Yarrell's Siskin Recovery Project - Venezuela
Yarrellzeisigprojekt - Venezuela
The director of this project is Dr. Carlos L. Ortega Gonzalez.
The (prelimnary) description of the project is as follows:
Recovery Project - Yellow Faced Siskin (Spinus
(Photo: Carlos Ortega)
The Yellow Faced Siskin, inhabits the inner mountain ranges
of Carabobo and the adjacent zones to Trompillo, Belen and
Manuare to the Southeast of Venezuela. A couple of years ago in
these regions they were often seen in flocks of up to 100
individuals foraging for food in grassy areas which have shrubs
and isolated trees. Another two areas where they were reported
are the Dog Hill near San Carlos - Edo.Cojedes, and south of
the city of Maturin - Edo Monagas.
The disappearance of this beautiful bird from our state is
mainly due to two factors:
For a number of years now, no observation of the Yellow Faced
Siskin has been reported, except for the few reports of the
birds in areas which are not common for this species. The
Yellow Faced Siskins also inhabits eastern Brazil from Ceara to
Bay as reported by W. Phelps (1994), in the Book of the Birds
- The fumigations made by the Ministry of Health attempting
to eradicate the Malaria transmitting mosquitoes
- The persistence of illegal trapping in the area.Adding to
this that these birds are very delicate when caught wild,
less than 10 percent survive and the rest succumb to various
stress related illness (as described for the Red Siskins).
Continuos trapping has really depleted the wild population in
The project that we are trying to develop is orientated
towards the recovering of the wild population we once enjoyed
in this areas. Everyone is welcome to participate (
Ornithologists, Scientists, Birders, Students etc..), but under
the supervision of the Directors of the Project. Promotion of
the Project will be done by the magazine of the CIRES (Research
center for Reproduction of Wild Species) and some local and
International Web sites.
Within the objectives to develop we have:
- Estimation of exact population of the existing birds, in
the two known geographic areas of the distribution: (central
and Eastern), to see if the spontaneous population recovery
in their natural ecosystems of the area of Carabobo is
- According to the obtained results of the populations of
the Eastern area, to see if the reintroduction to the central
areas of this zone is feasible.
- To make a census of the number of existing birds in
captivity and to create a registry book (Studbook), with the
purpose of offering specialized support in aid to their
reproduction in captivity. To extend the book of registry on
international scale to have an immediate availability of the
number of birds available for reproduction, with the suitable
- To investigate if the wild populations of the Yellow
Faced Siskins in Brazil are considerable, and if we have to,
requesting from the Brazilian authorities to donate 100 pairs
with the purpose of seeding them in our state. Logically this
aspect must have the corresponding genetic studies to see if
they are genetically compatible, respecting the criteria of
the IUCN for the reintroduction of species. All this with
approval of the Ministry of the Atmosphere and Profauna.
- Investigation of the natural feeding of the birds, to see
if any destruction of the seeding grasses and plants on which
these birds depend on is evident. Also to investigate the
time and zones of nest building, to be able to protect these
- Enforcement and application of the same laws as for the
Cardenalito (Carduelis cucullata), elevating this species to
the list of Danger of Imminent Extinction (CHALLENGES
- To involve the governmental and non-governmental
organizations in the fight for the recovery of this
- To promote the signs to be aware off, which could lead to
extinction, campaigns of awareness involving breeders and the
farmers of the region.
- Development of programs and techniques for breeding birds
- To cooperate with the Armed Forces and getting them to
enforce laws which would protect the species from illegal
- To promote breeding in captivity of registered birds in
order to take the pressure off the wild Siskins in the
- To give the birds which are established in and around the
National Parks a total protection.
- To study the criteria for handling the wild populations
- To look for alternatives of income for the bird
EQUIPMENT AND OTHER RESOURCES
- A biologist, to study the bird population and plants on
which the birds are dependent as well as their local
- An educator, for the development of the objectives
relative to the education programs.
- A veterinary doctor, for the scientific support of the
species as well as to monitor the health of animals and the
birds in the area.
- Field guides (experienced), to lead the group studying
the Siskin population in different areas.
- A bioligist and a geneticist, for the corresponding
- A vehicle - 4 wheel drive.
- Equipment of support, such as cameras, recorders,
binoculars, digging equipment, instruments, etc.
- Passages and lodgings when they are necessary.
If we took into account that this bird is smaller than the
Cardenalito (Red Siskin), we can imagine immediately why this
bird is always on demand. Farmers, Trappers and dealers often
profit from this bird.
This short summary of the Project could turn into several
volumes once it's up and running.
RECOVERY PROJECT DIRECTOR Dr Carlos L. Ortega G.