|The story of the Green-winged Macaw that flew across the Atlantic, and back again!|
|Dino, born June 1st 2008|
is the story of Dino, the Green-winged Macaw that has flown across the
Atlantic and back again!
I bought Dino from a breeder in Valencia, Spain at 5 months old. I went there with a friend to buy a sack of bird food for his two Blue-and-Yellow Macaws and saw Dino in a large outdoor cage with several other macaws, but he was sat all on his own as far away from the rest as he could. I fell for him instantly and decided to take him home with me. I did however later discover that he was in fact from a breeder in Texas, USA and had been shipped to Spain. (His coded leg band gave the secret away). So that had been his first flight across the Atlantic.
At the time I knew nothing about keeping parrots, let alone a Green-winged Macaw (Ara Chloroptera), which is the second largest macaw in the world, only topped in size by the Hyacinth Macaw, but my lack of knowledge never presented a problem, we worked things out together, as we went along. He showed me what he wanted, I obeyed and somehow, we built up a mutual respect for each other through just being our silly selves and playing together all the time. I learned his limits and he learned mine, and it was all done without any hard bites!
|These are some of the first photos I took of Dino at 5 months old, in Benidorm, Spain. He had his own room rather than a cage, with tree branches jammed between the walls for perches. The funny looking thing with him, is me.|
to Sitges Dino goes.
After a few months with Dino in Benidorm, I decided to move back to Sitges, Barcelona, but as I moved into a one bedroom apartment, he had to be in a cage, however he was only in it when I went out. At night he would sleep on top of it and by day he was with me all the time. During the 8 months I was there, Dino escaped twice. Both times through our 5th floor patio door. The first time, I found him about a block away on the roof of a building, which fortunately I was easily able to get him down from, as the tenants of the apartment were at home and I reached up to him with a broom stick, which he slid down. That was already a favorite trick of his. He liked to climb up the broom as I was sweeping and slide back down it.
The second time he escaped, I ran out in search of him but he was nowhere to be found. After half an hour of searching, I decided to call the police. That was a good move because they told me someone had found him and had taken him home with them, then called the police to let them know they had him. Elated, I went running round to the gentleman's house and he gave me my Dino back.
|This is Dino in Sitges. The town I lived in for most of the 12 years I was in Spain.|
to Benidorm again.
Moved back to Benidorm again, but it was a bad move. Spain was in the depths of the recession and it was a ghost town compared to the previous year. I was bored out of my brain, but I did start talking to people on 3 Feathered Friends and got to know some well. Sherry who started 3FF mentioned a little country called Belize in Central America. I'd never heard of it but she said it was wonderful. I started checking it out online and really liked what I saw.
Then by an amazing coincidence, Bonnie who I also chatted to on 3FF, who is in Boston and had a stall at a bird fair one weekend, was visited by a lady who said she had moved to Belize and loved it there. Bonnie told me to get in touch with (the lady's name is) Jenni. But at that point I hadn't really given much thought to actually moving to Belize. A few weeks passed and I was getting even more bored and had itchy feet, so I decided to drop Jenni a line. She wrote back saying I'd be more than welcome to come stay with her and her husband Nigel until I found my own place. I jumped at the chance. That is, I jumped at first, but discovered pretty soon just how difficult it would be to take an endangered species bird from one country to another, and that story you'll find below.
|These are photos of Dino in Benidorm. during the 8 months we were once again there.|
days to fly the Atlantic.
The last 3 months have been the hardest time of my life. Once I made the decision to move from Spain to Belize, I had to start looking into what would be required to take the love of my life with me, and oh boy, was I in for some surprises! For starters, he is listed with UCIN as an endangered species, which means he had to be issued with a CITES export permit in Spain followed by a CITES import permit from Belize, either of which could be denied for any number of reasons. Depending on the counties you are dealing with, each can take from 2 weeks to 3 months to be issued. Fortunately, I had both issued by the time 5 weeks were up.
Then the rush was on, whereas the Spanish permit was valid for 6 months, the Belizian one was only valid for 30 days. Luckily, I had already contacted the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) to find out what they required in order to approve the import permit. (Yes, you need an import permit from the health authority and forestry department in the country you are shipping to as well as the CITES permit). They insisted he must test negative to West Nile virus, Newcastle disease and Avian influenza and that there were no outbreaks of any of those three diseases in Spain in the last 6 months. To cut a long and complicated story short, he proved negative to all three and there had not been an outbreak of any of them in the last 6 months.
So, I eventually got all the paperwork together that I needed, called the airline to book Dino's and my flight, only to find out that even the airlines that said they took exotic animals would not, as we had a stop over in the USA and the US has their own full set of procedures which must be adhered to, but which the airlines would have no part in. At that point, after all the work I'd done, the disappointment was unbearable. There I was all set for us to go, when I hit a brick wall head on! But I'd come so far, I couldn't give up. Everything was planned, I even had friends to stay with in Belize.
By sheer luck, the friend I was gong to stay with in Belize found an international animal shipper in Madrid, Spain, on the internet. I contacted them and they said they could do it, but because of the complications in the USA, due to a stopover there and because they'd have to hire a specialist to deal with the US customs and forestry department paperwork and inspection, it would cost me $6,000 USD ($12,000 BZD). I had no other choice, I had to take the deal.
I booked my flight and Dino was booked on his the day after, however, because he had to have vet checks at Madrid airport on leaving, and again in the USA, his trip would last a whole 4 days! That's 4 days in a transport case, in airports, on planes, on runways, in cars etc. All I could do at that point was keep on telling myself, 'he'll make it, he's strong', but of course, thinking the worst all the time!
|Well, here he is. He made the trip and was in better condition than I had expected and amazingly, not a single broken tail feather! At the time of writing, he is 20 days into his 30 days quarantine at the house where I'm staying. Belize allows animals to be quarantined in your home, but they send an official once a week to make sure you are abiding by the terms of quarantine.|
Well before I say anything else, its warm, its lovely and warm! I'm sat here by the sea in a T-shirt doing this update, how could you not love a sunny, warm Christmas? It'll be my first turkey fest outdoors and man, am I looking forward to stuffing myself silly with that!!!
Gosh, have 4 months gone by already? Time really does fly when you're enjoying yourself. I think I've lived more in the last 4 months than I lived in the last 40 years. The highlights have been my visit to the Belize zoo where I fell in love with the Harpy Eagle named Panama. A more awesome sight I've never seen. It looked like a pure killing machine on wings. MUCH bigger than pictures ever tell. Eyes so intense they see through to your soul, and the claws, OMG the claws were bigger than my hands! It was love at first sight though. He came flying straight to me the second I arrived at his enclosure and we pulled funny birdie faces at each other and just shot the s#/t. Come to think of it, maybe he wanted to eat me, but hey, I'm a parrot lover and skin tearing beaks don't scare me anymore! How I wish I could have got in there with him. He hasn't left my mind since. I cannot wait to go back and see him. But as if it wasn't exciting enough meeting him, I met Sharon Matola, the founder of the zoo. Charming lady and a true heroine of mine.
Another highlight was a drive I took down the Hummingbird Highway...the name alone is an attraction, isn't it? Well, it deserves such a beautiful name because it was so stunning, it took me 5 hours to travel its 75 mile length. I traveled on an almost vehicle free highway (highways here are two lane country roads) at a snails pace taking in the sheer beauty of its lush palm covered mountains. I talked to some locals and got invited into their home, where they immediately offered me locally grown tobacco! It was wonderful, but talk about paranoia setting in, I suddenly had a panic attack, envisioning myself in the middle of nowhere, with no one on Earth knowing where I was, surrounded by 4 pretty strong looking guys and I suddenly feared for my life! (Have you seen the movie 'Paradise lost'?) Probably a reaction to the tobacco, but I ran to my car and got out of there faster than a Green-wing moves when you approach it with a medicine syringe!
