Leading the trip of twelve avian aficionados were two individuals with a passion for birds and their conservation: Natalia Ocampo-Peñuela and Scott Winton. Both are PhD candidates at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.Colombia leads the world in bird species diversity. As a result, it attracts much attention from birders and ornithologists. Colombia’s richness of bird species derives from its proximity to the Equator, its numerous micro-climates, and its varying ecosystems, which range from the Amazon to the Pacific and Caribbean coasts to Andean cloud forests. On the trip, the group got a first-hand view of Colombia’s spectacular bird biodiversity. They saw parrots, like the brown-throated parakeet, hummingbirds, like the violet-crowned woodnymph, and passerines, like the Blue-naped chlorophonia. Read more about the trip on Scott’s blog, “Birds on the brain”. The donation, from the proceeds of the trip, supports SavingSpecies’ vital conservation work in Colombia. Our work there protects and restores the fragile forests that provide habitat for hundreds of rare species. Our project to restore forests for rare orchids and hummingbirds has yielded outstanding science, given that nine new species of frogs were discovered in our project area.
Currently, SavingSpecies is protecting land for the newly-discovered and adorable olinguito. This ambassador species is helping to teach the world about the astonishing biodiversity of tropical countries like Colombia. Besides the olinguito, this project provides critically-needed habitat for other species, especially for rare hummingbirds found nowhere else on earth.
Natalia added: “Little by little, we can help save the single country with the highest bird diversity in the world!”