The Rewards of the Walk to Work at Manzanillo

GGM feeding

After waking between 4:00 and 5:00 in the morning we hike up three very steep inclines. On the way there are often mosquitos. Throughout the day we may occasionally encounter extremely venomous snakes such as eyelash pit vipers or a fer-de-lance, not to mention the plethora of spiders. Those are just the things that we can see up here on what seems like the top of the world, let’s not forget those things that we can only hear as they go scratching about in the night or very early morning.

There is often rain being that this is a rainforest after all.

GGM in the rain

Why you may ask?

Once we get to the top, we are usually greeted by a cacophony of squawks, screeches and growls, the macaws’ morning song that continues throughout the day accompanied by a variety of other odd and comical sounds. The birds that make these noises are some of the most beautiful creatures on earth and some of the most humorous. The Great Green Macaw is not just beauty though, they are brains and huge personality as well. While we the volunteers work for the benefit of these birds, the birds themselves can be seen observing us, silently peeking over a roof, leaning from the aviary wall. For this volunteer, there has not been a day without laughter and wonder thanks to the birds. Of course we do not let on that we know what they are doing because in order to integrate them into wild bird life, our ultimate goal, there must be minimal to no interaction with us (and no, that is not easy). Best of all, we also get the joy and privilege of seeing these endangered birds flying free in their natural environment where they truly belong.

Perching GGM

That is the reward. And that is the true purpose of this project.

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.