Warblers and Cuckoos Migrating Through a Newly Identified Stopover Site in Colombia

Nicholas Bayly, Migratory Species Manager with SELVA, a Colombia-based NGO founded in 2009, has been working at a newly identified stopover site in the dry forest remnants in the department of Córdoba, Colombia monitoring migrant passage since March 23rd this year. In the guest blog below, Nick shares with EFTA some of the exciting things they are learning, as well as the migrants they have seen moving through the area this spring. Research and monitoring efforts in this part of Colombia are part of SELVA’s mission to undertake rigorous scientific research programs that facilitate the design, promotion and implementation of conservation actions for the benefit of the biodiversity and people of the Neotropics.

The earliest Yellow-Billed Cuckoos arrived in the first week of April

We began working at a new stopover site in north-west Colombia this year. The site is located in remnants of dry forest in the department of Cordobá and was established primarily to follow the migration of Yellow-billed Cuckoos by the Colombian NGO, SELVA (www.selva.org.co). We are currently fundraising for the cuckoo research and hope to report on exciting advances as spring migration advances (www.experiment.com/cuckoo-migration/)

Cerulean Warbler and Golden-winged Warbler

We have had plenty of surprises in the first two weeks of monitoring (since 23 March). In the last week of March, there was an excellent and completely unexpected movement of Cerulean Warblers through our study site and we have now banded 8 individuals, 5 males and 3 females. One male appeared to stay at the site for four days, gorging itself on caterpillars, as it prepared for the next leg of its journey. The Cerulean Warblers were accompanied by smaller numbers of Golden-winged Warbler that also initiated their migration in late March and we even caught one of each species in one net round.

Dry Forests of the Córdoba department are in full bloom

In the first week of April the first northward bound Blackburnian Warblers were recorded at our site, along with the forerunners of what we hope will be a large arrival of Yellow-billed Cuckoos. Tennessee Warblers have also been on the move and several birds with a fat score of 5 (very fat!) were recorded in late March and should now be well on their way to North America.

The dry forest is currently in bloom after the first rains and this mass of flowers and new leafs leads to a super abundance of caterpillars that the migrants are taking full advantage of!

Environment for the Americas is highlighting stopover sites throughout the Western Hemisphere as part of the IMBD conservation theme. Would you like your unique stopover site to be highlighted on our blog? Please email Laura Koloski directly at [email protected] for more information.
International Migratory Bird Day events are gearing up for spring migration as more and more birds make their way towards breeding grounds. Check out events and festivals in your area. Many birds are still in South and Central America at their wintering sites, but numbers have been increasing at staging and stopover sites along northbound migratory routes. You can join this year’s IMBD conservation theme “Migratory Stopover Sites: Helping Birds Along the Way” by including resources and event materials in your IMBD event.

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