The End of an Era

After over 6 years of intensive research and community development work in and around the Yachana Reserve, GVI Amazon is coming to a close. We have finished our final research project (look forward to our Road Effects paper, coming soon!) and are handing over the project to our partner, The Yachana Foundation. They will continue to maintain and monitor the reserve, using it as an hands-on science education center for students -- we're very excited to see what fabulous things this next generation of scientists find! For more detail on GVI Amazon's closure, and our accomplishments over the years, please read on...
GVI Amazon Closure Statement

Friday, May 21, 2010

Is that bird tiny or far away?

GVI Amazon's newest staff member Jenn returned from a butterfly survey two weeks ago claiming that she had seen a new species of Hawk to the reserve – the Tiny Hawk. After consulting her photographs the other staff members, me included, were not convinced:

Jenn, are you sure that Hawk is Tiny? It might just be far away!”

Tiny Hawks (Accipiter superciliosus) are small often overlooked diurnal birds of prey found throughout the Neotropics. Adults males reach only 20cm in length, a real midget in the raptor world! Despite their small size they are voracious hunters - typically catching hummingbirds and other small birds. Owing to our reservations, and much to Jenn’s frustration, we delayed putting the bird onto the species list until the sighting was confirmed.

On Monday the 17th of May, Jenn, Mel B, Mel G, Becca and myself left camp at 4.30am to go mist-netting at a remote location within the reserve. Mist-netting involves catching birds using near-invisible nets strung across trails. Once captured, they are identified, weighed and released. After two hours of hard netting, we caught a bird of prey that seemed remarkably tiny. I returned to the banding station with it in a bag, hoping that Jenn was unaware of the surprise that awaited her. As soon as the bird was removed to be identified, Jenn’s face lit up! “It’s my Tiny Hawk!”. Jenn’s initial ID was verified, we could add the Tiny Hawk to the Yachana Reserve species list, and we will never again doubt Jenn’s bird knowledge!

Chris Beirne - GVI Amazon Base Manager