My story with the rainforest takes place 26 years ago...
Since I was a child, I used to dream to become a naturalist, maybe because the first months of my life I developed my brain listening to cicadas, birds and crickets. That pushed me to study biology. I studied in Cayetano Heredia University, a well-known school for its research in human science. During those years, I was one of the weirdest, I always preferred the field than the lab. I spent my last 3 years of college working at the “Applied Botany” lab.
And then, it came the point in which I had to decide to start the thesis to get the degree...
Totally confused with a lot of ideas in my head, I proposed to Rainforest Expeditions a study on Brazil nut production and they became very excited with the idea. So, they offered the opportunity to do my research in Refugio Amazonas Lodge, located in a terra firme forest with high density of Brazil nut trees.
Part of my study required to climb on top of the canopy to get all the way up to the crowns of the emergent Brazil Nut trees, between 40 and 55 meters (132 – 180 feet) above of the ground. That didn’t represent a huge challenge as I used to invest half of my life as a rock climber. Despite that ability, I joined the Macaw Project at Tambopata Research Center - TRC, at least a couple of weeks, so that I would do things with the maximum level of security.
Those two weeks completely changed my life...
Since 1999 to the present, the research in scarlet macaws has been managed by Ph.D Donald Brightsmith and his wife Ph.D Gabriela Vigo both from Texas A&M University. I had the privilege to join their team during the breading season in January 2014. I spent those days doing the routinely work of the volunteers, but mainly climbing trees to get up to the nests. After those weeks and with a lot of data for my thesis, I traveled to Lima to finish my career. In 2016 I came back to Tambopata to join the Wired Amazon Team. After being involved for more than two years in this wonderful project, now I get the responsibility to become the manager. Watching the HarpyCam Videos and witnessing the harpy chick development closely during 2017 has been such a fun and rewarding experience, that we decided to replicate the recording system in a Macaw nest at Tambopata Research Center, so we can get a closer view of wild macaws.
So, this 2018, we expect more bird fun to come, now from the heart of Tambopata National Reserve.
We already installed a surveillance camera in a lightning rod tower, located behind the kitchen of the lodge, 25 meters above the ground. The camera rotates 360 degrees and we have access to 3 different nests: “Senati”, “Standford” and “Molinero”. The team decided to keep the camera pointing to “Molinero”, because it’s the only nest that has a couple of Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao), the main specie of research of the project. “Molinero” is a wooden artificial nest attached to an “ubos” tree (Spondias mombin) located only a few meters far from the lodge.
The camera started shooting videos on January 27th, a little late for the macaw breading season. We hope to keep the camera in the same place and record the whole next breading season, since its beginnings, when the macaws start fighting for nests. Talking about the “Molinero” nest, the scarlet macaw couple laid 3 eggs, 2 of them hatched: on December 8th and 11th 2017. Macaws take 83 days to fly since the egg hatches. So, in the next videos, what do you expect to see? Like harpy eagles, do macaws still come back to the nest after they fly? Which parent spends more time taking care of the chicks? Who are the main predators of macaws?
We invite you to follow the videos of the 2017/2018 season through the MacawCam, and share your theories on this amazing world of macaws. We are listening!
And of course, if you´re thinking (or even dreaming) of Amazon Travel, you can chat with the Amazon Travel experts right here. We will help you get there.