| Oct 16, 2018
Status Update on the Ridgway's Hawk Conservation Program.
Testing the effectiveness of an entomopathogenic.
Breeding season has not yet arrived for the Ridgway’s Hawks – there are still a few months to go before they begin courtship and nest-building in preparation for raising a new generation of young hawks. As we wait for breeding season to begin, we continue to carry out monthly surveys in Punta Cana and Los Haitises National Park in order to assess where most of the hawks are and their health status. We spend a lot of time in each pair’s territory, documenting their presence or absence and recording any interesting behavior we are lucky enough to observe. So far, all hawks are present and accounted for, which is great news!
At the Grupo Puntacana Foundation we held a 3-day workshop for 16 teachers and locals from different areas of the Dominican Republic. Over these three days, participants learned about Ridgway’s Hawks, their importance as birds of prey and role they play in ecosystems, as well as different techniques they can use to transmit the conservation message and information in their local communities.
During the last three months, we have been rearing Philornis flies (a parasite fly that affects the population of Ridgway Hawks and other types of birds) in the lab to learn more about their life cycle. We have been able to keep them alive for over 3 months and those flies were used for in-lab experiments intended to find mid-term control methods.
We are testing different organic repellents in a choice arena, where adult flies choose between two entry points baited with food: with or without a repellent. We have been conducting trials with Tobacco and Neem. We are also testing the effectiveness of an entomopathogenic fungus, Beauveria bassiana, against Philornis larvae.
Finally, we are placing traps with papaya juice to trap wild Philornis adults in the field and to have a better idea of the population’s abundance.
Musca domestica killed by Beauveria bassiana.
Trio of Ridgway's Hawks
Male Ridgway's Hawk