Conservation Projects

Map of Our Yellow-naped Parrot Project in Guatemala

La Ruta de Los Loros (Parrot Pathway)


This map shows places on the Pacific coast of Guatemala where you can find Yellow-naped and other parrots, learn about ongoing conservation efforts, contribute by being an ecotourist, or be a citizen scientist. This map also aims to support the private reserves, farms, and archeological sites that are actively trying to protect and monitor remaining populations of the Yellow-naped.  If you wish to participate in La Ruta, as the owner of a protection/count site, or taking a tour of the route, contact Colum Muccio, Director of ARCAS


Latest Project Report

 Lafeber Conservation Logo

The year of 2013 was a boom year for Lafeber Conservation’s contribution to parrot conservation in Central America. The three main current projects expanded, many workshops and presentations were offered, three new working groups were convened, one existing working group was convened twice and expanded, and four new projects were begun.  A brief summary of each project follows. More detailed reports and reflections on each project can be found at Lafeber Conservation.


Guatemala Yellow-naped Conservation:

Saving the Yellow-naped Amazon



Much progress was made in Guatemala for this species during the last two years.

  •  The Yellow-naped Amazon Working Group grew and strengthened.
  • The conservation status of the species shifted from “lease concern” to “vulnerable.”
  • Capacity building workshops in parrot conservation and monitoring were conducted throughout the Pacific coast of Guatemala and in Guatemala City.
  • Population counts were performed at several sites giving us the first glimpse into the current status of the species in this country beyond the historical roost site in Finca Ilusiones.


Training group at Los Tarrales

Training group at Los Tarrales

Lafeber Conservation cosponsored two workshops and working group meetings on yellow-naped amazon conservation, one in February 2013 and the second in November 2013.  The first occurred at the National History Museum in Guatemala, and the second at the University of San Carlos Veterinary Medical College. People attended from all over the country.  At each Dr. Joyner was a key note speaker. Over 90 people attended the presentation she gave at San Carlos.  Following presentations by key groups of stakeholders, the group convened as the Yellow-naped Amazon Working Group to discuss next possible steps and action plans.  At the last meeting the group changed its name to COLORES (Corridor de Loro y las Reservas de Sur).  To garner political and financial support for COLORES and its efforts, as well as to offer education and awareness, Fernando Aldana on behalf of Lafeber met several times with private reserves and stakeholders.



Dr. Joyner (photo by Hugo Toledo)

Dr. Joyner (photo by Hugo Toledo)

During the two trips to Guatemala Dr. Joyner conducted point counts and training in monitoring of parrots at a total of 6 locations, and she and Fernando Aldana, consultantbiologist hired by Lafeber Company, did a preliminary survey of several other locations.  The summary of these 6 point counts can be found attached, as well as here (link).  One training at a private reserve, Los Tarrales, extended beyond the property’s workers. Scholarships were given for 20 attendees thanks to the cosponsorship of this training with ARCAS who had a grant from Vancouver Zoo.  A total of 36 people were trained on site in the Pacific coast in November 2013.  Each of these places is committing to conduct regular counts of parrots. This will result in:


1. Gaining and sharing of information regarding parrot population numbers and trends in Guatemala

2. Highlighting areas for ecotourism through the publication of “Ruta de los Loros” (Parrot Pathway)

3. Highlighting areas for education and publicity regarding the species

4. Protecting the species due to increased presence in the field

Reflections on training at one site can be found here.

This project will continue in 2014.

Current Partners: ARCAS, Guatemala, Avitourism Board of Guatemala, Universidad de San Carlos, Association of Private Reserves, Guatemala, Takalik Abaj archeological site, Finca Serranía


Guatemala Scarlet Macaw Chick/Nest Health Assessment:

Checking Up on the Chicks

 Scarlet macaw chick in Guatemala



Dr. LoraKim Joyner in lab in Guatemala

This was year four of a project, “Checking up on the Chicks.”  Two years ago we used the funds to provide equipment and supplies for hematology tests performed on wild scarlet macaw chicks.  It also provided for Dr. Joyner’s consulting, training of veterinarians and technicians in the field, setting up the field labs, and processing the hematological samples.  This work was repeated in 2013.  As part of a comprehensive examination of the chicks, tests for the following were  conducted:  serum biochemistry, hematology, internal parasites, blood parasites, genetics, virology, and chick biometrics.  A Vetscan Analyzer was donated to Dr. Joyner.  Over the course of five field seasons Dr. Joyner has consulted and collaborated with the staff and volunteers of Wildlife Conservation Society, Guatemala in avian conservation medicine, pediatrics, incubation, human dimensions of conservation, release and reintroduction, and captive breeding. For reflections on this year’s work, go here.

This project will not continue in 2014.

