Sarah and I just got back home to Oregon after our two and a half month season in Costa Rica. While the bulk of the season is over there will still be quite a bit going on over the next while. Evan and April are staying for the next three weeks to collect the remaining hummingbird movement and visitation data from the RFID grids. Mauricio and Esteban will also be continuing with some long-term data collection projects involving the plants. They will be collecting styles from the flowers so we can look at pollination success across our habitat fragmentation gradient, collecting fruits and seeds and leaves for genetics, doing demography plots.
This season we accomplished the majority of what we set out to do and despite the usual hiccups that happen during fieldwork most things got done.
Capturing: We captured and banded >300 hummingbirds in seven forest sites all of which we banded. Each of these got a series of detailed measurements and had a sample of any pollen it was carrying collected. We attached >250 PIT tags to these hummingbirds.
RFID grids: We set up grids of RFID readers and feeders in seven different landscapes. Within each landscape we had gridlines sampling across different landscape cover types (forest, pasture, scrubland etc.) so that we could compare hummingbird movements and visitation rates. We used unlimited feeders for part of the sampling period and then switched to limited delivery feeders to compare decisions made under differing reward amounts. For example, do hummingbirds go as far into a risky habitat type for a small amount of a resource as they do for an unlimited one? We have had a lot of different birds from several species getting read at these stations and moving among them.
Heliconia pollination: We have run a number of experiments that should help us resolve how hummingbirds are successful when we are not. There are over 200 samples waiting in vials here at the lab for me to begin to process and analyze.
Bird censuses: Doug and Randy Moore were able to conduct bird censuses in 24 of the forest patches we sample with Urs.
Long-term: We continued the sampling for our long-term data collection portions of the study. This will continue into the summer with the help of our local guys.
For me the next stages of the project are to continue helping Evan and the others keep things operating smoothly done in Costa Rica, begin processing the style samples and continue writing papers we have in prep from the work. So the focus changes, but the work continues.
We may begin adding hummingbird/pollination updates form the work here in Oregon.