My first week at Bandelier National Monument (Abraham Hernández-Bacca)

Landscape of Bandelier National Monument: Here a family of beavers are living, thanks to a reintroduction program.

Hello, I come to tell you about my new adventure in this beautiful and important protected area.

It turns out that Bandelier was home to the indigenous people who inhabited the area 11,000 years ago. These populations took advantage of the large rocky areas that are the product of volcanic eruptions of 3 million years and made them their home. The culture and biodiversity in the area covered by the Bandelier National Monument is significantly high, so it was essential to carry out its immediate protection, which was established on February 11, 1916.

Regarding altitude levels, this park is between 5,250 feet (1,600 meters above sea level) and 9,800 feet (3,000 meters above sea level), which means that it includes an extensive richness of species. In general terms, Bandelier is home to more than 55 species of mammals, and according to published records (eBird) since 2010, 153 species have been registered, that is, at least 20% of the species registered in the United States.

Archaeological piece

Once introduced to a little historical and biological context, I would love to tell you about my first experiences in this magnificent place →→→→

Tyuonyi Overlook: View of an archaeological village.

In this protected area there are various projects that support the conservation and population studies of species that are endangered, some are vulnerable, or were locally extinct, bringing them back through reintroduction programs. So far, I have navigated through different data collections of species, such as: Pinyon Jay Survey by means of count points and forest analysis of possible breeding, feeding and refuge sites for the bird; Beaver Survey via camera traps and inspection of settlement sites to record the effectiveness of the reintroduction in the area carried out 3-4 years ago; Survey of hummingbirds by mist nets and banding of individuals; Mountain Lion Survey using camera traps and telemetry; inspection of Peregrine Falcon breeding and feeding sites; and the MAPS Bird Banding Station through the banding of individuals, for the registration and control of the species corresponding to the Passeriformes order, among them: crows, finches, flycatchers, shrikes, swallows, tanagers, vireos, wrens and warblers.

Interesting facts 🤯: 

Dusky Flycatcher
  1. Did you know that Bandelier National Monument has a special meeting place for migratory birds, which is the focus of food and reproduction of songbirds during that season? Moreover, what is located in one of the highest areas of the protected area?
  2. Did you know that hummingbirds are flying jewels, with 1 representative species migrating from Canada to Costa Rica (its weight is only 0.1-0.2 oz (2-6 g) 😱? Its name is Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris), the only species of the Trochilidae family (hummingbirds), which performs altitudinal migrations. Fun fact: Hummingbirds are birds native to the Americas.
  3. Did you know that scientists band hummingbirds on the left foot, and songbirds on the right foot? 

Birds are banded to learn more about their dynamics in the environment. In other words, through this technique it is possible to interpret the response of the species to different natural and anthropogenic influences, either for analysis of the behavior of the species; for the recognition of the variations of morphological characteristics over time; or, longevity calculations. It should be noted that it is a powerful tool to discern the influence of climate change. Are the birds moving to places never before recorded? How far did an individual peregrine falcon travel? Why did this species begin to carry out massive migrations, if it was considered a non-migratory species? This and more can be complemented by banding birds.

🤕 Among the saddest information I could receive is about the relationship between the Pinyon Jay and Pinyon Pine, since it is estimated that in the last 40 years the population of this bird has decreased by 85 percent, becoming one of the most declining bird species in the United States. Perhaps by 2035 there will be some individuals with isolated populations. And as if that were not enough, future extinction will be for both Pinyon Jay and Pinyon Pine (which is why its monitoring is essential today).

Survey of Hummingbirds: Don’t you think this Black-chinned hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) is beautiful?

Gracias Environment for the Americas por permitir que un chico costarricense pueda recopilar historias y participar en actividades científicas del Monumento Nacional Bandelier.

Don’t miss my next post, see you.

1 Comment
  • Steven Oder
    Posted at 11:51h, 10 June

    Looks like a wonderful productive summer ahead for you . Looking forward to next post .