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Mini-Macaw Readers'Stories Chapter Three

Bird owners share thier experience living with a mini-macaw

Page 3 of 3

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red-fronted mini-macaw
red-fronted macaw

Munch Macaw
Courtesy Jan Flood, New York

Munch Macaw is my dream come true. He is an 8-month-old red-fronted macaw. I have hand-raised him and we have a wonderful relationship. Munch loves to dance to country music. He also loves showers. That is his favorite time of the day. He sits on the shower perch and gets soaked to the skin. Before Munch goes to bed he loves to be cuddled like a baby, and wants me to kiss his feet. He gets so relaxed he goes right to sleep. I was told about the wonderful personalities of these macaws but I never believed it could be this terrific.

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Hahn's mini-macaw
Hahn's macaw

Macayo (Cayo)
Courtesy Donna Morgan, Arizona

I suppose you could say that I kind of stumbled upon owning a Hahn's macaw. I've been fortunate to share my home with a couple of budgies and a cockatiel over the past 20 years or so. I found myself birdless and alone (well, not really alone, just birdless and that is alone). I really loved the special bond I shared with my cockatiel, Sunny, but I decided that I didn't want to replace him. I needed a different bird. After doing some (admittedly not a whole lot) of research, I thought I wanted a Pionus. Living in northern Arizona, I knew I'd have to look far and wide. I checked on the internet and found a couple of pet shops in the next town over that had parrots.

My daughter, Courtney, and I drove down one day "just to look" and see what was available. The first place we stopped, I asked the bird lady if she had any Pionus. She said no, but she had a couple of Hahn's macaws. "Oh no," I said, "I don't want a macaw." Having absolutely no idea what a Hahn's macaw was, I could only imagine the very large, very loud macaw.

Curiosity got the best of me though, and we drove a long ways. Why not just look at them, I thought. Well, who'd have thunk! Adorable! A little tiny macaw! Like a real big parrot in a real little package. The only problem was, they came with a huge price! And that didn't include the cage that I certainly didn't have to house one of these little gems. “OK, slow down,” I thought, “This would be nuts! Lets go look at the other bird places on the list.” I probably knew in my heart that one of those Hahn’s was going home with me that day, I just wasn't ready to admit it. My daughter thought I was nuts!

Off we went, doing the obligatory search. There were some very nice birds, but really, nothing could compare to the little macaws. Eventually we went to a Mexican restaurant, named Macayo's, to eat and to discuss how much I couldn't afford to buy one of those birds. I mean, seriously, you'd have to be crazy right? OK, call me crazy, I wanted a mini-macaw, and I wanted to take one home that day. I didn't say anything to my daughter other than something lame like, lets just take one more look at them (just to get back to the store, of course). I think she knew something was up, because she kept saying things like "Mom, you're not really thinking about getting one of those." And I made some kind of feeble reply, “Well, I don't know, maybe.” By then it was getting late, we'd spent hours at this place. The bird lady was getting ready to go home. I vaguely remember her saying something like, "If you want him, I can cut his nails before I go." That did it! "Cut em," I said, giving a bit of a sheepish look to my rather stunned daughter. It was dark the whole way home. Poor little Macayo (yeah, he's named after the restaurant where we discussed how much I couldn't afford to buy him) hid from the passing lights cuddled in Courtney's hands all the way.

I can't believe how lucky I am to have my little buddy. There is nothing like the relationship you have with a bird. I'm also glad that I had the brains to do quite a bit more research on my little friend. I bought books, Bird Talk magazine and did all kinds of internet searches (that's how I found BirdChannel.com). I learned how much I really didn't know about how to raise a parrot.

It's a little over two years now that Macayo has joined our family. He can talk and do all kinds of tricks. I take him to school and shopping with me when I can. He just loves it! He says, "Hello" to everyone and everything (other birds, dogs, etc) he meets. We now have a real parrot store here in town. I go there just to look at the parrots. I'm hooked and now I'm the crazy bird lady!

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Hahn's mini-macaw
Hahn's macaw

Joy
Courtesy Judy Clark, Ohio

She calls herself Joy Bird. When there is company in the house she loves to sit on me and make a noise like a burp, and then laugh really loud. My granddaughter taught her that. The burp is something that I could cover up but when she starts laughing really loud then everyone knows what she is doing. They want to know if a bird can really burp.
 
Her favorite toys are her swing and bells. Give her any kind of bell and she is happy. She actually sleeps backward on her swing with a bell over her back. She also likes for me to scratch her neck and, if it were up to her, she would always be with me. She is a great bird because she is not huge but she acts like she is. She can talk and shake her head yes and no at the right times, but she doesn't take up a lot of space. She has a personality all her own.
 
