Magic pets time with macaws

Big birds have a fling with bling but also re­quire a lot of work

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS -

MACAWS are known for their breath­tak­ing plumage but even their in­tense blue, gold and green colours can­not out­shine their per­son­al­i­ties, ac­cord­ing to Sydney bird han­dler Josh Cook.

The largest of all par­rots, the macaw is native to Cen­tral and South Amer­ica and the stun­ning ze­bra-like stripes around their eyes are unique to each an­i­mal.

Cook de­scribes the tem­per­a­ment of his two macaws, Mango and Crush, as “like tod­dlers on crack”.

These mis­chievous birds are highly in­tel­li­gent and Cook says any­thing that sparkles is tempt­ing.

“They love ear­ings and rings – they are at­tracted to the bling,” he says.

“They are very cu­ri­ous and to them ev­ery­thing is worth in­ves­ti­gat­ing. They use their beak to in­ves­ti­gate and some­times come off a lit­tle worse for wear.”

The re­spected wildlife carer, whose home is a me­nagerie of feath­ered friends, is a self-taught free flight trainer.

His macaws are set free most week­days and they are a fa­mil­iar sight on Sydney’s eastern beaches. Mango and Crush leave his home at sun­rise and will re­turn hours later af­ter ex­plor­ing the sights.

They will of­ten sit high above the chil­dren’s play­grounds at­tracted by the high-pitched sounds be­low.

Let­ting his birds out to fly al­lows them to fully use their lung ca­pac­ity, Cook says. It also helps with their emo­tional sta­bil­ity.

Mango and Crush might be a hand­ful but Cook says the re­la­tion­ship you can build with these big par­rots “makes it all worth it”.

Josh Cook with his macaw.

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