Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Parrot People

Have I mentioned that Bonaire is participating with 12 other Caribbean islands in the Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival?

Between April 22 to May 22, there are several special events focusing on Bonaire’s birds, especially the Lora (parrot) and the Yellow Oriole. The Bonaire Insider reported that ten biologists will visit Bonaire during the festival.

I met most of them at 5:30 am. at the Washington Park entrance this past Saturday morning! These young and enthusiastic researchers and a few of us Bonaire residents who are morning people, "early birds," fanned out across the park to look for Parrot nests for further study and monitoring. Each of us locals, was paired with one of the Parrot People, who took copious notes of the Parrot activity we observed.

Watching the day dawn from a hillside vantage point in Washington Park was worth the 5 am. alarm clock, even if we hadn't seen any parrots. We saw plenty of parrots, and as it turns out, my eagle eyed partner, Tom, did spot a likely looking new nesting spot with his trusty Nikon spotting scope. The team will be watching it closely over the next few months.

Last Wednesday evening, one of the research team leaders, Rowan Martin, presented a brief talk about the social, mating, nesting, and nurturing habits of parrots. Between that talk and the information sheet that Sam Williams gave us on Saturday morning, I now know a whole lot more about these birds.

There will soon be a Bonaire Parrot web site up and running with infra red nest-cams and other interesting stuff. Right now, you can learn more about the nest finding project at this web page.

Sam has also posted an in depth report on his 2003 Bonaire parrot research project, and you can find some general background material here.

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