PALM BEACH SHORES (CN) – A blue and gold macaw at a South Florida hotel bit off part of a toddler’s finger and ate it, the parents say. After the giant bird “swooped from its perch” in its cage and bit off part of the proferred finger, it “returned to its perch, and proceeded to chew the amputated portion of [the] finger until it was entirely consumed,” the Williams family says.
The family says the Palm Beach Shores Resort had not posted signs warning guests of the bird’s propensity to bite.
The father, Ryan Williams, says he “observed the disturbing and grotesque consumption of his toddler son’s finger by [a] wild and vicious Blue-and-Gold Macaw parrot that [the resort] maintained on its premises,” at the Tiki Bar and restaurant.
Williams had taken his wife and 1-year-old son to dinner, where they were seated near the bird’s cage. Macaws are kept in poolside enclosures at the resort, which is a popular destination for tourists on Singer Island. Williams says he took his son to one of the cages, and that the 14-month-old toddler stuck his finger in.
The 3-foot-tall bird “swooped from its perch,” clamped its beak onto the child’s index finger, “and in doing so, traumatically amputated a portion of plaintiff Gavin Williams’ left index finger,” according to the complaint.
The complaint continues: “Plaintiff Ryan Williams, after passing Gavin Williams to his mother to care for him, then attempted to locate and recover the portion of the finger that had been traumatically amputated, including to be able to attempt to save the finger for medical reattachment.
“The blue-and-gold macaw parrot … retained the amputated portion of the finger in its beak, returned to its perch, and proceeded to chew the amputated portion of plaintiff Gavin Williams’ finger until it was entirely consumed.”
Hotel managers declined to comment on the case. Bold-print warning signs are now posted in front of the tropical bird cages.
“I wouldn’t stick my fingers near those cages,” a bartender said. He said he wasn’t working when the incident occurred.
Macaws’ powerful beaks can break Brazil nuts with ease. One longtime parrot breeder told a reporter that one of his macaws totally separated his index finger at the knuckle with a nip that seemed to cost the bird no effort at all.
According to Colorado-based Avalon Aviaries’ Web site, macaws can become frightened when approached by strangers.
“If you don’t use caution when approaching macaws that don’t know you, you could get a significant bite,” the Web site states.
The Williams family seeks medical costs and damages for negligence. They are represented in Palm Beach County Court by Lee Teichner with Holland & Knight of Miami.