The Parrots are Back! Annual Parrot (Lora) Count, Hosted by Echo Foundation
After another season of more than average rainfall following the multi-year drought, it seems as if the Roost Count Volunteers have found the parrots again. This is good news since the last two counts provided disappointment in actual numbers of birds counted, even though it was hypothesized that parrot numbers were stable.
The annual count of parrots as they leave their roosts provides an estimate of the minimum number of parrots on the island. This year, just 1023 parrots were counted, which shows a sizeable comeback from the past two year’s counts.
In 2016, 900 parrots were counted, followed by only 700 in 2017! These low numbers have been partially explained by the behavior of the parrots as they dispersed themselves more and more into smaller groups and at new, sometimes unknown, roost locations. Last year, several teams reported hearing or seeing parrots flying nearby but not within the area that they were surveying. This indicates that the count might have missed at least some part of the population.
This year, additional efforts were made in finding these new locations, as well as checking all of the well-known roost spots. Unfortunately, the numbers in these so-called pre-roost count checks were worrisome, indicating an actual decline in the population. However, the team continued to search for the new roosts and found sites in the final days before the actual count. Last-minute changes were made to accommodate these roost sites so that the count number could be as accurate as possible.
The staff of STINAPA counted inside the Washington Slagbaai National Park, this year with the help of some additional volunteers. Outside the park over 50 volunteers visited 18 different sites. The parrots are counted in a simultaneous count, which requires everyone to set off in the very early morning (pre-dawn) hours to locations all over the island. As the parrots wake up and depart from the tree where they’ve been sleeping, they are counted. Each bird is only counted once. By adding the numbers which have been simultaneously counted across all the sites, the organizers are able to get a sense of the minimum number of parrots on the island. This annual census is important for parrot conservation on Bonaire and for protecting the Yellow-shouldered Amazon Parrot (Amazona barbadensis) globally.
This year’s count was organized by Echo, in association with STINAPA and the Department of Environment and Nature of the island government.
First Quarterly Underwater Cleanup Hosted by Dive Friends Bonaire
116 volunteers eagerly took part in 2018’s first underwater cleanup, removing 1,171 items from the reef, nearly 475 kg of rubbish!
Trash analytics proved that 46% of the items removed were plastic, including an estimated .85 km of fishing line. Most abundant items were 25 balloons, 196 cigarette filters, 31 shoes/flip flops, and 59 straw/stirrers. Following the morning’s dive, participants were invited to come together for a Potluck BBQ held at the Dive Friends Bonaire Hamlet Oasis location.
The next quarterly underwater clean is scheduled for Saturday, April 21st, 2018, and the reefs in front of Dive Friends @ Yellow Submarine and the adjoining harbourfront will be cleaned.
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Susan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog.