Conservation Corner: Avian Research Grants Program for 2007-2008


Av Ian Research Gran ts P rogram fbr 2 0 0 7 -2 0 0 8 A FA H e]ps Av Ian Research

The Conservation and Research Committee has selected four projects for the 2007-2008 Avian Research Grants Program. The projects are summarized below, and for more information, see the links given or contact the AFA contact person.

(1) Niau Kingfisher Conservation

AFA Contact: Myles Lamont,

The Niau Kingfisher is a critically endangered endemic to Niau island in the South Pacific. Recent surveys have concluded that there could be as few as 30 individuals remaining in the wild, making it one of the most endangered species of bird in the world. It has, unfortunately, received very little publicity and the projects through the Pacific Islands Conservation Research Association (PICRA) (the current organization involved with the kingfisher research) are in need of financial support to continue their work with this species. A recent doctoral graduate, Dr. Dylan Kesler, who has formerly extensively studied the Micronesian Kingfisher, is in the midst of carrying out a more in depth study of this species biology, and financial support is needed to aid in this species recovery. (Organization website: (An article on the Niau Kingfisher recently appeared in the Watchbird, Vol 33 No.3.)

(2) Puerto Rican Parrot (PRP) Reintroduction

AFA Contact: Janice Boyd,

In the past AFA has been fortunate to have Aviary Manager Jafet Velez speak at our Conventions about the USFWS I Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Program and his work in the PRP captive breeding aviary. Captive breeding has raised the number of these highly endangered birds to about 200, and now there is a sufficient number of individuals available for a major effort to reintroduce the species to the rugged karst region of Puerto Rico, the northern interior mountainous part of the island which harbors the islandsJrichest biodiversity. The Puerto Rican Parrot formerly lived here in large numbers and it is an excellent choice for the establishment of a second wild population of the birds. The first of at least 3 releases took place in November 2006 and this grant will provide funding to aid in subsequent releases. (Press release at http://www.fws. gov/southeast/news/2006/r06-019. html)

(3) Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program (HEBCP)

AFA Contact: Margrethe Warden,

Hawaii is not just paradise in the United States. The islands are home to some of the most endangered birds in the world. In 1993, the state of Hawaii, the United States Department of the Interior and the Zoological Society of San Diego and private landowners joined forces in a collaborative effort to save these fragile species. Utilizing captive breeding strategies, this program has successfully hatched and fledged at least 750 critically endangered birds. Financial support is necessary to continue the fight to bring these American birds back from the brink of extinction. (Project website (An article on Saving the Hawaiian Birdslappeared in the Watchbird, Vol 33 No.4.)