Meet some of the special macaws at The Ara Project!

Some of our residents have suffered from accidents or neglect before being rescued by The Ara Project, and need a little extra care. Because of their injuries they wouldn’t survive long in the wild and therefore will live at The Ara Project until the end of their lives (which can be about as long as a human’s)! While it might seem like a shadow of the life they have evolved to live, these birds do enjoy delicious food, companionship, and enclosures much, much larger than the typical cages that pet macaws are kept in. Besides, they have an important job to do: saving their species from extinction! Even some of our disabled birds have found mates and all are busy (or not so busy) working on laying eggs destined for life in la selva (jungle in Spanish)!

Gonzo with breakfast still all over his damaged beak!

Gonzo with breakfast still all over his damaged beak!

Gonzo is one of the cutest lapas (the Costa Rican name for macaw) in the large aviary. His broken beak, deformed legs and missing feathers complement his quirky personality. No one knows for sure what caused his injuries but it could be Gonzo suffered at the hands of poachers or an inexperienced human carer when he was younger. Gonzo enjoys hanging upside down on the aviary wall and watching the humans work. Despite his injuries, Gonzo enjoys life and is still searching for that special someone.

Precious

Precious

Precious is a beautiful Great Green macaw that you will get the opportunity to meet if you join one of our daily tours! She has an endearing crooked beak and due to her deformed spine, she walks and climbs a little slower than the others. Her condition might have resulted from a lack of nutrition or sunlight when she was young. It is both time-consuming and expensive to feed a macaw because of their highly specialised, seasonal diet. Luckily, Precious now enjoys a cuisine that includes a myriad of fresh fruits, beans, almonds, protein pellets, and sunflower seeds.

Pico Roto and partner

Pico Roto and partner

When you first see Pico Roto (Spanish for broken beak), you might do a double take! His tongue hangs loose out of his practically non-existent beak and he wiggles it around when he’s excited. It is speculated that when he was young, another large bird bit half of his beak right off. When two birds are confined to a small cage, aggression problems can be a serious issue. But Pico is an amazing example of the adaptability of the macaw. This smart bird uses his tongue to crack sunflower seeds on his specially made metal perch. And while he can’t open the hard beach almonds, his mate eats both of their shares and regurgitates some into Pico’s mouth! That’s what I call true love…

By Daniela Withaar

About the Author
Staff and volunteers at The Ara Project come from all over the world and all walks of life! Some of us have years of experience working with parrots and in conservation and for some of us, this work is brand new! But we all have one thing in common which is that we're dedicated to helping these beautiful birds roam free once again in Costa Rica.