thriving vs. surviving


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Birdz of Asia and Australasia

This vast area of geography that extends from South and Southeast Asia through the Philippines and Indonesia over to Australasia and the Pacific Islands is home to 163 species of parrots. The range of size and color is second only to the incredible diversity of habitat that the birds inhabit from dense jungles of Asia to the deserts of Australia.


Arguably, there are only a small number of domestic species of parrots in captivity today and two of them are from Australia. Most of us had our first contact with parrots when we were given an Australian parakeet as a pet or know somebody else that had one. This tiny little parrot is often not even shown the respect of belonging to the parrot family, and the uninformed will often feel the need to correct you, stating "you mean a parakeet." In reality, the word "parakeet" just means "a parrot with a long tail" and there are many large varieties of parrots that are also referred to as parakeets due to the length of their tail. Australian parakeets are also affectionately referred to as "budgies" and they have been bred in captivity for hundreds of generations converting them into effectively a domestic species. Testimony to this fact are the vast range of color mutations that we see today that didn't exist even a few decades ago.


The affectionate, devoted and ubiquitous cockatiel is another domestic species that originates from Australia. This species has been bred in captivity for so long that the seed stock of the population in the United States and Canada came from England, and not Australia. Once again, the successive breeding of hundreds of generations has produced many color variations and birds that are of very steady temperament. Although the idea of owning a majestic cockatoo appeals to many, very few people are prepared to deal with the hormonal changes that take place when a "wild" parrot raised in captivity reaches sexual maturity. The once predictable and affectionate bird, often becomes moody and extremely vocal, as it endeavors to deal with the frustration of being programed to mate, with no outlet for the hormones that are racing below the beautiful plumage.


Even though the cockatiel does not have the striking and exotic splash of color that many tropical parrots exhibit, the "Tiel" makes a great choice for the majority of people that would like to share their life with a parrot, because the "wild" has effectively been bred out of the species in captivity, and they are able to coexist peacefully with their human flock.