Eaglet still doing well

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Each afternoon Andy, Abel, or Santiago capture the baby and return it to the safety of the trees. Photo: Abel Recalde.

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Santiago Recalde carrying the baby. Photo: Abel Recalde.

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The baby’s claws. Photo: Abel Recalde.

 

[Ver version en espanol abajo]

Our rescued eaglet is still alive in its home forest. Every day it comes down from its artificial nest, trying to get to its real nest, and every evening Abel and Andy find the bird and put it back in its artificial nest so it won’t be eaten by predators. It is being fed by Andy and Abel, but a few days ago it had food in its stomach presumably given by its one of its parents. This is an excellent sign, and confirms the importance of keeping the bird near its parents during rehabilitation. We want this bird to grow up to join the wild population, not to be a pet. It is getting close to being able to fly, and from then on, we hope we can leave it alone.

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The eaglet. Photo: Abel Recalde.

 

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Eaglet in its nest. Photo: Abel Recalde.

Lou Jost, Fundacion EcoMinga.

 

El aguilucho sigue haciéndolo bien
Traducción: Salomé Solórzano Flores
**IMG 01**- Cada tarde Andy, Abel o Santiago capturan al polluelo y lo regresan a la seguridad de los árboles. Fotografía: Abel Recalde
**IMG 02**- Santiago Recalde cargando al polluelo. Fotografía: Abel Recalde
**IMG 03**-  Las garras del polluelo. Fotografía: Abel Recalde
Nuestro aguilucho rescatado sigue vivo en su bosque nativo. Cada día cae de su nido artificial, tratando de regresar a su nido natural, y cada noche Abel y Andy encuentran al ave y lo ponen de regreso en su nido artificial de modo que no sea depredada. Ha sido alimentada por Andy y Abel, pero hace unos pocos días, tenía comida en su estómago, presumiblemente dado por sus padres. Esto es una señal excelente, y confirma la importancia de mantener al ave cerca de sus padres durante la rehabilitación. Queremos que esta ave crezca para unirse a la población salvaje, no para ser una mascota. Cada vez se acerca más a ser capaz volar, y desde entonces, esperamos poder dejarlo solo.
**IMG 04**- Aguilucho en su nido. Fotografía: Abel Recalde

Lou Jost, Fundacion EcoMinga.

Fledgling Black-and-chestnut Eagle (Spizaetus isidori) rescued

(Vea abajo la traduccion en espanol)

Readers may recall our excitement when we found our first nest of the endangered Black-and-chestnut (or Andean) Eagle (Spizaetus isidori, formerly Oroaetus isidori) in our Rio Zunac Reserve, and our disappointment a few months later when we found the skeleton of the baby eagle beneath that nest. Since then, several baby eagles have been successfully fledged from the nest. At the time, this was one of the very few nests of this species that had ever been found, and it was one of the subjects of an intensive monitoring effort led by the Peregrine Fund and the Proyecto Internacional de Estudio del Aguila Andina. Spizaetus isidori

This year the project to study the Black-and-chestnut Eagle began an intensive search for more nests in our area and in a few other selected areas. The results were incredible. About fourteen eagle territories were found in our upper Rio Pastaza watershed, at an astonishing density of about 4 km between nests! No one expected such a high density for a huge eagle like this.

Andy Salazar and Abel Recalde, sons of our “Keepers of the Wild” reserve guards, were part of this project, and were the discoverers of the second nest in our area (after the Rio Zunac nest mentioned above). It was found near the town of Rio Blanco, not in one of our reserves, just as the young eagle began to leave the nest. Here is one of the parents:

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One of the eaglet’s parents. Photo: Santiago Recalde/EcoMinga

After the fledgling left its the nest, it came over to inspect Abel and Andy:

The adults soon re-nested and had another baby, shown in this photo:

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Black and chestnut eagle baby, second brood since discovery of the nest.

Andy and Abel monitored the nest almost constantly. Then two weeks ago the baby disappeared. Andy and Abel feared the worst, remembering the tragedy of the Rio Zunac baby. But this time, the constant monitoring paid off, and they found the eagle below the nest, slightly injured but still alive.They rescued it and, with the help of our reserve guards, Sebastian Kohn, Santiago Zuluago, the Fundacion Condor Andino, Banos zoo, BioParque Yanacocha, Ministerio del Ambiente-Tungurahua, Direccion Nacional de Biodiversidad, Peregrine Fund, and Proyecto Internacional de Estudio del Aguila Andina, the baby was cured of its wounds and rehabilitated, and fitted with a small radio transmitter. The nest was in a tree that could not be climbed safely, so it was necessary to build a new nest in a tree near the original nest. Last week Sebastian climbed the tree and raised the eagle into the nest.

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Checking the eagle’s health. Rescuers Andy and Abel are in the background.

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Baby with radio transmitter. This is the second individual of this species in Ecuador to be fitted with a transmitter. It will help us find the bird if something goes wrong, and will provide useful data on dispersion if everything goes right.

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Baby getting used to its new man-made nest.

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Sebastian Kohn putting the baby in its nest. This is the same man-made nest shown in the previous picture; it was raised into this tree with pulleys and ropes.

The mother eagle immediately accepted the baby in the new nest, but her mate seemed to attack it. All this week Andy and Abel fed the eagle themselves, climbing up to the artificial nest and flipping prey items into it from below so that the young bird did not associate them with food.

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The baby in its new home.

Then yesterday the young eagle disappeared again. The bird was found later in another tree about 70m away, in the direction of its original nest. It must have hopped through the branches to get there as it still cannot fly, though it is close to being able to do so.

Today the baby was found near the ground, where it might not have been able to climb back into the canopy. Andy and Abel re-captured it and will return it to the canopy after feeding it….stay tuned for the next chapter!

Thanks to everyone who helped with this rescue, especially:

Sebastian Kohn

Santiago Zuluago

Fundacion Condor Andino

Banos Zoo and Orlando Vega

BioParque Yanacocha

Ministerio del Ambiente-Tungurahua

Direccion Nacional de Biodiversidad

Peregrine Fund

Proyecto Internacional de Estudio del Aguila Andina

and most of all, the bird’s foster parents, Andy and Abel.

 

Pichón de Águila Andina (Spizaetus isidori) rescatada
Traduccion: Salomé Salorzano Flores
Los lectores podrán recordar nuestra alegría y emoción cuando encontramos nuestro primer nido de la amenazada Águila andina (Black-and-chestnut Eagle, Spizaetus isidori, antes Oroaetus isidori) en nuestra Reserva Río Zunac, y nuestra decepción pocos meses después cuando encontramos el cadáver de un pichón de águila debajo del nido. Desde entonces, muchos pichones han emplumado exitosamente. En aquel entonces, este fue uno de los muy pocos nidos de esta especie que han sido encontrados, y fue uno de los objetos de un esfuerzo de monitoreo intensivo liderado por The Peregrine Fund y el Proyecto Internacional de Estudio del Aguila Andina Spizaetus isidori.
 
Este año, el proyecto para estudiar el Águila Andina comenzó una búsqueda intensiva de más nidos en nuestra y en otras pocas áreas seleccionadas. Los resultados fueron increibles. Se encontraron cerca de 14 territorios de águila en la parte alta de la cuenca del Río Pastaza, ¡en una asombrosa densidad de aproximadamente 4 km entre nidos! Nadie esperó tal densidad para un águila tan enorme como esta.
Andy Salazar y Abel Recalde, hijos de nuestros guardianes de reserva “Keepers of the Wild” (Guardianes de la Naturaleza), fueron parte de este proyecto y fueron los descubridores del segundo nido en nuestra área (después del nido de Río Zunac, mencionado antes). Se encontró cerca del pueblo Río Blanco, fuera de nuestras reservas, justo cuando el águila empezaba a abandonar el nido. aquí está uno de sus padres:
(**IMG 1** – Una de los padres del águila. Foto: Santiago Recalde/Ecominga)
Después de que el volantón abandonó su nido, se acercó para examinar a Abel y Andy:
(**Video 1**)
Los adultos pronto anidaron de nuevo y tuvieron otro pichón, mostrado en esta fotografía:
(**IMG 2** – Pichón de Águila Andina, segunda cría desde el descubrimiento del nido)
Andy y Abel monitorearon el nido casi constantemente. Entonces, hace dos semanas, el pichón desapareció. Andy y Abel temieron lo peor, recordando la tragedia del pichón de Río Zuñac. Pero esta vez, el monitoreo constante valió la pena, y encontraron al águila debajo del nido, ligeramente lesionado pero vivo. Lo rescataron, y con ayuda de de nuestros guardas de la reserva, Sebastián Kohn, Santiago Zuluago, la Fundación Condor Andino, el Zoológico de Baños, BioParque Yanacocha, el Ministerio del Ambiente en Tungurahua, la Dirección Nacional de biodiversidad, The Peregrine Fund, y el Proyecto Internacional de Estudio del Águila Andina, el polluelo fue tratado de sus heridas, rehabilitado, y equipado con un pequeño radiotransmisor. Debido a que el nido se encontraba en un árbol imposible de escalar con la seguridad apropiada, fue necesario construir un nuevo nido en un árbol cercano al nido original. La semana pasada, Sebastián escaló este árbol y subió al águila en el nido.
(**IMG 3** – Comprobando la salud del águila. Los rescatistas Andy y Abel están en el fondo)
(**IMG 4** – Polluelo con radiotransmisor. Este es el segundo individuo de esta especia en Ecuador que ha sido equipado con un transmisor. Esto nos ayudará a encontrar el ave si algo sale mal, y nos proporcionará información útil sobre dispersión si todo sale bien.)
(**IMG 5** – Pichón acostumbrándose a su nuevo nido artificial)
(**IMG 6** – Sebastian Kohn colocando al polluelo en su nido. Es el mismo nido, hecho por mano del hombre, mostrado en la imagen anterior; fue llevado a su nuevo árbol con poleas y cuerdas)
La madre águila inmediatamente aceptó el polluelo en el nuevo nido, pero su compañero pareció atacarlo. Esta semana, Andy y Abel alimentaron al águila ellos mismos, trepando all nido artificial y lanzando elementos de presa en el mismo desde abajo, de modo que el polluelo no los asocie con comida
(**IMG 7**- El polluelo en su nuevo hogar)
Ayer, la jóven águila desapareció otra vez. Se lo encontró después en otro árbol a 70 m de distancia aproximadamente, en dirección a su nido original. Probablemente saltó a través de las ramas para llegar allí, ya que todavía no puede volar, aunque pronto podrá hacerlo.
Hoy el polluelo se encontró cerca del suelo, donde pudo no haber podido volver a subir al dosel. Andy y Abel lo volvieron a capturar y lo devolverán al dosel después de alimentarlo… ¡Manténganse atentos al próximo capítulo!
Gracias a todos quienes ayudaron en este rescate, en especial:

