Monday, December 7, 2009

Hawaiian Songbird Named One of America's Hottest Species

Media Release by American Bird Conservancy

The Kaua`i Creeper or `Akikiki has been named one of America’s top ten threatened species impacted by global warming in a new report released December 1. The report, America’s Hottest Species, produced by the Endangered Species Coalition in conjunction with a coalition of groups including American Bird Conservancy, demonstrates ways that our changing climate is increasing the risk of extinction for eleven species around the United States that are on the brink of disappearing forever.

“Global warming is like a bulldozer shoving species, already on the brink of extinction, perilously closer to the edge of existence,” said Leda Huta, executive director of the Endangered Species Coalition. “Polar bears, lynx, salmon, coral and many other endangered species are already feeling the heat. The species in this report are representative of all imperiled wildlife, plants, and fish that are now facing an additional, compounding threat to their survival, and why we need to take action today to protect them.”

“Hawai`i is the epicenter of extinction in the America’s,” said George Wallace, American Bird Conservancy’s Vice President for Oceans and Islands. “There are a number of factors that have led to the disappearance of so many of Hawai`i’s native birds since it was colonized, including introduced pigs, goats, cats, rats, and mosquitoes. Global warming adds a huge new, incipient threat to the `Akikiki and the other remaining endemic birds of the archipelago.”

Local Species in Need
The `Akikiki is a type of honeycreeper, a group of birds that shows tremendous variation, even more so than Darwin’s famous finches of the Galapagos. At least 59 species originally occurred in Hawai`i, but, with human settlement came multiple introductions of exotic species that caused the extinction of all but 17. Avian malaria is a serious threat to the `Akikiki, one that could be exacerbated by global warming. An increase in temperature of slightly less than 4°F in the montane forests of Kaua’i would result in an 85% decrease in the ‘Akikiki’s safe haven area where malaria transmission is currently limited by cool temperatures.

In response to a petition from American Bird Conservancy and Hawaiian bird expert, Dr. Eric VanderWerf, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed listing the `Akikiki under the Endangered Species Act, along with `Akeke`e, another imperiled honeycreeper found only on Kaua’i.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Book on Climate Change

Tim Flannery, PhD, has written a new book titled : “Now or Never: Why We Must Act Now to End Climate Change and Create a Sustainable Future.” Some of his other books include “The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth.”

Flannery's book highlights strategies for CO2 removal from the atmosphere and includes habitat and ecosystem management strategies from the tropics poleward.

Get a copy of the book today!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Monarch Migration Update

The monarch butterflies are arriving in Mexico!

Read the following report, courtesy of Journey South:

Rocio Treviño reports from Saltillo, Coahulia, Mexico:
All week the monarchs have astonished us during their passage over Saltillo, Coahuila. People say they have not seen the monarchs so numerous in years. The monarchs have formed clusters throughout the city of Saltillo. By about 9:00 every morning, as soon as the sun warms the air to 15°-17° C (59° -62° F), the monarchs begin to fly from the trees where they clustered in parks, near houses, schools, and streams across the city. Hundreds and hundreds of monarch butterflies, spiraling upward in thermals, sometimes so numerous they are difficult to count. I am sending the photos that my 10 year-old granddaughter took in a park to the north of town. Today I continued to see dozens of butterflies rising in the thermals. The butterflies must already be in the state of San Luis Potosí in great numbers, but I have still not received reports. And where is the migration near the coast to the east? My son, Rogelio, was near Victoria, Tamaulipas, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and told me he did not see any butterflies...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fun Fast Facts on North American birds

Did you know there are about 9,600 bird species in the world, and that more than 2,000 have been recorded in North America? Each one is fascinating. These facts are courtesy of the book The Bird Almanac: A Guide to Essential Facts and Figures of the World's Birds, by David M. Bird, as reported online by Birder's World magazine.

