Recovery Program

boostıng wıld populatıons

Macaws are long-lived and have a slow life-history, they often only produce one chick a year and are inconsistent with their breeding attempts. Ensuring that wild adults live as long as possible and are able to fulfill their breeding potential can dramatically help endangered parrot populations recover. Due to the many threats, they face such as lack of suitable nest sites or predation of chicks it may not be possible for them to breed or successfully fledge a chick. This is where the Network ’s field team provides support. Their work involves preparing nests so they can be used, monitoring nesting activity throughout the season and supporting chicks when needed to ensure their survival. All efforts are led by trained parrot specialists (Biologists and Ecologists) who have a network of international experts available to support them in their efforts.

Breeding for release

The Network’s breeding center is home to over 80 Scarlet and Great green Macaws. They have come to us because they were either injured or through confiscations from poachers or peoples’ homes. Unfortunately these birds are not suitable to be released. The care and well being of the birds is of paramount concern to us: to ensure they have the best quality of life, they are homed in large flight aviaries where they can exercise, socialize, breed and raise their young in the most natural environment possible. Structured and varied enrichment ensures their intelligent minds are kept stimulated. Importantly, The Macaw Recovery Network works with specialist trainers, vets, and other international experts to make sure the birds are fed nutritionally complete diets. The implemented actions allow the macaws to successfully and happily breed, in hopes to release their offspring into the wild.

Restoring wild populations

Once they are old enough, the offspring produced at our breeding center are prepared for release into the wild. First, they are housed in separate social aviaries where they are introduced to wild fruits and nuts and encouraged to forage in specially designed, enrichment filled environments. Their behavior is monitored carefully to ensure we are confident they will survive in the wild. Once we are sure the release candidates are ready, they receive full health checks and disease screenings before being moved to a release aviary. Here, they will be given time to adapt to their wild surroundings. Following a soft release the macaws are given supplemental feeding and while they adapt to life in the wild they are monitored by our field team. Finally, after several years in the wild, the birds will reach sexual maturity and we support their breeding efforts in the wild by providing artificial nests to help increase their productivity and to safely raise the wild born chicks.

4 pillars of recovery program

Lead and developed by Dr. Sam Williams, the Recovery Program focuses on four key components. Through ongoing research we thrive to use evidence-based practices to increase our impact.

1 Boosting wild populations

  • Nest monitoring and protection
  • Artificial nesting program
  • Nest management to boost productivity
  • Regional population census

2 Restoring populations

  • Captive breeding of rescued non-releasable macaws
  • Reintroduction of captive-bred offspring to restore populations
  • Post release monitoring

3 Community Outreach

  • Inspiring an appreciation for nature and parrots
  • School visits to teach children about conservation issues
  • Development of local artisans by providing training and retail platforms

4 Habitat

  • Protecting mountain almond trees and restoring habitat
  • Encouraging sustainable land use

visit our sites

A visit to the Punta Islita Wild Macaw Reserve is a must see when visiting Costa Rica. You will learn about our efforts and see a magnificent species fly free. Do not miss out!

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macaw Species

The Scarlet Macaw and the Great Green Macaw are two of the most recognizable parrot species in the world, they are renowned for their beauty, intelligence, and charisma. However, because of recent and rapid declines in their numbers, they are in desperate need of your help. By protecting these birds and their habitat, together we can support biodiversity conservation in one of the worlds most biologically important areas.

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Meet theteam

Our dedicated staff run day-to-day operations and ensure that our programs are running smoothly. In all areas of our work our team continually expand their knowledge whether that’s about the birds, conservation or non-profit management.

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