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Macaw Adventures 2023

April

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I'm sad. One of our baby red-fronted macaws, Mango, passed away. She went home earlier this year after a few delays getting her there. It was love at first sight when she finally arrived. Her mom had to travel and she was left in the care of family for a few days. Not long after she got home the bird became ill and the vet couldn't save her. Mom had given her strips of bamboo from her own yard to chew on, so the grandkids thought it would be a good idea to provide Mango with sticks from their own yard. They had the best of intentions, but they gave her oleander to chew on. We've never lost a baby after it left our care and we're devastated. I feel so sad for Mango's mom. She's just beside herself over it.
That is absolutely heartbreaking,I'm so sorry to hear of Mango's loss. You and her family are in my thoughts.
Fly high and free sweet Mango you were so loved.
 

SumitaSinh

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Brian, I am so sorry. It's really devastating. I have one query, is oleander toxic for birds? It's a very common decorative plant here.
 

rocky'smom

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That's so sad I'm sorry for their loss and yours
 

BrianB

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Brian, I am so sorry. It's really devastating. I have one query, is oleander toxic for birds? It's a very common decorative plant here.
It is toxic all around. As long as you’re cautious with it, it’s ok as a decorative plant. There are far worse things you could grow in your yard. I remember hearing stories about people collecting it and making bonfires on the beach and then getting very sick or dying from the smoke.

I really want to know the results of the necropsy in case there was something going on with the parents that hadn’t shown up in other chicks. I’m relieved that it isn’t an issue I need to worry about, but I’m heartbroken for the owner. It was such a journey to get Mango to her and to lose her just a few months later is horrible.
 

Tyrion

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So sorry for your loss :sorrow:
 

expressmailtome

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I am sorry for your loss.
 

Pat H

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I'm so sorry... such a loss!
FYI-- After I gave our LB a perch from the curly willow, she was never right. Salacylic? derivitive of aspirin.
 

BrianB

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It's been a long week. I finally put up a visual barrier between the new red-fronted macaws and the harlequin pair. As soon as they could no longer see each other things settled down and both pairs were less agitated. Hopefully, with no distractions, they will start to breed. Zelda and Zachary are finally getting to a better place. He's been horrible with her the last few months. They aren't always in sync when it comes to breeding and he's ready far earlier than she is. As a result, he's been very aggressive with her. More than once I've had to knock on the nest box because he's got her trapped in a corner and she's screaming. He's calmed down so I hope they have started breeding. This year started out with a lot of storms and rain and it has thrown everyone off. This time last year we had Enzo, and 4 baby red-fronted macaws in the brooder. So far we've had some of what I call practice mating, but nothing serious yet. I was hoping we would get chicks at the same time because we're taking a cruise and I don't want the bird sitter to be overwhelmed with baby birds to feed. She's absolutely capable of doing it and loves to feed babies, but I think it's a lot to ask someone.

Chewy is supposed to do the summer school program thing with me this coming week, but I'm going to take Christopher instead. Chewy nailed me again this evening. It was the same sort of situation as before. A coworker came by to pick up a cage and brought her macaw inside. I had Chewy on my arm, and she was standing a few feet away. He gave me very little warning and then bit me in almost the same spot as the last time. I'm not going to take the chance that he might bite me in front of a bunch of kids, so he will be staying home until we can figure out exactly what triggers this. Is it jealousy, overstimulation, or the Scarlet side of his personality shining through - I'm just not sure yet. At least I don't have a Dr appointment coming up and she won't ask me what happened to my arm. The scar from the last one looks like someone burned me with a cigar. Maybe I need a pair of leather arm bracers.

One of the birds cussed me out today. I was setting up a cage for one of the surrendered macaws that came in last month. He was in half of a double macaw cage and we're putting him into his own cage. While I was dusting it off, Bam Bam, the crazy Blue & Gold was trying to get my attention. First, he screamed, then he started to kick food out of his dish at me, and when I told him to stop it he started screaming the F word at me over and over. I told him to stop it or I was going to wash his beak out with soap. When I was done with the cage I took him out onto the sales floor and sat in a chair with him for a while so he could get some one on one time with me. That helped, but I told him he can't say those bad words when he doesn't get his way. We talk to them like children and they look at us like they just don't care.
 

