Pets

Meet Scratch, the macaw at S.C. CARES

“Scratch,” the macaw at S.C. Cares
“Scratch,” the macaw at S.C. Cares

Macaws are magnificent creatures being the largest in the parrot species. Their colors are so beautiful and much of this brings about their demise. They should be flying free in places like the Amazon, Brazil and other parts of South America but poaching and deforestation have decrease their numbers dramatically. Breeders are selling them for upwards of $1,000 which is why breeding can be a lucrative business, but not so great for the parrots.

Life with a parrot takes a lot of adjustment for the human and the bird. Parrots are highly intelligent creatures with an IQ similar to that of a 3 to 4-year-old toddler. This means they need constant stimulation and attention, often more than their human companions can provide. The bird’s instincts tell it to search for food which often times means chewing on branches in the wild but in captivity that probably means chewing on your house. At maturity, around 10 years old, personalities can change drastically, a bird that might have been a cuddlier becomes aggressive and unhappy. Their bodies are telling them to find a mate and procreate so when this doesn’t occur frustration mounts. The parrot may begin bad behavior such as chewing, biting/attacking others, screaming and so on. Hormonal changes heighten a couple of times a year and might calm down other times but some of the habits may last a lifetime.

Speaking of lifetimes, macaws have a life span of 80-100 years(in human years just as we count birthdays) so imagine having a toddler with a tremendously strong beak for 80 years. To give a macaw a brazil nut and watch these birds crack it open with no effort is amazing. Their bite pressure has been tested at 300 pounds per square inch and keep in mind it only takes about 200 psi to break most of our bones, so fingers(including the bone) would be a piece of cake!

Scratch is a blue and gold macaw that came to live at SC CARES in 2013 from a woman who had rescued him from someone else, along with two other birds. We believe Scratch had lived in four to five other places before making it to S.C. CARES at 14 years of age. This woman had hit hard times and couldn’t afford to feed the parrots she had taken in. We made the offer to foster them until she could get back on her feet, but they ended up being surrendered to us.

Someone in Scratch’s past must have tried to “trim his flight feathers” but instead actually mutilated his left wing. Apparently they cut into bone itself removing part of the wing that will never grow back. Thankfully he doesn’t have to fly here because there’s no way he could now. Scratch is quite the character talking to us all day, saying “Hello Scratch.” In the evening, when it’s time for bed, he’ll respond appropriately with “bye bye Scratch.” What a wonderful creature he is and currently at 17 years old we hope he’ll be happy with us for many years to come!

If you’ve ever considered having a parrot as a companion please research the animal first to make sure they would fit into your life then check Petfinder.com to adopt and not buy! There are thousands of parrots at other rescues that can be adopted out and are waiting for their forever homes!

Please consider helping the macaws and all of the other creatures at S.C. CARES by making a donation or becoming a monthly (donor) member. Check our website www.sc-cares.org to learn more. We are currently seeking “semi” skilled help to finish the macaw’s aviary! It will be wonderful for them once complete. If you feel you can help us please contact us via email through the website or call-843-546-7893.

More Information

If you’ve ever considered having a parrot as a companion please research the animal first to make sure they would fit into your life then check Petfinder.com to adopt and not buy! There are thousands of parrots at other rescues that can be adopted out and are waiting for their forever homes.

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