Squawk!  Chirp, chirp. Tweet.

Without turning her head, Aquarium biologist Sara Given knows which of the Amazon birds is calling. Gus and Ollie, the hyacinth macaws, are loud and boisterous; the double yellow-headed Amazon and blue-fronted Amazon are less so; and the two Pacific parrotlets are the most demure (relatively speaking, of course).

One of the two Pacific parrotlets. They're relatively quieter than the other birds.

One of the two Pacific parrotlets. They’re relatively quieter than the other birds.

Beyond the cacophony of these birds, she’s also familiar with the splashing of the ringed teals in the pond and the swooshing of the scarlet ibis as they fly through the tree canopy above.

Hearing is not the only sense to be aroused in the Graham Amazon Gallery. Open those peepers wide and watch for different behaviours. Sara suggests looking for the ringed teal’s bathing and preening behaviours. They clean their feathers so they can shed water and regulate their body temperature. You might also see the macaws engage in one of Sara’s enrichment activities, “I hide food — like pellets, nuts and fruit — in the branches around them, which encourages them to forage. This way, they have to move all along their perch.”

The scarlet ibis spend time in the pond, as well as in the tree canopy above.

The scarlet ibis spend time in the pond, as well as in the tree canopy above.

The sounds, the sights and that sticky feeling of being in a humid environment… It all makes for a completely immersive Amazon experience.

Written by Karen Glanzberg, writer-editor, content and digital experience at the Vancouver Aquarium.

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