Check Out These Parrots Reciting Modernist Poetry at the Pérez Art Museum

The quartet has memorized impressive verses from 'The Waste Land'.

One of the Miami-bred parrots enjoying the custom aviary designed by the Dutch artists. Image: Pérez Art Museum Miami.
One of the Double Yellow-Headed Amazon parrots set to recite T.S. Eliot. Image: Peréz Art Museum Miami

One of the double yellow-headed Amazon parrots set to recite T.S. Eliot.
Image: Peréz Art Museum Miami.

Cleo, David, Paco, Zach and Jany are already celebrities in Miami. They make regular guest appearances on television and often show face at events around town.

Now they are beginning a six month stint with Dutch art duo, Bik Van der Pol, at the Pérez Art Museum in downtown Miami, in a new installation called Speechless

The artists, Liesbeth Bik and Jos Van der Pol, have specially designed and built an aviary for the exhibition, which focuses on ecological concerns. They have taught the parrots to recite T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land,” 434 lines that come together to form the Holy Grail of modern poetry.

The birds are free to fly around their cage and perch on capital letters that spell out GLOBAL WARMING, CLIMATE CHANGE and SUSTAINABILITY.

One of the Miami-bred parrots enjoying the custom aviary designed by the Dutch artists.  Image: Pérez Art Museum Miami.

Miami-bred cockatoo, Jany, enjoying the custom aviary designed by the Dutch artists.
Image: Pérez Art Museum Miami.

When the parrots’ first class vet and caretaker aren’t around, museum staff and volunteers, who have been trained to take care of the birds, will feed them and clean up after them.

The museum answered a list of FAQs for worried locals and bird lovers, assuring those concerned that the birds would be in safe hands even during a hurricane. For instance, “in the event of an emergency or natural disaster, the parrots will be taken to a safe and appropriate environment,” it states on the page.

Following the exhibition, the animals will return to their Miami home. The FAQ page informs a disappointed public that the feathered quintet can be neither bought nor adopted.

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