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Angel – Imperial Amazon Parrot the clouds in the early morning sky were heavy with the prospect of additional rain. Our bird guide skillfully hung out a camouflage poncho as a makeshift canopy as we sat seated on a wet wooden bench in the midst of what had previously begun as gentle showers.
“Dr. Birdy” had obviously done this previously. Bertrand Jno Baptiste, also known as “Dr. Birdy,” was attempting to show my husband and me the Imperial Parrot (Amazona imperialis), also known as the Sisserou, which is considered one of Dominica’s top bird guides. We knew that the Sisserou, one of the island nation’s two indigenous birds, had baffled many birders. But we had some hope. also tolerant. And to view it, we had flown 3,741 miles. Therefore, we assumed that we would be rewarded.
The shy Sisserou are known to gather in large groups, forage, and build their nests on a mountain of trees on the slopes of Morne Diablotin, where Dr. Birdy’s scope was carefully placed. The parrots would soar up from the treetops under the perfect circumstances, regaling delighted birders with their loud squawks. In. The. Proper. Circumstances. The weather was a clear, windless early morning. There was no sun. There was wind present. Now that it was raining more heavier.
Even still, despite the negative ions in the sky, our hearts were filled with optimism. As a birder, having hope is a good thing. It’s what motivates you to get out of bed early in the morning, leads you over great distances, and propels you forward on excruciatingly steep, difficult switchback routes or through the thick, prickly brush.
We continued to sit on our wet wooden seats, occasionally getting up to walk to the railing that overlooked the ravine with our binoculars in hand. The occasional bird call broke through the rain.
The idea of placing a time clock on the birds made us laugh. Our guide had earlier pointed out a Blue-headed Hummingbird that would routinely show up and perch on a particular shrub every six minutes along the walk. When a bird is that punctual, it is good. However, as any birder is aware, nature tends to be unpredictable. The same was true today.
The weather continued to deteriorate, making it unlikely that any Sisserou Parrots would leave the protection of the trees. We spent time learning more about the threatened parrots, including how their populations were doing, how the hurricanes had affected them, and what the future held for them.
For many years, Dr. Birdy was employed by the Dominica Forestry, Wildlife, and Parks Division (FWD) of the Ministry of Agriculture as a forestry officer. There, he got to know the island’s breeding and migratory bird species. He carried out field research, taxonomy, blood collection, and other studies.