Sebastian Kohn

Santiago Zuluago
Fundacion Condor Andino
Banos Zoo and Orlando Vega
BioParque Yanacocha
Ministerio del Ambiente-Tungurahua
Direccion Nacional de Biodiversidad
The Peregrine Fund
Proyecto Internacional de Estudio del Aguila Andina

y sobre todo, a los padres adoptivos del ave, Andy and Abel.

Mountain Tapir close encounter

 

Our pair of Black-and-chestnut Eagles (Spizaetus isidori) has been nesting again in our Rio Zunac Reserve. The Peregrine Fund has hired two of our guards’ family members, Abel Recalde and Andi Salazar, to monitor this nest and record details of prey items, etc. We’ll report on that data after the Peregrine Fund finishes analyzing it.

A few days ago, as Abel climbed the trail to the nest, he encountered a completely tame Mountain Tapir (Tapirus pinchaque). This endangered mammal is a special treat to see. He excitedly pulled out his cell phone and made the video posted above at close range. It is strong evidence that our wardens are doing a good job; our animals are loosing their fear of humans, because no one hurts them anymore.

By the way, the eagles successfully fledged a baby this year!

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Black-and-chestnut Eagle (Spizaetus isidori) baby, Generation 2018. Photo: Abel Recalde and Andi Salazar,  Peregrine Fund

Lou Jost. EcoMinga Foundation

Visit to our Rio Zunac magnolias

 

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Trunk of one of our Magnolia trees. Photo: Joachim Gratzfeld.

I’ve written often about our exciting new magnolia species. Our first two undescribed species were discovered in our Rio Zunac Reserve, and they were recently described by Dr Antonio Vazquez (Mexico) as Magnolia vargasiana and M. llanganatensis.

We got a grant from Botanical Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), London, to try to enrich our populations of these species, which do not appear to be reproducing well. Last month Dr Joachim Gratzfeld of BGCI came to see our famous Magnolias for himself. He was guided by our  reserve caretakers Luis and Fausto Recalde, who are also co-authors with Dr Vazquez on the scientific papers describing the new Magnolias.

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Joachim Gratzfeld photographing plants in the reserve. Photo: Fausto Recalde/EcoMinga.

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Fausto Recalde with rotten magnolia buds. Photo: Joachim Gratzfeld.

 

These Magnolia species, like many other neotropical Magnolias, have flowers that open briefly at night and then close before dawn, trapping their pollinator inside. The next night, the flower opens again and releases its pollinator, now thoroughly covered in pollen. This secret drama unfolds each night in the top of the forest canopy, unseen by human eyes. The only way a visitor can see the process is for someone to climb the trees and bring down some ready-to-open buds. These can be kept in water and will open the following night if they are mature enough.

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The buds of Magnolia llanganatensis high in the canopy. Photo: Luis Recalde/EcoMinga.

