I need help for a research with macaws!

grajilla

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Hello! My name is Carmen, I am a spanish researcher that wants to study the sense of smell in macaws. I have recently published the first report confirming that they can use the sense of smell to locate food https://doi.org/10.1111/1749-4877.12694

I have noticed that some macaw species like Ara macao have a strong sweet smell and I want to analyse the volatile composition of the preen oil. However, some colleges have told me that to take samples of preen secretion is extremely difficult because it is not like other birds that you only need to gently press the gland to obtain an oil sample.

Could you please tell me what macaw species do you have and what happens if you gently press the preen oil gland? Pictures and videos would be awesome!

Thank you ;)
 

PrimorandMoxi

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I have a Blue & Gold and I've never tried it or heard of anyone doing it.


Maybe you can tell me more about this gland?
Where is it?
Macaws do but amozons don't have it?

You are studying their sense of smell and also their scent?

Thank you!
 
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grajilla

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Sorry for not explaining it! It's a gland near the base of the tail:


Buerzeldruese.jpg

maxresdefault.jpg


I think all parrots have it, but maybe is not equally developed. It is not well studied.

I want to know if it is possible to collect the preen gland oil to analyse the volatile chemical compounds on it because I think their sweet smell can convey information (maybe reproductive availability or sex identification).
 

DonnaBudgie

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Hello! My name is Carmen, I am a spanish researcher that wants to study the sense of smell in macaws. I have recently published the first report confirming that they can use the sense of smell to locate food https://doi.org/10.1111/1749-4877.12694

I have noticed that some macaw species like Ara macao have a strong sweet smell and I want to analyse the volatile composition of the preen oil. However, some colleges have told me that to take samples of preen secretion is extremely difficult because it is not like other birds that you only need to gently press the gland to obtain an oil sample.

Could you please tell me what macaw species do you have and what happens if you gently press the preen oil gland? Pictures and videos would be awesome!

Thank you ;)
I dont have a macaw but I think this is fascinating. I love the unusual scent of macaws. I generally think of most birds as not having a well developed sense of smell and look forward to leaning about Macaws' sense of smell.
 

DonnaBudgie

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I have a Blue & Gold and I've never tried it or heard of anyone doing it.


Maybe you can tell me more about this gland?
Where is it?
Macaws do but amozons don't have it?

You are studying their sense of smell and also their scent?

Thank you!
I heard that Amazons don't have the preen gland. Where do they get their preen oil without this gland?
 

DonnaBudgie

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Sorry for not explaining it! It's a gland near the base of the tail:


View attachment 52111
maxresdefault.jpg


I think all parrots have it, but maybe is not equally developed. It is not well studied.

I want to know if it is possible to collect the preen gland oil to analyse the volatile chemical compounds on it because I think their sweet smell can convey information (maybe reproductive availability or sex identification).
Is that a bald adult bird in the photo depicting the location of the preen gland? It looks a bit like a male budgie with the blue cere.
 
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grajilla

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Is that a bald adult bird in the photo depicting the location of the preen gland? It looks a bit like a male budgie with the blue cere.
Yes, it supposed to.
I don't know about amazons, maybe the gland is smaller or atrophied. That's why I want to know if it is working in macaws :)
 

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The family of Amazona as a group do not have preen glands. One of the reasons they need frequent showers or baths. However they do have different smells to them depending on their mood. Most Amazon owners will report that if their Amazon parrot is happy or contented, they give off a different odor. I liken it to the smell of Christmas cookies.
 
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grajilla

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The family of Amazona as a group do not have preen glands. One of the reasons they need frequent showers or baths. However they do have different smells to them depending on their mood. Most Amazon owners will report that if their Amazon parrot is happy or contented, they give off a different odor. I liken it to the smell of Christmas cookies.
That's interesting, if they do not have preen glands where is the smell coming from? Perhaps they possess different glands.


Have you tried to smell you parrot to identify if there are certain areas that smell more than others?
 

DonnaBudgie

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The family of Amazona as a group do not have preen glands. One of the reasons they need frequent showers or baths. However they do have different smells to them depending on their mood. Most Amazon owners will report that if their Amazon parrot is happy or contented, they give off a different odor. I liken it to the smell of Christmas cookies.
Amazons still preen, don't they? Most other birds peck their preen gland then rub their head on it then spread the oils using their beak. Do Amazons do something similar? They must do something to keep their feathers zipped up, organized and pretty. I wonder where their preen oils come from. Maybe they have tiny oil glands at the bases of their feathers the way people have oil glands for their skin and hair. Thoughts?
 

SailBoat

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The two large families of Amazons and Macaws create a very fine powder like substance, which is used to ease the movement of feathers across each other during flight. This becomes very pronounced (observable) when they fluff their feathers and the space around them is filled with the powder. I have seen this same effect on Parrots from the America's, Africa, Asia and Australia.

Preen glands tend to be more prominent on birds that float (think ducks). Remembering that a preen glands is used to add oil to the feathers while makes them heavier and semi-waterproof. The fundamental design of birds is based fully on flight and anything that adds weight is excluded or minimized. Ducks and like floaters, use the oil to limit water soaking the feathers and as a result maintaining an air pocket between the body and the feathers. If not for the pocket the bird would sink.

