If you are from the Diego Martin area you may have seen a Macaw flying around.
Well, it’s very possible that that was Gruff, a free-flying Macaw that belongs to Katrianna Rezende and her family.
“We had him from a baby,” Rezende said.
Gruff, who is about two years old, was rescued by the Rezende family who do not believe in keeping birds in confined spaces.
“We don’t typically clip their wings—that is not something we’ve ever really done,” she said.
So from the moment Gruff learnt to fly, Diego Martin and sometimes beyond became his backyard but Rezende said he comes back home every day.
“Every single morning and evening he goes and he flies,” she said.
But the family’s decision to have Gruff free fly came with consequences—he was taken more than once.
Someone even clipped his wings and he couldn’t fly for months.
Rezende said it was a heart-wrenching experience letting Gruff go back out after those incidents but she and her family believe birds are meant to fly.
“Those first few flights, we knew we took a chance every day and we said this is a bird for us to deprive a bird of flight because of our own personal fears it didn’t feel right to us,” she said.
Gruff’s free-flying did not only bring bad results but joy to many people who see and interact with the Macaw.
“I’m happy that I was able to let go of my fear enough to let this bird live his life 100 per cent and not interfere with that process and then it’s so nice to see him interact with other people,” she said.
Rezende started a Facebook page (Adventures of Gruff) for the bird, which now has over 1,300 followers.
They post their interactions with Gruff there.
“He shows that something different is possible,” Rezende said.
Pictures of people feeding and petting Gruff have been posted to the page. There are videos of the bird flying between cars on the highway or over the St Anthony’s College Swimming Pool. He visits the riders on the Diego Martin highway every weekend.
“Gruff what you doing, you’re showing off,” one woman said in a video she recorded of Gruff on a tree which she posted to the page.
Magaret Sheppard said, “Love Gruff. He has so much personality.”
Geeta Scarpa wrote, “This bird makes my day every time I see him.”
Melissa Mohammed said Gruff is now T&T’s pet.
The Zoo has offered the Rezende family to put an identification tag on their bird and while they are considering it they just hope that people would let these beautiful creatures be.
“If you want to interact with them, you’d be surprised if you set it up as an opportunity where you put out food they will come but it’s just we are not accustomed to it,” she said.