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  • Writer's pictureMollye Miller

Unusual Pet Project: #6 Macaws (Charlie & Gerry)

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

Charlie and Gerry: sister macaws

Unusual Pet Project: Charlie & Gerry, sister Macaws.

I got to meet and photograph the pirate parrot duo 🏴‍☠️ Charlie and Gerry @pirate_parrots in Timonium MD. These parrot sisters (ages 2 and 3) are truly sea faring pirate parrots since they’ve lived on a sail boat with their parents Maddie and Herby for the last two years traveling the Atlantic.

It’s amazing enough that the couple - Herby is a dentist and Maddie is an artist - set out to live on a boat for a year and sail the Caribbean and beyond.

But add in the macaws, who they rescued on their travels (more on that soon) and a corgi named Morty, and their adventure sounds more like the premise of a genuinely fascinating reality TV show than a boating trip abroad.

The @baltimoresun ran a story about the couple’s adventure in 2017 and Herby started a @youtube channel and an IG account @riggingdoctor (same handle for youtube) to document their voyage.

They returned to land a few months ago because…they are expecting their first child! Congratulations to them both/all. 💜 As they adjust to life on land and prepare for a baby human to join their “crew” they heard about my project. They wanted to join in to share their story and to share the love they have for their darling (and extremely loud, they say) parrot babies.

More soon about this extraordinary family. For now, here are a few quick facts about these sister parrots:

  • Gerry enjoys sharing bananas, playing fetch (where she throws and Maddie fetches) and snuggling. Her one human English word is “Hello” and she uses it liberally, especially while taking a shower.

  • Charlie is more independent. She prefers snacking on various shelled nuts and taking naps. She enjoys going on drives. Maddie says Charlie had an uncanny sense of direction.

  • To relax with their human parents, Gerry stands in their laps or on Maddie's chest and preens.

  • Charlie chews wood on her perch in the dentist waiting room or stands on Herby’s shoulder in his office between patients. She goes to work with Herby almost every day to the delight of the patients.

  • As for playing, Charlie doesn’t do much playing as he more of the inquisitive, pensive sort.

  • Charlie has sailed 2000 miles of open ocean with Maddie and Herby (and gone to each port with them...whether Herby and Maddie wanted them to accompany or not lol)

  • Gerry loves tickle fights, peekaboo, fetch, color training with balls, and lying being swung around by her feet (see photo below!)

Playing fetch!

Their adorable hoodies!

Look at the gorgeous color of these features and their intricate layered details. I'm in AWE. (also that talon/dinosaur toe!)

Hoodie time. They get cold easily. In the sunshine, Herby and Maddy let them be them be their nude parrot selves.

Puffy head.

The stripes around their eyes deflect light so they can see better in bright sun.

And here are some general Macaw facts:

- they are the largest birds in the parrot family

- they are one of the most colorful birds in the world

- they live 35-60 years but some can live up to 80 or more years 😳

- they choose one mate for their entire lifetime. When a human is in the group, it’s often one human who they choose as their life mate (this is the case for Herby and Maddie - Charlie bonded with Herby and Gerry with Maddie) 💕

- they can crack the hardest nuts 🌰 - Brazil and macadamia nuts - with their beaks

- they require 2 to 4 hours of daily exercise and mental stimulation

- they live primarily in South American rainforests

- in the wild they fly up to 15 miles per day in search of food



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