Photos of Dino. Green-winged Macaw. Ara Chloroptera. Born June 1st 2008.
 The Green-winged Macaw that flew across the Atlantic!
2008
I baught Dino from a breeder in Valencia, Spain at 5 months old. I went there with a friend to buy a sack of ZuPreem for his two Blue and Gold Macaws and saw Dino in a large outdoor cage with several other macaws, but he was sat all on his own as far away from the rest as he could. I fell for him instantly and baught him on the spot. 
At the time I knew nothing about keeping parrots, let alone a Green-winged Macaw, which you probably know is the second largest parrot in the world, after the Hyacinth Macaw, but my lack of knowledge never presented a problem, we worked things out together, as we went along. He showed me what he wanted, I obeyed and somehow, we built up a mutual respect for each other through just being our silly selves and playing together all the time. I learned his limits and he learned mine, and it was all done without any hard bites!
These are some of the first photos I took of Dino at 5 months old, in Benidorm, Spain. He had his own room rather than a cage, with tree branches jammed between the walls for perches. 
 Back to Sitges Dino goes.
2009
After a few months with Dino in Benidorm, I decided to move back to Sitges, Barcelona, but as I moved into a one bedroom apartment, he had to be in a cage, however he was only in it when I went out. At night he would sleep on top of it and by day he was with me all the time. During the 8 months I was there, Dino escaped twice. Both times through our 5th floor patio door. The first time, I found him about a block away on the roof of a building, which fortunately I was easily able to get him down from as the tenants of the apartment were at home and I reached up to him with a broom stick, which he slid down. That was already a favorite trick of his. He liked to climb up the broom as I was sweeping and slide back down it.
The second time I ran out in search of him but he was nowhere to be found. After half an hour of searching, I decided to call the police. That was a good move because they told me someone had found him and had taken him home with them, then called the police to let them know. Elated, I went running round to the gentleman's house and he gave me Dino back.
This is Dino in Sitges. The town I lived in most of the 12 years I was in Spain.
 Back to Benidorm again.
February 2010
Moved back to Benidorm again, but it was a bad move. Spain was in the depths of the recession and it was a ghost town compared to the previous year. I was bored out of my brain, but I did start talking to people on 3 Feathered Friends and got to know some well. Sherry who started 3FF mentioned a little country called Belize in Central America. I'd never heard of it but she said it was wonderful. I started checking it out online and really liked what I saw. 
Then by an amazing coincidence, Bonnie who I also chatted to on 3FF, who is in Boston and had a stall at a bird fair one weekend, was visited by a lady who said she had moved to Belize and loved it there. Bonnie told me to get in touch with (the lady's name is) Jenni. But at that point I hadn't really given much thought to actually moving to Belize. A few weeks passed and I was getting even more bored and had itchy feet, so I decided to drop Jenni a line. She wrote back saying I'd be more than welcome to come stay with her and her hubby Nigel until I found my own place. I jumped at the chance. That is, I jumped at first, but discovered pretty soon just how difficult it would be to take a CITES II listed bird from one country to another, and that story you'll find below.
These are photos of Dino in Benidorm. during the 8 months we were once again there.
 4 days to fly the Atlantic.
August 2010
The last 3 months have been the hardest time of my life. Once I made the decision to move from Spain to Belize, I had to start looking into what would be required to take the love of my life with me, and oh boy, was I in for some surprises! For starters, he is listed with UCIN as an endagered species, which means he had to be issued with a CITES export permit in Spain followed by a CITES import permit from Belize, either of which could be denied for any number of reasons. Depending on the counties you are dealing with, each can take from 2 weeks to 3 months to be issued. Note. You must apply for the export permit and have it issued before you can apply for the import permit. Fortunately, I had both issued by the time 5 weeks were up. 
Then the rush was on, whereas the Spanish permit was valid for 6 months, the Belizian one was only valid for 30 days. Luckily, I had already ccontacted the Belize Area Health Authority (BAHA) to find out what they required in order to approve their import permit. (Yes, you need an import permit from the health authority or forestry department in the country you are shipping to as well as the CITES permit). They insisted he must test negative to West Nile virus, Newcastle disease and Avian influenza and that there were no outbreaks of any of those three diseases in Spain in the last 6 months. To cut a long and complicated story short, he proved negative to all three and there had not been an outbreak of any of them in the last 6 months.
I digress. Before you even apply for the CITES permits, make sure your exporting country has not had any outbreaks of whatever your importing country requires. If it has, you've plain and simply had it! You cannot take the animal. There is no way around it.

So, I eventually got all the paperwork together that I needed, called the airline to book Dino's and my flight, only to find out that even the airlines that said they took exotic animals would not, as we had a stop over in the USA and the US has their own full set of proceedures which must be adhered to, but which the airlines would have no part in. At that point, after all the work I'd done, the disappointment was unbearable. There I was all set for us to go, when I hit a brick wall head on! But I'd come so far, I couldn't give up. Everything was planned, even had friends to stay with in Belize. 

By sheer luck, the friend I was gong to stay with in Belize found an international animal shipper in Madrid, Spain, on the internet. I contacted them and they said they could do it, but because of the complications in the USA and because they'd have to hire a specialist to deal with the US customs and forestry department paperwork and inspection, it would cost me $6,000. I had no other choice, I had to take the deal.

I booked my flight and Dino was booked on his the day after, however, because he had to have vet checks at Madrid airport on leaving, and again in the USA, his trip would last a whole 4 days! That's 4 days in a transport case, in airports, on planes, on runways, in cars etc. All I could do at that pont was keep on telling myself, 'he'll make it, he's strong'. 

Even my trip was a full 2 days and I didn't sleep a wink from the point I handed Dino over to the shipper and boarded my plane in Madrid on the 15th and Dino arriving in Belize City on the 19th.

