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Old 03-09-2019, 09:09 PM
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Some questions about a beautiful scarlet (?) macaw my family inherited.

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My mom inherited a macaw. Apparently she is about 45 years old and has never learned to fly?!

She's taken quite well to target training, but does not like to step up. She will step up when I take her out of her cage but not when I take her from her perch to bring her back inside. I guess that will just come with more practice. However, she seems to have really bad balance on my arm. Is that normal when learning to step up? Apparently her previous owner never taught her step up and would just grab her feet and pick her up.

Most importantly I am wondering if I can still teach her to fly. I feel like she should know how, she isn't a penguin! I would love for her to be able to fly from her perch to my hand and vise versa. All inside of course, I don't plan on teaching her to free fly anytime soon.

Do parrots need to get their nails trimmed? Hers seem too long.

Should I give her showers? How often?

How can I tell when the pin feathers are ready to be preened? I was petting her head and she had sooooo many, I can't imagine how itchy she must have been. I can't get them all because some are close to her face and she gets annoyed when I get too close to her eyes. Do warm showers help get rid of the waxy stuff?

I guess that's mostly what I have for now. Thanks in advance for your reply!

https://imgur.com/eB6Q4zz
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Old 03-09-2019, 09:21 PM
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Re: Some questions about a beautiful scarlet (?) macaw my family inherited.

Hi, such a sweet one!
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Old 03-09-2019, 09:23 PM
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Re: Some questions about a beautiful scarlet (?) macaw my family inherited.

No, not a scarlet macaw. Some kind of hybrid. Not too familiar with macaw hybrids though.

Yes to pretty much everything. Teaching to fly is a great thing, start with target training though.
Nails do sometimes need to be trimmed, you can bring them to a certified avian vet or an avian specialist for that.

Shower maybe once or twice a week? (macaw experts correct me on that)

If you pinch a pin feather and it crumbles, it's read. If it doesn't just leave it be. If it seems to be filled with what appears to be blood, especially leave it be. Those are blood feathers and you don't wanna break those. It's harder to tell on red feathered birds though. Showers can help with pin feathers and itchiness from said pin feathers.


edit: I think she's a shamrock macaw. which is a hybrid of a scarlet and a military macaw. Someone correct me if I am wrong.
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Old 03-09-2019, 09:50 PM
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Re: Some questions about a beautiful scarlet (?) macaw my family inherited.

Awesome thanks for the info Owlet! I thought it didn't quite look like a scarlet but that's what I was told. The colors don't look as distinct as a scarlet. The shamrock macaw seems to be a lot more on point.

Any pointers/videos/posts about teaching this lovely old bird to fly?
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Old 03-09-2019, 10:05 PM
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Re: Some questions about a beautiful scarlet (?) macaw my family inherited.

Hi there. you want to go to our macaw sub forum, and read all the stickies at the top of the page, especially those by birdman666, who is one of our macaw experts. Also read the stickies on the Amazon forum by Sailboats, much much great info about caring for all types of parrots. Teaching her to fly should be a series of incrimental steps. Be carefull what you wish for as a flighted parrot carries some added responsibilities, like making sure the family knows to close doors an windows like a religion. Why? Because flighted parrots can go sailing right out a window or open door, never to be seen again/ Had it happen to me - it was loosing a child. Good luck!
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Old 03-10-2019, 12:41 AM
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Re: Some questions about a beautiful scarlet (?) macaw my family inherited.

Hi and Welcome, If she's been clipped most or all of her 45 yrs her balance would be affected , she is terrified of falling. Her breast muscle's will likely be non existent . Lots of patience and small steps , even if its just wing flapping that you can get her excited to try to start slowly building muscle tone . At this point in her life she is probably more afraid to fly than the fear that comes of most predators so the treat you use to entice exercising those wings needs to be something she really really likes and that can only be brought out for training. You should have her seen by a CAV just to rule out any injurys or illness that could be related to the off balance your seeing when perched on your arm, How is her balance if she's perched on your hand? I ask because even though the macaws have big feet and can get a decent grip on most forearms our skin will roll slightly with their weight and cause an off balance issue. Personally I like them perched on my hand as I can feel balance ,( direction) they like to steer us and I have a thumb over the toes to stop a fly away. Lots of great info here , enjoy!.
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Old 03-10-2019, 04:24 AM
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Re: Some questions about a beautiful scarlet (?) macaw my family inherited.

I agree with Owlet, there is definitely some miltary macaw there (that lovely bright tuft right above her beak).

Hybridizing macaws really hyped the last 20 -30 years afaik, of course 'accidents' happened long before that.


Get your bird to a certified avian vet (CAV for short) first.
Macaws really have huge feet with relative long nails (american vets really love to overshorten them in most birds anyway, forgetting those are functional, not just decoration).
If your bird has balanceproblems he/she need to be able to have a good grip, so too short is even worse than too long.
(The only one I can see -that photo in imgur- that could use some attention if the left fore-one, that is long, the others are nice and pointy and actually could be a bit longer imho)



But get your birds bloodwork done (it helps to find out male/female as well) and the overall, muscles, joints, ligaments etc. assessed. If those wings are sound you can work towards flight (large birds need A LOT of room to fly, so he/she may just be very polite)

For tips on flying, go to the amazon-section and read the HUGE sticky there (there is a part about encouriging your bird to use its wings and to land safely)


Weird thingy I noticed: because those birds are so freakin' large you think they have an easier time balancing/ sitting on a forarm or wrist instead of the fingers (see the youtubes with the people from BirdTricks, esp the ones with Morgan)- the opposite is true!
They are far more stabile on the fingers than the wristearea!


My handicapped (wingdicapped?) macaw did not believe it either, but she is convinced now.


Oh and mine (B&G) really is part penguin: she loves to swim.
Her feather were a messs so she got showers (soaking ones, not just "misting") every other day (esp when they form a lot of feathers and are itching)- bus she is down to 2 or 3 a week now.
(She would go almost every day... I let her choose.)

Last edited by ChristaNL; 03-10-2019 at 04:39 AM.
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Old 03-10-2019, 10:01 AM
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Re: Some questions about a beautiful scarlet (?) macaw my family inherited.

Yes most probably A Scarlet X Military (or even the rarer Great Green) Macaw cross. But S/he has the beautiful bare patch of a Scarlet Macaw
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Old 03-10-2019, 10:44 AM
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Re: Some questions about a beautiful scarlet (?) macaw my family inherited.

Thank you for helping this dear bird!

A note about vets...
Certified Avian Vets
https://abvp.com/animal-owners/find-an-abvp-specialist/
If none are near you...
Avian Veterinarians
http://www.aav.org/search/custom.asp?id=1803
In my opinion, any of the vets listed here should be better than a regular vet, most of whom just don't have experience with birds, which are so complex and different from mammals.
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Old 03-10-2019, 11:19 AM
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Re: Some questions about a beautiful scarlet (?) macaw my family inherited.

Gorgeous Macaw, is it a catalina? I know they have a lot of orange in them.
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