Aug 262016

After last year’s (2015) successful deployment of coded nano-tags on migratory birds in Colombia, SELVA researchers returned to the field this spring to tag more birds. With more tags and more automated detectors in North America and in Central America, hopes were high and we were not to be disappointed. A total of 30 Gray-cheeked Thrushes and 7 Swainson’s Thrushes were detected outside of Colombia, including the first four birds ever to be recorded by three new antennas in Panama, while another was picked up on Jamaica! Like last year, some birds were picked up at multiple points, revealing news insights into the routes that these remarkable birds take (see animated migration tracks; we recommend extending the duration of the animation to 30 or 60 seconds!). Watch out for Swainson’s Thrush 516 and 519 that are detected on no less than 3 and 5 occasions respectively..


The Gray-cheeked Thrush – a migrant that travels from the Amazon to the boreal forests of Canada every year via northern Colombia

We also received further confirmation of the critical importance of mid-elevation forests in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in NE Colombia for Gray-cheeked Thrush, with birds once again making mind-boggling non-stop flights covering thousands of kilometers after leaving this region.

Detections GCTH2

Detections of Gray-cheeked Thrush carrying radiotransmitters on leaving Colombia in 2015 and 2016

These fascinating insights were only made possible through multiple collaborations and SELVA would like to thank all those involved in making this possible over the years: Stu Mackenzie (Bird Studies Canada), Keith Hobson (Environment Canada), Dr. Phil Taylor (Acadia University), Motus Wildlife Tracking System, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Universidad de los Andes, Colciencias, University of Saskatchewan, Panama Audubon and all those who operate the more than 300 Motus stations throughout the Western Hemisphere. Last but not least, we want to thank our great team of bird banders in Colombia including Angela Caguazango, Jeyson Sanabria, Ana María Díaz, Sean McElaney and Daniel Giesbrecht.