|Town/Region||Cerros de Vera, Salto|
|Continent||Central and Latin America|
|Date||29 Aug 2008|
In 2004 and 2005 I conducted a field project that focused on the threatened grassland bird assemblages of the Northern Campos of Uruguay.
The project resulted in new data on grassland bird ecology and substantial public awareness in the area. In the new project I want to use the same general strategy (a strong field research component coupled with an education component) with two main objectives: to gather critical information on the biology of the Pampas Meadowlark (a species that has suffered one of the most severe population declines in the Pampas) and use this bird as a flagship species to continue with the promotion of grassland conservation in the region. The Pampas Meadowlark was a common and widely distributed bird in this grassland ecosystem prior to agricultural intensification. Today it is confined to 10% of its original range and only two breeding populations are known.
This bird has several features that make it well suited for further conservation efforts: it is particularly sensitive to disturbance, it is restricted to the Pampas biome, and it is well known among local communities as a consequence of previous outreach activities in the study area. The species conspicuousness and site fidelity patterns make it relatively easy to study and, hopefully, the insight gained from the meadowlark will also serve to tackle the problems of other threatened species. As an education tool the bird will help highlight the conservation needs of grassland wildlife, including many less charismatic animals. The building of strong local support for the conservation of the Pampas Meadowlark will help trigger the necessary political will which is essential to establish long-term conservation measures.
The main activities of the project will be:
2) to determine Pampas Meadowlark population size and productivity. Previous research has shown that the song of Pampas Meadowlark males has unique elements that make them distinguishable at the individual level.
This characteristic will serve as a precise population estimation tool. Fledglings will be banded at the end of the breeding season and subsequent regular censuses will provide information on survival rates. The education component of the project will include visits to all rural schools in the region as well as other presentations to be delivered to local communities, NGOs, and government authorities.
Read about Adrian's previous project http://www.ruffordsmallgrants.org/rsg/Projects/AdrianAzpiroz or for more information contact: