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Angry Monkeys

Sunday, March 30, 2014

I was talking to the animals, Doolittle style, and making a big big fuss over the female great curassow at Don Alvaro's wonderful animal sanctuary. And the little paca was sooo hurt and jealous. If ever there were an accusatory paca, this is it. I am pretty sure that had I been able to get into the enormous flight cage where it lived, it would have climbed onto my lap, demanded a belly rub, and given me what-for. 

Note the hands. I was smitten with this snooty little guinea pig on stilts.

Speaking of that flight cage: It's more like a hacking cage. About 10' off the ground there are several enormous holes cut in the chain link, and the macaws go in and out of them. It's like a big halfway house for them. If they want to feel safe, they go into it and shelter from rain under its partially covered roof. If they want to fly up and down the river or tussle in the treetops, they make their way out. What an elegant system, a system based on trust.

I was delighted to find great green and scarlet macaws enjoying the fruits of a palm right in Don Alvaro's garden. 

I always much prefer taking photos of birds in natural habitat, and these could possibly be useful for publication somewhere.

Extravagant, that's what they are. Flaunting their colors.

I loved watching them fly from tree to tree.

Soon, however, trouble arrived in the form of several wild white-faced capuchins. 

Monkeys suffer for our perceptions, having our anthropomorphism so freely applied to them. But I gotta say: the look on this monkey's face says it all. She was a real piece of work. She wanted the peanuts that Don Alvaro was offering to the macaws, and she resented their having any of them.

So she'd rush the big birds and race to the peanut bowl and grab double handfuls of the nuts and then gobble them down. Which was OK. But then, when the peanuts were all gone, she spent the afternoon racing through the treetops deliberately flushing the macaws for no apparent reason.  Showing off?

Planning an attack on a scarlet macaw which was minding its own business. She reminded me of a tiny catcher behind the plate. 

I had to smile when Mario said, "I don't like those capuchins. They are just nasty animals, always making trouble."

The macaws retreated to the palms to eat.

and continued their storm-trooper like passes through the yard. Cracked squawks and screams rang out continually, but they seemed perfectly in place, not dissonant as they are when echoing off the walls of a room.

Seeing the birds free to do whatever they pleased all day long was such a treat. I wished there were more places like this, where macaws could be free to realize their potential, to pick mates and perhaps raise young.

How I wished there were still tens of thousands of scarlets and great greens in Costa Rica, instead of just hundreds.

We primates are always finding something to be perturbed about. Even in Paradise.


Love the pictures, it looks like they are playing tug of war, look at the face of the monkey, priceless.I am wondering how it sees the bird with all the flaunting colors, intimidating?

The monkey reminds me of some spoil sport old neighbor, yelling at the neighborhood kids for being kids. "These nuts are in my yard, so they're mine! Mine, you hear me? Now, go home, all of you!"

Posted by Anonymous March 30, 2014 at 3:25 AM

Your writing is beautiful, as are your photos.
I was in Costa Rica this past week, and we were in the Osa Peninsula. It's the last place where the Scarlet Macaws have a healthy and increasing breeding population. We never saw the Green Macaws when we went, as they aren't in range, but the Scarlet Macaws were beautiful. I can understand your appreciation for the amazing birds.
That monkey is super cute!

And therein lies the reason I really don't care for monkeys. I think they remind me too much of our own most retched traits.

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