Land Acquisitions To Help Protect One Of World's Rarest Birds

Monday, August 12, 2013
Long-whiskered Owlet
Long-whiskered Owlet
- photo by ECOAN

Two new key properties have been acquired in northern Peru that will expand Abra Patricia Reserve to over 25,000 acres and help protect habitat for one of the world’s rarest birds, the Long-whiskered Owlet, along with 23 other globally threatened species.

The acquisitions were funded by American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and completed by Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN), ABC’s partner in Peru. When combined with three other properties purchased by the two groups in January and February 2013, the newly acquired lands total 1,261 acres. The Abra Patricia area is recognized by the Alliance for Zero Extinction as a critical site for both the endangered Long-whiskered Owlet as well as the endangered Ochre-fronted Antpitta.

The Long-whiskered Owlet, which was only discovered in 1976, is one of the tiniest owls in the world, measuring only five inches tall. The bird’s long, wispy facial feathers extend out past its head, creating the appearance of long whiskers.

The reserve at Abra Patricia (formally known as the Abra Patricia-Alto Nieva Private Conservation Area) consists of land privately owned by ECOAN as well as a 40-year conservation concession on forestry lands. When added to the recent acquisitions, the reserve now totals more than 25,000 acres managed by ECOAN for conservation.

These land acquisitions continue a string of recent successes ECOAN and ABC have celebrated in northern Peru. Their recent reforestation campaign resulted in completion of a new tree nursery at La Union, just north of Abra Patricia Reserve, and the planting of nearly 75,000 native trees and 25,000 coffee bushes in a variety of mixed forest, shade agriculture, silvipasture, and living fence systems on private lands near reserves. Those reserves were established to improve habitat on degraded lands for resident and migratory birds. Communities involved in the effort included San Lucas de Pomacochas and surrounding villages who are working to establish new protected areas for the communities’ forests and watershed.

The Abra Patricia Reserve is located in cloud forests in the Department of Amazonas and is adjacent to the Alto Mayo Protected Forest. The area is home to more than 300 bird species including many endemic to Peru. Twenty-three of these pecies are considered globally threatened. In addition to the Long-whiskered Owlet and Ochre-fronted Antpitta, other rare, threatened birds include the Royal Sunangel, Johnson’s Tody-Tyrant, Ochre-breasted Tody-Tyrant, and Pale-billed Antpitta. Several songbirds that breed in North America, such as the Swainson's Thrush, Blackburnian Warbler, and Cerulean Warbler, winter in the forests of Abra Patricia, as well. Abra Patricia is also home to the critically endangered yellow-tailed woolly monkey and a diversity of other wildlife and rare orchids.

Located along the Northern Peru Birding Route, Abra Patricia is one of the premier birding destinations in Peru, itself one of the premier countries for birding in the world. The Owlet Lodge at Abra Patricia often serves as a base for birding tourists who typically spend several days at other regional birding spots, such as Waqanki, Huembo, and Gotas de Agua. Owlet Lodge is a four- to five-hour drive from the airport in Tarapoto, and the spectacular Marvelous Spatuletail hummingbird can be seen just an hour’s drive away at Huembo Reserve. To learn more about the ecotourism and birding opportunities in the Abra Patricia region, visit our Conservation Birding website.

Support for the land protection and acquisition, as well as the community programs and reforestation efforts, was generously provided by the IUCN NL / Small Grants for the Purchase of Nature (SPN) sponsored by the Netherlands Postcode Lottery, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service under the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, DJ & T Foundation, Gulf Coast Bird Observatory Tropical Forests Forever Fund, Jeniam Foundation, The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, New England BioLabs Foundation, Lorna and Mike Anderberg, Cathy and Warren Cooke, Patricia and David Davidson, Nancy and Dick Eales, Joyce Millen and David Harrison, Stephen Rumsey, the Robert Wilson Charitable Trust, and Connie and Jeff Woodman. 

Tellico Hatchery Announces Winter Hours

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency announced winter hours for the Tellico Hatchery in Tellico Plains. Holidays along with hours of daylight and alterations in operations are the primary reasons for changes. Fish eat less during colder months. This reason, along with a reduction of seasonal responsibilities such as mowing grass and hatchery upkeep, means fewer people on staff. ... (click for more)

Wildlife Officer Pete Geesling Honored In Veterans Day Observance Ceremony

Brandon “Pete” Geesling, a wildlife officer for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency in Warren County, was one of five veteran state employees recognized during a Veterans Day observance event held at the Tennessee Tower Plaza.     Previously, Mr. Geesling served as a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was a combat engineer which included a deployment ... (click for more)

Darrel Jones, 43, Shot And Killed On Central Avenue; Benson Critical In Another Of New Wave of Chattanooga Shootings

Darrel Jones, 43, was shot and killed on Central Avenue on Thursday afternoon. Then, early Friday morning, 34-year-old Desmond Benson was shot, leaving him in critical condition. as a wave of new Chattanooga shootings continued over the Thanksgiving holidays.  Chattanooga Police responded to the 3600 block of Central Avenue around 3 p.m. on a report of a ... (click for more)

Family Escapes Early Morning House Fire

A home was damaged by fire early Thursday morning.  The Chattanooga Fire Department received a fire call at  3:48  a.m.  and responded to 1825 Dixon Street with four fire companies. The family inside the home was awakened by a passerby knocking at the door. All of them quickly made their way outside the home to safety.  Once firefighters ... (click for more)

An Extra Helping Of Gratitude

After being thankful for the grace of God, my family and good health, this year I have an extra helping of gratitude to live in a special place called Chattanooga.   We endured the trauma of terrorism on July 16 and emerged more united and stronger than ever before.  We claim our heritage and celebrate our diversity like no other city in America.  We honor our ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Cometh ‘The Black Dog’

I am one of 350 million people in the world who suffers from clinical depression. The doctors trace it back to my first decade of the 21 st century when constant surgeries and infections knocked me loopy but the more I have found, I believe I am more like Sir Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln and pro football star Terry Bradshaw – I think I have had it all my life. Today it ... (click for more)