Salvatore Angius lives in the beautiful state of California. He looked up and realized that not only the clouds decorated the sky, he saw the beautiful feathers in different hues of green that brought to life his devotion and photographic talent for the beautiful parrots. He has a website that is called Californiaflocks. In it, he documents every active naturalized parrot flock species within the state of California.
Through the Californiaflocks Facebook page, Salvatore enchants people with beautiful pictures of parrots that continue to be a mystery to local residents. The parrots may go unnoticed by some, but thanks to Salvatore and social media, the parrots are now known worldwide. In an exclusive interview, Salvatore tells more on his advocacy and responds to questions that will be useful to those that care about parrots and to those that are just getting to know them.
Californiaflocks was inspired and dedicated to two friends of Salvatore. Those two feathered friends were “Mac” and “Kusi” (Kusi is Peruvian Quechuan for Joy). Thanks to these two friends, Salvatore decided to open up his wings and speak up for the naturalized parrots.
Salvatore can tell by the squeaks of birds if parrots have been in captivity. It is unfortunate that at times the squeaks of birds that were considered as companion animals are heard. Salvatore explains how to understand the vocalization of parrots:
"In general, we know pet parrots to be great mimickers of ambient sounds including human speech. In their wild worlds, each parrot species has its own unique calls. This includes calls made by fledglings while begging a parent for food as well. Therefore distinguishing among these wild calls may not only help to identify species, it is also a great indicator in distinguishing between an escaped pet and a naturalized parrot as well."
Naturalized parrots and bird poaching
According to Salvatore, naturalized parrots fend for themselves in various ways and alarm calls are made when a curious passerby approaches too close. Although parrots take care of each other, they are still vulnerable to human greed."Parrots hide their colorful faces away to blend in with trees and remain motionless. Despite records of entire flock sightings since the 1960’s, the large scale decline is believed to be a result of being targeted by poachers for the pet trade."
"The trafficking of birds is devastating yet usually an overlooked topic worldwide." Salvatore sees it as an issue that hurts the birds of California. He says that many of the poached birds are to be found on online classified ads. “People may purchase these birds and unintentionally promote the future captures of other parrots, and likely contribute to California’s vanishing species; such as one of three naturalized endangered species the Yellowhead Amazon parrot.”
When asked about the sale of exotic animals in pet stores being part of the problem with poaching he responded with the following:
“Not necessarily, for the most part, reputable pet stores purchase birds directly from referenced breeders. On the other hand, pricier pet trade birds such as our long time resident and endangered Yellowhead Amazon, has now nearly completely vanished throughout our state."
Parrots as companion animals
Parrots are a thought to be an animal that can be easily bought and therefore it can be “easy” to take care of.
“Parrots are not for just anyone. Parrots typically have long life spans and as social flock animals, they require constant interaction. This can be hard for owners who work full time jobs or have other commitments. As parrot ownership can at times be overwhelming, I highly recommend carefully researching parrots as pets prior to simply buying or owning one."
Adoption of a rescued parrot
People should be encouraged to adopt a rescued parrot before they even consider buying a parrot. Salvatore says that many parrot rescue organizations state that at times they are bombarded with abandoned or neglected parrots.“Many of these housed birds are the result of poor buying choices. Californiaflocks works closely with So Cal parrot. They are a non-profit parrot organization that works in rehabilitating injured naturalized California parrots. These non-profit organizations are often overwhelmed with neglected parrots looking for homes.” A few examples of these rescue non-profit organizations in California that are looking for homes are Parrots First, Lily Sanctuary, and Mickaboo.
What to do if you come across a parrot
Salvatore gives these helpful tips on how to help parrots if one encounters a baby parrot or unweaned nestling on the ground:
- First priority should be returning this bird to its nest (assuming it is reachable). Contrary to popular belief, parrots will continue feeding their young despite being handled by humans.
- If the nest is unreachable, unnoticeable or you suspect the fall may have injured the bird, immediately contact a rescue organization such as SoCal Parrot for assistance.
- It is important to mention that wild or naturalized (established) parrots never approach humans as they are naturally cautious of our presence.
Any parrot that approaches a person is likely the result of an escaped human bonded pet. In this case, there are online websites designed for tracking these bird owners and lost pet birds as well.
Californiaflocks and Facebook
Salvatore’s main goal is education and awareness. He says that Facebook has enabled him to educate people with consistent insight into the lives of wild parrots. He relies on Facebook to spread the word on these parrots. According to him, Facebook is his most successful resource he uses in generating awareness and creating appreciation for parrots.
He is now using Facebook to promote The California flocks documentary that is in the works and looking for sponsors. It would be a way to provide viewers with unprecedented insight into the real world of California’s naturalized parrots. This documentary will help people understand the journeys and current challenges these birds face such as urban poaching. “Overall, it is an unprecedented chance for these often misunderstood parrots to have their stories told through their eyes.” The documentary has been filmed almost daily over the past few years and has collected countless hours of actual footage from every current parrot species thriving to date.
Salvatore and his quest
“Building a better understanding and recognition for captive, wild, and naturalized parrot species through education and awareness” that is Salvatore’s ongoing quest. The passion that Salvatore exerts should be something that inspires all human beings. It may seem difficult to certain people to realize that we are not alone in the world and that we share it with other sentient beings. We are all responsible for caring for those that are vulnerable to be hurt and exploited by people with no respect for animals. Salvatore is making a difference not only for the parrots, but also for all the humans that he is inspiring through his work.