkowski seems to have absorbed while attending "Close Encounters of the Bird Kind" at the National Aviary with his grandparents ( "Colorful cast wings its way to Aviary," June 9 and TribLIVE.com).
While his grandmother mentioned learning about the natural habitats, diets and behaviors of the birds featured in the show, young Jonathan was left convinced that parrots make great "pets."
On behalf of the parrot rescue and adoption professionals in the U.S. and the growing number of displaced birds in their care, your readers need to know that in spite of their charming behaviors in bird shows, parrots are wild animals and not well-suited for life in captivity -- especially in homes with small children like Jonathan.
They are expensive to feed, house and vet. Parrots are noisy, messy, destructive, highly intelligent, socially demanding, potentially dangerous and live much longer than dogs and cats. Thousands lose their homes each year because their needs conflict so much with those of humans.
I hope the National Aviary and Natural Encounters Inc. will develop their program more fully to encourage young and old alike to enjoy and preserve birds in their natural habitats rather than inspiring visitors to bring one home.
St. Paul, Minn.
The writer is a board member of the Avian Welfare Coalition ( avianwelfare.org ).