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February 7-13, 2016
1. Tropical Bird Feeder in action: After several trial runs with fruit and nectar feeders set up in various places, we have initiated a new pilot study at the Bamboo House—a tropical bird feeder with a camera trap trained on it. This has already provided some enjoyable sightings, such as an elegant White-necked Jacobin (Florisuga mellivora), and over time, will allow the opportunity to determine if the species composition of birds visiting the feeder differs when the Bamboo House is busy with many residents, or quiet over breaks. This systematic effort will help determine if some species are typically shyer in the presence of people than others, with implications for ecotourism.
2. Agroforestry walk and talk: Agroforestry director Nick explained the identification of some of the trickier fruit trees in the garden on a recent visit. Permaculture Manager Finn and interns are excited about improving the organization and documentation of all the varieties growing on site. In fact, even more new varieties are on the way from a local nursery, so the garden (and its map) are poised to expand!
3. Cacao harvest and real-life community-based conservation issues: TMA interns and field staff enjoyed a recent hike up Coati trail to harvest cacao, which was a wonderful hands-on experience in agroforestry. What was not so wonderful, but a part of the reality of conservation in protected areas near human settlements, was that trespassers from neighboring villages had already harvested the lion’s share without permission. TMA is striving for a balanced approach where the NGO can share resources with our local neighbors, as long as respect and good communication are established.