“One morning last October, I was watching my rainbow lorikeet parrot Zazu go from counter to counter, and everywhere he landed, he pooped. I told him, ‘You poop here, there, and everywhere!'” says Mira Tweti, local author and self-publisher of Here, There and Everywhere, an educational children’s book on parrots.
Most parrot owners understand Tweti’s sentiment, but few use that as motivation to become an animal journalist. Tweti first became a lorikeet owner in 1995 at the Echo Park Lotus Festival, when an impulse-buy led her to Zazu, her first rainbow lorikeet.
“I fell in love at first sight, because I had been a cat person and never thought of owning a bird, but when I got him home it was really like an awakening, because he was educating me to the pitfalls of having a pet bird in captivity,” Tweti says. “Parrots are the compost-makers of the rainforest, because they’re seed predators, so they’re messy and destructive with their powerful beaks.”
A parrot can turn a broomstick into a pile of wood within a couple hours, she says.
“It’s like having a three-year-old for 50 years, because the larger the bird the longer the life.”
When Tweti became an animal journalist, she started taking care of unwanted birds and began posting on an Internet parrot web site to help parrots get rehomed.
“Most parrots have never been in a tree,” Tweti says. “To keep a winged creature, that travels ten times what a dog travels, in a cage — we don’t think anything of it, but if someone kept a dog in a cage for 20 years there would be a huge public outcry.
“Our perception has to change about how we treat the planet. We’re losing species like crazy, and we need to change how we treat the animals on the planet, and the ones in our care. We’re oblivious to how it’s not ideal for the animal.”
Here, There and Everywhere is a beautifully illustrated story about a young rainbow lorikeet parrot called Sreeeeeeeet, born in the rainforest in New Guinea. Children learn about how parrots interact in the wild, the uses of their poop, and their role in the rainforest ecosystem. When poachers trap Sreeeeeeeet, he ends up in a pet store in New York City, where a young boy falls in love with him, and the two learn about life in captivity.
“All the things he did in the wild aren’t so great in captivity,” Tweti says. “The screeching, which is beneficial in the rainforest, is loud in the city; he still poops everywhere; this is why there are more than 400 avian rescues filled to capacity.”
Proceeds from the book benefit several avian rescue services and there will be a launch party from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, December 16th, at Frank Pictures Gallery, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave. A5, Santa Monica.
Avian rescue services “Parrots First” from Burbank, and “Lily Sanctuary” from Orange County, will be at the event with birds and information on how to adopt and sponsor a bird.
The book will be available in wide release in early 2008, but the advance preview run is available at the Web site, www.parrot press.com/. Orders from the Web site will be signed first editions and will come with a free poster.
“This book is dedicated to (my first lorikeet) Zazu and Mango, my current rainbow lorikeet,” Tweti says. “This really is Zazu’s legacy, and I’m so glad this book can help so many of his cousins.”