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#206516 - 08/13/09 09:50 PM Macaw Behavior Characteristics?  
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GregM Offline
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I know this is a Cockatoo Forum but many of you have different species of parrots...

I was reading the local classifieds and saw a "Scarlet Macaw, free to good home" and have always thought them amongst Gods most beautiful creations...

What are they like? Do they require as much interaction as Toos? What should I know before considering this adoption?

I already assume that when I speak to the owner the bird will be exhibiting "problem" behavior (in quotes for emphasis...I already know there are no problem birds, just owners...)

Please be candid in your response...wait...this is MyToos... smile

#206518 - 08/13/09 10:03 PM Re: Macaw Behavior Characteristics? [Re: GregM]  
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Greg I've only known a couple of Scarlet Macaws and they each had their own distinct personalities. One an absolute sweet heart that loved everyone and was super gentle, another that loved to torment me because he hated all woman, and another that was a fresh brat that loved to raise the dickens! Two that plucked their feathers on their chest, one that plucked the feathers from his buddy, one would eat anything you gave him while another ate only grapes and seeds. One was super loud and loved to scream while swinging and another that was very quiet and had the loveliest voice when he talked. So I think from my limited experience that they are all unique. I'm sure that others will come on with more experience than I and tell you additional information. You have to be super careful with a macaw and a too in the same home. They are very sensitive to too dust and can develop pulmonary hypersensitivy syndrome.
Nancy


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#206519 - 08/13/09 10:19 PM Re: Macaw Behavior Characteristics? [Re: GregM]  
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The scarlet macaw is in my opinion the most beautiful creature of earth. The only problem is they are beautiful and they know it! Talk about an attitude!

Seriously, it has been my experience that they do tend to be more nippy then other species. Nothing that comes even close to breaking the skin most of the time. Just irritating.

They can be very loyal and loving, but they are not the "outgoing, clownish" type normally attributed to B&Gs. They do tend to be more one-person birds then other species of macaw so care most be taken to insure that they don't overly bond to one individual and become aggressive to everyone else in the home. They are probably the most high-strung of the macaws and definitely bull-headed.

"Free to a good home" is the long way of spelling trouble when it comes to macaws, espically free ones. The last time I saw an ad like that, the bird had just been diagnosed with PDD. This bird probably has some form of behavior problem. The free ones usually do. If it's aggression, that could have serious overtones from a bird this size. Are you and those who share your home ready to deal with that? If it's noise, that could also be a problem. Granted, a macaw's bellowing doesn't have the irritating pitch of a too, but it is definitely louder. We have to periodically measure and monitor noise levels around the perimeter of our place due to noise ordinances so I know that for a fact.

The key is in taking the time to visit with the current care-giver and the bird. Don't agree to accept the bird until you are sure that you fully understand the scope of any problems the bird my have, the effects those problems are likely to have on your current domestic situation and your ability and willingness to work through it.

I truly hope that in this case, I'm totally full of crap in regard to everything I said above and the bird turns out to be a perfect match for you and your home.

Good luck,

Dave

#206527 - 08/13/09 11:28 PM Re: Macaw Behavior Characteristics? [Re: Macawman]  
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I can't link to the article here, but google "Macaws - Personality Plus" Based on my experience dealing with macaws at the rescue where I volunteer, as well as with my own severe macaw, I find that the generalizations in this article are pretty accurate (knowing that all birds are individuals, obviously). Also, note that it's written by breeders. When breeders say negative things about birds, I tend to put more weight on that because they need to encourage bird ownership to stay in business, which is why I usually discount information coming from most breeders.

If I remember correctly, you've recently added a second bird to your home, right? I REALLY don't mean to be a downer, but one of the things I've noticed while volunteering at the rescue is that some people get all gung-ho about adding new birds to their home, often before the previously-acquired birds have really settled in and the owner even truly knows the personality to come. Before long, they're in over their head and rehoming birds themselves. Just remember that there will always be more birds in need, so make sure it's a good fit and not just a pity adoption.

Another thing to consider is the size difference between the birds you already have and this one. A scarlet macaw could take the beak or feet off of the birds you already have. It only takes a second.

