Flock Talk December, 2012


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Scarlet Macaws

Rainbow.croppedScarlet Macaws are large, colorful parrots that are native to humid evergreen forests in the American Tropics. Their range in the wild extends from extreme southeastern Mexico down through Peru, Bolivia and Brazil. Scarlett Macaws are the national bird of Honduras. The wild Macaw population has suffered greatly from habitat destruction as well as capture for the parrot trade.

Here at the Garuda Aviary, we have two beautiful Scarlett Macaws, named “Coco” and “Rainbow”! (That’s Rainbow above.)

Some fun facts about Scarlett Macaws:

Long Tails – Averaging around 32 inches in length, they have the longest tails of all the Macaws.

Tail Color − Tail plumage is mostly scarlet, but the rump and tail feathers are light blue. The underside of the tail feathers are dark red with metallic gold iridescence. How beautiful is that?

Age − Scarlet Macaws can live up to 50 years in captivity, although a more typical lifespan is 30 to 40 years. You can tell the age by their eyes! The young birds have dark eyes and the adults have light yellow eyes. But don’t confuse the Scarlett Macaw with the slighter larger Green-Winged Macaw. The Green-Winged Macaws have more pronounced red lines in their faces and no trace of yellow in their wings. At the Garuda Aviary, we have two Green-Winged Macaws named “Hakan” and “Red.”

Voice − Scarlet Macaws make very loud, high and sometimes low-pitched, throaty squawks, squeaks and screams, designed to carry many miles to call for their groups.

Food − Scarlet Macaws eat mostly fruits, nuts and seeds, including large, hard seeds.

CitesCan I Get A Scarlet Macaw? − These Macaws are a CITES I listed species, meaning that they are illegal to buy, sell or use in any commercial activities without specific, special permits.


Parrots as Pets? Please Don’t Do It!

flightwhiteKids and adults of all ages think about getting a new pet. Many are fascinated by the colorful and entertaining parrot. But at the end of the day, parrot ownership is unwise at best, and usually ends badly for all involved.


Reason 1 – Lifespan

Large exotic birds live a very long time. Macaws can live to be as old as 65, African Greys can live into their early 70s, Cockatoos can reach their 80s, and some Amazon parrots have lived to be over 100 years old. For almost any other pet you can think of, you would be able to care for it for its entire life. The same cannot be said of parrots. They can conceivably outlast not just one, but two generations of the same human family. Sadly, the average pet parrot will go through six different homes in the first eight years of its life.

Reason 2 – Cost

For many reasons, exotic parrots cost far more than your typical family pet. Way more than a typical cat or dog! For parrots, a good rule of thumb is to expect to pay double what the bird costs (which can range from $1,000 or more) on cages, food, toys and vet care right at the outset. After that, you’re looking at about $1500 each and every year for the entire life of your parrot. Considering how long the bird will likely live, that can easily add up to a $90,000-plus investment, which will most likely continue to accrue after your death.

Reason 3 – Environment

Anthropologists suggest that cats and dogs have been domesticated and living as human companion animals for over 15,000 years. Humans have a much shorter history of owning wild birds as pets. Because dogs, cats, rabbits, goats, sheep, guinea pigs and horses have such long and rich bonds of association between them and humans, they have, over time, adapted to many aspects of human life. The same cannot be said of birds.

Many things we consider safe parts of our everyday environment are actually life-threatening for birds because of their physiology. Birds’ bodies, for example, are not equipped to deal with many common household chemicals and smells, such as formaldehyde exuding from carpeting, aerosols, and even fumes from cooking with Teflon non-stick cookware. All of these everyday things that better our human lives, release enough toxins to seriously sicken or even kill birds.

Unlike domesticated pets that have been bred to live with and depend upon humans, everything about a parrot’s body is geared to living in the forest: from what it eats to the placement of its eyes and ears, from its stunning plumage, to its long wingspan and need for flight and lots of space. As such, pet parrots are made to spend their lives in a prison of forced confinement and continual stress.

Reason 4 – Behavior

MacGyverParrots require a lot of your time, and they are naturally very noisy. What happens when your parrot screeches so loudly that neither you nor your neighbors can stand it? Or when you let your parrot out of its cage and it tears apart your sofa, your shoes, or whatever object catches its fancy? Because that is what they naturally do – chew. Or consider how you will feel about your show and tell pet after it neurotically plucks out all of its feathers due to boredom and stress.

The sad fact is that most of these outcomes are not just possible, but probable. It’s far more likely that you will find a good fit for your home and family by choosing a pet that has been bred for generations to anticipate and meet our needs, over an animal that is at most, one generation from the wild.
Please, take the time to make an educated and humane decision. Many shelters are full of parrots whose owners did not think through their decision.


With Many Thanks to our Supporters!

As the end of the year approaches, we want to take this opportunity to let you know some of the many ways in which your compassionate support has helped the Garuda Aviary continue its mission of lifetime shelter and public education.

This year, thanks to you, we have continued to provide lifelong care to our current flock, provided outreach and education to groups and individuals, and have actively been involved with parrot rescue and abuse situations. These activities have resulted in some new additions to our flock. We continued to offer extensive community education, as well as providing in-person talks and discussions to groups and individuals, including the Girl Scouts, both offsite and onsite at our outdoor flight cage.

This year we were very pleased to release a newly created “Education Video,” which provides stunning and in-depth education about the plight of parrots and exotic birds, and gives personal voice to the suffering of these splendid creatures.


Looking to the future, our goals continue to be to offer love and care to our current flock, and to continue educating people about the heartbreaking plight of pet parrots in order to raise public awareness on the seriousness of this tragic issue.

As always, we continue to rely on the support of our donors, and we send a big Garuda Aviary thank you to all of our generous supporters.

The Garuda Aviary would like extend a heartfelt


to our wonderful Corporate Sponsors and Partners, including:

Bethesda Co-op Natural Market

Cabin John, Maryland

Drink More Water

Gaithersburg, Maryland

Harris Teeter

Gaithersburg, Maryland

Harrison’s Bird Food

Brentwood, Tennessee

Lotus Unlimited

Boyds, Maryland

Mani Jewel Gift Store

Poolesville, Maryland

Organic Market and Holistic Center

Poolesville, Maryland

Whole Foods Market

Kentland, Maryland

Thank You to

ALL of our Individual Contributors and Donors!

You are the Lifeblood of the Garuda Aviary