Fastest-moving bird: Peregrine Falcon diving at 200 mph (320 km/h)

Slowest-flying bird: American Woodcock at 5 mph (8 km/h)

Longest-submerged bird: Emperor Penguin at 18 minutes

Greatest weight-carrying capacity: Pallas's Fish Eagle lifting a 13-lb (5.9-kg) carp -- 160% of body weight

Slowest wingbeat: vultures at 1/sec
Coldest temperature endured: -80.5 degrees F (-62.5 degress C) by Snowy Owls

Keenest sense of hearing: Barn Owl

Smallest bird: Bee Hummingbird at 2.24 in (5.7 cm), 0.056 oz (1.6 g)

Largest egg: Ostrich measuring 7 by 4.5 in (17.8 by 14 cm)

Smallest clutch size: 1 egg laid every 2 years by albatrosses
Greatest wingspan: Wandering Albatross at up to 11 ft 11 in (3.63 m)

Longest tail feathers: Crested Argus Pheasant at 5.7 ft (173 cm)

Greatest number feathers: Tundra Swan at 25,216

Lowest number feathers: Ruby-throated Hummingbird at 940

Images courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Indonesia: Ground Zero for Rainforest Destruction

According to the non-profit organization Rainforest Action Network (RAN), the fashion industry has a dirty secret they would prefer you didn't know: Many of the disposable bags and other designer packaging used by the fashion industry come from one of Indonesia's leading rainforest destroyers.

When top fashion brands buy their disposable packaging from Indonesia's leading rainforest destroyer, they are supporting the destruction of some of the planet's most biologically diverse ecosystems. RAN is asking them to help save rainforests instead.The carbon emissions resulting from Indonesia's rapid deforestation account for around eight percent of global greenhouse gas emissions: more than the combined emissions from all the cars, planes, trucks, buses and trains in the United States. This has made Indonesia the third largest global greenhouse gas emitter, just behind the U.S. and China.

RAN has written over a hundred letters to fashion companies, and has seen favorable results, with companies such as H&M severing their ties to companies linked to rainforest destruction. See the RAN website for more information on their campaign and how you can help.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Are you still seeing hummingbirds?

Fall migration is underway. The following is courtesy of Journey North/South:

While people in the north were saying their last goodbyes, hummingbird migration reached a peak in the Gulf Coast states last week. Swarms of hungry hummingbirds appeared in backyard feeders as they poured down from the north. "We have had over 100 draining our feeders for the past week," wrote an observer in Louisiana. "I'm using 3 gallons of nectar per day," wrote another. A Texas observer with 7 feeders has room for 56 birds to feed calmly. "Calmly doesn't happen at my feeders," he noted. "I tried to estimate the number of flying, hovering, diving, chirping, squeaking, squawling birds" and came up with exactly 201.

You can read all of the observations that people have made at the following link:

You can also report your own observations here:

Friday, September 11, 2009

Exxon Mobile Guilty of Killing Birds

Last month the E-bulletin focused on PacifiCorp, one of the largest electric utilities in the West, pleading guilty to unlawfully killing Golden Eagles and other raptors and migratory birds in Wyoming:http://www.refugene augSBC09. html#TOC07

This month it's ExxonMobil with connections to bird deaths in six states, again mostly in the West (i.e., Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma and Kansas).ExxonMobil, the world's largest publicly traded oil-and-gas company, pleaded guilty in federal court on August 13 to charges that it killed 85 protected birds, including hawks, owls, and waterfowl.

The company violated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) in five states over the last five years. The discovered birds died from exposure to natural gas well reserve pits, oil tanks, and waste water storage facilities at Exxon Mobil drilling and production facilities.The company will pay $400,000 in fines and $200,000 in community service fees to waterfowl rehabilitation and preservation programs. ExxonMobil will also be placed on probation for three years and must implement a plan to minimize future bird deaths.

There are thousands of similar energy facilities across the West, including and beyond ExxonMobil. It is unknown how many bird deaths go undetectedThe $600,000 paid by ExxonMobil may seem substantial. Still, the amount is roughly equal to what the company makes in income in 20 minutes, based on their $8.6 billion earnings for the first half of 2009.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Observations of Fall Migration

It's hard to believe that it's almost time for our birds to leave us and make their journey south for the winter...but it is.

From the Journey North website:

"All but one nest of barn swallows has left our barn for their journey south. I miss them." writes a Michigan observer on 08/29. In the same week, another observer in Florida reported, "The number of barn swallows passing through is just amazing!"

