Dr. Julia Ponder, executive director of the University of Minnesota Raptor Center, is traveling to the Galápagos Islands to support efforts to restore an endangered Giant Tortoise population. In this series of journal entries originally posted on The Raptor Center’s blog, Dr. Ponder will share her experiences over the course of two months. For background on her trip, click here to read or here to watch a video, and be sure to check back in to Health Talk to follow the project!
Busy day here – slept all of four hours as we got on the boat at 1:30 a.m., left at 2:00 a.m., and were up for breakfast at 6:00 a.m. We had a group of guardaparques (park guards) come out to unload all the construction materials and everything else, and haul it up to aviary site. Amazing that they had the whole thing unloaded and moved by 10:00 a.m. Construction has been amazing – everything is pre-cut, pre-drilled, numbered like a model and assembling in amazing time.
Wish I could send pics, but internet service is very limited now. (The Raptor Center note: Prior to Dr. Ponder leaving, she and The Raptor Center staff sent instructions and plans for the measurements and design for the aviary. As you might guess, The Raptor Center has had long experience with structures to keep hawks safe and healthy.)
We were greeted at the aviary site by the local hawk contingent. We fed them to get them accustomed to our trapping site, as at least one had not eaten at the site before. There are two juveniles, one sub-adult and two adults who all spent most of the day with us. I took way too many pictures and finally had to put the camera away so I could work. The juveniles literally stood on the construction materials for quite awhile this afternoon, leading us to suggest we just build the aviaries around them. We probably won’t need to trap them – we could just open the door and say “welcome!”
We also prepped the hawk capture boxes (needed some repairs after last time), and set out traps for lava lizards and rats. We prepared the lava lizard housing and organized our gear a bit. It was a very busy day on four hours sleep and I am quite ready to crash on my bunk on the boat.
More when I can – Juli.