Ana Maria Castaño Rivas, May 2018 eBirder of the Month

By Team eBird July 12, 2018
Ana Maria birding on Global Big Day 2018

Please join us in congratulating Ana Maria Castaño Rivas of Envigado, Colombia, winner of the May 2018 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. Ana Maria’s name was drawn randomly from the 8,383 eBirders who submitted at least 3 eligible checklists on Global Big Day. Ana Maria will receive a new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binocular for her eBirding efforts. Here’s Ana Maria’s birding story:

I’m a huge fan of eBird, I have personal reasons for it: when I started birdwatching in Sociedad Antioqueña de Ornitología – SAO, an organization I’ve belonged to for 24 years, they were very serious in keeping lists of every bird day. We used a system called DATAves that is no longer in use, this system was created in the late 80’s and remained in place for a long time in my country being used by most of the birdwatchers in RNOA (Red Nacional de Observadores de Aves).

Since I learned while still being young, the discipline remained in me but it all became way easier using eBird on my cell.

I have the privilege to be one of the national coordinators of GBD in Colombia, participating in GBD is a pleasure for me and we are taking data very seriously too. We talk a lot with all birdwatchers about the need of submitting good quality data, information that will not only serve as a reminder for the nice time spent in the field, but that can also be used by decision makers to help preserve our beloved bird species and their habitats.

Colombian Chachalaca, one of Ana Maria’s Global Big Day highlights

On May 5th during GBD I was the person in charge of entering data for my team, and we took the data entering super seriously! We made lists for periods as short as 5 minutes in a single spot! We managed to register 99 species in 14 lists in that day. Our goal was a key ecosystem: our tropical dry forests along Cauca River, we found species as interesting as the Antioquia Wren (an endemic and threatened species exclusive to such ecosystem), Colombia Chachalaca (also endemic), Apical Flycatcher and several other. Sadly I’m a poor photographer so the evidence of our lists was provided by some of our team members like Tom Friedel and Luis Guillermo Restrepo.

I want to thank Cornell Lab of Ornithology for making eBird possible, to the amazing team that works in making this easier every day for us all, and I want to encourage all eBird users to promote the platform among their friends and to provide high quality data. Of course, thanks to Zeiss for the amazing binoculars I’m receiving as the winner for May eBirder of the Month Challenge!