I just inherited a cool coffee-table book from Amy Hooper, the editor of our sister publication, Wild Bird magazine. We both receive quite a few bird-themed book submissions for review. Basically, if the book contains any mention (or photos) of feathers, we receive copies. Sometimes, I’ll get a bird-watching guide or a book devoted to native wild birds, while she’ll get a book on parrots ?so we swap. Or, occasionally, it goes like, “Just got this cool bird book, interested?”
That’s how I ended up with, “Extreme Birds: The world’s most extraordinary and bizarre birds” (Firefly Books). Who could pass up a title like that?! Of course, I thumbed through it looking for parrots and found two.
One page 138, there’s a peach-faced lovebird (referred to as the rosy-faced lovebird in the book). It has the title, “Smartest Transporter,” because it tucks nesting materials in its tail feathers to transport them to the nest. Anyone with a female peach face can attest to that. Whenever Jessica brings in her peach-faced lovebird, Tori, we keep her (and us) entertained by offering a generous paper supply. Within nanoseconds, she’s off stripping (paper that is) and stuffing them in her tail feathers.
The other parrot is in on page 200. The palm cockatoo is listed as the “Best Drummer.” This is a rarer parrot for sure, but I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Vladimir the black palm cockatoo at the America’s Family Pet Expo back in April. He was a sweetie. Now I wish I had a drumstick on hand, because these birds use sticks to bang on trees in order to woo the ladies palms.
And that intimidating bird on the cover? That’s a shoebill, the “Most Patient Feeder,” which I can see why … it stands motionless by the waterside for half hour or more, waiting for a fish to come near. Now that kind of patience simply doesn’t exist when it comes to our hungry parrots!