New member
Mar 16, 2024
18 year old Blue and Gold Macaw
so this is my first post on here as i literally just found this forum about 30 minutes ago so be nice but i need some help with a 18 year old female blue and gold macaw. (pictures attached)

the conditions here are a little specific so i haven’t been able to find anything super super useful. also, i’m going to refer to the bird (Joe) as male but he’s actually female (i’ll get to that later).

ok so here’s the story: my great grandmother (bless her heart) LOVED animals so she’s always had a bunch of dogs and cats and birds and sugar gliders and basically any other animal you can think of, even if it was at the sake of her and my grandfather’s health. so Joe has been around a bunch of animals but always hated them so he’s never really been the nicest of birds. however, i was always super close with my grandmother and she got Joe at 6 months old when i was a year old so he only really ever tolerated me and her. so this is why i inherited him when they both passed earlier this month (notebook style, might i add — RIP mamo and papa, i loved them both very very dearly ❤️). anyways, the breeder she bought him from told her he was a male so i guess she never thought to get him genetically or surgically tested, but when i was 13 he laid an egg. at this point, Joe has been a boy for 13 years but surprise surprise: Joe is actually a Jolene. i don’t think that technically matters but maybe males and females behave differently?

anyways, he’s staying at my dad’s about 45 minutes away because i can’t keep him at my mom’s or boyfriend’s. he’s never had an issue with not seeing me for a while since he’s lived with my grandparents my whole life and when im able to get my own apartment he’ll be able to move in with me and i’ll be able to socialize 1-on-1 with him more. i say he won’t have too big of an issue mostly because my dad’s girlfriend is able to socialize with him as well. also, when i went to pick him up from my grandmother’s friend’s house (he had to stay with her for about a week because i was in the hospital with my grandparents and we thought the house might’ve had carbon monoxide), she was telling me Joe was being quiet and seemed depressed until i turned the corner and he saw me and then he was back to normal. my dad and his girlfriend also have a male blue and gold macaw (actually male this time) and their cages are beside eachother and they are able to get out and have been flirting with eachother so it’s not a territorial issue and he’ll be able to have a “flock.”

anyways, the main issue. the main issue here is that Joe gets a kick out of being mean and is also territorial but not over his cage, toys, or food — he’s territorial over ME. he’ll only take food from me or my grandmother - his options have been really limited here obviously - but when i try to give him a grape he’ll reach for it and then try to bite my finger at the last second so i’ll drop the grape and he’ll laugh (he laughs just like mamo btw 🥲). we also tried socializing him with my boyfriend since we want him more used to men and he’s never liked my dad and has only ever been around papa but when my boyfriend leaned over to kiss me Joe lunged forward and lifted his wings like he wanted to attack but he can’t fly so he really couldn’t do much.

i also want to mention he can’t fly because he was never outside much. he had an outdoor cage when i was younger and would be outside during the warmer months but he just never learned to fly. he also hadn’t been out of a cage in YEARS which really sucks to say but my grandmother’s health declined and she wasn’t taking care of him properly. when i was younger and he was given more attention he would get out of the cage and play with me and wasn’t so hostile, but as mamo got older he stayed in the cage more and she wouldn’t buy him more toys because he destroys even huge wooden toys in about 2 days. and this was when he was out of the cage too. anyways, he resorted to hostility and honestly borderline violence to get his entertainment. for example, if you walked past his cage he’d lunge forward and screech and bite the cage really hard so it makes a weird and loud noise and he’d laugh if you jumped.

BUT here’s the good news: he’s not so mean now that he’s out. i saw him both days last weekend and he was like an entirely different bird out of the cage. for the first time in honestly about 10-12 years, i was actually able to pet him without the fear of him biting me. i was also able to touch his wings (not much, just tap the bottom and tell him to “show me pretty bird” - an old trick he used to know to show us his wingspan). AND - i’m so ecstatic about this - he STOOD ON MY ARM. i didn’t have to tell him to step up or anything he just stepped on there when i was petting him. he didn’t stay for long tho he used his beak on me and i got scared and put him back on the cage because my grandmother had scars all along her arms from where he’d randomly bite. looking back now, he was probably just using it to situate himself but given his criminal history i got a little spooked.

anyways i’m probably leaving things out, but this is my lifelong recollection of Joe. all this to say: does anyone have tips on basically just how to make them nicer? i know macaws don’t respond to negative reinforcement but it honestly seems like even if they did Joe wouldn’t respond to even a drill sergeant. he’s still destroying toys and is still territorial over me but i’m going to my dads by myself today to spend quite a few hours with him so i’ll see how he does without my boyfriend in the room. i know i’m probably not the best macaw owner but i also didn’t expect to inherit him for like another 5-10 years and my grandparents’ deaths were very sudden. i’m willing to do what i can to adapt and give him the life he deserves. i’ll keep yall updated on how he does today but for now, anything yall have to offer will help.


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Staff member
Super Moderator
Parrot of the Month 🏆
Nov 22, 2015
Isle of Long, NY
Yellow Shoulder Amazon, Salty
Go to our <macaw sub forum and read, with deep understanding, the stickies at the top, by birdman666, and then look up any topics started by him. Man knows his macaws prolly the best on here. Really.

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