Parrot Day themed album is posted in our Photo Gallery
There is a great variety of holidays in the world. One of them, Parrot Day, emerged from the Middle Ages. For many years on the first Sunday morning in May, the inhabitants of Paris and nearby cities in the Upper Garonne would gather for such festivities. The main heroes of the festival were the archers, who donned medieval robes to celebrate the holiday. The first crossbow competitions were held in Flanders. Later they spread to other places. Crossbows were replaced by bows, and archers gathered in the center of Haute Garonne in the square. Their main task was to hit a parrot that weighed exactly 7 kilos with a bow. However, it was not so easy to do it. The bird was fixed on a mast 45 meters high, that was specially built for the event by the shipmasters. The most apt archer who hit the parrot was given the title of king of the feast. In medieval times, the winner was awarded a prize. It was a statuette of a bird made of silver. Moreover, in the evening, a dinner was held in his honor, which differed little from the royal one.
Many years have passed since then, but the holiday is still popularly loved and celebrated on this spring day in Paris. The prize for the winner remains the same - a silver parrot. However, the attitude to the birds themselves has changed. Now they do not put a live bird on the tower to be torn apart by the archers, it is substituted with a bird made of foam rubber. Again arrows are flying, striving to pierce the parrot's heart and get the prize...
Another parrot-related holiday is celebrated in May - World Parrot Day, established in 2004 by the World Parrot Foundation, the international charity organization dedicated to saving these beautiful birds*.
Parrots appeared in Russia at the very end of the 15th century. In 1490, the king of Germany sent an exotic bird as a gift to Sophia Palaiologina, the wife of Ivan III, the Grand Duke of Moscow.
In general, a parrot is one of the most beautiful exotic birds that man has been able to tame. The birds have no vocal cords, but they can imitate completely different sounds -- from the human voice to the noise of household appliances. Parrots are said to be very intelligent birds. Cockatoos and lories, for example, can memorize up to 50 words.
At first glance, all parrots are exotic creatures, however, as many species of parrots exist in the world, so many peoples for whom some birds are familiar and others are a curiosity. There are 328 species of these birds. What can they surprise you with? First of all, of course, their coloring, the development of their vocal apparatus and their unusual habits.
The museum Collection sections "Lapidary works of art", "Western European Metal Artworks", "Automata", "Mantel and Table Clocks" feature a variety of parrots. Some of these exhibits are presented in the thematic album prepared for Parrot Day and posted in the museum's Photo Gallery.
-- Parrots have an excellent sense of rhythm - they can really dance rhythmically to the music
-- About a third of all parrot species are currently threatened with extinction due to human activity and poaching
-- There are special schools for parrots in Australia, where these birds are taught to talk
-- Parrot breeding and sales make a considerable contribution to the Czech budget
-- The biggest parrots are Amazon parrots: they are as big as a three-year old child is. Their body length can exceed one meter.
-- In Ancient Rome, a parrot costed more than a slave.
-- A pet parrot once helped solve a burglary case in the US. The criminals in the empty apartment called each other by name and the parrot memorized these names and repeated them continuously in the presence of the police.
*The Foundation was established in 1989 at Paradise Park in Cornwall, UK. The main goal of the World Parrot Foundation is to promote the survival of all parrot species, both in the wild and in captivity. Nowadays, the foundation has achieved these goals by funding vital conservation work, research projects and educational programs both locally and internationally.