Current Partners:  Wildlife Conservation Society, American Museum of Natural History


Honduras Scarlet Macaw Chick/Nest Health Assessment:

Preserving the People and Parrots of Honduras


 Dr. Joyner treating macaws in Honduras



From 2010-2013 Lafeber’s presence allowed for this project to grow by recruitment of outside funds and agencies, and increased conservation capacity.  Dr. Joyner was Mabita-House-November-2013instrumental in forming the basis of the chick and nest research in the field as well as the educational components at local schools, encouraging the start of a film project, and facilitating local community members to initiate parrot patrols to reduce poaching. In 2011-2012 confiscated scarlet macaws were released at the village Mabita, whose occupants cared for the birds solely on their own.  Dr. Joyner visited the village in September of 2013 after a two year absence and found 16 released birds returning the village daily for food supplementation (for a summary of these villager’s efforts, see attached).  While there Dr. Joyner directly treated individual birds as well as the flock, conducted capacitation training for care of the birds, participated in parrot monitoring, and arranged for the construction of a visitor and research center in the village through her organization, One Earth Conservation and Ministry.  This visitors center is nearing completion and will support the parrots and people of this community and surrounding area by:


1.  Providing lodging for ecotourists and income for the villagers

2.  Provide lodging for biologists to study and support the efforts of the villagers

3.  Provide lodging and clinic space for visiting veterinary students and veterinarians to care for the birds and future releases

Students and Dr. Joyner at UNA, Catacamas, Honduras

During the 2013 three week trip to Honduras Dr. Joyner gave a 3 day workshop on many aspects of avian conservation to the students and faculty at the National Agricultural University in Catacamas, Honduras.  Plans were made for future collaboration with this group to provide training to students and services to rescue centers, particularly the one in Mabita.  She also gave a 3 day workshop to the National Autonomo University of Honduras in Tegucigalpa on parrot conservation. While in Tegucigalpa Dr. Joyner gave several other presentations and met with the newly forming Macaw Working Group for this country.  For reflections on this year’s work, go here.

This project will continue in 2014.

Current Partners:  Hector Portillo Reyes and Maria Eugenia Mondragon Hung of INCIBIO

ICF (Forestry Service of Honduras), National University Autonomo of Honduras,

Indigenous villages of Rus, Rus and Mabita, La Moskitia

Moskita Project/PNUD

UNAH (Universidad Nacional Autónoma Honduras), UNA (Universidad Nacional de Agricultura=


Nicaragua: Putting the Macaws of Nicaragua on the Map

Macaws at Coseguina Volcano (photo by Orlando Jarquin)

Macaws at Coseguina Volcano (photo by Orlando Jarquin)


Four years ago Dr. Joyner went to La Moskitia along with others from Honduras to investigate the status of scarlet macaws and parrots in the region. By only spending 10 days there we were able to initiate a working group that today with very little funding is seeing a positive outcome for the birds and people there.  Where once there was no project, we now have a community protecting its birds, and a working group creating hope and possibility.

The hope is to do the same in Nicaragua where there is no active program working with scarlet macaws, and to combine the efforts of both Nicaragua and Honduras as they share the same Moskitia region.  For that aim Lafeber Conservation cosponsored a workshop and the first meeting of working group  meeting in October 2013 bringing together biologists from three countries whose scarlet macaw share common genetic haploid groups: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras.  Dr. Joyner presented at this workshop, whose summary report is attached.

One of the regions in Nicaragua where both great green and scarlet macaws occur is the Bosawas. ”The Bosawás Biosphere Reserve in the northern part of Nicaragua near Honduras is a hilly tropical forest, and comprises about 15% of the nation’s total land area which  makes it the second largest rainforest in the Western Hemisphere, after the Amazon in Brazil Bosawás is largely unexplored, and is extremely rich in biodiversity.”  From the workshop we heard over and over again how unfortunately this area is difficult, time consuming, and expensive to get to.  To get into this area to protect macaws will take a substantial effort, such as the presence of the Wildlife Conservation Society who is interested, but also overtaxed as for staffing and resources. Dr. Joyner and others will continue the efforts to mount an expedition into this area.

On Coseguina Volcano (photo by Andrea Grosse)

On Coseguina Volcano (photo by Andrea Grosse)

In the meantime, Lafeber Conservation has been working with a coalition of biologists beginning to study the scarlet macaws in the Coseguina Natural Reserve.  Lafeber sponsored one trip to the area for these biologists to look for macaws, of which there is supposedly 8 pairs still existing. These would be the last Central American scarlet macaws left on the pacific slope in the entire region.  In November Dr. Joyner traveled to the area to scout out the presence of macaws, the terrain, and community groups with whom we could partner to stabilize macaw efforts at this site. For reflections on this work, go here.

This project will continue in 2014.

