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[05 May 2013|08:24am]

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A Chance to Help Birds of the Americas for Free! [01 Feb 2008|08:48am]

If this is against the group rules, I apologize in advance, but because it helps Amazon Parrots, I am going to ask for help here.

Hi Folks! Some of my parrot owning friends and I have been voting on a charity website for the American Bird Conservancy, which works to preserve the birds of the Americas. We had the #1 spot this morning, but the rival for #1 has pulled out the stops. We need help to win this thing, so I am appealing to all of the parrot owners I know. You don't have to register, it's free, and you can vote every 2 minutes.


Bug your bird friends, because I know that there are active parrot groups on Livejournal. The contest is over tonight at 1am central time. It's going to be close. Thanks in advance.
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News of Wild Yellowhead Amazons in South Texas [11 May 2007|12:02am]

[ mood | ecstatic ]

Tonight one of my fellow travelers on the Amazona Tour sent me this email:

Here's some "Must See TV" of Double Yellow Headed Amazons nesting.  Click on the link on the side for "birds" and then on the video link for the Yellow Headed Amazons.


This is proof that there are Double Yellowheads living and breeding in South Texas. I suspect that this means that in a few years, there will be large flocks of Yellowheads flying along with the Mexican Red Headed Amazons who have also crossed the border and gotten busy breeding. The Red Heads have been down there for about 15 years or so, and have grown to several large flocks. It looks like the Yellowhead is going  to do the same thing. I am SO happy.
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My trip to Panama! [08 May 2007|07:48am]

[ mood | cheerful ]

Wild Red Lored AmazonWild Red Lored Amazon

Sitting on a hammock cord at the Hacienda del Mar on the Pearl Islands, Panama

It occurred to me that I haven't shared with you about my trip with the Amazona Society to Panama in February. It was the damndest excursion I have ever been on, and I have told the tale here on a friend of mine's website:


Also, if you go to my scrapbook, you'll find more Panama photos:


Some of the photos overlap, but not too many of them. We took over 5000 photos, so I've tried to spread around the wealth. I'm sorry I haven't posted this stuff before now, but my mother died suddenly last fall, and I've been  wandering around in a fog of depression until recently.

Not that I let that stop me from going to look at wild parrots:P

In fact, my husband and I have lost our minds...we got a whopping income tax return this year, and about that time, an advert from The Green Hotels of Costa Rica floated into my inbox. Sooooo, we're going to Costa Rica on June 1st for a week. This time we're going to the cloud forest for 3 days, and then we are heading down to Drake's Bay for 4 days, outside of Corcovado National Park. Corcovado has the largest population of Scarlet Macaws in the Americas, and is the largest expanse of primary rainforest left on the entire Pacific Coast. I can hardly wait. 

We won't talk about the insanity of going 8 degrees off the equator in June with no airconditioning, either. But at least we should have some great photos to share when we get back: )

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Toys [31 Jan 2007|09:50am]

Sometimes its the simplest toys. I just grabbed a wiffle ball and several thin popsickle stick things I got at a bird fair, stuck the popsickle sticks all around the wiffle ball and walked it over to my zon.

He is currently happy tearing it apart. It looked different from his other toys, its got wood to chew, and its a bit of a puzzle if he wants to pull the sticks out of the ball. Pretty cool deal for a parrot!

So, who else makes toys and how simple/difficult do you get?
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The Annual Amazona Society Tour: FYI [22 Sep 2006|01:21am]

[ mood | Informative ]

This year we are going to Panama. I have gotten the information, and I'm posting it here in case anyone is interested. You have to be a member of the Amazona Society to go, but joining is only $25/year, and they have a really nice quarterly newsletter. 

So here it is, directly from the flyer, in case anyone is interested:

