When I was doing my research before
adopting my large macaw, I came across two books that had references to odor
given off by Blue and Gold macaws in particular. One book described it as
ďstenchĒ (that author had some pretty harsh things to say about large macaws
as pets, so perhaps his attitude was showing), but the other described it as
a "distinct but not unpleasant odor". The second book went on to say that
although not much is known about the purpose of the odor, it seemed to be a
characteristic of healthy adult Blue and Gold macaws
(neither book mentions this as a characteristic of other macaws).
When I visited our breederís aviary
for the first time, I do remember noticing a slight musky smell in the area,
but since I didnít actually come into direct contact with any of the birds,
I didnít realize it was them I was smelling. And, of course, I didnít want
to offend or embarrass anyone, so I never asked
ďWhat is that smell?Ē
|Birds do have a distinct fragrance to
them. I have 5 different parrot species living with me now, and can
attest that they each have a very slight odor. Each birdís smell is
slightly different. I can only smell the small parrots when I am very
close (sometimes I nuzzle the backs of their necks with my nose). The
large macaw is the one most noticeable. I can smell her from several
feet away, even after a bath.
owners have reported that they've noticed their birds have a scent,
too - so it's not just me!
I love to bury my nose in the feathers on
the back of Jesse's neck and take a long, slow "snnniiiiiffff"!
Maybe my nose is especially
sensitive. Not everyone seems to notice it (some do, some donít). But itís
there, and after Iíve handled the bird, I can detect it on me and my
Cats and dogs give off a slight odor
which most people donít find offensive. Parrots are the same. Pionus
parrots, for example, are reputed to have an especially pleasing smell.
Birds supposedly donít have much
sense of smell Ė but once youíve been close to a healthy macaw, you start to
wonder a bit. With keen hearing and sight, why would nature omit the
olfactory? Iíve never seen a parrot ďsniffĒ something, but we do know their
respiratory systems are very sensitive. Perhaps they ďsniffĒ all the time,
but because we donít hear it and they donít do it like a mammal would, we
donít recognize what they are doing.