My Thoughts Drift To Colombia

For reasons I will need to write more about another time, Colombia has been on my radar recently. When I first visited that country, the conflict was in full swing and my only task was to give a series of lectures related to the country’s potential for nature-based tourism. And I remember very clearly my sense of responsibility for not creating false expectations: as long as there was conflict, this potential would remain just that.

My most recent visit was as the conflict was nearing formal resolution. At that time I was engaged for some weeks of work to be very specific about the potential, location by location. And I was then able to say, based on my own direct observation, that this country would be a powerhouse in the birdwatching market. And I have to admit, I did not have then the knowledge I have now, thanks to the Lab of Ornithology, about the country’s species count and its ranking in the world. The information was there, but I did not have it. Now I do, and my sense of confidence in the country’s opportunity to leverage this abundance into sustainable development is strong. The film above came to my attention in the last 24 hours from several sources, all of whom I thank. But particularly I thank the sponsors of the film for their vision, and the director of the film for his visual acuity:

The Birders, a documentary film on Colombian bird diversity and birdwatching presented by ProColombia, with support of FONTUR and directed by Gregg Bleakney. The film highlights Colombian local birdwatching guide, Diego Calderon-Franco and National Geographic photographer / videographer Keith Ladzinski as they travel through one of the most diverse bird regions in the world to capture new and rare birds that have never been filmed before. The Birders, also takes people through the Colombian landscape, highlighting several of its’ top locations, culture, birds and music. As well as; Los Flamencos Fauna and Flora Sanctuary, in the Guajira Peninsula. El Dorado Bird Reserve, in the Santa Marta Mountains. Minca and surroundings, in the Santa Marta Mountains. Tayrona National Natural Park and El Chamicero del Perija Bird Reserve, in the Perija Mountains. The films aims to change the perception of Colombia through showcasing the diversity of birds who live there. “Birdwatching in Colombia is a real adventure. These guides and biologists are always finding new things”, says director Gregg Bleakney. Diego Calderón agrees, “Being a bird guide in Colombia is absolutely crazy, we are basically living the Victorian times of exploration. You can choose a remote corner of the country and almost for sure you are going to find surprises: new species, new subspecies, new range extensions. Colombia is a box of surprises!” Along with the unique birds and exquisite landscape, The Birders incorporates an original score from local musicians inspired by the bird songs found in the film. Mucho Indio – Teto Ocampo Teto Ocampo has spent the past 10 years learning to play the Arhuaco people’s ancestral songs. Though his band, Mucho Indio, Teto takes listeners on a cosmic journey through space and time by translating Colombia’s most ancestral melody, the song of the hummingbird, to a modern format. He composed the melody with a rare charu flute, an instrument that only a handful of people on planet have the knowledge to play. Song name: Kumuchikayu Sidestepper English musician Richard Blair is most well known as the founding member of Sidestepper, a pioneering Colombian band that has paved the way for a modern generation of Colombian artists who have successfully gone global through mixing local and foreign musical concepts. Richard’s meditative song was inspired by “mixed migrant flocks”, a phenomenon where foreign birds migrate to Colombia’s Caribbean region to live, travel and sing with local groups of birds. Song name: To Close Your Eyes Ghetto Kumbé Together with the team of the documentary, Edgardo Garcés travelled to his birthplace of La Guajira to record the song of the Vermilion Cardinal. Edgardo tattooed the bird on his arm to ground himself after the death of his parents. He had never seen the bird in the wild before. The story of this eye-catching bird’s connection to indigenous Wayúu culture is the inspiration for this modern Afro-Colombian electronic song. Song name: Soy Guajira Frente Cumbiero Using Colombian Cumbia as its base, Mario Galeano and his band Frente Cumbiero composed a modern take on the classic USA surf songs of the 1960s, but with a birder’s soul. The song draws inspiration from the endemic Santa Marta Parakeet. These social birds live in flocks on a massive ridgeline overlooking the Caribbean Sea and Magdalena River Valley, the birthplace of Cumbia music. Song name: Parakeet Ridge El Leopardo With his band El Leopardo, Daniel Broderick (aka Dani Boom) composed a thumping electronic club song that mirrors the Manakin bird’s slow build-up to a frenetic courtship display. The mechanical clapping sound of the White-bearded Manakin’s wings, recorded by the documentary team in Tayrona National Park, is the foundation of Dani’s composition. The courtship call of the Lance-tailed Manakin provided a secondary melody. Song name: Manakin Boom

Visit to: http://www.colombia.travel/birds/ THE BIRDERS DIRECTOR’S STORY https://youtu.be/pTV4sDbRZG8 THE BIRDERS IN THE AMAZON https://youtu.be/lAaNcPQeXsA THE BIRDERS IN THE ANDES https://youtu.be/7QChH4P-5m8 THE BIRDERS IN THE CARIBBEAN https://youtu.be/lxISKfo3YSQ THE BIRDERS IN THE ORINOQUIA https://youtu.be/5IDQlHQDIpI THE BIRDERS IN THE PACIFIC https://youtu.be/YiUJ_rCXtpI #birds #ornithology #birdwatching

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