Francisca Cunninghame, who manages the Charles Darwin Station's Mangrove Finch Project, which we have supported on several occasions, is delighted that so many fledglings have fledged this year for the first time since the project's inception in 2007.
Francesca's team was on Isabela Island for two months during the breeding season of the endangered mangrove finches (Camarhynchus heliobates). They observed the birds, searched for nests, and treated this with an insecticide that kills the lavas of the parasitic fly Philornis downsi. Unfortunately, many chicks were still infested with the fly lavas. But the researchers were able to get the chicks out of the nests, clean them, treat them, and put them back in the nest through long-trained climbing actions.
They also monitored the population of invasive rats in the nesting areas and reviewed the function of invasive species control protocols. In addition, with the help of other specialists, the researchers were able to monitor the development of mangrove forests.
These mangrove forests are existential for the survival of the mangrove finches. Therefore, it is very important to protect this habitat and to take care of the health of the plants.
We are very happy that through this great effort of Francisca Cunninghame's team, another important step towards the conservation of this bird species that only live on the Galápagos Islands was possible.