Image from wikipedia.
A SENIOR gentleman from Cleveland has settled back in his bayside home after a long holiday at a special place.
The luxurious "resort-style accommodation" at Margaret Uhr’s acreage property has become popular in the past three years.
But instead of touting a star rating like most resort proprietors, Margaret must meet the "five-feather" standard.
Margaret is known as "the bird lady". Her Cleveland guest on a stay of more than three months was a sulphur-crested cockatoo, Sonny Boy.
The bird stayed at the Samford address while his owners had their own holiday, "as grey nomads heading off around Australia", Margaret says.
"WHEN he saw his old mates again he went up for a scratch," she says. "He certainly isn’t a young bird."
Margaret’s advertisement as Beak’s Bird Minding features in our Fast Find classifieds.
She has had a bird’s-eye view of the ornithology of south-east Queensland since she set up the business in October 2006, after a "brain wave" while she received hypnosis for chronic pain.
Almost two years later, Margaret still suffers from the pain and is now trying acupuncture, but she has received much joy hosting birds from throughout Brisbane and adjacent areas.
Margaret has spotted interesting cultural trends among bird lovers.
"Many are young males aged up to their early thirties," she says. "They often live on their own and they really love their bird.
"YOUNG couples in their twenties are another of the main groups of bird lovers. Their birds are like children to them.
"I also mind the birds of a lot of elderly people, who do like the sulphur-crested cockatoos."
She says rainbow lorikeets are one of the most popular breeds with young people.
The "average" bird lover is likely to be UK-born, like Margaret, who says she developed her love of feathered creatures after migrating to Australia in 1979.
She grew up at Wimbledon. "Most of the birds over there, with the exception of the robin, of course, are very dull -- boring black, white and brown," she says.
"But Australia has such a fantastic mix of colours that appeal to English people, while the Australians seem to be ‘ho hum’ about it."
DESPITE the onerous duties of looking after other people’s much-loved pets, Margaret still finds time for her 16-year-old galah, Aussie, and four-month-old cockatiel, Babe, who sits on her shoulder, tries to drink her beer and enjoys playing on the computer keyboard.
Margaret says all her observations back up scientific research showing birds are more intelligent than most people realise.
She suggests bird owners keep in mind that a cockatoo’s IQ is about that of a four-year-old child and treat their pet respectfully.
Her primary advice for bird owners is to ensure the cage for a larger breed such as cockatoo should be at least between two and three metres square and for a budgie at least 500 millimetres high and wide.
Thanks for joining me to meet the great people and other creatures in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland City, Queensland, Australia.