The Puerto Rican Parrot was listed as an endangered species in 1967. In 1968, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER) began a joint recovery initiative that included breeding the parrots in captivity. The DNER built an Aviary in the Río Abajo State Forest in the municipality of Utuado, with the purpose of establishing a second population of parrots in captivity. In May of 1993, a total of 10 parrots were transferred from the Luquillo Aviary to Río Abajo, in order to continue the captive breeding efforts.
The sightings highlighted in this article took place at the Río Abajo Aviary, during a field trip with a group from an Inter-American University graduate course titled “Investigation Methods in Ecology”. The purpose of the trip was to practice the use of telemetry and transects to estimate populations.
Although bird-watching wasn’t part of the trip’s itinerary, the group was happily surprised to discover half a dozen Puerto Rican Parrots in the wild. Because the parrots were in their mating season, the group wasn’t allowed to come too close to them. Notwithstanding, members of the group were able to see 3 pairs of parrots, for a total of 6 individuals. Miguel García, PhD, who was the professor in charge of the field trip, mentioned that recently-released Puerto Rican Parrots can take up to an entire year before moving away. He also said that, currently, at least 9 nests are being monitored in the area.
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