Did YOU know that swallows are among the first migrants in the autumn? Where do you think they go when they leave their breeding grounds in the north? Click here to view the swallow migration map:

Friday, August 28, 2009

Summer 2009 edition of the Newsletter

The Summer 2009 edition of RBG's newsletter is now available online at: This edition details the latest advancements made on the Costa Rican Bird Route project, including updates on how some of the sites are doing on an individual basis.

Enjoy the news!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Birdwatchers No Featherweights in Contributions to Economy

A new report released today by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows one of every five Americans watches birds, and in doing so, birdwatchers contributed $36 billion to the U.S. economy in 2006, the most recent year for which economic data are available. The report – Birding in the United States: A Demographic and Economic Analysis –shows that total participation in birdwatching is strong at 48 million, and remaining at a steady 20 percent of the U.S. population since 1996.

Participation rates vary, but are generally greater in the northern half of the country. The five top states with the greatest birding participation rates include Montana (40 percent), Maine (39 percent), Vermont (38 percent), Minnesota (33 percent) and Iowa (33 percent).

A copy of the Birding in the United States: A Demographic and Economic Analysis can be downloaded here:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bird-a-Thon Wrap-Up

On May 9th, Rainforest Biodiversity Group held its 3rd annual spring bird-a-thon to raise funds to support the Costa Rican Bird Route project. This year we had the best turn out to date with 17 birders participating, and 56 people who made pledges to those birders. The total money raised for this year was $2,401.10, exceeding our goal of $2,000. This year we decided to reward our birders with a free t-shirt, as well as give a t-shirt to any donor pledging over $50. As a result, 38 t-shirts were printed and distributed, and we want to give a special thanks to Russ Rothman for helping us purchase the t-shirts.

Of the lists submitted, Daniel Schneider had the most birds seen, turning in an impressive list of 114 species! His number gets better every year, so it will be exciting to see how many he can see next year.

If you have an interest in participating in the Bird-a-Thon in 2010, please send us an email at with the subject line: 2010 Bird-a-Thon, and we’ll get you the details you need for next year. Remember, it doesn’t matter where in the world you are, anyone can participate in this bird-a-thon!

Thanks to all who participated and made this event a great success for us and the Bird Route project. The money raised will be used to support our staff efforts in Costa Rica as we continue to work with our sites on becoming sustainable tourism destinations.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Rare Blue Parrot Back from the Brink of Extinction

The Lear’s Macaw, a striking blue parrot found in northeastern Brazil, has been downlisted from Critically Endangered (the highest threat category) to Endangered as a direct result of conservation action, revealed the 2009 update to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

(Lear Macaw photo by Paul Salaman)

The current population of Lear’s Macaw is estimated to be 960 birds, up from fewer than 100 birds in 1989. American Bird Conservancy and its Brazilian partner Fundação Biodiversitas have worked to save the macaw’s primary nesting and roosting cliffs, and together have purchased and protected nearly 4,000 acres of habitat to help assure the species’ survival.

“The fight to save Lear’s Macaw is far from over, but the news that it is being downgraded from Critically Endangered to Endangered is a clear indication that hard work is paying off,” said George Fenwick, President of American Bird Conservancy. “The overall picture for birds throughout the Americas and the rest of the world continues to be a great cause for concern, but the macaw serves as a shining example of what we can achieve when focused conservation action is backed up by broad cooperation and the required resources.”

Friday, June 26, 2009

2008 Annual Report

The 2008 Rainforest Biodiversity Group Annual Report is now available online at: Last year was a very productive year for our organization. Many advancements were achieved for our Costa Rican Bird Route project (, efforts that include advancing the sites of the Bird Route toward becoming more sustainable; planning training sessions for local guides; and lots of promotional efforts for the project. The most notable of which is getting highlighted in the 2009 version of the Lonely Planet Guide to Costa Rica! Very exciting. We thank all of our supporters for helping us reach our goals!


