Field Notes: Aloha Hawaiian Parrot Association
Field Notes explores Honolulu’s vibrant and varied scenes and subcultures. This month: the Aloha Hawaiian Parrot Association.
WHAT IT IS
A club for parrot enthusiasts. Most of the association’s 140 members own a parrot, or two or three, but it’s not required. The club meets one Sunday a month at the Blaisdell Park in Waimalu to talk birds, potluck and socialize their feathered friends. They also help find lost parrots, foster and re-home them, educate new owners, participate in the annual pet expo and more.
At a recent meeting there were around 25 humans present, approximately 35 parrots and one canine, a therapy dog named Athena, with parrot Budda Buddy who sits contentedly on her back. Most members are middle age; there are a couple of kids and teenagers. All but two of the birds have had their wings clipped and range in age from 3 months old to 55 years. There are 17 different parrot breeds and subspecies represented, including the African grey, macaw, cockatoo, cockatiel, Amazon, conure, eclectus and others. The parrots prefer humans over interacting with each other.
WHAT IT'S LIKE TO HAVE "FIDS"
That’s “feathered kids,” to a parrot aficionado. Owning a parrot is no joke. They start out at $800, a macaw will set you back anywhere from $1,200 to $2,500, and the hyacinth, a rare subspecies and also the largest parrot in the world, costs upward of $15,000. It’s not unusual for a parrot to live 70 years or more; owners put them in their wills.
Parrots are social; you don’t cage them except at night (they need eight hours of sleep). They like to eat what you eat—in addition to their seed feed—fruits, veggies, peanut butter, even a bit of your pizza or macaroni and cheese, just don’t feed them avocadoes or chocolate. They need constant attention, much like a toddler. Parrots are intelligent; owners buy them baby toys to stimulate them. They’ll talk to you all the time, follow you around, nip you with their beaks and when the phone rings, well, better make that conversation short.
POLLY WANNA CRACKER?
Overheard at Sunday’s meet-up, by the parrots, that is:
- “Hello Alberto,” rolling the Rs and all (Alberto is one of the parrots’ names).
- Whistling, for Athena the dog.
- Squawking—like a chicken—and lots of parrot squawks.
- Barking like a dog.
Two cockatoos, Peeka and Ari (the white cockatoo above), can do more than talk—the female duo does tricks. They can put plastic coins into a piggy bank, play birdie basketball and put colored shapes into their corresponding holes.
Best dressed goes to Bo, the hyacinth (the blue parrot above). The 24-year-old has more than 20 hats, plus custom-made outfits, including Superman and Batman costumes, and Aloha wear.
THE FLOCKING DETAILS
Got a parrot, or just want to hang out with some? The next meeting is on Sunday, Oct. 20, at noon at Blaisdell Park. Bring food to share, a chair and your bird (if its wings aren’t clipped, you’ll need a cage). Visit alohahawaiianparrot.com or call 381-5545.
Did you know? The Aloha Hawaiian Parrot Association was founded in 1992.
Watch these parrots talk, squawk and do tricks!