Mac was hatched on Aug 25, 1997. She came to me from a breeder that I had bought other little babies from. She was the youngest of 3 babies. I originally bought her to handfeed and resell once weaned. But she showed up at the same time as a very bad divorce and she was the only baby that I had at the time. So we bonded very well and I couldn't part with her when the time came.
For the first 3 years of her life she was fully flighted as we had a fully enclosed patio where we lived and I would let her out there to play. She would come when called and loved to fly around and harass the smaller birds in their cages. I don't recommend having a bird fully flighted but I spoiled her a lot and couldn't bare to cut her feathers. We did have one very big scare when she was about 4 months old. I would take her out with me wearing a Feather Tether harness. I have used these for years and like them a lot. Anyway, I had gone out for a few hours with her and when I returned home my boyfriend was outside doing yard work. So I tied her to the fence and proceeded to help him. We were moving a cart full of weeds and she got scared and started flying. She reached the end of the leash and when she did she was such a strong flier that she actually broke the metal snaps on the harness and got loose. I yelled for her and she circled around a few times then I lost sight of her. We looked for her all afternoon and the next day I made fliers to hang all over the neighborhood. I was so upset. In leaving her flighted I had put her very life in danger. I came home from work and was taking care of the other birds before going out to hang the fliers and look for her some more when I thought I heard her scream. I went running out of the house and called and called but all was quiet. I went back inside and kept thinking I was hearing her and each time went running back out calling for her with no answer. About 5 minutes later two neighbor kids came knocking on the door asking if I had lost a large bird! I couldn't believe it she was literally the next block over. She had landed on a rolled up patio cover on the back of a condo. There wasn't anyone home at the house so we climbed the fence and stacked up the patio furniture to be able to get to her. She was so happy to see us that she was crying like a baby, but so scared that she wouldn't move. David had to actually pull her off of the cover because she would let go. After that she wore a heavy duty figure 8 dog collar. I would go to the local bird expos and take her with me. The little kids would get a big kick out of her. I would place her on the floor about 15 to 20 feet from me and have a little kid stand in front of me and put their arm out in front of their chests. I would then kneel down behind them and call her. She would fly over to them and land on their arms. It made her a big hit for quite a while.
In the spring of 2000 we moved to a new house. This house had no screened patio and worse yet no screened doors. Because if this I didn't want to have her get lose again as I felt I had already tempted fate once and won, I may not be so lucky again. So at the ripe age of 3 Mac had her first wing clipping. She handled it better than I had thought she would. She didn't even try to fly after we clipped her, she must have known when she flapped her wings that she didn't have the lift that she needed to fly.
She is quite the character. She has a vocabulary of about 30 or so words That she says pretty well. A few of the things that she will do is tell the other birds to "shut up" (she yells this at the top of her lungs), Tells herself to "be quiet" (she whispers this), tells me "no", "don't", "knock it off" and "stop it" when I do something she doesn't like. Says "want some" when she wants something I'm eating. Tells herself "good girl" when she thinks she's done something good. She can't stand anything in the house to be loud, not the birds, TV or the radio. Yells if David and I are having a discussion. Rosie and her teach each other word quite often, some of them I don't even know where they learned. She likes to climb on Rosie's cage and take down his toys from the top of it. If I let both of them out at the same time they will go and sit in each others cages, which is a sight to see as she can barely get in his cage. She will even close his door behind her locking her self in. She likes to ride in the car and will sit on my lap facing the door window, cross bracing herself against my arm and my chest. She likes the radio in the car and we will have screaming contests while we are driving. She loves David and will dilate her eyes at him and stick her tongue out the side of her beak to get a kiss from him. She is scared of men with dark hair, I don't know why. She likes everyone though when we are away from home.
She has stayed very cuddly for a macaw. She quite often acts more like a cockatoo than a macaw. She's not very loud either. She doesn't destroy anything that isn't given to her as a toy although toys don't last long. Don't get me wrong she is every inch a macaw but is one of the best I've seen. She does have her "macaw" moments when I would like to kill her but they aren't very frequent. It very strange, I've never really liked macaws. I've always seen them as, loud obnoxious and destructive. I admired them for their beauty, but never really saw myself as being owned by one. I've been told by people that she is a bit abnormal in that respect. But I don't think I would ever be able to part with her. At this point I fully expect her to out live me!
There has been a tragedy. Our sweetest Mac has passed on... A natural cause that we could have never expected.
She had been ill and we spared no expense to find out what was wrong. All the tests and the best vet around could not find the little seed that had lodged in her throat until it was too late...
Even with the seed removed, she was so weak from lack of air she was barely haging on. When Shanna last saw her, all Mac wanted to do was lay in her lap. I tried to reassure her that she would get through, but we both had a very bad feeling...
The call came in at exactly 12:01 that night. The vet had stayed with her the whole time but it was not enough. Our sweetest Macky-Doo had passed away.
We were crushed. She was only eight years old! I had no idea how attached we were. It was devastating.
Shanna called me her 'Dad' and she was my 'girl'. I'll miss her waiting for me to come out in the morning to make coffee. Flashing her eyes and getting all excited -almost as much as french fries or noodles. She loved to have her tail played with, but for me it was a game and she'd squawk whenever I tried. She spoke to us all the time; watching her and Shanna tell each other to "be quiet!" was the best =)
I guess I have been fortunate since I have not suffered much personal loss like this, but I sure can appreciate people and the special relationship they have with their pets. We tell ourselves she's in a better place now; flying, squawking, and playing with the angels to help get through the void in our life.
You will always be in our hearts, Macky-Doo.
Dave & Shanna.