Happy Birthday Margaret!

Published October 01, 2012

The National Aquarium is celebrating a very special birthday today: Margaret, our blue hyacinth macaw, is turning 24!

Hyacinth macaws are one of the largest species of parrot. They are beautiful, smart, and can even mimic human speech. Margaret can say one word - "Hello" (and she says it a lot)!

Hello!

Macaws have four toes—two toes face forward and two face backward. These feet are called zygodactyl, and are great for perching on branches, climbing in trees, holding food and even playing with toys. Margaret's favorite toys are actually old phone books! She hold them and tears out the pages one by one with her feet and beak.

Although Margaret is a BLUE hyacinth macaw, did you know that her feathers are actually a shade of grey? Light reflects off the top feathers in such a way that they appear bright blue. This is typical of most blue-colored birds. Her feathers are so sensitive to light, that she appears greenish when she's wet!

Blue hyacinth macaw feathers from different angles appear to be different colors

Macaws eat primarily nuts from native palms, such as acuri and bocaiuva palms, but they also eat fruits and vegetables. Their beaks are strong enough to crack open coconuts. Fresh coconut is Margaret's favorite treat!

Margaret is getting some very special presents for her birthday today (hint: it rhymes with shmoconut!)

Say happy birthday to Margaret and watch her open presents this afternoon at our 2:30pm Animal Encounter! 

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