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We meet on the first Tuesday of every month from
7:00-9:00
at the
Serendipity Adult Day Services

on
3550 East 20th Ave

(We love your birds, but please don't bring them to our meetings. We usually have a bird of the month already attending. Thanks!)

Bird of the Month
February 2006

Glory, the Military Macaw

Glory, our military macaw, became a member of our flock on Halloween 2003. Originally know as “Jacko” and considered to be a male, this military macaw was traded from its original owner for a pair of breeder love birds to a breeder. All was well with Jacko at first and then something terrible occurred. Jacko began courting a male blue and gold macaw from a proven breeding pair. Jacko was immediately sent to the veterinarian for DNA sexing; revealing that Jacko needed a new name with her now known true gender. The name chosen was “Glory.”

The breeder who was taking care of Glory had a difficult time with her. She would protect her arms with thick bath towels to prevent Glory from breaking her skin when Glory bit. When I was introduced to Glory, she was placed on my arm that was wrapped with a bath towel to protect me. The towel was awkward and made carrying Glory difficult. I offered my other arm to Glory and removed the towel. Amid the cries of, “…be careful, she can REALLY bite…” from the breeder, I proceeded to massage Glory’s head and talk with her. Glory was a great Halloween treat to receive!

Glory is a quick learner and is able to use the words she hears to her advantage. Upon entering the bird room, Glory now tells me to, “…come here, step up…” while offering her foot for a step up. Glory is one of the first of the flock to answer the telephone when it rings with a hearty, “…Hello!...” which she can deliver with a variety of intonations, accents, and volume. If Glory believes she requires more cuddles, she calls with a, “…come back here!...”

Glory is our resident flock comedian who is always ready for a good game of tug-o-war. Glory strongly believes that Ann’s slippers and shoes harbor the evil Toe-Weasels that she must destroy! When Glory sees Ann walking in the hall, Glory will drop off of her perch and come running, wings outspread, yelling, “…Yah-ha-ha-ha!!..” Once she has engaged the evil Toe-Weasels, Glory will start screaming, “…Stop! Stop!...” interspersed with bouts of her contagious laugh.

Military macaws are native to Central and South America and Mexico. There are three subspecies of the military macaw distinguished mostly by the distinct location from which they come. The A. m. militaris is found in the northwestern part of Venezuela to eastern Ecuador and northern Peru, the A. m. mexicana is found in Mexico except in the rain forest zones, and the A. m. boliviana is found in the tropical zones of Bolivia and the northern part of Argentina.

The military macaw is a full sized macaw, though they are a bit smaller than several of the other large macaws. These birds are typically 25-to-27 inches (70-75 cm) in length.

The military macaw is listed as vulnerable in Appendix I of the CITES (Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), but is quite common in captivity. The military is found in dry forests and open woodlands in pairs or small flocks.
In describing the military macaw, you would be making a grave mistake to dismiss it as a green bird. Although his plumage is predominately green, the hues range from olive to the most mesmerizing emerald short of Ireland's rolling hills. Then there is the turquoise. Covering her lower back, and flowing down to the beginnings of her tail feathers, the military macaw flashes brilliant, almost luminescent turquoise. The tail feathers themselves are a mixture of burgundy, sky blue, streaks of green and assorted mixtures thereof. Turn those same tail feathers over, and you'll be startled by the vivid lemon yellow.

Toys are an extremely vital part of military macaws' needs. In the wild these birds are active all day foraging for food and interacting with each other. In captivity they need other ways to occupy their time. A bored military macaw could develop behavioral problems. Wood toys must be provided at all times and rotated often so they will not become bored with them. Other popular types of toys, especially for macaws, are sturdy acrylic toys. Avoid toys with small parts that could be accidentally swallowed or easily broken by powerful beaks. Keep in mind that these toys can be expensive, will be destroyed, and must be replaced. Before buying or adopting a military macaw make sure your budget allows for plenty of toys. Play stands or play gyms can also be very useful to the military macaw owner, but always supervise when the bird is out of the cage.

Military macaws may not be recognized for their brilliant plumage or size as the scarlet and green wing macaws are; they do make an excellent choice for a companion parrot. We am so glad the breeder selected Ann and myself to place Glory in our care. Glory is a most welcomed member of our flock!

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The Alaska Bird Club • P.O. Box 101825 • Anchorage AK 99510
akbirdclub@yahoo.com