American Birding Association's Principles of Birding Ethics

I was born in Peru, this code wasn't meant 'for me', but as the
ABA says: "Everyone who enjoys birds and birding must always respect wildlife, its environment, and the rights of others. In any conflict of interest between birds and birders, the welfare of the birds and their environment comes first".

This code should be followed everywhere and by everyone, and this is my contribution on passing on the knowledge (I know most of you might already have it, or practice this without even reading this before, but there is also some new people like me, who are learning from zero!)


1. Promote the welfare of birds and their environment.

1(a) Support the protection of important bird habitat.

1(b) To avoid stressing birds or exposing them to danger, exercise restraint and caution during observation, photography, sound recording, or filming.

Limit the use of recordings and other methods of attracting birds, and never use such methods in heavily birded areas, or for attracting any species that is Threatened, Endangered, or of Special Concern, or is rare in your local area;
Keep well back from nests and nesting colonies, roosts, display areas, and important feeding sites. In such sensitive areas, if there is a need for extended observation, photography, filming, or recording, try to use a blind or hide, and take advantage of natural cover. Use artificial light sparingly for filming or photography, especially for close-ups.

1(c) Before advertising the presence of a rare bird, evaluate the potential for disturbance to the bird, its surroundings, and other people in the area, and proceed only if access can be controlled, disturbance minimized, and permission has been obtained from private land-owners.

The sites of rare nesting birds should be divulged only to the proper conservation authorities.

1(d) Stay on roads, trails, and paths where they exist; otherwise keep habitat disturbance to a minimum.

2. Respect the law, and the rights of others.

2(a) Do not enter private property without the owner's explicit permission.

2(b) Follow all laws, rules, and regulations governing use of roads and public areas, both at home and abroad.

2(c) Practise common courtesy in contacts with other people. Your exemplary behavior will generate goodwill with birders and non-birders alike.

3. Ensure that feeders, nest structures, and other artificial bird environments are safe.

3(a) Keep dispensers, water, and food clean, and free of decay or disease. It is important to feed birds continually during harsh weather.

3(b) Maintain and clean nest structures regularly.

3(c) If you are attracting birds to an area, ensure the birds are not exposed to predation from cats and other domestic animals, or dangers posed by artificial hazards.

4. Group birding, whether organized or impromptu, requires special care.
Each individual in the group, in addition to the obligations spelled out in Items #1 and #2, has responsibilities as a Group Member.

4(a) Respect the interests, rights, and skills of fellow birders, as well as people participating in other legitimate outdoor activities. Freely share your knowledge and experience, except where code 1(c) applies. Be especially helpful to beginning birders.

4(b) If you witness unethical birding behavior, assess the situation, and intervene if you think it prudent. When interceding, inform the person(s) of the inappropriate action, and attempt, within reason, to have it stopped. If the behavior continues, document it, and notify appropriate individuals or organizations.

Group Leader Responsibilities
[amateur and professional trips and tours].

4(c) Be an exemplary ethical role model for the group. Teach through word and example.

4(d) Keep groups to a size that limits impact on the environment, and does not interfere with others using the same area.

4(e) Ensure everyone in the group knows of and practices this code.

4(f) Learn and inform the group of any special circumstances applicable to the areas being visited (e.g. no tape recorders allowed).

4(g) Acknowledge that professional tour companies bear a special responsibility to place the welfare of birds and the benefits of public knowledge ahead of the company's commercial interests. Ideally, leaders should keep track of tour sightings, document unusual occurrences, and submit records to appropriate organizations.

I will follow and distribute this code, and will keep on learning from my fellow birders/bird watchers worldwide. THANK YOU for your help and information! You are a real inspiration and motivation to keep on learning and spreading the word!

Spanish version available here.


2007 UICN Red List


Owl Money

Owls have been considered sacred in many cultures for centuries, magical and wise creatures with either powers or knowledge that fascinated generations of writers, artists, nature lovers, etc.

Thanks to movies and books, owls are once again 'fresh' in the mind of young people, and it's a good time for me to start learning more about them.

They have large forward-facing eyes and ears, a hawk-like beak, and usually a circle of feathers around each eye called 'facial disc'. Although owls have binocular vision, their large eyes are fixed in their sockets, as with other birds, and they must turn their entire head to change views.

The smallest owl (as far as I could find out) is the Elf Owl (Micrathene whitneyi), as little as 31 g (1.1 oz) and 13.5 cm (5.3 inches). The largest owls are the two of the eagle owls, the Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) and Blakiston's Fish Owl (Bubo blakistoni), which could reach 60-71 cm (28.4 in) long, have a wingspan of almost 2 m (6.6 ft), and weigh of nearly 4.5 kg (10 lb).

Owls are far-sighted, and are unable to clearly see anything within a few inches of their eyes. Their far vision, particularly in low light, is exceptionally good, and they can turn their head 135 degrees in either direction; they can thus look behind their own shoulders. It is correct, however, that some can turn the head so far as to face completely backwards.

