Back to the Tropics: Banding in Costa Rica

In early November, I packed my bags and migrated south to Costa Rica. Leaving behind frigid temperatures in Colorado, I arrive in Costa Rica ready for another winter in the tropics. For three months, I will be banding birds for Costa Rica Bird Observatories. First, I ride a bus up the winding Pan-American Highway to Madre Selva, a field station in the Cordillera de Talamanca. Here in the cloud forest, there is an extremely high density of regional endemics. Beyond the familiar North American migrants, I am bombarded with an exciting new suite of birds. With my coworker, Steve Dougill, we begin to familiarize ourselves with the amazing bird-life of the region.

_K1A0554
Collared Redstart (Myioborus torquatus), one of the many birds endemic to the highlands of Costa Rica and western Panama.
_K1A0388
Spot-crowned Woodcreeper (Lepidocolaptes affinis)
IMG_0247
Banding in the Clouds
_K1A2247-3
Black-faced Solitaire (Myadestes melanops)
_K1A2169-2
Chestnut-capped Brushfinch (Arremon brunneinucha)
_K1A0471
Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera), one of the wintering North American migrants of the region.
_K1A2549
Black-cheeked Warbler (Basileuterus melanogenys), a regional endemic.
_K1A2357-2
Gray-breasted Wood-Wren (Henicorhina leucophrys)

IMG_0573-2

If you want to follow along with my upcoming adventures in Costa Rica and beyond, I welcome you to subscribe and be a part of them.

Bird Banding with FUNDAECO

14 February – 11 March 2017

The Foundation for Ecodevelopment and Conservation (FUNDAECO) in Guatemala runs the longest continuous bird banding and monitoring program in Latin America. For nearly two decades, Guatemalan biologists have been banding birds in the Izabel province. Thanks to FUNDAECO’s banding crew, I join local field researchers for nearly a month. Most days consist of ten hours of banding in mature forests, camping in remote locations, swimming in pristine rivers, laughing together, and snacking on corn tortillas with hot sauce.

Thank you Alexis, Miguel, Obdulio, Antonio, Yaquelin, and Thelma for a truly remarkable and memorable experience!

_E1A5241
White-whiskered Puffbird (Malacoptila panamensis). These elusive birds inhabit Central American rainforests and consume all sorts of interesting prey including spiders, frogs, and snakes.
_E1A6263
Red-capped Manakin (Ceratopipra mentalis), on of the most abundant birds at the field sites.
_E1A4648
Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher (Terenotriccus erythrurus), a flycatcher smaller than a kinglet (8 cm).

A Tawny-winged Woodcreeper (Dendrocincla anabatina) that was banded a previous season.

_E1A7395
Ruddy Woodcreeper (Dendrocincla homochroa)
_E1A7345
Ivory-billed Woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus flavigaster), one of the largest woodcreepers (23 cm).
_E1A5763
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper (Glyphorynchus spirurus), one of the smallest woodcreepers (15 cm).

22499342_1495792083841010_6988322232033767864_o

Crowned Woodnymph (Thalurania colombica) and Long-billed Hermit (Phaethornis longirostris)

_E1A6621
Orange-billed Sparrow (Arremon aurantiirostris)
_E1A7435
Blue-black Grosbeak (Cyanoloxia cyanoides)
_E1A7707
Female Dot-winged Antwren (Microrhopias quixensis)
_E1A8313
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher (Mionectes oleagineus)
_E1A7100
Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus)

Royal Flycatcher (Onychorhynchus coronatus)

_E1A7846
Lousiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla)
_E1A5705
Worm-eating Warbler (Helmitheros vermivorum), one of the most abundant North American migrants captured.
_E1A7602
Swainson’s Warbler (Limnothlypis swainsonii), an incredibly rare North American migrant.
_E1A8291
Sunset on the Guatemala/Belize border.
_E1A7299
Hooded Warbler (Setophaga citrina)
23213168_1513270455426506_8658635694330491841_o
Plain Xenops (Xenops minutus)
23275316_1513270355426516_1713757112388445095_o
White-breasted Wood-Wren (Henicorhina leucosticta)
22712426_1498421716911380_4517754207858279212_o
Bright-rumped Attila (Attila spadiceus)
_E1A7321
Northern Schiffornis (Schiffornis veraepacis)
_E1A7110
The FUNDAECO Banding Crew in Action
23213336_1513294655424086_7562307594008932303_o
We used waterways and boats to access our field sites near the Belize border.

23275719_1513292812090937_6744036109903514150_o