Old World Aviaries

In quest of the Tres Maria

by Cecil PeriknsTres Maria Amazon

Something in a name makes a musical sound in our ears and is very attractive to the eye when seen it in print. These same names or words taste sweet in one’s mouth and can be savored as desert when combined with the mind. When talking with another fancier of our club or hobby, this name can become a focal point of conversation about desired birds that one can dream about or wish for. Should your taste run to the beautiful, easily taught, come-to-hand-quickly, fast-learning, singing, talking Amazons, then well may your dream bird be a Tres Maria of the Double-yellow-head group. Beautiful beyond description, storied by it’s color, famous by people who desire to own one, yet the most elusive bird that this writer had ever sought just to view!

Sightings of the Tres Maria are much akin to sightings of the Yeti, Big Foot, and the elusive giants of yore who leave only their footprints in the mud or snow and are never seen by human eyes. This is truly an overstatement of fact, but I can tell you that not one person that I have found claims have to seen a true Tres Maria, or better still no one who professes to own one, has been able to either produce the bird in the flesh or show slides, pictures, or stuffed evidence of association with a true Tres Maria. Further more, I fail to find but scant items in print that describe this bird much less show a picture of the same. (Editor: See the photo on this page. This is a Tres Maria to the best of my knowledge.)

The Parrot Guide, Second Edition, by Cyril H. Rodges and Dimon and Schuster’s Guide to Pet Birds, by Matthew M. Vriends fail to mention the existence of such a bird! However, Arthur Freud in his book All About the Parrots devotes one entire paragraph to Tres Maria Amazons and their natural home in the Tres Marias Islands off the western coast of Mexico. According to his writings, Freud asserts, “This subspecies can also be recognized by its massive head and beak, generally great length and large re markings on the ben of the wings. I have truly seen magnificent specimens whose yellow markings are so large that they look like they are wearing the hood portion of a child’s yellow slicker.” The brilliant yellow extends down the wing feathers from the shoulders and butts to the wing tips. I have never viewed such a bird!

Many people believe the term double-yellow-head refers to the amount of yellow on the bird’s head. George Sutton suggests that the name actually stems from “...the unique way all the feathers of the neck and crown are raised when this bird becomes excited or agitated. The head virtually doubles in size.

Many stories exist of people who reportedly own a true Tres Maria, and I have personally traveled hundreds of miles to view the same only to find that my so called “double-yellow-heads” look more like Tres Marias than the reported Tres Maria I go to look at! I know of two parties who profess to own Tres Marias and reportedly paid thousands of dollars for them that would faint if they came face to face with a true Tres Maria. Both sell “Tres Maria” babies , so the world will continue to have more plain double yellow heads called Tres Marias. A shame!

Money is available through the “Perkins’ Learning Center on Tres Marias” for the purchase of a pair of these outstanding birds. But first, just show me that they exist!


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