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Your Opinion on Macaw as a First Bird

HazelNut33

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One of my friends is a huge bird fan and desperately wants a macaw. She's never owned a bird before though but she's spent countless hours for about a year and a half at the local bird rescue. Her dream bird is a macaw and she doesn't want a starter bird that she'll have to take care of even after she adopts a macaw. She's been bird obsessed ever since she was 14 and has done so much research on them already. She also has the money, space, and time for a bird. What do you think?
 

Sparkles!

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Loud macaws from apartments/HOAs/condos are a sizeable portion of owner surrenders in rescues and shelters. If your friend does not have permanent, stand alone housing, I would not recommend.

Macaws can be wonderful first birds if purchased or adopted by people 100% willing to do everything to stand by them even during the difficult times and for those individuals with the resources to properly care for them.
 

Hankmacaw

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A macaw (adult GW male) was my first bird 25 years ago when there was no internet help and much, much less was known about parrots. He and I went through some rough spots, but we survived and became the best of buddies.

A lot depends on the personality of the person who wants the macaw. Is she practical, not squeamish, settled and affirmative? If she's particularly tender and shy it probably won't work.
 

HazelNut33

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Loud macaws from apartments/HOAs/condos are a sizeable portion of owner surrenders in rescues and shelters. If your friend does not have permanent, stand alone housing, I would not recommend.

Macaws can be wonderful first birds if purchased or adopted by people 100% willing to do everything to stand by them even during the difficult times and for those individuals with the resources to properly care for them.
She is living in more of a rural area, so it should be fine. She can also be crazy-dedicated when she wants to be as well.
 

HazelNut33

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A macaw (adult GW male) was my first bird 25 years ago when there was no internet help and much, much less was known about parrots. He and I went through some rough spots, but we survived and became the best of buddies.

A lot depends on the personality of the person who wants the macaw. Is she practical, not squeamish, settled and affirmative? If she's particularly tender and shy it probably won't work.
She'll be fine personality wise. I've seen her get hit in the head with basketballs, casually slice her finger with an exacto knife, and get smacked with 5 feet waves and just walk it off. She is very practical and loves everything DIY with home items. She said she's never moving unless she's forced to and that girl interrupts nearly everything with her opinion if you disagree. If anything, she'll annoy the bird from talking too much.
 

Blueberry

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I don't want to know how one casual cuts themselves with an exacto knife!!! Yikes!!!:facepalm:
 

flyzipper

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I'll echo that there's nothing wrong with a macaw as a first bird, especially since your friend has been gaining experience with them at a rescue.

The rest of it is muddy.

She's been bird obsessed ever since she was 14
Is she 15, 18, 24, 34, 44... ?
No need to answer, but it matters.
15 and she's probably still under her parent's roof (and rules).
18 and she's starting college.
24 and she's starting a career.
34 and she's starting a family.
44 and she's probably settled enough for a mostly predictable life.

I'm not suggesting people have to be 44 to adopt a macaw, but I'm highlighting life's major milestones than can create challenges when navigating them with our avian companions.

She also has the money, space, and time for a bird.
This is a good start, but also incomplete.

She has the money for a bird... and its ongoing requirements for quality nutrition, housing, enrichment, regular vet care, and emergencies (a $5-10K emergency fund for a macaw is responsible and not unreasonable).
She has the space for a bird... that she's in control of, and anyone it's shared with is also supportive. Lacks young children would be safer for the kids, and lacks predators (cats and dogs) is safer for the bird.
She has the time for a bird... and her life is sufficiently established that she's in a regular routine, that will only change if she chooses to.

she's never moving unless she's forced to
This isn't a horrible statement, but it would be better if it was, "she's not moving unless she chooses to and it's to improve the circumstance for all".

She is living in more of a rural area
Ensure she has ready access to an avian veterinarian, and the ability to get there.
"Ready access", can mean 30 minute or 3 hours, but the main thing is the willingness and ability to get there.

girl interrupts nearly everything with her opinion if you disagree
It would be advantageous for all if she also has an open mind, a willingness to ask questions, and accept knowledge from those who are more experienced.
There's a lot to learn on this life-long journey, and it's a constant.

I'm being blunt because I've seen countless variations of, "I spent all my money on the bird and can't afford to take him to a vet", "I can't get to the vet because they're an hour away and I don't have a car", "I'd like to, but my parents won't let me", "birdy needs a new home because I'm on a new shift/going to school/moving/getting married/having kids", "I saw it on YouTube/Instagram/TikTok, so you're wrong".

Despite being blunt, I do hope your friend is able to get her dream bird one day -- macaws can be wonderful.
 

Toy

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@HazelNut33 you posted in another thread that you had 13 macaws. I'd think with that many you'd have enough experience to know if your friend would do well getting a macaw as a first bird. A lot depends on many things from the person & the macaw. Baby or adult, re-homed, abused, etc..
 

HazelNut33

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@HazelNut33 you posted in another thread that you had 13 macaws. I'd think with that many you'd have enough experience to know if your friend would do well getting a macaw as a first bird. A lot depends on many things from the person & the macaw. Baby or adult, re-homed, abused, etc..
Yes I know, but she wanted more opinions anyway, because you can never have too many.
 

HazelNut33

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I'll echo that there's nothing wrong with a macaw as a first bird, especially since your friend has been gaining experience with them at a rescue.

The rest of it is muddy.