Friday, June 19, 2009

Summer Fun

Hi everyone! Summer is in full swing here in Madison, WI, and there is no shortage of things to do here. So much so that we have been finding it hard to blog, because it's too nice out to be on the computer! One of the many fun things about summer here in Madison is all of the festivals and farmer's markets. Rainforest Biodiversity Group recently set up a booth at a local favorite, the Waterfront Festival. This was our third year in a row at this festival, and once again, it was a delight to be able to share information about who we are and what we do with so many interested folks. We're hoping to do another festival in August as well as have a table at the Farmer's Market on the Capitol Square, which will be our first time at this venue. This farmer's market is the largest in the United States, so we're excited to have another opportunity to do some grassroots outreach and education.

Hope you're all having fun and safe summers!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

2009 RBG Bird-a-Thon Wrap Up

By Andrew Rothman, founder of Rainforest Biodiversity Group:

The 9th was a bit chilly, and when we started at 6 am the chill was accompanied by rain and high winds. Not good birding conditions. Luckily by 6:30 the rain had stopped and the wind had died down and Bill Volkert of the WI- DNR , Holly Robertson (president of RBG) and I were able to get up a few mist nets as part of the 12th Annual Horicon Marsh Bird Festival.

Although I love the opportunity to get some banding in, it actually hindered my ability to increase the number of birds on my list for the day. However, I was happy to walk away with a list of 80 species for the day. Some of the morning highlights included us catching a least flycatcher, a northern waterthrush, a few nashville warblers, a number of catbirds, a couple handfuls of yellow warblers, and as our friend Craig Thompson might say, more yellow-warblers and palm warblers than you could shake a stick at. Each time Holly and I returned to the nests to extract we'd say "holy crap" as we began to take out the 20 or so yellow-rumped warblers, and dozen or so palm warblers we had caught in just two nets!

The overcast weather actually kept the birds hopping for much of the day, however I was caught teaching a beginning birder class for two hours in the early afternoon as well. I dont think I added any new species for the day during the begining birder walk but we did get good chances to help our beginning birders see the difference between tree swallows, northern rough-wing swallows and barn swallows.

As soon as I got done with the class and finally got some food in me, it was off to the races (literally a race before sundown) to get as many birds as I could. Luckily I hadnt seen many ducks species yet, and here I was at Horicon Marsh. I knew I could get my numbers up. We hit some Horicon hot spots and quickly began to rack up our duck species, including large numbers of ruddy ducks, and fair number of redheads. We also had great looks at american bittern and black-crowned night heron.

As we drove up the eastern side of the marsh, we picked up northern harrier, a big group of turkeys, and bobolink. We crossed the north end of marsh, and picked up more ducks including ring-neck duck, and shovler. As night fell and we headed into the prison town of Waupun to get pizza at the Pizza Barn we picked up our last bird species, my 80th of the day. A sharp-shinned hawk flew right in front of us, hopefully after picking off a house sparrow or two from the feeders at the nearby houses.

Although not as productive as year's past it was great to get back to Horicon, and have some weather that didnt make me sweat. It also gave me a chance to reflect on and appreciate the birds of WI that I normally dont get to see down here in the rainforest. For instance the ducks, I left with a much greater appreciation for how cool ducks are. Additionally, it might be hard to believe, but I think I actually missed the constant honking of the Canada geese.

Thanks again for helping out with the Bird-A-thon. Checks can be made out to Rainforest Biodiversity Group and sent to 7 N. Pinckney St, Suite 220, Madison, WI 53703. Also make sure you SEND ME YOUR T-SHIRT SIZE, if you donated more than $50. Once I have that we can get the shirts made, and get them into the mail to you. That means I need your address as well.

Thanks for the support!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Monarch Butterflies

(Photo courtesy of

Birds aren't the only thing on the wing these days. The Monarch butterflies are making their annual journey north from Mexico. The following update is courtesy of Journey North:

An unusally warm air mass spread across the eastern half of the United States and southern Canada during the past week. Northern regions were even warmer than Texas!

Monarchs flew and blew northward with this warm air according to our observers. They entered four new states on that single day. People everywhere were surprised by the monarchs' early arrival and amazing ability to find milkweed:

* While students were outside during a fire drill at Washington School in Summit, New Jersey, they spotted a monarch laying eggs in the school butterfly garden!
* An astonishing 125 eggs were layed in a butterfly garden in Pennsylvania on milkweed that was only 3 inches tall.
* Students in Bridgewater and Somerville, New Jersey both saw their first monarchs this week. "This is so early for us and so exciting," said teacher Cathy Griffin.
* Add six news states to your list! Monarchs have moved into Indiana, Ohio, Maryland, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Predict: When will monarchs appear in the first Canadian Province?

