Friday, December 5, 2008

Peru: a true paradise of birds

Birding Peru

Why birds? People all over the world love birds. You can find them mentioned in poems, paintings, mythology and folklore, as well as other art expressions.

For centuries birds have captured human imagination, and are included in everyday references such as the 'dove of peace', the 'bluebird of happiness' or even the 'phoenix bird' rising from the ashes, meaning renewal. Peruvians are no exception to this enchantment and you can see this on pre-Inca crafts from the Moche culture, bird designs on Cajamarca pottery, or the adobe mouldings of Chan Chan, which are just a few examples from the northern part of Peru.

There appears to be a special and increasing interest towards birds, as every day more and more people study them, watch them, feed them, shelter them, read about them, and even travel long distances to see them in their natural habitat. So, what has Peru to offer to bird lovers all over the world?

The different articles in this review will give you some tips on this. As you will discover, Peru is an important hotspot for bird watchers. "Peru is well known as one of the richest countries in the world, perhaps even ranking first, in diversity of birdlife," says Jose Alvarez, Peruvian ornithologist specialized in white sand forests. Rob Williams, an ecologist and birding tour guide, tells us that a variety of habitats formed by a complex geography have made it possible to find, in northern Peru alone, "nearly 1200 species of birds, including species representative of no less than eight endemic bird areas."

In an effort to preserve natural resources, 12.91% of the country's territory has been made part of a National Protected Area Network (known as SINAMPE in Spanish) organized in 57 reserves and national parks, 11 of which are part of the 19 Endemic Birds Areas (EBAs).

Additionally, private conservation initiatives to save endangered habitats and species are also mentioned in three interesting articles, as the organizations behind the initiatives are very heterogeneous.

The first, on the community of Santa Catalina de Chongoyape with its Chaparri Reserve, shows us how conservation can help support local communities. The second article is about the rescue of a bird long thought to be extinct, the White-winged Guan, and the effort being made to reintroduce this species to its natural habitat. The third article is on the special Harpy Eagles of the Infierno Community at Tambopata, and on how this bird has become the symbol of the community.

To discover this country and its secrets, you will find articles with vivid descriptions of different destinations, including endemic and rare bird listings for the passionate observer. Machu Picchu, Aguada Blanca, Villa Rica, Allpahuaya-Mishana, Manu and Tambopata are only a few names that you should remember when coming to Peru.
This review is an invitation to join us on a trip, guided by specialized ornithologists, ecologists and experienced bird guides, to discover nature at its best.

This rich biodiversity that is home to over 1800 species of birds is a privilege to enjoy. Peru is more than words, and we invite you to share it with us with your six senses.

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