Birder's Guide

MAY 2017

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.

Issue link: http://bg.aba.org/i/826890

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33 May 2017 | Birder's Guide to Conservation & Community road that birding guides typically use to take visitors to look for Royal Cinclodes and other birds. ABC, concerned by data showing the loss of Polylepis forests and the plight of their birds, engaged with ECOAN in an ambitious plan to halt forest loss in the area. Thanks to the initial support of Adrian Forsyth and Enrique Ortiz through the W. Alton Jones Foundation, ABC and ECOAN started restoring habi- tat in conjunction with local commu- nities. As word of the project's success spread, ABC and ECOAN attracted new partners in the conservation commu- nity to support this work, including the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Global Conservation Fund, the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, FONDAM (Fondo de las Américas), the MacArthur Foundation, and others. ECOAN began as a group of four friends from Cusco, two botanists and two ornithologists serving as birding guides, who together worked on conser- vation in their spare time. The founding members of ECOAN "came from farm- cient woodlands, and they have pro- tected more than 18,000 acres in Private Conservation Areas. PCAs are reserves owned and managed by the communi - ties within the Vilcanota mountans, and they are recognized by the Peruvian gov- ernment as part of the national system of protected areas. Since 2015, communities, donors, and volunteers have organized an annu- al Queuña Raymi festival to plant more than 50,000 Polylepis trees in a week- end. In some areas, forests are naturally regenerating within areas fenced by the communities to keep livestock out. The area's birds are benefiting along with the forests. ECOAN has been monitoring local bird populations since the refores- tation efforts began. The group's surveys indicate that Royal Cinclodes numbers— once thought to be declining—have at least stabilized and may be increasing. As the trees mature, they create the shady, humid conditions that support the moss that the birds forage on for invertebrate prey. The Ash-breasted Tit-tyrant, which forages on the outer parts of the tree, ap - pears to be recovering even faster. Planting the Seeds of a Conservation Network Without these conservation efforts, Vilcanota's forests and their endemic birds could well have continued to dis- appear. ECOAN's work in the area dates back to 2000, when the group began to talk with the people of a communi- ty called Abra Malaga about the plight of the local forests. Abra Malaga made sense as a starting point; it was the most accessible patch of forest near a paved n TOP: Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant is a Polylepis specialist occurring in both Peru and Bolivia. Photo © Fabrice Schmitt n BOTTOM: Hundreds of people circle around the saplings they will plant at the Queuña Raymi festival. Photo © Alejandro Tello American Bird Conservancy works with partner organizations and communities to conserve birds elsewhere in Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, and other coun - tries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Learn more about these projects at abcbirds.org/pro - gram/communities/. If you are interested in visiting reserves established by ABC partners, learn more at www.ConservationBirding.org, which includes other community-run reserves for great birds such as the Red-fronted Macaw in Bolivia and Marvelous Spatuletail in Peru.

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