Searching Research Monitoring of Birds

Trinational resarch project to advance the knowledge of migratory connectivity and territoriality of Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens) in wintering grounds of Western Mexico.

As a result of the collaborations tof the Western Group of Parnters in Flight over the last years, the San Pancho Bird Observatory works in conjunction with the Environment and Climate Change Canada, the University of British Columbia In Okanagan, the Klamath Bird Observatory (Oregon USA), the University of Guadalajara (CUCSUR) , Ecokaban AC. and Tierra de Aves AC to carry out scientific research studies aimed to increase our knowledge of the migratory connectivity of priority species for conservation and also about the health status of local populations through the use of scientific methodologies such as the use of mist-netting and color-banding.

During the months of February and March 2017 and January 2018 our trinational team of scientists carried out intensive field work using mist nets to capture and then place color bands on Yellow-breasted Chats (Icteria virens) which despite of being a relatively colorful bird is very elusive as it can often be heard but rarely seen since it lives in shrubs mainly on the banks of creeks and wetlands.

The director of this tri-national research project is Dr. Christine Bishop who is a wildlife researcher at the Canadian environmental agency and also collaborates with several universities in Canada and has spent more than two decades studying I. virens in the Okanagan Valley and now assists the research to doctoral student Kristen Mancuso from the University of British Columbia in the Okanagan region; Dr. John Alexander from the Klamath Bird Observatory (Oregon, USA) and the research team in Mexico are Dr. Sarahy Contreras and her environmental engineering students Ingrid Tellez and Martín López Aguilar, both from the University of Guadalajara (Autlán campus) as well as the field support of biologists Raúl Said Felix (Ecokaban AC), Manuel Grosselet from Tierra de well as Quetzal, Utsil and Luis Morales (SPBO). ​

The information provided by this three years study will allow us to know more about the habitat use during the winter as well as the migratory connectivity of I. virens. The sampling efforts will also provide us with relevant demographic information about other resident and migratory bird species some of which are a priority for conservation.

Through this project Mexican students were trained in advanced bird-banding techniques through our collaboration with the Klamath Bird Observatory; also the collaborations with some local companies and organizations in the region has also been strengthened. We are especially grateful for the collaboration of Tierra Tropical and La Patrona Polo Club, of Mar al Cielo Eco retreat, Subuya, Tachido, Sandra Richards and IMANTA resort for facilitating field work on their grounds.