Recovering at the Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Project

Puerto Rican Parrots in Aviary's Flight Cage

Puerto Rican Parrots in Aviary’s Flight Cage

This past week I visited the Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Project.  Jafet Velez-Valentin, the Aviary Manger, graciously hosted my visit, inviting me to spend the night at the aviaries.  By late afternoon I the only human up in the rain forest with clouds swirling around me and the hundred plus birds at the aviary. Except when the birds chatter, there was deep silence for which I am grateful.  It is good to be still amongst so much beauty.

View from my room at the Aviary

View from my room at the Aviary

I also am grateful for the success of this project. This past year they raised over 70 Puerto Rican Parrots and the population (wild and captive) totals approximately 350 birds.  The species is far from being out of the woods, but with two free flying flocks and a third being planned, many are hopeful.

Video Bank for Nest Box Surveillance

Video Bank for Nest Box Surveillance

Hope was a little harder to come by fifteen years ago when I consulted with this project on veterinary matters.  I also designed the first draft of release protocols so that captive raised birds might augment the dangerously low wild flock size.  They no longer need that kind of support, as now they are the leaders in this field.  Indeed the positions have reversed. Once I answered the questions of the project veterinarian, Dr. Antonio Rivera.  Now on this trip I kept up an endless inquiry so that I could benefit from his knowledge and experience.

In thanks for all the good work of these dedicated people, I offered what I could so that they can enjoy and sustain their work, for the betterment of this parrot, and ultimately, all the species on this wonderful island.  I did this by conducting a workshop for the aviary staff on Non-Violent Communication. This is a system of learning and applying social and emotional intelligence that has broad applications that  increase organizational success.  At this point, my support is merely a possible refinement to an already fine project.

Thank you Jafet, Antonio, and all the workers over the decades who offer a place in the world where birds and the human spirit alike may recover.

Staff Preparing Diet for Parrots

Staff Preparing Diet for Parrots

3 thoughts on “Recovering at the Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Project

  1. Hello, We are in the process of implementing a breed & release programme for the Grand Cayman Amazon (Amazona leucocephala caymanensis). We have been breeding this species in small numbers at the Cayman Turtle Farm’s Caribbean Aviary for the last 4 years with the intention of releasing surplus birds into the wild. Although it is on the IUCN Red List, this is not considered a locally endangered species although it is threatened by habitat loss and some illegal poaching.

    We are looking for any papers or details on the release protocols for the PR Amazon that we can adapt to our situation. Can you help?


    Geddes Hislop
    Curator, Terrestrial Exhibits & Education Programmes
    Cayman Turtle Farm : Island Wildlife Encounter
    786 Northwest Point Road, West Bay
    P O Box 812, Grand Cayman KY1-1303
    Cayman Islands

    +1 345 949 3894 Ext. 4301 (Phone)
    +1 345 925 7401 (Mobile)
    +1 345 949 1387 (Fax)

    • Hello there,

      Yes there are lots of articles on this.

      Please send me an email and I will get the information to you.

      Good hope with your project,


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