Thursday, April 2, 2009

Los Delfines Golf and Country Club Scarlet Macaw Breeding Program

Los Delfines Golf and Country Club has an ambitions target in 1996 - to develop a successful breeding program for the endangered scarlet macaw, and repopulate the Nicoya Peninsula with these beautiful colourful birds.

The Scarlet Macaw is extremely endangered worldwide and although once abundant in Costa Rica these beautiful birds were almost extinct due to habitate destruction and hunting. So scarce had they become that they could only be seen in the wild in a few scattered areas in Costa Rica.

The Scarlet Macaw, lives up to 80 years, can start reproducing at age 7, and are only found on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. It is rarely seen on the Caribean Side, where the Great Green Macaw is resident.

Macaws are the largest parrots in the Americas, and the Scarlet Macaw is distinct both in color and shape. This bird cannot be confused with any other in Costa Rica: its tail feathers are long and pointed, and its wings short for its large body. It has a large powerful bill for cracking tough seed coats and nuts. Bright red feathers cover the back, head, and lower tail feathers; bold blue spreads across the wings and lower back, with large strips of bold yellow above them. The conspicuous facial skin is pinkish white, and the bill ivory and black.

Their loud, resonant, boisterous calls can often be heard as they fly, but they are usually quiet while feeding. Pairs, trios, or small family groups are often seen, but these may sometimes merge into flocks of 25 or even 50 individuals at large roosts in tall trees or mangroves.

In 1900, these parrots could still be seen in forests throughout Costa Rica; by 1950, however, due to habitat destruction, they were absent from the Caribbean slope except in the Northwest.

But Los Delfines is doing its part to boost their numbers and repopulate the Nicoya Peninsula and in 1996, they set about rescuing some captive Scarlet Macaws, nursing them back to health, breeding them and releasing their progeny back into the wild.

In 2006, 10 years after the program started the first part of this dream came through with the release of the first 34 captive bred scarlet macaws back into the wild.

On the 21st of March, a second release of 30 of these beautiful birds took place.


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