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Houses for birds

Blogpost by Johan Ortíz, Restoration and Rewilding Field Technician

My name is Johan Ortiz, and I am from the community of Puerto Jiménez. I am a lover of nature who enjoys working in it. As well as getting to enjoy these beautiful surroundings that Mother Nature gives us, it gives me great pleasure to do my bit to help protect and conserve nature.

Johan Ortiz participating in one of his favorite activities–bird watching–during an eBird Big Day. Photo: Hilary Brumberg

I would like to tell you about a great project that I am a part of and very excited about. This project provides houses for birds.

We are studying the best way to provide refuge for cavity-nesting birds, which are without a safe place to nest in young secondary forests, as it takes 50-70 years for forests to establish cavities in dead and decaying trees.

Here at Osa Conservation, we installed 280 bird boxes in newly planted restoration areas and secondary growth forest. We now monitor them monthly to see what inhabitants we have recruited.

During a morning when I was monitoring the boxes just a few months after being installed, I found our first bird box babies! That morning, when I was checking the bird boxes, only a few contained something—some with leaves inside and others with insects. Then we had the most exciting discovery of all: a house with a nest inside with an egg and a chick. I was extremely excited and felt like a proud father!

Some of the first hatchlings found in our nest boxes, caught on camera trap.

I could not wait to place cameras on the inside and outside to begin filming this amazing process and development of life. We use nest box cameras from HandyKam to monitor the birds we find inside the boxes, thus generating never-seen-before footage of these tropical bird species nesting.

We soon identified the species to be cocoa woodcreepers. And we are pleased to announce that the healthy and happy baby cocoa woodcreepers fledged in March 2019.

Woodcreeper inspecting a recently-installed bird box, caught on camera trap.

We are now excited to see what other species begin to use our newly installed bird houses. We hope this technique will bring back primary forest associated species quicker and, in turn, bring back the ecological interactions associated with these species.

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Osa Conservation
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