Above the treetops of Puerto Rico flies a flock of parrots as green as their island home. . . . These are Puerto Rican parrots. They lived on this island for millions of years, and then they nearly vanished from the earth forever.
Puerto Rican parrots, once abundant, came perilously close to extinction in the 1960s due to centuries of foreign exploration and occupation, development, and habitat destruction. In this compelling book, Roth and Trumbore recount the efforts of the scientists of the Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Program to save the parrots and ensure their future. Woven into the parrots' story is a brief history of Puerto Rico itself, from before the first human settlers to the present day.
With striking collage illustrations, a unique format, and engaging storytelling, Parrots Over Puerto Rico invites readers to witness the amazing recovery efforts that have enabled Puerto Rican parrots to fly over their island once again.
Parrots thrived in Puerto Rico long before the first human settlers arrived some 5,000 years ago; by 1975, only 13 of the birds were still living in the wild. Roth and Trumbore follow The Mangrove Tree with another story of ecological revitalization, explaining the threats the parrots faced over the centuries, including invasive species and deforestation. The authors demonstrate how the parrots' survival was entwined with Puerto Rico's very history (bees and rats from Spanish settlers' ships wreaked havoc on the birds' nests) before detailing ongoing efforts to rebuild their numbers. The book itself is oriented vertically, calendar-style, amplifying its sense of height and allowing for dramatic paper and fabric collages that show the vivid blue-and-green parrots soaring over the island. In an especially lovely scene, a towering waterfall of crinkled strips of white paper cascades over a fibrous backdrop of rocks in Puerto Rico's El Yunque rainforest. An extensive afterword describes the species' recovery and includes more than a dozen photographs. A thoughtful and thorough examination of the ways human action can both help and harm animal populations. Ages 6-11. (Oct.)Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
Gr 3-6--Before humans arrived on the island, parrots numbered in the hundred of thousands. By 1967, only 24 birds remained. Since then, scientists in the Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Program (PRPRP) have established aviaries to raise the birds in captivity and release them in the wild. Using a vertical page orientation, Roth has plenty of space for detailed collages that depict the parrots' lives and struggles above human activities that have altered the island's ecosystem over the centuries. Tainos, Spanish explorers and settlers, African slaves, and others hunted parrots for food, cut down nesting places, and introduced animals that ate their eggs. After the United States took control, deforestation continued. Some military history and political questions such as the debate about Puerto Rico's commonwealth status slow the narrative. When the focus shifts to the strategies, setbacks, and successes of the PRPRP, the story soars. From constructing nesting boxes to training captive-bred birds how to avoid hawks, the program is slowly rebuilding the parrot population. After the main story, several pages of photos accompany further explanations of the group's work. In addition to their list of sources, the authors supply a detailed time line of events. Like this team's The Mangrove Tree (Lee & Low, 2011), this title offers an engaging and hopeful look at environmental restoration.--Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, MankatoCopyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.