The Amazona Society Panama Birding Trip Spring 2007
Located at the southern end of Middle America, Panama is a land bridge where the faunas of North and South America meet and intermingle. Because of its geographical location, Panama’s avifauna is exceptionally large (883 species have been reported). Panama is one of the top bird watching spots of the world.
When: February 17--27, 2007
Guided Trip to Be Led By: Wilberto “Willie” Martinez, President of NATTUR PANAMA, www.natturpanama.com
Cost of Trip: $1500 per person based on double occupancy, includes all lodging and most meals, park entrance fees, personal guide services of a local guide/naturalist the entire trip, bus transportation, boat rides, and commuter flights within Panama. Due to fluctuating gas prices that affect airfares, it is difficult to anticipate what the cost of all commuter flights will be so far in advance. Your airfare from the USA to and from Panama City is not included in this rate.   All airport taxes including departure tax, phone calls, internet use, single rooms, alcoholic beverages, tips and souvenirs are also not included. An additional charge will be assessed for single rooms.
The Amazona Society hosts birding trips to eco-friendly places while patronizing small business owned facilities whose owners are interested in conservation. This trip consists of 4 commuter flights (2 round trips) within Panama. Most of these flights have limits on the amount of luggage that can be carried. The weight limit is approximately 25 pounds per person plus what you are wearing and carrying. This means that you must travel very light and bring only what is absolutely necessary. There may be an opportunity to store some belongings in Panama City prior to the commuter flights, but this is not guaranteed, and you should not plan on this. It is expected that you will be in good health and fitness prior to this trip. Most settings will be remote and rural without the kind of medical facilities you would expect in the USA. There will be opportunities to opt-out of individual activities such as birding walks, swimming, or snorkeling once we are in a specific location, but we will be traveling together as a group the entire time we are in Panama.
Itinerary for Guided Trip:
(Feb 17) Day 1 - travel to Panama City, Panama, night at Las Vegas Panama Hotel, www.lasvegaspanama.com
(Feb 18) Day 2 - full day of birding on Pipeline Road, night at Las Vegas Panama Hotel
(Feb 19) Day 3 - commuter flight to Archipielago de San Blas (San Blas Island) in AM, overnight at San Blas
(Feb 20) Day 4 - full day birding and snorkeling, mola shopping, overnight San Blas
(Feb 21) Day 5 – commuter flight to Panama City in AM, transfer to Bocas del Toro, Overnight at Swan Cay Hotel
(Feb 22) Day 6 – full day birding, swimming, boat ride around island, overnight Swan Cay Hotel
(Feb 23) Day 7 – full day birding, swimming and relaxing, overnight Swan Cay Hotel
(Feb 24) Day 8 – boat ride and drive to Willie Mazu Rancho Ecologico and overnight at Willie Mazu
(Feb 25) Day 9 – full day birding and relaxing, overnight Willie Mazu
(Feb 26) Day 10 – commuter flight to Panama City in afternoon, overnight Las Vegas Panama Hotel
(Feb 27) Day 11 – departure to USA
Optional Unguided Add On Trip: February 27-March 2, 3 or ?, 2007
Itinerary for Unguided Trip
This optional add on trip is unguided, and will be an additional charge. It is expected that you would feel comfortable traveling on your own in a foreign country. All those remaining in Panama for this optional trip will most likely chose to stay together as a small group. We will be staying at the Hacienda Del Mar Resort is a private island resort that offers tours for bird watching, fishing, island exploring, etc. It is anticipated that the resort will have some English speaking staff, but you should feel comfortable traveling without the assistance of a guide. The length of time depends on how long you want to stay. This can be negotiated between the individuals who will be extending their trip.
(Feb 27) Day 11- commuter flight from Panama City to Archipielago de las Perlas (Pearl Islands), overnight at Hacienda Del Mar Resort, www.haciendadelmar.net
(March 1) Day 12 – full day birding, snorkeling or swimming Pearl Islands, overnight Hacienda Del Mar Resort
Extend trip as long as you want or
(March 2) Day 13 –commuter flight back to Panama City with overnight at any hotel in Panama City or immediate departure to USA
(March 3) Day 14 – Departure to USA for those staying overnight in Panama City

I'm telling you folks, last year in Costa Rica was an experience I will cherish the rest of my life. My husband and I are going this year and taking the add on tour, too.  Even if you can't go, rest assured I will share it with you when I return. I would love it if some of you would join us. It's a great bunch of people to go with and an adventure you will remember for a lifetime. 

My husband and I are starting to seriously discuss that trek to Peru and the clay licks. Won't happen for another couple of years, but it's definitely on the agenda. This stuff gets to be a habit.
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Parrots flying video [25 Jul 2006|03:12pm]

[ mood | cheerful ]

We have a short film online of the Mexican Redheaded Parrots flying. It's dark, but you can see that they are parrots, and you can hear their calls. It's much better than the film we got last year. So, enjoy!