I got her at a bird show when she was 6 months old. She is 6 years old now and was born on the 4th of July. I always say that is why she is such a firecracker. I can't imagine life without her. If I am down she always has a way of making me laugh. The one thing she will not do is let me take a nap. She has a sense of when I start to fall asleep on the couch and she yells or, if she is with me, she will come up and bump her beak on my face to wake me up. She showers with me but sometimes likes to take a bath in her water bowl. She doesn't fit but she likes to try.

When I got her it was a bad time in my life. So I named her Joy because she brought me joy. I never knew if she was a female or male, but didn't care because of the joy she brought. But then about a year ago she laid her first egg. I called up my friend and told her that now I knew that Joy was a girl. 

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Hahn's mini-macaw
Hahn's macaw

Pippy
Courtesy Laura Leskauskas, New Jersey

I am writing about my beautiful little Hahn’s macaw Pippy. I currently rescue abused birds, and about six years ago a friend of mine contacted me about a Hahn’s macaw that desperately needed a home. I have larger birds and had never heard of a Hahn’s macaw, but without hesitation I took her in. Well it took all of a second for me to fall in love with this beautiful little girl. I quickly named her Pippy because she is such a little pip-squeak . Pippy came to me from a home where she had been abused. Pippy was beaten, had her beak broken and she had plucked out almost all of her feathers. With all my love and care her beak has healed properly, but her skin is so damaged that most of her feathers will not grow in.

Pippy instantly bonded with her brothers Amigo, a yellow-naped Amazon, Rocky, an African grey parrot, and her sister, Lulu, a sulphur-crested cockatoo. Due to her previous beak injury she is unable to whistle, so Pippy makes the most adorable goose like honking sounds when we are busy dancing and singing around the house. Pippy shows me nothing but love and affection, as I truly believe that she knows that her mommy took her from a place she or any innocent animal should of never been. 

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severe mini-macaw
Severe macaw

Mateo
Courtesy Debbie Black, Illinois

I have a severe macaw. His name is Mateo. Being that the severe macaw is native to northern South America, I decided to give him a Spanish name. Mateo means “gift from God.” Mateo is truly a gift, in more ways than one. He has brought me such joy and unconditional love. But, Mateo was really a gift. He was my 2007 Christmas gift from my parents. My parent’s own Wings Exotic Birds in Marengo, Ill., and raise severe macaws, as well as many other macaws, cockatoos, conures, blue Indian ringneck parakeets, Alexandrine parakeets and African grey parrots.

Mateo hatched May 10, 2007. He was the first fertile egg from his parents. Three days after he was hatched it appeared the parents were not caring for him the way they should. My mom pulled him from the nest to hand raise and feed him. She was concerned about him as he was not holding his head straight; in fact his head was hanging back to far. She was concerned there was a problem with his neck. He was eating well but did not show signs of developing or responding like a bird of his age. He didn’t seem to be maturing like he should. Despite his slow development he appeared basically healthy. After a while he did start to hold his head up normally.  But then she noticed his left foot was turned side ways at the ankle. He did continue to develop and grow, but at about age 4 months he was like a 2 month old. By about 7 months old he started to catch up in maturity and growth.

I developed a desire to own a macaw. Being that I rent and my place is not very big. I started thinking about a mini-macaw. My mom instantly thought of Mateo. She wanted to make sure he went to a good home. My mom and dad talked and called to let me know about Mateo. She said that he was mine if I wanted him and that he would be my Christmas gift.

I went out to visit him and instantly feel in love with him. At that time he was not quite ready to come home. My mom wanted to take him for a new bird checkup and exam. Dr. Peter Sakas of Niles Animal Hospital in Niles, Ill. said he was in good health. He noticed in the exam that one of his wings would not fully extend. He indicated this would probably prevent him from flying. His foot will always be turned, but the doctor said he will live a normal life despite his handicap. As far as his wing, it does not cause him any pain and I will not have to trim his beautiful wings to prevent flight. 

Despite his slow development and maturity and his handicap, he is doing great. He has caught up in maturity and is climbing his cage, perching on my shoulder and climbing up the ladders on the playtop on his cage. He is so incredibly playful, talkative and extremely happy. He gets so excited when I come near his cage. He loves to cuddle and be near me. He even tries to feed me. He has given me so much love and joy in such a short time. I look forward to many years of happiness with him. 