 

Luis and Fausto are expert tree climbers, and were able to climb our giant trees to bring Joachim some buds of each species. (By the way, our grant from BGCI is for buying static climbing rope and harnesses to set up a safe system, so that anyone can reach the canopy of these magnolias and work on their pollination and propagation. We will deploy this system in late December.)

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Luis and Fausto Recalde examining the crown of a tree with their camera zoom. The gold tubes attach together and have clippers at their tip, which can be pulled closed by a string. Photo: Joachim Gratzfeld.

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Luis Recalde climbing a magnolia. Photo: Joachim Gratzfeld.

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Luis Recalde (right) and Fausto Recalde studying magnolia buds. Photo: Joachim Gratzfeld.

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Magnolia vargasiana bud starts to open. Photo: Joachim Gratzfeld.

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As the flower opens it frees its trapped pollinators, such as the flea beetle at the base of this flower. Photo: Joachim Gratzfeld.

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Magnolia vargasiana  opening. Photo: Joachim Gratzfeld.

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Magnolia vargasiana fully open. Only a handful of humans have ever seen this. Photo: Joachim Gratzfeld.

A trip to the Rio Zunac Reserve always has surprises in store, no matter what a visitor comes for. Joachim’s visit was no exception. He  had to climb some gentle mountains to reach the Magnolias, and at his highest point he had reached a poorly-known forest where other trees besides the Magnolias were newly-discovered or, in a few cases, still unknown to science. By chance Joachim came across a tree with large intense wine-purple flowers in the genus Meriania, a member of the large and important family known to botanists as the Melastomataceae. We had first seen this species a few years ago in the same area, and I sent pictures to experts but no one could identify it. There was also another species in the same genus, Meriania, which David Neill and I had discovered in this same forest fourteen years ago. This was Meriania aurata, one of the most spectacular trees in the world, which I have written about before.

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Meriania aurata. Photo: Lou Jost/EcoMinga.

In addition to exciting trees, Joachim visited our Black-and-chestnut Eagle (Spizaetus isidori) nest and saw the baby, nearly ready to leave the nest.

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Black-and-chestnut Eagle adult and young at their nest in the reserve. Photo: Fausto Recalde/EcoMinga.

There were lots of other birds, and many species came to feed on the fruits of some melastomes that the guards had planted around our cabin and in old pastures:

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Immature male Green-and-black Fruiteater eating melastome berries. Photo: Luis Recalde/EcoMinga

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Golden Tanager eating melastome berries. The guards planted these melastomes here to attract birds. Photo: Luis Recalde/EcoMinga.

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Golden-winged Manakin, rarely seen in the reserve. Photo: Luis Recalde/EcoMinga.

Joachim found an unusual fern, Ophioglossum palmatum. It makes big rubbery hand-shaped leaves that look nothing like a typical fern, with club-shaped spore-bearing structures growing from the leaf margins. This fern is very seldom encountered here, but it has a very wide distribution that even reaches into southern Florida in the US.

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The weird fern Ophioglossum palmatum. Note the spore-bearing finger-like projections where the leaf tapers into its stem. Photo: Joachim Gratzfeld.

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The forest interior. Photo: Joachim Gratzfeld.

Lou Jost, EcoMinga Foundation.

More cat food


The last two posts (here, and here) have been devoted to camera trap videos taken in a single spot in our Dracula Reserve. It is amazing to see how much life there is in just this one spot. Here are a few more animals, near the bottom of the food chain: a Sickle-winged Guan (Chamaepetes goudotii) and a rodent. This is  the same spot where the camera filmed puma and jaguarundi. And nearby we’ve filmed ocelots as well.  The smaller animals shown here are potential prey for all these cats, though probably the jaguarundi and ocelot would be more interested than the puma.

As if the cats weren’t enough for the guan to worry about, the Black-and-chestnut Eagle (Spizaetus isidori) also hunts guans regularly. In our Rio Zunac Reserve we’ve observed that the eagle feeds its young almost exclusively on guans.

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Balck-and-chestnut Eagle photographed by Roger Ahlman near what is now the Dracula Reserve, Carchi, Ecuador. Used with Roger’s kind permission.

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Photo by Mark Wilson of our Rio Zunac Black-and-chestnut Eagle bringing a piece of a guan to its nestling.

 

We have a report of an ocelot eating a Black-and-chestnut Eagle in the Banos area, so even this can be cat food!
Camera trap set up by Javier Robayo, Juan Pablo Reyes, and  Hector Yela. Camera courtesy University of Basel Botanical Garden.

Lou Jost
EcoMinga Foundation