Edited to add...this is a family group. Apparently Mexican Redheaded Amazons fly in family groups like Yellow Napes. What you see flying is mom, dad and a fledged chick from this year's hatch. Some parrots flew in as singles, some as pairs, and the rest as family groups ranging from 3 birds to 5 birds. It was real obvious that they were family groups, too. 

Apparently Yellowheaded Amazons fly in family groups, too, according to the birding guide we ran into down in Harlingen.

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No Yellowheads, darn it! [22 Jul 2006|10:39pm]

[ mood | tired ]

Birds in love Birds in love

Mexican Red Headed Amazons grooming one another

Couldn't find the yellowheads, although we certainly looked. Eventually decided to go visit the Red Headed Amazons one last time. We got there when it was almost dark. However, this pair was mightily in love and they were SO cute grooming one another. We only got the sillouette, but you can tell from the body language how much they cared for each other.

We'll just have to come back down here again and look for yellowheads:)

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Day 2 Parrot Watch More Red Heads [21 Jul 2006|10:06pm]

[ mood | hopeful ]

Just hanging!
Just hanging!

My favorite photo of the night! He was being goofy on the telephone wire!

What's even more important, while watching the parrots tonight we ran into a professional bird guide. He told us that there are 2 family flocks of double yellowheaded amazons roosting at Harlingen Lake. You folks KNOW I am going to be at Harlingen Lake tomorrow night looking for the parrots that really matter to me. I'll let you know if I'm successful. It's certainly easier than Mexico.
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I'm back stalking the wild Amazons! [20 Jul 2006|10:45pm]

[ mood | bouncy ]

Mexican Redheaded Amazon
Mexican Redheaded Amazon

Giving us that classic Amazon expression that says, "Whatcha Doin'?"
And I have a better camera now, too! I'm down in Harlingen doing some general birding, but no trip is complete for me without looking at wild parrots.  This is a photo we took at dusk in a Harlingen neighborhood.  I have more! Be prepared! 

And we're going back to take more photos! *sob*

Click on the photo to get a larger view. We are much happier with this camera.

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White Front Amazon [03 Apr 2006|08:29am]

[ mood | awake ]

Another white front amazon, photo copyright Karen Webster Another white front amazon, photo copyright Karen Webster

Another Curu photo

Double click on the photo for a larger version. I'm not awake yet.
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White fronted amazons [01 Apr 2006|09:05am]

[ mood | amused ]

You know folks, let's talk about parrots...
If you want a pretty bird, you buy a macaw.
If you want a cuddly bird, you buy a cockatoo.
But if you want a bird that insists you buy them...
You buy an amazon.

My god, do I love amazons! Noisy, gregarious, theatrical, goofy. You buy 'em for their personality, and later you notice that they are pretty and affectionate, but that wasn't what first made you look at them. They bite the crap out of you, and 3 minutes later they are hanging by one toenail upside down, swinging and singing some made up song...priceless, totally priceless.

And if I could have amazon #2, this guy (or gal) right here could have come home with me:

White Front Amazon, photo copyright Karen Webster
White Front Amazon, photo copyright Karen Webster

Look at me! Look at me! Look at me!

There were more white fronted amazons than this one in the tree at Curu, but this one just LOVED all of us standing under him and ooohing and ahhing and snapping photos. As our tour leader said, "He's as interested in us as we are in him."

In fact, he stood there on the branch and preened and strutted, and turned and positively basked in the attention. We were all standing about 3 feet under him, too.

Well, until those darn crested caracaras and those 3 pesky scarlet macaws landed in the far palm tree and we all started taking photos in another direction.

That would not do! He started to shriek at us, and didn't stop until the macaws flew off and our attention gravitated back to him.

Eventually something spooked him, and he and his mate flew to another tree. It was a pure Wild Kingdom Avian Showcase until he got spooked.

But man, if I had had a crabbing net handy, I'd have figured a way to smuggle him into the country. He'd have been shouting, "Hellooooooooo" from my suitcase. What a great bird!

And this folks, is how parrots ended up in the US, back when it was legal.

But I digress...
The white fronts' range is evidently down the entire Pacific coast in Costa Rica. At least, I assume it is...I saw them in Curu, which is in the north, and I saw them at Quepos, which is the mid-Pacific coast. Considering the scarlet macaws have a huge range down on the southern Costa Rica peninsula, I assume that there are probably white fronts down there, too. The white fronts always travel in flocks, whether they are nesting or not. My tour leader said no one has studied how they are organized yet.

Anyway, I hope you folks have enjoyed my parrot photos and chats. You now know what I learned and saw regarding parrots on my trip. I have some more photos I might post, but not of any new bird subgroups.
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Yellow Naped Amazons [31 Mar 2006|09:11am]

[ mood | accomplished ]

Here we come to the post that is personally near and dear to my heart. If I saw nothing else on this trip, I wanted to see yellow naped amazons. Why? My Live Journal friend (and also a member of this community) gordon92151 owns a very lovely yellow nape named Trudy. If I cannot see double yellow heads for *me,* I am going to look at parrots for my friends, and get every detail I can.

This is going to be a long post, so I am going to put the pictures behind cuts, so you can look at them, and not totally explode your friends lists.

Home of the napesCollapse )

These islands and the land surrounding them consist of dry deciduous forests. A lot of Amazons do indeed live in moist rainforests, but a lot of them prefer a regular forest environment, the napes for one.

The nice thing about the Tortuga Islands is that there are no natural predators there. The napes can roost and breed there in relative safety. In fact, in the island in the photo, humans haven't even found a way ONTO the island. This is also the utmost southern reaches of their range.

Napes flying between islandsCollapse )

What the yellow nape amazons do is roost and nest on the islands, and during the day, they fly into Curu and the surrounding areas to feed. At dawn they fly over, at dusk they fly back to the islands. We were up at the buttcrack of dawn at Curu to try to get a look at these guys. A few of them also nest in Curu...we saw some of them flying the wrong way at dusk.

Right now the napes are nesting, so they fly in pairs and singles. In May and June, they will fly in family groups, with their newly fledged chicks. Our tour leader says that even if there is a huge flock flying together, you can pick out the singles, and the pairs, and the successful pairs with their families...they fly close in pairs and family groups.

A yellow nape eatingCollapse )

This photo was the one I threatened my hubby with bodily harm if he didn't get. This was the best opportunity we had to get a photo of the yellow nape. He is in the middle of the picture, and high in the tree. I hope you can pick him out. One of the amazing things about the nape is that he/she blends in so very well into the greenery. There's actually another nape in that tree (that nape's mate), but darned if I can pick it out in the photo.

White fronts don't blend in so well.

However, thanks to Karen Webster, she caught the nape pair as they were flying off.

Taking flightCollapse )

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Scarlet Macaws Part 2 [30 Mar 2006|05:22pm]

[ mood | hopeful ]

...2 Scarlet Macaws, and a Crested Caracara in a palm tree...
...2 Scarlet Macaws, and a Crested Caracara in a palm tree...

Come ON, let's all sing...
(photo copyrighted Karen Webster)

This photo was taken in Curu Wildlife Preserve, a private reserve on the Nicoya Peninsula. It is the site of the Scarlet Macaw Reintroduction Project and it is also where one of our tour guides did his research on yellow naped amazons. We'll talk about the napes next:)

Just because Curu is privately owned, doesn't mean you can't visit it. You show up, you pay your admission fee, you sign in at the guard house, and you are good to go, too.

One of the birds you see in this photo is the one featured in the flying photo. What you don't see is a third macaw, named Ringo, who is lurking in the back of the palm tree.

A few years back, The Scarlet Macaw Reintroduction Project released 12 scarlets into Curu. It was a controlled reintroduction...they obtained scarlet macaws from 3 bloodlines in Costa Rica (which is why aviculture cannot help with this, they have to be genetic Costa Rican scarlet macaws,) built a flight and let them live in the flight in Curu for a year, then released the birds with feeding stations. Curu still puts food out for the scarlets now, once in the afternoon, but they rarely visit it any more. There are 2 juveniles there who are the product of the macaws after release.

You are seeing those two juveniles, who are in the photos. Our tour leader knew, because Ringo was following them around.

Which brings me to Ringo's tragedy...and hope. Ringo and his mate were from a 3rd, unrelated bloodline, who were raised separately from the other 2 bloodlines. In routine testing (using a very unreliable test) while they were still in the flight, Ringo's mate tested positive for some disease. Rather than wait for more definitive testing, she was euthanized...and when the necropsy was done, she tested negative for everything.

Ringo was released with the other macaws, but they totally rejected him.

Ringo now follows the 2 juveniles around, and our guide says that they appear to like him. Everyone involved hopes that at least one of these 2 juveniles are female, and that once she gets hormones, she'll like Ringo, and mate with him. Ringo is from that separate bloodline, and he's important.

They had planned on a second release of birds, because 3 bloodlines are not enough to sustain a macaw population. They had one, but the owners backed out at the last minute. They do have a flight ready when they locate another source of macaws, though.
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Just for fun... [29 Mar 2006|06:06pm]

[ mood | amused ]

Brown Hooded Parrots
Brown Hooded Parrots

Taken at Boca Tapada. There are also a couple of oropendolas there, on the branch, eating bananas.

Thought I'd post this one just for fun. I don't even know what class that the brown hooded parrot falls into, but they were there, and we took photos. I know very little about them, though.
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Scarlet Macaws, part #1 [29 Mar 2006|04:04pm]

[ mood | cheerful ]

Scarlets flying, photo copyright Karen Webster
Scarlets flying, photo copyright Karen Webster

Scarlet Macaws flying to roost over Tarcoles River, outside of Carara National Wildlife Reserve.

We saw more scarlet macaws than any other parrot in Costa Rica. In fact, we saw 69 of them, most of them flying. I didn't understand one thing about the macaws before I saw them in nature...they live high in the canopy, and they fly high in the air. And sometimes they fly *incredibly* high in the air, to boot.

Which makes Karen's photos all the more awesome. My husband had a magnifying lens on his digital camera, and Karen had one on her professional camera equipment. When our page is up, you'll be able to appreciate the incredible job Karen did, because you'll have our photos for comparison.

Costa Rica is a balance between agriculture and nature. One of the win win situations they have there is that they have land where they cultivate teak for the wood. The macaws tried the teak seed, and they LOVED it. Now all of the macaws in Costa Rica eat the seed, and it's an added food source for them.

Which brings me to Carara. The scarlets roost in the mangrove swamps outside of the preserve, and daily they fly to the preserve to feed and nest. At dusk, they fly back to the mangrove swamps. Scarlets fly in pairs, which I'll discuss in a bit. You want to see scarlet macaws in Costa Rica, you just have to be on the bridge over the Tarcoles River at dawn or dusk. Unlike most bridges in Costa Rica, this is a long, well made bridge, and you can see tourists hanging on the side of it all day long. There are large crocodiles down in the river, and periodic pairs of macaws flying overhead. What more can you ask for?

We attended a lecture on the Scarlet Conservation Project at Carara, and I'm happy to report that there are now only 12 known poachers of macaws in the area, down from hundreds. They have made a concerted effort to educate the local school children about the natural beauty of the macaw, and how vital the bird is to ecotourism. This has worked. Most young people in Costa Rica are in the tourism business, rather than the bird poaching business.

Scarlet macaws are difficult birds in captivity. Guess what? They are difficult birds in nature, too. Mated pairs fight with each other, pairs fight with other pairs, and the whole flock squabbles. They apparently hate with a passion, and love, too. It was really funny, also. After we had learned this, we were out looking at macaw nests, and a pair flew right across the sky over us, fighting like nobody's business. He'd angrily squawk, she'd angrily squawk back, and they carried on like this the entire time they were in sight. Of course, we translated the argument into something about asking for directions.

Some scarlets have also been known to cheat on their mates, too.

Another interesting thing about the scarlet macaw life cycle is that the youngsters stay with mom and dad for a couple of years, and then they find a friend to pair with. It's basically the buddy system, and they use it as a survival mechanism. They stay with their buddy until they meet the parrot love of their life, and then they move into the adult parrot bond relationship we all know about.

Whereas the scarlets on the Atlantic side were nesting way off in seclusion, the scarlets in Carara on the Pacific side, had nests not far from the main highway. The conservation folks had tried the scarlets on scenery blending artificial nest boxes that worked well for the scarlets in Peru, but the scarlet macaws of Carara prefer large, bright blue plastic garbage cans with holes. They also use natural nest cavities, but if they aren't available, they like the blue plastic tubs. The Puenta Leona resort, also in the vicinity, had another type of nest box up on their property, and some of the scarlets were using those, too.
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Something to whet your appetite... [29 Mar 2006|12:40am]

[ mood | in awe ]

A landing scarlet macaw in Curu, photo copyright Karen Webster
A landing scarlet macaw in Curu, photo copyright Karen Webster

This photo looks unreal, but it is indeed real, taken by one of my travel mates, Karen Webster, of Alaska.

