New Course: Tropical Ornithology
Whether you are interested in tropical ecology, field biology techniques, and/or just love learning about birds, this course offers an extraordinary opportunity to explore all the above while living at an active research station deep in the Peruvian Amazon. Hands-on course activities at this site will provide direct experience of this special field featuring almost 600 species of birds.
The first portion of this course will explore basic bird biology, as well as the diversity of avian species in the Amazon. This will include both daily exercises and nightly lectures focused on avian natural history, evolution, and taxonomy. We will also discuss field ethics and safety, in addition to practicing basic skills related to maintaining field notebooks, organizing data, and orienteering/navigating in the rainforest.
Next, we will focus on survey methods. Avian populations have been declining in recent years, largely due to habitat loss and climate change. Such declines both influence and reflect the health of ecosystems experiencing changes in structure, diversity, and resource availability. Conservation actions aimed at preserving avian diversity and the habitats they share with other species depend on information gained through bird surveys. Accordingly, you will receive hands-on training in techniques such as deploying mist nets, as well as conducting point counts and line transects.
Lastly, we will examine basic interactions between birds and their habitats, review and analyze research articles, weigh conservation issues and strategies, and discuss the implementation of ornithological projects in the wild. Along the way, you will be able to recreationally canoe in a nearby oxbow lake featuring giant river otters and hoatzins, paddle through a palm swamp with dwarf caiman, and climb a 60-meter tower to view the forest canopy and watch for macaws.
This course is ideal for both biology students seeking specialty training and field experience, as well as bird enthusiasts of any background who want to deepen their knowledge and appreciation of avifauna.
Course Dates: June 16th – July 3rd, 2017
Registration: Course size is limited, spots are filled on a rolling basis until April 16th, 2017
Course Fee: $2250 (includes meals, lodging, and transportation from Puerto Maldonado to the field site and back)