Please note that this story was written Saturday 11/28/15.
On Saturday, 11/21/15, I received an email from my friend Dorothy, who runs Sasha Farms, and she stated that she recently received an email from Anna, who was in a desperate need to find a nice home for her Green Winged Scarlet Macaw (aka Red and Green Scarlet Macaw), who had not been doing too well the past year and a half. Since they do not rescue tropical birds at Sasha’s, Dorothy immediately thought of us! I was definitely interested in knowing the full story of his (?) depression. Well, it seemed that Anna had owned him since he was about six months old, however, she was unsure if he was 7ish or 10ish. She had sent me a few pics, and without hesitation, I (we) knew we had to help this angel to become the beautiful bird I am certain he once was. I spoke with Anna the day before Thanksgiving, and I picked him up in the morning, the day after. Anna answered all of my questions honestly and openly, which I deeply appreciate. This helped me to get a true understanding of his current physical and mental condition, and what might be necessary to aid in his future transition back to complete happiness and good health. She had explained that he had never eaten a designated bird protein as part of his diet (which is essential for his overall well being), and that he enjoyed anything that they ate, including candy (primarily Mike & Ikes), with some fruit on occassion. One of his sources of ‘nourishment’ was shelled, salted peanuts, something which should be avoided by ALL birds. She did say he liked almonds and walnuts however, which can provide some source of protein, but nothing like a complete balanced bird protein pellet. Aside from the diet, two contributing factors to his ‘depression’ were immediately identified. About two years prior, they had given away his best friend, a Blue and Gold Macaw, and six months after that, Anna had begun to work fulltime, and was no longer a main presence in Max’s life, so he began to take this loneliness out on himself, which birds WILL do. Anna honestly admitted that he had very little to amuse himself, no wood chew toys etc., because he just ‘chewed them up”. I explained that he needs toys constantly for stimulation, even if it means making them yourself, or even just putting a piece of wood in the bottom of his cage. These huge babies, like most parrots, need constant stimulation, amusement and companionship (human or otherwise, but especially human). Their intellect needs to be challenged daily…at a minimum! Without this, they have even been known to just pluck their feathers just to watch them float toward the ground for self amusement . They take loss of companionship very personally, and will mutilate themselves in the process. Max, as she promised, is not at all aggressive, and has even thrown out a word or two thus far. I so sincerely appreciate Anna’s honestly, leading me to believe that she really does care for him and wants the very best for him as well, even though it came much later than it should have. Hers was not a deliberate act of neglect, just a very uninformed one, as we see SO often in animal ownership. ALL potential owners really do need to educate themselves before becoming caretakers of ANY pet. Knowledge is SO available in this day and age of instant information at your fingertips. Most birds, but especially parrots, are very demanding pets, who may live as long as 90+ years, and cannot be thought of as a convenient pet, for show or conversation, but as a COMPANION pet, no different than a dog might be. You cannot just walk into their room and say hello, you need to interact physically and mentally with them…the end result will amaze you to no end, and you WILL have a companion for life…yours anyway! Most likely, you will need to plan for their life well beyond your own. Max will have a long row to hoe, but we are confident that the challenge we will all face together, will be most rewarding for us ALL! This coming Wednesday, Max will be visiting Dr. Beasley at Cedar Creek, for a full blood work up, and complete physical exam…and a sexing, as well! He has already begun a first floor to second floor ‘conversation’ with Blue, our Blue and Gold Macaw, much like the best friend he ‘lost’ two years ago.
We are figuring that his initial vet visit will cost approximately $300. Anyone wishing to help defer this cost and kind of show your support for Max’s ‘Journey Back to Great Health’ or as we say in Polish: Na Zdorovie (Naz-dro-vyeh) also known to mean, “to your health” Max!, would be greatly appreciated, just ask Max! We will post his results as soon as available after Wednesday 12/2/15. Prayers for great results Max!