Blue and Yellow Macaw
Sunny, the blue and gold macaw, is a bird of many names. He came to us in July of 2014 from the Santa Barbara Bird Sanctuary where, over the past 20 years, he had been adopted and returned three times. His last family had named him Sinbad and the Sanctuary had renamed him Scooby. Potential adopters must get to know the individual bird before taking him home so Mollie eased into a comfortable chair as her new friend sat on her arm staring lovingly up into her face, seeming to say "Thank you. I really needed this." Mollie made the trip to Santa Barbara three times to visit and then the day came to take her featherless friend with her. On the way home Mollie named him Sunny because his future was getting brighter by the minute.
The very next day Mollie took him to a veterinarian for an exam. Unfortunately, it was discovered that Sunny has irreversible lung damage. Being especially susceptible to the feather dust of cockatoos from Australia and African grey parrots, macaws can develop an irreversible problem when housed alongside these species. In nature these birds would never come in contact but in a home or a crowded sanctuary this often isn't the case. Fortunately, Sunny is housed separately from other birds, and is given lots of fresh air with his daily outdoor time.
They weren't kidding when they said he likes everyone. He allows multiple people to pick him up, and enjoys walking over to new friends to groom their shoes. He absolutely loves all the attention at programs and even blushes when he sees the audience. He says a few words, even speaks a little Spanish, occasionally sings a bit of Opera, and enjoys destroying cardboard boxes and other paper enrichment.
?And his feathers grew back!
Feather plucking is often an issue with captive birds that are stressed or bored. As you can see from his photo, we have proof that Sunny's life has improved in our care. While this habit is about as hard to break as biting your fingernails, he has greatly reduced this self-destructive behavior since being with us.
Sunny has proven to be an excellent bird ambassador and loves to travel in the car to programs where we share his story. Everybody loves Sunny!
Mollie saw his beautiful photo and read his bio on the internet which said "Good with everyone, loves kids". Thinking of his potential as a wildlife ambassador, Mollie made the drive to Santa Barbara to check him out. As his caretaker escorted Mollie to an outdoor cage to meet the macaw for the first time, he said, "Scooby looks a little different than his photo".
And he was right.
Most of the bird's beautiful feathers had been plucked from his chest, abdomen and legs and he had begun work on the tops of his large wings, as well. When Mollie heard his sad story about being adopted and then relinquished so many times it seemed to her that this self-mutilating behavior was his way of saying "I need a permanent home where I have a busy life with lots of toys and attention ...and someone to love me. I need to go home to Wildworks."