Plight of the Sierra Madre Mexican Thick Billed Parrot.
Well if there's one thing that's a plight of this bird it's the name.
If this were a url it could definitely use one of those url
Wow try saying this one's name five times real fast.
High-elevation cone forests of Mexico, South AZ may not be the usual
home for the majority of parrots but this brilliant species
adapted rather well to these northern-type forests. Truth is, with
the extinct Carolina Parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis), Thick-billed
Parrot is one of the only two parrot species whose past range
includes the US. This species been considered endangered since the
late 1970's due to habitat loss and severe population reductions.
The high mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental in West MX are
presently home to this parrot. It formerly ranged as far north as
southern Arizona where it most likely bred til early 1900's. The
species was extirpated from the U.S. circa 1920 through hunting Thick-
billed Parrots now breed in the mountains approximately 80km south of
the Mexico/Arizona border and south to Durango, Mexico.
These high-elevation parrots being pine specialists, are quite
dependent on large areas of pine, spruce, fir for food and nesting.
They eat pine cones, acorns and other seeds. A watchout is usually
posted to scan the skies for raptors while the flock is feeding.
Breeding occurs in mid-summer to mid-fall, when food is readily
found. One brood of three eggs is laid in a cavity nest in a large
conifer. Nearly all recent nests found above 2400m. While this
species can persist in partly-logged areas so long as there's enough
large nest trees, it's more abundant in large old-growth forests.
Flocks roost on cliffs.
While shooting was likely the cause of their decline in the
U.S. close to 100 years past, this species now faces the much more
distributed and serious threat of habitat loss to forestry
operations. Huge tracts of valuable, large timber been cut,
effectively eliminating nesting in many areas. Until recently,
conservation wasn't a a priority in the Sierra Madre. Result being
very little land was protected. Trapping and collecting for the pet
trade too affected populations and nest sites. 1987, it was estimated
that 1000 were in captivity, all from illegally taken birds.
Conservation In 1983, a reintroduction program began in the Arizona
mountains. This resulted in a slight population increase that bred
several times. Overall project was semi successful since the captive-reared birds didn't recognize or learn to escape from their enemies
and no viable population established. Conservationists continues to
find methods to successfully reintroduce this bird. Hopefully
someday, stable populations of Thick-billed Parrots will again make
Arizona their home.