When spending time outside with Paco, Paz, & Pepe, I am often asked a lot of questions from the tourists visiting our little island about the Three-Cans. I just love how there’s something about those long glowing beaks and curious blue toes that fills people with a sense of wonder. I really enjoy this time, as it allows me to educate people on these amazing birds that most have never seen before. Plus, it gives me the opportunity to engage in one of my new top hobbies – you guessed it – talking about my toucans.
So I figured I would take this opportunity to answer some of the most frequently asked questions, for those of you who are not able to come visit and frequently ask them in person.
Do the toucans talk? I can almost hear an audible sigh of disappointment when I answer that no, toucans do not have the ability to speak words as parrots do. But before you go hastily downgrading the toucans’ collective coolness factor, keep in mind that there is always a silver lining. Toucans communicate in other ways, but you will not find them repeating you, which is one of the main reasons I can say, “Who’s my Boo?” to them, without worrying about them mimicking it as the less adorable, “Who’s my Poo”. Additionally, I am free to curse like a drunken sailor in their presence and know I will never hear the f-bomb cross their innocent beaks.
Why do the toucans live in separate cages? Currently our Three-Cans live in individual homes, side by side. I would love it if they were able to live together – it would be so cute to see them play and also nice for them to enjoy the close companionship that comes from shackin’ up. However, for the time being, this is not a possibility for a couple of reasons. Toco toucans, as a species, are known to be territorial by nature. From what I understand, if we were to house them all together, we would need a much larger enclosure so that they could all have enough space to define their own domains within that shared enclosure. Also, we have no idea if they have ever been introduced to each other outside their cages before or even if they get along. I would like to eventually introduce them on neutral territory outside their homes, but for now, it is a handful for us to have one toucan outside at a time. Besides that, they could seriously injure each other pretty quickly so I am hesitant, at least until their training has progressed farther along where they would be more manageable in an emergency. I think realistically that Paz the female may be able to eventually live with either of the males, but Paco & Pepe probably wouldn’t be able to be housed together due to all of the beak fencing they engaged in between the cages when they were neighbors.
Are we going to breed them? Currently, we do not have any intentions of breeding our toucans. We just recently found out from our Avian Gender Test that we do have one female and two males. So biologically, it is possible for us to breed them. However, we do not have the space to provide them with the seclusion they would require to successfully breed. If in the future, we are able to pair one of the males with Paz for them to be housed together and nature takes its course and they do in fact, breed, well… we would certainly have no complaints. But for now, the toucans living together is a long way off and our main goal is just for them to live the happiest, healthiest life possible.
Are their wings clipped / can they fly? Being new to the bird world, I have discovered that this is quite a controversial subject. I will readily admit that I don’t have enough experience to take a definitive stance in either direction. The reality is yes, our toucans’ wings are clipped and the dream is for them not to be. For now, we trim their flight feathers for their safety – we are surrounded by water and other dangerous obstacles. Additionally, were the toucans to fly away, these island landscapes do not have the fruit to support their diet needs and they would starve. Eventually, we hope that the toucans feel imprinted on both us and this island where we do not have to prevent them from flying away, they would just stay because this is their home. Our hope is that this will come with time, training, and bonding. For now, with clipped wings, they can fly a bit – straight across short distances and are able to glide downwards should they fall.
Why do we put covers down over their cages at night? For those of you who have not seen our toucan house, we have canvas shades we put down on 3 sides of the enclosure each night as the birds go to bed at sunset. The shades are lowered because it helps the toucans to feel secure – they can sleep easy with the knowledge that they are protected and unapproachable. Additionally, because they live in a public space, putting the shades down at night stops inquisitive people (however well-meaning) from disturbing their slumber by trying to attract their attention. The toucans need their luxurious 12 uninterrupted hours to ensure they don’t wake up grumpily on the wrong side of the perch.
How did I, The Toucan Lady, get this job? Yes, it does look awesome, doesn’t it? Hanging out on a tropical island paradise and playing goofy games with three gorgeous toucans. Seriously, who pays this girl?! Seriously? No one. No, this is not my job, just my wonderfully fortunate life. The Three-Cans are our pets that live outside in the public eye. So while I may appear to be a zookeeper, it is by pleasure rather than profession. But if anyone desires to pay me for my efforts, by all means, send me a message and I will get you an address tout suite of where you can send that check. 😉
I hope you enjoyed our little toucan Q&A session. If you have any lingering questions, please feel free to post them on this blog, our Facebook wall, or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .