It’s the end of 2015 and it feels good to look back on another fruitful year for the Ridgway’s Hawk conservation project in Punta Cana.
The work we did in Jan 2015 drastically reduced electrocutions of Ridgway’s Hawks this year. Only one hawk was electrocuted and it was on a pole that we had not been able to adequately cover with the materials that we had purchased in 2014. This year we have a grant from the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC) and matching funds from the Puntacana Ecological Foundation, allowing for the purchase of more retro-fitting supplies with the goal to cover a new section of power lines and also to finish retrofitting the more complicated fixtures that we were not able to cover last year. The work on the power poles not only prevents electrocution of the Ridgway’s Hawks, but helps to protect many other bird species, including migratory raptors.
It has been several months now since we closed down the release site for the season and radio tracking the reintroduced hawks has been the lion’s share of our work. We do this in order to know how each hawk is progressing and also to make sure that people living near where the birds are hunting and roosting are aware of our reintroduction efforts and understand the importance of helping to protect this critically endangered species.
Many of the young birds that formed new pairs last breeding season have been seen together again. We have been concerned for the pair Red 27 and Black 23 since this spring when a gardener found Red 27 on the ground, overwhelmed by an infestation of over 70 bot-fly larvae. Miraculously, Red 27 survived the ordeal (see our last two quarterly reports), but she and Black 23 were not seen together at all over the summer and fall after she was re-released. We are happy to report that they have been together recently and we are excited for their prospects in 2016. Another young pair Red 24 and Black AR have already begun pre-nesting season copulations, also a promising sign for 2016.
As always we are constantly trying to improve our efforts at educating the public about Ridgway’s Hawks and conservation in general. At the end of October our environmental education coordinator, Marta Curti conducted a teacher training workshop at the Puntacana Ecological Foundation. This was an intense four day session and 10 teachers from 5 target communities in the Punta Cana area participated. These teachers learned valuable skills which they can take back to their communities and use to help reach hundreds of students. This event was so successful that we are already in the process of planning the next workshop.
Project coordinator, Thomas Hayes, says he thinks this year is going to be pretty awesome for the Ridgway’s Hawk in Punta Cana.
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