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Pet Information: Harlequin Macaw
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"I recently got a 'rehomed' Harlequin named Bailey, after he was given up due to the economic situation. Seems this is happening more and more, sadly. I was lucky to be there at the right time as a local rescue did not have room for him and I was willing to give him the large cage and other amenities he needs to live happily. I've had him 3 months now, and it's been very interesting and fun to get to know him. I also have a rescued African Grey who has had a very difficult time adjusting, he was in the rescue for several years after being given up. Bailey has done wonders for the African grey who now vies for the attention he sees Bailey getting. They talk back and forth when I am not in the room and seem to enjoy one another. My personal approach to a relinquished bird is to feed them, spritz them, take the cage outside and let them get some sun and air, speak to them, whistle, sing and generally pass the time with them but not to touch them or otherwise put my hands in their face except to give them treats until they start coming to me. Once Bailey was settled in and not relieving his stress by crushing up a large multi level wooden block toy every week, he started coming out of his cage to see me little by little. He WILL NOT step up. Nothing I do will get him to step up so far, but he is to the point he puts one foot gingerly on my arm. Little by little, he is hanging upside down when I open the cage and grooming my sleeve feathers, he rubs his beak on my arm and will let me scritch him till he closes his eyes in ecstasy. Today, he showed me his wings one at a time by stretching a foot back and extending the wing over it. Then he dunked his head in his water dish over and over and shook water all over the place when I said I had to go to work. He says "Hi Bawee" and tells my dogs to shut up when they bark, and tries very hard to mimic me when I speak to him, he mouths and sounds out what he hears all the time. He dances when he hears music he likes (Margaritaville is a fave) but he can be evil if not babied a bit before the actual approach. I find if I talk to him sweetly for a few minutes, he comes running out and is in the mood to be companionable. If I rush it, his eyes pinpoint like crazy and he can be a little pisspot, at which point I generally leave him alone for a while and then try again. He has called me MOM! or screamed several times when I've walked away from him. I was dismayed to read on another site that a Harlequin or any hybrid should not bred and that the site owner would not buy one or otherwise own one. I can't imagine this combination hasn't occurred in the wild a time or two naturally! Strange things do happen in the wild. I honestly think this guy is full of it, and dead wrong. And once they are here, they deserve to be well cared for and enjoyed.So far, from my experience I think a Harlequin is a wonderful, smart and enjoyable pet - but does require the same kind of time, care and patience one would give to a toddler. The same kind of safety, feeding, medical and long term housing considerations have to be made in a home to allow one of these magnificent pets to live happily in confinement. I have a very large room on the upper level of my house that would allow Bawee to fly should he want to - so far when he has been up there it's been enough to look at the view, he has not tried to fly - altho I did think he was bouncing around and looking at the curtain rods like he was thinking of going up there and I was willing to allow it just to see him do it. But as I said, this is a new relationship, altho I hope a very very long one. I am lucky to have had large bird experience babysitting a neighbor's blue and gold macaw over the years, and have wanted a macaw for a LONG time. By getting involved with a rescue and by being willing to deal with some behavioral issues, I have been very very fortunate to now have my sweet Bawee buddy. And I may have listened to too many popular songs, but with pets I have found in dogs, cats and now birds that a lot of love and compassion - tempered with some facts about the animal's needs - is about all it really takes to mend their trust and build a life together. "

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