By Jafet Vélez-Valentín
I hope these short lines find all of you and your loved ones doing great and having success in your personal goals, your plans, and your projects. As I always mention, the success of the captive management of the endangered Puerto Rican Amazon, is a collaborative effort between the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (José L. Vivaldi Memorial Aviary, better known as the Río Abajo Aviary) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Iguaca Aviary former Luquillo Aviary). Together, we had another great year. Ricardo Valentín, the Rio Abajo Aviary Manager and Aviculturist ended the 2014 breeding season with 46 fledglings and at the Iguaca Aviary we ended with 37 fledglings. That is a total of 83 fledglings in a season.
But the greatest news is yet to come. As you may know, the purpose of this program is the recovery of such an endangered species in the wild. So every year through different methods we release Puerto Rican Parrots into the wild in historically occupied habitat. Well, some of them are already breeding in the wild in artificial nesting cavities. But this year “mother nature” had a surprise, an awesome surprise. JongPiel Banchs and Tomas Medina of the DNER found a “Wild”, yes what we call “Wild Nesting Cavity” never managed by human beings, never altered nesting cavity in a Casuarina tree (Honduran Pine, known also as False Pine, Casuarina equisetifolia). Long story-short, the new wild nest, the 1st one in that historical habitat in more than a century, produced the 1st fledglings in the wild in that area in over 100 year. Click on the links here and here with several photos and the full story. As well you will find a link for a short article from Giga Science that “talks” a little about the Puerto Rican Parrot Genome as one of the first published bird genomes (and first Parrot species). Please enjoy the lecture and Happy Conservation Efforts.