World Parrot Day
annually on May 31st (since 2004)
World Parrot Trust in 2004
World Parrot Day was created by World Parrot Trust in 2004 to highlight the plight of wild parrots and raise awareness about the role of importing birds in causing this plight. In the lead up to the first observance, World Parrot Trust had put forth a petition that called for the European Union to ban the trade of wild birds in Europe, and it had been signed by tens of thousands of people from dozens of countries. On the first World Parrot Day, zoos around the world marked the day and celebrants gathered at London's Trafalgar Square. Supporters of the petition and their parrot companions marched from the square down Downing Street to deliver it. Their efforts bore fruit in 2007. Today, World Parrot Day aims to highlight the threats that captive and wild parrots face, and zoos and other organizations hold special events around the world.
Founded in 1989, World Parrot Trust is an organization that implements programs to protect parrots—both companion parrots and those in the wild. Their goal is "saving wild parrots from extinction and ensuring optimal care for companion parrots." When it comes to wild parrots, World Parrot Trust is involved in "groundbreaking field research, hands-on conservation programs, habitat protection, education and awareness programs, lobbying for better protections for parrots, and supporting the rescue, rehabilitation and release of parrots caught in illegal trade." When it comes to companion parrots, they support parrot owners by providing information on proper care, and they encourage the adopting and re-homing of parrots from sanctuaries so that rescue facilities don't become overcrowded.
Parrots are the most endangered birds in the world, with many of their species falling into the category. They face habitat loss, and thousands are trapped and sold into the pet trade each year. Over half of captured parrots die before being exported from the country where they were caught. And while many of the millions of parrots that are kept as companion pets live long lives with caretakers who know how to properly care for them, others are unable to thrive because of the conditions they live in.
Over 350 bird species are considered to be parrots, including cockatoos, cockatiels, parakeets, lovebirds, lorikeets, macaws, and Amazon parrots. All parrots have curved beaks and are zygodactyls, meaning they have four toes on each foot with two pointing forward and two pointing backward. They vary in size depending on their species. The smallest is the pygmy parrot, which stands about 3 inches tall and weighs 0.4 ounces; the heaviest is the kakapo, which can weigh up to 9 pounds.
Parrots can be found in most warm climates around the world. They are most prevalent in Central America, South America, and Australasia. There are a few "cold-weather parrots," such as thick-billed parrots, keas, and maroon-fronted parrots. Parrots can live up to 80 years in the wild. There they tend to live in flocks. Many species are monogamous, staying with one partner for life. They lay eggs, usually in nests, and the parents raise their young together. Seeds, nuts, buds, flowers, fruits, and small creatures like insects are the foods of choice.
Amazon parrots, macaws, cockatiels, parakeets, and cockatoos are the species most commonly kept as pets. Parrots have appeal as pets because they are musical, intelligent, colorful, and charismatic. Some can imitate human speech. The African gray parrot is the most well-versed in language. Parrots can mimic other sounds as well. Whether they are in the wild or are companion pets, the threats parrots face are highlighted today on World Parrot Day.
How to Observe World Parrot Day
Some ways you could observe the day include:
- Attend a World Parrot Day event at a zoo or another location.
- If you have a parrot, spend the day with it. You could also spend the day with a friend's parrot.
- If you don't have a parrot, consider learning how to care for parrots and adopting one.
- Support World Parrot Trust by donating or fundraising.
- Learn about World Parrot Trust projects.
- Learn about the different types of parrots.
- View parrots in a zoo or in the wild.
- Watch a film that features parrots, such as Parrot Confidential or The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.
- Watch video clips of parrots talking. An African grey parrot named Alex is considered to be one of the smartest parrots of all time. You could watch clips of him speaking or watch Life With Alex.