| Jul 8, 2016
July Report 2016
We are slowly catching our breath from the busiest and most productive season we have ever had here on the Ridgway’s Hawk Project. As we suspected, 2016 was a landmark year and we have seen some amazing results from all of our hard work these past years. We could not have accomplished this without all the help from our supporters, thank you!!!!
We set many new records this year with a final count of 12 nesting pairs being observed in Punta Cana. Eight of these pairs actively nested meaning that they made a nest, laid eggs, and incubated their eggs. Three of these pairs unfortunately failed at some point during incubation, but five pairs managed to hatch nine nestlings and eight of these nestlings survived and fledged. Since our first pair formed in 2013, a total of four nestlings have fledged, so having eight fledglings in 2016 was definitely an incredible achievement for the project.
Another exciting moment in the Ridgway’s Hawk Project happened this year when male Blue 4/4 and female Red 2/2 hatched and fledged their first nestling. Male Blue 4/4 was the first nestling to hatch in PC back in 2013 and he is now the first hawk native to Punta Cana to be a part of a breeding pair. This pair having their first successful nest was definitely one of the highlights of the 2016 nesting season.
We achieved our release goal this season with 25 new Ridgway’s Hawks being released into the area. One of these 25 new hawks was released by a method called fostering. To do this we placed a young hawk (12 days) into the nest of one of the wild pairs in Punta Cana. Due to unexpected circumstances this nestling was left in our care. Unfortunately the timing wasn’t very good to place this bird with one of the groups being released, so we decided to place the nestling in a wild nest that only had one nestling. We have successfully done this in the past so we knew that there was a good chance that it would work. This pair successfully raised both nestlings and they fledged from their nest in late April.
The other 24 nestlings fledged from a brand new release site. This site was constructed due to the old release site being chosen as a nesting platform. The pair male Black 2/5 and Female Black 3/8 was eventually joined by female Black 3/5. This trio was observed extensively and nest building and copulations were observed with both of the females, but neither female ever ended up laying eggs. The good news is that we were able to construct the new release site in time to release 24 new birds to the area. This new release site is truly a joy to work at since the new observation tower is 5 stories high and above the canopy of the forest. It was originally constructed as a birding tower and we thought there was no better way to turn it into a birding tower than releasing Ridgway’s Hawks right there.
Once again it was an incredible season both in Punta Cana and in Los Haitises National Park. In all we ended up monitoring about 120 nesting pairs of Ridgway’s Hawks which is also a new record for the project. Again, many thanks for all of the support and please keep helping us achieve conservation records for the Ridgway’s Hawk.