A Common Cause

Alexis Diaz with a Western scrub-jay

Alexis Diaz with a Western scrub-jay

I was extremely excited when I met Alexis Diaz, a fellow Peruvian participating in the KBO bird banding internship. I don’t see many Peruvians these days, especially in the sciences working in bird conservation, so I was intrigued by his background and experience. He has not been in the country for long, in fact he traveled from Lima to Oregon this past May to obtain his bird banding certification and become a banding trainer. He will bring his knowledge and skills back to our home country, where he is in charge of the Santa Eulalia River Biological Station-Corbidi (Estación Biológica Río Santa Eulalia- Corbidi). It is exciting to see the kind of avian conservation work that is taking place in Peru and I’d like to share it with you.

The Santa Eulalia River Biological Station  has been active since 2012 and it is part of the Corbidi’s (Center of Ornithology and Biodiversity) Banding Program. The banding station is one of five and is located in the Santa Eulalia river basin, just a few hours from the capital of Peru. This area is home to four endemic species to Peru, the black-necked woodpecker, rusty-bellied brush finch, rusty-crowned tit-spinetail, and bronze-tailed comet, which little are known about. Their mission is to better understand the life history of the avian population in this part of the Andes, looking at productivity, longevity, survival, distribution, molt patters, and morphology of birds. They also aim at offering training to college students and provide educational sessions to the community on birds, their science and conservation. The field station is volunteer-based, hosting monthly banding outings to do their work. Participants involved get to camp for a weekend and hike through the beautiful mountains while bird watching and banding, essentially offering conservation or homestay tourism for Peruvians and foreigners.

The environmental group in action with Flor Hernandez presenting to the local community in Santa Eulalia.

The environmental group in action with Flor Hernandez presenting to the local community in Santa Eulalia.

In terms of their practices, they follow the same code of ethics as we do here in with Klamath Bird Observatory and in fact they use the exact same manual, the North American Bander’s Manual and Study Guide. In 2012, they operated for eight months, accounting for 704 hours of open net time. During this time, they observed 36 species of birds from 18 different families, the majority being tyrant flycatchers at 19%, followed by hummingbirds at 16%. In terms of banding efforts, they captured 226 birds from 20 different species, the most common being the rufous-collared sparrow. That year they had a total of 23 recaptured individuals contributing to a 10% recapture rate. This offers great input into determining migratory routes and rest areas of birds. So far this year, they’ve had great success, banding 918 individuals from 33 different species, recapturing 214 individuals and increasing the recapture rate to 13.51%!

I am excited to see  what kind of findings the Santa Eulalia station will have in the future. For now, their plan is to compile information from the many specimens they have to create an identification book of peruvian birds similar to Pyle’s “Identification Guide to North American Birds”. It is comforting to know that there is a dedicated group of people in Peru that are working towards conserving endemic species and its habitats. I encourage you to take part on this conservation and get in contact with the Santa Eulalia River Biological Station if you are thinking of visiting Peru and want a unique and unforgettable experience. There are opportunities for banding not only in Santa Eulalia, but also northern and southern Peru, in Piura and Ica, as well as, in the rainforests of  Iquitos and Madre de Dios.

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The Santa Eulalia banding crew

For more information visit their Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/EstacionDeAnillamientoSantaEulaliaCorbidi?fref=tsh  or contact them at anillamiento.opica@corbidi.org

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5 Comments
  • Very interesting!! I think that is true that no many peruvians are working or studying in the US with birds or conservation. I’m peruvian, studying at Cornell and there is another peruvian girl that I know in Natural Resources, but that’s all. No many peruvians students for the moment. I hope that some of the Santa Eulalia and Corbidi’s project could have more opportunities to develop their professional skills.

    October 24, 2014 at 7:22 pm
  • Yaquelin Tenorio

    Gracias por la nota, muy interesante y si trabajamos con el fin de aprender más sobre las aves y poder compartir estos conocimientos, gracias a la Estación muchos de los integrantes y voluntarios hemos tenido gratas experiencias, se que con trabajo y mucha pasión vamos a lograr los objetivos trazados, espero que puedas visitarnos pronto y veas lo magnifico que es este lugar!

    October 25, 2014 at 6:26 pm
  • Kelly Keenan

    I like this article! Very nice to see these efforts are being noticed. Peru has such a vast bird diversity but the perception is that Peruvians are not concerned with or appreciate this natural treasure. The CORBIDI group is working to break this stereotype and work towards educating Peruvians and supporting science and research. This example of the Santa Eulalia River Banding Station group shows that perseverance and passion can be the catalyst for expanding these efforts throughout Peru, engaging the public and creating a foundation for conservation.

    October 31, 2014 at 8:21 am
  • Isaac Morgan

    This is quite the intriguing article. I did not know that the U.S. brought people from out of the country to work on recapturing birds being banded in Peru. I would really like to visit CORBIDI and the banding stations to gain a better understanding on this concept of banding. I met Alexis this past weekend. We talked about his work a little bit and I must say that the work he does is quite impressive. I appreciate this article and would like to see more!

    November 4, 2014 at 10:17 am
  • Seth Morgan

    This is a well written article. I would like to go to Peru someday. Also I would be interested in learning more about birds and the different species.

    November 4, 2014 at 10:44 am