Well, here he is. He made the trip and was in better condition than I had expected and amazingly, not a single broken tail feather! At the time of writing, he is 20 days into his 30 days quarantine at the house where I'm staying. Belize allows animals to be quarantined in your home, but they send an official once a week to make sure you are abiding by the terms of quarantine.
 Christmas in Belize.
December 19th. 2010
Well before I say anything else, its warm, its lovely and warm! I'm sat here by the sea in a t-shirt doing this update, how could you not love a sunny, warm Christmas? It'll be my first turkey fest outdoors and man, am I looking forward to stuffing myself silly with that!!!
Gosh, have 4 months gone by already? Time really does fly when you're enjoying yourself. I think I've lived more in the last 4 months than I lived in the last 40 years. The highlights have been my visit to the Belize zoo where I fell in love with the Harpy Eagle named Panama. A more awesome sight I've never seen. It looked like a pure killing machine on wings. MUCH bigger than pictures ever tell. Eyes so intense they see through to your soul, and the claws, OMG the claws were bigger than my hands! It was love at first sight though. He came flying stright to me the second I arrived at his enclosure and we pulled funny birdie faces at each other and just shot the s#/t. Come to think of it, maybe he wanted to eat me, but hey, I'm a parrot lover and skin tearing beaks don't scare me anymore! How I wish I could have got in there with him. He hasn't left my mind since. I cannot wait to go back and see him. But as if it wasn't exciting enough meeting him, I met Sharon Matola, the founder of the zoo. Charming lady and a true heroin of mine.

Another highlight was a drive I took down the Hummingbird Highway...the name alone is an attraction, isn't it? Well, it deserves such a beautiful name because it was so stunning, it took me 5 hours to travel its 75 mile length. I travelled on an almost vehicle free highway (highways here are two laned country roads) at a snails pace taking in the sheer beauty of its lush palm covered mountains. I talked to some locals and got invited into their home, where they immediately offered me locally grown tobacco! It was wonderful, but talk about paranoia setting in, I suddenly had a panic attack, visioning myself in the middle of nowhere, with no one on Earth knowing where I was, surrounded by 4 pretty strong looking guys and I suddenly feared for my life! (Have you seen the movie 'Tourists'?) Probably a reaction to the tobacco, but I ran to my car and got out of there faster than a Green-wing moves when you approach it with a medicine syringe!

Anyway, it has turned out that Dino is a superstar in Belize. Everywhere I go, when I don't have him with me, I get asked, where's Dino? And when I do have him with me, all I hear is "Dino!" shouted out from every direction.
Just yesterday, (December 18th) I took Dino to Arts in the park in the centre of Corozal Town and Dino stole the show! Kids gathered around like bees to a honey pot and I realized I actually enjoyed telling them a bit about the world of parrots, but I've put my foot in it because Jenni who I live with has said she's going to arrange for Dino and I and her and her Scarlet to visit schools. Crap! I've never tought a thing before, I'm excited but scared about the prospect of doing that! 
Many have said to me I came to Belize for a reason, the coincidences to get here with Dino became so frequent, they were no longer coincidences, they were guiding us here. Maybe my calling is to teach? I dunno, its too early to tell, but I have this overwhelming feeling I'm here for something, not just the awesome weather and scenery.

Anyways, in January I am headed off down south for 3 months. I've made some truly wonderful friends up here in Corozal and it pains me to go, but I have to go and experience the 'other' part of the country, which I'm always told rains a hell of a lot more, but little do they know, I love the rain and all they're doing is tempting me even more! So come January, off Dino and I go into the wild green yonder. Heck, its easy to forget this country's less than 200 miles from tip to toe, it ain't as if I'm leaving the planet!

Life has never treated me particularly well, dunno why, I tried my best but I never really found contentment, but since setting foot on these shores, I'm the happiest I've ever been. I LOVE Belize! THANK YOU SHERRY. THANK YOU DINO!!! 
Who'd have thought one parrot could have such a huge impact on someone's life? Dino must be my angel sent from above. (Thanks for sending him to rescue me mom). Now there's a turn for the books. 'Parrot rescues human!' The proof of how important they are to this world, is right in that statement! Please treat them with all the love and respect they so much deserve. They can and do have a profound effect on our lives, yet we are wiping them off the face of the Earth. In the wild, many other creatures suffer their loss, because as every parront knows, parrots are amazingly efficient food scatterers. Countless critters rely on their charming habit of scattering out of reach fruit and nuts all over the forest floor. Yes, I hear you all ROFL'ing to that one! :-)

PS. I'll add some more photos of my big red bug soon!

 Summer 2011
May 9th.
Ok, so its not quite summer yet, but with 90F temps every day, it feels like it. Well, I've gone and done it now, I just bought a house for Dino and I. A more perfect house I could not have found. Its a Yurt style house, no rooms, completely open plan. It has been a dream of mine to build Dino a flight cage, but now I've (excuse the pun) killed two birds with one stone and bought a house that is the perfect cage for Dino and home for me. I don't move in for a couple of months yet, but am I ever looking forward to it. I'll be able to hang tree branches from the 'St. Paul's cathedral' ceiling, maybe even put the largest potted tree in there that will fit, for Dino to hang out in.
Here's a couple of pics of our soon to be home and a few new ones of Dino. 

 Dino videos
 My videos
 Green-winged Macaw diet
 What I eat
 Parrot Stuff
 International Travel with a Parrot
 The Plight of the Parrot
 Nobody Told Me
 Just a bird
 Don't take it personally!
 For a lost one (Warning! Real tear-jerker)
 How to give your parrot oral antibiotics
 The Rude Parrot
 10 reasons why you do not want a parrot
 Favourite Links
 The Ara Project in Costa Rica