BIRD WOMAN: Jacquie Sands with LuLu former partner of Alex the gadabout Macaw of Coorabell.
BIRD WOMAN: Jacquie Sands with LuLu former partner of Alex the gadabout Macaw of Coorabell. Christian Morrow

Lovelorn macaw returns home

SINCE publishing a story in our sister paper The Byron Shire News asking, ''Is this your macaw?', the bird's previous owner, Jacquie Sands from Mullumbimby has been in touch.

The bird's name is Alex and he's 24 years old, relatively young for a macaw that can live up to 100 years of age in captivity.

Ms Sands, who owned the macaw for more than 23 years, said Alex, "has a vivacious personality,” and currently lives on a property she shared with her former partner near Coorabell.

She reassured us that although Alex is looking the worse for wear and tear he is actually cared for with plans to curb his free flying ways so his plumage can recover.

When Ms Sands first split with her former partner and moved into Mullumbimby some eight years ago Alex came with her but continued to free fly usually returning to the Coorabell property.

Ms Sands eventually bought a female macaw, Lu Lu, to keep Alex company and keep him at home and the two birds tried unsuccessfully to breed over the years.

It seemed that Alex was sterile and after consulting with a bird vet the most likely theory was Alex had been rendered sterile by lead poisoning after chewing on a torch battery left at the property by a visitor some 23 years ago.

With the birds unable to breed successfully relations between Alex and Lu Lu became more and more fractious.

So after eight years in Mullumbimby Ms Sands decided to return Alex to the Coorabell property with some agreed visiting rights in place for Ms Sands.

"He is back into his old habit of flying with the crows,” Ms Sands said, with the local crows often pecking at his feathers when he gets too close to their nests.

Recent shared concerns for Alex's welfare have seen a thawing in the relations between Ms Sands and her former partner with joint plans afoot to keep Alex in a new cage for longer hours in the day.

Ms Sands also warned anyone seeing Alex to admire him and his tremendously powerful beak from a distance.

"People should not feed him either as this will make it more attractive for him to stay away from his home where he is very well fed,” she said.

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