Oct. 26, 2014


  • Bird Call analysis with advisor
  • Observation and collecting data from garden at the Biological Station (6:30-8:30am and 10:30-11:30am)

At 6:30am in the morning, I went to identify bird calls with Johel, one of the advisors overseeing our research projects. He’s not my advisor for my particular project, but he is someone I go to if I ever needed help identifying animals, in this case birds. It was a little frustrating, however, as it began raining, which meant that for day I will see little butterflies in a garden that generally harbors so much insect activity! Nonetheless, I discovered that I still collected a fair amount of data from hummingbird visitations. Hummingbirds, because of their high metabolism, need to feed regardless of the weather, and if it’s too cold or wet, they will still come out, choosing to perch instead and waiting for the opportune moments to feed. Of course again, the Stachytapheta frantzii attracted a wide range of hummingbirds:

Stripe-tailed Hummingbird Magenta-throated Woodstar Green Violet-ear Coppery-headed Emerald

It was very difficult at first differentiating the birds from the forest versus the birds that come to the garden. In time, however, I got used to telling the difference. Johel and I agree that it would take too much time identifying birds by call and that it wasn’t necessary for me to do so as my aim was to measure the general animal activity in the garden and that to identify which birds to which particular trees, you would have to consider a wide range of variables, such as the amount of pests a tree has for birds that eat insects and the fruiting periods of a trees for those who eat fruits. Furthermore, I’ve discovered that trees add another set of factors to my designs. I will have to consider that trees may be difficult to maintain, may attract extremely annoying birds, may produce fruit that can attract unwanted mammals such as coatis and cause buildup in the understory, requiring more maintenance, may take up too much space overtime as they grow taller, etc. Thus, adding trees to my study may be more relevant in the design phase and in terms of incorporating its relevance in my study, may be an indicator of bird activity in general.

Later on, around 10:30am, the sun came out and I was able to observe and collect data on butterfly visitations! I found Helionius saphos among other species and I found that many of them were attracted to the Lantana velutina:

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 7.27.38 PM Lantana

Data sheet below:


Below are more pictures of the garden at the Biological Station:

BioStaion11 BioStation BioStation4 BioStation6 BioStation7 BioStation8 BioStation14 BoStation2

On my way up to the station, I discovered an annoying congregation of birds with the most annoying screeching I’ve ever come across. Johel tells me these are the great-tailed grackles, which are actually pests in disturbed areas, such as parks and roadsides. Nothing seems to get rid of them (people have tried owls, falcons and explosives) and nobody understands what attracts them to certain trees versus others. In any case, I did not consider that some bird calls would be considered annoying to have in a garden. Consequently, with Johel’s advice, recording the bird calls and characterizing them as ugly or nice-sounding may be useful. Again, I will have to talk to Alan, my actual advisor for my project, about this. It seems that every time I go out to collect data, I’m always coming across variables I haven’t considered before and the range of possibilities just seem to increase. I guess this is what field research is all about!

What’s next:

  • Observe and collect data from the garden at Bajo del Tigre.
  •  Interview business owner at Stella’s Bakery regarding development of her garden with ProNativas
  • Review documents and past site plans at the Monteverde Institute
  • Interview Ashley at the Monterverde Institute who is knowledgeable about sustainable development
  • Hand out surveys