Different species of owls make different sounds; the wide range of calls aids owl species in finding mates or announcing their presence to potential competitors. The facial disc helps to funnel the sound of prey to their ears.

Owl eggs are usually white and almost spherical, and range in number from a few to a dozen, depending on species. The eggs are laid in intervals of 1–3 days and do not hatch at the same time. This accounts for the wide variation in the size of sibling nestlings. Owls do not construct nests but rather look for a sheltered nesting site, in trees, underground burrows, or in buildings, barns and caves.

I decided to find out more about how owls had influenced our culture and on my quest I found many different representations of them in arts, ancient artifacts, iconography, etc, but what caught my attention were the coins and paper money that I found, from ancient Greek coins to modern Euro coins and US dollar notes.

So, here's a small selection of what I found, hope you like it! And let's see if you can identify a species or two!


I went to the park today...

I had a meeting this morning, about an hour from home.

After the meeting I decided to walk around and visit 'El Olivar' (The Olive Grove), a small park in the district of San Isidro.

I've been there hundreds of times in the past, but never noticed all the things I saw today, in the past I was busy walking across it to go to class and never stopped.

Today I took my mini camera and my new 'bird watching eyes' with me and saw many beautiful creatures, too bad my camera doesn't have a good zoom and I have not enough practice yet, but even though I couldn't picture the prettier ones I'm happy!

One thing that made me smile a lot was that on the main path that goes to the middle of the park where a small pond is, I found a few information boards with descriptions of the birds that often visit the park! It's so great! Not many people looked at them but I was stopping by each one of them, trying to memorise names, colours and shapes... First time I found something like that in a public park in Lima!

Once by the pond... Care for a bath?

And an unexpected 'visitor'...

On the way back found a new kind of bin that it's suppoused to be for dog owners use... A girl, that couldn't be more than 5 years old was horrified trying to ask her mom about it... 'Look mom! Is it to throw away puppies???' (with a face that could break any heart), the mom started laughing while the poor girl cried...

And well, I couldn't really get too close but I tried...

And at the end I found this guy sitting on a power line, when I downloaded the pic it looked, it looked a little bit like a flag to me...

'Welcome to birdsnation'


It was about time!

I wanted to get started with this for a looong time, but there were too many excuses in the way... Thesis, studies, going back home, thesis (I know I wrote thesis twice, but it is actually the one thing that drives me crazy, so... it's got a 'special' place in my heart! hahaha)

Anyway, I wanted to start a Life List sometime soon, and this morning, while reading Birdfreak.com I found out about Birdstack, downloaded a list and got started, then begun to record my observations on Birdstack also.

If you find them (to the right in this blog) please don't laugh (too hard) hahaha, it's just that I decided I would only list birds that I can remember by name and appearence and that I pictured or filmed myself in the past couple of years... On my list, I added a column to list the 'local' name, the name that natives to the region, with non bird related information call a particular bird, like the 'zarcillo' in Paracas Natural Reserve (Larosterna Inca), just looove those facts!

I know, I know, starting from zzzero... But hey, I never kept a list before, and instead of adding birds I have no clue of how they are called (just to make a larger list) I rather learn in the process...

I went outside the house and waited with my very simple-treasure-camera-sony-cybershot (I know many of you might be either laughing on the floor or shaking the head thinking 'poor thing', hahaha, don't worry, you are allowed to, hahaha) and guess what... (you already know) Not very good luck, too tall trees or too far birds for my dear camera (gift from Santa as my previous one was stolen in Buenos Aires, buuuu) and well, went back to the house with nothing, but not for long! I'll find a way soon...

So, what do you say? Any advice from REAL bird watchers/birders? Please feel free to share your wisdom with me, it will be VERY appreciated!


Peru: World's Catalogue

Hi everyone!

I was searching for videos about peruvian fauna and I found this one, it isn't exactly what I was looking for, but I thought it could be interesting to watch for those of you who haven't been to Peru 'yet'...

The video loads slowly, but if you are curious about what Peru is all about, you should take your time and see it! (I've been to few of the places shown here and want to visit more, hopefully soon!!!)




Manu has been called many names: the last refuge, the last jungle without men, the living edens, the paradise, etc.

I want to go there. In fact, I'm thinking about it very hard... I WANT TO GO THERE.

Since I was a kid, I heard about the amazing stories in our Amazon Jungle, saw breathtaking pictures, documentaries, read books, magazines, and lately, websites and blogs that keep up my curiosity and intensify the desire.

You may have heard of it, it is the best kept tropical forest in Peru, of almost 2 million hectares (half the surface of Switzerland!) protected since 1973 from the greed of civilization. Now, it is considered one of the best preserved territories on the planet! It shelters more than 1300 species of butterflies, 1000 types of different birds, 2000 species of vascular plants, 13 of primates and more than 100 bats (although that last fact/figure is not my favorite!).
There is not an acurate report about the insects population, but if you consider that in just one tree of these forests, more species of ants than the total found in all the British islands were registered, well... it makes you wonder!

