Another thing that was difficult for me was seeing mistreated macaws. The first time we saw one was at the California Lighthouse – there was a man with a truck selling ice cream and the macaw was sitting on the table. My friends had me rush over and told me it would be a great thing to post on my blog. However, I had a different reaction then they expected; I immediately got aggressive and asked the owner if the macaw could fly and how he got him. As could be expected the man’s attitude completely changed, he got very defensive stating that he got the bird because he owned the parents.
Why did I get this way? Because after volunteering in Costa Rica I learned several things:
- Blue macaws are native to Brazil and not Aruba
- When they can’t fly it is because their wings have been clipped so they cannot try returning home
- Macaws are meant to have one partner for life, being alone leads to unhappiness and a shorter life span
My best guess, this man purchased this macaw from a pet store that obtained it illegally and now uses it to attract tourists. Had I seen this a year ago I would’ve been just as excited as my friends and I’m glad my travels have taught me better and in turn I can enlighten others.
The second time we encountered macaws was in the resort we were staying in, I kept hearing birds since we arrived but didn’t walk around to see what they were until our last day. By the hotel restaurant we saw a cage depressingly small for a macaw enclosing two red macaws (native to Costa Rica). The restaurant owner shared my sentiment about them being enclosed and stated that the birds had been their from the previous owners of the complex (30+ years ago) and they knew that if they tried to let them out the birds wouldn’t be able to survive.