And the winner is?

Laura Taman, a project coordinator at York’s Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies, is the winner of the Las Nubes Bird-a-Thon contest. The bird-a-thon was conducted this spring during the York University Faculty of Environmental Studies field course in ecology in Costa Rica.

The contest had students spotting and identifying species of birds during their stay at the Las Nubes Rainforest Reserve and at other critical ecosystems of the country. In total, the students identified 190 different bird species in two weeks. The bird-a-thon was coordinated by MES student Chris Saker, an expert in birdwatching. 

Above: Bird-a-thon participant Allison Tremblay (left) with winner Laura Taman, FES Professor Howard Daugherty,  and Chris Saker,  bird-a-thon coordinator

"This is a surprisingly high number because most of our time was devoted to field activities not related to birdwatching," said Howard Daugherty, a professor in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies. "In addition, we missed the last of the migrants who had departed about two weeks prior to our arrival. So we are quite pleased with the total of 190 species." 

Members of the York community and others pledged $2600 to the bird-a-thon. All of the money raised will go into birding programs for the local school children in the Las Nubes region. "On behalf of the group, I extend our heartfelt appreciation for your interest and support," said Daugherty.

Taman wins the framed photograph of the Slaty-tailed Trogon (left), photographed by Brett Cole, for guessing the exact number of bird species identified. "Several others were close, but Laura was the only one at 190. Other winners included Rob Boender, a Toronto businessman and friend of one of the students who attended the field course. Boender wins a framed photograph of the Fiery-Billed Aracari for the highest amount pledged," said Saker.

For more information on the Las Nubes field course and the bird-a-thon, see the April 25 issue of YFile.

To view a video diary of the bird-a-thon as it progressed, created by students while in the Las Nubes Rainforest Reserve, click here.