Birder's Guide

AUG 2013

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Blanco attracts this species as well as Chestnutcrowned, Bicolored, and Slate-crowned antpittas. Next up for many Andean specialty tours is a jaunt to the quaint and caffeine-fueled colonial town of Jardín (hahr-DEEN), located in a part of Colombia known as the Zona Cafetera or "coffee region". Not only can you sip perfectly roasted Colombian coffee in the idyllic town square, but a short walk from the town center is an Andean Cock-of-the-rock lek! Jardín is where tour groups access a known roosting site of the once-nearly-extinct Yellow-eared Parrot. Due to the tireless efforts of Colombia's Fundación ProAves, this species was brought back from the brink of extinction and downgraded from critically endangered to endangered in 2010. ProAves's work establishing a reserve and extensive education programs within and around the town of Jardín have increased the parrot's numbers, currently believed to be around 1,000 individuals. This conservation success is an example of how community involvement and environmental education can rewrite the future for what many feared to be the unavoidable loss of one of Colombia's most iconic parrot species. After Jardín, many bird tours head to a newly established and growing birding mecca in the Chocó region called Reserva Las Tangaras. Many believe this to be the best place in the world for tanagers, and the reserve does not disappoint. Within the bird-bursting forest near Las Tangaras there are two endemics, Black-and-gold and Gold-ringed tanagers, along with other specialties, such as Purplishmantled Tanager and Chocó Vireo. On many tours, this is as deep into the Chocó forest that birders get. Continuing north, birders fnd themselves in Colombia's second largest city, Medellín (mehd-eh-YEEN). Another impossibly huge city with towering buildings on steep mountain inclines hugging the city's midsection, Medellín is energetic and lively, home to millions of people and an easily-seen endemic bird, Red-bellied Grackle. Depending on the tour, an overnight stay in Medellín (recomq Top left: Black-and-gold Tanager is a particularly smart-looking Colombian endemic. Photo © Nick Athanas. q Top right: Compost piles become bird feeders in Colombia, and may attract hard-tosee species like Black-fronted Wood-Quail. © Nick Athanas. q Bottom: The road from Medellín to Jardín. Photo © Tim Mitzen. August 2013 | Birder's Guide to Travel 35

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