Written by Zoe Blain
Week 11: Signing off
What a wacky eleven weeks of illegality it has been! Here at Illegally Blog we have well and truly wrung our brains dry of topics. For my final post I have been inspired by Brian Cox. Brian Cox the cockatiel that is, who is perched on my chest and making it very difficult to type.
Exactly six years and two days ago I got my first cockatiel Oliver. The breeder was an Indian man and let many of his birds live un-caged indoors. Earlier this year my boyfriend and I bought a breeding pair (Brian Cox and Carl/a Sagan) and one female (Taco) from a man in Mornington, Victoria. He kept his parrots in two shed-like aviaries outside. He claimed he had been breeding for over twenty years. Whilst Oliver is an expert flyer, Taco, Brian and Carl are slow, have difficultly landing, frequently hit walls and tire very quickly. Brian has lost half a toe and broken several blood feathers in these sorts of accidents.
Carl Sagan and Brian Cox… What a couple
PETA and campaigns such as Oscar’s Law are attempting to ban the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores. Whilst my local pet store has responded by reducing crowding and increasing enclosure space for mammals, the birds are still kept in a poorly lit, windowless room. Although the cages are quite large, they are vertical, which makes flight difficult for parrots. Most disturbingly, many of the cockatiels are covered in bald patches (they are known to pull out their own feathers when stressed) and have mattered crests due to dust build up, which can result in fatal respiratory illnesses. Unfortunately, I have come across much worse conditions.
My birds in one of their outdoor cages
Although state governments offer a code of practice detailing how birds should be kept in captivity, there is no indication that breaching these guidelines is illegal, or will suffer any consequences. Cockatiel websites often encourage people to purchase directly from breeders to help combat mistreatment. However, my experience earlier this year has caused me to distrust the industry. Not only did I discover that Taco was actually a male, but that Brian and Carl suffer health and behavioral problems due to the practice of selective breeding to create rare colour mutations.
Due to the ethical debate of caging birds it’s unlikely that concrete laws will ever be properly enforced concerning captivity. However, I believe that every parrot owner can make a difference. After being given full reign of the house my three newest cockatiels have slowly improved their flying skills. Brian just crash landed into the couch, but at least it wasn’t a door. Although Oliver poos all over my bedroom I prefer him sleeping there than in a tiny cage.
A glamour pic of Taco and me
Thanks for reading my posts everybody! I hope you’ve enjoyed the puns, alliterations and Photoshop phenomena.
Ciao for now!