Birder's Guide

MAY 2014

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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27 May 2014 | Birder's Guide to Conservation & Community ment of silence for the possibly imminent loss of those selfsame birds. It's not only up to birders to fx every- thing that's broken, after all. The birder's responsibility is like what we fnd in so many other felds: as we try to be ethical consumers and support sustainable initia- tives, so too should we try to patronize birding companies and operators who give back to conservation efforts that actively work to keep the birds around for us to see, like at Paz's refuge. And it certainly doesn't stop with antpitta-feeding. Ecua- dor is full of examples of people harness- ing the power of ecotourism to beneft habitat conservation. With Ecuador's size and good roads, it's relatively easy to visit many different sites and see a good chunk of the country's 1,600+ species. In fact, a roughly 75-mile transect with Paz's refuge in the middle (38 miles going east and up- hill to the peak of the 18,714-foot Anti- sana volcano and 37 miles west down to steamy Puerto Quito at 750 feet in eleva- tion) offers over 600 species, including 50 hummingbirds and 10 antpittas—at least seven of which are being fed. I invite you to come see them for yourself, and you can be quite content in knowing that your visit is helping to show the locals that habitat conservation literally pays. ing whole that is a tropical rainforest or subtropical cloudforest visit. However, in what is becoming more widely known as the Anthropocene Epoch, what should we expect? This new epoch, as distinguished from the Holocene, is characterized by the scale, scope, and intensity of human im- pacts on all aspects of our planet. The hu- man hand is now everywhere, whether it is spiking CO 2 in the global commons we call the atmosphere or the acidifcation of our oceans. The evidence is plain. There are those who view the present time as a golden age for birding, with the chance to travel far and wide to many habitats previously dangerous, politically unavailable, or devoid of services and roads. But can we call an era "golden" that may just be a slender window of opportu- nity, a preamble before the changing cli- mate and other human impacts combine to eradicate many of the species we want to see or are seeing? Is the fact that the hu- man hand has now gone all the way to the mouth of the antpitta a communion or a farewell gesture, yet another symbol of the mass extinction event already under way? I hate to be a downer on such a beautiful day, but if we are to have a round of ap- plause for people feeding and communing with birds, then we must also have a mo- Sites With Hand-fed Antpittas –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Cabañas San Isidro (Napo Province, Ecuador) · Chestnut-crowned Antpitta · White-bellied Antpitta Colibrí del Sol Reserve (Antioquia, Colombia) · Urrao Antpitta El Dorado Lodge (Magdalena, Colombia) · Santa Marta Antpitta Guango Lodge (Napo Province, Ecuador) · Chestnut-crowned Antpitta Loros Andinos Reserve (Quindío, Colombia) · Undulated Antpitta Owlet Lodge (Abra Patricia, Peru) · Chestnut Antpitta · Undulated Antpitta Paz de las Aves Reserve · Chestnut-crowned Antpitta · Giant Antpitta · Moustached Antpitta · Ochre-breasted Antpitta · Yellow-breasted Antpitta Río Blanco Reserve (Caldas, Colombia) · Bicolored Antpitta · Brown-banded Antpitta · Chestnut-crowned Antpitta · Slate-crowned Antpitta · Undulated Antpitta Tandayapa Bird Lodge (Pichincha Province, Ecuador) · Scaled Antpitta Tapichalaca Reserve (Zamora-Chinchipe Province, Ecuador) · Chestnut-naped Antpitta · Jocotoco Antpitta · Undulated Antpitta Wildsumaco Lodge (Napo Province, Ecuador) · Ochre-breasted Antpitta · Plain-backed Antpitta Yanacocha Reserve (Pichincha Province, Ecuador) · Rufous Antpitta · Tawny Antpitta –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Information from "Antpitta Paradise: A 2010 Update" by Sam Woods, Nick Athanas, and Scott Olmstead in Neotropical Birding , No. 8 (2011) and input from Nick Athanas and Paul Greenfeld (2014). Not all pasture is created equal. Ecologi- cally aware landowners maintain silvopas- ture, which might also be called "shade grazing". In this example from Finca Puyucunapi, the pasture has a diverse community of trees, providing habitat for many species. Though this type of management is still sadly the exception in northwestern Ecuador, ecological edu- cation is improving. Photo © Brian Krohnke 3-Antpitta2.indd 27 5/22/14 7:37 PM

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