REFUGIO PAZ DE LAS AVES
The best place for birdwatchers to see NEOTROPICAL birds up-close.
NEW HOT BIRD OF THE MONTH! Come and meet our new friend that you may have always wanted to see. $5 extra to see this bird.
THIS IS A REAL STORY ABOUT HOW ANGEL PAZ AND HIS FAMILY CHANGED THEIR WAY OF LIFE AND BROUGHT A SMALL RAY OF HOPE TO SUSTAINABLE TOURISM DEVELOPMENT.
A BIRDIE TALE
Once upon a time there was a logging Paz family like many of the poor logging families that lived in the Northwest of Ecuador. There was nothing special about them, they farmed and cut trees to make space for grass and cows, sometimes they cut the really big and valuable trees when they needed extra money for important things like food, education, and family emergencies, much like many other families did. So this was the way in which the destruction of the cloud forest continued in the Northwest slopes of Ecuador.
A VERY SAD BIRDIE STORY
The forest of this region used to trap the water from the fog, hence the name Cloud Forest, and formed the rivers which feed the lowlands in western Ecuador; these lands form part of the Choco region which is considered one of the top “Hot biodiversity spots” in the world. When the rains came, this lush forest would absorb the excess water in its moss and special water storing vegetation like bromeliads; this accumulation of water in the forest allow the regulation of the water flows which prevented erosion. As more families moved into this rich forest to make a living, the destruction of this biosphere became widespread and today there is only 1% of the primary forest left in the Northwest of Ecuador!
A BIRDIE OF HOPE
In the summer of 2004 the Paz family began a new way of life when Angel Paz, discovered a Cock-of-the-Rock Lek in his property, and soon he learned that this was a big attraction for tourists who were willing to pay money to see the dancing and calling habits of this flashy bird. Angel made contact with Richard Parson who helped and encouraged him to make a trail in the forest so that his tourists (birders) could see the show. In the process of constructing the trail, the antpittas started to show up to eat the worms that were excavated when the trail was being built. Angel was thinking about hunting them since he had done this from his childhood to provide some food, but consulted with Richard who told him that this bird was in danger of extinction and it would be much better to try to make it part of the show. It took Angel three months of hard work to follow this bird and continue with the worm excavating until the bird finally followed him in exchange of a big fat worm. Since then the Paz farm is the most regularly visited place by birders who come to Ecuador to get a glimpse of the 1600 species of exotic birds that live in this country.
A BIRDIE SUSTAINABLE SHOW
The Paz show of today include the original Cock-of-the-Rock Lek, María a Giant Antpitta, Willie a Yellow-breasted Antpitta, Jose a Moustached Antpitta, Shakira an Ochre-breated Antpitta, a good variety of exotic birds that feed on a fruit feeding hall like the: Toucan Barbet, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Sickle-winged Guan, a Black-chinned Mountain Tanager, Blue-winged Mountain Tanager, and a number of nice hummingbirds that come to their sugar feeders. María was the first to show up and to follow Angel and today she can be found along the trails hoping and hoping for a fat worm. The others are more cautious and require some calling and patients for a show-up to the tourists that come to see these special birds.
A BIRDIE LESSON
It is important to realize that billions of dollars have been spent until today by world organizations such as the WTO (World Tourism Organizations) in an effort to educate the people on the importance of the protection of our bioshpere. All of these billions have done very little and today we are faced with the most terrifying threats of global warming and drastic climate changes that are the direct result of the destruction of our delicate biosphere. Why have we not been able to stop our own destruction? The answer could lay on job creation and sustainability which is what the Paz family is showing by example.
HERE IS WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT US
The well known Sam Woods has visited Angel Paz many times and here is what he has to say in his blog Lost In Birding:
“When a farmer near Mindo (Angel Paz) begun inadvertently feeding a strange bird (the rare Giant Antpitta) that hopped along the trail with him while he was building a new trail, few birders could have seen the far reaching consequences just a few short years later. He thus began a trend of antpitta feeding throughout this rich birding country. “
The well know independent birder Derek Kverno wrote on his Birding Ecuador blog:
“The founder of this revolution is none other than Angel Paz, once a struggling Ecuadorian farmer on the northwestern slope of the Andes, now a bird guide and conservationist extraordinaire. In the last five years, Señor Paz has transformed his modest hillside property located just outside Mindo into the hottest birding site in all of Ecuador. “
Come to Ecuador and visit us! Stay at the Pululahua Hostal, an ecolodge that offers very good birding tours.
Check out these great partners for affordable birding programs that support the Ecuadorian people and businesses through the Bird Watching Association for Conservation.
Pacto Sumaco.- Best birding option to visit the Sumaco Biosphere National Park and help the local community of Pacto Sumaco.
Isla Corazon offers community owned birdwatching and mangrove tours. A fantastic place to see mangrove and estuary birds and also help the comunnity of Puerto Portovelo.
Pululahua Hostal - Birding Tours that conserve the forest and money.
Recinto 23 de Junio - The best place to see the Long-wattled Umbrellabird and help conservation.
Gareno Lodge - The best place to view the terra firme birds of the Amazon and to help the conservation of the Huaorani forest.
Cueva de los Tayos.- Thsiis a great place to see and photograph the Oilbirds close to Mindo.