||Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM
The Bahamas National Trust in conjunction with Dr. Frank Riviera and Caroline Stahala recently conducted an intensive survey of the Bahama Parrot on Abaco.
Population surveys were conducted in 2002 resulted in estimates of the Abaco parrot population of about 2,500 parrots with similar values in the following years. This year Dr. Frank Rivera and Caroline Stahala, who took part in the initial surveys ,helped by BNT wardens and volunteers, conducted a 10 year follow up survey to determine the change in the Abaco parrot population since management began. The results indicate that the Abaco parrot population has increased since the BNT’s management efforts were implemented with a new estimate of just over 4,000 parrots on Abaco.
The BNT has been concerned about the Bahama Parrot Population since the 1980’s. Studies indicated that the major threat to the parrots were feral cats who cause serious problems to the parrots during the nesting season by entering the underground nesting cavities and killing the breeding adults and chicks. The BNT implemented an intensive predator control effort in 2009 throughout the parrot nesting area culminating in the hiring of Marcus Davis as Deputy Park whose primary responsibility is to oversee the predator control program . During the breeding seasons the BNT has seen a decrease in the number of breeding parrots killed and nest success increase. The question, though, remained whether this effort would translate into an increase in the Abaco parrot population size.
Survey results indicated that predator control has led to an increase in nest success. In addition, the Abaco parrots have weathered several hurricanes (Frances, Jean and Irene) over the last 10 years and still appear to show a population increase. Hopefully with continued management efforts a healthy and viable endemic parrot population on Abaco will continue to thrive. According to David Knowles, BNT Director of Parks, “This gives us hope that with continued management efforts we can continue to have a healthy and viable endemic parrot population on Abaco.”
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