Open Mic: Birds and Tropical Cities in Panama - A BEX project
by Nate Swick
At the Mic: Zeke Jakub
Zeke is studying urban bird populations in Panama and is a recent recipient of a large gift of optics, field guides, and other equipment from the ABA's Birders' Exchange Program.
Birds and the “concrete jungle” don’t seem to mix very well, so say some. But not me.
My graduate research is concentrating on an urban tropical city (Panama City, Panama) and bird conservation. Which resident and migratory species are present? What types of habitat are they using? Where are they clearly absent? I want to show that birds, both migratory and residents, use the urban environment, but would use it more if the proper habitat structure was designed, created, and maintained within the city limits. This includes utilizing “green spaces” that are already present in the city (e.g. parks, cemeteries, and even urban residential neighborhoods and gardens.)
Admittedly, the “concrete jungle” is not as diverse or capable of supporting a large diversity of bird species. Although in a unique geographic location, Panama City, is among few countries that lies along the Central American isthmus. This land-bridge between South and North America, extremely limited in space, forces migratory and resident bird species to utilize every inch of available resource. “Near Threatened” migratory species like the Golden-winged Warbler have been recorded regularly during migration within the city limits (e.g. in urban residential neighborhoods and park areas.) The current data has shown that many other migratory and resident species of note utilize the available resources throughout the city. Further data collection will hopefully show a necessity to develop with more caution and design in Panama City, Panama for bird conservation.
Zeke Jakub (Lead Researcher) and Rosabel Miro (Executive Director of Panama Audubon Society) receiving equipment for Urban Conservation Research. THANKS BEX!
An exciting addition to the research project is the participation local volunteers: retired expatriates, retired local residents, nature enthusiasts, school children and university students alike. All have had opportunity to volunteer time counting birds and completing vegetative analysis on the permanent plots that have been setup throughout the city. In cooperation with Panama Audubon Society, American Birding Association, Zona Tropical Publications and the Birders Exchange, among many individuals, this project will continue to collect data on bird and resource use over time, to show that small steps can be made to create a viable conservation plan for a rapidly developing latin american economy. Any questions or participating requests can be sent along to: “Zeke” Jakub at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org