I am writing this because i wish I had read it before I purchased my macaw. I would not part with him for the world now, I love him as if he was my own child, but to all the lurkers out there thinking of owning a macaw, this is my own personal point of view, make of it what you wish, but don't judge me for having it.
Dennis, as his breeder named him, is a very intellegent Green wing macaw. He talks (about 90 words and various sentences), sings (or at least tries to sing along to the radio) and screams. He screams holy murder. He is far more demanding than a dog and maybe more so than a child. You can drop a child or dog off with grandma, the baby or dog does not try to bite grandma when she goes to play with them.

They have the intellegence of a toddler. Now if you were to put a toddler in a cage they would need a lot of amusement in order to keep them happy. Macaws need new toys that they can't destroy, destructable toys that they can, at ridiculous rates and they need to differ. When I see how Dennis destroys his toys it makes me wonder how there is any rain forest left! These need to be safe toys, cheap imports could be dangerous - this costs. They need GOOD FRESH varied food, not just seeds and some dried mix. I am a nutritionist, you can not get the nutrients you require from a dried mix. If you could we would be eating it and I would eat at Burger king everyday and pop vitamin pills.
Right now he is tring to type along with me, he finds the key board a source of great amusement. When he is not tapping away at the keyboard he likes to remove the keys and throw them as far as he can. Either that or prean my zips or remove buttons.
Ok, you are having a bad day, you're in bed, you feel like crap, but your screaming little friend needs love and attention. You want to go out for the day, do you think that toddler in the cage would understand? They hear you eating - it does not take long before they know what the sound of a knife and folk on a plate means. To a bird, the flock (you) is eating, they want to be part of it and so they scream. How long does it take for that to get annoying when you are tired at the end of a day?
We decided to get a friend for Dennis - enter bridget. We bought her from a breeder. It didn't take us long to figure out she had been seriously mistreated. She is afriad of everything. She was shaking like a leaf when our budgie landed on her pearch. We try everyday to bring her round, talking, playing - you name it we have done it. Intellegence means long memory, but I know that she is better off with us and that is all that matters.There are some that say I spoil the birds. But these fantastic birds are not stupid. If I wanted something in my house to look pretty, I would buy a vase. My mother thought I was mad when she saw me running from one side of the house to the other with Dennis on my hand and him flapping away thinking he was flying, but that is what he was born to do (both birds love it).

Not sitting in a cage. When you see dolphins at Sea World do you think "oh, they are so sweet, I bet they love living in that swimming pool and are so much better off not being in that horrible big ocean" No? Then think about how much your conscience is going to play on you when you don't have time for that demading parrot.
No-one knows where their life will take them in years to come and these birds will most likely out live you. Can you afford the biggest cage, the best toys, the best diet? What will your neighbours say when you have all the windows open and your little darling decides to join in with the birds outside?
I can't lie, if it were up to me I would outlaw zoos etc. and exotic animal breeding except when it was to save a species, but that's just me. It was Dennis and my great love for him that made me feel this way.
ALL I want to do is say, once you buy a large macaw you sign up to a lot. To treat them in the way they deserve takes time, money and a great deal of patience. If you can't honestly give this, think twice. In no way do I want to disrespect other owners or breeders, this is my story, my opinion - though it may be lengthy.
Thanks for your time.
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Nice overview of the responsibilities of owning abire snipped..
We decided to get a friend for Dennis - enter bridget. We bought her from a breeder. It didn't take ... Intellegence means long memory, but I know that she is better off with us and that is all that matters.

How long have you worked with Bridget. Sometimes it takes a long time as in years. We have a Bare-eyed Cockatoo that was afraid of everything. It took 3-4 years of gently working with her to get her to come around. Now she is very friendly and loves to be stroked. She will put her head under your hand and demand to be pet, where as in the beginning you could not touch her.
You know, Lou, this will likewise probably get me flamed, but I spent 40 years absolutely hating people who kept birds as pets. Then one day my roommate came home with one. Then a few months later, another one. Then a third.
And now, three years and a chronic case of high blood pressure later, I STILL hate people who keep birds as pets. Most are demanding beyond belief, noisy, messy, territorial, cranky, and on top of all that, if they're given half a chance to flee to freedom they will do exactly that. We can talk about "domestication" all we want, the fact is BIRDS BELONG IN THE WILD.
Rick
And now, three years and a chronic case of high blood pressure later, I STILL hate people who keep birds as pets.

Then why are you here?
Stash
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On 11/4/03 3:02 PM, in article
I am writing this because i wish I had read it before I purchased my macaw. I would not part ... off with grandma, the baby or dog does not try to bite grandma when she goes to play with them.

Delete lots of well said stuff
ALL I want to do is say, once you buy a large macaw you sign up to a lot. To ... other owners or breeders, this is my story, my opinion - though it may be lengthy. Thanks for your time.

Thank you for your post. IMO It is not only true for large macaws but for many species such as Amazons, Cockatoos, African Greys, for example. I have shared similar thoughts and attitudes about our birds. We also try to make the commitment very clear to people who see our birds and think they "must be fun". They are a lot more than just fun. Like you we love them very much. Thanks again for an honest, well thought out post.
Winnie

Winnie Lind

And now, three years and a chronic case of high blood pressure later, I STILL hate people who keep birds as pets.

Then why are you here?

Masochism :-)
Rick
I STILL hate people who keep birds as pets. Most are demanding beyond belief, noisy, messy, territorial, cranky, and on top of all that, if they're given half a chance to flee to freedom they will do exactly that.

You're right, people who keep birds
as pets, are demanding, noisy, messy, territorial, and cranky. We're lucky the birds put up with us. :>)
Regards
I STILL hate people who keep birds as pets. Most ... chance to flee to freedom they will do exactly that.

You're right, people who keep birds as pets, are demanding, noisy, messy, territorial, and cranky. We're luckythe birds put up with us. :>) Regards

LOL, well said.
As to the Macaw as with children a lot depends on the parents. Birds can be taught to be screaming, biting, monsters, and they can be taught to be great pets. Most of the time when a bird becomes a problem it is directly as a result of the owner.

"What a wonderful world it is that has girls in it!" (Lazarus Long)
As I read this my green cheek is sitting next to me telling me she's pretty and giving kisses... (She thinks if music is playing, I should be singing to her!) Even the small ones are demanding!
Jan
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