Youth Celebrate Birds in the region of Coquimbo, Chile

(Photo © CANELAeduca)
In the arid region of northern Chile, youth of Canela and Huentelauquén are enjoying a series of year-round activities supported by the Red de Observadores de Aves y Vida Silvestre de Chile (ROC), CanelaEduca, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and various other local organizations. Through contests, school projects, community events, and national conferences, children are exploring environmental science and conservation.

(Photo © CANELAeduca)
Community-based citizen science has been very important to each activity planned by theROC. Beginning in April, students collected and submitted observations of local birds to the Cornell Lab’s eBird, an online platform that helps participants and scientists from any country, track sightings of birds.

In July, the Celebrate Birds drawing contest yielded beautiful entries depicting environmental conservation efforts and birds native to the region. The entries were so fantástic that organizers and participating youth created a fun and educational book with the drawings. The book includes information about birds, their relationship with the environment, and conservation. To view, the group e-book made by the students click here!

(Photo © Emilia Martinic)
Throughout the year gardening activities brought the students together to make their community a more beautiful and bird-friendly environment. A group of students also presented at a regional Science and Technology meeting, and were chosen to advance to the National Science Conference in late November! They presented about the history and conservation of local species.

Visit the full article to read more about the series of extraordinary events planned and executed by Chilean youth and members of the ROC.

Blog by Brigid Lucey

Rules of the Flock

Living in a flock has many benefits for birds, especially during the winter. As a group, they can find food more easily, huddle together to keep warm, and more eyes can spot predators faster. The Black-capped Chickadee is one of the small birds in the northern part of the United States that may be found in flocks.

Each flock has its own rules, which are reinforced with pecks – a bird’s way of saying “back off.” The majority of flocks follow one of two systems: the peck-right and the peck-dominance. Imagine a staircase where a bird is on every step based on their rank. Each bird can peck any of the birds on the steps below it, but not the ones on the steps above it. This is the peck-right system.

The Black-capped Chickadees, though, prefer the peck-dominance system. This system allows everyone to peck each other. However, the frequency of the pecks depends on the bird’s rank. Dominant birds are pecked less and can peck more, while the lower ranking birds are pecked more and can peck less. But how do they know their ranks? Well, ranks are demonstrated through song and plumage. Researchers have found that Black-capped Chickadees are able to infer ranks of new or visiting males based on their songs, and properly integrate them into the flock.

Not all chickadees remain with the same flock. Some are “winter floaters,” meaning they do not belong to a single flock and join different ones when it is convenient for them. These floaters have different ranks within each of the flocks where they spend their time.

You can see this system at work when the flock is feeding. Dominant birds eat first. On the trees nearby, the less dominant ones will be waiting for their turn. So, next time, when you see a flock of chickadees hanging around your bird feeder, pay close attention to the interesting dynamics of the flock!

Article by Michelle Santillán

Webinar in Spanish!

Learn about the Macaulay Library in our next webinar in Spanish. We’ll explain, step-by-step, how to use its resources. Anyone interested in getting to know the diverse collection of audio, video, and photographic recordings and how to use them is welcome. Mark your calendar: the webinar will be offered on Tuesday, December 12, at 6 pm (EST). Duration: approximately 45 minutes. To register, click here!

Learn about our future webinars here!

Handbook for using eBird in Chile!

Find out about an amazing eBird guidebook in Spanish! It was created by the organization, Red de Observadores de Aves y Vida Silvestre de Chile (ROC) to teach new members how to use eBird. You can download the pdf version of this handbook. It contains detailed descriptions on what eBird is, how to use it, how to enter observations in the portal, and so much more! Although this guide was written for eBird Chile users, it is a very helpful tool for anyone who wants to learn more about eBird, and how to contribute data into the portal.

Visit our webpage to download the guidebook now, and find out about other eBird resources!