Thursday, August 11, 2011

2011 edition of SalvaNATURA's birdathon coming up!

Cinnamon Hummingbird
During the weekend of 15 and 16 October this year (2011), SalvaNATURA will hold its 9th annual birdathon in El Salvador. For two days, various teams of bird observers will scour fields, forests, wetlands and other habitats in search of resident species and arriving neotropical migrants, in an effort to report as many species as possible. The birdathon is a fundraiser for SalvaNATURA's bird monitoring project. SalvaNATURA is a regional conservation NGO, and the Salvadoran partner of BirdLife International.

Great Curassow
This year, the birdathon highlights woodland species, to commemorate the United Nations International Year of Forests. Although significantly deforested, El Salvador still holds many forest birds, including the rare Great Curassow (IUCN status: vulnerable) and the Resplendent Quetzal (IUCN: near threatened), as well as the large and spectacular Pale-billed Woodpecker, the Central American cousin of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. The pine-oak forests of northern El Salvador also provide valuable wintering habitat for the globally endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler. Special attention to forest species this year is also meant to stimulate local pride in El Salvador's natural heritage, and foster local awareness of the need to protect this treasure. After all, forests not only provide valuable habitat for animals and plants and an agreeable environment for people to live in, they also serve key functions in preventing natural disasters such as massive landslides or wide-scale flooding.

Pale-billed Woodpecker
The birdathon was started in 2003, to support SalvaNATURA's bird monitoring project, also started that year. SalvaNATURA has monitored bird population trends of residents and winter visitors, particularly in cloud forest and pine-oak forest, throughout El Salvador. Since 2010, the project has transcended national borders and became a regional project, when bird monitoring started in a pine-oak forest in Honduras.

Golden-cheeked Warbler
The Central American pine-oak eco-region, which comprises highlands from southern Mexico through Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and northwestern Nicaragua, provides vital wintering habitat for many North American breeders, most notably warblers. Golden-cheeked Warblers that breed in Texas spend their winters in this eco-region, in the company of wintering Black-throated Green, Black-and-white, Townsend's, Hermit, Wilson's, Tennessee, and Golden-winged Warblers, as well as residents such as Olive, Red-faced, and Crescent-chested Warblers. From September until March, mixed insectivorous flocks containing these warblers, as well as vireos, flycatchers, woodpeckers and woodcreepers, roam the forests of Central America, sometimes in dense, species-rich large flocks. An encounter with such a flock is one of many wonderful, unforgettable experiences that birding in Central America has to offer.

SalvaNATURA welcomes any North American birder wishing to participate in the event to come down and register their own team, or join one of the existing teams. It's a great opportunity to meet the small but very active Salvadoran birding community, make friends, and see exciting regional endemics and spectacular fall hawk migration, as well as familiar wintering warblers and shorebirds.

Besides birding, you'd also be contributing to bird conservation, because the money you raise goes directly to SalvaNATURA's bird monitoring project.

We'd love to see you in the field with us, but if you can't make it in person, then please consider sponsoring SalvaNATURA's ninth edition of the birdathon by making a donation. Instructions on how to do that can be found here.

1 comment:

  1. Saludos, me llamo David Siguenza, tengo 18 años y vivo en El Salvador. Me he interesado por las aves del país desde hace 4 años, he aprendido mucho desde entonces, pero nunca he tenido el placer de compartir mis intereses con otras personas del país,ni tampoco he participado en actividades como esta, entonces yo realmente quiero participar en esta maratón, pero no tengo un grupo, y tampoco conozco personas interesadas en la avifauna nacional, así que por favor le pido que usted me ayude a integrarme a algún grupo de pajareros, con los que pueda participar en este evento, y después de eso seguir compartiendo conocimientos acerca de las aves de El Salvador. Gracias. Puede escribirme a mi correo