We conduct research and monitoring to guide our conservation management and outreach efforts and to assess the impact of our work. We focus on:
- Parrot population monitoring using yearly roost counts, nest monitoring, and ring re-sighting. The annual roost count is conducted simultaneously by volunteers each January. Nest monitoring involves climbing large trees or abseiling down to nests in cliff faces to record productivity. To re-sight ringed or known birds and estimate survival, we conduct observations at parrot ‘hot spots’ and photograph breeding birds at nests.
- The status and changes in parrot habitat and terrestrial bird populations resulting from introduced herbivores and management actions to restore Bonaire’s dry forest.
- Ecological, economic, and social reasons for parrot-human conflict through door-to-door surveys of the local population.
- Monitoring the impact of our conservation management and outreach efforts.
Achievements to Date:
- Echo has assisted with the annual parrot counts since 2011. Even though the number of parrots individually counted each January over the last 14 years has fluctuated, the overall trend is clear and the population is increasing.
- We have an eight-year data set on parrot productivity and have been ringing chicks during that time. Re-sighting ringed parrots is challenging because of the birds’ short legs, but using feeding stations, we are able to spot the ringed parrots while also providing food during drought periods.
- We established terrestrial bird monitoring, counting forest bird abundance at 152 locations across Bonaire in the spring and autumn.
- At the same 152 points, we monitor parrot habitat, including tree species diversity, vegetation coverage, etc., which allows us to compare bird numbers with dry forest conditions.
- We have increased our understanding of parrot food availability by monitoring the conditions of 494 parrot food trees every month. These include 32 species of trees throughout Bonaire.
- In 2013, we completed successful pilot studies with both GPS and radio tracking to determine a parrot’s range and therefore which areas of habitat on Bonaire need to be preserved.
- We regularly host undergraduate and graduate students to conduct research with us as a part of their studies.
We distribute research findings through reports, peer-reviewed publications, and the Dutch Caribbean Biodiversity Database.