Why canopy access is essential to understand canopy birds: Four examples from the Surumoni Crane Project 

Canopy access is essential to understand canopy birds. – Rapid advances in canopy access techniques in the last decade have greatly improved our understanding of the ecology and behavior of rainforest canopy birds. However, we still know so little about rainforest canopy birds that the argument for much more widespread canopy access has to be made. Observations made from a canopy crane located in the Amazonian rain forest (Surumoni Crane Project, southern Venezuela) are used to illustrate how canopy access may enhance our understanding of canopy birds. Some species are often portrayed as species preferring forest edge habitats, but observations from the crane demonstrated that these rather lethargic and inconspicuous species are more often found in closed canopy than was obvious from ground-based observations. Likewise, canopy observations may change perceptions of the abundance and habitat preferences of canopy birds that are essential for assessing their conservation status. Possible territorial or courtship displays are described as examples of behaviors only visible from above the canopy. Finally, a marked increase in bird activity and movement was noted at the onset of the rainy season, sug