Both Amazons and Macaws have this ability to create a specific (and noticeable,) aroma which both acts as an identification and mood indicator, with some species being very pronounced. The aroma tends to be more common around the upper body, between the bend of the wing and head area and lessens as one moves away from those areas.

Since you are surround by those knowledgable with birds, ask them what the purpose is for the tiny hairs on the body of birds are used for. Let them stumble a bit and than you can tell them that in flight the bubble of air that lifts the bird during flight is measured by the compression of the body feathers and that information is noted by the compression of those hairs. The greater the compression the greater the created lift the less the compression, the lower the created lift.
 
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DonnaBudgie

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The two large families of Amazons and Macaws create a very fine powder like substance, which is used to ease the movement of feathers across each other during flight. This becomes very pronounced (observable) when they fluff their feathers and the space around them is filled with the powder. I have seen this same effect on Parrots from the America's, Africa, Asia and Australia.

Preen glands tend to be more prominent on birds that float (think ducks). Remembering that a preen glands is used to add oil to the feathers while makes them heavier and semi-waterproof. The fundamental design of birds is based fully on flight and anything that adds weight is excluded or minimized. Ducks and like floaters, use the oil to limit water soaking the feathers and as a result maintaining an air pocket between the body and the feathers. If not for the pocket the bird would sink.

Both Amazons and Macaws have this ability to create a specific (and noticeable,)aroma take both acts as an identification and mood indicator, with some species being very pronounced. The aroma tends to be more common around the upper body, between the bend of the wing and head area and lessens as one moves away from those areas.

Since you are surround by those knowledgable with birds, ask them what the purpose is for the tiny hairs on the body of birds are used for. Let them stumble a bit and than you can tell them that in flight the bubble of air that lifts the bird during flight is measured by the compression of the body feathers and that information is noted by the compression of those hairs. The greater the compression the greater the created lift the less the compression, the lower the created lift.
It would seem to me that birds that live in wet jungle climates like macaws and amazons (with no preen gland) would have more of a need for waterproofing than birds from arid climates like Australia (cockatoos, tiels, and budgies) that are very powdery and also have preen glands. When my budgie bathes (using a cat drinking fountain) she goes right under the fountain but most of the water rolls right off her, so it seems that between feather powder and preen oil she's pretty well waterproofed. We all encourage our birds to bathe but I seldom see my birds getting very wet when they do, so it doesn't seem like their bathing really gets them clean like when we bathe with soap and water. Obviously, water birds need move waterproofing than land birds.
 
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grajilla

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The two large families of Amazons and Macaws create a very fine powder like substance, which is used to ease the movement of feathers across each other during flight. This becomes very pronounced (observable) when they fluff their feathers and the space around them is filled with the powder. I have seen this same effect on Parrots from the America's, Africa, Asia and Australia.

Preen glands tend to be more prominent on birds that float (think ducks). Remembering that a preen glands is used to add oil to the feathers while makes them heavier and semi-waterproof. The fundamental design of birds is based fully on flight and anything that adds weight is excluded or minimized. Ducks and like floaters, use the oil to limit water soaking the feathers and as a result maintaining an air pocket between the body and the feathers. If not for the pocket the bird would sink.

Both Amazons and Macaws have this ability to create a specific (and noticeable,) aroma which both acts as an identification and mood indicator, with some species being very pronounced. The aroma tends to be more common around the upper body, between the bend of the wing and head area and lessens as one moves away from those areas.

Since you are surround by those knowledgable with birds, ask them what the purpose is for the tiny hairs on the body of birds are used for. Let them stumble a bit and than you can tell them that in flight the bubble of air that lifts the bird during flight is measured by the compression of the body feathers and that information is noted by the compression of those hairs. The greater the compression the greater the created lift the less the compression, the lower the created lift.
Thank you for your helpful insight! I have to think how to collect that powder and analyse it. I can analyse the smell in the feathers but it would be really interesting to know where this powder is coming from.
About the preen gland, It's true that it's more developed in acuatic birds, but I work with passerines and they have a working preen gland with a preen secretion that you can easily collect. Preen oil fulfill different purposes appart from waterproofing the plumage. Preen secretion also protects feathers from erosion, works against parasites and conveys crucial information about individual characteristics.
 
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grajilla

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If anyone wants to help making a picture or video of their macaw or amazon showing that the preen gland is not working will be awesome (I cannot find this information on the internet)

:)
 
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grajilla

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Ok, so apparently, the powder you describe is produced by a special type of feathers:



Powder down​

"Feather dust" left on a window after a birdstrike.
Powder down, or pulviplumes, is a special type of down that occurs in a few groups of apparently unrelated birds. In some species, the tips of the barbules on powder down feathers disintegrate, forming fine particles of keratin, which appear as a powder, or "feather dust", among the feathers. These feathers grow continuously and are not moulted.[6] In other species, powder grains come from cells that surround the barbules of growing feathers.[4]: 208  These specialized feathers are typically scattered among ordinary down feathers, though in some species, they occur in clusters.[3] All parrots have powder down, with some species (including the mealy amazons) producing copious amounts.[7] It is also found in tinamous and herons.[3] The dust produced from powder down feathers is a known allergen in humans.[8]



 

SailBoat

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Yes! Although I was not sure of the source, the clusters makes sense as I had noted the upper body near the bent of the wings seemly containing greater volume of dust. Likely also the source of the aroma.
 

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