01 October 2007


Speaking of old pollys at this time of elections, you might recall an earlier post about geriatric parrots at Eric Worrells earlier on the Gosford Times. We are not alone.

A work by Rachel Berwick is worth a visit – you can also hear the birds on her website which is the source of the following text.
In 1799, the German naturalist Alexander Von Humboldt, embarked on a journey through Venezuela to trace the _Orinoco River to its source. During his travels Von Humboldt was said to have acquired a parrot from a Carib Indian tribe which, some days before his arrival, had attacked and eliminated a neighboring tribe, the Maypure’. During the attack, the Carib tribe had taken parrots which the Maypure’ people had kept as pets. Von Humboldt noted that the parrots were speaking words, not in the language of the tribe he was visiting, but in the language of the recently destroyed Maypure’: thus the parrots were the only living ‘speakers’ of the Maypure’ language. They were, in fact the sole conduit through which an entire tribe’s existence could be traced. Von Humboldt phonetically recorded the bird’s vocabulary; these notes constitute the only trace of the lost tribe...
For this installation I trained two Amazon parrots to speak Maypure’. The parrots live within a sculptural aviary and are only seen in shadow through its translucent walls. The birds chatter at will, incorporating the language with a multitude of sounds generated by them and their environment.

There is a full account at Parrot Chronicles.