Support Conservation Through These Charities

There are many ways to support conservation efforts around the world and help preserve the habitats the birds we love inhabit.  One way, which is heavily featured throughout this blog is ecotourism and supporting the local communities directly so they are motivated to keep their wild birds and animals wild and free.  Another way is to donate to registered charities who work with the local communities.

So please help us see more of THIS……………….


……………and NONE of THIS!wpt-2015-appeal

In December & January, many of these charities have a matching donation program in which your donation is matched by a sponsor.  I will note these below.  Please take the time to read through these pages and find one or more conservation charities to support.

WORLD PARROT TRUST -Matching through 31 Jan 2017

ARA PROJECT – First $5000 matched


CORNELL LAB OF ORNITHOLOGY – 1st $150,000 matched




The Hummingbird Effect

Whenever we visit the Americas, hummingbirds are always a highlight.  They dazzle us with their beauty and brilliance and I could spend hours sitting on lodge verandahs watching them dart to and fro.  A world without hummingbirds would be sad indeed.  The American Bird Conservancy is trying to save their habitat so any help you can give would be appreciated.  And remember that hummingbirds share their habitat with many other birds and mammals so save one, you save them all!

For now, enjoy this compilation clip of some of the most beautiful hummingbirds in the world.


Why We Need To Protect These Birds

As we were driving to the airport on the last day, I was dismayed to see a man sitting in the street median selling endemic birds, obviously wild-caught.  I was sitting in a taxi and trying to take pics through the traffic so these aren’t great shots but you can clearly see the little green birds on the left which are Grey-headed Lovebirds and there is at least one Vasa Parrot on the right.  I don’t know what the laws are in Madagascar are, I tend to think it must be illegal otherwise I would have seen more such sellers.  It’s so heartbreaking to see them like this when I just got back from seeing their cousins in the wild.  These birds are probably being captured outside of parks that cater to birders that don’t have park rangers and tourists tramping through each day.

If anyone knows what authority I can send these pics to to help catch these people, please comment below.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get the seller in the pics but a local Malagasy may recognize this location.

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Christmas Gifts That Help Conservation Of Wild Birds

What do you give the person who cares about conserving birds in the wild this Christmas?  How about these gorgeous Arpilleras?  They are hand-made by villagers in the Tambopata area.  If you have ever been there, you will see them on sale at the airport in Puerto Maldonado.  But if you can’t make a quick trip down there to do your Christmas shopping, the World Parrot Trust has them on offer and can be shipped in time for Christmas!  This article shows more about how they are made and how they help conservation.  I am the proud owner of 4 arpilleras!

USA Online Store

UK & Worldwide Store


While you are looking at the online store, check the left sidebar for more interesting gift ideas.  This beautiful calendar is only $10 and offers a beautiful photo of a wild parrot each month!  You can also buy parrot themed clothing, Balata figures of parrots or join the World Parrot Trust.  This Christmas, treat you friends or treat yourself!

**These are not affiliate links, I get nothing from your purchase except the satisfaction of helping to save wild parrots!



Adopt An Acre To Help Trust

The next time you take a hike through the Mastic Trail or visit the Cayman Brac Parrot Reserve, you could just find yourself standing on your own land.

Supporters of the Cayman islands National Trust can now adopt an acre of land, or more or less, to help protect endangered species and threatened sites in the Cayman Islands.

The new fundraising initiative, Adopt Nature, gives people a chance to assist with management and maintenance costs of their adopted area.

Under the scheme, members of the public can adopt a quarter-acre for $99 or a full acre for $350.

Full article here

HT:  City Parrots


I really love the idea of (sort of) owning a small piece of rainforest so birds can fly there freely and safely!

The Mastic Reserve, Salina Reserve and Governor Gore’s Bird Sanctuary are among the areas available for adoption in Grand Cayman, along with the Cayman Brac Parrot Reserve and Brac Splits in Cayman Brac and Booby Pond Nature Reserve in Little Cayman, according to the National Trust.

Dire Message About Why We Need To Conserve Wild Birds

Trafficking of wild-caught birds is devastating no matter how you look at it.  The birds lose their freedom at best, their lives at worst.  The eco-system loses valuable members.  Everyone loses the joy of seeing and hearing wild birds flying free in their native homes.  Trafficking happens because there are people who need to earn money to feed their families and people who are willing to pay them to capture wild birds.  To stop it, we need to offer these people other alternatives for gainful, honest employment so they leave the wild birds alone.  This is where eco-tourism can help.  When we spend our tourist $$ by supporting local communities, they no longer need to capture these birds.  The birds become more valuable left in the wild so they attract eco-tourists.

