We radio-tagged and released 49 captive-reared Hispaniolan Parrots (Amazona ventralis) in Parque Nacional del Este (PNE), Dominican Republic, during 1997 and 1998. Our primary objective was to develop a restoration program centered on using aviary-reared birds to further the recovery of the critically endangered Puerto Rican Parrot (A. vittata). Hurricane Georges made landfall over the release area on 22 September 1998 with sustained winds of 224 km/h, providing us with a unique opportunity to quantify responses of parrots to such disturbances. Quantitative data on such responses by any avian species are scarce, particularly for Amazona species, many of which are in peril and occur in hurricane-prone areas throughout the Caribbean. Mean home ranges of 18 parrots monitored both before and after the hurricane increased (P = 0.08) from 864 ha (CI = 689-1039 ha) pre-hurricane to 1690 ha (CI = 1003-2377 ha) post-hurricane. The total area traversed by all parrots increased > 300%, from 4884 ha pre-hurricane to 15,490 ha post-hurricane. Before Hurricane Georges, parrot activity was concentrated in coastal scrub, tall broadleaf forest, and abandoned agriculture (conucos). After the hurricane, parrots concentrated their activities in areas of tall broadleaf forest and abandoned conucos. Topographic relief, primarily in the form of large sinkholes, resulted in "resource refugia" where parrots and other frugivores foraged after the hurricane. Habitat use and movement patterns exhibited by released birds highlight the importance of carefully considering effects of season, topography, and overall size of release areas when planning psittacine restorations in hurricane-prone areas. ?? The Neotropical Ornithological Society.
Additional publication details
Effects of Hurricane Georges on habitat use by captive-reared Hispaniolan Parrots (Amazona ventralis) released in the Dominican Republic