By Ann Taylor and Gregory Wilkie
Tabby is approximately 13 years old and has been a member of our flock for the past four years. Previously, Tabby lived with
a family that had 17 birds in addition to her. Tabby had been sharing a cage with another macaw and a salmon-crested cockatoo.
When Tabby and her bonded buddy, Blue and Gold macaw MaryAnn, arrived at our home, she would lunge, hiss, and snap not allowing
fingers or hands near her. Tabby’s tail and most of her primary and secondary flight feathers were missing. A macaw without a tail
has limited balance, combined with missing flight feathers, slipping off a perch sends the bird crashing to the floor. According to
Tabby’s earlier veterinary records, she had her hip dislocated three times and a skull fracture.
When she first arrived, Tabby’s prominent keel bone was most likely from her seed-only diet. Using a step-up stick was out of the
question, sending her to the back of the cage. Like siblings, Tabby and MaryAnn do not like to be separated for any length of time;
if left together squabbles and some tail feather pulling behaviors occur when they are in the same space.
Tabby has made great strides growing back her tail and flight feathers. Tabby now willingly steps up to a stick or hand. Tabby is
no stranger to food now. Her recent veterinary visit shows that Tabby’s daily diet of fresh vegetables, fruits, pellets and nuts has
her weighing in at a healthy 1212 grams. Tabby has become Ann and Greg’s “gentle giant.”
A Harlequin macaw is produced by crossing a Blue and Gold macaw with a Green-Winged macaw. Harlequin Macaws grow to about 34 inches
in length and are very brightly colored. Usually, Harlequins are sired by Green-Winged macaws, since female Green-Winged macaws are
often more difficult to find than a female Blue and Gold macaw. Harlequin macaws inherit the father’s Green-Wing physical build and
the mother's coloration, making it look identical to another macaw hybrid, the Catalina. Usually, the chest feathers of Harlequin
macaws are reddish-orange and are edged with a brighter yellow-orange color. Harlequin Macaws are not found in the wild.
Ann Taylor has worked with companion birds for over 13 years, starting with a blue-fronted Amazon and now having six cockatoos,
three macaws and an African gray. Ann is past Membership Chair of The Alaska Bird Club (2006), and works full-time from home as a
financial analyst. You can reach Ann at email@example.com
Gregory D. Wilkie is a degreed ethologist, associate member of the International Association of Animal Behavioral Consultants
(IAABC), past-President of The Alaska Bird Club (2006), and works full-time changing organizational cultures. You can reach Greg