Memphis the Macaw and the Realities of Caring For Wildlife

Not long ago, we introduced you to Memphis, an injured juvenile macaw we’d taken in, hoping to help him heal, with the intention that he’d eventually be released back into the wild. 

After we discovered via x-ray that Memphis had a broken leg and wing, he went to the big city to have an orthopedist and exotic specialist perform surgery. After a month, when he returned for follow-up x-rays and pin removal, we sadly learned that his wing did not heal properly and he would never be able to fly again. 

Memphis would need yet another surgery to remedy the situation with his wing, but in the meanwhile, he would have to return back to the sanctuary for the holidays while all of the vets involved decided on the next steps. We searched for a lifelong home where he would have space and the companionship of others of his kind. As wildlife rehabilitators, it is important to maintain a healthy distance from animals you believe will eventually return to the wild. Once we knew that Memphis could not be safely released, we were able to be a bit more interactive and affectionate with him – and he stole our hearts. 

Recently, Memphis went in for his follow-up surgery. Mateus, who is a vet himself, accompanied Memphis to the orthopedist. Sadly, while under anesthesia, Memphis stopped breathing and passed away. Our hearts are broken because Memphis quickly became a sweet and naughty presence here at the sanctuary. He was young and cooperative, loved human help with scratching his itches, but also a chatty housemate who talked often to the other macaws around. 

In our profession, you know you will face loss and heartbreak; each animal finds their own way into your heart. Memphis made a huge impression on everyone during his time here. It seems too quiet all of a sudden. But, you grieve, move forward, and take the lessons you learned from that loss with you for the next time. 

Memphis has been privately cremated and we will release his ashes at the back of the sanctuary property. We have put together a few moments that show off his salty, yet charming, personality. We miss him already. We wish we’d all had more time together. 


  1. REPLY

    poor, poor Memphis…but oh how lucky he was that he fell into your arms and precious care. God Bless him and all of you!!!

  2. REPLY
    Constance S. Harris says

    So beautiful ❤️

  3. REPLY
    Allison Millman says

    Rest well dear Memphis ❤️

  4. REPLY
    Sherry says

    I am so sorry for the loss of Memphis. He is a beautiful bird! Thank you sanctuary for caring for him!
    Love to you all!❤️

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Thank you. We already miss him so much. He was such a bright spirit.

  5. REPLY
    Angie Gibson says

    Those expressive beautiful eyes…..we will miss you Memphis ❤️
    Strength, peace and comfort to everyone 🙏

  6. REPLY
    Beji says

    Fly high, Memphis. RIP

  7. REPLY
    lauren radspinner says

    Lots of Love. He will be missed <3

  8. REPLY
    Alana says

    I’m so sorry for your loss of Memphis. R.I.P. sweet boy.

  9. REPLY
    Debbie Sides says

    Oh Memphis was absolutely darling. Rest in peace dear boy. We send hugs to you all that helped him and I’m glad he experienced paradise on earth at ESB before he flew over the rainbow🌈

  10. REPLY
    Cyr Ann says

    I’m heartbroken to hear of Memphis’s passing:(
    I had a blue and gold macaw for 20 years and they truly are an amazing pet/family member.
    RIP dear one.

  11. REPLY
    Wim says

    R.I.P. Memphis 🕯️💔😥
    You’ve tried to heal a friend in need. The magic of non-human sentient power is often miraculous. They always find the bridge to your heart. Wish you strength and courage.

  12. REPLY
    Charlotte Hansen says

    A lovely tribute, I’m so sorry for your loss.

  13. REPLY
    JoAnn Merriman-Eaton says

    Memphis, you beautiful boy. R.I.P. forever at GSE. You will be missed by your admirers from afar, but missed most of all by your family that cared for you, and loved you at GSE.

  14. REPLY
    Gail Lindley says

    RIP beautiful Memphis
    Thank you for giving him a chance.

  15. REPLY
    JamesMichael says

    Be at peace, beautiful SPIRIT…

  16. REPLY
    Gayle says

    I’m so sorry sweet Memphis passed away. What a charming, entertaining young guy he was. I’m sure he was grateful for all the love and care he received from all the human angels who loved and cared for him. He is now soaring free at the Rainbow Bridge and I’m sure he is overseeing daily operations and making sure all is well at the sanctuary, his earthly home. ❤️

  17. REPLY
    Amie says

    Both beautiful and heartbreaking. Fly high, sweet Memphis ❤️

  18. REPLY
    Carey says

    I’m so sorry to hear of the death of the beautiful Memphis, to all of you who knew him, thank you for trying

  19. REPLY
    Patricia says

    My deepest condolences. My house is covered with animal pictures. Elephants and other big animals in the living room, sea creatures and a photograph of a beautiful Memphis lookalike in my bedroom. I am heartbroken for you. 💙💛💚

  20. REPLY
    Lori Hoover says

    Aww, I remember when you first introduced us to Memphis. I am so sorry to all of you, and him, that he did not make it. I’m not sure I can watch the whole video yet, I remember falling in love with him during that first video, but I will do so soon. I want to see it, just not ready to cry yet. Again, I am so sorry for the loss. Thank you for all everyone did for him. It’s important, it matters.

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