Small or large, costly and even rare birds can be found at a pet store in the American community of Falls Church, Virginia.
And it is clear from the name of the store what kind of birds are available for sale: “Parrots, Parrots, Parrots, just Parrots”.
The small business is filled with many bright-colored parrots, from cockatoos to giant macaws and small parakeets.
Ed Willis is the owner of the pet store. Willis says he received his first parrot when he was 18 years old. Since then, he has not spent another day without a parrot.
Willis says the birds make wonderful pets and can develop strong feelings toward people.
"It's a unique partnership between a parrot and a person. They are independent, but they are still needy. They are happy to see you when you come home. It's a really special pet relationship."
Willis opened his store in 1988. Today, it is one of just two businesses in the Washington, D.C. area that only sell parrots.
The Hyacinth macaw, a rare parrot, costs almost $17,000. There are only about 6,500 of these birds left in the world. The parrot in Ed Willis’ store is young, and has a long life ahead of it. Macaws can live up to 100 years.
"From the neck up, they like to have their feathers ruffled… and then from the neck down, she likes when you smooth them…"
Willis' arms are covered with claw marks and bites from holding and caring for the big birds.
"They're not really trying to hurt me, sometimes it's just playfulness and sometimes they fear they might fall…"
The store is a busy place. Children and adults alike come to the store to see the different kinds of parrots.
But not all the birds at the store are for sale. Some have become like family to Willis and his daughter Kelsey. One such bird is a cockatoo named Snowball. Willis says he got Snowball when the bird was small.
“Snowball is not really a typical cockatoo. He is actually very quiet and very friendly. A lot of the cockatoos are known for being extremely loud and he has not been, so a lot of people are interested in this bird."
I’m Jonathan Evans.
Maxim Moskalkov reported this story for VOA News. Jonathan Evans adapted his report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
Words in This Story
pet – n. an animal such as a dog, cat, bird, or fish that people keep mainly for pleasure
ruffle – v. to move or lift something so that it is no longer smooth
claw – n. a sharp body part on the toe of an animal