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Macaw Legalities

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by Chippers, Jun 16, 2019.

  1. Chippers

    Chippers Active Member

    Hey everyone, I recently drove down to Idaho to pick up some freezers full of mystery goodies. As I was going through them, I found two macaw heads in a box. I'm fairly certain one is a hyancith, I'm not too sure about the smaller one.

    Since hyancith macaws are listed as Vulnerable under Appendix 1 of CITES, is it even legal for me to keep? It sounds like importing/exporting is the main issue, but I don't want to accidentally break any rules. If I can't keep it, should I try to donate it to a university/museum or just toss it? And lastly, if it's okay to keep, would I be allowed to clean it up and sell it or should I just keep it in my personal collection?

    Sorry for all the questions and thank you in advance. Help IDing the smaller macaw would be appreciated as well. I'm kind of thinking scarlet x blue and yellow hybrid, but I could be way off.
    Hard to see in the pic but the neck starts to turn turquoise/blue.
  2. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Keep for your personal collection or sell. Legal as long as you sell it in the USA only. You can not ship it out of the states. The smaller one is probably a Blue and Gold or a mix as you guessed. There are so many multi-generational hybrids of those it's almost impossible. For cleaning, read up on doing these so you don't damage them.

    I couldn't get a list of the contents of that freezer and might be interested in buying any odd things that you find.

  3. Chippers

    Chippers Active Member

    Sounds good. Just to clarify, is it alright to sell to different states, or does it have to be within my current state (Montana)? Reading up on the exact laws is a tad confusing. I'm not sure if the hyacinth falls under CITES regulations (no international import/export), or the Lacey Act (no trade/sale/purchase). Just wanna play it safe. I really appreciate the help, thank you.

    I still have to go through the freezers and write everything down, but I'll be sure to shoot you a message when I do. Lots of really cool stuff in them, definitely not what I was expecting.
  4. Wouter

    Wouter Member

    Hi Chippers,

    Do you have experience with preparing parrot skulls? They can be difficult to put back together because they have more parts than skulls of other birds. Also, the recovery of the beak sheat may be tricky, especially if the head is rotten or dried out. At the moment I happen to be working or a series of skulls and skeletons of several macaw species, including hyacinth and Lear's (a very similar species, just a bit smaller). So if you need any advice or pictures, just let me know.
  5. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Wouter, I also have a couple of macaw heads and possibly a full macaw skeleton to do. All specimens are frozen at the moment. How would you proceed for the best results? Especially need to preserve the beak with no damage preferred.
  6. Wouter

    Wouter Member

    To keep the beak sheats in good condition the heads should be macerated. In most other bird species it is possible to remove the beak sheats and nails from a fresh specimen and then put it a beetle colony, but that will not work with macaws because the beak has such a strong curve.
    If you are not sure how fresh your head is, it is best to put it in water at room temperature for 24 hours. That won't be enough to get the sheats off a fresh head, but if it is rotten you may be able to pry the sheats off with a needle, while leaving it in water for a longer time may make it fall apart.
    If the head is not rotten, the beak will still be firmly attached and solid. Do not try to pry it off yet, but leave it in room temperature water for about a week. Then the sheats will probably come off easy. If it does not and the beak is still solid, just leave it for a couple of days untill it comes off, it won't hurt it.
    Sometimes a head is both rotten and dried out and the sheats start to fall apart before it gets loose, or the sheats are weak (probably due to a wrong diet or a disease). If so, try to pry it loose with a needle in pieces as big as possible, and puzzle it back together when you are glueing and finishing the skull.
    I just got a hyacinth, a lear's and some other macaw skulls clean from the maceration, and after casting, degreasing and whitening I'll take some pictures while I put the skulls back together, probably by the end of July.

    NB: the moving picture of my hyacinth macaw skeleton is put back on my website. It is correct apart from the position of the u-shaped wrist bone. It was only my fifth skeleton, so I did not know such details back then

    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019