Rony Garcia, Head Biologist, WCS - working with video nest monitoring equipment. (Scarlet macaw chick on screen in real time in her/her nest and Rony is below nest)
I have not visited the Wildlife Conservation
Society’s project in the Mayan Bioreserve since this time last year. The biologists then were organizing their strategies for
studying and managing the dwindling population of Scarlet Macaws and I joined
them for a month sharing what I know about wild parrot nest and chick
Their dedication and focus appears ever more apparent. I’m
impressed with what they are accomplishing including collaborating with other
agencies to protect the birds, guarding and checking nests regularly, and
continuing with nearly weekly chick exams.
I shared with one member of this conservation team how wondrous it
was to see what they were doing for this species (and hence, for the whole
forest) and he replied – “We are able to do what we do because of love of the
Kender and Dr. Melvin Merida frying plaintains for breakfast before a morning full of climbing macaw nests.
A few days later out on a long ride into the area of
La Corona I was interviewing members of the conservation team for a
ethnoornithology study. It’s nearly 5
hours each way along a dirt road, hot, muddy, slippery, and with deep gashes in
the surface in some areas. So they are perhaps
glad of the diversion my questions provide. I know I am because their answers
provoke me into seeing what is happening here as a beautiful, sacred act. I asked them what they thought and felt when
working with the birds. One member, a climber of parrot nests, said that when
he is up on top of a tree at a macaw nest with the parents flying around him
and the chicks down below being studied by the avian conservation medical team,
he wonders if others love the birds as much as he does.
Challo Cordova prepared to do a morning's flight of checking location of Guacamayas (macaws) with radio telemetry equipment.
I think I get what he means. Seeing these bright beauties, holding them
and touching them, loving them, I scarce can believe that others can feel the
wonder that I do. If they did, how could
we ever get anything done, being so drunk on flying rainbows. Wouldn’t we all
just wander aimlessly in the forest, looking up into trees, waiting for visions
to confirm that we are whole? That the
only instructions we need to teach our children is to love? In the words of
Mary Oliver, we are here to love what is mortal, hold it against our breastbone
as if our life depended on it, and when the time comes to let it go, let it go.
Why they do what they do for love - a young Guacamaya
I am glad to witness this work of WCS, Balaam,
Arcas, White Flight, Conap, the military and a host of others. It gives me hope that I won’t forget what I have
done for love, and allows me move in the world so I won’t regret what we do for
Me, grateful to be sharing this work with the parrots and people of Guatemala