A blue-and-yellow macaw that zookeepers named Juliet perches on the outside of the zoo in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP/Bruna Prado)

A blue-and-yellow macaw that zookeepers named Juliet perches on the outside of the zoo in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP/Bruna Prado)

Juliet grooms a captive macaw. (AP/Bruna Prado)

Juliet grooms a captive macaw. (AP/Bruna Prado)

Every morning for the last two decades, Juliet comes to visit the macaws at the zoo. (AP/Bruna Prado)

Every morning for the last two decades, Juliet comes to visit the macaws at the zoo. (AP/Bruna Prado)

Children visit the aviary (where birds are kept) at the zoo. (AP/Bruna Prado)

Children visit the aviary (where birds are kept) at the zoo. (AP/Bruna Prado)

A pair of macaws perches on a rope. (AP/Bruna Prado)

A pair of macaws perches on a rope. (AP/Bruna Prado)

The Last Macaw

Posted: July 1, 2021

Juliet is looking for love. No wonder! She’s the last wild blue-and-yellow macaw left in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Once, birds like her flew far and wide in that city. Now Juliet has to visit the zoo to find a friend.

Almost every morning for the last two decades, Juliet has appeared at the BioParque zoo. She swoops onto the enclosure where macaws are kept. She sits there, enjoying the presence of other macaws. Blue-and-yellow macaws like Juliet live about 35 years. And Juliet is no spring chicken. She should have found a lifelong mate years ago. But she hasn’t. She hasn’t built a nest or had chicks.

“They’re social birds, and that means they don’t like to live alone, whether in nature or captivity. They need company,” says Neiva Guedes, president of the Hyacinth Macaw Institute.

Blue-and-yellow macaws can be found in other parts of Brazil. But not in Rio de Janeiro. If you don’t count Juliet, no blue-and-yellow macaw has been seen flying free in Rio since 1818. That’s more than 200 years! Macaws are noisy. This, plus their bright feathers, helps the birds find each other in dense forests. But it also makes them easy for hunters and animal traffickers to spot.

Where did Juliet come from? She may have escaped from captivity. Is Juliet even a she? Zoo biologists aren’t sure. To know for certain, they would have to test her feathers or blood or get a closer look at her than they’re able to. The animal caretakers are curious. But that’s not enough reason for them to interfere with the wild bird. They also would not consider placing Juliet in an enclosure. She seems to be getting enough food in the wild. She also loves soaring overhead. And she should! Macaws are used to flying more than 20 miles each day!

So God created every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. — Genesis 1:21