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Whoopers

Not only are the songbirds heading north, but so are the Whooping Cranes! Since 1999, Wisconsin has played a major role in efforts to restore a migratory whooping crane population in eastern North America, with a core breeding area in Wisconsin. Prior to these restoration efforts, only one migratory population of whooping cranes existed in the wild, and any catastrophic event could completely eliminate the species. An additional independent population of birds needed to be established to reduce the risk of extinction of this endangered bird. Wisconsin DNR is a founding member of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership, a large group of nine government and private sector organizations, with the mission of restoring a second self-sustaining migratory population.

Whooping Crane - Photo by Ryan Hagerty, USFWS

Two release methods are being used to rebuild the population. Initially, all captive-reared crane chicks were conditioned to follow an ultralight aircraft from Necedah National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in central Wisconsin to Chassahowitzka NWR on the Gulf coast of Florida. These birds then make the return and subsequent migrations south unaided.

According to Journey North, the first EIGHT ultralight-led whooping cranes from the Class of 2008 arrived back in Wisconsin April 16! Back home are #804, #814 and #818; and the St. Marks cranes #805, #812, #828, #829 and #830 (minus 826 and 813). Juveniles 803, 824, and 827 were still in Georgia (presumably together), where flooding has created good crane habitat.

On April 14 Wisconsin teacher/craniac Darlene Lambert saw four whooping cranes at Necedah Wildlife Refuge.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring 2009 Newsletter

The Spring 2009 Newsletter of Rainforest Biodiversity Group is now available online:

Migration Update

We're still keeping a close watch on the northward migration of songbirds and here is the latest update, courtesy of Journey North (

A couple of back-to-back storm systems produced more fallouts over the past week, especially over Easter weekend. Bird watchers along the Texas coast went out immediately after storms passed by on April 12th. The storms hit right around the time many migrants were arriving from the tropics, so the people were rewarded with many migrants that were forced to land. Cerulean Warblers, Indigo Buntings, and Painted Buntings were particularly numerous. The hawk watching station in Corpus Christi I mentioned last week reported 11,000 Broad-winged Hawks, 1,000 Turkey Vultures, and 1,000 Mississippi Kites! Hawk watchers reported that the day was long, but fun.

Cerulean Warbler -

Numbers were good elsewhere along the Gulf Coast. One person spent an entire day walking a 7-mile trail in Louisiana and counted 290 White-eyed Vireos, 280 Prothonotary Warblers, 250 Red-eyed Vireos, 250 Common Yellowthroats, and 170 Hooded Warblers!!! Birders along the Alabama coast reported hundreds of Scarlet Tanagers, and 21 species of warblers.There was enough of a break between storm systems to allow migrants to make some progress north before being grounded again. Washington, DC reported Northern Parulas, Black-and-white Warblers, Ovenbirds, Common Yellowthroats, and Louisiana Waterthrushes.

Pennsylvania recorded its first Blue-headed Vireos, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and Yellow-throated Warblers of the season.By the beginning of this week, the Easter system had moved far enough east to allow birds to move. People in Missouri reported their first White-eyed Vireos and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Iowa had Yellow-throated Warblers and Black-and-white Warblers, and the swallows have made it to Minnesota.Like the previous week, the western states have had a consistent movement of birds through the region. The most numerous species reported was Orange-crowned Warbler, but New Mexico, Arizona, and California all reported decent numbers of Western Kingbirds, Lucy's Warblers, and Wilson's Warblers. Black-headed Grosbeaks have also started showing up in California.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Third Annual RBG Bird-a-Thon

What better way to celebrate the birds returning, and the weather getting warm, than by having a big day of birding! Rainforest Biodiversity Group is holding its 3rd Annual Bird-a-Thon fundraiser.

How does the Bird-a-Thon work? Birders volunteer on May 9 to identify (see or hear) as many species of birds during that day as possible. Each birder secures pledges for their individual birding effort. Donors can either pledge a certain amount per bird species seen or heard, or they can simply make a flat donation to support their birder. By donating $0.10/0.25/0.50 (or more!) a bird species, we will be well on our way!

