Between the 7 and 14 May 2011 SELVA carried out its second bird banding course in Colombia in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. During the week long course, four participants received intensive training from two certified bird banding trainers, including talks on subjects such as determining the age of birds and seven practical sessions in which each participant had the opportunity to band more than 50 birds. The course was a great success and the participants left with an important base from which they can continue practising this tecnique. The most important lesson learnt during the week, was that, with much practice and experience, it is possible to work with mist nets safely and take a series of data regarding the age, sex and physical condition of captured birds prior to release, without affecting their well being. The skills learnt during the course are essential in order to carry out studies of wild birds that aim to understand demographic processes, the form in which birds are using different habitats, the relationship between physical condition and habitat quality and to determine population size, migration routes and the stopover sites birds use to accumlate the energy for migration, among many other questions. Consequently, our ability to understand and conserve the birds of Colombia in the future will depend in a great part on our ability to band birds safely.
Bird banding trainers: Dr. Nick Bayly (BTO), Hernan Arias (NABC)
It was possible to offer this course free to participants thanks to support from the Rufford Small Grants Foundation