What is the trigger for macaws to visit Ojochal and the surroundings of the reserve? That is the main question for the research that the student Marnix van Schaik from HAS University (Netherlands) carried on during his 5 months internship this year at Reserva Playa Tortuga.
Some of the questions that help him during the study were: What are the macaws doing?, what do they eat?, are there nest opportunities?, do the macaws avoid predators and competitors like toucans or aracaris?
Following is a summary that Marnix prepared after he finished the study:
The populations of scarlet macaws (Ara macao) in Central America have been declining for a long time. In Costa Rica, it has been moving in the right direction since 1980. In order to understand the macaws better and maintain the populations, a study was conducted in February 2019 to July 2019 into the population of macaws in the coastal side of Ojochal, Costa Rica.
By monitoring trails, there is examined why the macaws came to Ojochal. Various factors were taken, such as the behavior of the macaws, food sources that the macaws use, whether there are nesting places and whether the macaws avoid predators and competitors.
The results show that the macaws come to Ojochal every morning to spend the day. In midday, the macaws can be found in the higher mangrove trees where the macaws socialize. In the afternoon, 33% of the population goes to their food sources. The majority of them foresee the almonds present. The other part of the population stays a little bit longer in the mangroves and after goes back to the overnight accommodation, south of the research area. No nesting sites were found during the research. So this is not a reason why macaws come to Ojochal.
Another factor that has been included in the study but has no influence on the population of macaws is the factor predators and competitors of nests. No nests are found because the macaws are picky in the habitat of nesting places and not because the predators are in the area.
The macaws use Ojochal to socialize in the high mangroves and the macaws come to visit the food sources. However, with the rising water level, these trees are endangered and threaten to disappear. So it is not only the aquatic animals that will suffer from climate change. Macaws are also losing their safe habitats. Knowledge about safe areas that the macaws pass on for generations will be lost. People will, therefore, have to be more aware of the environment in which they live in order to maintain these places. Through the effort of organizations such as RPT, more will become known about nature and nature will be better preserved.