Puerto Rico Parrot Update
Shared by: vng17747
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Puerto Rican Parrot 2002 Update What are the origins and numbers of What are the current numbers of parrots to be released on May 14, parrots in the wild and in the two 2002? aviaries? On May 14, 2002, nine (9) Puerto Rican The last population survey documented parrots all from the Luquillo Aviary will 21-24 wild parrots. These numbers are be released into the Caribbean National very low, and suggest that either the Forest. Due to a potential threat of a population is declining rapidly or that the serious disease at the Río Abajo Aviary, a wild birds are dispersing to undetermined decision was made not to use parrots sites in or outside CNF. As of the end of from that aviary until the health issues March 2002, we had 144 Puerto Rican are completely addressed. Nevertheless, parrots at both aviaries including 16 the group of nine parrots to be released hatchlings. Less than 24 individuals, includes two birds transferred from the however, comprise the fertile breeding Río Abajo Aviary in 2001. These are birds population at both aviaries. The low that were not ready to be released last number of fertile pairs highlights the year. need to improve husbandry techniques including remodeling the aviary facilities Why is the release scheduled for and infrastructure. In order to resolve May? major safety and health concerns for both parrots and employees, the Service is The wild parrots start flocking after the proposing the relocation of the Luquillo breeding season (usually the end of May). Aviary. This action is expected to enhance Scientists believe that it is easier for the opportunities for the formation of new What are the survival rates and released birds to integrate into the wild pairs and breeding success at Luquillo. causes of mortality of parrots from flock following the breeding season. the two previous releases? Rapid integration into the wild flock may In 2000, ten (10) captive-reared parrots increase chances of survival for the were released into the Caribbean released birds. National Forest (CNF). Sixteen (16) additional birds were released in the When will the next release be and summer of 2001. The survival of these why? released parrots can only be documented USFWS scientists will not release parrots for 9-12 months after their release due to in 2003 and perhaps not in 2004. Further the life expectancy of the batteries in the evaluation is needed to continue refining radio telemetry transmitters each the release techniques. Time is also released bird is wearing. Five of the ten needed to increase the numbers of birds parrots released in 2000 were still alive that are suitable for release. In addition, a after 9 months. In 2001, transmitters greater number of parrots will be signals for nine (9) of the sixteen (16) necessary in order to start a second wild parrots were lost , within five (5) months population in the Karst region of after their release. Since that time, northern Puerto Rico. During 2003 and USFWS personnel has been unable to 2004, scientists will concentrate on locate them again. Three released developing the plans and strategies to parrots, from 2001, were confirmed alive start this new phase of the release 9 months after the release, and four program including building the either succumbed to predation by Red- infrastructure necessary for pre-release tailed hawks or died of other causes. The training in Río Abajo Commonwealth fate of the remaining released parrots is Forest. undetermined at this time. It appears that predation by Red-tailed hawks may Meanwhile, USFWS personnel will be a major mortality factor for both wild concentrate on improving census PR parrots and those released from methods, and searching for parrot captivity. activity within CNF and surrounding areas to confirm the parrot’s current status in the wild.