Blog | The Golden Swallow Project | "... [an] exceedingly lovely little swallow, whose plumage reflects the radiance of the Hummingbirds" - Gosse, 1847 | Page 3

Posted June 30, 2017

During the last 5 years in the Sierra de Bahoruco, a great diversity of biologists has tried to attract a population of Golondrinas Verdes through the placement of artificial nest boxes. It is believed that this species has been extirpated from Jamaica in the 1980s, becoming endemic to the island of Hispaniola, where the decline in its general abundance has led to it being classified as Threatened species according to IUCN Red List. Nest boxes, when actively used, will allow scientists easy access to the study of the species' reproductive biology, while developing a conservation plan for its protection. Unfortunately, despite the hard work and variety of methodologies used, swallows show a greater preference for other available cavities, of which the most popular are cracks in the rocky walls of bauxite mines and limestone cliffs. However, in these 'natural' cavities an increase in predation by rats and ferrets has been found, two introduced species that have had extremely negative impacts on biodiversity throughout the island. Proctor and Mata, together with the help of Esteban Garrido, Jairo Isaac Matos (Pirrin) and Gerson Feliz Feliz, who work in Grupo Jaragua, decided that it was time to reactivate efforts to study and protect the population of Golondrinas Verdes In the Sierra de Bahoruco. Previously, boxes had been placed against and within stone walls, imitating in great detail the natural cavities that are currently used. Hoping to achieve success with a new tactic, on July 4 of this year, the group of biologists placed 20 boxes in the region of Aceitillar, using the same design effectively applied by Proctor and Mata in Valle Nuevo Park. "We have returned to the basis of the design and placement of nest boxes," exclaims Proctor. "We put the boxes in open areas, some quite far from the cliffs with natural cavities. In addition, these boxes were placed in strong metal poles, equipped with anti-predation cones. If we are lucky, and some of the pairs of swallows decide to nest inside one of these boxes, the cones are a critical element in ensuring the survival of the chicks and the return of them to the area where they will use the boxes . At this time, we do not have the ability to study or protect any of the natural cavities in the area, which makes our need to find a way to attract these birds to the boxes extremely important. "

The members of Grupo Jaragua will continue to monitor the new boxes and look for other habitats in which new boxes can be added in the near future. "There are a large number of people who have devoted considerable time and effort to the creation of a nest box monitoring program in the Sierra de Bahoruco. As long as the birds do not give up, neither will we, "confirms Proctor.

This box, like many others placed several years ago, was 'camouflaged' on the earth wall in an attempt to mimic the surrounding natural cavities.

To establish a colony of Green Golondrinas nesting in the Sierra de Bahoruco were led by (from left to right): Marisol Mata, Justin Proctor, Esteban Garrido, Jairo Isaac Matos (Pirrin), and Gerson Feliz Feliz.

Pounding in posts to which we attached in boxes. Getting tired ....