Let’s have a look at just how damaging the wild-caught bird trade is with this video found on the World Parrot Trust’s Fly Free page.

The fight to end rare-animal trafficking in Brazil
Biologist Juliana Machado Ferreira, a TED Senior Fellow, talks about her work helping to save birds and other animals stolen from the wild in Brazil. Once these animals are seized from smugglers, she asks, then what? – See more at:
If you are doing an eco-tour this year, thank you for doing your part to help save wild birds.  Please try to spend as much cash as possible within the local communities of the nature preserve you are visiting so they stay motivated to leave the birds flying free.
If you are not traveling or doing a city or resort type trip, please consider helping the World Parrot Trust with a donation so they may continue their work.

Golden Parakeets Population Is Increasing!

This beautiful species is my all-time favourite bird and is very important to me.  Last September, we went to Itaituba, Brazil to see them in the Amazonia National Park.  It’s not the easiest place to get to and I will be doing a full blog on how to do it later but I just had to share this fantastic news!  You can read the whole story on Birdlife International.

Golden Cover

Golden Parakeets (Guarouba guarouba)

Orange-Bellied Parrots (Neophema Chrysogaster)

Orange-bellied Parrots (Neophema chrysogaster) are one of the rarest parrots species in the world; and unless something is done, we risk losing them from the planet forever.

I took the photos below on my trip to see them at Melaleuca, Tasmania in March 2014.

Orange-bellied Parrot (Neophema chrysogaster)

Orange-bellied Parrot (Neophema chrysogaster)


Orange-bellied Parrots eating

Orange-bellied Parrots eating

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According to this video report, there are only 20 at the traditional breeding grounds at Melalueca, Tasmania.  They are one of only two species of parrot which migrate.  OBPs breed in Tasmania and spend the winter in coastal grasslands on southern mainland Australia. With only 36 wild birds known to be alive after the summer 2011/12 breeding season, it is regarded as a critically endangered species.  This map shows their range.

OBP range

There is extensive information on the species on the Australian Biodiversity site, but I do want to point out the major threats.

The main current threat to the Orange-bellied Parrot is the loss and fragmentation of its non-breeding saltmarsh habitat. Suitable habitat has been lost to the construction of farmland, industrial sites and saltworks (Ashby 1924b; Brown & Wilson 1982; Loyn et al. 1986; Menkhorst et al. 1990; Starks 1995b; Stephenson 1991; Yugovic 1984). The main factors contributing to the loss of Orange-bellied Parrot habitat are:

  • drainage of wetlands for grazing
  • alteration and destruction of saltmarsh for industrial and urban development
  • grazing of native vegetation
  • vegetation clearance for agricultural purposes
  • changes to land use practices
  • recreational activities (OBPRT 2006a).

Potential threats to the Orange-bellied Parrot population include loss of unknown breeding sites, competition from introduced species, predation, Psittacine Circoviral Disease (PCD), collision with structures, ingestion of toxic weeds and reduced availability of food due to the changed species composition at feeding sites (OBPRT 2006a).

Threat Abatement and Recovery

The current Recovery Plan includes the following objectives:

  • To monitor the population size, productivity, survival and life history of the Orange-bellied Parrot.
  • To identify all sites used by Orange-bellied Parrots and better understand migration.
  • To increase the carrying capacity of habitat by actively managing sites throughout the species’ range.
  • To identify, measure and ameliorate threats, particularly in migratory and winter habitats.
  • To increase the number of breeding sub-populations /groups.
  • To maintain a viable captive population.

How can you help?

Zoos Australia have a captive breeding program and you can help by virtually “adopting” an Orange-bellied Parrot.

Visit their website to learn more about this.

Orange-bellied Parrots are also represented on Facebook and I recommend you like these pages to keep up to date with what is happening with them.

Orange-bellied Parrot Project

Save the Orange-bellied Parrot


In spite of their rarity, it is still possible to see Orange-bellied Parrots in the wild at Melaleuca, Tasmania.  In this post I  show you how to get there on airline miles and organize a visit.  They can also be seen in coastal Victoria while they spend the winter there but they are more spread out and more difficult to spot.  I recommend making the trip to Tasmania to see them between January-early March when there are both adults and newly hatched babies around.



