The Spix’s macaw is a pretty dope bird.
Yes, its face is permanently fixed in one of those “I’m always watching” stares.
Yes, it has creepy-looking babies.
But it’s a pretty chill and harmless bird — unless you’re a seed or a nut. Spix’s macaws mate for life and their courtship rituals can last years. And they’re generally majestic as hell.
The last time someone saw one in the wild was in 2000.
Since then, researchers have assumed that humans did to the species what humans do best: killed off all but the few hundred of them we keep in cages for our amusement.
That is … until two weeks ago, when footage of a Spix’s macaw mid-flight was taken by a 16-year-old and confirmed by experts soon thereafter.
Birds have been getting the short end of the stick for at least the last 500 years, at least when it comes to extinction rates.
According to a BirdLife International analysis, nearly 150 species of birds have gone extinct since 1500, with an estimated 22 of those extinctions occurring in the last 50 years.
Which makes the discovery of a wild Spix’s macaw a rare spot of good news for the larger avian-verse. Researchers hope that observing the bird in its natural habitat will give them insight into how to revive the already seriously endangered species.
Needless to say, scientists are super psyched to have seen one in the wild, and so are members of the local community, for whom the Spix’s macaw is a major source of pride.
Pedro Devely, CEO of SAVE Brazil, a conservation group, explained why the bird’s reappearance is especially meaningful to residents of Curaca, Brazil — where the footage was taken — in an interview with NPR:
“The Spix’s Macaw is kind of a symbol of the city, and the local community is really proud of the existence of the Spix’s Macaw there. And when the Spix’s Macaw disappeared in 2000, it was kind of traumatic for them. Because they lost the symbol of the city, something really unique. And since then there has been a big expectation for the return of the Spix’s Macaw. They are really waiting for that.”
We’ve thrown a lot at this little bird.
Deforestation, habitat destruction, and forced captivity ain’t nothing to sneeze at.
Yet, miraculously, despite all that, Dr. Ian Malcolm’s famous adage still holds true:
At least for one lucky parrot species.
Fly, Spix’s macaw. Fly!
Fly free and never look back!