Parrots for Dollars : Rare Is Desirable


ask any American parrot keeper wh

ether they would rather be given a Rose-breasted Cockatoo or a Nanday Conure and most likely their reply would be, "The Rose-breasted, of course."But what if imported Rose-breasted Cockatoos were available at $99 each;and the Nanday Conure was the last known female in the USA?It's a funny business, this aviculture for dollars.For some reason within the depths of human psychology, the rarer an object - or creature - the more desirahle
it often hecomes. Even prior to
Egyptian times, the nohle, the wealthy,
the fortunate collected and displayed
unusual objects or animal species to
obtain oohs and aahs of esteem from
their fellow humans. I do it. You do it.
We all do it. Rare is desirable.But why? And to what end?
"It is the old five-year cycle in the hird
trade," explains Rick Gerdl, a devoted
and decidedly uncommercial breeder of
Australian parakeet species in Southern
California. "A friend calls you up and says
'I can't find any such and such species.'
'Well, I have one pair.'
'Do you want to sell them?'The word gets around and soon
everyone is looking for that species. The
price goes up. More people huy them
and set them up. Within four or five years
these pairs hegin to produce babies.
Then someone comes up with 20, 40,
100 babies they cannot afford to feed
and house. They dump them on the market.
The price goes down and we begin
Economically this is a working free
enterprise system. But is it aviculturally
sound? Danger exists at the low end
of a cycle when a species supposedly
hecomes undesirable.