Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sepik flyer

For those who've been missing my "parrots of the British Natural History Museum" collection, here's an action-packed bitta taxidermy for you.

This fella's from the densely rainforested mountains of Papua New Guinea.

Lord knows how many other species of parrot the botanists are yet to unearth from the tangled jungles up that way.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Honorary parrot

"You're dethpicable!*"

*photographed in Avignon, the home of Duck a'Lorange


The gift that keeps on giving

Just when you thought:
  • France could not possibly offer up another dodgy parrot painting; nor
  • another macaw; and
  • that a return to pics of real parrots was just around the corner;
here's another sample of French macaw fetishism, pictured in a shopfront in Avignon.

Gee, I wonder what the first picture painted by the kid who buys the pencils will be??

... meaning the macaw cult of France will live on and on.

And that can't be a bad thing.

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Kakapo joy juice

On a marginally more upbeat note, this ground-dwelling parrot of New Zealand is not yet extinct.

Well, this particular one, housed in London's natural history museum is ever-so-slightly extinct. However, its species lingers on. Barely.

Due to the introduction of beasties like cats, rats, stoats and foxes to the land of the long white cloud, the poor ol' kakapo (as the world's only flightless parrot is known) is now isolated to a couple of monitored islands off the NZ mainland, and is in grave peril.

Other claims to fame for the kakapo (Maori for 'night parrot') is that it's the world's heaviest parrot, it's probably the world's longest lived bird, and there are only about 60 left on the planet.

The remaining parrots have been relocated to predator-free islands, where the birds have been breeding!

Hang tough, kakapo. Hang tough!

And breed, breed like there's no tomorrow!


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Nothing could be finer than to spot a Carolina some fine morning.

The Carolina parakeet was the only parrot native to the east of North America.

Like the dodo, the poor parakeet, pictured on its permanent perch in London's Natural History Museum, is now extinct.

Click on the pic' to find out why.

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Okay, so this stuffed dodo from London's Natural History Museum is no parrot.

And he's no oil painting either.

But he does go to show what could happen to some of our poor parrots if we do not look after them, and their habitats.

That's right. They'd be stuffed.


And forced to live in England.

Poor dodo.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Parroting Peter Sellers

I think it was a macaw I saw in Peter Sellers' "The Party".

This happy blue thing in Lyon doesn't look much like a macaw though.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Put The Parrot out to pasture

It's not often that I criticise a parrot.

C'mon, you know I love 'em.

"And what's not to love??" I hear you say.

Well, Alan Jones, AKA "The Parrot", that's what.

In the wake of the Wallabies' dismal performance at the recent rugby world cup in France (where and when the stunning parrot pictures you've been enjoying below were taken), some Nigel from Queensland has suggested the Parrot take over as coach of Australia's national rugby team.

As right-wing as they come, populist shock jock Jones last coached the Wallabies over 20 years ago. And yes, he was successful.

But the bloke's a plonker, and so is his Queensland cheer leader:

"Let's look outside the square, let's do something different, let's shake it up,'' Lewis [the Queenslander, of Jones] told Sydney's Daily Telegraph. "You need someone who comes in from outside the current philosophy of coaching which in my view is killing the game."

Anyone who implores us to "think outside the [cliched] square" is clearly incapable of doing so themselves.

As for The Parrot, did I mention he's a plonker?


Macaw and order

In France, the macaw is the law.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Budgie smuggler

Also in the Musee d'Orsey was this exquisite Art Moderne rendering of a pair of budgies.

As the sign behind says, the two lime budgerigars are inseparable.

Made me want to pick the thing up, sneak out the front door, and become a budgie smuggler ;-)

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Up close and ear-shriekingly personal

Here's a close-up of the surreal squawker mentioned below.


Surreally good parrot.

Proving that Surrealism does not have to be all about lobster-phones and graable, faable, definitaable, Spanish master Joan Miro throws in a touch of parrot (bottom off-centre).

The painting is called Collage, it was painted in 1929, and it's in the Musee d'Orsey.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Birds of a feather

Even back in 1785, when Marie-Antionette and her hubby ruled the roost at Versailles, a blue macaw was never too far away*.

I wonder if it spoke French?

* Photo by Hazel Blackberry

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Karaoke parrot

As I said, the French love a parrot.

This little fella was snapped in Versailles, just down the road from the palace.

He was advertising Chez Cesar's extensive range of parrot burgers.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cockatoo cocktail

Along the Cote d'Azur, in Nice to be precise, suave cocktail slurpers would not be caught dead without their parrot-bedecked cocktail cooler.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Kind of Blue

This introspective character was also created by Monseiur de Lajaue, on the same colourful paravent.

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Parrot vent

This large-schnozzered creature was found perched on an ornate 18th century privacy screen that was part of the eclectic collection at the Petit Palace gallery in Paris.

A real looker, aint he?

Next time you're ambling by the Petit Palace, I suggest you drop in, sidle up to the nearest attendant and – in your finest French – ask to be pointed in the direction of Paravent, crafted in 1735 by parrot lover Jaques de LaJaue.

Oh, and tell 'em Grumpy sent ya.

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I'm back, I'm back, you know it, shamone.

Well, the rugby in France was tres merde, with the Aussies putting in an all-round pitiful effort, and bloody England still in the hunt for all-round glory.

Still, for five weeks France turned on a wonderful flurry of sights, sounds and ups and downs. London, where wifey and I spent seven nights, was passable enough I suppose.

Unfortunately, neither in France nor in London did we behold even one parrot to encolour our sojourn, unless you count that poor macaw which was part of an "art" installation at the Tate Modern in London. Needless to say, I Geoffrey Boycotted that one.

Fortunately, the French have a fetish for parrots, loving nothing more than to paint them on billboards, the sides of trucks, their persons – the list is endless!

So, for the next few days I'll be treating you to a selection of the finest parrot art you're ever likely to see. It should be a wild ride.