BrianB

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We had a successful adventure at the elementary school today for their "Adventures in the Wild" summer school program. I took Christopher and a baby Eclectus to the first class, and for the second I took Christopher, Jasper, and Hamlet. The last two belong to employees at the store but they were gracious enough to come along and show off their boys. Hamlet is a military macaw. He alternates between being sweet and being a punk with me. Jasper is a greenwing macaw. Sometimes he's friendly with me, sometimes he ignores me like I don't exist. Hamlet calls himself Hammy, and I call Jasper the Big Red Chicken. Jasper pinched my hand when going into his carrier, but he didn't put any pressure on it. His mom said they have been working on him being gentle and it really shows. Christopher was nervous but wasn't nippy at all. I don't allow her up there, but she pushed her way up to my shoulder. I could tell she was trying to get up there because she felt safe. She pressed her body up against the side of my head. Maybe this will be a turning point for us and she won't be so rude with me going forward.

Here is the bite that Chewy gave me last Saturday. It bruised a lot more than the last, but the skin damage is much less. We're going to work on desensitizing him to being jealous when other birds are around. Now that I've gotten a better view of his body language when he's about to strike I can hopefully avoid it and help him understand that the other bird isn't a threat to him or me and not worth being jealous over. Progress is a slow process.

Here is a picture of Christopher showing us her big wings.

twitopher.jpg
 

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zoo mom

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Glad the presentations went well. And Christopher is beautiful.
 

April

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We had a successful adventure at the elementary school today for their "Adventures in the Wild" summer school program. I took Christopher and a baby Eclectus to the first class, and for the second I took Christopher, Jasper, and Hamlet. The last two belong to employees at the store but they were gracious enough to come along and show off their boys. Hamlet is a military macaw. He alternates between being sweet and being a punk with me. Jasper is a greenwing macaw. Sometimes he's friendly with me, sometimes he ignores me like I don't exist. Hamlet calls himself Hammy, and I call Jasper the Big Red Chicken. Jasper pinched my hand when going into his carrier, but he didn't put any pressure on it. His mom said they have been working on him being gentle and it really shows. Christopher was nervous but wasn't nippy at all. I don't allow her up there, but she pushed her way up to my shoulder. I could tell she was trying to get up there because she felt safe. She pressed her body up against the side of my head. Maybe this will be a turning point for us and she won't be so rude with me going forward.

Here is the bite that Chewy gave me last Saturday. It bruised a lot more than the last, but the skin damage is much less. We're going to work on desensitizing him to being jealous when other birds are around. Now that I've gotten a better view of his body language when he's about to strike I can hopefully avoid it and help him understand that the other bird isn't a threat to him or me and not worth being jealous over. Progress is a slow process.

Here is a picture of Christopher showing us her big wings.

View attachment 430744
Gorgeous pic of her! But ouchies to your bite that looks so tender .
 

BrianB

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Gorgeous pic of her! But ouchies to your bite that looks so tender .
It looks worse than the last bite from Chewy but isn’t as painful and there is less damage to the skin. He didn’t get as much of a grip on me this time. We’re going to work on his jealousy issue. I’m just not sure where to start.
 

April

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It looks worse than the last bite from Chewy but isn’t as painful and there is less damage to the skin. He didn’t get as much of a grip on me this time. We’re going to work on his jealousy issue. I’m just not sure where to start.
That's good that it's not as bad as it seems. As someone who's always got various degrees of bruises at any given time thanks to work I feel you on that,that even a horrible looking one could actually be not that bad all things considered.
 

Pat H

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Brian, you're pretty good at pre-guessing their behaviors... As I thought about it, I might recommend that you be proactive and set up some training times [we know you have so much extra time on your hands-- o_O ].

Have him on your hand when other bird/ people enter, and you get all excited and happy, elevating the pitch in your voice. At the same time 'whee' him-- bouncing/ moving your hand slightly to make him pay attention to his balance.. show him how happy you are to be holding him and seeing the other person/ bird. If his body language tells you that he is about to strike-- lower the pitch in your voice, give him your usual verbal reprimand, sharply jerk your hand, look him in the eye... then go back to your happy time. Short training times.

I know you know and probably do all this... but those are just my thoughts... You have BEAUTIFUL babies. Thanks for sharing with us!
 

BrianB

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Brian, you're pretty good at pre-guessing their behaviors... As I thought about it, I might recommend that you be proactive and set up some training times [we know you have so much extra time on your hands-- o_O ].

Have him on your hand when other bird/ people enter, and you get all excited and happy, elevating the pitch in your voice. At the same time 'whee' him-- bouncing/ moving your hand slightly to make him pay attention to his balance.. show him how happy you are to be holding him and seeing the other person/ bird. If his body language tells you that he is about to strike-- lower the pitch in your voice, give him your usual verbal reprimand, sharply jerk your hand, look him in the eye... then go back to your happy time. Short training times.

