Green-wing Macaw Shower

A Showering Experience

By Sally Blanchard

(Illustration by Jeff Riebe)


Several years ago I did a consultation with a couple who had a Green-winged Macaw. The macaw was beginning to pluck his feathers especially on his back where he was being petted all the time. Sometimes without realizing it, people have greasy or dirty hands or nicotine on their fingers which can contribute to their parrot’s feather destructive behavior. (One cockatoo stopped picking his shoulder area when his owner stopped eating potato chips at the same time he petted the bird.)

As part of a consultation, I always encourage people to make sure their parrots are getting adequate bathing or showering opportunities. I strongly advised that the Green-winged macaw gets misted several times a week with at least one soaked-to-the-skin shower. I used to simply tell people to take a shower with their parrot. I started giving far more involved instructions after my clients called with the Green-winged called me to share their experience. 

The man started his shower with the macaw on his arm. He turned on the water and placed the bird in the spray. Being somewhat adventurous, the macaw became excited by being in the spray. As the shower continued, the man tried to juggle the parrot with the soap and washcloth. The flapping bird slipped off of his arm and slid down the man’s soapy chest and body. On the way down, he used his beak to grab on to the only thing he could to avoid falling to the ground. The advice the couple gave me was clear, “Next time, please tell your clients to put their parrots on a stand when they shower together!”




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