Due to the hard work of our Costa Rican education coordinator – Carla – and the many Costa Rican school children who participated, the communication lines between budding Oregonian and Costa Rican scientists have been opened. School children in both countries are collecting data on hummingbird abundance, diversity and nectar use to find out whether landscape fragmentation alters hummingbird distribution patterns. These letters are to share data, tips, and just to find out more about each other.
As mentioned in previous posts, we are finding that pollination seems to be resulting in decline of Heliconia tortuosa – species that we think is critical for many hummingbird species (we’ve seen > 8 species visiting this flower). In our next experiment, we are going to see what happens to hummingbird movement if this flower goes locally extinct.
Here is a photo of a female green hermit at her nest. Notice the radio transmitter attached to her back (which Adam used to find the nest in the first place). We will use transmitters like this to track movements of birds once heliconia density has been reduced (by covering flowers temporarily). MGB
Species, well community, of the day: Tropical cloud forest! This is one of my favorite patches in our study “Patch 16” where yesterday we captured 12 violet sabrewings and we see howler monkeys and emerald toucanets. This is an example of a large, healthy patch of forest where both heliconia and hummingbirds are common. MGB
Species of the day: White-tipped sickle bill! This is one of my favorite species. It is quite specialized (its “sickle” bill allows it to get into very curved flowers). As a result, it needs to move a long way to find the food that it needs. One of our largest hummingbirds (~11 g), it is a bit like watching a fighter jet mixed with a muppet move through the jungle.