In the tropical forests surrounding the riverside village of Urique, hikers can stumble across chili peppers, bananas, oranges, and papaya growing wild. In the slot canyons, guerilla crops of marijuana dot the landscape. And high in the treetops, flocks of military macaws (named for their green plumage, resembling a military parade uniform) squawk and socialize.
During the winter season, it’s difficult to find these macaws, but in the springtime the flourish.
And they make quite a ruckus
Hiking to the hilltop village of Naranjo, I filled my backpack with wild oranges and red ripened chili peppers. I had been hiking the forests for several days without spotting a single military macaw, and was resigned to not see any during this particular trip. It was March, after all, and the season had only just begun to change. But as I climbed the hill, through the rough-hewn circuit of hiking trails and patches of marijuana fields, I was delighted to hear the loud cracking and shrieking sounds of a macaw. Knowing that they live in large groups, I was confident there would be more than just the one.
Today’s photograph is one macaw in particular that I kind of made friends with. These birds can live up to sixty years in the wild, and they are a rowdy, social bunch. I managed to teach this one my name, Joe, and he definitely enjoyed hamming it up for the camera.