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.
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.
For more information visit their Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/EstacionDeAnillamientoSantaEulaliaCorbidi?fref=tsh or contact them at [email protected]