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Julio’s Birthday on Big Day of Giving – Donate Now!

Categories: Animal Ambassador, Animal Profile, Animals, BIG Day of Giving

The Big Day of Giving is finally here!

From midnight to 11:59 pm today, you can donate here to support the Sacramento Zoo.

May 4th is a special day at the Sacramento Zoo, not only because of the Big Day of Giving, but it’s also Julio the Blue and Gold Macaw’s 26th Birthday! Julio has lived at the Sacramento Zoo for 25 years and has been winning the hearts of Zoo visitors ever since. As an Animal Ambassador, Julio works with many staff members in the Interpretive Center (IC) to demonstrate his wonderful adaptations and characteristics that enable his species to survive in the wild. Julio is then able to participate in Wildlife Stage Shows and ZooMobile presentations, educating the public about animals and animal conservation.

Since Julio has been around for so long, many of the staff in the IC have some great stories about what he likes, his favorite people, and his favorite activities. One of Julio’s more clever behaviors is that while IC staff are working in their office, Julio will walk across the floor to another birds’ enclosure to sample their food. Since his nails make noise as they click across the floor, Julio has learned to walk on his heels to lessen the sound and his chances of being caught!

Julio the Blue & Gold Macaw & Keeper LaraLara and Julio have been working together in the Interpretive Center for 21 years. Because they have worked together for so long, Julio is very comfortable with Lara. When introduced to a new situation, Lara is sure to be there to put Julio at ease. Lara’s favorite enrichment to give Julio is a cardboard box with newspaper. He loves to manipulate things with his beak and will work on tearing the box apart until nothing but tiny shreds of cardboard are left.

Julio & Keeper SamThough Julio has typically shown a preference for female staff members, Sam Curtis is one IC staff member who has a close relationship with Julio. Julio will often “lure” Sam into his enclosure (by slowly backing up) and then “share” his food with Sam, regurgitating food into Sam’s hand. In the wild, this is a behavior that parrots often practice with flock mates, so Sam is one very lucky flock mate, indeed!

Julio & LindsayLindsay is the newest staff member in the IC. When it comes to working with parrots there is certainly a learning curve, meaning Julio may not always listen to requests from Lindsay as quickly as he might for some of the staff that has been working with him longer. However, every day their training relationship gets better and the two of them certainly enjoy each other’s company and have a lot of fun together. Julio is particularly fond of preening Lindsay, which is a grooming behavior that parrots do in flocks to strengthen bonds and keep each other clean and healthy.

Julio is known in the IC for being very clever. Mike knows this firsthand, as he and Julio have worked on many new behaviors together. Of course, Julio will offer these behaviors willingly, just so long as there are treats involved. Mike also enjoys that Julio is quite the “ham”, often showing off in front of the cameras.

Julio & ChrisNail trimming is not necessarily a fun experience for any animal, but Julio will lift up his feet and allow Chris to do this without hesitation. Since she had previous experience working with parrots, Julio and Chris got along right away when she joined the IC staff. Chris and Julio will also play games, such as when he is working on a cardboard box enrichment, she will say “who’s in there?” and Julio will pop up out of the box!

Julio’s relationship with each of the keepers he works with is just one example of the excellent animal care and dedication that the zookeepers at the Sacramento Zoo demonstrate. It is because of the amazing support from the community that the Zoo is able to provide first-rate animal care and unique experiences for all who visit. Show your support for the Sacramento Zoo and the Big Day of Giving by making a donation today at

Here is how you can help!

Make a donation today!

  • Donations can be as small as $15 or as large as $10,000.
  • Everyone who donates $100 or more will have a chance to win a behind-the-scenes tour of the Interpretive Center and a chance to meet some of the amazing Animal Ambassadors like Julio!

Make your donation count even more!

Spread the word – Your help makes a BIG impact

Your contribution of any amount will help the Sacramento Zoo continue to care for the amazing animals that call the Zoo home.

New this year, make a donation on the Big Day of Giving and receive FREE admission to the Zoo on May 4th! Just show your donation confirmation at the Front Entrance and you will get to visit the Zoo free of charge. Limit one entry per donation. Admission only valid on May 4th.

Thank You!!

Julio & his Keepers