Monitoring Bird Diversity in Cusuco National Park with Sam Jones
I was recently in Honduras, working as a field ornithologist on an Operation Wallacea expedition. Operation Wallacea conducts field conservation research all over the world, and provides young people with the opportunity to experience this research first hand, by bringing school students and university research assistants along with the scientific staff.
Sam Jones is the Senior Ornithologist on site, responsible for overseeing the Bird Team and making sure the necessary data collection protocols are followed. Sam has traveled the world studying birds, from isolated mountains in Indonesia, through South Africa, Polynesia, Ethiopia, Honduras and many more.
Sam did his MSc at Imperial College London, and his thesis focused on the Endangered Ethiopian Bush-crows, researching aspects of the thermal ecology of this bizarre climatically range-restricted species. Listen to this Shared Planet Podcast about his work in Ethiopia or read his thoroughly entertaining Bush-crow Diaries published in Scientific American.
Waking up at 5am or earlier every day might be seen as a challenge, but the prospect of seeing, hearing or catching spectacular birds in the forest more than makes up for the early hours. Either walking a transect or mist netting, we were often rewarded for our efforts with some remarkable birds or fantastic landscapes.
Sam had to train us, when we first got to Cusuco, and we soon learned how to recognize more than 20 of the most common bids in the park by call alone. It was certainly a bit daunting at first, seeing Sam identify pretty much any bird we heard from just a couple of tweeting notes. Throughout the expedition his enthusiasm and energy were infectious and I was glad to have the opportunity to sit down with Sam and talk to him about his work here in Honduras. I will leave you with the video…