RBG’s 11th Annual Bird-a-thon! May 13th, 2017

Wow, it’s already spring! Birds are on their way north and should be back on their breeding grounds soon. Spring Migration is the absolute best time of the year to get out and bird. We invite you to get out this spring and bird, and also do so with a purpose. Rainforest Biodiversity Group invites you to participate in our annual BIRD-A-THON; either as a birder yourself, or as a donor.

RBG’s annual BIRD-A-THON is our main fundraising event for our Small Grant Program. Each year the money we raise during our BIRD-A-THON goes to a great project that is helping to conserve rainforest habitat throughout the Americas. Visit our Crowdrise Site to Donate: www.crowdrise.com/11th-annual-bird-a-thon 

This year will be our 11th BIRD-A-THON!!! It will take place on May 13th, 2017. We are seeking donations to support our Team of Birders who will go out and spend the day birding. Will you make a donation to support our birders? You can pledge an amount per bird species, say $1 per species or even 50 cents a species. It all helps. You can also make a lump sum donation as well.

Note all donors of $50 or more will receive our annual BIRD-A-THON T-shirt.

You can also Join our Team, and help us raise funds by joining as a birder! You can join our team here on Crowdrise and increase your impact by getting others to support Rainforest Biodiversity Group and our BIRD-A-THON.

All levels of support are welcome. All donations are of course fully tax deductible, and you will recieve a receipt from us for your tax purposes. Last year the winner of our Small Grant was Albergue el Socorro; a family run private reserve. Our funds will help them improve and expand their cabins as to help them be economically sustainable as to maintain protection of their forest habitat that form part of the San Juan – La Selva Biological Corridor in Northern Costa Rica.

Please email us at info@rainforestbiodiversity.org if you have any further questions about donating or joining our fundraiser as a birder.

Note: Once again we are hosting our Bird-a-thon on the same day as Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Global Big Day. We encourage all birders of the Bird-a-thon to enter their data into eBird! Also Be sure to provide your t-shirt size and shipping address in the “Comment, In Memory, Tribute (Optional): ” Box on the Donation Page!

We thank you for your generous support of our effort to protect the rainforests of the Americas.

The Goose with the Golden Eggs

The Center for Responsible Travel has produced a new documentary called The Goose with the Golden Eggs: Tourism on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. Provocative and informative, the film examines the impacts of different models of coastal tourism in Costa Rica, from small-scale eco-lodges and a sustainable mid-sized resort to large-scale resorts, vacation homes, and cruise ships along the northern Pacific Coast.

The film features interviews with Margarita Penon, Costa Rica’s former First Lady and member of Congress, as well as with other government officials, tourism experts, and residents of coastal communities who are affected by Costa Rica’s tourism boom.

“The travel industry has become so powerful it can make or break a village
or a country. The Goose With Golden Eggs reveals how even Costa Rica, the
capital of ecotourism, is vulnerable to large resort hotels that can decimate
coastlines and local communities,” says Elizabeth Becker, author of OVERBOOKED: The
Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism. This film portrays the differences between high volume industrial scale resort and cruise tourism and high value nature-based tourism. Click here to view the trailer.

Bat Research in northern Costa Rica

DSC_0120The executive board of the Rainforest Biodiversity Group recently took a work trip to Costa Rica to check up on projects and to meet with partners. While visiting with our partners at Cinco Ceibas in the town of Pangola, we had the pleasure of meeting Kate Cleary, a PhD student in the joint doctoral program between the University of Idaho (UI) and CATIE in Costa Rica.

For her PhD, Kate is studying the ecological impacts of agricultural intensification on Phyllostomid bats in the San Juan-La Selva Biological Corridor of northern Costa Rica. Over the past century native forests in many parts of the world have been converted to agriculture to meet the needs of growing human populations.

DSC_0119 overarching goal of Kate’s dissertation research is to answer the following research questions: 1) will forest patches embedded in pineapple have the same levels of bat species richness, diversity, and relative abundance as found in patches embedded in other agriculture types and in continuous forest? and 2) for populations of a focal bat species, Carollia castanea, will genetic diversity within and gene flow between forest patches in pineapple be the same as in continuous forest?

Together, these questions address the effects of changes in biodiversity, system patterns (genetic diversity), and system processes (gene flow) caused by forest fragmentation and expanding pineapple plantations. To answer these questions Kate is currently collecting data in forest patches around the communities of El Roble and Pangola.

While at Pangola, we had the pleasure of going out with Kate and her field assistants and observing while they mist-netted bats and collected data.

Maquenque Christmas Bird Count

Southern Lapwing. Courtesy of burrard-lucas.com.

Southern Lapwing. Courtesy of burrard-lucas.com.

On January 5th, 2013, the Rainforest Biodiversity Group coordinated the 5th annual Maquenque Christmas Bird Count. This year was another successful count with birders tallying a total of 1,822 birds and 219 different species.  The 219 species was one more than the 2011-2012 count, but unfortunately this is still down 9.8% from the 5-year average of 240.6.  This was likely due to the relatively low number of birders (13) and lodges (4) participating. The Laguna Lagarto Lodge crew once again walked away seeing the most species with 148, which is the third highest total for any lodge since the survey began!  Maquenque Ecolodge ended the day with a very impressive 141 species.

Among this year’s many fantastic finds, we had an amazing six (!) new species for the Maquenque count: Southern Lapwing, Black-headed Trogon, Slate-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Green and Rufous Kingfisher, White-whiskered Puffbird, and Pale-vented Thrush. Elidier Vargas Castro, who participated at the Maquenque Ecolodge, believes the Southern Lapwing might even be nesting within the count circle. Congratulations to the participants who found these fabulous birds!

As the count takes place in the winter, species known as neo-tropical migrants are taking advantage of the available food sources in the tropics at this time of year. During this year’s count, birders encountered nine species of migratory warbler and five species of migratory herons and egrets.

Click here for the entire bird check list from this year.

The Rainforest Biodiversity Group would like to thank all of the participants for making the 2012-13 Maquenque Bird Count possible: Meha Mehta, Jose Fallas, Tomas Alfaro Fallas, Adilio Antonio Zeledon, Miguelange C. Camacho, Johan Kuilder, Ineke van Leeewen, Machiel Crielaard, Alex Molina Arias, Alberto Segura Jara, David Segura Segueira, Elidier Vargas Castro, and Julio Artavia. Also, thank you to all the participating sites and to the Costa Rican Ornithological Society for helping enter the data gathered.

If you have a desire to participate in next year’s Maquenque Christmas Bird Count please contact us at info@rainforestbiodiversity.org.