Birds of Puerto Rico (Full Episode) | Extraordinary Birder with Christian Cooper

Damn look at all those Ravens I’m Christian Cooper and I am a birder [Music] Oh that was cool my dad was a biology Teacher and gave me my first pair of Binoculars when I was about 10 years old And I never put him down Wow not something I see in my life now I’m traveling the globe to explore the World of birds That’s amazing it’s like a cloud and Their relationship with us those of us Who don’t have wings And along the way I’ll show you what I Adore about these crazy smart here first Look at the outside world dazzling is Fantabulous and super powered feathered Creatures [Applause] [Music] [Applause] Puerto Rico it’s a Caribbean Paradise For many of us it’s a place to go to Escape normal life between the white Sandy beaches and Crystal Blue Water This Island’s got it all and don’t even Get me started on the Pina Coladas Oh wow but Puerto Rico is way more than A place to run from the cold and sit Under a palm tree it’s got history Culture and nature coming out the wazoo Between the mountains mangroves and Rainforests it’s the best of the tropics Rolled into one including incredible

Birds gorgeous which is why I’m here for The very first time the best part of Birding on an island is finding species That can’t be found anywhere else we Birders call them endemics This place is home to 17 endemic species Of birds and I’m hoping to spot a few of Them to add to my life less I’m here in El Junque It’s the only tropical rainforest in the United States national forest system to Witness the iconic but critically Endangered Puerto Rican parrot You must be Maricel hi Chris nice to Meet you welcome to our Junction National Forest this is the home to the Puerto Rican parrot I can hear them There’s begging for food we really need To feed them go ahead grab one okay They’re hungry Fish and wildlife biologist Maricel Lopez is leading the charge to protect This endangered parrot we have a Breeding facility here but is to release Birth into the wild in different parts Of Puerto Rico The Puerto Rican parrot is a special Bird with its bright green and blue Feathers and red striped brow it’s the Pride of all Puerto Ricans Way back the islands tie no Indians Named it iguaka after the squawking Sound it makes when it flies Sadly Nature’s dealt the iguaka a bit of

A rough hand and between hurricanes Hungry predators and a lack of Environmental Protection they were down To just 13 birds in the wild in the Early 1970s now there’s a plan to bring Them back so Maricel what does the Puerto Rican parrot the iguaca mean to You this is the only parrot species in The U.S continent and poros Puerto Rican This species represents the culture of Puerto Rico everybody knows about the Puerto Rican para everybody loves the Puerto Rican parrot the Puerto Rican Parrot is a social butterfly kind of Like your chatty Crazy Aunt they love to Hang out in groups noisy groups out in The wild most of their day is spent in The forests looking for food but back Near the nests they’re notorious flirts Especially when it’s time to partner up For nesting season Let’s take that partnering seriously Because they typically mate for life We need to pull the feeders on all right Let me help you out I got it nice Pull it up yeah Parrot program has been designed so that All of the birds born at the facility Will eventually be released into the Wild but you might be asking yourself What are all those little antenna things These guys are wearing no it’s not the Latest in bird fashion they’re radio Transmitters that are used to track the

Birds once they’re released and it’s Completely harmless And now this is gonna go quicker okay so You guys worked this out pretty well Didn’t you yes that’s what we do Now we really need to move all right Well we gotta let them eat ERS in the trees are put out for the Released parrots that are now living Outside free as a bird you might say Their placement next to the flight cage Of the captive parrots is no coincidence Beautiful The flight cage is where the soon-to-be Freed birds get ready for life in the Outside world The biologists here figured out Something pretty cool if you put the Captive Birds right next to the wild Ones they start to connect because They’re social so when the captive Parrots are ready for release into the Real world they already have a friendly Face to show them the way Hello [Music] [Music] Oh this is interesting he just dropped His cashews in the water does he like Them like soccer is that when you have a Coffee and put a bread in it Ah that’s So cool Going up

He’s like this is my ride now that we’ve Fed the adult parrots it’s time to see The next generation of iguaka this is Our breeding cages oh wow this is Gonna Get Loud be prepared Ah Wow parrots are notoriously loud I don’t Care what part of the world you’re Talking about they’re just Rockets The noise you’re hearing is the iguaka’s Way of talking to each other each squawk Has its own meaning like hey kids I’m Home or watch out stranger danger or hey Baby what you doing later the iguakas Also have different dialects based on Where they live on the island much like New Yorkers and Chicagoans each have Their own accents It sounds crazy but it’s true You want to see something really nice Yeah marisol’s team matches up breeding Pairs using genetic testing and tracking If birds are genetically compatible with Each other they need to shack up it’s Kind of like an arranged marriage open This door open this door [Music] I’m a little bit afraid of what’s on the Other side of this door [Music] Instructed nests for around two months Unlike most birds the young stick with Their parents for up to a year even out Of the nest before becoming independent

Here are little baby parrots Who are screaming just like Their parents It’s as if a thousand little toddlers Started shooting on Littleton horns all At the same time [Music] They bite the purple well I see that And their talons are sharp All right right how does it feel today So I’m still standing dangerous in Your hand it really feels like I’m Holding a baby dinosaur it really does He’s got a very dinosaur look Foreign [Music] To be in that enclosure with so many of Them Was an ear ringing experience to put it Mildly particularly for someone like me Who considers himself an ear birder Let’s go outside the cage the noise is Mercifully a few decibels lower Pablo But nature as usual never takes a break And Maricel gets an urchin calm One major issue that’s affecting the Numbers of iguacas stems from a long Struggle with infertility Let’s go Maricel’s Team informs her that a wild Female parrot whose eggs they’ve been Monitoring has just left her nest and They need to pull a Switcheroo we have a Female and we have to swap the egg Because the egg is important oh so she’s

Sitting on an instrument so we’re right Now we’re we’re putting an egg that is Already hatching and we have to look Quick see how this egg has some cracks In it oh so it’s already starting to Hatch and we really need to place it Really quick so let’s go mating pairs of Iguakas in the wild are genetic gold and They’re crucial for bringing this Species back this egg is precious but if The egg of a wild iguaka is infertile The couple will have to wait an entire Breeding cycle before they have another Chance to add a baby to the wild Population to shortcut that the team Swaps a fertile egg from a captive Breeding pair and for the unsuspecting Bird ignorance is bliss I’m holding this hatching egg of a Critically endangered species if I drop This egg some ridiculous percentage of That species is lost well so I’m Panicked oh my God I’m holding Platinum I’m holding living genetic Platinum I Must not drop it we need to do this Really quick Gabriel Uh he’s gonna climb to the tree okay and He’s gonna get the egg there and swap The eggs that is in fertile and we’ll Place this one and this baby is gonna Hatch between tonight or tomorrow Ultimately the goal is that the female Parents motherly instincts will kick in And she’ll raise this new chick in the

Wild How are you going to get this up to Gabrielle you’re gonna put it on the Rope okay without breaking it yes it’s a Race against the clock for this hatching Egg time to get it safely in the tree Before the female parrot flies back Sending the Egg of an endangered Puerto Rican parrot up into a nest high above Me come here we’re ready go ahead oh Yeah Chris all right Assistant here Suave Gabriel Because there are so few of these birds You’re trying to make sure that every Mother raises a kid that you can the Importance of this is if she’s Successful she will breed in the same Cavity next year and hopefully this time With the fertile egg exactly you’ll know Just what to do this swaps a success but They’re working on other ways to get Ahead of the infertility problem I’m Going to introduce you to Dr Rivera he’s Our veterinarian great hello Chris nice To meet you see how beautiful he is We’re gonna look at the reproductive Organs of this male and we’re going to Decide whether he’s going to be a good Breeding male or not we used to have Fertility problems for many years with Males but we didn’t know until we Started doing endoscopy and looking Inside at the government of the actual Testicles so we’re gonna actually look

Inside the bird and look at his actual Testicles that’s true oh he’s gonna not Be happy about this I thought they take It very well all it takes is a bit of Anesthesia and our sleepy young parent Is ready for his big moment when we Started doing endoscopy we improved our Fertility 30 wow during Dr Rivera’s time With the program they’ve gone from 13 Iguancas to 600 in both captivity and in The wild safe to say he’s an expert on All things iguaka testicles included We’re inside this is crazy we’re looking At the lungs here and that clear Remembering there that’s the air sac oh My goodness birds have air sacs that’s Why they’re so liked and they are able To fly while the source of the Infertility in these parrots is a Mystery Dr Rivera and his team want to Make sure that fertile breeding partners Are paired up so they have the best Chance in having babies so here is the Hard you can see it beating this is like Fantastic Voyage when they shrunk at Those people and put them inside the Human body and since all male birds have Their obstacles inside of their body the Endoscopy is the quickest way to Determine if this young guy is capable Of having kids so can you tell by Looking at the testicle that this bird Is therefore fertile yes I can when They’re not active the testicle is small

And look at his beautiful left testicle Well I’m gonna pull out now I’ve never Examined the interior life of a bird to Such an extent let alone its testicles [Music] You did really well fella the thing I Find most interesting about the Puerto Rican parent is its relationship to the People in the island the fact that You’ve got a group of people going to Such Great Lengths to preserve this bird That’s a great story fortunately my time With these birds isn’t over and at the End of the week I’ll be helping to Release a group of these parrots on the Other side of the island [Music] Puerto Rico’s rainforest is over 28 000 Acres and there are 96 other bird Species who live here Maricel is taking Me deeper into the interior of the park To hopefully find one mysterious Resident who let’s just say hides behind Nature’s shower curtain What are we going to see the black Swift Yes biologist Jesus Rios Cruz has been Studying black Swiss for nearly two Decades they’re the most mysterious and Elusive word you can ever found uh Excellent The Nest is near or behind the Waterfall The black Swift is one of the hardest Birds to find because they rarely ever Stop Flying which is kind of cool

Most birds regularly land on the ground Or in a tree throughout the day but Black Swifts only touch down to roost For a night’s rest or to sit on their Eggs during the nesting season oh wow Pretty They’re the next waterfall More fireworks we have to keep going Okay About a quarter of a mile up into the Forest there’s a 40-foot waterfall where Jesus has seen black Swift nesting Before I think I can smell a lifebird coming on So behind waterfalls is one of their Favorite spots ow so that must be great Protection against predators something Really interesting about this Birds is They’re completely black yeah and when They’re in those crevices you cannot see Them unless you’re using some type of Light I know that’s why I’m like how did Jesus do this I want to learn I want his Skills Oh wow This is the nest inside this is Beautiful this is what birding is about It’s not just about seeing the birds It’s about seeing the birds in their Natural habitat and it takes you to Spectacular beautiful places like this The birds are so well camouflaged that We need a spotlight to try to find one Suddenly 15 feet up the wall we hit the

Jackpot oh yes I see her Look at that oh my goodness and she’s Got her eyes on us oh She’s beautiful she’s got two eyes on The side of her head she’s all dark with Really kind of long winged sweat behind Her as she sits on the net She’s dark and yet she’s so I don’t know There’s something about her that’s very Elegant she’s got what looks like a Little tiny beak but she’s actually got A huge mouth when she opens it up so That she can swallow insects on the wing Because that’s how she feeds correct me If I’m wrong these birds live their Lives except when they’re nesting in the Air yes the majority of time is Can fly over the in the sky can mating In the sky Sex on the wing mile high club no home New definition Creating their feet are in the air Breathing in there yeah as if you know Someone was in a convertible speeding at 60 miles per hour and was trying to fix Their hair wow and quite honestly as Soon as you take that light away I can’t Find it it’s amazing camouflage yeah the Fact that a creature like this exists Invisibly to almost everybody and yet There’s this little Wonder tucked into The side of a wall behind a waterfall That to me is incredible and that I got

Another lifer Is also incredible Jesus Maricel you Made my day thank you [Music] Getting a glimpse at a lifer is what Being a birder is all about and I’m Always looking to add another lifer to My list so I’m heading to the most Mountainous jungly region in Puerto Rico It not only looks like King Kong’s Backyard it’s one of the rare places to Look for a tiny colorful and endemic Bird that nests in the Steep Hill signs I’m looking for the aptly named Puerto Rican Toady it’s small hard to see you Can hear it I’m gonna try and get eyes On Local adventure Guide and Toady superfan Jorge Perez is taking me to one of the Toady’s favorite stomping grounds what Is it that you love about this bird so Much you know it’s like the island we Have we are a small island and this is a Small bird but it’s speaking hard like Puerto Ricans yes correctly they are Strong So where are we going to see him we’re Gonna go down to the river so we’re Gonna take that little Trail over there To make it there we have an adventure Okay all right for that I am more than Prepared the Puerto Rican Toady is a Dashing little bird with a bright green Head and fluffy red throat but don’t be

Fooled by its good looks it’s an Industrious little worker and Digger That uses its long beat to excavate Nesting homes in the hillside despite Their small size these birds eat well Above their weight class scarfing down Up to 40 percent of their body weight in Insects a day that big appetite requires A lot of bugs which is why we’re here in The jungle carefully slippery oh wow From here we can spot The Kayaks that We’re going to be using kayaks yes if I Didn’t realize that to see this Legendary bird I would have to go Through this Mythic Journey Through the Underworld not to put to find a point on It but how stable is this geological Formation hopefully very stable Hopefully he said I’m deep in the jungle of utuado I’m About to kayak into a dark cave My goal is to get a glimpse of the Puerto Rican toady Here we are on boats like we’re Traveling the river sticks beautiful man Check it out this is actually pretty Fantastic yeah Going into this Cavern it’s like you’re Traveling through the bowels of this Organic creature like you’ve been Swallowed by a whale in this side we Find the fruit bats Wow Oh I just saw another bat go by you see

Yeah The island of Puerto Rico was formed by A volcano over 190 million years ago Gauging by the looks of the rock above Me this cave isn’t much younger than That these striations on the Rock just Make it look so organic You ever see the movie Alien they’re Like in some alien ship and it looks Kind of like this wow Fortunately there’s literally light at The end of the tunnel and hopefully some Toadies too hello Let Go Foreign [Music] This was pretty incredible We landed here my friend and then what You can spot that bridge over there from There we’re gonna spot the Taurus damn You think I’m Indiana Jones [Music] I’ve been told that when they lay their Eggs their eggs are up to 25 of their Body weight in other words imagine if we Gave birth and the baby weighed one Quarter of what we weigh it’s incredible Nature is incredible yeah Ready for this oh boy I haven’t done one Of these since the Himalayas it freaks Me out Crossing these things you’re Thinking the whole time I’m it’s gonna Snap I’m gonna like be clutching for my Life swinging smashing into the cliff Oh my God

[Music] Dangerous It’s beautiful though Oh wow it’s worth the risk to my life to Get this view I’ve kayaked through a Bat-filled cave and pushed the limits of My comfort zone crossing a rickety Suspension bridge I just want to see a Dang Toady already say ground And as if On Cue There he is he’s right above us he’s Right directly above us That little branch Oh he’s adorable He’s like just a little tiny bird with This giant head the Ruby throat just Pops against the rest of the bird Because it’s emerald green on top and White and Then that big orange big the other thing That makes the bird so adorable is it’s A tiny bird but relative to the size of The body the hat is huge yeah it’s got This big head they’re strong it’s kind Of like if they made a teddy bear out of It you’d want to squeeze it and hug it I Don’t know it’s cute Like an inch in the ground they will dig It at least six inches to eight inches I See it in the entrance it’s always Stepped down so the rain doesn’t bother But then in the inside is flat so they Can do their nesting and stuff so they Do a little bit of engineering and

Making this mess that’s why the pick is So big And they are Monograms they are always Together so they protect their side all The time monogamous they made for life Or just for the seasonal for Life For Life Your spot yeah it’s right there he’s Right check it out he’s spotting us he’s Like okay he’s giving the bag but he’s Like okay don’t come closer I’m here I’m Watching you oh Yeah he is the cutest thing alive now He’s like trying to trick us too he’s Moving it’s trying to get your attention Because it’s trying to get you to stop Looking this way at the bank where its Nest is and instead look at it and You’re like oh you’re so cute and Meanwhile The Nest is over there and It’s done his job so you know while I Would love to think this is entirely you Know our skill at finding the bird Really the bird wants us to find it Because he’s trying to lead us away from The nest always and I just thought we Were good Not only would I come here if I were a Bird I would come here as a person Because it is so beautiful Ever a birder gets a life bird we’re Like yes seeing the Puerto Rican Toady Was a lifebird for me and I loved it My time with the todi in utuado was epic

But it’s time to hit the coast So I’m headed to the beach town of Aguadilla where a favorite friend of the Locals lives in the trees along the Water the brown pelican all right let’s Go because of climate change hurricanes And the almost insatiable appetite for Beachfront property in Puerto Rico the Trees that the brown Pelicans need for Nesting are disappearing at an alarming Rate are you ready for a Pelicans I’m Ready look logo guide Roberto Raffles is Doing something about it Pelicans inside Of this Bay are part of the Brown family Pelicans or in Spanish pelicano Pardo Hello They live in Central America El Caribe And they go all the way to the United States they can print from one to three Eggs okay and what is they nest on the Ground In the beautiful trees of our town Pelicans are so unique looking they’ve Got that giant schnoz They’ve got these two bug eyes sticking Out of the side they’ve got that big Throat patch that they can expand The oversized head relative to the Bodies all birds of dinosaurs but you Especially realize that from them then When they start plunge diving for Catching fish that’s just awesome to Behold they’re sailing up there and then They just fold in the wings and Bam

Foreign Getting closer to the habitat Roberto’s Interest in these Pelicans was inspired By his father We showed him how to care about these Birds He often visits the Pelicans who look Out for his arrival [Music] Let’s see who’s coming And if they don’t see him Here Comes our pelican in Union Everybody in the island call me Captain Pelican yep Are you wrong with birds and Pelicans Was one of the most beautiful birds I See the public is more than my kid so I Must be in love with delegates For me either like a partner it’s like My friend it’s it’s their part of my Life we need to protect the Land There Are trees where they’re habitat is and Right now we’re creating the national Pelican Reserve that will prevent people From destroying their their habit and Their trees and is that going to be here The proposed Reserve yes oh that’s Impressive anything that protects the Pelicans a great place for them to roost And to breed yeah worth trying for Pelicans can live in our Bay for many Years Pelicans like this guy yes this is Peace peace is a young Pelican Roberto

And this young bird have an especially Strong bond when they discovered by Accident when peace born her mom bring It to the boat and I start to call him Like peace peace and he didn’t answer so Then we figured out that he was death He doesn’t have too much Expressions he Just by my side always and he tried to Sneak under my arm and he’s wonderful He’s always there you love kids he just Fly to kids and he wants to be on top of The kids in their heads and it’s real Fun to to be with peace in my life I Love him How can you tell one from the other ah There are some marks in the picks and Their color are different More orange in here sure and you see the Left leg it’s wider than the other one This is slight difference but I can Start knowing this in every detail of Each pelican It’s near my my family Roberto clearly cares about the birds And is fighting to preserve their Habitat which is awesome but I was Conflicted because feeding wild birds Makes them a little bit less wild but if Roberto helps preserve nesting sites go Roberto [Music] Coast of the island in search of a Seabird and master hunter that I haven’t Seen since I was a kid I’m here to meet

A biologist who’s going to take me to See the most elegant seabird there is The Whitetail Tropic bird A series Morales is an expert on Puerto Rico’s burgers And he’s taking me to the cable ideas Cliffs where these most graceful almost Stylish birds are known to Nest along The coastline So I’ll see you this you’ll study Whitetail Tropic birds and I haven’t Seen Tropic Birds since I was a kid oh Really and my family took a trip to Bermuda okay and I was blown away by how You know the White and the long tail and How super elegant they are Whitetail Tropic birds have a crazy long Streamer-like tail that makes them Really hard to miss But they’re more than just a pretty bird They’re Master Precision Hunters that Can spot their next meal from as high up As 65 feet in the air because of their Aerodynamic shape and narrow Wings they Can stay aloft for super long periods of Time which comes in pretty handy when They need to spend days fishing far out At Sea I still can’t get enough of them Oh they’re gorgeous look at those tale Streamers how they hang out yeah yeah Just a little bit of black to emphasize The white you know it looks like a mask Yep and then that orange leading part of The belt and they’ve got those tapered

Wings Almost like a falcon to give them more Of that Sleek look and especially when You see them next to the brown Pelicans Because you know I like brown Pelicans But they’re kind of clunky they’re kind Of big and awkward and then you got the Chocolate fruit that’s like and they’re The same family really so but they’re so Completely different they’re body types It’s like saying elephants and rhinos Yeah yeah yeah They can catch about 20 of their own Body weight so I weigh 200 pounds so 20 Of my body weight would be if I like ran A marathon with 40 pounds exactly wow it Only took 50 years but seeing a Whitetail trophic bird again was worth The wait But not far from the coast I’ll see this Is sending me to a one-of-a-kind Property that’s also been a half century In the making and apparently it’s a Place where Birds help other birds [Music] I’m at a nature preserve Hacienda La Esperanza a bird Haven that nearly 190 Species call Home Project official for The habitat restoration project Juan Ruano wants to show me what makes this Property so special so one this used to Be a sugar Plantation you’ve got a bunch Of habitats now what have you got it is A very diverse Reserve we have Coastal

Forest we have Wetlands swamps we have All types of habitats for all types of Different bird species wow this 2100 Acre property was a plantation that Since the 1800s had grown sugar cane not Known as the most environmentally Friendly of crops In 1975 it was given a new purpose and Since then conservationists like Juan Have managed the land so birds of the Island have a protected place to live And Thrive I’ll show you right now Follow me and that’s all thanks to a Certain bird from the nearby mountains Who’s made the Hacienda its giant Bathroom the scaly-aped pigeon look There’s one right there this one right There you see it I’d never seen a pigeon that big before This thing is ginormous it’s like the Gigantor of pigeons clocking in at Anywhere from 14 to 16 inches long and Weighing a chunky three-quarters of a Pound these birds seem enormous compared To the pigeons I see in Times Square and While scientifically they’re relatively Close in size just by looking at them I’m not buying it the whole body is this Kind of dark gray and the head is a deep Deep dark red The feather pattern looks like scales on The back of the neck so it’s a very Unique pigeon I’ve never seen a pigeon Like that before

So just to be clear because I think People think all pigeons are the same There’s a lot of different species of Doves and pigeons yep and this Particular species of pigeon is Completely different from the pigeons You would see say in a city yeah these Guys thrive in Woodlands and they’re Eating Woodland fruits and when they Poop they spread the seeds yeah so They’ll take them from the treat poop Them out in a completely different area And that’s how the new Forest starts While it’s not necessarily a great Subject for a dinner table conversation Bird poop is vital to the health of many Ecosystems and birds like the scalene Named pigeon play a super important role In creating habitat for other species so This is the forest that the scalene Named pigeons have created Yep this is What the pigeons are bringing in new Tree species this will grow into new Tree and with these new species of tree They’ll come new species of birds so how Will you know what what birds have come We’ve been using sound recorders to Capture the birds that have been singing Here and using this area so in towards You you’re placing sort of Nanny yep all right okay let’s do it They can’t have people in the new Forests 24 7 monitoring it’s just Impossible nobody has that kind of

Manpower there you go Okay the technology lets them take a Shortcut There we go the bird songs one captures What the recorders are plugged into a Computer database which helps to Identify the new species that are coming To the Hacienda but sometimes even the Computer gets stumped excellent so when The computers just don’t cut it we bring In the experts come on Juan brings me to meet Jose salguero a Local ornithologist who became legally Blind and turned to his hearing to Identify birds so you’ll rely on your Ears even more than I rely on my ears to Find Birds oh yeah until very recently People talked about bird watchers and Then suddenly people started using the Term birders there’s a reason for that It’s because it’s not just watching it’s Also listening Jose rely solely on those Ears he is the true definition of a Burden so these are some files the Program could not ideally for us That’s a gray king bird Another city this person that one I’ve Learned since I got here from the call Greater until and gracos There’s a northern mockingbird Oh your ears are good my ears are good But your ears are good It was very exciting to see someone Parse the sound here the way I would

Parse sound back home in New York he was Able to listen to those reproductions on Multiple levels and hear not only a bird That’s on top but the bird that was Sitting beneath it and the bird that was Singing beneath that and all these faint Sounds and he knows what they are Instantly that scale the number of birds That Jose is able to identify at the Hacienda including the ones that the Computer couldn’t catch is beyond Impressive but he has one more bird up His sleeve so what is it oh you hear That that is something that a bird That’s really important for us here in Puerto Rico in terms of bird Conservation that’s a lamp King The limpkin is a leggy tropical Wetland Loving bird that is notorious for its Signature haunting crime when those Wetlands dried up on Puerto Rico that Cry disappeared It has a curved bill with a twisted tip That it uses to pluck snails from their Shells in the mud snails that now live In the re-established wetlands here at The Hacienda in the 1950s the bird went Silent throughout the island from Puerto Rico gone from Puerto Rico in their Recent years we’ve heard that sound Again so it means that our conservation Efforts of bringing back this freshwater Swamp is bringing that rare species into Our Reserve that’s fantastic the Lumpkin

Is their proof now this place can come Back that the island can come back that Its people can come back that its birds Can come back This is a wonderful thing to find My week of birding in Puerto Rico has Been beyond anything I ever expected but It’s time for me to get to the west side Of the island Because I have a date [Music] I’m heading deep into the forest to take Part in the release of seven Puerto Rican parrots It’s a big day for the Puerto Rican Parrot it’s a big day for me And I understand it’s more complicated Than just letting him out of a cage [Music] Captive bird into the wild is no small Feat The preparation and Logistics are Staggering the iguacas need to be Brought safely to the location the Weather conditions need to be just right The presence of predators like Red-tailed Hawks needs to be monitored And the birds will need to be tracked Once they’re released everything needs To be perfect which is why it only Happens a few times a year So why have you chosen this part of Puerto Rico to release parrot we did an Assessment of six forests in Puerto Rico

And we determined this was the best Surabul habitat for parrots because it’s One of the most diverse forests in the Island Oh does the group releasing January 2022 For six months and then you see them Yeah yeah And now what we’re going to do is Release seven Birds they are going to Learn from the ones that are already in The outside so these guys already knows The ropes the ones in the cages are Going to learn from the ones who have Already been out how to avoid Predators How to hide but this is a big deal for Us you know supplementing in starting This population for our program is our Main goal the numbers of wild parrots Plummeted in 2017 when hurricane Maria Hit and the program had to start back at Square one and reintroduce a whole new Group of iguacas into the forests now Maricel and her team are finally getting The numbers of released parrots back up Unfortunately I’m getting to be part of That history I have Raul here Raul is Going to be conducting Telemetry today This is the equipment that we use each Parent released into the wild is Essentially Priceless and the radio Transmitters on the birds will help to Monitor their every move Are we ready we are ready all right We’re gonna open the gate now

Jesus Release the birds Man Oh yeah yes yes yes yes I see them moving We opened the cage but we don’t scare Them we just allow them to leave Whenever they want it might take two Minutes it might take 15 it can take an Hour before all of them are out of the Case these birds have no sense of uh Urgency here I remember their Productivity they’re used to being chaos It doesn’t take long before the iguaka Snap to it and realized the door is wide Open [Music] Outside right now One down We got one He decided to go he was not afraid [Music] Outside [Music] So how many is that now five Two more to go I was saving the fist Bump from when they’re all out oh okay Tomorrow All are out Now we can high five high five there we Go The birds may have left the cage but our Work’s not done because this is a whole New world for them and well birds are

Gonna go where they want to go uh one of The people that are in the forest in the Top that you saw red top 30. There he is right there here it is right Over the cage oh my God okay so we have Our red top It’s a stressful moment for the team There’s only so much they can do when a Predator like the red-tailed hawk shows Up yeah there it is there he is and when It’s hungry well it’s gonna do what it’s Gonna do all the team can do is try and Scare it away see the stuff they’re Moving their hands which honestly seems Futile But shockingly It works He’s moving away Now that the hawk is gone we want to Make sure the newly released parrots Weren’t scared off so now that we have The frequencies already here we’re gonna Start doing Telemetry okay Let’s just stop here Because the reptile was here so we want To go now to all the frequencies just Move the antenna help you okay [Music] That’s another bird That’s a new one yeah So right now 38 we don’t Hillary Which is not what we want number 33 and Number 38 we cannot hear the signal are

They in the cage we’re missing one while Six birds are still in the area one is a Wall and there’s a chance that it might Have freaked out when it saw the hawk it Could still just be hiding out of range From our Telemetry trackers it’s hard to Know what’s happening with that last Bird it’s the tough reality of dealing With nature but marisel and her team Will continue to try and locate it long After I’ve left the forest so mission Accomplished in terms of getting the Birds out of the cage and in terms of Tracking six of the seven Birds yes so Successful release successful release This is the foundation of what birding Is all about which is conserving the Wild appreciating the Wild and if there Are no Puerto Rican parrots then that Part of the wild is lost forever so That’s why this is so important Particularly to the Puerto Ricans this Is a symbol of their resilience and of Their survival and of their rebuilding And that’s awesome [Music]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *