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I Basic Bird Banding Course -CR2022

From October 28th to November 3rd, 2022, we held our 1st Basic Course on Bird Banding in Costa Rica, taught jointly by Proyecto Cerúlea and SELVA: Research for Conservation in the Neotropics. This course was offered to build local capacity in this method for bird research in the country, where opportunities are few or non-existent.

The main topics of the course included the installation and correct management of mist nets, scientific handling and banding of birds, the implementation of the WRP system for determining the age of birds, morphometric data collection, first aid for birds and a special emphasis in the safety and ethics of bird banding during all its processes.

Photos: Sui Chen Fernández, Caliope Rojas and Jeffrey Ortega.

The course had fourteen participants from Costa Rica and Nicaragua and four instructors from Costa Rica and Colombia.

Centro Manú, a private reserve located in Guápiles in the Caribbean foothills of Costa Rica, was our study site. The site has all the necessary facilities for this type of course: comfortable accommodation, delicious food and a private reserve with many birds, both migratory and resident. Centro Manú is recognized in Costa Rica as one of the best places to observe the Bare-necked Umbrellabird (Cephalopterus glabricollis) and all the participants had the opportunity to observe this endangered endemic species of Costa Rica and Panama.

Photos: Paz A. Irola and David Rodríguez.

We processed 188 birds during the course, of which the majority were Bay-breasted Warblers (Setophaga castanea), a warbler that breeds in the boreal forests of North America.

Photo: Jeffrey Ortega and Caliope Rojas.

During the banding we had some unusual captures: small flycatchers such as the Northern Bentbill (Oncostoma cinereigulare) and the Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher (Terenotriccus erythrurus) and the most surprising, a female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius).

Photos: Caliope Rojas.

The field work was complemented with presentations on the ethics of handling and banding birds, the molting process to determine age and sex, first aid for wild birds, use of the data generated by banding, applications and opportunities for bird banding and research in Costa Rica and examples of projects that have used banding to achieve research and conservation results.

Photos: David Rodríguez.

Much of the success of this course is due to the excellent and exemplary group of participants who showed great potential and commitment, to the Centro Manú team for all its attention and excellent service, and to the Tortuguero Conservation Area (SINAC) for its impeccable management. Thank you all for being part of this first generation of new banders in training.

Photos: David Rodríguez, Sui Chen Fernández, Caliope Rojas, Paz A. Irola, Ernesto Carman and Jeffrey Ortega.

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