The Last 12 Days in Valle Nuevo

12 boxes hatching, 11 chicks a fledgin’, 10 Jeep parts missing, 9 Park-guards sleeping (on duty), 8 eggs are sterile, 7 more females trapped, 6 shooting stars (last night), 5……nests ……still laying!!!  4 pairs of woodpeckers, 3 wig-wags wagging, 2 new natural cavities, and it’s getting so much hotter EVERY DAY!!!!

Fresh off the press:

– a second male is found perched in the next box hole facing inwards, different box, different site, different stage of the breeding cycle

– our oldest chicks have reached day 21 and are looking ready to fledge

– two boxes of mysterious mortality, both within two days of each other and with chicks less than 3 days old – no signs of struggle, no wounds, appear to be well fed; i-button temperatures may give us more answers as nights appear to be getting cooler

– weather:  has completely changed in the past three weeks; rain is hard to come by, the world is dusty (but green), and blue skies and strong sunshine follow us even throughout the late afternoon – though wind has increased especially in the morning

– incubation, without a doubt, has a mean of 18 days with range of 17-21; day 21 hatching was found in nest where female had defecated over eggs, leaving them in miserable shape yet she continued to incubate and was ultimately successful

– ‘natural’ nest was found in attic of abandoned building and has offered a unique opportunity to photograph and video chick activity

– surprisingly, no predation, even with presence of chicks and increased fecal material in and around boxes


– park guards and military personnel are on board with collecting golden swallow data while our team is not here; binoculars supplied by our IDEA WILD grant will help them to monitor the presence and activity of swallows from August through April

– we gave a presentation to many visitors and staff at Villa Pajon covering our work so far – we were met with very positive feedback

– we plan to meet with students and faculty in the science department at a university in Jarabacoa with intentions of spreading word of our project but most importantly recruiting local Dominicans for next year

– planning to create signage at the Visitor Center and park entrances that draws awareness to the project and explains the importance of not approaching or opening our nest boxes

Nest box Construction

– compiling funds, local workers, and materials to start constructing 100 additional nest boxes

– debating pole material (local invasive eucalyptus wood vs. metal), will likely try both

– have scoped out 7 additional sites (most under heavy watch by park guards) where swallows are active and colonies may be established in the near future



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