Red 5/5 is a female released last season in 2016.
The Ridgway’s Hawk Project is right in the middle of its busiest season ever. After a great release season and record survival rates of released individuals, Ridgway’s Hawks are becoming ever more common in the landscape at the Puntacana Resort & Club and in the surrounding area.
We have been monitoring established nesting pairs and looking for new ones all during the fall and spring and to our delight we currently have established at least 14 pairs of Ridgway’s Hawks in the Punta Cana area. Not only that, so far this season thirteen nestlings have hatched in the area and as of writing this report we have already banded 5 nestlings which will soon fledge. Two more nests, both with two nestlings each are scheduled to be banded later on this week. All in all, we have seen steady growth of the new population of hawks, breeding pairs, and wild nestlings over the last several years.
One of the most amazing parts of this project is our team of local field technicians who live and work in Los Haitises National Park. Since the beginning of the project, this team has been steadily growing in skill and size. Currently, 17 Dominican field technicians and 6 Dominican volunteers are involved in the project. This amazing team is monitoring just over 120 pairs of Ridgway’s Hawks in Los Haitises National Park. This is an amazing feat and what is more amazing is the fact that the population of hawks has doubled in some areas where we have been working intensively to reduce mortality in nestling hawks due to infestations from parasitic flies, Philornis.
At the time of writing this report, we just finished banding 8 new young nestlings which were brought from Los Haitises to Puntacana Resort & Club. These nestlings have been taken to the release site where they will spend the next 7-10 days inside a specially designed box, called a hackbox. The birds are fed inside this box and then on release day the door is opened and the birds are free to leave the box. Food is placed on the platform at the release site and this keeps the birds coming back to the platform for about three months or until they become independent and can catch food for themselves. We will keep you posted about this year’s release season in the next report.
In addition to the busy field season, our environmental education team is working hard to spread the word about the importance of Ridgway’s Hawks, and raptors in general, throughout the country. Right now we are busy preparing for several Ridgway’s Hawk Day events to be held in Santo Domingo and the Punta Cana area next month. We are also organizing our next teacher training workshop – a three day event designed to train teachers in environmental education methods and provide them with the materials and information they need to implement what they have learned in their classrooms, so they can help instill an appreciation for nature and raptor conservation in their students. To date, we have trained close to 40 teachers from several areas throughout the country.
On behalf of the Ridgway’s Hawk Project we would like to sincerely thank all of you who have donated to the project to date. Moving forward we hope we can count on your continued support for this conservation project and hope you share this Global Giving Page with anyone you think may be interested in learning about this remarkable project.
Nestlings at only 1-2 days old in Puntacana Resort
The first Ridgway's Hawk nest of the season 2017