Dear Ara Supporter ,
Our loyal donors that gave to Stop poaching made it possible for us to rescue Rose – the Macaw chick who was taken from her nest last year! Here’s what we believe has happened with poor Rose:
In June 2016, Rose the scarlet macaw was hatched in a nest in an old palm tree. Like most baby birds Rose was completely dependent upon her parents to feed her and keep her warm. Both of her parents worked very hard day in and day out to give her all the food that she needed, which was a lot as baby Macaws grow extremely fast, and need to constantly eat to achieve proper growth. After a little more than two months Rose began to climb up to the entrance of her home to see what was out there in the light. It seemed like there was a big world out there and Rose was looking forward to learning about it. She was also looking forward to learning to fly like her parents. Rose would stretch her young wings and use them for balance as she climbed up to the doorway of her nest. She knew that she would fledge soon, just as all young birds do. But, before she was able to do so, Rose was grabbed and taken from her safe home! She was lifted out into the big bright world and carried away from her home. As she was carried away, she could still hear her parents frantically calling to her from the trees.
From the day that she was taken away from her family and her home, Rose was kept in a cage from which she could not get out of. In the cage, Rose had no idea what to do with herself. She did not have her parents to teach her what to do. Actually, Rose did not have anyone to teach her what to do. She often felt bored as there was nothing that she could do all day. The world outside of her cage sure looked interesting. The food was rather gross but it was better than nothing. One lucky day, the cage door was left open and Rose was able to escape and fly to freedom!
Rose flew away from her cage and her captors, looking forward to what a life of freedom had in store for her. Unfortunately, she was all by herself and she had not been taught what to eat by her parents before she had been taken from the wild. Rose spent a great deal of time exploring, which led to her becoming hungry. She had no idea what to eat. She tried gnawing on twigs, and leaves, she found them indigestible. Rose was able to find water in plants but she was getting skinny because she could not figure out what to eat. She also was feeling lonely and wanted some friends, she remembered when she was a chick always hearing other birds squawking and conversing with her parents.
Eventually Rose noticed some odd creatures that appeared to be sort of similar to her scratching on the ground. These birds appeared to be finding food. Rose flew down and began to do the same. What she found did not taste great, but, it was better than nothing. The other birds made strange noises but, being that Rose was very intelligent, she was able to learn the sounds and make them back at the birds. It was just nice for her to have friends, even if they did not really talk to her.
Naturally, those strange birds that Rose befriended were chickens. The people who owned the chickens were amazed to see a bright red Macaw in their garden with the chickens! The Ara Project was notified and the team sped out to see if they could help the young bird who was in terrible shape.
The special quarantine was made ready and the Ara Project Team members, accompanied by the local ministry, MINAE, went out to rescue Rose and transported her to the Punta Islita headquarters.
At this time, Rose is in quarantine and is receiving medical care for parasites as well as an abundance of healthy foods to strengthen up and increase her weight. The intention is that Rose will be able to join a group of twelve similarly aged Scarlet Macaws that the project hopes to release into the wild later this year. This will enable her to learn about being a Macaw from her peers, which is very important because Macaws have a flock social structure and the closest thing that Rose has experienced thus far to a flock has been the chickens at the coop. Part of the pre-release training is giving the birds actual food that they would forage for in the wild, being that they are very visual and have an excellent memory they will remember what the foods look like as well as their taste and smell and will then, in turn, seek those foods out in the wild. Macaws teaching Macaws is often the best way to rehabilitate a bird that has been poached, and given Rose’s age, we are hopeful that it will be a successful transition and will prevent her from future forays into the land of chickens.
Additionally, there is the hope that at some point after the release, Rose will eventually be able to live the life of an actual wild Macaw and then find a hunky gentleman Macaw and start her own family in a nest that is similar to the one that her life began in. That will take time and lots of education on Rose’s part. She has a lot of work ahead of her, but she shows a lot of promise, resourcefulness and will to survive!