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3rd Medellin Bird Festival Takes Wings on October 27-31, 2016

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The Medellin-based Sociedad Antioqueña de Ornitología -- SAO, the Antioquian Ornithological Society -- announced that it will hold its third annual Medellin Bird Festival on October 27-31, 2016.

This year's festival (see: http://www.festivaldelasavesmedellin.com/ ) will feature special presentations by ornithology experts Claudia Munera and bird-tourism community leader Jose Luis Pushaina from the La Guajira region, an annnual bird photography contest, and special birding excursions both inside and outside Medellin (to species-rich destinations including Jardin, Rio Claro and elsewhere in Antioquia  -- see graphic, above).

Founded in November 1984, the SAO now has 210 dues-paying members (including members in several countries in addition to Colombia). Its president is Ana María Castaño Rivas, and the executive director is Natalia Fajardo.

"Medellín is the capital of the department (Antioquia) that is the richest in bird species in Colombia, the country that holds the world record for greatest number of bird species. Because of this, Medellin is justly known as the 'World Bird Capital,'" according to the SAO.

Aside from the annual Medellin Bird Festivals, other main activies of the SAO include:

1. Publication and sale of bird reference books and field guides;
2. Monthly bird-watching trips;
3. Training guides that work at nature reserves;
4. Monthly meetings featuring illustrated lectures by leading ornithologists and environmental researchers.
5. Distribution of scientific bulletins (“El Cucarachero” and SAO Bulletin);
6. Sponsoring of ornithological research;
7. Providing scholarships for ornithology students;
8. Maintaining the DATAVES computerized database (for members only);
9. Offering courses and workshops on bird subjects, for children and adults;
10. Participation in public exhibitions;
11. Environmental impact studies;
12. Providing training and educational materials;
13. Working with allied institutions;
14. Selling bird-themed books, shirts, calendars, mugs and caps.

Books published by the SAO include three illustrated editions of the Birds of Aburra Valley (Aves del Valle de Aburra);  a Dictionary of Names of Colombian Birds; an illustrated gardener’s guide on planting trees for birds (“Vida, Color y Canto”); a photographic guide to the Birds of the Aburra Valley and several pocket guides.

“We work to encourage more people in the community to devote their free time to enjoy wild birds,” according to the organization.

“For those who have found in birds a passion that combines both birdwatching and research, SAO stimulates places for generating sustainable projects.

“Bird-watching involves not only the proper use of binoculars, but also accurate identification skills through the use of field guides, photos, sounds and songs, habitats and distribution patterns. SAO members make their knowledge available to help form new generations of qualified birdwatchers and scientists."

Among SAO-sponsored bird research projects:

1996. Inventory of wild birds in Club Campestre, Medellín.
1997. Inventory of plants and birds in sports center “Atanasio Girardot,” Medellín.
1997. Inventory of plants and birds in the SENA-Pedregal, Medellín.
1998. Current status of birds in the Aburrá Valley for the Medellin Metropolitan Area.
1998. Inventory of birds in “La Iguaná” watershed, Medellín.
1999. Evaluation of birds in “Santa Elena” watershed, Medellín.
2000. Localization of populations of Crax Alberti in the Lower Cauca Valley and Northeastern Antioquia.
2001. Inventory of birds in “Esteban Jaramillo” Farm and Rosario Biological Substation.
2002. Demographic aspects and habitat use of the Blue­billed Curassow (Crax alberti).
2002. Study of the Blue-billed Curassow populations in the “Bajo Cauca – Nechí” reserve and its buffer zone in the municipality of Anorí.
2003. Inventory of birds and management proposal for the following recreation centers belonging to the Caja de Compensación de Antioquia organization: “Los Grillos” located in “La Estrella” municipality; “Las Ballenas,” located in “Copacabana” municipality, and “Los Osos,” located in Rionegro municipality.
2007. Ornithology workshop, Medellín.
2008. Study on population of vultures at “La Pradera” landfill.
2008. Training workshop on wild birds watching.
2010. First basic course on birds at the “Joaquín Antonio Uribe” botanical garden, Medellín.
2010. “More Forests for Medellin” project.
2011. Adaptation of the “Joaquín Antonio Uribe” botanical garden to make it a friendlier place for birds.
2012. Inventory of birds in “Playa Guío” natural reserve, San Jose del Guaviare municipality, Guaviare, Colombia. Marco Antonio Serna (M.A.S)-SAO Scholarship Fund project.
2012. Study of patterns of occurrence of the Chestnut Wood-Quail (Odontophorus hyperythrus) in a fragmented landscape in Aburrá Valley, Medellín. Marco Antonio Serna (M.A.S)-SAO Scholarship Fund project.
2012. Population characterization and ecology of the Munchique Wren (Henicorhina negreti) in Jardín, Antioquia. Marco Antonio Serna (M.A.S)-SAO Scholarship Fund project.
2012. Structure and composition of mixed flock in a primary forest in the Western mountains of Colombia. Marco Antonio Serna (M.A.S)-SAO Scholarship Fund project.
2012. Birds characterization in the National University of Colombia (UNAL) campus and its importance for urban bird conservation, Medellín. Marco Antonio Serna (M.A.S)-SAO Scholarship Fund project.
2012. Searching for the Blue-billed curassow (Crax alberti) in the Palomino River basin in the Arhuaca de Sabanaculebra region. Marco Antonio Serna (M.A.S)-SAO Scholarship Fund project.
2012. Reproductive biology of birds in the Aburrá Valley: contributions to knowledge of nest predation and chicks diet, Medellín. Marco Antonio Serna (M.A.S)-SAO Scholarships Fund project.
2012. Knowledge and conservation of birds in El Roble region, National Natural Forest Nevado del Huila, Santa María municipality, Huila, Colombia. Marco Antonio Serna (M.A.S)-SAO Scholarships Fund project.
2012. Bird diversity across a shady structure gradient in agroforestry systems in the southwest of Antioquia. Marco Antonio Serna (M.A.S)-SAO Scholarships Fund project.

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