by Stu Mackenzie
Bird Studies Canada’s Long Point Bird Observatory (LPBO) has led a range of international training initiatives in bird banding and monitoring techniques since 1987. A multi-year collaborative research project conducted in Cuba from 1987-95 led to the founding of our Latin American Training Program, which we launched in 1995, in association with Environment Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service.
We offer advanced migration monitoring training at LPBO for Latin American field ornithologists. Participants receive the most up-to-date and ethical training on all facets of avian research, including bird banding, migration monitoring, data management, forest bird monitoring techniques, and habitat and vegetation surveys. Nearly 100 individuals from 15 countries have travelled north to participate in this aspect of the program at Long Point, Ontario.
The other vital element of the program is coordinating or co-leading on-site training workshops in Central and South America. Most recently, we helped deliver a nine-day North American Banding Council workshop and certification session that was hosted in Belize in November by the Toucan Ridge Ecology and Education Society. Additional collaborators included Ecorana Environmental Ltd., the Calgary Bird Banding Society, and the Belize Forest Department.
Sixteen participants from Belize, Canada, and the United States embarked on a unique field adventure. The workshop focused on all the skills necessary to conduct a safe, ethical, and accurate bird banding and monitoring operation. Following the workshop, interested participants were tested on their knowledge and skills to receive bird banding certification.
More than 250 birds of over 40 species were banded. Belize is one of Central America’s most heavily forested countries, and provides important wintering habitat for many neotropical migratory species such as the Wood Thrush and Gray Catbird.
Bird Studies Canada’s Latin American Training Program was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada.