Importance of Natural Resources

Bird Calls of Amazonia


Hey! So, we’re here with Ernesto Ruelas, who is an ornithologist with the Action Center. What are we going to be doing today? – What we’re going to do
is follow Trail #4. We’re going to be looking for birds. So the way we do this work
is that we follow the pre-opened trail that Alvaro has worked on for several weeks. And we look for birds. We do this at a slow pace so
we can detect as many as we can. – What should we keep in mind
while we’re doing this? Like, be quiet? – This is the most complex bird landscape that you can find in the world, so that takes a lot of work. First is
to be aware that most of the birds that we’ll be recording, we won’t see.
80% of the birds we only listen to. I have 7 x 42 binoculars that have great light. They are really good for working in the forest. I have a field guide to the birds of Peru,
my notebook to take notes, an iPod with headphones, a tape recorder. This is one model that a lot
of the bird people really like. A unidirectional microphone with a handle. I do a lot of recordings primarily for
learning, and then I go back to my reference collection to
figure out what I’m hearing. – Oh, that’s great. Cool!
I hope we find some birds. – We have a piha there. (whistles) – Yeah, the one that
makes a lot of noise? The woo-hoo! – Yeah. “Wis-wincho” they call them in Spanish. – Yeah. – Wis-winchoo!
– What does that translate to? – Nothing. It doesn’t mean anything.
– It’s nonsense? – It’s just a call, yeah.
– It’s the most indicative rainforest bird noise. – Yeah. Right here, it is. We
have an antbird back there. – Does it just take practice to differentiate
between the insect noises and the bird noises? – You are misled all the time. Telling
insects from birds seems like a dumb thing, but it happens often that you
can’t figure out what it is. – Yeah. – And also mammals. – Really?
– Yes, yes. Some of them have birdlike calls. – Really? – That’s cool. Oh, that guy’s got a
piece of toilet paper from camp. Do you know what kind?
– They call it “tio juan,” Uncle Juan. Tio juan, juan, juan. Where is it? White-throated toucan. – Wow. How beautiful. So what do you
do with all of this new information? If you’re seeing different species crossing–
you’re hearing them in different forests… Does this immediately go into the new
field guide, or do you publish a new paper about distribution? – I think the speed of
change and the fact that many of the places in the Western Amazon haven’t been
explored that deeply makes you run into these range extensions very often.
– Yeah. – And it’s not that you’re discovering the greatest thing, it’s just that the place
has been overlooked in time. – Yeah. – We can upload them in systems online,
like eBird, where you can map your records in different places, and whenever the next
edition of the Field Guide to the Birds of Peru comes out, then the maps will be redrawn. So I have a flycatcher and I have an
antbird, and I was trying to focus on the antbird because the flycatcher I have
recorded many times. It’s somewhat common. – Mmhm. – I think I got a
pretty bad recording of both. – You can have longer microphones that are narrower, that narrow down the angle of what you’re recording, and that helps a lot.
But for the most part, you can’t really do much if there is competing voices in the same spot.
When you have a flock of antbirds following a swarm of army ants… – Yeah. – You hear
multiple voices and there is a lot of excitement. It’s very difficult to get a recording
of a single species, unless it’s the only one following the
ants, which is really rare. – Well, we’ve been out for a little over an hour.
I am incredibly sweaty. What’s the conclusion? What did we see?
– Today on this walk, about an hour and fifteen minutes, we probably heard
20-25 species. – Really? – And we saw two. – Yeah. I saw one dove fly over really
quickly, and you saw a toucan. – I saw a toucan. – So what I’ve learned
about birdwatching is it’s more about the other things that you see while you
are trying to listen for birds. – Right. – They should call it “bird listening” not
birdwatching. – In this case, yes. You’re totally right. – (laughs) Cool.


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