On January 2, 2015, Paso Pacifico held the first ever Christmas Bird Count
On January 2, 2015, Paso Pacifico held the first ever Christmas Bird Count

On January 2, 2015, Paso Pacifico held the first ever Christmas Bird Count (CBC) in the Paso del Istmo Biological Corridor. The CBC is an annual census of birds across the Western Hemisphere and is conducted by volunteer birdwatchers. This event is coordinated internationally by the National Audubon Society with the goal of engaging citizens in bird observation and providing bird population data for use in science. This event was supported by the US Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry.

Over 90 individuals participated in the Paso del Istmo count, including 50 children from the Paso Pacifico Junior Ranger program. These children put their new binoculars to use during the event. The survey area was divided into seven separate routes, including two different aquatic routes. The participants, led by experienced ornithologists, broke off into seven small groups to observe birds along each route. 

After compiling and reviewing the data, we found that the count for the day was 152 bird species!

The Christmas Bird Count is a great way for us to engage local stakeholders in bird conservation. We were thrilled with the turn out for our first year and look forward to celebrating this event for many years to come.

The “Canal 2” television station in Managua, Nicaragua recently featured Paso Pacifico and the Paso del Istmo Christmas Bird Count. This citizen science event was part of the National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count. The story highlighted the participation of youth from our Junior Ranger program and emphasized the importance of environmental education. 
Watch the video here!

In the Paso del Istmo we have an important partner in O Parks, Wildlife, and Recreation (OPWR). Thanks to Kevin Shea, OPWR's director and owner, numerous conservation efforts are underway on and near the property of this crucial wildlife reserve.

Last month, three artificial parrot nests were deployed and we are hoping that soon Yellow-naped Amazon parrots will safely nest there (above image: pair of Amazon parrots flying overhead). Kevin Shea has contributed financially to our wildlife monitoring program and camera traps have documented a range of carnivores on his property, highlighting the conservation importance of this site.

The OPWR is also a tourism and adventure center where visitors can enjoy the unique beauty of the dry tropical forest and participate in a range of adventure activities including zip-lines and canopy tours. 

OPWR is committed to offering training and educational opportunities to its staff, which are comprised of local community members. Partners such as OPWR and Kevin Shea are the building blocks for the biological corridor in the Paso del Istmo. Thank you Kevin!  

You can view images of OPWR projects on their Facebook page.

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Claudia Perla has shown great determination and personal strength in the five years she has worked for Paso Pacifico studying the endangered Black-handed Spider Monkey. Her tenacity and strong work ethic have become well known in the communities where she works. 
She recently received the Disney Conservation Hero Award from the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund. The award recognizes individuals for their tireless efforts to save wildlife and protect natural habitats.  
We are proud to have Claudia as a member of our team and excited about this prestigious award.
Congratulations Claudia!
This month we are especially grateful to Paso Pacifico board member Frank Joyce and his wife Katy Van Dusen for their leadership and guidance in helping us to organize our first Christmas Bird Count.
Both Frank and Katy had participated in a bird count in Costa Rica just days before our event, but they did not hesitate to spend even more of their holiday time looking for birds and teaching others how to do the same. Their dedication to teaching and conservation has positively impacted communities throughout the region. Thank you Frank and Katy for all that you do! 
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