VSF-Latin America presented “developing an isotopic foundation to track the movements of birds in South America” at the Neotropical Ornithological Congress held in Cuzco, Peru.

Gaining an understanding of the different ecological areas migratory birds use throughout their annual cycle is of great conservation importance; especially, when trying to understand the role that migratory birds play in the spread of diseases. Unfortunately, there is a tremendous lack of information on seasonal movements of Austral migratory birds and their role in the ecosystem. Around the world, marking (i.e., bands) and recapturing birds has been the most common method used to connect breeding, wintering and stopover sites; but for small passerines, the banding effort over many years has not provided much data. Since 1997 however, measuring stable hydrogen isotope ratios in bird feathers has provided a fast, efficient and relatively cheap way for tracking migratory movements of birds over long-distances in North America, yet the isotope feather template for South America has not yet been developed. In this presentation we described the current development of an isotope feather map and its practical application in South America. The availability of this proposed map will be a foundation to study and better understand migratory movements and hence conservation issues of Austral migrants. Furthermore the applications of this isotopic basemap will have tremendous scientific and technological implications for disciplines such as archaeology (i.e., ancient movements), forensics (i.e., illegal movement of wildlife and drugs) and epidemiology (i.e., spread of diseases), among others.