Is she 15, 18, 24, 34, 44... ?
No need to answer, but it matters.
15 and she's probably still under her parent's roof (and rules).
18 and she's starting college.
24 and she's starting a career.
34 and she's starting a family.
44 and she's probably settled enough for a mostly predictable life.

I'm not suggesting people have to be 44 to adopt a macaw, but I'm highlighting life's major milestones than can create challenges when navigating them with our avian companions.


This is a good start, but also incomplete.

She has the money for a bird... and its ongoing requirements for quality nutrition, housing, enrichment, regular vet care, and emergencies (a $5-10K emergency fund for a macaw is responsible and not unreasonable).
She has the space for a bird... that she's in control of, and anyone it's shared with is also supportive. Lacks young children would be safer for the kids, and lacks predators (cats and dogs) is safer for the bird.
She has the time for a bird... and her life is sufficiently established that she's in a regular routine, that will only change if she chooses to.


This isn't a horrible statement, but it would be better if it was, "she's not moving unless she chooses to and it's to improve the circumstance for all".


Ensure she has ready access to an avian veterinarian, and the ability to get there.
"Ready access", can mean 30 minute or 3 hours, but the main thing is the willingness and ability to get there.


It would be advantageous for all if she also has an open mind, a willingness to ask questions, and accept knowledge from those who are more experienced.
There's a lot to learn on this life-long journey, and it's a constant.

I'm being blunt because I've seen countless variations of, "I spent all my money on the bird and can't afford to take him to a vet", "I can't get to the vet because they're an hour away and I don't have a car", "I'd like to, but my parents won't let me", "birdy needs a new home because I'm on a new shift/going to school/moving/getting married/having kids", "I saw it on YouTube/Instagram/TikTok, so you're wrong".

Despite being blunt, I do hope your friend is able to get her dream bird one day -- macaws can be wonderful.
Thank You for this much feedback! She prefers I don't mention her age, but she's settled down, has finished college, has a career and a steady income. She has money saved up to buy the bird itself and she said if she decides to go through with it she'll set aside 6k for emergencies and has plenty extra money to buy aviaries, toys, food, e.t.c. She has a medium sized room set aside for the macaws and she intends on purchasing a large aviary for outside. Her backyard is pretty large and her neighbors already said it's fine if she keeps birds. She has no kids and doesn't want to get any and has no other pets that live in her house. Her life is in a regular routine now so she knows what time she has to interact with the birds.
The nearest avian vet is 20 minutes away from her house and she has a car.
Thanks again! This was super helpful when I showed it to her. I will encourage her to ask for help more, but other than that I think she's going to go through with it.
 

BirdLady13

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It would be advantageous for all if she also has an open mind, a willingness to ask questions, and accept knowledge from those who are more experienced.
There's a lot to learn on this life-long journey, and it's a constant.

I'm being blunt because I've seen countless variations of, "I spent all my money on the bird and can't afford to take him to a vet", "I can't get to the vet because they're an hour away and I don't have a car", "I'd like to, but my parents won't let me", "birdy needs a new home because I'm on a new shift/going to school/moving/getting married/having kids", "I saw it on YouTube/Instagram/TikTok, so you're wrong".
Very well put. Even after telling people that birds are life-long commitments, many still don't seem to grasp it. I've seen birds surrendered for a multitude of reasons far too many times.
Being open to suggestions from experienced bird owners is definitely a good mindset to have.
 

Hankmacaw

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I would like to say that all three of my macaws have bee adult rehomes/rescues and I can't say too much about what a satisfying experience each of them has been. Each was it's own unique personality.

Right now I have a PDD bird and we are in her end of life phase - so bad things do happen and you have to have the character to stay with your bird through the bad times.
 

sunnysmom

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I am a firm believer in getting the bird you want from the start. I don't believe in starter birds and think it does a grave injustice to the, usually, little bird that is a wonderful and unique bird in and of itself. I help with a bird rescue and we will adopt out macaws to a first time owner provided it is the right home. It sounds like your friend has done her research and gotten some needed experience. In truth, nothing fully prepares you for any bird until you actually have one. I would encourage her to adopt an adult though, not a baby. I think a baby can bring a whole other set of issues for an inexperienced bird owner and there are so many adult macaw out there in need of good homes.
 

HazelNut33

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I am a firm believer in getting the bird you want from the start. I don't believe in starter birds and think it does a grave injustice to the, usually, little bird that is a wonderful and unique bird in and of itself. I help with a bird rescue and we will adopt out macaws to a first time owner provided it is the right home. It sounds like your friend has done her research and gotten some needed experience. In truth, nothing fully prepares you for any bird until you actually have one. I would encourage her to adopt an adult though, not a baby. I think a baby can bring a whole other set of issues for an inexperienced bird owner and there are so many adult macaw out there in need of good homes.
Good advice, also she was already planning on adopting a rescue. Most of the ones at our local rescue are young, but not babies. In our area we have had a lot of recent people adopting macaws and finding out they can't care for them. Hopefully it's only a temporary influx.
 

BrianB

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If she wants a large bird for her first bird, then she should get one - provided she's done all the research and doesn't go into it unknowingly. It sounds like she's spent time at a rescue so she knows how the daily maintenance will go. I always suggest spending time at a rescue. Clean cages, get pooped on, get bit so that you understand what life can be like with one of these big amazing birds.
 
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