A Day with Projeto Arara Azul!!

Trip Start Jul 06, 2007
Trip End Aug 06, 2007

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Cezar, Julianna and Karla picked us up right after breakfast in a 4WD truck.  They were all kitted out with climbing gear so I knew they would be climbing trees to inspect nests.  Cezar really knows his birds, everytime we passed any bird (or mammal), he would tell Julianne what number it was in the field guide and she would point it out to me so I could see whatit was in English.  We saw lots of hawks and water birds but I will just talk about parrots here.  First we went to a nest occupied by two Hys, Karla climbed up and saw no eggs so came back down.  They have natural nest which are 95% in Manduvai trees.  They have to compete for these nests with other birds and have lost many potential nests to deforestation so the Arara Azul people have constructed artificial nests.  Their program is very successful as the macaw population was less than 2000 at one point and now there are over 6000 Hys in the Pantanal!  

As we drove from one nest to another, the parents would fly off angrily and squawk their heads off complaining as the team took turns climbing the tree to see if there were eggs.  It is justthe start of the breeding season now so many couples are preparing the nests with woodchips.  Sadly some eggs the team had found before had been stolen by predators.  We saw many other birds along the way, including a large flock of Nanday Conures, several BF Amazons and some Golden Collared Macaws.  There is one pair of Greenwing Macaws who have a nest but werenīt around it so we didnīt see them.  The hightlight came at the end of the day when the team inspected a nest that was known to have eggs in it and found two baby Hy chicks!   They were adorable!  Cezar wouldnīt let me hold them  but he held them and we all took pictures and I kissed both their little heads and prayed they would grow up strong and healthy!

After the dayīs work, we returned to the Arara Azul office and Julianne showed us the usual slide show they show normal tourists but we had missed because we werenīt on the normal tour.  It tellas about the Hyacinth Macaw, the Project and what we can do to help.  Donīt buy illegally imported birds stolen from the wild.  Donīt buy products made with feathers from Macaws and Parrots as the birds are either killed to get the feathers or so badly injured, they die anyway.  They have a gift shop which helps support the project bu unfortunately they donīt take credit cards (I wish I had known that before) so I bought just a few small things as much as I could.  

They currently have an injured Female Hy they named Kris.  She was rescued from certain death as a caiman (alligator) and caught her by the tail when she was either drinking or bathing in the lake.  Thank God a cowboy was nearby and rescued her ande brought her to the project to be rehabilitated.  She had lost her tail and couldnīt fly or eat.  Now she is almost ready to be released back to the wild but she still needs to be able to crack the Acuri nuts by herself.  I wanted to give her a big hug but they donīt encourage showing affection to Macaws that need to be released to the wild and they donīt want them friendly to humans.  I did get to scratch her head a bit while one of the volunteers held her.

We rejoined the other tourists for dinnner but they didnīt see half of what we did, I was so happy we went!  After dinner there was a slide show about the Caiman resort which was very interesting.
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