I am going to the fourth Think Parrots on June 21st at Kempton Park Racecourse. Are you?
My (not too pressing) problem will be which of my four pet Parrots would enjoy the outing most. The two Greys have attended for the last three years.
Would young Benni the Blue and Gold Macaw (he’ll be 10 months old in June) be sophisticated enough for such a jaunt? He loves going on outings and has done for the last few months.
Benni has become too sociable. In B&Q last week he jumped off my shoulder (he was in a harness) and landed on someone else’s, who was unfortunately not a bird lover. Benni is now banned from B&Q. This won’t happen if he comes to Think Parrots.
Last year I had the heart warming pleasure of meeting various pet Parrots, a Cockatiel, a Conure, several Greys, an amazing Moluccan being carried by a young lad and one of Mark Cake’s Macaws. I know some experts do not encourage taking Parrots out and consider it too stressful; others stress the health hazards.
I cannot help thinking that in their own natural forest environment wild Parrots in the company of their flock would continually see new vistas. So why wouldn’t a pet Parrot in the company of his human flock members enjoy different sights, sounds and smells?
And nowadays with harnesses as light and easy to train to use as the aviator as well as backpacks, it is not difficult to accustom a pet Parrot to enjoy human activities in public.
Debbie Delmer, who must have one of the best socialised Macaws in the UK, can take Alfie out with a clip on his ring and know that he will stay put on her shoulder. That isn’t viable for most of us.
Think Parrots is unique among bird shows in that it combines several functions. It comprises a comprehensive selection of trade stands amongst which are dotted other bird related stands like charities and sanctuaries.
Some owners and small time breeders set up displays, Stefano Salles (I hope he comes this year) had his Parrotlets darting like jewels in their bamboo decorated aviaries that were a delight to observe.
Last year there were two tempting offers to indulge in Parrot activities abroad. One won’t be there this year because the Loro Parque convention is only held every four years in the Canary Islands. The next one will be held in 2019. I might start saving up to go.
On another scale but equally tempting is the Parrot watching trips that Steve Brookes organises. His stand showed which of his Parrot trips you could book on. The mouth watering photographs he takes himself made me want to book on every single one. Neither option comes cheap. Still one can dream.
The organizers have extended the lecture times to one hour which is a worthwhile idea. Last year the talks were really informative and this promises a similar treat.
Neil Forbes FRCVS, will be giving his class on ‘Correct Parrot Diets’
Mike Simmons will be giving a class ‘Advancements in Training’. Mike is the youngest of the three presenters but he is making his mark internationally as a trainer and free flyer.
As well as presenting a class, he will also be flying some of his birds. Last year his toddler Georgie was hanging out with one of the hornbills. I expect to see him again this year.
Mark Hagen, of Rolf C Hagen (Canada), will be giving his class on the ‘Early Development and Education of Parrots’. Mark’s firm Hagen has carried out a great deal of important research both in avian diets and breeding in the past decades. I’ve heard Mark Hagen lecture in Loro Parque and he is an excellent communicator.
One of the most positive aspects I found last year was how ready the experts were to talk to us ordinary Parrot owners. I chatted with Parrot experts from many different fields.
A tip: if you’re attending for the first time decide how much you want to spend on your beloved bird because the temptations are numerous. I came home with an Eric Peake print (I’ve wanted one for ages) and a lot of fresh new ideas which did not cost anything
Kempton Park provides a glamorous venue. As you sit outside you can imagine the ghosts of long ago winners galloping past you.
I hope to see you there. If you want to say hello, you’ll know it’s me because there will be either a Grey on either shoulder or a Blue and Gold young Macaw.
To order your tickets and book your free place at any or all of the master classes please visit the Think Parrots website.