30 Jul 2012

Migratory Bird Monitoring

Conservation & Education News, News of Asa Wright, Tropical Nature News

Setting up mist nets. Photos by Caleb Walker


Our Nature Guide Caleb Walker is one of only three persons in Trinidad & Tobago who is certified to conduct Bird Banding exercises and training. Bird Banding involves the gentle, temporary capture of birds, recording the species, location and date of capture, then applying a tiny coded band on the bird’s leg. If an already “banded” bird is captured, the relevant data is recorded. The exercise allows scientists to monitor the migratory patterns of several species of birds for research and conservation purposes. In June, Caleb, along with certified Bird Bander Carl Fitz James of Brasso Seco, held a day-long banding exercise in Brasso Seco. The exercise was conducted with a group of students from Bishop Anstey High School and United States Ambassador to Trinidad & Tobago, Mrs. Beatrice Wilkinson Welters, and was done as part of International Bird Migratory Day, with the United States Embassy hosting the students in this learning and outreach exercise. The students watched the

experts retrieve birds from the mist nets, saw how gently they were handled, and carefully banded and recorded before being released. Caleb reported that the students showed a genuine interest in this “new” exercise, seeking answers to many questions. Ambassador Welters was also very interested in the programme and asked if students graduating from universities in the US could come to Trinidad to work with our Bird Banders for their extra credits. We certainly look forward to further collaboration with the Ambassador and her Embassy.

Caleb and Carl each attended a Bird Banding training course at the Klamath Bird Observatory in Oregon, USA, and have worked locally with Klamath Executive Director Dr. John Alexander, who visited Asa Wright, Simla and Brasso Seco earlier this year. We look forward to Caleb developing a leading role for Asa Wright in the future banding and monitoring of migratory birds travelling through Trinidad.

A Silver-beaked Tanager ready for banding.

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