World Parrot Trust



Birds in Backyards


Polytelis Media has a superb clip from their excellent series on Australian parrots on Youtube.


Spix’s Macaw (Cyanopsitta Spixii)

Spix’s Macaw

Believe me, there is nothing I would love more than to be able to post my usual map of where you can see the enigmatic Spix’s Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii) flying free in the wild and tell you how to get there.  Unfortunately, they are extinct in the wild and the species survives only to this day due to a handful of conservation efforts.  They had a very small range in the Brazilian state of Bahia near Curaca.  This map show the rough idea of where they were last seen in the wild back in October, 2000.

A single survivor, the last of his species tried to pair with an Illiger’s Macaw out of loneliness.  No one knows exactly what happened to him, whether he died of natural causes or was trapped and sold to the highest bidder.  The heartbreaking story is told in the excellent book by Tony Juniper,  “Spix’s Macaw, The Race To Save The World’s Rarest Bird”.

As of Nov 2012, there are around 93 Spix’s Macaws in the entire world, all in captivity.  The majority are in the Al Wabra Wildlife Preserve (60).  There are 7 in Loro Parque’s breeding centre in Tenerife, Spain, 7 in Germany and 5 in Brazil.  The others are probably in private collections.

Opportunities to see a Spix’s Macaw in person are very limited.  Unlike most conservation projects, Al Wabra is privately owned and financed by Sheikh Saoud Bin Mohammed Bin Ali Al Thani so they do not require fundraising via ecotourism.  I was lucky enough to pay them a visit in April, 2009; but this was a rare privilege afforded to me through private contacts.  Their website states:

Located on a 2.5 square kilometer large area close to the town of Al Shahaniyah in central Qatar. The farm is not open to the public.

The easiest way to see Spix’s Macaws is to attend the World Parrot Congress held every 4 years at Loro Parque, Tenerife, Spain.  Delegates who join the Loro Parque Fundación are given a tour of La Vera and a chance to see the Spix’s Macaws along with other rare parrot species.

The next conference is scheduled for 22-25 Sept, 2014 and you better believe I have miles earmarked to get there!  The exact details aren’t available yet but I will be blogging about it once they are.  In the meanwhile, you have almost 2 years to collect enough miles to get yourselves from your home to Spain!

Last year, the animated feature film “Rio” was based on the plight of the highly endangered Spix’s Macaw and would make a great gift for anyone in the family!

Although at present, the only Spix’s Macaws are in captivity, there is hope yet that they may once again fly freely in Brazil,  in the land of their ancestors.  AWWP has purchased the Concordia Farm in Curaca, where the last wild Spix’s Macaw was seen in hopes of restoring the land and implementing a release program in the not-too-distant future!

Shopping To Support Conservation – Peru

Tis the season to shop, so why not give some wonderful gifts that in turn give back to the environment?  If you go to Peru to see the macaw clay lick in the Tambopata National Reserve, you will find these beautiful wall-hangings called arpilleras being sold at the airport gift shops and in some of the lodges. One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t buy more of these when I was there and also some of the other crafts they have as they are absolutely gorgeous!

But even if you don’t have a trip planned, you can still get one of these gorgeous artworks for yourself or as a gift for someone!

  These are handmade by indigenous artisans in the jungles of Peru. Each wall-hanging is an original; hand-sewn and unique.  Your purchase will aid local communities and protect wild areas.  These amazing one-of-a-kind fabric artworks support indigenous communities which in turn protect their local clay licks – an arrangement that benefits parrots and humans alike. Funds raised from each sale encourage this sustainable trade.  There is more information here about how arpilleras support conservation and ecotourism.

OK, so now you want one (or 10) and you don’t plan to go to Peru in the near future?  Don’t worry!  They can be ordered from the World Parrot Trust and you have a choice of a USA based store and the UK/Worldwide based store.  All profits go to support their conservation projects that save wild parrots around the world.  I have seen many wild parrots rescued and returned to the wild because of World Parrot Trust over the years.

I have 4 arpilleras in my home and they are treasured featured artworks in my bird room.  If you can’t go to the rainforest, why not bring the rainforest to you?   (And then plan a trip there in the future!)