Why care about parrot conservation?

Oftentimes, when I interact with my pet parrots, I wonder about their wild counterparts. I have five species of birds, specifically budgies, a sun conure, a cockatiel, an Indian ring-necked parakeet and a blue and gold macaw. So there are a lot of different areas of the world to think about, many different habitats to ponder, and an array of plights that are faced by my birds’ wild cousins.

When it comes to the budgies, cockatiels, and Indian ring-necked parakeets (rose-ringed parakeets), there is currently not much concern about their status in the wild. Their populations are healthy and thriving. However, this is not to say that they might not someday face some of the challenges that many other parrot groups face. Loss of habitat, demands from the pet trade and climate changes seem to be more and more far reaching, and so even a thriving population deserves to be considered by a watchful eye.

Now the situation gets more concerning. Although macaws are currently listed as a species of “least concern,” their populations are declining. Habitat loss and poaching are weighing heavily on wild macaws, and help is needed to turn this situation around. The following video is a good snapshot of what wild macaws face in areas like Honduras. Luckily, partnerships with the local population of people have helped turn some of this around, but more assistance is greatly needed, as you will see:

Unfortunately, the story gets even sadder when it comes to the sun conure. This species is listed as endangered, with populations decreasing. Shockingly, there are now more sun conures living in people’s homes than there are in the wild! The pet trade is one of the greatest pressures on wild populations, and more controls are needed to prevent the wild trapping/acquisitions of this bird.

Many other species of parrots are facing a grim future in their native habitats. There are only three small populations of Hyacinth macaws left, the largest being in Brazil (fws.org). Also per the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “there are estimated to be less than 6,000 yellow-crested cockatoos left in Indonesia and Timor-Leste.” And who can forget the Spix’s Macaw famously featured in the film Rio? This bird was actually considered extinct in the wild due to, yep, you guessed it, the pet trade and habitat loss. However, a recent introduction project, has placed this bird in its’ native habitat once again:

https://www.prnewswire.com/in/news-releases/world-sensation-the-spix-s-macaw-is-back-872013636.html

It is imperative that wild parrot populations receive our help and attention. As much as we enjoy having these birds in our homes, their wild counterparts deserve to roam their native habitats and thrive. Here are some resources to find out more. If we all do even a little, collectively we can achieve a lot!

http://www.fws.org

http://www.parrots.org

http://www.macawrecoverynetwork.org

************************************************************************(cover photo of perched sun conure credit: James Lee via unsplash.com)

To see more of our birds, please visit The Parrot Perch on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGFRMTyn6AP2uj744xVWmNg

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