Story and Photos by Nadav Soroker
MONTEVERDE, Costa Rica — The sun rose with every upward push on a net, spreading out the fine black webbing, while pre-dawn gloom turned to healthy glow as one at a time, birds started chirping, clicking and singing. The mist nets, nearly invisible unless viewed at an oblique angle, stretched between tall poles scattered throughout the growing secondary forest of the Refugio Ecológico Nacimiento y Vida, part of the Bellbird Biological Corridor.
Researchers from the Metropolitan State University of Denver and a local research coordinator from the Monteverde Institute finished spreading the nets and returned to wait under the low, wide-spread branches of a tree that covered their collection site. With a chirp and flutter of wings, a bird quickly tangled itself in a nearby net before swinging down to hang, trapped. Thus began a busy morning of disentangling, bagging and collection.
The researchers recorded data on the birds that flew into the nets, checking health, age and reproductive state before releasing them. Christy Carello of MSU Denver led the research examining the winter habitat of North American migratory birds.
Carello is studying the status of regrown forests in the birds’ winter habitats and how long a new forest needs to age before it becomes viable habitat, said Vinson Turco, an MSU Denver biology graduate. U.S. conservation efforts need to coordinate with efforts in the birds’ winter habitats, Turco said, or they won’t work.
Edited by Brianna Stubler