Avian Expert Articles

Old Man: A Scarlet Macaw Turns 74

scarlet macaw
photo courtesy Barn Hill Preserve

Aging is an ongoing event that follows every living creature. Humans can live up to an age of 120 or slightly more, although not many have enjoyed that boast. Many creatures often live a lifespan that is significantly less than a human. One kind of creature that can live to a great age are some exotic birds. In fact, macaws can live up to 50 years of age in the wild and have been known to exist far longer in captivity in and caring good homes. A macaw can conceivably live close to 100 years of age.

In 2016, a Major Mitchell’s cockatoo named Cookie passed away at the age of 83. She had lived in Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo since she was a year old. Poncho, a green-winged macaw is in her 90s. She has starred in a few Hollywood films, including 102 Dalmations and Ace Ventura. And there’s Charlie, a blue-and-gold macaw unofficially pegged at over 115 years of age. Charlie was once the pet bird of Winston Churchill. Yes, with proper diet and care, a macaw – and other birds with the propensity for long life – can live a significantly long time.

Old Man

scarlet macaw
photo courtesy Barn Hill Preserve

And then there’s Old Man. Old Man is a scarlet macaw, who recently celebrated his birthday at an astounding 74 years of age. Old Man is housed at the Barn Hill Preserve. Barn Hill Preserve is headquartered in Louisiana but maintains a mobile facility in Delaware. Owner Josh Mueller began the Louisiana location back in 2015. Old Man came to the Preserve in 2016, when his then owner could no longer care for him. The submitted papers that accompanied his transfer registered Old Man as having hatched in 1947.

His celebration was held at the Louisiana site with attendance by local seniors to help Old Man mark the new milestone in his life. Cakes (one for Old Man, and one for the attendees), and a birthday card for Old Man were part of the party.

Scarlets: Ageless Beauties

Scarlet macaws are large birds, as the pictures of Old Man can attest to. The scarlet macaw is native to the jungles of Central and South America. Currently, the large bird, which can get to 32 inches in length and weigh upward of 2 pounds, is listed by the watch organization, IUCN, as not threatened. We are pleased with the fact that Scarlet Macaws are still a common bird in their native region. We’re equally pleased – and quite proud – of the longevity of Old Man, who at 74, is a lucky bird to be loved as he is by the community and the caregivers at Barn Hill Preserve. Go for 100, Old Man!

13 thoughts on “Old Man: A Scarlet Macaw Turns 74

  1. This is a wonderful and fascinating article. To many of us who know these birds, their longevity is not surprising. This is what often makes it disturbing when people get these birds without understanding what a long-term commitment they are, and pass them from owner to owner or to a parrot shelter. Equally sad is when an owner passes away and has not made any arrangements for the bird.
    Glad Old Man’s story is a happy one – thanks for posting it.

  2. I want to wish Old Man a very happy birthday from myself and Dalfman my 24 y/o Greenwing whom I have known since he was an egg.

  3. Oh how I love a Scarlet Macaw. It makes me smile that he was born the same year I was. Maybe he’s my twin, a soul mate. Congratulations Old Man.

    1. Hey Old Man is the same age as I am too, I have a African grey bird that is about 45 “Pepe” is his name🌷

  4. Happy birthday Old Man, may you be still with us for another long and healthy years!
    Love you all the way from South Africa!
    I do have a Solomon Eclectus, Jamie Wilson, and I trust that he will also be a very long time with me!
    Enjoy your special day with your human family!

  5. I love this story about Old Man & the other bird’s whom have lived so long!
    I have a Double-Yellow headed Amazon parrot who is 48. I will probably have to will him to a patient
    bird-lover because he is spoiled rotten & they “have their person”

  6. Happy Birthday old Man from myself and Sam my sweet blue and gold macaw 31 years old . Sam has been with since a baby!

  7. I am wishing Old Man a happy birthday and many more. I hope he continues to have a healthy life and much love and treats. I also think he should have bird friends.

  8. Happy Birthday Old Man! May you have many many more! Cleo and Skeeter my Umbrella Cockatoos say happy hatch day, as well as warm wishes from my Abby my goffin Cockatoo!

  9. Happy Birthday georgeous, much love and happiness to you!
    You don’t show your age, you don’t look a day over 10 years old.

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