Nicole’s year of the bird
Happy new year!!
It’s really been a while since I have updated this blog. Something that needs to change in 2019, so there’s one of my resolutions. 2018 was a busy year! Especially for me. It started in January and February with me sitting down and studying: Ecuador’s history, geography, politics, tourism regulations, National Park system etc etc. The tourism law had changed recently and now every guide in Ecuador, whether a naturalist guide, bird guide or mountaineering guide, every guide was required to obtain a license as national tour guide. And that meant to be familiar with a lot of things that are not necessarily involved when one guides bird watchers around our forests. So I had to study and pass two written and one practical exam. And so I did. Together with a couple of friends and colleagues from Mindo we formed a study group and in February we all had our exams together, and made it! Ironically, we now have to do another certification to become bird guides again! Another time though….
Nicole got her licence as tour guide
But my studying would continue. After I had participated in a bird banding and molt analysis course in Colombia in December 2017, I was really interested in getting certified as a bird bander. I applied for a small travel grant of the North American Banding Council (NABC) to travel to Costa Rica, intern as a bander at the Costa Rican Bird Observatories (CRBO) and get certified there. Luckily, I got the grant and in May I travelled to the Madre Selva Bird Observatory in the Costa Rican highlands. Unfortunately, I couldn`t stay as long as I had wished. Hence, I only had a couple of days to get to know the Costa Rican birds before our certification session started. The certification takes around three days and to get certified as a bander you have to safely extract a certain amount of birds in a timely manner, you have to process and correctly identify species, sex and age of a number of birds. All of this with two trainers looking over your shoulders and assessing you. Furthermore, you also ne