Member Login



Auto-login for future visits

Join or Renew Today!

Membership Benefits:

Close Button


End of the season

Toa Kyle | Feb 21, 2007


Things are winding down for the 2006/2007 field season.  Our last nest fledged two chicks a couple of days ago, bringing this season’s total to six chicks, from four nests.  Unfortunately the nest that began incubating in late December was predated when it had two small nestlings.  I’m guessing either Toco Toucans or Crane Hawks were responsible.  Both these species frequent the island where this nest is found.  With the loss of this nest we can see that predation remains the main cause of nest failure for Blue-throated Macaw (BTM) nests.  Of the seven active nests we found this season, three were lost to predation.  I strongly believe that the habitat where BTMs are found, forest islands scattered amongst natural grasslands, favors nest predation.  Macaw nests are concentrated in forest islands and are thus more easily located by predators than would be the case in a continuous forest setting, like the Amazon rainforest for example.  All of the main nest predator species have large distributions and are not threatened.  Consequently I think it’s time to seriously consider controlling nest predators around BTM nests.  This may involve trapping and relocating predators away from BTM nesting areas or even shooting persistent individuals.  This type of management will no doubt draw criticism from bird lovers but given the state of BTMs in the wild, we simply can’t allow common species to feed on critically endangered ones. 

On the whole I believe this season has been a success.  For the first time we’ve observed nests with multiple nestlings.  We’ve also seen that many of these nestlings die in the early developmental stages either to starvation (due to parental neglect) or predation.  I’ll be recommending to the Bolivian government the need to captive raise nestlings likely to die if left in the nest.  Ideally we can release these birds into the wild taking maximum precautions to minimize the transmission of disease to other birds.  Captive raised birds have their work cut out for them in terms of learning to locate food resources and avoid predation but I’d rather give them that chance at survival instead of leaving them for dead in the nest.  This type of undertaking will of course be complicated and require more funding and expertise.  I’d like to ask everyone who has enjoyed reading these blogs to consider making a donation to our Blue-throated Macaw project.  We still have a long way to go before this species is fully recovered and as I’ve mentioned previously, we need to raise more money to be more effective in our efforts to save the species from extinction in the wild.  Every type of donation, large or small, helps.  Thanks for reading about our activities this season.  May the 2007/2008 season be even more successful!