When we acquired the Botanical Gardens, three Amazonian green parrots were living in two separate cages in the Rainforest Conservatory. The cages were deteriorating, so we replaced them and added parrot “toys”. However even the replacement cages could not properly withstand the humid environmental conditions and “rust-free” fittings started to rust and the new cages fell apart. So now, after looking into several options, we have established a much larger and more viable environment for them, with two connecting sections.
We have sought guidance from parrot specialists, volunteers from the Veterinary School, who say that our parrots are in good shape but could do with more interaction with humans!
Our parrots have, for many years, been cared for by the longest-term employee in the Gardens – “Terry” (Nathaniel Liburd) – who has been here since construction started and tells us many stories about the parrots.
Terry tells us that Rocco is the name of the more vociferous of the boy parrots while Arturo is the gentler one. We also learnt that Deadora is the name of the girl parrot and that she is the “vixen”. Apparently Deadora calls the shots, she is the loud one who dominates, controlling the aviary entirely.
We are told (a true story) that Rocco used to fight Arturo, pecking him and squawking rude words at him, until Arturo got so stressed that he lost all his feathers! So Rocco was sent away, to go and live in a new home in another part of the island.
Arturo, though very traumatized by bully-boy Rocco, eventually recovered and calmed down. Rocco, on the other hand was so sad that he was not with his friends anymore, and in his new home he squawked loudly all day. Because he was so sad and lonely, he even refused to eat properly. So he made a plan to escape and go back to live with Arturo and Deadora.
One day Arturo flew out of his cage as his new owner came to feed him. He flew directly back to where he used to live – all the way to his former cage in the Botanical Gardens!
Meantime, Deadora and Arturo had come to understand each other and made a new life together. They were both very happy and did not want Rocco back.
After Rocco got back there was more trouble and soon caretakers came to catch him and take him away again. However, back in his home far away from the Gardens, he just sulked in the back of the cage, not eating and not singing. His new keeper did not know what to do - trying everything possible to get him to eat and sing.
Apparently Rocco got thinking that he should change his aggressive and unruly ways. So he decided to try just once more to go back home to the Gardens. He succeeded and this time, when he got there, he cried and danced for Deadora, and apologized to Arturo. That first night together again, they stayed up talking about the good old days, laughing and chatting until the morning. When the MEN arrived to take Rocco back, they saw all three parrots sleeping together and agreed that the best thing would be to let Rocco stay, so he would not be lonely anymore.
Our three parrots are the guardians of the Rainforest Conservatory. Although not a perfect parrot family, the saying that “friends are forever”, is apparently true with parrots as well.
Parrots live a long time, up to seventy years, so our three parrots should live long to create more tales in the Botanical Gardens.