Constant effort mist-netting and banding are some of the most important avian monitoring techniques in the ornithologist’s toolbox. The two are widely used to inform avian conservation and management decisions, evaluate bird population statuses, identify and predict impacts from habitat and climate change, document migration patterns, advance knowledge on avian genetics and physiology, study behavioral biology and so much more. Unfortunately, despite their value, few long-term bird monitoring programs have been established in Ecuador – one of the world’s five most bird-diverse countries. As birds are an important and charismatic component of Ecuadorian biodiversity, ecosystem service providers, sources of recreational/tourism revenue for local communities, and a cause for national pride, this is rather surprising.
The Jama-Coaque Bird Observatory is Ecuador’s first and only bird observatory conducting long-term, year-round monitoring, research, conservation, education, and outreach. Established in the Jama-Coaque Reserve in coastal Manabí province, OAJC is situated in the intersection of the Tumbesian and Chocó biodiversity hotspots. Sadly, deforestation is rampant in this region and has resulted in an alarmingly high number of birds receiving both nationally and internationally threatened statuses. OAJC was established to study and conserve these birds, as well as neotropical migrants from higher latitudes and many more resident species in the area’s dry, humid, and cloud forests.