Anyway, it has turned out
that Dino is a superstar in Belize. Everywhere I go, when I don't have
him with me, I get asked, where's Dino? And when I do have him with me,
all I hear is "Dino!" shouted out from every direction.
Anyways, in January I am headed off down south for 3 months. I've made some truly wonderful friends up here in Corozal and it pains me to go, but I have to go and experience the 'other' part of the country, which I'm always told rains a hell of a lot more, but little do they know, I love the rain and all they're doing is tempting me even more! So come January, off Dino and I go into the wild green yonder. Heck, its easy to forget this country's less than 200 miles from tip to toe, it ain't as if I'm leaving the planet!
Ok, so its not quite summer yet, but with 90F temps every day, it feels like it. Well, I've gone and done it now, I just bought a house for Dino and I. A more perfect house I could not have found. Its a Yurt style house, no rooms, completely open plan. It has been a dream of mine to build Dino a flight cage, but now I've (excuse the pun) killed two birds with one stone and bought a house that is the perfect cage for Dino and home for me. I don't move in for a couple of months yet, but am I ever looking forward to it. I'll be able to hang tree branches from the 'St. Paul's cathedral' ceiling, I even plan to put the largest potted tree in there that will fit, for Dino to hang out in.
|Here's a couple of pics of our soon to be home and a few new ones of Dino. The photo in the middle is my favorite of him to date.|
|June 1st. 2011|
June 1st I was 3 years old and CASADINO.com was papa's present to me. Don't tell him, but I'd rather have had a mango!
The last 3 years have been, well, to not sound too negative, an adjustment period. It hasn't gone well, but I'm not one to give up easily. The house turned out to be a disaster. With the tin roof, it was just too hot to live in it, getting up to 130F inside! So I moved back up to Corozal. But in February this year, I moved back down to the house, determined to make it a home. As a temporary measure, I have covered the roof with palm tree branches and its working very well. I am also paneling the walls and making shutters for the windows, so I can get A/C when its done. I have about 2 more months work to reach that stage. Dino still goes outside every day, in his gazebo, but while I was in Corozal, I had a 16' x 12' x 10' aviary made for him and I'm getting that shipped down here in the not too distant future.
|Don't forget to watch my videos!|
|Dino, the name|
In case you are wondering how I got to be called Dino, its because a friend of papa's in Spain, who had the two Blue-and-yellow Macaws in one of the pics above, said Dino looked like a Dinosaurio (Dinosaur) when he sat alongside them. Dino also just happened to be my favorite character from the Flintstones.
|My Big Red Bug & I|
|What I eat|
|Edible flowers for parrots|
|Oli, the White-fronted Amazon|
|Oli, the little guy that visited us|
|Belize Bird Rescue - Mainly rescuing Amazon parrots for re-release into the wild.|
|World Parrot Trust - Dedicated to saving parrots around the world.|
|Belize Zoo - The best little zoo in the world. All species native to Belize. All are rescues or their offspring.|
|The Ara Project in Costa Rica - Rescuing Buffon's Macaws for re-release into the wild.|
|International Travel with a Parrot|
|The Plight of the Parrot Read this!|
|Nobody Told Me|
|Just a bird|
|Ode to Poop|
|So this is where we part (Warning! Big time tear-jerker)|
|I'm still here (Another tear jerker)|
|The Gift (Yet another tear jerker)|
|The Human Hand (Yet another tear jerker)|
|How to give your parrot oral antibiotics|
|The Rude Parrot|
|10 reasons why you do not want a parrot|
|The last flight of the Scarlet Macaw - Written by Sharon Matola of Belize zoo, a book about the plight of the Scarlet Macaw in Belize.|
|The world's oldest parrot is a Green-winged macaw! - (Article is full of errors though)|
|Green-winged Macaw vs Scarlet Macaw|
|Contact Gary: firstname.lastname@example.org|