October 29, 2021
The beautiful feathers of tropical birds are nothing short of majestic. The beauty of their lush orange, red and green feathers catch your eye when their wings spread wide. Like all birds, parrots and macaws naturally lose their feathers during an annual molting season. While our flightless African and little blue penguin friends experience a very uncomfortable molting season when their feathers puff up and fall out leaving room for new, pretty feathers to grow. Since parrots, macaws and kookaburras need their feathers to fly, these types of birds don’t experience heavy molts and usually only molts once or twice a year — some species may only molt every two years. Their molting process usually takes about two months to complete so they can sustain enough feathers for flight.
Adventure Aquarium works with Feathers for Native Americans, a nonprofit program to donate naturally molted feathers from our parrots, macaws, and kookaburras to Puebloan Tribes of Arizona and New Mexico for use during their traditional religious ceremonies.
Our biologists collect the feathers from our birds after they have naturally fallen off the animals. They gather feathers about every six months and send them to the Feathers for Native American. The program then donates the feathers for use in traditional religious ceremonies, dance garb and spiritual artifacts.
At Adventure Aquarium, our parrots and kookaburras receive nutritious meals, routine vet check-ups and something called "animal enrichment" that enhances an animal's mental and physical wellbeing. Parrots and Macaws are extremely intelligent birds, and require a lot of mental stimulation -- that’s why sometimes you’ll see boxes, newspapers and some dog toys with our birds when they are on exhibit.
Have you found feathers from a turkey or guinea hen in your yard? Or do you have birds at home? You can donate feathers too by contacting Feathers for Native Americans!
However, feathers from raptors like eagles and hawks are federally illegal to collect and/or own due to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
If you have ever considered adopting a bird, please be a responsible pet owner and do your research. Birds require a lot of attention and years of care. To learn more about being a responsible pet owner check out our blog about invasive species or listen to our audio tour during your next visit!