So the whole reason I am down here in the Bahamas is to work as a research technician for a biologist studying the Bahama race of the Cuban Parrot (Amazona leucecophala). They are a fascinating and beautiful bird who, on Abaco only (where I am), nest underground. The population experienced a sharp decline over the past few decades due to a number of factors, but my boss and a few local agencies have worked very hard to save the population, and with great success. This summer we are first finding as many nesting pairs as we can; the photo-stream below illustrates just how we go about doing that.
First you have to find parrots, so we walk through the Caribbean Pine forest on the southern part of the island and listen for squaking. Once you find them, hunker down so they don't see or hear you, and watch them. In this case, I watched the male come into his territory and call the female out of the nest so he could feed her.
Here the male is feeding the female. I got an idea of where the nest was by watching her emerge from the cavity.
The male then usually grabs a perch above the nest to make sure the coast is clear for the female to climb back in.
Just doing his best recon of the area.
The female then came into a lower perch on the same tree, which is typical nesting behavior.
These birds are really flippin' spectacular.
I was a little worried she saw me.
She sure acted like I did, but apparently didn't care.
Some last preening...
Then she hopped into her cavity, and I found it! It was probably about 5 feet deep, and she was sitting on the bottom, likely on eggs.
A few other birds...
We stopped to check out this heron on our way home the other day, thinking from the car it was a Snowy Egret, until we got bins on it.
The bicolored bill...white phase Reddish Egret! I had never seen the white phase before this one.
This is the Bahama Warbler, only recently split from the Yellow-throated Warbler, common in the United States. There are a number of differences in every aspect, but I hope to get some more photos of this species and write a blog comparing them later this year.
Banaquit! Always makes me want a smoothie...or Goombay Smash.
Pine Warbler...on the ground! Birds are weird here.