Do you like birds? Did The Birds of North America (see previous post) leave you wanting more? Well, you may be surprised to learn that the Archives & Special Collections is actually full of avian-related literature! The Speaking Parrots: A Scientific Manual by Dr. Karl Russ is a riveting text full of every parrot-related concern imaginable. From purchase, to food, to taming, training, health, and disease, this book has everything a parrot owner or bird enthusiast needs to know. With an emphasis on companionship and enchanting parrot linguistics, Dr. Russ’ scientific manual goes in-depth, highlighting the typical behavior, appearance, special diets, treatment of illness, etc. of over 100 different parrot species (and the illustrations are gorgeous). He makes it difficult not to fall in love with these beautiful creatures, as he so clearly has!
“No other bird kept alone as a speaker will take in a higher degree the position of friend and companion to man than a parrot.”
“In captivity [macaws] are exceedingly healthy and hardy, and, at the same time, good-tempered and affectionate; but, on the other hand, a macaw, when vicious, is extremely dangerous… [A macaw], where it is sometimes wrongly treated by attendants and very frequently teased by the public, may become an incorrigible screamer and a really vicious bird. The macaws learn to say many words, often whole sentences, with a loud, powerful, but usually an indistinct utterance. In capacity for speech they are, on the whole, a long way behind the Grey Parrots and Amazons, as well as the Alexandrine Parrakeet, which is more nearly related to them; although otherwise they are indeed very intelligent birds.”
The Archives & Special Collections is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 1:00-3:00 p.m. or by appointment.
By Monica Patterson