Saving the BluesTM in Bolivia


Since inception the Nido Adoptivo™ project has had an outsized impact on the wild population of Bluethroated Macaws in their endemic range in El Beni, Bolivia. Documented fledgings from the next 2 BTM chicks fledged from Nido Adoptivo CZ in 2013 ox supp ernentanon strategy have added 46 Blue-throated Macaw chicks since 2007.

The impact depends on which population estimate is used. Bird Endowment accepts a population count of c. 300 BTMs in 2007. That means that since the start Nido Adoptivo™ has provided about 15 percent of population growth through supplemental nest boxes. However, if you were to accept (as does BirdLife International) that there are now fewer than 115 individuals in the wild, then the 46 chicks documented in the nest boxes represent 40 percent of the BirdLife citation today.

The most recent breeding season for confirmed results is 2013- 14. Seven Blue-throated Macaw chicks fledged from three nest boxes and did not need-in any instance-supplemental feedings. A fourth nest box was occupied by Blue-throated Macaws but the outcome was disappointing.

The supplemental nest box project was initiated in 2007 by Bird Endowment in collaboration with the Armonfa/Loro Parque Fundaci6n Blue-throated Macaw (Jlra glaucogularis) Conservation Program.

"This is really working," says Bennett Hennessey, executive director of Armonfa. "I mean that seriously, we are having a really strong impact in the conservation of the Blue-throated Macaw in the Loreto (Marban Province) area. We are reporting (in 2014) groups of Blue-throated Macaws in the area regaining their flocking winter behavior."

Perhaps the most important thing, Hennessey says, is "the boxes are now being used by Blue-throated Macaws that have fledged from nest boxes. Which also means there will be a better acceptance of the birds to new boxes in the future. In a few more years if all continues as it is, we will save the species from any extinction threat."

This validates the Nido Adoptivo™ concept for empowering in-the-wild-conservation for domestic aviculturists and bird lovers. Each donor-participant is honored as an El Beni-Factor™ for a year and listed in the archives forever. http://www. birdendowment. orglinBolivia/nidoAdoptivo.shtml

One of the principal factors affecting the population size of the Blue Beard Macaw (as it is called locally) is the lack of available nest sites and competition with the more common and abundant Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Am ararauna) that shares the same ecological niche. The Nido Adoptivo™ objective is to increase the annual reproductive output of the Blue-throated Macaw wild population by utilizing nest boxes attached to trees.

The Bolivian nonprofit Armonfa provides certain services to Nido Adoptivo™ for each $250 donation from Bird Endowment. These include construction and placement of an 'Adopted Nest' box with donor initials on it, GPS coordinates, regular monitoring by field biologists, and maintaining site records to provide a final summary of nest box activity. (This legalese makes the donation to the 50l(c)(3) Bird Endowment tax-deductible with IRS in the United States).

Costs of the nest boxes themselves are only a small part of the project. The all-volunteer nonprofit Bird Endowment collects no fees (and in fact, pays for the certificates and mailing among other domestic expenses). Most of the expenses in Bolivia are incurred in the field work.

Gustavo Sanchez, general coordinator of the Blue-throated Macaw Conservation Program, reported that during the past (2013-14) season 27 nests boxes were placed on cattle ranches in the southern area of distribution around Loreto. These are:

Villa Lupita, La Esperancita, Las Trancas, Santa Rosa Justiniano, Getafe, La Asunta and Cantina. Of them, 22 were occupied by some species of bird while five showed no activity. Four were occupied by the Blue-throated Macaw (Jlra glaucogularis) but unfortunately only three were successful; 10 were occupied by the Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Jlra ararauna), seven by Blackbellied Whistling- Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis), and one by Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata).