The Catharus trifecta

Bird banding at Las Brisas Nature Reserve focuses on Neotropical migratory species, although we band most species we catch in the nets as well.  Our season runs from mid-August to late October targeting the bulk of fall migration. 

 

The data we collect is yielding important information about the strategies different migrants use during their stopover in this part of Costa Rica, such as the Cerulean Warbler, Swainson's Thrush and Scarlet Tanager.

The birds we catch are taken to the banding station where we identify, band them, determine age and sex and take wing and tail measurements. 

 

We also note the amount of fat and muscle the birds have on their body which can give us important clues as to how fast they accumulate those reserves, their fuel for migration.

Swainson's Thrush, Veery & Gray-cheeked Thrush being released after banding.

One of our main targets at Las Brisas is the Cerulean Warbler and this is a challenge because it is a species that tends to spend most of its time foraging in the upper levels of the forest. 

 

This is why we run most of our nets higher in the canopy rather than at ground level.

The bands we use, issued by the Costa Rican Bird Banding Network, have a prefix letter depending on the band size followed by a specific number and above it they read "AvesCR.org"

 

If one of these bands is encountered elsewhere by another researcher or individual, he or she can report the band number on the website www.avescr.org.  This is an important step in understanding migration! 

The wellbeing of the birds is our top priority and we follow strict protocols to ensure their safety. 

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