Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Life Devoted to Parrots

The New York Times has published this fascinating interview with Joseph M. Forshaw, the world’s foremost authority on parrots. Interestingly, he admits to having eaten them—out of desperation while on a collecting expedition in the Australian outback—and proclaims them “not too bad” but “very gamey.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I finished grad school, my reward to myself was a first edition Forshaw. Parrots were my first love, but boy oh boy. If you think the bird conservation world is contentious, you have never been near that WWF (and that's NOT World Wildlife Fund) smackdown that is the realm of parrot conservation. Lots of really talented, motivated people have fled because this is so vicious and troubling a community. Wait, it isn't a community. Anyway, I now content myself with parrots as birds to be seen and loved, including the championship confetti maker who knows that the world revolves around him. I strongly disagree with Forshaw's statements about whether they understand us. Irene Pepperberg has amply demonstrated, time after time, in peer-reviewed and highly regarded research, that they not only learn and use "labels" - such as the names of things - appropriately, but that they also learn and use complex concepts, such as the concept of zero. I was surprised that Forshaw ignored or dismissed this very solid body of research.

September 07, 2006 7:01 AM  
Blogger John L. Trapp said...

Thank you for your wonderful comment. It is amazing and sad how people with seemingly the same goals in mind can disagree so violently. Sadly, I have never had the pleasure of viewing parrots in their natural habitats; something to look forward to!

September 07, 2006 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, John. Make that your highest priority. You have NO idea what a thrill it is. I mean, there you are in (fill in the country) seeing and hearing all sorts of wonderful birds, when all of a sudden, you hear that mad chatter and your heart skips a beat - PARROTS! Of course, they can be maddeningly hard to see in the tropics, but when you do...I can think of only a half dozen or so species that have made me as joyous as have parrots.

September 07, 2006 12:49 PM  
Blogger John L. Trapp said...

Okay. I will put parrot expedition on my highest priority "list of things to do after retirement."

September 07, 2006 1:09 PM  

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