Monday, March 9, 2015

Oregon Birdman

Greenwing macaw.
We went to see Karl Anderson, the Oregon Birdman, and of course he was awesome!  Karl and his assistant brought 18 beautiful birds native to 4 continents.  They were hidden beneath tables before the show began, but we could hear their calls loud and clear.  Karl's birds are mostly rescues, because people often buy birds as pets without thoroughly understanding the commitment they are making. They require a lot of company, and can be noisy and dirty.  Also many species have very long lifespans, outliving their owners, so it is crucial for their well being that their owners have a plan for their care if their birds survive them.  He explained that he cannot book any performances that would be far enough away that he can't be home at night to look after his 30 birds. He has a soundproof media room where he can watch movies without fear that his talking birds will pick up obnoxious dialogue.  But they do imitate sounds they hear regularly such as the ding of the microwave and the ringing of the phone! He wakes up each morning to sound effects from Star Wars, and when lights go off each evening he hears a sound like a tea kettle boiling over. One day he came home and heard male and female voices coming from inside his house.  The birds were talking to each other while imitating human speech. Research has demonstrated that they can be taught not just to imitate words, but to understand the meaning of them and use them to communicate. He says they are as intelligent as an average 5 year old child (which is pretty smart indeed!). His presentation is very different from the last bird presentation we saw, given by the Parrot Lady of Washington.  He brought a lot of birds which were very glamorous, but his show was completely hands-off.  He does not teach his birds to do tricks, although some come to him having already learned things from their previous owners. Instead he highlighted their beauty and grace. We enjoyed both approaches equally.
Blue and gold macaw.
Scarlet macaw.
Military macaw.
Hyacinth macaw.
Moluccan cockatoo.
Rose breasted cockatoo.
African grey parrot.
Eclectus parrot (this is the boy).
Eclectus parrot (this is the girl).
Rose breasted cockatoo.
Military macaw.
Scarlet macaw.
Moluccan cockatoo.
Hawk-headed parrot.

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