There's no place like home

Wiz Rooster was deep in conversation with a beautiful bird. The bird's feathers were bright and colourful, it had a strong, curved bill and clawed feet.

Dazel sat perched on one of the branches of the Aviary School premises and gazed at the striking bird. Swain the swan waddled up to her and asked. "Hi, Dazel. What are you looking at?"

"Look at that bird," said Dazel. "Isn't it beautiful?"

Swain looked in the direction where Dazel was gazing.

"Oooh!" said Swain. "Yes, that is one lovely creature! Even more beautiful than swans, I must say," added Swain good-naturedly.

"What bird is it?" asked Dazel.

"I have no idea," replied Swain.

While they were having this conversation the colourful bird flew off. Quickly Dazel approached Wiz Rooster and asked, "Who was that, sir?" "That, my dear, was a parrot," smiled Wiz Rooster at his curious student.

"It was a beautiful bird," said Dazel still in awe.

"Yes, there are roughly 372 species of parrots in 86 genera — some of them including cockatoos, parakeets, true parrots, lories, lorikeets, macaws...The bird you saw was a Scarlet Macaw," explained Wiz Rooster.

"I also have some good news," added Wiz Rooster, "The parrots have invited birds from our Aviary School to visit them. They are very intelligent creatures and it will be very interesting to go and see their school."

"Wow!" exclaimed Dazel. That sounds so exciting! When do we go?"

"Next week," said Wiz Rooster with a smile.

Dazel waited expectantly for the following week to arrive.

"I'm so excited to see the Parrot School," Dazel revealed to her best friends, Din Din and Delma. "I can't tell you how beautiful that Scarlet Macaw was. I mean I felt so plain and simple in front of it." And so for the entire week, Dazel's friends heard so much about the parrots.

Finally the day arrived when the birds of Aviary School left for their visit to the Parrot School. The flight to the Parrot School was a long one as it was situated in the tropical regions of D'Land where the climate was wet and warm. "Ooh! It's humid here," said Candy the Canary as the flock of birds from Aviary School neared the Parrot School.

Wiz Rooster led them to a wide clearing where trees had been cut to make way for classes for the Parrot School. Each parrot student had a stump of a trunk as a desk and they were busy concentrating on the lecture given by the Scarlet Macaw who was their principal.

When the Scarlet Macaw saw the visiting birds from Aviary School, it flew up to Wiz Rooster and greeted the group warmly. The Macaw then guided the visiting birds around the Parrot School and shared information about how a lot of their learning focused around social skills. The Macaw also showed them a separate area for exceptionally talented parrots who could mimic the sounds and speech of other creatures.

Dazel looked in wonder at these new surroundings and the beautiful parrots around her. When evening came, Dazel felt that the time to leave had come too soon.

"I wish I could stay," she said wistfully to Wiz Rooster as the Aviary School birds bid farewell to their hosts.

"Please stay," invited the Scarlet Macaw. "It would be a pleasure to exchange a student with the Aviary School. Then next time we will send a parrot from our school to yours."

Wiz Rooster turned to Dazel and asked, "Are you sure you want to stay?"

"Yes, yes," replied Dazel impulsively.

As Dazel saw her Aviary School friends fly away she felt her heart begin to sink but she looked around the fantastic Parrot School and began to explore the classes again. A Red-Masked Parakeet took her home with him when school ended.

The parakeet lived in a tree hollow. It was very welcoming and invited Dazel to sleep inside with its family but Dazel could not imagine being cooped up in a tree trunk. She preferred to spend the night outside. As Dazel tried to fall asleep she missed the cool water of her pond and her pond neighbours. After a sleepless night she looked forward to the next day at Parrot School. The class was on puzzle solving — something Dazel had never done before so she seemed quite lost. By evening she was missing Din Din and Delma terribly even though a group of Suplur-Crested Cockatoos was keeping her company.

The Scarlet Macaw who was the Principal of the Parrot School came up to her as night fell and said kindly, "Is everything okay?"

"Yes," said Dazel with a forced smile.

"I can tell you are homesick," said the Macaw.

Dazel nodded her head in agreement. "You can return whenever you want. It was a pleasure to have you here," said the Macaw understandingly.

May I return tonight, Sir," said Dazel hastily.

"Are you sure you will be able to find your way in the dark?" asked the Macaw.

"Yes, I will. It’s still twilight and I will manage," said Dazel and thanking the parrots for their hospitality she flapped her wings and was on her way.

By the time she reached her pond it was nightfall. Swain the swan woke up as he heard Dazel wade through the pond.

"Hello there. So what did you learn at the Parrot School?" Swain asked sleepily.

"I learnt a lot of things," replied Dazel, "But the most important thing I learnt was that there is no place like home!" And with a peaceful sigh she fell asleep, delighted to be back on familiar territory.

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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