Category: COLOMBIA
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CALDAS (Compass)

 Lat:05o05´N/75o30´W 4,343ha montane forest 2,100 to 3,690m 
Protected/registered status 
Best Time for visit (time visited) 

FUNDEGAR Fundación Ecólogica


Birding Site Guide

This is an Andean forest located on the outskirts of Manizales. Land was first bought in 1904 to protect the Rio Blanco basin (by Manizales Water Company) as well as other drainage areas (La Guerra, Pinares, Olivares, La Arenosa and La Ye) the area is now a nature reserve. To date 348 bird species have been recorded which includes 30 migratory species, and 13 endemics or near-endemics. 17 species of hummers come to feeders at Casa Viveros, and there are collections of orchids and butterflies. 


Sergio Ocampo-Tobón, Líder de investigaciones en flora y fauna, Aguas de Manizales S.A. .ESP Director Técnico Fundación Ecológica Gabriel Arango Restrepo Cel. 300 Y 310: 422 1883 / Tel. 57- 68 - 86 77 77 Ext.1164 / Fax 75 40 82 

RIO BLANCO bird list 

Other Fauna 

TOURS BY THE AUTHOR (an example given by a participant below) 

Oregon Birds 32(2): 78, Summer 2006 On pelagic birding trips, we throw stuff overboard, improving our chances to see birds. The American Birding Association (ABA) has a chumming program too, called the Birder’s Exchange (BEX). We throw binoculars, scopes, and other equipment overboard, to the ABA. BEX collects the equipment and redistributes it, free of charge, to researchers, conservationists, and educators working to conserve birds and their habitats in the Neotropics. These donations help our Latin American couterparts to develop local conservation strategies and to educate local citizens about bird conservation and ecosystem-wide habitat protection. My wife and I went birding with two other Oregonians, Judy Meredith and Sheran Wright, in Colombia just last August. One of our local guides, Oswaldo Cortes, helped us find some very rare limited-range endemics in the Eastern Andes north of Bogota: Mountain Grackle and Chestnut-bellied Emerald. Cortes is a talented young ornithologist doing his field work with those species, and he wore binoculars tagged with the ABA BEX sticker. That sticker inspired us to support the program, and we volunteered to spearhead an official Oregon Field Ornithologists equipment drive. 

We are not entirely altruistic with this. We hope to be rewarded in two ways: our old equipment will encourage and support birders in Latin America, and improve the chance for conservation of our own neotropical migrants. Where do you think our beloved Olive-sided Flycatchers are headed right now? Their decline may well be tied to events in the Andes, and we need help from Andean birders to understand and stem the decline. In addition, birding in Latin America is a wonderful experience, made all the better with knowledgeable, enthusiastic local birders. We need more of them! 

The three of us had a fantastic three week trip to Colombia. You should know that Colombia is enjoying much improved security, and we felt safe the whole time. The key was that we went with a knowledgeable Colombian bird guide, Sergio Ocampo (see, who connected us with local birders at every stop. Ocampo works with La Fundación Ecológica Gabriel Arango Restrepo, a recipient of BEX equipment. Several of the birders we met, or their organizations, have benefitted from donations from the BEX program. 

This is your invitation to round up that used but serviceable birding gear (not broken or rusty etc.). Sheran Wright has volunteered to coordinate efforts in Oregon. She is willing to answer your questions and to help organize area plans for gathering equipment. OFO will package things for shipping to ABA once we have a good supply from Oregon. 

Please see the BEX website (http:// for specific equipment that is needed at this time. Your contribution is tax deductible, as a charitable contribution to ABA - OFO is just doing the state-wide collection project to benefit the program. 

Sergio Ocampo, Oswaldo Cortes, and Judy Meredith (left to right) look for a Chestnut-bellied Emerald below Soatà, Boyacà, Colombia, in August 2006. photo/J Harding. 

From the Editor’s Desk: Its Sort of Like Chumming Jeff Harding 39127 Griggs Drive, Lebanon, Oregon 97355 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Oregon Birds 32(2):79, Summer 2006. 

Birder’s Exchange can use contributions of cash and new equipment as well as used binoculars. Couriers are needed too! If you are traveling to Latin America, please contact BEX (see http://www.americanbirding. org/bex/couriers/index.html).

If anyone wants information about our trip, including photos or even a presentation to your bird club, feel free to contact me. For information about the OFO-ABA BEX equipment drive, contact Sheran at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. impression, size, shape) of the bird.

Participants on field trips get to ask leaders for explanations on the spot, with live specimens. “What is that bird doing?” “Why does it look so ratty?” “Why do you say that is a Warbling Vireo?” “How can I tell that from a Lesser Scaup?” Leaders can show participants fine points about birds on living specimens. “Compare the shape of the head of the bird on the left with the bird on the right. Notice how one is round and one is peaked.” Also, participants get to test their new knowledge. “Is that bird a young towhee?” “Yes, you got it right. Good for you!” Field trips are only partially scripted. A key element of the field trip is the unplanned “teachable moment.” When the Snowy Egret flies over the group, all discussion of Song Sparrow plumage is put on hold. When the Wrentit comes within arms-length of the leader, all eyes are on it; everyone is living in the moment. For that slice of time, bird and observers are in a world apart. These experiences define field trips and set them apart in memory. Something real was learned. 

On field trips, one can come to know shades of gray. Not every plumage of every species, nor every stage of moult is illustrated in the field guide. “Yes, all of those birds are Red-tailed Hawks.” Not every behavior has been documented. Leaders learn along with participants: “Well, I’ve never seen that before!” 

Everyone on field trips learns about mistakes, too. New birders make mistakes. Trip leaders make mistakes. One learns that a flicker can look like a hummingbird at a distance. One learns to laugh and go on. One learns that it is better to ask, “What is that?” than to miss the opportunity to see a good bird. The field trip also offers participants a chance to interact with other enthusiasts and share discoveries. “Gosh, look how tiny it is!” “Did you see how it came down the trunk backwards (or forwards)?” “Look at the color of the barring on the sides!” These interactions not only instruct, they build enthusiasm, and may be the start of enduring friendships And what can one say about the leader of field trips? Field trip leaders have the opportunity to share their enthusiasm about birds with willing students. They have the opportunity to ignite the spark of a lifetime joy in participants who had never known birds before. They have the opportunity to have someone step up to the spotting scope and say “Wow!” Field trips are not the leader’s personal birding adventure; the leader is a servant of the group. However, leaders have the opportunity to experience joy-on-thewing each day that they are afield, and share it with many others. That’s what keeps me coming back.

 The Field Trip Continued from page 63 wind in my hair -- red-tailed hawk soars over the grassy plateau Haiku/Ce Rosenow.


Author: Sergio Ocampo-Tobón