Sunday, April 6, 2008

R.I.P. Zoe

Last year, Soundcheck magazine lured me into an interview by promising that I could meet writer Emily Strong’s pet Eclectus parrot, Zoe. Eclectus parrots are bright and beautiful, and males and females are so different in appearance that they were once thought to be different species. They are also increasingly uncommon on their home turf in and around Irian Jaya (New Guinea), where they live in (alas) mature tropical forests. Like most large parrots, they can live a really long time, 40-50 years or more.

I was thrilled to meet Zoe, and she was very obliging. She perched calmly on my hand and my head, chewed my hair thoughtfully, and let me stroke her pretty red flanks. The camera loved her, too:

I saw Emily a few days ago, and she told me that Zoe recently died – an accident, not Emily’s fault. It’s a dangerous world for animals, wild and domestic (and all the shades between). I’ll always fondly remember this serene, lovely lady and the dainty but determined way she gripped my fingers. Photo by Randy Cremean. (JM)