LOCAL LEGEND HAS IT that Macaw Mountain, or Mo' Witz as the Mayans would say, was named by the Mayans more than 1500 years ago. Throughout the 1000 year reign of the Mayan Empire it was evident in daily life that the Mayans revered the splendor and beauty of the macaw and its habits.
Humans and macaws have always enjoyed a relationship on some level but the Mayans took this relationship to a spiritual level. The ruling elite and the religious community integrated the scarlet macaw into their lives and culture in so many ways that it is difficult to separate myth from reality.
The Mayans explain their creators' eternal existence through the marriage of the snake and bird in the feathered serpent. The serpent, with a head on each end, and endowed with the birds' ability to fly to and from the heavens, had no beginning and no end. The Macaw Mountain project is a logical extension of the relationship the Mayans had with this land, their most respected creatures and themselves. Macaws are the most common birds represented in Mayan art and architecture.
The macaws and most of the Mayans have moved on from Macaw Mountain. Today a new affiliation between the majestic ara macao and a few concerned individuals has developed a new passionate relationship reigniting the majestic scarlet macaw with Macaw Mountain and the people of central America.
This story begins in the 1980's when Lloyd Davidson adopted two scarlet macaws left in the lurch when a bank repossessed a resort on Roatan Island. Mandy Wagner, a friend, and also a bird lover and resident of Roatan Island, developed an interest in these birds and began helping with their care. Many local Hondurans have parrots as pets and a few close encounters with other parrots and toucans impassioned her to begin looking after the unwanted and neglected parrots of Roa tan Island.
Gradually Mandy added some amazons to the collection and gained the reputation as "bird lady," and the flow of birds began in earnest.
When Mandy had to unexpectedly leave the Island in 1994 Lloyd became the primary caretaker of the growing collection that now numbered about 35 parrots. By making his hobby open to the public he soon found that he was, quite by accident, educating the locals and other visitors about the husbandry needs of these personable birds. As the collection grew a small park developed and was eventually opened to the public.
The park was open about four months when Hurricane Mitch visited the island in 1998 and changed the destiny of the parks residence. The small park was destroyed; however all the birds were safe. Just prior to the storm Lloyd had moved the now, 80+ parrots to his "Flying Fish" warehouse and all were saved. In the process of redesigning and rebuilding the park Lloyd found that his vision and standards were changing and that the area no longer could provide the environment he desired for his flock.