Raptor Researcher Skills Courses

Neotropical Raptor Network Conference, La Fortuna Costa Rica – 8- 10 October 2016

Ecology, Monitoring and Identification of Migratory Raptors

Departure: Saturday 8 October 2016, 5:30 am costado norte Int. Airport Juan Santamaría

Return: Sunday 9 October, 9:00 pm to La Fortuna.

Course Description: This course is designed to be taught over two full days, and will include lectures and field trips. The course will cover ecology and migration strategies, ecology and conservation of migratory raptors, identification of raptors in flight, estimation protocols for counting birds in flight, and the collection and analysis of data. Lodging and lectures will be in a local hostel, while the fieldwork will take place at the Kèköldi Hawk Watch site, in the Kekoldi Indian Reserve, Province of Limon (Southern Caribbean). Kèköldi covers an area of ​​6,000 hectares of primary and secondary rain forests and agroforestry systems, which sustain a wide variety of flora and fauna (over 340 species of birds). Kèköldi is the second most important migration site based on the number of raptors recorded (after only Veracruz, Mexico), with numbers reaching 3.5 million in a single season (Fall). The greatest number of Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus) and Plumbeous Kites (Ictinia plumbea) worldwide have been reported in Kèköldi during their fall migration. The most commonly observed resident raptors in Kèköldi are King Vulture (Sarcoramphus papa), Black Hawk-eagle (Spizaetus tyrannus), Double-toothed Kite (Harpagus bidentatus), and Bat Falcon (Falco rufigularis), among others.

Participants should be in good physical condition and be able to work long hours in extreme heat and humidity. Participants should bring adequate clothing for the field (i.e. raincoat and appropriate footwear) and their own binoculars.

Course Cost Includes:

  • Transportation San José Airport-Kèköldi- La Fortuna
  • Guide and entrance fees to Reserva Kèköldi and Mirador Las Mercedes
  • Lodging in the Centro Científico Kèköldi Hostel
  • Meals (lunch-coffee/tea-dinner-breakfast-lunch-coffee.tea)
  • Theory and practice taught by qualified specialists in raptors
  • Support Materials (printed and digital)
  • Certificate of participation backed by FRCR
  • Policy of the National Insurance Institute ( INS) during field course
  • Raptor t-shirt

Instructors: Pablo Camacho, Fundación Rapaces de Costa Rica; Julio C. Gallardo, Mississippi State University.

Sessions: 1 session of 2 full days

Maximum # of participants: 18 persons.

Cost: $170US

Accessing Raptor Nests in Trees

Date: 10 October 2016

Course Description: This course will cover the following topics: safety; selection and use of proper gear for tree climbing; basic knots; methods for ascent and decent; self rescue. Much of the course will emphasize safe and appropriate choice and use of gear for tree access, especially when options or funding are limited. The class will be taught near the conference site where trees are available. This course will be taught to help climbers with varying levels of experience climbing ropes, from beginners to experienced climbers. Preference should be given to biologists who are climbing or expect to be climbing in the near future. If participants possess equipment that they use or are considering using for climbing trees they are encouraged to bring it. We will review the condition and suitability of your equipment. List may include: helmet, safety glasses, gloves, harness, rope, ascenders, cords and webbing, carabiners. Participants should wear clothing suitable for fieldwork: ankle-high work boots with stiff soles, long field pants (not shorts), short or long sleeve shirts. Long hair must be tied back. Gloves are recommended (tree gloves).

Instructors: David Anderson, The Peregrine Fund; Tyler Zuñiga; Jamz Luce, ArborMaster Training.

Sessions: 1 full-day session

Max # of participants: 12 persons

Time: 8:00am to 5:00pm.

Cost: $20US

Handling, Management and Taking Biomedical Samples in Raptors

Date: 10 October 2016

Course Description: Intended for all those who handle birds of prey, both in the field and in captivity, and who need to take biomedical samples (blood, fecal, etc.). You will learn how to properly handle and secure the birds – a skill critical to taking quality biomedical samples while avoiding accidents and injuries, which can sometimes be severe if these procedures are not performed correctly by those holding the birds or by those taking the samples.

Instructor: Miguel Saggese DVM MS PhD, Western University of Health Sciences

Sessions: 1 half-day session

Max # of participants: 12 persons per class.

Time: 8:30am to 12:00pm.

Cost: $20US 

Raptor Trapping

Date: 10 October 2016

Course Description: This course is intended as a practical guide covering field-tested methods for capturing raptors from our experiences gathered during research and studies conducted in tropical environments. We will highlight different trapping methods and traps used mostly focused on Bal-chatri traps and Dho-gaza. Key topics will include trap construction, knot tying, trap placement and important considerations for successful and ethical trapping, and we will talk about equipment, methods and experiences of radio-tagging and tracking. 

Instructors: Russell Thorstrom, Thomas Hayes, José Vargas, Hernan Vargas, The Peregrine Fund

Sessions: 1 half-day session

Max # of participants: 12 persons per class.

Time: 8:00 am to 10:00 am.

Cost: $20US

Marking and Radio Tagging of Raptors

Date: 10 October 2016

Course Description: This course will discuss methods and experiences of banding, radio-tagging and tracking raptors. We will discuss the methods for placing backpack harnesses, tail-mounts, and leg-mounts. We will provide hands on instruction using a non-living specimen. 

Instructors: Thomas Hayes, José Vargas, Hernan Vargas, Russell Thorstrom, The Peregrine Fund

Sessions: 1 half-day session

Max # of participants: 12 persons per class.

Time: 10:30 am to 12:30 pm.

Cost: $20US

Introduction to data analysis

Date: 10 October 2016

Course Description: The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to data analysis techniques commonly used in monitoring programs and habitat/resource selection studies. The course will cover a range of topics from descriptive statistics and data exploration, to identify and avoid common problems and misuses of statistics, different linear models, to specific methods to estimate nest survival, abundance, density, and occupancy. This course will be based in the use of free software such as program R but also reviewing other free software alternatives. Basic knowledge of statistics and English is desirable but Spanish and Portuguese assistance will be provided. Participants must bring their own computer.

Instructors: Christopher J.W. McClure, The Peregrine Fund; Julio C. Gallardo, Mississippi State University.

Session: 1 full day session

Max # of participants: 15 persons.

Time: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Cost: $20US