As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday 27 June 2018

Miami's Wild Parrots Are Being Poached, and There's No Law to Protect Them

MOLLY MINTA | JUNE 5, 2018 | 8:00AM

Every morning for the past 25 years, a flock of blue and gold macaws has flown into Daria Feinstein’s backyard in Coral Gables. They swoop between surrounding homes and over boats docked on the nearby canal to perch on Feinstein’s royal palms and poincianas or maybe have a bite to eat on the artificial nests she’s set up for them.

In 2010, one of Feinstein’s favorite wild parrots, Scruffy — an old blue and gold macaw she named for the bird's frayed feathers — began showing up in her yard with a youngster she named Fuzzy for a fluff of red fuzz on his head.

 “He was a character,” Feinstein says of Fuzzy. The baby would always disobey Scruffy and swoop down to eat before he was given the signal. “I was afraid he’d never get airborne because he’d eat so much.”

A year later, Fuzzy disappeared. Feinstein thought perhaps he’d grown up and found a mate in a different place. "But," she says, “one by one, more birds just kept disappearing.”

Feinstein began to hear similar reports from fellow members of the Bird Lovers Club, a nonprofit dedicated to South Florida’s avian population. A professor at the University of Miami told her someone came on campus with a net gun and took six birds. One of the other feeders in her neighborhood said the macaws were flying at night. “Parrots don’t fly after nightfall,” Feinstein says. “Something scared them.”

Feinstein realized the parrots were being poached. Since 2010, she says, the number of blue and gold macaws in her neighborhood has gone from 44 to 12 because of legal poaching. Parrots can sell for thousands of dollars each on local and national websites, which is significant motivation for poachers.

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