Yasuní National Park
A predator on the loose
During our previous post we described the spectacular opportunity Yasuní’s salt licks offer visitors, showcasing parrots and their unique jungle habits. For most first timers the extent of bird activity is enough to make the site more than worthwhile. Few of us have ever been confronted with so many birds in one place. But there are interesting dynamics of nature that are also on display here.
One of the most spectacular occurs when a predator has been spotted by the parrots. Activity is very different on such occasions. Weary of the imminent danger a hawk or hawk-eagle could pose to any which individual, the multitude that usually congregates on the ground, remains waiting in nearby trees, creating a tremendous racket. Sometimes even for over an hour, they will not move closer and the salt lick will remain completely empty. If groups of birds finally begin to move closer, it probably indicates they believe the predator at hand has decided to leave the area. Some parrots may flutter onto a hanging branch or vine, inspecting that all is quiet on their front, until eventually one brave soul drops down to the ground. At an ever-quickening pace, more and more parrots and parakeets follow suite. Dozens can become hundreds in a matter of minutes.
If the raptor has been conniving and patient enough to stick around, he’ll go in for the kill. Not common, but it has happened that our visitors have the golden opportunity to witness the remarkable sight of a predator trying to pick-off his chosen, unsuspecting prey. It may be a near miss, but the place will inevitably produce the most spectacular effect as the birds explode out of the lick in a frenzy!
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