I have a severe macaw, which is quite close in personality to a scarlet (in general), though a smaller size. From what I can tell from reading this board and from talking to my friends at the rescue with toos, my severe macaw is every bit as demanding as a cockatoo. But that doesn't mean all are.

They are beautiful, though. Earlier this year we spent a week in Costa Rica, and it was amazing to wake up to the calls of the scarlets as they were flying around!

If you don't have macaw experience, I would recommend that you really think about taking in a scarlet with problems. Macaws tend to be great at sensing fear/hesitation and use that to their advantage.

As Dave said, they do tend to be one-person birds. The scarlets and scarlet-hybrids we've had at the rescue will often climb down, seek out, and try to attack people they don't like. Obviously this is all behavior that can be worked with, so a lot of it depends on whether you have the time and patience to deal with it!

Their body language tends to be easy to read. Even though my severe macaw wants nothing more than to drive me out of the house (he loves my husband), he hasn't drawn blood on me in years; though not for lack of trying as I'm always on guard.

With all of our windows closed, I can hear my severe scream (and he's a mini -- the scarlets are louder) from over a block and a half away.

He does make me laugh everyday and I love him to pieces. That being said, knowing what I know now, if I could go back in time, we wouldn't have adopted him. He's with us to stay for the rest of his life now, though.

Good luck with your decision!

#206528 - 08/13/09 11:48 PM Re: Macaw Behavior Characteristics? [Re: Beeps]  
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I don't have any macaw experience, but want to interject a caution. You have only had Buddy 15 mos now (I think), and Ophelia for a few months. There is no magic number as to how far you should space out adoptions, but I do want to caution you not to take this lightly. I adopted 2 of my cockatoos within 6 months of each other, and it was quite a challenge, and I have experience under my belt. I didn't plan it that way. I had offered to take my U2 but that did not materialize, then I adopted my LSC2. Then the call came in about 4 months later that the U2's owner had passed away, Alex was in the residence alone and needed to be gotten out of the residence and needed an immediate home. I had committed previously, so I upheld my commitment, but it was not the ideal circumstances.

Whenever you bring a new bird into your home, the flock dynamics are tilted. Sometimes it's a perfect fit, sometimes it's not. Are you up to the challenges if things go haywire?


Birds are angels who lift us up when our own wings forget how to fly.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world - indeed it is the only thing that ever has!" ~~~ Margaret Meade ~~~

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#206529 - 08/13/09 11:54 PM Re: Macaw Behavior Characteristics? [Re: Beeps]  
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Well I had a B&G Macaw some years ago and found out rather quickly that when you have other birds in the home that you are working on they don't mix well.After a year of attempting to make everyone happy and not being able too I had to in the end find Kayla a wonderful home. Which I did.She had caused the Grey and the cockatoo I had to start to pluck because of her noise and antics.They just couldn't handle her. I loved her allot and still go to see her often but she was not a match for our home and had to do this for the flock I had already committed too.I know it wasn't fair to rehome any but seriously she did find the best possible home imaginable.They are allot of bird for someone just learning too. The grey and the 'too I had were stressed out from their lives before me and the B&G just enhanced that stress to the max.

Because your birds are still adjusting to your home I will have to voice my opinion that you should probably walk away. I mean you are still trying to get to know the ones you have and bringing in such a big personality bird can only cause some trouble for that.



Jan

Sometimes damaged goods are the best gifts the world has to offer
#206539 - 08/14/09 01:31 AM Re: Macaw Behavior Characteristics? [Re: Janny]  
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The thing I've found with macaws is that they can be the consummate bluffer. They will charge at you with tail flared, wings spread, just to beak slap you and run away laughing. The problem is,if you don't know the bird, you don't know if he's bluffing. And if you flinch and he's bluffing, he's going to torture you forever. If you don't flinch and he's NOT bluffing, you're going to get quite a painful bite.

That said, I agree that their body language is very easy to read. I know without thinking about it when it's not a good time to handle Caesar. You don't get any of those "surprise!' bites that a too can deal out.

