Bonaire’s parrots, known locally as loras, are commonly sighted on Bonaire. These particular birds are indigenous to Bonaire, but their numbers are low enough to cause concern for their future. Accordingly, there is an annual effort to make a census count of the loras each January. The unpredictable behavior of the birds makes each count a challenge to the participating volunteers.
This year’s count was held last Saturday morning, in multiple locations simultaneously, as the birds leave their roosts to begin feeding. During the census, nearly 900 loras were observed and counted, however, the parrots were mainly observed in residential areas.
It should be noted that these counts only provide an approximation of the minimum number of birds on the island, as it is impossible to find and count every single lora. Several participants in the census reported that they could hear more lora in their assigned areas than they could count.
Washington Slagbaai National Park is always included in the census, but this year the loras that were observed were significantly less than in recent past years (120 in 2016 versus 300 in 2015). It has been concluded, because of this count, that the majority of lora are residing outside of the park.
Not everyone is pleased with the parrots’ residency. If food in the wild is scarce, the loras will feed upon fruit trees, much to the chagrin of the owners of the fruit trees. Bonaire has experienced drought conditions in recent years, which is the probably cause of the migration of the loras into more residential areas, as they are more likely to find food.
This year’s count was the 21st annual event, and was organized by the Department of Environment and Nature of the public entity Bonaire, Foundation Echo, and STINAPA. (Source: STINAPA)