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Parrots in Peril: Miami’s Wild Macaws

Parrot lover and conservationist Daria Feinstein is on a mission to protect one of Miami’s most spectacular wild residents: the blue-and-yellow macaw (Ara ararauna). Indigenous to Central and South America, these colorful parrots have established a small but well-beloved breeding population in Miami. Today, however, their numbers are crashing as poachers capture the macaws and their chicks for sale into the lucrative pet trade. Florida state law provides no legal protection for these non-native birds, but the state’s wildlife agency considers them “non-invasive” because they don’t seem to compete with or harm native species. Therefore, some municipalities have adopted “bird sanctuary laws” to protect them. How far should we go to protect non-native species, and can Miami’s wild macaws be saved before it’s too late?