Saturday, October 12, 2013
The largest flock I have seen to date of Puerto Rican parrots (Amazona vittata) in the Rio Abajo forest.
Since the first releases of the Puerto Rican parrot in the Rio Abajo forest, it has become almost commonplace to see, in certain parts of the forest, small flocks foraging or roosting. These flocks can vary in size, but in my experience, 20 to 30 birds together has been the upper range for these groups. Sometimes I walk in the forest to enjoy the clear afternoons that follow the thunderstorms of that start after noon and to see if I can catch a glimpse of the wild birds.
Seeing PR parrots fly over the forest, during these walks, is always an inspiring sight. Today, as I was walking around the forest just before nightfall I saw a flock sitting on a leafless tree. The moment I saw the group of birds I was thrilled. It was clear this was a very large group for the species. From the photos I took I can count 45 birds on the tree. I took several photos but since light was falling quickly and the birds kept moving, this one probably has the most birds together. In my knowledge this is the largest flock ever documented on a photo.
I could not help but recall an article that I read many years ago, in which the authors said “…we personally doubt the current population exceeds 50 individuals and may even be much smaller. We predict that Puerto Rico is about to lose another of its native birds.”¹ I am happy to say that thank to the work of many, many highly dedicated people, this is one prophecy that didn’t come to pass. Of course our work is not done yet, but as this photo attest, we are on our way.
Recher Harry F, and Recher, Judy T. 1996. A contribution to the knowledge of the avifauna of the Sierra de Luquillo, Puerto Rico. Caribbean Journal of Science. Sept-Dec. 1966