the conservation corner


the last issue, I described two of he four subcommittees that are part f AFP\s Conservation and Research

Committee: the Red Siskin Project and the CITES Committee. This time I'll introduce the Cooperative Breeding Programs and the Avian Research Committee and mention the Exotic Bird Registry.

The subcommittee on Cooperative Breeding Programs (CBP) is chaired by Nancy Speed. The provisions of the Wild Bird Conservation Act (WBCA) allow the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to approve cooperative breeding programs of WBCA-protected birds, and subsequent import permits under such breeding programs. The purpose of cooperative breeding programs is to enhance or promote the conservation of the species in the wild or to establish a self-sustaining population of the species in captivity in the United States. Every program must be overseen by an "appropriate avicultural, zoological or conservation" organization, one of which is the AFA. As of 2003 there were 24 CBPs, four of which were overseen by AFA. As of 2005, AFA oversees five -- two active and successful, one recently proposed, and two not very active:

1. Cooperative Breeding Program CB009:

Crimson-bellied conure (Pyrrhura perlata perlata); Pearly conure (Pyrrhura perlata /epida; Pp. coerulescens); Blue (mutation) Green-cheeked conure (Pyrrhura molinae); Fiery-shouldered conure (Pyrrhura egregia); Rose-fronted (painted) conure (Pyrrhura rhodocephala); Painted conure (Pyrrhura picta picte, Pp, reseifrons); White-eared Conure (Pyrrhura /eucotis /eucotis and Pl. emma) - an active and successful program with F3 generation hatchings taking place in most species. The crimson-bellied population grew from 50 imports to over 350 

birds in the program in only a few years. All other species have responded well with the exception of the painted conure. Only four pairs were imported to attempt to supplement the U. S. population.

2. Blue-headed Macaw (Ara coulont) - Another active and successful program. Several birds have been imported under the program. In 2004 eggs were produced but as yet no young have hatched.

3. Blue-eyed Macaw (Cacatua ophthalmica) - AFP\s newest CBP pending approval from the Fish and Wildlife Service.

4. Javan hill mynah (Gracu/a religiosa religiosa), Sumatran hill mynah (Gracu/a religiosa robusta) - Some Javan hill mynahs were imported, but there has been no successful reproduction. One of the participants reported that this CBP is interested in recruiting another member to continue this program.

5. Red-crested Cardinal (Paroaria coronata) and Yellow-billed Cardinal (Paroaria capitata) - not active at present time.

A CBP-to-be must have at least two members, must submit USFWS Form 3-200- 49 (10 pages with instructions at website and pay a fee of $25 - proposed to be increased to $200. It must be periodically renewed, and the FWS has requested approval of a renewal fee of $50. To amend the program to add additional species or additional participants will soon cost $100. Once a program is approved, the CBP may request specific import authorization through submittal of form 3-200-48 (another 1 O pages with instructions at website http://forms. and paying another $25 (I didn't find any specific information saying this fee has been proposed to be increased).

Now, how does one know what avian species are well represented in aviculture, and which ones would be good subjects of a 

CBP because they are not well represented in US aviculture or that need new blood to prevent inbreeding? That was one of the purposes of AFP\s Exotic Bird Registry. The Exotic Bird Registry was established in 1994 to serve as a central repository of demographic information on the various species of birds being kept and bred in aviculture. But the Registry has been slumbering over the past few years because AFA is a volunteer organization and unless volunteers can be found to promote and manage programs, they become inactive. The Exotic Bird Registry has suffered this fate but is just waiting for the day when some energetic volunteer(s) would like to take it on and give it the attention and promotion it deserves. (Hint to some volunteer-in-the-wings.)

Another slumbering program has been the fourth and final official subcommittee of the CRC, the Avian Research Committee, with the official role to "solicit, review and recommend avian research programs to the Board for grant approval and to solicit and receive donations for avian research." Its acting chair is myself, Janice Boyd. Making this subcommittee active and effective again is one of my goals. In the 1980's and early 1990's the Avian Research Committee provided grants to dozens of projects. In 1994 AFA published a CITES Supplement in which were listed the 65 AFA-supported projects between 1982-1993. Laurella Desbrough was kind enough to send me a copy of the list, which I've reproduced in the table. Wow; very impressive! Unfortunately, as many of you readers know, for a period AFA fell upon hard times. During that time it was not financially able to continue its grant program, although funds were  

raised to donate to the Spix's macaw conservation effort. Now things are looking up for AFA, and over the next few years the grants program should begin again. I hope we can begin a modest program in 2006. One possible approach at first would be for members and affiliated clubs and organizations to pledge a small amount of money to a specific AFA research fund for providing small (to start with) grants to worthy research projects. Sort of like what has been done for the Disaster Relief Fund. The amount of each grant might be around $1,000, and on the AFA website we would post a notice requesting grant proposals by a specific date. A Research Grant Review Team would then review the proposals and suggest one or more proposals for funding, subject to the approval of the Board of Directors. Other ways of raising research grant funds are also possible. If you have a suggestion or opinion on these ideas, please send me an email to (or to one of the other emails you may know me by - they all converge on yours-truly).