Oliver Regueiro – Earthbound | Portrait Series of Captive Birds

A series of portraits of captive macaws and cockatoos. Most of them have been abandoned and now live in a sanctuary. I wanted to create awareness about the issue of pet birds and illegal trade of exotic birds. Also want to continue the project and focus now on the trade aspect. Each portrait comes with a brief story about how the bird ended up at a sanctuary. The idea is to humanize the birds for people to connect in a more personal way with the series.

Project Earthbound by Oliver Regueiro has been awarded with the First Place Award in Nature category at Photogrvphy Grant 2017.

Oliver Regueiro – Seattle based fine art, editorial and advertising photographer. For the past 6 years he has been working mostly on personal projects.

Website: oliverregueiro.com

BJ – Female. Blue and gold macaw (Ara ararauna). Rescued 3 years ago by a sanctuary in Florida. Her owners were selling their house and going to live in an RV and travel. The owner said that BJ had previously been owned by a man in a neighboring city and he had three Macaws and two of them beat up on BJ all the time and she plucked herself naked. They also broke one of her wings and the owner never sought veterinarian care for it. The man would beat on her cage with a broom to get the macaws to be quiet. The sanctuary placed her with a friend and when that friend died recently a sanctuary in Washington was called to take BJ in.
SIMBA – Female. Moluccan cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis). Simba arrived at the sanctuary in 2001 from another rescue who was unable to successfully place her and her then companion because Simba was a major mutilator. This is different from plucking. She was pretty plucked as well. Mutilation is defined as physical damage to their own flesh. In her case, she had a large crater like wound in her chest, right across her keel bone. Upon examination by the local veterinarian, who also took x-rays, it was discovered that her keel bone had at one time been shattered beyond repair. And judging from the bone shards and calcification, never had any medical care. There was a lot of scar tissue too. And whenever it was particularly annoying or possible painful, Simba would gnaw on herself to try to alleviate the problem. Over the years, we’ve had to treat it surgically, topically and lately, with cold laser therapy. But today she is as healthy as she’s probably ever going to be. She’s happy and mostly healed up. She wears a lot of body armor but appears to be rather comfortable in general. She was Chicky’s best friend.
CHLOE & MERLOT – Females. Gold and blue macaws (Ara ararauna). They both came from a sanctuary in Portland, Oregon. Both severely plucked with blown air sacs and cataracts. They go everywhere together.
BELLA ROSE – Female. Goffin cockatoo (Cacatua goffiniana). Purchased as a baby by a lady who ended up not being able to keep her. The sanctuary boarded her for 6 months prior to moving to a new location and the owner thought she’d be happiest at the sanctuary. She was adopted but for some reason she began to pluck and over pluck in the new home. The new home ran hundreds and hundreds of medical tests and could never find a reason for this. She was regretfully returned to the sanctuary. We were able to capture only this one photograph of her before she jump from the perch and hurt her elbow. She was fine but we didn’t want to stress her too much.
SUNRISE – Female. Catalina macaw. Sunrise is a retired breeder that was not able to have successful hatchlings. All of her babies had major handicaps and would die soon after hatching or within the first year. She was being sent to two different sanctuaries. We are unsure of her age as she has not documentation. She does have splayed legs but is able to get around just fine!
DUNKIN – Male. African Gray (Psittacus timneh). Was dropped off at the sanctuary with three other birds in 2013. Is doing fine at the new home.
KAYLIE – Female. African Gray (Psittacus erithacus). Arrived at the sanctuary in 2010. Her owner had her since she hatched and lived in a small mobile home community now so neighbors were complaining about her noise. She wanted Kaylie to be free to fly and do what ever she wanted so she gave her to the sanctuary.
CHICKY – Female. Moluccan Cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis). Arrived at the sanctuary in 2009 after her owner passed away and no one in the family wanted her. 2 months after she arrived, she started spewing blood out of her mouth and nose. The veterinarian discovered high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a heart murmur and a small piece of metal stuck in her gizzard. They got Chicky’s medical situation under control and she’s been great ever since. Sadly, Chicky passed away 4 days after we photographed her.
BUBBA – Male. African Gray (Psittacus erithacus). Arrived to the sanctuary in 2014 from California. He was in a flock environment but his flock was given away to someone else so Bubba started plucking himself more. His owner, a veterinarian, sent Bubba to the sanctuary.
ELIZABETH – Female. Green-winged Macaw (Ara chloropterus). Arrived to the sancturay in 2011 when her owner did not want to pay for vet care. They were buying a new house and said that Elizabeth needed medical treatment and they would rather have her euthanized than pay for her care. The sanctuary took her in and changed her diet as well as gave her physical therapy for a previously broken leg. She thrived! She is definitely a favorite with the volunteers since she goes to everyone for loving.