Josie (Hyacinth Macaw)

Josie was hatched around 1998 and is a female Hyacinth Macaw. She’s a dream come true with a twist! I had always dreamed of caring for a Hyacinth Macaw, the day I found out about them and knew that one day I’d find an adult that needed a home and give them the best life I could. That day came when I least expected it and she arrived on a plane from Ontario. I had an idea of what caring for a hyacinth macaw would be like after hours of research prior to her arrival but I never expected it to go the way it did.

After a week or so of her settling in, I booked a vet appointment to get her sharp eagle talons clipped as she was part of a large breeding program which meant she wasn’t handled or needed her nails trimmed. When the vet came to the house, she did a full visual examination to make sure she was visually healthy and noticed that Josie had cloudy eyes, which I hadn’t noticed before as I wasn’t handling her yet. After getting a closer look, the vet confirmed that Josie had bad cataracts in both eyes and although she might be able to see around 10% of her full vision at the time, it was very likely that in a few years she’d most likely lose all of her vision.

The vet’s conclusion was that she most likely had this condition for quite a few years as she seemed used to performing daily tasks like any fully sighted bird would. Unfortunately, unlike with people, there isn’t a surgery in Canada that can restore her vision, just remove the eye lens which would remove cataracts, but leave her with severely blurry vision. There has been a surgery done in the USA on a hyacinth macaw that has removed cataracts from the eyes and given them their vision back but because Josie’s species is listed as a CITES Appendix I species, it would be very difficult if not impossible to get her into the USA, with a chance that I may not be able to get her back to Canada. I’m hoping someday there will be a surgery available in Canada that can restore her sight but I’m not too worried about it because she’s my happy girl, and I love her just the way she is.

Josie loves to hang out on my shoulder and “watch me” while I clean her cage and play stand. She always takes a bath in her water dish and splashes water everywhere, whenever I turn on the vacuum which is just great lol. Whenever she wants “Up” she’ll lift her foot and start making little noises to let me know she wants to step up and go to her play stand, cage or just hang out on my shoulder for a little while. She loves macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, walnuts, and honey crisp apples which she gets daily but she’s not a fan of any other kind of fresh food yet, which I’m hoping she starts to eat at some point. She’s a very tiny Hyacinth Macaw, weighing at around 1085 grams, which is significantly below the 1200 – 1700 gram average for that species but the vet has said she’s a healthy bird, just a tiny one! I may not have been able to predict how my first macaw-owning experience would go, I certainly would not have guessed it would be like this. She may not be “perfect” but she’s taught me so much since bringing her home in September 2018 and I wouldn’t wish it any other way.