PEEC Talk: Birds, People, Places and Cultures of Columbia and Bolivia

Biologists Vanessa Sandoval of Bolivia and Jaime Garizábal of Colombia pose with a feathered friend. The two will give a presentation at PEEC Sept. 25. Courtesy photo

PEEC News:

Biologists Vanessa Sandoval of Bolivia and Jaime Garizábal of Colombia have spent the summer thousands of miles from home, banding birds as part of the Park Flight program at Bandelier.

The pair will give a presentation about the birds, people, places and cultures of their respective countries at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25 at the Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) on Orange Street.

Garizábalis a biologist from Colombia who has studied biodiversity and conservation of birds throughout his career. He has studied red-bellied grackle in Manu National Park (Peru) as well as the nesting ecology of endangered birds endemic to Colombia. He has participated in projects involving nest searching and metabolic rates experiments, as well as mist-netting and traditional observational studies of birds.

Sandovalis a biologist from Bolivia who works with an NGO working on sustainable development for improving the quality of life in rural communities. Since she was young, she has had a passion for the natural world. She considers herself a lover of natural resources. Sandoval’s professional focus is on ornithology and environmental education.

The Park Flight Program is a partnership between the National Park Service, National Park Foundation, and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation/USAID. It has been taking place at Bandelier for about 10 years.

In the program, interns from Latin America follow many of the same species of birds found in their home countries north to warmer climates. They then spend the summer banding the birds. The data collected from the program helps to fill in gaps of information about migratory birds that can be found in northern New Mexico and at Bandelier.

The interns also provide local school children first-hand experiences with birds, in a program that is coordinated by PEEC. The program sponsors fifth and sixth grade classes from Los Alamos and other area schools to take field trips to Bandelier to learn about research on migratory birds. To learn more about this program, visit

According to the Bandelier website, the primary scientific objective of monitoring migratory birds is to determine which species are using an upper elevation site at Bandelier and their relative abundance. A secondary scientific objective with a long-term focus is to identify movement patterns and to determine summering and wintering areas for migrating birds that use Bandelier in the fall.

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