Any donor who contributes a minimum of $50.00 will receive the Bird-a-Thon t-shirt! Each participating birder will also get this free t-shirt!
To participate in this event, as either a birder or a sponsor, please contact Holly Robertson at

Funds raised will go to supporting the Costa Rican Bird Route project. The Costa Rican Bird Route is an eco-tourism initiative designed to give local landowners an incentive to use their land sustainably. Funds raised from the Bird-a-Thon will be used to continue our monitoring and education efforts within the communities of the Bird Route. It is important to be staying in contact with our landowners, providing them support, information, and resources, helping them to better understand what sustainability means for them and the environment.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tracking the MIgration

Spring is an exciting time, as we watch and listen for all those familiar birds to return from their winter stay in the tropics. Here in Madison, we have American Robins in the trees and Common Loons on the lake, the first arrivals of the spring. But soon they will be joined by lots of other songbirds, journeying, even as I type, across the gulf and northward.

The biggest fallout occurred along the Alabama coast. A bird bander working down there banded 1,000 birds over the weekend! Yesterday on the Texas coast, birders reported large numbers of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, White-eyed Vireos, Common Yellowthroats, Gray Catbirds, and Orchard Orioles, and smaller numbers of Hooded Warblers, Black-throated-green Warblers, Nashville Warblers, and many other species.

Species that had arrived previously took advantage of the good weather to continue their journey, with hundreds to thousands of Tree Swallows reported in Delaware, New York, and Ohio, and the first arrivals of Yellow-throated Warblers and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers in Illinois and Missouri.

Out west, migration was slow but steady. There were no big fallouts, but there was a steady stream of flycatchers, warblers, vireos, and orioles in New Mexico, 4 species of warblers, especially Orange-crowned Warblers, in California, and Arizona saw its first Lazuli Bunting of the season.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mexican Government Endangers Migratory Bird Populations

The Mexican Government, as of February 11th 2008, is permitting the industrial development of Laguna de Cuyutlan in Colima, Mexico, the fourth largest mangrove-lagoon wetland in the nation. This is the largest wetland in a span of 1150 kilometers along the Pacific coast of Mexico. This lagoon is on the principal western migratory corridor for 89 species of water/shorebirds, 22 of which are at risk.

Construction of an access canal for LNG vessels will raise the concentration of salt and water levels in all parts of the lagoon system, which, in turn, will kill species of mangrove and fish not adapted to these new conditions. As a result, many species of amphibians, reptiles, mammals and invertebrates will lose their habitat. The previous and ongoing local uses of the area; salt extraction, fishery and some sewage and pesticide runoff, have been shown to have had no adverse effect on this vital habitat.

The Mexican Government signed, in 1993, with the United States and Canada, the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC), which obliges each signatory to respect the environmental laws of the other two countries, and to "increase co-operation between the Parties to better preserve protect and enhance the environment, including wild flora and fauna."

In February the environmental organization Bios Iguana brought a case under the Commission for Environmental Cooperation to challenge the Mexican Government's action.

BiosIguana asks that journalists and conservationists assist in focusing international public attention on this grave situation. At this point, the government has authorized the developer to begin construction, and although Mexican law requires that all mangroves receive protection, there has been no scientific demonstration that these species will be unaffected. For more information: Esperanza Salazar Zenil

State of the Birds

The United State Fish and Wildlife Service has just released a "State of the Birds" report which gives a sense of what the regional USFWS priorities are for bird conservation. The website has a nice set of information that is worth perusing including an exceptional video that takes about 6 minutes to watch.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kudos to Maryland Department of Natural Resources

The State of Maryland announced today that effective April 1 it will require a 2:1 male to female harvest ratio to provide additional horseshoe crab eggs to migratory shorebirds.