I am SO thrilled that I have Karen's permission to share these photos with you. I only looked at the disc she had sent me tonight and was totally blown away by some of her photos. I'll post more tomorrow, and talk some more about the macaws, particularly what they have found out about scarlets.
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Some macaw stuff [28 Mar 2006|04:54pm]

[ mood | chipper ]

Great Green Macaw Great Green Macaw

Not happy to see us!

This is one of the 5 great green macaws we saw at Boca Tapada. Unlike the red lored amazons, we had to be very quiet while sneaking up to the great green macaw nests.

We were quiet, but Daddy Great Green alertly spotted us taking photos and whispering among ourselves.

Oh boy, let me translate what he said:

Bertha! You stay down there in that nest cavity and don't you *dare* poke your head out complaining that you are hungry or hot! There are ENEMIES at the gate! ENEMIES, I tell you! And I shall drive them all off with my macho macaw warnings!


He did drive us off with his macho macaw warnings.

Here's another interesting bit of information hot off the presses, that you won't see in Bird Talk for another few months...

We were trooping down the road to the great green macaw nests (known amongst us lucky ecotourists as The Mud Walk #1 and The Mud Walk #2) listening to one of our well known bird experts adamantly explain to us that there were no scarlet macaws on the Atlantic side of Costa Rica.

We topped a rise, and saw 4 scarlet macaws sitting in a tree, off in the distance. We look at our bird expert. The other bird expert asks one of our local guides about them. The local guide is like, "Oh yeah, they nest waaaaaay over there!"

So apparently scarlet macaws are expanding their range down from the Atlantic side of Nicaragua (where the terrain is wild and the scarlets plentiful) to the Atlantic side of Costa Rica.

After the Amazona Society tour, my husband and I went down to the central Pacific coast for a few days. We went on a bird watching tour with the hotel naturalist, and we got to discussing parrots. He told us there are reports that the military macaw is expanding it's range north out of Panama to Costa Rica on the southern border.

Those darn illegal alien macaws!

I apologize it's been a few days since my last post. I'm having a health issue. The doctor I saw today thinks I picked up something in Costa Rica. I still don't regret the trip:)
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My red lored guy's behavior... [24 Mar 2006|08:47am]

[ mood | cheerful ]

While I am waiting for my hubby to get all of our trip photos online, I thought I would talk about the red lored amazon parrot in my previous post. His and his hen's nest is in a tree on the Laguna del Lagarto property...about 15 feet away from the main ecolodge building. It's maybe 8 feet off the ground.

Each evening, he and the hen would fly in from foraging with their flock, and he would escort her into the nest cavity (and that just about sent the entire bird tour into joyful spasms each time he did it.) He would then climb up into the branches and go on watch. He was stay there until dark was almost complete, and then he would fly off to roost with his flock.

The red lored parrot was not bothered by people standing around and ooohing and ahhhhing over him and his nest.

The great green macaw daddy was a whole other story.

Which brings me to a question for you in the community. I saw a lot of parrots out on my trip. I learned some new and interesting things about macaws, as well as amazons. Would you folks be interested in my posting some off topic parrot photos, as well as doing some off topic discussion of macaw behavior? I could put the macaw stuff behind a cut, and just discuss the amazon stuff without, if it would be easier. Or totally leave the macaw stuff out. Let me know what you would like.

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Back from the Amazona Society trip... [21 Mar 2006|08:53am]

[ mood | happy ]

A Red Lored Amazon at Laguna del Lagarto
A Red Lored Amazon at Laguna del Lagarto

He's guarding his nest, it's parrot nesting time in Costa Rica.

I'm so sorry it's over. I cried yesterday morning before we left Costa Rica. We saw a ton of birds and took a boat load of photos. I just got home last night, and am now just looking at some of the photos that my husband took. On the Amazon side, we saw red lored, yellow naped, and white fronted. I saw 4 Guatamalan yellow crowned Amazons like the second day in the capitol of Costa Rica. I didn't get photos of them, though. It's been a major adventure and I'll share the photos as soon as they are online.
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