Friday, May 30

Hummingbird behavior and evolution (Amazilia amazilia)

By: Sarah A. Cowles
Ph.D. Student, Uy lab
Department of Biology
University of Miami

Hello! My name is Sarah—I’m a biology grad student from the University of Miami, and I’m studying hummingbird evolution and behavior. My research focuses specifically on Amazilia hummingbirds (the scientific name is Amazilia amazilia; el nombre en español es Amazilia ventrirrufa). I am examining differences in plumage color across multiple populations of Amazilia hummingbirds throughout the South Coast and Southern Highlands of Ecuador. In addition, I’m planning to reconstruct the evolutionary history of this species. 

I’ve spent two weeks at Bosque Protector Cerro Blanco with my awesome field assistants David and Javier. We’ve been capturing hummingbirds around the reserve using mist-nets, and taking morphological measurements, a few feathers (for later color measurements), and a few drops of blood (to extract DNA for phylogenetic analyses) from each bird before giving it some sugar water and letting it fly away. Here at BPCB, the birds are an emerald green color with blue-green gorgets and a rufous belly. We have been finding them around patches of purple morning-glory flowers in the reserve.

The reserve is absolutely beautiful —a peaceful and quiet forest just outside of busy Guayaquil. We’ve seen tons of lizards, insects, spiders, snakes (including a viper!), some small mammals, deer, and plenty of birds of course—from several big hawks to tiny hummingbirds, and everything in between. It’s transitioning from the wet season to the dry season right now, so there are a lot of falling leaves and soon to be flowers here. BPCB has absolutely been a wonderful place to do fieldwork in Ecuador! 

Wednesday, May 28

Volunteers drawn beauties Cerro Blanco Forest

During the months of April and May 20 a call for volunteers was performed with for artistic drawing skills, so that we have the participation of Mr. Hugo Mite and Mr. Raúl Galdea who made beautiful drawings of the biodiversity of dry forest tropical which are being used in the design of environmental education material for the Pro-Forest Foundation.

The Weekly Live Guayaquil newspaper El Universo made ​​them a story for his selfless to participate with their talent for a good cause work.

Adaptation and release of Six Great Green Macaws In The Cerro Blanco Protected Forest

The Jambeli Rescue Foundation has developed a successful captive breeding program for the Great Green Macaw over a 10 year period.  One of the principal objectives of this program is the release of adult GGM´s in its dry tropical forest habitat and contribute to the conservation program for the species in its natural state.

The Pro-Forest Foundation has more than twenty years experience in the development of programs and projects benefitting the conservation of the dry tropical forest ecosystem, especially the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest, which has been used by Great Green Macaws as nesting, roosting and feeding sites.

The Pro-Forest Foundation has carried out several programs and projects that benefit directly the Great Green Macaw in the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest and adjacent areas including protection of nest sites and habitat through park ranger patrols and law enforcement, habitat restoration and enhancement through the construction and placement of artificial nest boxes as well as environmental education and awareness building in local communities both for adults through an honorary park warden project as well as primary and secondary school programs.

The Jambeli Rescue Foundation and Pro-Forest Foundation have joined with other organizations in Ecuador to prepare and implement a Great Green Macaw National Conservation Strategy beginning in 2003 to the present.  The strategy includes a ex-situ component which includes the reproduction and eventual release of Great Green Macaws to help bolster the wild population in Ecuador, which is critically endangered.

In March we had to Will and Sophy as volunteers in Cerro Blanco, they from England. Them project was to record photos and videos about adaptation's project. The photos and video presented here are the result of his outstanding work.

Expedition Chester Zoo in the Cerro Blanco Forest to find the Red-lored Amazon

Last January we had the pleasant visit of a technical team from Chester Zoo from England, whose visit was to study the Red-lored Amazon (Amazona lilacina) to determine their habitat, behavior, diet, reproduction, etc.. The study was conducted for 10 days in two areas specifically Cerro Blanco Forest and Mangroves of Puerto Hondo.

Tuesday, May 27

Vacation Camp 2014 on Cerro Blanco Forest.

During the months of March and April 2014 Tania and Jaime Echeverria of Papooms conducted the Vacation Camp 2014 on Cerro Blanco Forest. A great opportunity where the little kids learned about the tropical dry forest and the importance of conservation. Painted, played, sang, made ​​crafts and above were connected with nature and learned to appreciate it and love it.