“How can we survive here, in this never-before world?”

The ecologist Carl Safina writes that “macaws are born to be wild. But becoming wild requires an education.” He wonders what happens when habitat loss or other pressures force them to relocate. What happens when caring humans rescue macaws and move them into a new region? Do those glorious creatures somehow ask “How can we survive here, in this never-before world?”

After all, when macaws come to a new area, they need to learn what to eat, how to find food and shelter, and how to contend with the elements and predators. They actually need to develop a new language that fits their new environment and challenges – their old songs just don’t work. As newcomers, they don’t have survival lessons (we’d say of humans the “street smarts”) upon which they can draw. The birds have discovered a new region, but now they need to create a new culture that makes the land their home.

We are thrilled to see Great Green and Scarlet Macaws that have recently arrived Finca Luna Nueva; they bring delight to us and our guests, and they tell us that we’ve created a welcoming habitat for these glorious species. But as Carl Safina explains, our new residents need to develop a cultural wisdom of survival that can be passed on to what we hope are countless generations of the species. Safina’s recent article in The Guardian, linked below, has deepened our appreciation for the challenges confronted by macaws. They’re our challenges, too. We, too, are being challenged to find new ways to survive in a “never-before world.” May we and all our sister and brother species learn how to thrive in a regenerated world!


When coming to Finca Luna Nueva for birding and other nature experiences, our resident expert Royvin Gutierrez is always here to guide you. We are also blessed with independent professionals like Alberto “Beto” Palma and “Nature Man Mike,” whose photos we’ve used in this blog. Beto is our neighbor and is always available for birding expeditions at our lodge or in nearby areas, and Nature Man Mike regularly brings tour groups to our lodge. http://www.naturemanmike.com

Mr. Safina’s article is an extract from his recent book Becoming Wild: How Animals learn to be Animals, published in the UK by Oneworld and in the US by Henry Holt and Co.