Since getting back, there has been a lot of work done in extrapolating the data which was collected out in the field. I am still utterly thrilled to have been given the chance to go the Barba Azul Reserve to study this species.
Initial results from population counts have been very exciting, a high of 68 macaws were seen in the old part of the reserve, higher than counts have found in the past few years. In the new eastern part of the reserve a count produced an incredible large number with 105 individuals being spotted flying off to roost. A final count was also completed over the whole reserve, and even in bad weather provided count of 83 individuals.
This high number of individuals of this species is great news, as it is stated by the IUCN that there is an estimated adult population of about 70-80. To be finding counts of over 100 is great news for the population of the species.
Additionally to the population counts, family group sizes of this macaw were taken into account. It was found that the majority of individuals were seen flying in pairs or in a group of three indicating a large breeding success for this species. This information does not only help us understand the population structure of the species, but it also proves the fact that this ecosystem that it inhabits (Llanos de Moxos plains) is rich and vital for this species’ conservation but also that of other threatened wildlife.
Another study which was completed while out in the field was to try to find out which of the palm forest islands this species was using to roost. It was found that one island just north of the reserve had been seen with a very large population utilising it for a roost site, with over 50 individuals being spotted flying into the island. This paired with flight speeds recorded from the species could allow Associacion Armonia information of where they are capable of flying to before roost, so further protecting the species.
Results of the motacu palm usage and regeneration is still on going, and it will be interesting to see if there is an issue with regeneration of this palm which provides the main food source for the species.
In conclusion, I feel that there have been many positives to be taken from the results achieved from the studies. It has proven that the need to conserve the habitat is proving to be important to bringing the population numbers of this species back to a higher level. It has also found roost sites of the species; this had not been found before, an incredible important factor in its conservation. I am still overjoyed to have been given the chance to go to this wonderful reserve, and I can’t wait to go back!