30 September 2011

Orange-winged Amazon parrot (captive); Cuenca

At the avifauna centre next to the Inca ruins in Cuenca — a place intended to foster 'respect for the avifauna' — birds of several species including several species of Amazon Parrots, a White-fronted Toucan, Great Cowbird, Black-chested Buzzard Eagles, Scarlet Macaws, and the bird that captured my imagination so strongly as a child, the Blue and Yellow Macaw, survived in cages too small for a flight of more than a second or two. One Blue and Yellow Macaw clung motionless to the top of the cage it shared with several other macaws. To me it seemed as if that bird had the elsewhere stare I've seen in other caged animals — the look of an animal trying to survive by retreating into memories of freedom.

These are my projections, of course, but my friends were affected similarly. "How," one asked, "does this foster respect for the avifauna?"  Perhaps many visitors will be awed by these wonderful birds and go on to do great things for their conservation, but one has to wonder whether the good of the many outweighs the good of the few.

[Posting might be light for a while — all going well, I'll be in a fairly out-of-the-way part of Peru in a few days]

[26 September 2011 [Ecuador], Panasonic Lumix GH1, 100–300 mm at 300 mm, ISO 400, 1/400 at f5.6]

All content © 2011 Pete McGregor


Barbara Butler McCoy said...

This stirs up a host of thoughts, but the only word I can share is 'superb.' Take care.

Zhoen said...

First thing I thought was of your Keas, how much healthier and more alert they look. This one looks pretty rough, the beak worn, the feathers a bit seedy.

These kinds of refuges should only, ever, be for birds that are injured, and could not survive in the wild, or who are being rehabilitated to be released.

pohanginapete said...

Barbara, they're beautiful birds (but all birds are beautiful). Thanks :^)

Zhoen, I agree — these places should help the individuals as well as the species. Thanks for the thoughts :^)

Lydia said...

OMG, I am in love with this face, these colors, the soft feathers that I am reaching to touch....

pohanginapete said...

Lydia, I'd have been so pleased with this photograph if the bird had been free in the wild.