On January 25, 2020, we participated in Echo Bonaire's annual parrot roost count on Bonaire. Bonaire is home to the beautiful Yellow-shouldered Parrot (Amazona Barbadensis), which is locally known in Papiamentu as Lora. This endemic bird is under threat due to forces such as habitat loss and poaching. Echo Bonaire is a conservation organization founded with the goal of ensuring a stable and growing population of the Yellow-shouldered Amazon Parrot.
We arose well before dawn and set out to our designated roost near the town of Rincon. It was still dark when we arrived at our site, and we were treated to a fantastic view of the Southern Cross.
The Southern Cross on Bonaire
As the sun started to rise, we could hear faint squeaks and squawks as the parrots began to stir. So we waited, sitting in the back of our pick-up truck in a dirt field, until the parrots began to fly around the site.
Yellow-shouldered Parrot atop Cadushy Cactus
The characteristic squawks intensified as the parrots started to fly around the roost. Many were seen resting atop Bonaire's famous Cadushy cacti. They flew in groups of 4, 6 or even 12. We went to work on our quest for the day - counting this beautiful endemic bird.
Bonaire's Loras Resting atop Cacti
Six Loras in Flight
After remaining at the site for two hours to count the parrots, we arrived at an impressive total of 66 parrots at the roost.
We then joined the other 108 volunteers and Echo staff at Mangazina di Rei in Rincon for a celebratory breakfast. Soon the results of the annual count were announced. An impressive total of 1223 parrots were counted, which means that Bonaire's population of this vulnerable species remains stable!