In these large populations of flora and fauna we can also find endangered species or under threat of extinction like the black caiman, the giant otter, the happy eagle and some species of macaws.

According to specialists, it is the most diverse on Earth! And that's why UNESCO declared it as Natural Patrimony of Humanity.

Entrance is restricted to a small number of visitors a day, in order to preserve the habitats of all species. Some native communities living in the Reserve keep their traditions alive and share their knowledge with the respectful visitors. Just a few companies are allowed to operate within the area developing ecotourism projects with a strong conservation component.

The perfect place to be...

... And I want to be there!!!


Wish I asked Santa for one...

Recommended by a friend a few months ago.

Ironically, I've been in Peru for over a month now... and I can't find it anywhere!!! Thought maybe I could find a copy somewhere around here but nooooooooo... I had bad experiences before with "delivered?" (more like charged but never delivered) books from the US in the past and my current just-student-non-working status doesn't give me enough courage to do so...

Anyway, I'll keep looking for it, for those of you that have it, ENJOY! and those who don't, try to get it and ENJOY! (and let me know how it is and if you like it!)


I finally made it, well, at least I tried!

Many months ago, Born Again Bird Watcher sent me a link in Spanish about a project in Argentina related to the study and conservation of the red crested cardinal. Ironically, while living in Argentina I couldn’t translate some fragments of the blog he sent me, but now, back in Peru, I sat down with my dictionary and crossing my fingers for a good enough translation.

The blog is called “Estudio y Conservación del Cardenal de Copete Rojo en Argentina” and talks about the study and the volunteer work, often required for this kind of activity.

I read it all and will try to resume some of the information I found, all pictures posted here belong to that blog.

The red crested cardinal - “Cardenal de Copete Rojo” (Paroaria coronata) - has a big demand as a pet and therefore its natural habitats are disappearing. In South America you can find it from southern Brasil (Mato Grosso - Río Grande do Sul), east of Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and in Argentina.

The study described in the blog is located in the Biosphere Reserve “Parque Costero del Sur", (26.581 ha) not far from La Plata river. Within the Reserve they work in a 650ha ranch called “La Matilde” owned by Mr. Luis del Sotto, who breeds cattle and therefore maintains the wooded aspect of some areas (other areas have been subject to deforestation due to agriculture) and allows the project to research in a non (human) populated area.

The project begun on 2004, and since then, every nesting season the ranch opens his doors to students, grad students and bird lovers from all over the world who wish to participate in the project and get some field experience.

The main objective of the Project is to lay the foundations about the biology of the species to be able to protect it and handle it in an adequate way.

The volunteer program itself begins in the reproductive season: around the end of October and finishes around mid February, and volunteers can choose to stay for the full season or just a part of it, depending on the demand of work in the field. The minimum of permanence in the program is 35 days, but 60 days in the field are highly recommended. In general, work groups go between 4 and 8 persons.

The work is to monitor the nests. Mornings are dedicated to observe adults and try to find the nests, afternoons are for active nests already found (between 15 and 30), when the recollection of data as size of eggs, size of pigeons, characteristics of the nest and of the surrounding vegetation, activities of the adult birds, time of construction, incubation and permanence in the nest, parasites, depredation, etc.

Identification rings are put on pigeons that are still in the nests, a metal one with the unique number id, and one or more colored plastic ones for individual identification. Also the ringing on young and new adults is made.

They demand a good physical condition from the volunteers, because of the long walks on open field (Temperatures go between 25 and 32 °C during the day and 12 and 20 °C at night). During the morning walks are 3 to 4 km long, and at evenings, they could go up to 4 or 5 km long. It is preferred that volunteers know some Spanish because the field managers and the local people don’t speak other languages.

Every foreign volunteer must pay 60 us dollars a week for food, camp maintenance and work supplies, bring binoculars, tent and sleeping bag, although there is a possibility of getting cheap camp supplies in La Plata. In the study area, tents are set and chores are distributed, from cleaning to cooking.

Once a week the volunteers have a free day can go out to the nearest town to access internet, make phone calls, be part of regional events and traditions and learn about the local people.

Well, that's pretty much it, not a lot of info that you already know about cardinals, but notes on a project going on in Argentina! By the way, if any of you is interested or know someone that might be interested, their email is paroaria@fcnym.unlp.edu.ar.

Born Again Bird Watcher hosted #66. Yes, I and the Bird.

It is a very entertaining way to include in one go all the great colaborations of fellow birders, writers, writer-birders, birder-writers...

Looong hours of reading, but, for someone like me, with no formal education on this subject, it is certainly a cool way to keep up the enthusiasm for all this amazing topics.

Who knows, maybe someday I'll be able to colaborate with some stuff too... (months? years? centuries? hahaha), I guess time will tell...