Of Parrots and People: The Sometimes Funny, Always Fascinating, and Often Catastrophic Collision of Two Intelligent Species

Mira Tweti, Author Viking Books $25.95 (317p) ISBN 978-0-670-01969-4
Trenchant analysis woven together with colorful personal narratives from expert scientists, conservationists, eccentric pet owners and amateur animal rescuers reveals the deleterious consequences of mankind's penchant for keeping exotic birds. Tweti (Here, There and Everywhere) begins by debunking the myth of the ""bird brain,"" citing the story of Alex, an African grey research parrot who was proven to have the cognitive skills of a toddler, not uncommon for his breed. The author's research illuminates the staggering variety of the thousands of species of parrots and indicts the individuals who breed, sell and smuggle birds to feed consumer demand. (""Parrots are a luxury item, deprived of liberty purely for human amusement. No one needs to keep a parrot."") She discusses the unacknowledged crisis of a species being hunted to extinction despite the frequency with which they are abandoned by pet owners. Tweti's account is factual and passionate-she likens even the prettiest bird cage to ""a slave's shackles""-but she makes it clear where the science ends and her opinions begin. Tweti's work is a valuable resource of astonishing thoroughness, richness and accessibility-despite the occasional ideological inconsistency.
Reviewed on: 08/04/2008
Release date: 08/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4406-3391-1
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Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 368 pages - 978-1-4362-8975-7
Paperback - 317 pages - 978-0-14-311575-5
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