Saturday, February 20, 2016

Parrots of War: Baghdad Edition

We parrot people in the First World have a difficult enough time caring for our companion parrots. We simply can not fathom the headaches and heartaches that come with caring for companion parrots in the Third War. Throw in complications resulting from living in what is essentially still a war zone, and then the trials and tribulations of parrot people in that environment becomes incomprehensible to us Westerners.

Add to the equation the fact that most of these parrots offered for sale are probably illegally wild caught. The odds of surviving the ordeal of being poached from their wild homes and smuggled into a depressing Third World bird market are overwhelmingly weighted against the parrots. Living with inadequate space. Inadequate food. Inadequate knowledge of parrot care. Literally dodging bombs and guns. We find ourselves alternately fascinated, shocked, and depressed. We hope, and trust, that somehow the parrots will not just survive, but thrive, and enjoy a modicum of good life.


Iraqi men sell African Grey parrots at the Al-Ghazel animal market in the capital, Baghdad, on February 19, 2016. The Al-Ghazel market is one of the largest animal markets in Iraq open for the trade of domestic animals.


Baghdad Bird Market, 2014, Video by Colton Lee

BAGHDAD. Reported by Associated Press, May 18, 2012 — Three bombs struck near simultaneously at a busy bird market in eastern Baghdad on Friday morning, killing five people and wounding dozens, police and health officials said. Two police officials said the bird market in the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City was crowded with shoppers when the bombs exploded at around 7:00 a.m. At least 37 people were wounded in the blasts, officials said. A hospital official confirmed the casualty toll. Every Friday, thousands of Iraqis converge on pet markets to shop and spend some relaxing family time during the Muslim weekend. The markets are one of the favorite targets for militants who seek to inflict large numbers of causalities.

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