Encouraging the breeding of every parrot in New Zealand whether in the wild or captivity

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The Parrot Society Workshop that took place in Kumeu yesterday was just brilliant. We started with an entertaining and amusing talk from our very own Hayden Van Hooff which covered the recent trip to Australia by himself and several other members and was illustrated with some beautiful pictures from some of the aviaries they were able to visit. Some amazing set ups and even more spectacular birds and mutations. Those of us who didn’t attend were suitably jealous but very happy to be able to see what we missed. Big thanks to Hayden for putting it all together for our enjoyment.

Following a delicious shared lunch – thanks to all who contributed! – we embarked on an afternoon of education and wonder with Rachel Ward, bird behaviourist. She first treated us to an overview of typical problems to be endured with pet birds and with which many of us were familiar. She then went on to show us how to teach foraging behaviour to our birds to allow them to be more in control of their lives and independence which is a crucial factor in preventing problems. Her model for this section of the afternoon was Vandal the young Eclectus male with his lovely assistant, Victoria Logan. Van was shown how to find treats that had been hidden inside a paper towel and loved the learning and eating the results. I have it on good authority that he is now addicted to paper towels! The second volunteer was Archie the Moluccan Cockatoo who has been plucking and mutilating himself for a while due to a perceived trauma that his careful owner – Mary-Lee Sloan – had picked up on. Watching Rachel gain Archie’s trust and starting to teach him how to trust her and take medications from a syringe was spell-binding for the audience. Even the ‘experts’ among us had to admit that they learned a huge amount from Rachel and her talk and demonstrations. She truly is a remarkable young lady with a very special talent and we are so grateful that she spent the afternoon sharing some of this with us. Thank you Rachel!

Following Rachel’s demonstration we had afternoon tea and then a question and answer session with her which was very valuable and gave everyone the chance to share their own worries about their pet parrot. So many questions answered and so much information absorbed. It was also fantastic to see so many new faces at this event and we hope to see them all again at future workshops and our next convention. The raffle and auction were a lot of fun as usual and thanks to all who donated prizes and lots for these valuable fund raisers for us. All of the profits go towards out next convention and more education and enjoyment for all the parrot lovers and owners of New Zealand. More thanks to all who attended and worked hard to make this event happen.

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