The fortune-telling parrots of Hyderabad, India may be operating on borrowed time. In a series of police raids announced on Monday, 220 rose-ringed parakeets were seized under the supervision of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau.
The parrots were seized in a variety of popular recreation and tourist spots, including temples, parks, and picnic spots. The fortune-telling parrots are used by traditional soothsayers and card readers who train the parakeets to select a card for the client.
The soothsayer then interprets the card to determine what the future holds according to the choice made by the fortune-telling parrot.
If you’re scratching your head and wondering how it all works, I have posted two videos below that show working rose-ringed parakeets in action as they draw cards for a couple of tourists.
Mahesh Agarwal, a special officer with the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, told the Times of India that it’s illegal to cage the birds under a 1972 law. Rose-ringed parakeets are a native species of India and are not supposed to be trapped for pets, any more than US citizens are allowed to trap native birds like crows.
Agarwal said that the soothsayers who lost the parrots have been warned. Next time, they will be fined.
An unnamed source said that some of the parakeets had been chained or had other injuries that suggested that they’d been abused or cared for improperly. It was reported that it will take at least two months for the parrots to recover from their ordeal.
The rose-ringed parakeets in the videos below are not the same birds that were seized in the raids announced today. I’m posting these videos simply so that you can see for yourself how the fortune-telling gimmick operates.
Officials plan to conduct the raids each week until the use of fortune-telling parrots is stopped.
[rose-ringed parakeet photo by J.M. Garg via Wikimedia Commons]