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Saving The Thick-Billed Parrot

A special report

By Steve & Desi Milpacher

ThickbillA large log lay on the ground, having recently broken off and fallen from the main trunk. It looked like any other fallen log, except that there were urgent calls from somewhere inside it. A clutch of baby thick-billed parrots had fallen, nest and all, to the ground. The parents were perched nearby, still valiantly feeding the chicks that huddled in their fallen home.

Enter researchers from the Thick-billed Parrot Project, who, after several attempts, manage to lift the heavy tree trunk off the ground and bring it to a nearby tree. They watch in delight as the parents continue to feed their babies. Weeks later, the babies fledged successfully and joined their parents and the flock.

This scene, the fallen trees and the subsequent loss of the nestlings (this particular family was lucky), is becoming increasingly common, as the thick-billed parrots, year after year, see their breeding efforts go to waste due to their unwavering preference for one type of dying tree: the aspen. The World Parrot Trust and its research affiliates in Mexico are helping save what’s left of these trees and the thick bills’ breeding grounds.

**For the full article, pick up the July 2008 issue of BIRD TALK**

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