I've also found that everything is almost clownishly overblown about a macaw personality. They are louder and more flamboyant than other birds. Their happy is happier, their mad is madder than any of the other birds I've dealt with.

Thank goodness our macaw adores my husband, because he frankly wears me out. He has a high need for interactive play, almost like a dog that needs to fetch, over and over and over again.

If there weren't 2 of us crazy bird people in the house, we couldn't handle having a macaw. So unless you've got back-up, I'd really think about adding to the flock.

And the word "free" with macaw makes all sorts of alarm bells ring for me.

Last edited by Jacque; 08/14/09 01:32 AM.
#206542 - 08/14/09 02:00 AM Re: Macaw Behavior Characteristics? [Re: BE2Cassie]  
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Originally Posted By: BE2Cassie
You have to be super careful with a macaw and a too in the same home. They are very sensitive to too dust and can develop pulmonary hypersensitivy syndrome. Nancy


Thanks for the advise, both cautionary and otherwise...the pulmonary illness scares me more than anything...at this time it is just a thought and I will not jump into this...

I am going to speak to the owner to find out their exact circumstances and certainly would have to meet the bird. I would hope it has a clean bill of health.

I do believe that Megan intends on finding an apartment in the fall and taking Ophelia back...if so I will give her my cage as Ophelia is quite comfortable in it and I do not want to put him back in the little cage he came in...I will miss him...but I knew this possibility/liklihood going in...

I am not sure I could handle 3 birds...I am going to inquire, as maybe I can be of help to the bird and/or owner as I am with Ophelia...worst that can happen is I spend a little time with a Scarlet...

#206544 - 08/14/09 02:24 AM Re: Macaw Behavior Characteristics? [Re: GregM]  
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Good luck with your decision...I have nine avian friends...but I'm a stay at home.

#206548 - 08/14/09 02:54 AM Re: Macaw Behavior Characteristics? [Re: GregM]  
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Hi Greg- I think I would just love on what you have right now. I had 17 teils, 1 too, and 6 love birds then came Betty a B&G she was a sweetie pie but oh so demanding. Of course she was hand weaned and about 5 years old when I got her.And picked almost naked. I have to admit a screaming 2 is nearve plucking but a screaming McCaw is grounds for eviction.
At present I have 1 YNA and the g2 & U2 that came this spring. I often wonder if the 2's weren't a pair if it would be easier on the U2 but that's an unknown.
Oh by the way YAHOO !!I realized that Gretta has reconized the deposits or at least acknowledged an account. Not as quickly as my liking but she let me touch her beak yesterday without being terrified and tonights bed time food was a happy time. She stood her place when I put her cup in front of her. My hubby has decided I'm letting the birds rule..can you imagine.

#206585 - 08/14/09 11:05 PM Re: Macaw Behavior Characteristics? [Re: FunnyFarm]  
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Let me add a couple thigns to the loads of information you've already gotten here, if I may.

"Free to good home" ads make me cringe because, one way or another, there's a problem. I would ask them what condition the bird is in and request vet papers to see if there has been any diagnosis of a disease. I would also arrange the bird stay where he/she is until she (I'll stick with that) can get a proper vet checkup w/results that can test for diseases that may be transittable to your birds.

I learned not to generlaize personalities for birds a long time ago... but I've known many Macaws. Very rarely would I see one who was what I would call "cuddly", that's not to say I haven't seen any who are... just rarely.

They also like to explore and discover quite a bit on their own and do quite well at foraging in most cases. They enjoy being kept busy and get "grumpy" if they aren't. Again, for many of the ones I've known.

Make no mistake, they DO hold grudges quite well, longer than many other birds it seems. If you mistreat them, they WILL remember very well and hold that against you for a long time. One of the reasons, I feel, a lot of people have problems with them especially is if they didn't know how to care for them from the start.

I've also rarely seen macaws get along with other birds very well. Often, when they do get along with other birds, they tend to be other macaws and also start to develop behavioral problems rather quickly. They can turn very aggressive towards you, your family, other birds and withdraw from socializing with anyone other than their "mate".

Then again, everything I just said can be true of nearly any bird out there... and no bird all at the same time.


"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated"

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