I know you know and probably do all this... but those are just my thoughts... You have BEAUTIFUL babies. Thanks for sharing with us!
I think for Chewy it will always be a work in progress. When he was originally surrendered to the store they told us he had a reputation for being a biter. If they had him for 10 + years and never worked to correct the behavior, then it's going to be a long process to undo something so ingrained in his persona. I'll have to approach him in a different way than I do the birds I deal with at the store. Not that it's an excuse but he's hormonal and still molting. I won't be taking him to work with me for the time being. I have to handle other birds as part of my job and until I can resolve the jealousy issue I can't put him in that situation. I can work with him here at home like you suggested. We've got Christopher and Poppy, and Natcho may come around to letting me hold her again. I can use them to help desensitize him. There will also be baby macaws to hand feed. Putting him on a tree stand where he can see what I'm doing might help him understand that there is no need to be jealous.

We hope that baby macaws are finally coming. Except for the African Greys, the macaws have been taking their sweet time in breeding this year. Zachary hasn't been as rough on Zelda as he has been the last few months. That usually means she's ready to breed and he won't be so frustrated over it. The red-fronted macaws have increased their frequency and are going at it multiple times a day now. That usually goes on for 2 weeks and then she starts to pay. I don't know what the Harlequin pair is doing. They have a different schedule and behavior so it's always a mystery. When she disappears into the box, then we know it's time.
 

BrianB

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A beautiful blue & gold macaw was surrendered to the store this past week. The family said they just didn't have time for her. Such a sad thing and this poor girl is starved for attention. Her beak and nails were overgrown so we had those taken care of right away, then I gave her a good spray with a misting bottle. She smelled funky. It was obvious that she was very nervous but we got her onto a tree stand and I started interacting with her. She let me scratch her head and didn't hesitate stepping up to my arm. She prefers to step back onto an arm but will step forward when leaving the arm. Strange how some birds prefer to do that instead of stepping forward. We spent some time together and she started to open up to me. I gave her a pecan that I had cracked and she got really excited and yelled Hi to me then delicately picked the shell off and at the nut inside. After she snacked on that I picked her up again and she started leaning towards my face. I brought her close enough that she could touch me but not enough that she could grab skin if she decided to bite. She touched my face with her tongue just like Sandy does when she kisses me. We'll find the perfect home for her in time.

The hyacinth was in a mood all week. He can be mischievous at times. I went to scratch him and he gave my finger a really hard pinch. I took him right back to his cage and put him away. Later that day as I'm doing the end-of-day paperwork someone brought him to me in the office. He saw me walk by and started calling out to me. He acted like he was sorry for pinching me and trying to apologize for being rude. He shoved his head into my shirt and grabbed some chest hair. He thought that was great fun. Me, not so much. He's such a funny boy. Normally when I have him out, he will sit on my shoulder and come along with me in whatever I'm doing. When we have time to sit quietly together he just grabs my hand and holds it. I don't need to scratch his head or anything, he just wants to hold my hand.

The other manager from the store came over yesterday and had her greenwing macaw with her. We put him on Christopher's stand in the middle of the room. I left Chewy in the cage to avoid another bite. He was visibly agitated but I didn't physically interact with Jasper and only replied to him when he yelled HELLO. Once they left I went over to talk to Chewy but didn't take him out of the cage. I could see his body posture and his eyes were rapidly pinning. He lunged a few times and I told him to stop it, then he tried to be cute by leaning towards me and going "RAAAA" I just laughed at him. Christopher was very rude to me over the whole thing. I put the tree stand back next to her cage and tried to pick her up to put her on it, and she tried to rip my finger off. She lunged at me with her whole body and almost fell off of her perch in the process. This morning Chewy was fine and I was able to take him out of his cage. He's now sitting on his stand behind me mumbling, coughing, and whispering HI to me. Christopher is in her cage pouting and giving me dirty looks.

Here is the hyacinth holding my hand during the few minutes of quiet time I was able to get with him, and the new girl sitting on her tree stand.
 

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BrianB

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The red-fronted macaws have finally gone to their nest box. They have been breeding for the last few weeks and on Monday they were very aggressive with me. Normally they posture and fuss at me, but this time they came right up to the door and tried to get my hands and arms. They can see another pair from the back of their cage and I suspected that might be putting them off. Once I was able to get the food and water refilled I hung some sunscreen fabric on the back of their cage and it calmed them down. I wasn't really surprised that the next morning they were in the nest box instead of trying to eat me when I was feeding them. The timing works out perfectly for us. If she's just starting to lay, then we should see hatchings at the end of July, and the babies will be ready to come out of the nest when we get back from our vacation in mid-August. I have no expectation that the other pair will breed this year, but who knows?
 
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