Nature Reserve & Biological Station

Bird Observatory & Avian Research Program

 

A special focus of our research at Un poco del Chocó lies on the study and monitoring of the rich avifauna in and around our reserve. We realize regular censuses, as well as constant-effort mistnetting and banding.

Bird Observatory

Trying to fill a gap in the research and understanding of the diverse bird life in and around Un poco del Chocó, in August 2014 we started our work as a bird observatory and implemented a longterm-bird monitoring program in the reserve.

Bird Observatory

We run three constant-effort mistnetting sites in the reserve and catch birds regularly.

Bird Observatory

In the past three years we have banded over 140 different bird species in the reserve. We mainly band passerines...

Bird Observatory

...but also hummingbirds.

Bird Observatory

Every once in a while a toucan gets caught in the nets...

....or a small raptor....

Bird Observatory

...or we catch rarities like the Banded Ground-Cuckoo!

Bird Banding

Bird banding is based on the capture-mark-recapture technique. That is why we mark all birds with individually numbered metal bands.

Bird Banding

The obtained capture-mark-recapture data allows us to study the avian life cycle and demographics, like breeding seasons, molt cycles, habitat use, population sizes, survival and recruitment rates.

Bird Banding

Certain bird species will be marked with individual combinations of color bands. This allows us to observe different individuals in the field without the need of recapture.

Bird Banding

With field observations additional data on largely unknown aspects of the behavioral ecology of tropical bird species can be obtained.

Banding Training

We open mist nets from approx. 6-11 AM. Once the nets are open they are checked every 30 minutes.

Banding Training

We will go on net rounds to check for birds, extract them and carry them back to the banding station in bird bags.

Banding Training

At the banding station, first birds will be identified and banded with a metal band.

Banding Training

Then we will weigh and measure the bird. We take morphometrical data of the beak, tarsus, wing, tail and body length.

Banding Training

We will also determine sex and age of the bird, if possible. And we assess ecological data, like parasites and molt.

As only a restricted group of birds can be studied using mistnets, the mistnetting effort is also combined with a regular bird census.

Both the number of different bird species found are counted, as well as the number of individuals.

Constant-effort mistnetting and banding

Trying to fill a gap in the research and understanding of the diverse bird life in and around Un poco del Chocó, in August 2014 we started our work as a bird observatory and implemented a longterm-bird monitoring program in the reserve. In order to study the bird populations in the reserve and its surroundings, we run three constant-effort mistnetting sites and catch birds regularly. In the past five years we have already banded over 140 different bird species in the reserve. We mainly band passerines, but also near-passerines like hummingbirds, toucans and small raptors. The captured birds are weighed, measured, sexed and aged (if possible) and examined for their general fitness (fat, parasites, etc.).

 

Bird banding research is based on the capture-mark-recapture technique. That is why we mark all birds with individually numbered metal bands. The obtained recapture data allows us to study the avian life cycle and demographics, like breeding seasons, molt cycles, habitat use, population sizes, survival and recruitment rates. Certain bird species will be marked with individual combinations of color bands. This allows us to observe different individuals in the field without the need of recapture, and additional data on largely unknown aspects of the behavioral ecology of tropical bird species can be obtained.

 

Since 2018 we are collaborating with the MoSI program of the Institute for Bird Populations and with the Bird Genoscape project. Both programs study Nearctic-Neotropical migratory birds. For more details, please visit their websites!

Census

Only a restricted group of birds can be studied using mistnets. That is why the mistnetting effort is also combined with regular bird censuses. On transect or point-stop-counts we count both the number of different bird species found, as well as the number of individuals. The bird counts take place in the nature reserve and on different parts of the road to Las Tolas. We also share all our count data on eBird.

 

Additional phenological data can be used as an indicator for changes in the ecosystems. Therefore flowering seasons, flower densities, fruit and seed production are continuously recorded and examined for correlations with the results of the bird monitoring.

In collaboration with:

Avian Mixed Species Flocks

​In tropical forests avian mixed species flocks can be found frequently. These flocks are groups of birds that join each other and move together while foraging. The various bird species in a flock pursue different foraging strategies and thus avoid food competition. The advantage of flocking behavior is probably due to prey capture benefits and a reduced predation risk. The composition of mixed species flocks can be very distinct and depends on territories.

 

One of our research interests is to study composition, structure, seasonality and initiation of mixed species flocks in the reserve and adjacent habitats.

Are you interested in joining our avian research program?

 

Great!! There are many different ways of supporting our work!

 

>>  You can participate in our ongoing research programs as a an intern and conduct a biological internship in Tropical Field Studies & Conservation.

 

>>  You can attend one of our courses and learn all about Bird banding and monitoring.

 

>>  If you are already a skilled bird bander, you can join our team as a volunteer!

 

From our Blog....