Dino the Green-winged macaw, or as I call him, my “Big Red Bug“
It was love at first sight! I went with a friend to pick up some food for his parrots, from a breeder in Spain and sat in a big aviary with several other macaws and cockatoos, was one lone macaw at the other end of the aviary. I was drawn to him immediately. Went into the aviary, put my hand up to his perch and he crawled straight on it and cuddled up against me. Well that was it, instant bonding. 🙂
I had never had a parrot before, let alone a macaw, never thought I would but I end up starting out with the world’s second biggest macaw! Right away, I got on every parrot forum to find out his needs. Never needed to find out how to handle him, that came naturally from day one. He set the rules, I abided by them. Perfect harmony.
After a couple of years, I couldn’t resist the temptation to take him closer to his natural habitat – yes, he meant/means that much to me – so I moved to Belize with him. Turns out, moving a parrot from one country to another, when there is no direct flight, is an extremely costly affair, as there is no alternative but to hire a professional carrier. With medical checks at every point and changing planes, his trip took 4 days. I had already flown to Belize to wait for him. The longest 4 days of my life!!!! Yet, to my astonishment, he arrived in perfect condition. Not even a broken tail feather. I knew at the airport he’d arrived, because even though he was 100 feet away, the second he heard me ask if he was there, he let out an almighty great squawk!
I rented at first in Belize, but then I found what I thought would be the perfect house for Dino & I. A round house with no rooms – loft style, you could say. Its 35 feet wide inside and is actually a Yurt style house. It only took a day to realize we were screwed. I could not leave Dino in the house by day, because it reached about 140 Fahrenheit, with its tin roof. That meant I was house bound all day too, as I had to move his cage into the garden and the risk of theft in a poor country is extreme! So I had to get an outdoor aviary made for him. I had it made as big as I could afford, 16′ x 12′ x 10′. But of course, the problem of leaving him untended didn’t go away and that has proved a challenge in itself.
I had great plans of what I could do to solve our problems, but unfortunately, my work hasn’t gone as planed and money has all but dried up. I am still slogging away at it, at least it continues to give me an income that just about pays the bills and the now much more economic diet I survive on. (Rice & beans mostly). That’s our national dish anyway. Luckily, most fruit is very cheap here, so I’ve not had to skimp on that for Dino, but sadly, nuts which are expensive, are off Dino’s menu.
The relationship I have with Dino continues to grow by the day. We are inseparable. We’re at the point, we know what each other are thinking, before we’ve even thought it! He has pulled me through these tough times. There is not a single day that passes, where he doesn’t make me laugh over some crazy antic of his. Green-winged macaws are known as Gentle Giants in aviculture and how gentle he is. He holds onto my cheek oh so gently with that massive beak, while I scratch the back of his neck. In 8 years, he has never hurt me once, well, except for one time I mistook aggression for playfulness. He took an instant dislike to someone and went into all out attack mode. Having never seen that before, I thought he was showing off. The moves are very similar. I went to pick him up and he bit my finger really hard. Didn’t draw blood, but left a deep dent. I’ve never made the same mistake since. In fact, he’s only reacted once more like that, when a kid decided to prod him through his cage bars, with a stick!
My main concern right now, is to get at least some nuts back into his diet. Macaws need the fats from them, and to get his aviary repaired, which is rotting all around the base. It needs a concrete base laying, so it doesn’t happen again, after just 3 years of sitting on the ground.
You can see Dino’s videos here: videos
Daddy is Gary (aka Dino by many!) I will be 60 this year. I’m from Worcester, England, froze my bits off in Canada for 11 years and sunbathed in Spain for 12. Have been mosquito bitten in Belize for 6 years. Lived my first couple of years in Corozal in northern Belize, but now live in Santa Elena, in the middle, inland part. Prefer the scenery here. All hilly & jungly.
The first photo on this page shows Dino sat by himself in the aviary where I first saw him. The second photo is everything I moved to Belize with. Dino & 2 suitcases! The third photo is Dino’s aviary and our round, yurt style house, with palm branches thrown over the tin roof to try and keep the sun off. Only worked for a few months before they completely shriveled up.