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Wide World of Parrot Conservation: Saving Them is Saving Ourselves

Parrot conservationists inspecting a nest

Team in Paraguay inspecting a yellow-faced parrot nest in a termite mound.

It only got up to 101 degrees Farenheit that day!

Recently I was in Paraguay working with our team there, which included two veterinary students doing their thesis on the yellow-faced parrot, a little studied and threatened species. We know they nest in termite mounds, which also need protection because they are under threat due to the advancement of agriculture. Farmers and agribusinesses are not always aware of the importance of these structures, and tractor over them to access more land for cattle, crops, and eucalyptus plantations. This is our first year to locate and monitor a significant number of nests, which provide homes not only for parrots but also for a number of other species, such as reptiles, owls, bees, ants, and anteaters.

Young parrot chick in nest

Yellow-faced chick in their nest

The veterinary students added a fresh perspective, as parrot conservation was so new to them. Through their eyes we were reminded of parrot wonder and the compelling need to conserve these species. At the end of our time together we expressed our gratitude, which is often a closing ritual for us in One Earth Conservation. One student said…

I thank you for this opportunity to be with you and the parrots. I never really paid much attention to birds and now there is a whole world of birds that I never imagined existed. My eyes are open and my life is larger.

The description of this experience is what we hear time and time again from those we work with and especially students of all ages.

Youth parrot conservation group in Paraguay

Our youth group in San Carlos, Paraguay under the direction of Dr. Pamela Segovia

Veterinary students learning about parrot conservation

Dr. Joyner with with Dr. Andrés Álvarez speaking to the College of Veterinary Sciences in Concepción, Paraguay. This presentation last week kicked off a new parrot conservation team of over 50 students and professors at the University.

Recently nineteen students graduated from our Cuerpo de Conservacionistas de Psitacidos (Parrot Conservation Corps or PCC) and they expressed similar thoughts and gratitude. One student wrote:

The PCC was a beautiful experience, different from the courses I used to take. It provided me with important academic information but I greatly value the contribution on an emotional and spiritual level, knowledge and tools that I consider so important to lead a healthy life that is also reflected in the projects we carry out. These issues are generally not taken into account in training. They managed to integrate everything in perfect harmony.

Another wrote:

I appreciate that during the course so much knowledge about these beautiful birds is shared, transmitting to us that passion and dedication for the protection of psittacines.

Another wrote:

Adding the knowledge acquired every time I see a parrot, then I will be able to

analyze their behavior and understand it better, and also have another vision about

the situation they are in and thus be able to help them in a better way.

And one more wrote:

Every day something new is learned. And when observing the parrots that frequent my house, now I see them more carefully and many reflections and gratitude come to mind.

You can hear more about their experiences by attending or watching a webinar where they will be presenting their mini-projects on Friday, October 6, at 7 p.m. EDT. The event will be in Spanish, but English speakers can access Zoom's translation feature during the webinar.

One of the 2023 PCC mini-projects instructing students in  parrot monitoring and conservation

One of the 2023 PCC mini-projects instructing students in

parrot monitoring and conservation

Please attend to support their local and community level conservation efforts and to learn about the next rendition of the Corps, which starts in January 2024. It will be bilingual (Spanish and English) and will emphasize building teams of parrot conservationists throughout the Americas, bridging language and cultural differences with the common goal of living with the wonder of parrots and committing to their well-being. We are now putting out a call for applications. For more information and to apply, go here:

Wild yellow-faced parrot eating fruit

The Call of the Parrot Conservation Corps

The beings of this planet are in a dire situation. We are losing the beautiful and bountiful ecosystems of Earth. Everything must change; therefore, we are committed to changing ourselves, our groups, and our communities one parrot conservation project at a time. The call to do this is urgent and requires courage, knowledge, and compassion. Will you answer the call?

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