(Note from TRC – we are sharing notes from Dr. Ponder when we can. She was able to send two notes recently. We have one post today, and will post the other on Wednesday this week.)
We are up to 44 birds and think there are still six (6) more out there minimum. Let's see, at 100g food per bird per day, that is 4.4kg, which is almost 10 pounds of meat a day! We were challenged a bit with hurrying to build more aviary space. My treasured working space will now been “given” to the new hawk residents. We added on a double enclosure (bye work space!) and will move a bunch (2 rooms) of juveniles in there to open up the smaller ones. Anyway, will be taking in a few more adults, we hope. These adults are very necessary to the breeding population of the species. But we are trying to cap it soon. It is quite a lot of work to keep the birds fed and keep an eye on their health, feathers, etc. The guardeparques (park guards)and I are unwrapping perches, splitting the rope and re-wrapping more perches for the newcomers. This was great advice I got from Lori Arent, TRC’s clinic manager and the other TRC staff who came down to the Galapagos on the 2010 project.
It is been interesting to figure out how many grams of meat to give the birds, if what we are feeding them temporarily is goat meat. How many grams of meat are on a goat rib cage??...but the birds love the enrichment of cleaning it.
There are only five (5) territorial adult females we have found here. There does not seem to be any way that those breeding territories can account for over 20 juveniles and sub-adults, especially considering we have seven (7) fledglings, too. One territory has a sub-adult female. The rest are either offspring of the hawks here or are coming from elsewhere for the food. Genetics will be interesting.
"Noisy" (the juvenile hawk that I mentioned in previous post) has finally quieted down today when his mother fed him - he is young enough that he doesn't want to eat on his own. His sibling (female) wolfed down her rat. We added two (2) new fledglings from another territory today - came down very late (parents, too - we decreed no one touches chicks until that adults are captured as these parents with young are definitely the wariest birds). Food begging as sun set, but got dark before we could get everyone in and give the food for parents to feed them. I left a piece of goat leg for first thing in the morning. Hope it doesn't attract problematic rats.
I am looking forward to Gail (Buhl, TRC’s education program manager) joining me soon. We will overlap in our time here, and then she will stay to release the hawks once the rat eradication efforts are complete, and then monitor the hawks for some time afterwards.
More soon! Miss you all! - Juli
(Note from TRC - we know you have been following Dr. Ponder's amazing adventure, but here is a press release from our AHC department before she left just to refresh your minds as to the project mission and goals.)