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April 15

Sam Williams, PhD | Apr 15, 2006


Before we got hold of wild birds Rowan and I wanted to practise our parrot handling and measuring so we could be as efficient as possible and minimise the stress to birds we catch. At the beginning of the year whilst we were still in the UK, Andrew Greenwood and Johanna Storm each gave us a morning of their time to train us in good bird handling practise. Rowan and I came away from the training having leant a vast amount and we’re both really gratefully to Andrew and Johanna for sparing us their valuable time.

Working directly with the parrots is one of the things Ro and I will definitely be doing together. Having kept parrots I’m happy with the handling but taking measurements is a new thing for me, whereas Ro has a lot more experience with the measurements but not with birds that can bite holes in your hands.

Thijs Flahou is a Belgium vet doing a placement her on Bonaire and he’s really into helping with the parrot’s conservation. He has become a good friend and so he was keen to join us when we went to practise what we’d learnt from Andrew and Johanna on some captive parrots. Most of the time he’s looking at dogs, goats and donkeys! We worked on 3 parrots and it all went well, we shuffled the order we did things and improved our whole methodology. To thank the captive parrots for tolerating the harassment, we got them some treats and did a bit of work on their aviary. Following this we caught and rung our first wild parrot. We were disappointed to only catch one bird but now “he” is rung we can identify him and his partner.

At the moment the pairs seem to be checking out cavities. They spend time at several, presumably deciding which one they like most. If you have breeding parrots maybe they’d be happier with a choice too. We did a nest inspection at a site I followed last time I was here. I knew the cavity was deep but this time we checked it out with Rowan’s top purchase: an infra-red camera (which does not need daylight). I abseiled down the cliff and put the tiny camera into the cavity on the end of a long pole whilst Ro watched on a camcorder screen and tried to give me directions. The cavity went into to cliff horizontally for over 3 meters before we found the nest chamber!

Rowan and I practice working together and parrot measuring