After almost a month in incubation, a Scarlet Macaw broke through its shell. The baby hatched on March 26, 2023 from rescued Macaw parents in Costa Rica at the Macaw Recovery Network (MRN).

In honor of Southwick’s Zoo’s generous support to the Macaw Recovery Network, Betsey Brewer, Executive Director at Southwick’s Zoo and EARTH Ltd, MRN gave her the exciting opportunity to name the hatchling. After brief contemplation, Brewer landed on the name Cosmo.

Within the next year or two, Cosmo will be released in the wild along with other Scarlet Macaw chicks.

The Macaw Recovery Network(MRN) is an environmental program in Costa Rica whose mission is to protect and recover endangered parrot populations in the Americas. Betsey Brewer chose to support MRN through Southwick’s Zoo because she believes in its mission. 100% of the funds raised for the MRN through Southwick’s Zoo go directly to the conservation of parrot species.

The MRN’s recovery programs focus on hands-on conservation to help bring these birds back from the brink of extinction.

“The impact of parrot conservation goes far beyond just protecting parrots, it supports entire ecosystems,” said Dr. Carl Jones, a scientific advisor to the MRN.

Macaw populations in the Americas face many threats, but the biggest ones are deforestation and the illegal bird trade.

Though macaw species have been legally protected in Costa Rica since 1993, illegal poaching continues to this day. Trapped and removed from their natural habitats birds are sold through the exotic pet trade.

Historic deforestation of rainforest has greatly impacted the populations of bird species in the Americas. The loss of Mountain Almond trees devastated the Great Green Macaws. Although once prevalent throughout the entire Caribbean slope, Great Green Macaws are now considered critically endangered. They rely on these trees for feeding and nesting.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the Scarlet Macaw at the lowest level of concern for extinction. However, in Costa Rica much of their former habitats have been destroyed or impacted by deforestation.

The Recovery Program at the MRN is led and developed by Dr. Sam Williams. Teams in the field monitor wild nests and help ensure chick survival. MRN’s breeding center homes upwards of 80 rescued Scarlet and Great Green Macaws. The birds are provided with the best quality of life in natural environment aviaries to raise their young and prepare for release.

To ensure that macaw populations don’t disappear, MRN works with local communities to address issues that are affecting parrot species. The MRN’s Community Outreach program encourages locals to become rangers and involves local landowners in reforestation. The MRN also has a program that focuses on habitat protection and restoration.

By protecting these birds and their habitat, we can support biodiversity conservation in one of the world’s most biologically important areas, the rainforests.

How can you help?

At Southwick’s Zoo, visit the show arena and consider making a donation to the MRN or Bird Endowment during the Avian Adventure Bird Show! The money raised during each Bird Show also goes towards building new nesting boxes through Bird Endowment for the critically endangered Blue Throated Macaw.