Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hummingbird Conservation in Peru

The American Bird Conservancy has joined with the Peruvian Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos to conserve vital habitat in northern Peru for a rare hummingbird.
The hummingbird, known as the Marvelous Spatuletail, is among the strangest and most spectacular of all birds. Adult males have tails that are more than twice as long as their bodies and end in two great ungainly-looking spoon-shaped feathers. The birds are also cloaked in iridescent feathers, and like all hummingbirds, they are highly aggressive despite their small size. Local people once believed the birds conveyed aphrodisiac properties when consumed, likely compounding their problems which already include the conversion of their extremely limited habitat to cattle pasture and agriculture....

Despite its remote location, the area where the hummingbird lives is already known to birdwatchers. In order to find the species it is often necessary to commission the services of one of the world’s youngest bird guides, ten-year-old Solomon Ortiz-Perez, who for a small fee will lead eager groups of bird tourists up steep slopes to search for the bird. The spatuletail is fast becoming a flagship species for tourism in the area, and has already appeared in travel advertisements in American magazines that aim to attract keen birdwatchers to the bird’s remote habitat. It has also been declared the “Regional Bird” for Peru’s Amazonas region.
The American Bird Conservancy has engaged in similar efforts in Colombia to save wintering habitat for the cerulean warbler.

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