“This is a strong step in the right direction in ensuring more critically important horseshoe crab eggs will be on the beach when Red Knots stop to refuel on their long migration northward,” said Darin Schroeder, Vice President of Conservation Advocacy for American Bird Conservancy. “Both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey have concluded that without greater conservation of horseshoe crabs, the eastern Red Knot (rufa) subspecies could be extinct within a decade. Gov. O’Malley and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources are to be commended for taking this action, which we hope will ensure future generations of Americans will be able to see this magnificent bird like past generations have.”
(Photo above: Red Knot Feeding -

Monday, March 2, 2009

Partners In Flight and Rainforest Biodiversity Group Fly Together!

RBG has officially aligned with Partners In Flight Costa Rica! The partnership aims to bring awareness of the importance of North-South American bird conservation. We at RBG are looking forward to this new partnership and believe it is an oppotunity to advance our conservation initatives within Costa Rica. Stay tuned to The Macaw for more information about this and other RBG developments.

To find out more about Partners in Flight and its philosophy.

Tiny bird 'backpacks' help to track migration habits

New "backpack" research technology could significantly increase our knowledge of wintering migrants habitats. The fact these backpacks fit on birds the size of thrushes and martins is testimant to how far this technology has come in recent years and like everyone else, I'm anxious to see where this takes neo-tropical conservation in the near future. Read the full article on bird backpacksAdd Image.

A purple martin wears a miniaturized geolocator backpack so that York University researchers can track its migration route. (TIMOTHY J. MORTON The Associated Press)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Secondary forest should become new conservation initiative

42 tropical nations have higher areas of secondary and degraded forest than primary forest, creating urgency as to how conservation groups and governments should respond to this new trend of regeneration. Read more on this important study

Thanks to Jeremy Hance January 19, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Earthquake Rattles the Costa Rican Bird Route

Though less deadly than the 1991 quake, the January 8 earthquake of 6.2 magnitude has tested the Costa Rican government in an emergency situation.

The earthquake hit the mountainous region northwest of San Jose, displacing more than 2,000 people, the number of deaths being estimated at 23. Most fatalities occurred during landslides. The displaced individuals have been sleeping on thin foam mattresses in temporary shelters in churches, schools and tent camps set up in soccer fields.

Much of the devastation has occurred in the northern region of the country where the Costa Rican Bird Route is located. One site in particular has been affected significantly; the main house at the remote site of Albergue el Socorro has been leveled. The owner of Albergue el Socorro has worked tirelessly to develop his site for tourism and had made much progress in the past two years; building cabins, creating trails, and making changes to his operation in order to be more sustainable.

RBG is raising money to help the site of Albergue el Socorro re-build the house they lost. To donate money, please visit this link:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Recycle your E-Waste

As fast as technology advances these days, it's awful easy to stock pile old cell phones, TVs and computers. But don't just throw them away! Americans toss about 2 million tons of "e-waste" each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Those heaps of electronics won't biodegrade anytime soon, plus they're leaching lead, arsenic, mercury, cadmium, and other toxic elements into the environment, putting us at risk for nervous system and reproductive diseases.

Recycling Computers: If your computer is less than 5 years old and in working condition, consider donating it (and peripherals) to a non-profit organization like Rainforest Biodiversity Group. RBG will gladly take older, functioning laptops and give them to students or adults who need them in Costa Rica.

For more decrepit computers, call the store where you plan to purchase an upgrade. Many manufacturers, such as Dell and Apple, recycle their own brands for free.

For guaranteed recycling, Staples recycles any computer or printer, no matter what condition, for $10.

Cell Phones: Donate your cell phone to the Wireless Foundation's Call to Protect program ( for more info).

Other options: will purchase your phone and plant a tree for every phone it recycles!

Televisions: Sony will recycle any of its own televisions if you drop them at a designated site ( Best Buy will haul away your old model if you purhase a new TV for home delivery at their store. When you buy one of Office Depot's "Tech Recyling Boxes" for $5, $10, or $15, the company recycles whatever you can fit inside (including TVs)

Visit to find places near you that will accept old electronics to recycle.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Photos from the November trip to the Costa Rican Bird Route

All photos by David Edwards

Crossing the river in a basket to the remote site: Bosque Tropical del Toro.

Broad Billed Motmot

American Crocodile


Violet Sabrewing


Jesus Christ Lizard

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Latest edition of newsletter now available

The 2008 Fall/Winter edition of Rainforest Biodiversity Group's newsletter is now available to view online at: