At dawn, the first rays of sunlight illuminate the forest of the Tambopata - Candamo and Bahuaja-Sonene National Park in the southeast corner of Peru. Spread the thick mist floating over the Tambopata River. I watch intently as the clay cliffs on the banks of the river appear slowly. I'm trying to spot any sign of life. Suddenly, I hear a familiar sound by fog, the distinct call of a blue and yellow macaw. The activity of the day has begun.
A typical walk through the pristine forest surrounding the Tambopata River reveals an astonishing collection of living creatures, giant ceiba a gregarious and noisy monkeys and toucans huanganas stale. The jungle contains many hidden treasures, but our research focuses on one of his most renowned inhabitants: collpas bright and bustling macaws. More than ten years since the Macaw Project has investigated a variety of questions about the ecology and reproduction of macaws, and the answers have a very serious impact on the conservation of the forests of South America.
The population of large macaws are in danger for several reasons. To the forbidden hunters like macaws for its beautiful plumage and its value on the black market trade in pets. An even more imminent threat macaws face is deforestation. These birds nest in hollow trees emerging. Huge trees require centuries to grow to its full height and as a result, the places where the macaws can be found nests are naturally rare. Even other loggers cut only large trees and other vegetation left, are destroying nearly all potential nests.
Exacerbates this Problem low reproductive rate of the birds. If one chick survives three months, when approaching adult size, have few predators and can live almost 60 years. During the first stage, however, the chicks are very vulnerable. Because parasites, predators and malnutrition, only 60 percent of the nests produce a calf every year. Therefore, it is possible that a population of 200 macaw clay licks produce only eight chicks in one year. To help the player performance, project researchers are building, hanging, and observing artificial nests that can use wild macaws.
Researchers have added 16 artificial nests at 17 natural that already discovered around the Tambopata Research Center. We visited each of these nests regularly during the breeding season (November to March). It is quite difficult to check the nests. We have to climb over 30 meters using a rope and jumars system. The perched offer us breathtaking views of the canopy, but there are many dangers above ground, even poisonous snakes, angry bees and adults macaws brave. When the chicks are hatched, we return every day to measure and calculate their growth.
The pichoncitos starve with frequency because of the strong competition with his older brothers for obtain food. During the nineties, 34 pigeons in danger of death were rescued and raised by researchers at the station. Some of these birds could leave your artificial to integrate with wild flock under, but others (the researchers dubbed boys) still visit the table in the dining room looking for easy meal. To avoid this problem, now down to pigeons they lack enough food, we provide you extra food and return them to their nests.
Despite our intervention, we have generally not increased rate survival. Although we had not been able to save the disadvantaged young, we encourage data success of artificial nests compared to natural jungle. It seems that nests built by men offer them an acceptable alternative macaws and could serve as an effective conservation strategy for populations of endangered macaws in the continent.
The habitat of the macaw clay licks spans all tropic areas of the western hemisphere, but Tambopata is the best region to study. The reason is the Colpa, the largest worldwide. The birds love to eat clay and every day thousands of parrots and macaws come down to consume the earth. This behavior occure in many species of animals and ornithologists have developed several theories to explain in birds. Some say that clay is combined with toxic substances, and allows macaws digest poisonous seeds that are its power. In the Tambopata Reserve, macaws prefer the saline land and is likely to use clay consumption to address the lack of sodium in their natural diet in the Peruvian jungle.
Whatever happens, this great assembly of colors and exotic sounds is absolutely amazing. As a researcher on the project, I witness this wonderful exhibition every morning. We use binoculars and telescopes to record the first arrivals of birds, where they go, and how long they stay on the lick in an effort to understand the complex interactions between all species. We also want to determine the impact of weather and tourism in the lick. Initial results show that birds do not visit the clay during rainy days and tourism controlled at a distance at least 150 meters does not disrupt normal behavior. In the afternoon, we go to the forest to conduct censuses Psittacidae. Census data provide us with information about the movement and behavior of parrots and macaw clay lick off. If we learn more about birds and their habits, will be easier to keep them in the Peruvian jungle.
I'm hanging 35 meters above the floor and the breeze sways me as I look Fixed the river. The immense forest extends out of sight. The sun disappears behind the Andes mountains on the western horizon. A macaw escarlato lands on a nearby branch. He came to look for their children that I just measure and return to their nest. I am relieved to find out that the beautiful bird is successfully raising a new generation of macaws. With our help, the skies above the lick still be full of colors and sounds spectacular. Another research journey comes to an end, but the hard work will never end. Life on the reservation deTambopata continue tomorrow as it has done every day. It is our duty to ensure that the macaws and other jungle animals always have a place to call home.