Reading the Avicultural Society magazine

Discovered interesting things about Lear's and Spix's Macaws kept by zoos and private individuals

I went to Tring Museum with Thomas Arndt on Friday to investigate some parrot skins there. As I had a few spare moments I spent them reading back issues of the magazine of the Avicultural Society published at the end of the 19th century and the early decades of the last century.

It is truly amazing how many Lear's and Spix's Macaws were kept by zoos and private individuals at that time. Primley later Paignton Zoo in south Devon had several Lear's and Spix's Macaws in the 1920s, Mossley Zoo in Liverpool and the London Zoo both had Spix's Macaws in 1932, M.F Vanoutryve kept Spix's Macaws at Roubaix, now a part of Lille in France, in 1930 and J.Delacour reports that there were 4 Hyacinthine Macaws and 7, yes 7, Lear's Macaws at Clères in northern France in December 1939, the early months of the Second World War. If anyone knows what happened to these macaws, please e-mail me.

Some of these reports were put on the website some years ago, but I should like to remind visitors about them. They can be found on the "Naturalist and other historical documents" page under each species. I particularly like the May 1930 account by Karl Plath, the Curator of Birds at the New Chicago Zoological Park, of his Spix's Macaw, which he kept at his home in the windy city and later "summered at the Zoo", which spoke in a feminine voice and burst into song "in a laughably quavering manner".

I have also put a report from Cage & Aviary Birds on the latest development in the Harry Sissen case on the website page dedicated to this vexatious issue.

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