Welcome to Arielle's world!
Arielle hopes that you find her story informative and interesting.
She is a parrot-like bird whose relatives originally lived in tropical environments
including the savannahs and rain forests of South America. Arielle is a member of the
species Ara ararauna commonly known as the Blue and Gold macaw.
Brightly colored macaws are the largest parrot-like birds in the New World; their
usual imposing size is between 33 to 36 inches from the crown of their head to the tip
of their tail. If you imagine a macaw without its 20-24 inch tail feathers, the parrot
would be about the size of a two-pound chicken.
Hobbyists and pet owners keep more Blue & Gold macaws than any other type of
macaw, so a Blue & Gold macaw, like Arielle, is not considered a rare bird. What
makes macaws popular parrots?
People are attracted to macaws by their sleek beauty and brilliant colors. Beyond their
physical beauty, the birds have common endearing traits and develop individual
personalities. Some macaws are very active birds, and they love to play with toys and
A macaw's antics keep the bird amused and can entertain its owners; however, care
needs to be taken because large parrots can inadvertently ruin things in and around a
home. Owners need to provide the birds with wooden-chew toys and people need to
be vigilant about the bird's activities.
As an example, a playful macaw, when unsupervised, can destroy household objects.
Arielle has at times chewed on wood molding around a doorway near her cage. When
she is free in the house, she can walk up a spiral staircase and mount a wooden rail
along the edge of our loft. She damaged the railing by breaking small chunks from the
wood. This behavior is not done in spite; the bird is doing what comes naturally: wood
is for chewing, and girls just like to have fun! When I take her down from where she is
playing, I get a look that communicates a variation of a Billy Joel song, "I ammm an
innocent bird ...."
Macaws, like other parrots, benefit from what many people consider to be an
inordinate amount of time with their owners. This is no coincidence. In the wild many
parrot species pair off as monogamous couples and spend a lifetime together. In the
wild, paired macaws spend most of their day foraging for food, relaxing, preening
feathers, and, during nesting season, caring for their chicks. Therefore, it is not
particularly surprising that a home-kept parrot wants to spend its life near its human
companion, who is the bird's surrogate mate.
People ask me how much time one needs to properly care for a bird like Arielle. My
answer is 4 hours a day extending over 365 days a year.
Inquisitive people want to know where the time goes. My answer is: "Caring for a
bird's physical and emotional wellbeing requires time for setting up the bird's outside
perch each day; the bird has to be removed from its house and taken to the outside
location; preparing and providing breakfast, lunch and dinner for your companion takes
time; taking the bird for a walk or spending time educating an intelligent and social
creature expends more time; gathering up soiled papers each day from outside and
from cages requires effort; in the evening an owner should spend time being with and
playing with his parrot.
So, for a number of reasons, four hours is not an overly generous accounting for the
time it takes to look after one's bird. It's like having a second wife, but each of us
knows that before we buy a bird. The trouble is that most birds are short changed and
it's not right. Don't buy a large bird unless you can forever devote four hours of each
day to your feathered friend."
You are here: Welcome Page
It would be unfair to avoid the subject of speaking abilities of
macaws and other parrots. Macaws can reproduce the sound of
human speech quite well or with various types of distortion. The
matter becomes difficult because some sources state that macaws
are not very good talkers, while others claim that macaws are
insufficient space here to explain why. In a nutshell: Arielle
achieves a level of speech that is unparalleled.
Her words in the speech clip below reveal that she can do
|Arielle often assembles series of untutored
statements. In this example she makes a
pronoun substitution that shows a small
portion of her understanding of English.
Click the play button to hear her speak.
(Click this text to play if player image does not appear.) The transcription is below in a yellow box.
|Arielle understands speech and speaks thoughtfully using English
words, phrases, and sentences.
Photo by Linda Carpenter
|Arielle's said spontaneously, "I'm a pretty, ... pretty girl!" ... (sound of several kisses)
The significance of her statement exceeds the simplicity of the words she speaks. Arielle is substituting pronouns
in her speech, so in this case she has created a new variation of what she was told, which was, "Arielle is a pretty
girl," and "You are a pretty girl!" Here she voluntarily inserts the word "I" as the subject to refer to herself.
Beyond the pronoun substitution, she correctly conjugates the verb to match the subject, "I am," which she
correctly contracts to "I'm." In other recordings she says, "I am ...," neither of the phrases were modeled for her.
Additionally, Arielle doubled up on the adjective "pretty;" that is because she does not have the word
"extraordinarily" in her lexicon. She resorts to what small children do; she repeats the adjective to give additional
weight to what she says. In effect, we learn that she is beyond merely pretty; she is "particularly" pretty.