Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Butterfly World: Part 3

Butterfly World continued to hold surprises for us. Outside we encountered a flock of parrots — not encaged, just sitting on their perches in their own special area. I especially enjoy parrots because they are so colorful — and fun to capture on film or silicon. Additionally, they are among the most intelligent birds (along with ravens, crows, jays and magpies) — just check out some of the videos on YouTube.

These parrots are obviously quite tame, allowing me to photograph him from a very close distance. Can't you just see the intelligence in that eye? (I assume the one on the other side of his head is equally intelligent looking.)

Then you ask, "if they're so smart why don't they just escape?" This parrot was spreading his wings and you can see that he is missing quite a few flight feathers — so he cannot fly. Besides why would he want to leave? He has all the parrot chow he wants, plenty of water, parrot friends plus all those funny looking humans walking by.

I always think of parrots as part of the South American ecosystem. However, I learned that they are actually found on all tropical and subtropical continents including Australia and the islands of the Pacific Ocean, South Asia, southeast Asia, southern regions of North America as well as South America and Africa.

I also discovered that they are actually quite difficult to study. If the researcher is smart enough (and lucky enough) to capture a wild parrot, they (the researcher) will typically put a band on one of its legs — so that if it is later re-captured (or found dead), they have some idea of the range and seasonal travel patterns. However, parrots are not so cooperative and will chew off the bands. Their strong, hard beaks which evolved for eating nuts and seeds, have no problem removing a bird band.

Of course, we expect to see a parrot sitting on the shoulder of a pirate captain (although I don't remember one on Captain Jack Sparrow). I suspect that this is a myth perpetuated by books such as Treasure Island and later by Hollywood. In all practicality I cannot image a working pirate allowing a parrot to sit on his shoulder fouling his clothes and getting in the way when work had to be done. Besides, they would likely become a tasty meal (for one) after weeks at sea.

In a separate enclosure, Butterfly World has a flock of Lorikeets and Lories. What are those you ask? I certainly didn't know until this tour — they are small to medium-sized parrots characterized by brush-like tongues allowing them to easily feed on pollen, nectar and soft fruits.

In this area, visitors were invited to feed the birds — they are very friendly and enjoy interacting with humans. However, they are also mischievous and may take a nip out of an extended finger of an unwary visitor.

But their colors are incredible — and different from the parrots most of are familiar with (such as those seen above).

This little guy was unique — no other lorikeet had the same coloration. And I swear that I did not supersaturate his feathers in Photoshop — they really are that bright.

To be continued.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com