Current Members of the Trinational MacawWorking Group:

Honduras:  Hector Portillo Reyes and Maria Eugenia Mondragon Hung of INCIBIO, Olvin Francisco Andino Méndez

Costa Rica: Guisselle Monge and Olivier Chassot, Ph.D from Centro Cientifico Tropical and Coordiantors of the Project:  Investigation and Conservation of the Great Green Macaw, Costa Rica

Nicaragua: Martin Lezama of Paso Pacifico, Orlando Jarquin, Martin Vallecio, Milton Salazar


Nicaragua Yellow-naped Amazon Conservation:

Checking Up on the Chicks

and Discovering Ometepe Island


Pacific Parakeets on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua

Pacific Parakeets on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua

Paso Pacifico has a project on the Pacific slope of Nicaragua protecting the heavily pressured yellow-naped amazon population. Part of their efforts include working with land owners to protect their nests as well as placing radio collars on fledging chicks to monitor flight patterns, foraging behavior, and nesting success. Dr. Joyner accompanied them in April 2013 so as to train biologist crews in nest and chick health exams.  Though no wild chicks were available for exam, significant capacitation and consulting was gratefully received.  To continue this training Dr. Joyner plans to assist them in their 2014 field season. Reflections on these efforts can be found here.

In another area in Nicaragua, Flora and Fauna International has been working with Fundación Entre Volcanes on Ometepe Island.


Dr. Joyner performing field necropsy in Nicaragua

Dr. Joyner performing field necropsy in Nicaragua

Although not specifically targeting parrots, biologists there have been monitoring yellow-naped amazons in one area near Playa Santa Domingo. Dr.  Joyner traveled there to survey their efforts and to offer consultation on parrot monitoring.  While there she discovered that there were yellow-napes nesting in October 2013, a full 3 months earlier than they do in the rest of Central America.  Locals tell the story that there are two separate breeding population of yellow napes, one in the lowland area of the islands isthmus, and the others Dr. Joyner with partners in Nicaraguafurther up on the volcanic slopes.  This along with the observations of Dr. Joyner suggests that this is an unique study opportunity to discover not just basic biology and ecology, but also because this may be the largest population of yellow-napes in Nicaragua. Furthermore, they know little about the threats to this population, although preliminary information suggests a high degree of poaching.  Reflections on these efforts can be found here.

These projects will continue in 2014

Current Partners:

Unfortunately, Flora and Fauna recently withdrew their work on Ometepe Island. Past employees are willing to work with Lafeber to establish parrot monitoring here and to collaborate local partners.




Belize Scarlet Macaw Conservation:  Checking Up on the Chicks



 Chiquibul Forest Reserve - last remaining refuge for scarlet macaws in Belize

Chiquibul Forest Reserve – last remaining refuge for scarlet macaws in Belize


In Guatemala, Mexico, and Belize there are less than 200 scarlet macaws per country. The Belize population is isolated from the other two countries, making these birds especially vulnerable.  In addition, Belize’s efforts are relatively recent and have only just begun to protect the species, whose threats in the past have been habitat loss and whose current threats are largely due to poaching.  Dr. Joyner consulted with this project in May 2013 and offered training in chick and next exams so as to develop conservation strategies that can protect the chicks from disease and parasites.  This visit was part of a two year effort with Dr. Joyner returning in 2014 to continue training and collaboration to monitor and improve chick health. Reflections on this year’s efforts can be found here.

Dr. Isabelle Pacquet-Durand learns on first chick and teaches on second

Dr. Isabelle Pacquet-Durand learns on first chick and teaches on second

This project will continue in 2014

Current Partners:                                                                            

Dr. Isabelle Pasquet-Durand and the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic.

Charles Britt and Roni Martinez.

Friends of Conservation and Development



Mexico and Mesoamerica Scarlet Macaw Working Group



Released bird with identifying marks on beak and with a radio collar

Released bird with identifying marks on beak and with a radio collar

Networking across a wide region is a key feature for successful conservation. For that purpose Dr. Joyner journeyed to the scarlet macaw release project in Palenque, Mexico. There she conferred with biologists regarding their techniques for their successful liberation, which plans to release 200 scarlet macaws over the next two years within Chiapas, Mexico along the Guatemala border.  Reflections on these efforts can be found here.  One of the results of this trip is a confirmation from Mexican colleagues to work with Central America countries to develop a Central American Scarlet Macaw Working Group, which will meet next October during the week of the Mesoamerican Society of Biology and Conservation in Honduras. Honduran and Nicaragua colleagues have agreed to help host this meeting and colleagues from Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Belize to attend.

The Mesoamerican Scarlet Macaw Working Group project will continue in 2014.

Current Partners:

Mexico:  Dr. Alejandro Morales

U.S: Dr. Kari Schmidt

Honduras:  Maria Eugenia Mondragon Hung

Nicaragua: Martin Lezama



Lafeber Conservation Blogging


Dr. Joyner at Palenque Ruins, Mexico

Dr. Joyner at Palenque Ruins, Mexico

In 2013 Dr. Joyner had 51 blog entries, largely covering current projects in the second half of the year.  Currently the site is being moved over to the new main site for Lafeber Company with many improvements.  In addition Dr. Joyner will write articles and provide links to the main Lafeber  home page and pet bird site so as to more strongly link customers to Lafeber Companies efforts in conservation.

This will continue in 2014.



1.  Report of Field Training in Parrot Monitoring – Guatemala November 2013

Download (PDF, 511KB)

2. Story of Scarlet Macaw Liberation, Mabita, Honduras

Download (PDF, 1.26MB)

3.  Trinational Macaw Working Group Report – Managua, Nicaragua


Download (PDF, 159KB)