Photo by Jamieleigh Location: Orlando, FL On the couch: Military macaw "Cash"
After 5 months of my military macaw hanging at Missi's place, he came back to live with us and I have to say, I was damn excited to see him again!
To read his story at Missi's, click here.
Missi brought him to Orlando from Naples and along with him, she brought his newest pal, her blue and gold macaw Bailey. They didn't get along so well at first, but once Bailey stood up for himself against Cash they both found a happy medium and got along great. In the car on the ride down, they were actually feeding one another! That's how drastic the changes were that were made.
Cash was fully flighted when he went to Missi, however, because of her much smaller sized flock, she found it necessary to clip his wings (5 feathers on each side) to keep him from getting to the smaller birds. As time went on, she went back and forth on asking me if I wanted him back. I always told her I was fine either way - I was happy to have him home again but if she was happy with him, then I was happy to have him stay longer. It was really up to her. I think if I would have known how stressful it was for her at times with him around the rest of her birds, I would have taken him back a lot earlier. But I think a lot of people don't want to feel like they've failed in anyway, and maybe Missi felt like admitting such things would be a sign of failure she didn't want to show.
Either way, 5 months later and he's home! My macaws have really grown up in those 5 months and are all over a year old now. Tusa, my Camelot Macaw, immediately established dominance over Cash when he came to our house. Which was a good thing, because Tusa acts like the oldest even though he's the middle child.
Cash likes to pick on other birds that show they're afraid of him, but if they stick up to him, he will call peace.
The new pecking order of the macaws is now: Tusa, Comet (if Tusa is around to defend him), Cash and then Jinx. Sadly, Jinx is a lover not a fighter and runs away from any sign of having to be next to Cash. If Cash makes any sort of threatening move towards Comet, Tusa is right there to defend his brother. Although this sounds like tons of acts of aggression, it has made the flock more peaceful by keeping Cash's normal aggressive habits at bay.
It seemed like the 5 month break was great for everyone. Missi got the experience, Cash got the reality check and my macaws had a chance to grow up and learn how to fend for themselves and for each other.
Photo by Jamieleigh Location: Orlando, FL Team huddle: Military macaw "Cash", Camelot macaws "Comet" & "Tusa", Blue throated macaw "Jinx"
Coming back from Missi, the only real changes I've noticed in Cash is his vocalizations. He has a lot more of them and sounds a lot like Missi sometimes. I really like the new noises, they're fun and kind of sound like they're coming from a tiny dinosaur (I guess in some ways that's true!).
Although I will still be open to sending Cash to Chet every now and again, I think I'll refrain from anymore long standing bird sitting that isn't completely necessary. However, it was an interesting experience for everyone and does make me wonder about a bird having more than one home and always going back to number one. I wonder how the new experiences play a role and if knowing they always end up with their true owner, if psychological issues are avoided or not. You never know.
And although Cash is clipped and can't get any lift, he has been eager to try to flight train with the rest of the macaws. So we do short flights with him, and also work on trick training behaviors in the mean time until he loses his feathers in a molt and grows them back in so he can fully fly. I'm happy to report he has been welcomed back into our flock with open wings!
Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots whom she shares the stage with.