Green-winged macaw walnut

By Judy Doyle 

The King In The Pecking Order 
Goliath and Jacob, two of my five macaws, were raised together. Even though the other three are fully two to three years older, Goliath (weighing in at 3 pounds 1 ounce) is definitely the king in the pecking order. As usual, at about one in the afternoon, I let everyone out of their cages and gave them their usual walnuts, almonds and pine nuts. We do this every day just before nap time. They sleep from two in the afternoon to about four o’clock. Everyone was absorbed in their walnuts - each one was cracking and chomping trying to get to that delicious nut meat inside. 

The Nuts Are Meatier In Another Cage
Jacob, the blue and gold, decided that he had enough of his walnut and climbed down to the floor and started eating what everyone else had dropped. He went from cage to cage picking up leftovers. Just about the time he reached Goliath’s cage, the walnut slipped out of the large bird’s foot and fell to the floor. Jacob spotted it and went over and picked the nut up. Because of Goliath’s bulk, he moves a little slower than the blue and golds, so it took him some time to climb down to retrieve the walnut. He finally reached the floor, walked over to Jacob, stretched his body to full length and made a guttural sound deep inside his throat. 

OK, You Can Have It Back! 
Jacob put the walnut on the floor, used his beak to push it towards Goliath and then flipped over on his back and said, “Jacob, dead bird.” Goliath made another noise, flashed his eyes, picked up the walnut and climbed back up on top of his cage. Even though neither of these macaws were communicating the way we would, it was clear that they were communicating, Jacob learned to say “dead bird” when he and my husband play wrestle. My husband flips Jacob over on his back and says, “Jacob is a dead bird.” Jacob will lay on his back until my husband gives him another command, “Jacob is all better’, Jacob will jump to his feet and then roll over on his back again and says, “Jacob, dead bird.” It was just a game until Jacob decided he needed to use the phrase to defer to Goliath.




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