“Howard” the Hyacinth Macaw
This was the first time I gave my bird a name. Howard. I’m not sure if it was the amount of time I spent colouring him, or the fact that AJ was extremely excited for me to draw his bird! Either way, I fell in love with Howard and gave him a personality. He loves Netlfix, caramel-salted popcorn, and fuzzy socks! Today Howard is hanging on my bedroom wall looking very handsome.
For this illustration, I felt ready to move away from my sketchbook and onto professional paper. What I loved about this image from AJ was the composition and large blue feathers. I thought it looked like a photoshoot of a celebrity bird, posed to show his “good side” while smiling into the camera.
About Hyacinth Macaws
Hyacinth macaws are the largest parrots living in central and eastern South America. They are intelligent, social, gentle, and very communicative (meaning they’re squawky chatterboxes). They eat mostly fruit and nut and live in semi-open wooded habitats and palm savannas, but they’re not found in dense canopies. While some people may try to keep them as pets, they’re difficult to care for and can develop neurotic/paranoid behaviours and become destructive. They are the happiest when living in the wild amongst their friends, not in a cage.
There is a plight to save these gentle giants in the wild. In captivity, they are hard to care for and seldom reach their lifespan of 60 years in the wild. Their population has declined greatly due to habitat loss, illegal bird trade, and hunting for their meat and feathers. Bird Life International has labelled hyacinth macaws as “vulnerable” under the “globally threatened” category.
Growing up in India and now residing in Australia, AJ has always had a fondness for wildlife and felt very fortunate to rekindle with nature 20 years later. One day he picked up a camera and started taking simple pictures of the little things while on his morning bush-walks. During these walks he was able to observe birds in their natural habitat, which sparked his passion for bird photography. Since then, he’s travelled around Australia and parts of the world focusing on birds because it fills him with a deep sense of joy. AJ strongly believes that photography is a great tool to create awareness and educate the younger generation about native flora and fauna. He believes in inspiring them to have a desire in protecting Mother Nature. His dream is to continue to travel the world photographing different species and connecting with people who have similar interests. You can visit his gallery on Instagram @jose_aj10.