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Tail of the Week: Macaw!

Tail of the Week: Macaw

A macaw is a colorful parrot with a long feathered tail. There are several varieties: Scarlet Macaws have bright rainbow-colored feathers and are intelligent birds. Blue and Gold Macaws have feathers that are only – you guessed it! – blue and gold. They can learn tricks and may live as long as 50 years. The Hyacinth Macaw’s feathers are all blue, but sometimes different shades of blue. Hyacinths are the largest macaw. Other types of macaws are red, or green yet all of them are beautiful. They prefer to live in the rainforest but have adapted to other habitats, and some are even kept as pets.

There are very few children’s books about macaws. Feast your eyes on more than 180 photos of tropical birds in Parrots & Rainforest Birds by Tom Jackson, which features macaws as well as hummingbirds, flamingos, and toucans. Macaws by Jaclyn Jaycox is on order, so you can place a hold on it at the Library’s website and be among the first to get it when it’s ready. Since a macaw is a type of parrot, you might look at the award-winning Parrots Over Puerto Rico Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trombore, which tells the true story of how scientists saved the beautiful green parrot from near extinction in recent times.

Since there are no macaw stories available in print, perhaps you can write your own! You can make up an original story, or change a familiar tale like The Three Pigs. What if there were three macaws going out into the world to find their homes? Make a puppet to act out your story with the craft below, and have fun!

Macaw Stick Puppet

What you need:

  • Colorful paper, including yellow or orange
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Tape
  • Straw
  • Black marker or crayon
  • White chalk or crayon

What you do:

  1. Fold the paper in half (computer paper is just the right size when folded). Trace or draw a large circle and, with the paper still folded, cut it out. You will have 2 circles!
  2. Repeat step 1 to make a pair of medium circles and a pair small circles. Use different colors, any colors you like.
  3. Cut a small circle from yellow or orange paper and cut it in half. This will form the beak.
  4. Cut 2 tiny circles from white paper for the eye.
  5. Cut three or more strips from different colors of paper for the tail.
  6. To assemble the bird: Apply glue to both large circles. Place the straw near the bottom center of one circle to form the puppet handle and then put the second circle on top of it.
  7. Rub hard with your fingers! Glue works best when you use it generously and add friction (rubbing). Leave a small opening on the side for the tail feathers.
  8. Glue the small circles together on each side of the body to make the head.
  9. Cut the yellow circle in half and glue the halves together on each side of the head to make the beak.
  10. Glue the tiny white circles to each side of the head and draw the eyes with black marker.
  11. Cut the medium circle in half. Snip with scissors along the curved edges to make feathers and glue them on each side of the body. TIP: If you place them near the top and partly off the paper, it will look like the bird is flying.
  12. Use white chalk to draw a mask around the eyes. Use the black marker to make little “smile” marks on the bird’s body for its feathers.
  13. Remember the strips of paper in step 5, and the opening in step 7 above? Fold each of the strips of paper in half (but don’t crease) and glue the ends together. Slide them between the body circles for the bird’s tail feathers. Apply more glue to close the opening.

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