March 2016 – everything started with Coco.
A single female Amazon parrot was sitting in a bare cage in the public park of Taormina. Her name was Coco and her partner had died a while ago. This cage was bleak, without trees, bushes or toys and only little sun could enter.
We tried to spot out the zookeepers and got in touch with Maria who brought us in contact with Giovanna. We asked her to please find a partner for Coco, a male Amazon parrot. She got ‘green light’ by her superior (Pina Raneri) and we bought a male Amazon parrot from a zoo store in Naxos, he had been bread in Palermo on Sicily.
In July 2016 things were ready and Pauli, such is his name, got introduced to Coco. Pauli was four years old back then. It wasn’t love at first sight, though. They liked each other but didn’t become a couple. Therefore this junction was not an entire success, but at least they were not alone anymore – which was already a good thing.
We started to browse internet fora about parrot keeping, particularly of Amazon parrots, and we found out that in freedom they use to live in big swarms and that the best thing for them is to live in a bigger compound, together with other birds. Most promising seemed an extension of the group with young birds whose social behaviour would have a positive influence and strengthen the community bonds to each other. This is what we have put into practice.
MINA & TAO
In August 2016 a breeder in our home region, Lake Constance area, offered some young birds for sale (not hand reared). We brought them by car to the Public Park at Taormina. We had informed Giovanna and Pina beforehand and started to prepare the huge aviary (which had not been used for some years).
In this big aviary Coco, Pauli and the two new young birds Tao and Mina – all of them Turquoise-fronted amazons – were being brought together. The aviary has four sections which are connected to each other with a door. Only the first door which serves as security door is closed, all other doors are open to enable the birds to fly freely.
The aviary is equipped with fresh twigs and branches, tree trunks and special toys for parrots. Most of it is wood supplied with ropes. That is what they need to play and to absorb nutritive substances from the fresh branches.
In November 2016 we got called by a lady who asked us to take in her fosterlings: two Grey Parrots and two Blue-and-Yellow Macaws. We couldn’t promise anything and had to check first whether we could keep all of them in the enclosure.
In general one can say: a parrot would never attack or bite when he has enough space to withdraw, e.g. to fly or walk away. Since the public aviary in the Communal Park is 25-30 metres long they all have enough space to distance themselves and create their own space and territory. We have asked other public parks for advice and found out that it is possible to keep various species of parrots together in one enclosure – if there is enough space for free flight. In wilderness they are also often together or come across each other at certain places with fresh water or food, like fruit trees and grain fields.
CARLO & CARLA / JACCO & LOLA
In December 2016 we received the OK of the persons in charge of the public park and by end of December 2016 we brought the new parrot couples (two Macaws and two Grey Parrots) from Germany with a VW bus to Taormina, to settle them in their new home, the public park. The transport was a story of its own, but all in all we coped very well and arrived exhausted, but grateful in Taormina.
In April 2017 Sammy came to Taormina to be a partner for Coco. He likes the experienced lady Coco a lot but prefers to spend his time with the young and wild lady Mina (who loves to tease and offend him a bit).