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January 15, 2011 / stephanie

Ecuador Adventures 5: Banding on the Ridge

Day 7. We were ready to band at the top of the hill at our Ridge banding site, but when we woke up around 5am it was raining. The rain eventually began to subside but it was still dripping from the trees and the ground was even muddier than before. That didn’t matter though since we had a job to do. So, we trudged up to the top of the hill in our rain gear and had the nets open late, which was some time around 7:00am. Although we were late, we still managed to net a whopping 98 birds and 21 species!

The next day was even wetter, it poured right through the night into the morning, so we got to sleep in for an extra hour. When we opened the nets it wasn’t pouring but it was still raining steadily. This worried me a bit because I have typically avoided banding in the rain since it can be dangerous for the birds. However, with all the tree cover, the birds did not actually get very wet at all. Dusti also reminded us that this is the rainforest, the birds are used to it being wet all the time and they are experts at keeping themselves dry. I can’t say the same about myself. My knee-high boots were caked in mud and the water and mud rose up the legs of my pants, mud was all over my jacket, and rain and fog collected on my glasses, obscuring my view. I was basically a mess, and the picture below proves it!

Oh.. so why were we hiking up a steep hill in the mud at dawn again? Oh right.. the birds!

Since day 2 had an even wetter and later start than the first day on the ridge, we only yielded 34 birds and 16 species. Day 3 on the ridge top we had a full morning of banding that yielded 65 captures and 25 species.

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