El Yunque Critter

El Yunque Critter

Everything You Wanted to Know about Hurricanes but Were Afraid to Raise Your Hand and Ask

Special Bulletin
“Luquillo Forest’s longest-running messaging service”

Welcome to the El Yunque Critter feed, Luquillo’s longest running messaging service. Unlike other online forest publications, Critter is full of “chirps”, or messages by and for the entire forest community. One of its main purposes is to prepare the community for any upcoming emergencies. Since its creation, it has become the forest’s most respected source of news. 

Critter debuted centuries ago, after a hurricane in 1780 demolished much of the forest. A Puerto Rican lizard cuckoo saw his entire family wiped out when a fearsome wind knocked their nest out of a tree. Then and there he vowed to start a bulletin that would prepare forest inhabitants for the arrival of future hurricanes and other emergencies. At first, messaging was simple. The lizard cuckoo would quickly write down chirps and post them on a local yagrumo tree. Other animals could also add chirps, or comment on the chirps of others. As technology evolved, the lizard cuckoo decided to protect the trees and move all the Chirps online. Wanting to make the messaging platform available to anyone, he named the it the “El Yunque Critter”, or just “Critter”, for short.

Although available to all animals of the rainforest, the Puerto Rican lizard cuckoos remained editors of the messages until the arrival of the Puerto Rican parrots in the early 1900s. The parrots had been forced out of their original habitats on the island. Those who remained sought refuge in El Yunque. Most of the forest community considered the parrots better communicators than the lizard cuckoos, and the parrots were asked to monitor and edit the messages. Unfortunately, by the 1960s the parrot population had declined drastically. They were no longer able to continue editing. Today, bananaquits edit Critter, mostly by looking for any inaccurate information. Still, sometimes bad information can slip through, so all Critter users are encouraged to read the chirps carefully! Since we are the most common birds in the forest, we have easier access to the entire community.

Barbara Bananaquit
Critter Chirper-in-Chief