Por: Luis Fernando Castillo, Calidris Association Director.
“Cali was then the city of palms; and in those towering and elegant plants the coclíes nested. These large birds formed noisy ramblings there in the afternoons, like storks. That song, or that noise, has always been pleasing to the Cali people; we have seen one of these, far from his homeland, cry with nostalgia, for having heard a coclí sing.” Cali in 1789, Chapter VII – The Alférez Real. Jose Eustaquio Rivera.
The previous paragraph gives an account of how lush this region was at that time and speaks of the abundance of two species of birds that unfortunately today, their populations have drastically decreased due mainly to the decrease in natural habitats.
In the entire municipality of Santiago de Cali, 562 different species of birds are reported (Palacio et al., 2017), which represents 29% of the birds in Colombia, which are 1932 species (Ayerbe-Quiñones, 2019). For the urban area of the city, there are an estimated 250 species of birds, a very interesting figure that makes our city perhaps one of the richest in birds in the world.
Obviously, the whole city is not the same and the same species are not found everywhere. For example, in the south of Cali and the area surrounding Hacienda Cañasgordas, at least 122 of these species have been recorded, representing almost half (48%) of those found in urban areas. This area is characterized by having still remnants of the representative vegetation cover of the tropical dry forest, which is the natural ecosystem and highlights the importance of these patches as a habitat that offers necessary resources for birds such as food, shelter, nesting sites among others.
At the moment, only 33 species of birds have been reported for Hacienda Cañasgordas, this as a result of a single visit made in October 2019 within the framework of the Urban Bird Census of Cali, an event coordinated by the Calidris Association and the Administrative Department for the Environmental Management of Cali – DAGMA. At that time the most common birds were the Colombian Canary, the Blue and White Swallow, the Bluebird, the Tortolita and the Bichofue.
Other notable records were two species of migratory warblers, species that travel every year from Canada and spend several months in our country. It is also worth mentioning the Chilacoa, the road hawk and the common Bienparado, all these species difficult to observe due to their solitary habits.
As the observations are maintained over time, surely this list will expand since the Hacienda constitutes a refuge for the fauna that is increasingly cornered by the growth of the city, so places like this are fundamental to guarantee the survival of many species.
It is quite probable that species such as the Chocolero Parakeet (Psittacara wagleri), the Colombian Guacharaca (Ortalis columbiana), the White Eagle (Elanus leucurus), the Cheja Parakeet (Pionus menstruus) and the Cariseca Macaw (Ara severus) all these species of conservation interest or victims of the illegal wildlife trade.).
The Hacienda Cañasgordas is a habitat that is used by different species of birds, providing feeding or reproduction sites. In addition, it is also used by migratory birds that every year come here in search of refuge after their exhausting journey.
Table 1. Bird species observed at Hacienda Cañasgordas during the Urban Bird Census in Cali held on October 13, 2019. The scientific and common name of each species is indicated, as well as the number of individuals observed during the day.
Luis Fernando Castillo Cortés – Calidris Association Director
Born in the city of Cali and a professional in biology graduated from Universidad del Valle, he has more than 25 years of experience leading and developing conservation projects focused on birds and their habitats.
He is the Executive Director of the Calidris Association and a member of the Executive Council of the Hemispheric Network of Shorebird Reserves, He is also a member of the Council for the Conservation of Waterfowl of the Americas, of the Group for the Conservation of Caribbean Flamingo and a member of the group of Directors of the worldwide NGO network of the United States Forest Service.
Colombian civil society organization based in the city of Santiago de Cali, which since 1989 has been working for the conservation of birds and their habitats through management, research, community strengthening and the sustainable use of natural resources . Thanks to this work we are today one of the most experienced conservation organizations in Colombia, it has played a leading role in advancing research on waterfowl in our country, it has been a fundamental support of the Network of Bird Observers from Colombia and school for many national and international researchers.
We are the partner organization of BirdLife International in Colombia, a global alliance of democratic and independent associations that aim at the conservation and study of birds, which strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources. In addition, we work in partnership with more than 50 organizations in Colombia and the continent, among which are Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Wetlands International, Conservation International Colombia, WWF Colombia, RARE Inc ., National Audubon, National Natural Parks of Colombia and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development of Colombia.