As a result of the collaborations that have resulted from the efforts of 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 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 bird banding.
During the months of February and March of 2017 a 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 a decade 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 student Ingrid Tellez, both from the University of Guadalajara (Autlán campus) as well as the field support of biologists Raúl Said Felix (Ecokaban AC) and Luis Morales (SPBO) as well as the technical advice of Manuel Grosselet from Tierra de Aves.
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 the Western population of I. virens as well as other resident and migratory bird species some of which are a priority for conservation. Having long-term databases using "high resolution" data will allows us to better understand the health and behavior of bird populations which can be very useful tools for better informed decisions for sustainable management and protection of natural habitats.
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, from Mar al Cielo Eco retreat and from Subuya for facilitating field work on their grounds.
At the San Pancho Bird Observatory, we work together with multiple collaborators from different sectors to promote our model of bird conservation and habitats that integrates and links education, capacity building for conservation, community sustainability and science.