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Published: January 13th 2020
I'm a fairly quiet person. I treasure silence and, given the choice, always prefer listening and watching to talking. Toucan Rescue Ranch is home to many, many parrots and toucans--all rescued for a variety of reasons, mostly confiscated because they were pets. Sadly they can't be released; TRR is their permanent home. These beautiful birds are all cared for with unwavering compassion by the staff and volunteers. I am now one of those volunteers, and the first thing we do every morning, is feed the parrots and toucans.
Our day begins at 7am. It ends, in theory, at 3pm. In between, food trays and water trays are cleaned and replenished, living enclosures are raked and scrubbed, and pools are cleaned. When I arrive in the early morning, we volunteers are tasked with cleaning and feeding the roughly 80 parrots that live at TRR. The process is simple really--we remove the previous days food and water trays, then replace with fresh trays of clean water and food.
But parrots can be loud, demanding, and extremely impolite. In the morning, parrots are hungry. More accurately, they're ravenous. And when parrots are ravenous, they vocalize. And when parrots vocalize, it's loud. It
So happy to have their food trays in front of them.
reminds me of toddlers who scream, scream, SCREAM when they'e trying to get their parents' attention. Pretty much the same thing with hungry parrots. Did I mention there are around 80 parrots at TRR? Imagine 80 screaming toddlers. It's a little crazy and definitely messes with my preference for silence.
On the other hand, what happens next fills me with joy and reminds me why I love parrots so much. When I enter each of the parrot areas, I instantly feel multiple pairs of parrot eyes on me. Most keep their distance, but a few immediately begin to climb their way across the wire mesh, or hop along the branches to approach and investigate me more closely. They might quietly vocalize (which I very much appreciate). Sometimes they close their eyes and ruffle up their head and neck feathers submissively. They might touch my clothes with their bills. For me, these little parrots encounters are a privilege. The screaming is a challenge, and I'll probably be wearing hearing aids partly because of the macaws and other parrots that scream sometimes right next to my ears. But parrots are also endearing, goofy, pathologically inquisitive, and perpetually pugnacious.
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