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yellow-collared mini-macaw
yellow-collared macaw

Alex
Courtesy Laura Martinez, Illinois

I came to share my life with Alex, a yellow-collared macaw, by chance. One of my co-workers said that his wife was thinking of finding a new home for Alex because he wasn't getting enough attention. My co-worker thought he was a scary, nippy little bird who didn't like males or new people. After being warned that Alex might bite, I was able to pick him up right away without getting nipped.
 
Alex is still wary of strangers, but he is by no means a one-person bird. Alex likes to play with my sisters and he has different relationships with each of them. When my sister Julia is close, Alex will pick up his foot, to Step-up, to get Julia closer and then he bites her and laughs. Alex and my boyfriend, Mitch, are like brothers who love each other but still love to fight. One minute Alex will gently be grooming Mitch and the next minute Alex will be laughing as he tries to bite Mitch before Mitch moves out of grasp.
 
Everyone seems to think that mini-macaws are difficult because they're nippy, but Alex has spoiled me because he's so perfect. Alex hasn't bitten me in over a year. Alex is fearless. When Alex falls he just laughs it off and gets back up. Alex never argues when it's time for his medicine, he even stays in the towel afterward and plays with it. Alex protects me by letting me know when strangers approach. Alex keeps me looking my best by grooming me on a daily basis. Alex tries to get me in shape by racing me up the stairs. Alex even cleans up after himself. He vacuums up his crumbs with his beak. Now, I couldn't imagine life without Alex to laugh at me. 

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Hahn's macaw
Hahn's macaw

Miss Freddie
Courtesy Lin Grulke, Florida

Our Hahn’s mini-macaw, Miss Freddie, is 11 years old. And she is such a complex little girl. She is typical macaw-sassy, very smart and a good talker. We got Miss Freddie when she was 3 months old. She was our second bird, Sammy, our cockatiel, was first.

Her favorite person is my husband. She would cuddle under his chin all day if she could. She is truly daddy's little girl. She likes me also. We are play buddies. We play ball and toss, and she likes playing in the laundry while I am folding or hanging up clothes. She love to pounce, giggle, belly laugh, pout, and squawk letting you know her opinion. She takes delight in scaring the other fids off their playgyms. She is very entertaining, but has limits and doesn't like a lot of company.

Miss Freddie's favorite toys are soft woods that she can chip away at. She also likes bells, balls with bells, anything that makes a lot of noise that she can bang around. Miss Freddie says many phrases: "Pick me up, OK?" "Good night," "That's a good girl," "Hello" and a couple others. She also can turn around on command, blow kisses with her foot, and wave hello or good bye.
 
My advice if you are interested in a mini-macaw, or any bird species, is to do your homework and learn as much as you can about them, spend time with them, if you can. And do research on positive reinforcement and behavior information as macaws, as any parrot, will test you. You need as much information as possible to be able to understand them, and how you are to respond to them, and help them make their way in our world. Mini-macaws are truly big macaw in a small package. Oh, and don't tell them they are small.

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Hahn's macaw
Hahn's macaw

Bodhi
Courtesy Dr. Renee LaScala, Massachusetts

Bodhi, a Hahn’s Macaw, came all the way from California to Massachusetts to join our family in October 2007. When I picked him up at the Air Cargo Terminal, it was love at first sight – for both of us.
 
Bodhi is the sweetest, gentlest parrot…and the most generous. He’s taken personal responsibility for the outside bird feeders, and notifies me emphatically if they must be refilled. When the crowd of New England songbirds arrives, they are greeted enthusiastically by their bright green host, who spends his mid-day hours at the large window in my office. There’s a window perch attached to the inside, directly opposite a plexiglass tray feeder on the outside, with a view of all the other feeders, the woods and the nearby river. Bodhi was the first to spot a pair of mallards one gray January day, and he said, “Mom!” excitedly jumping and bobbing at the glass. He looked out in amazement at the first swimming birds he’s ever seen and said, “Wow!”
 
Bodhi and his sister, Miss Pookie Parrot, a pineapple green-cheeked conure, are inseparable. They love foraging toys, climbing on jute ropes and boings, joining me for showers and singing along with musical films and operas. 

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Mini-Macaw Readers'Stories Chapter Three

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Reader Comments
very informative
joan, fr sq, NY
Posted: 3/15/2009 6:58:20 PM
I was really disturbed by the story of the bird with the white feet whose vet just thought maybe the bird was "old"! That owner really did a good job of addressing the situation, but it is distressing to hear of such inadequate medical support...
Taddy, Rock Island, IL
Posted: 7/29/2008 8:38:23 PM
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