Stunning Photographs Illustrate Ridgely’s New Field Guide

Cover of Hummingbirds of Ecuador
Dr. Robert Ridgely

Perhaps no other birds mesmerize us the same way hummingbirds do. Totally captivating in the unique dexterity of their flight, and with colors that can defy description and change from one instant to another as the angle changes, hummingbirds are found only in the Americas where they reach their highest diversity in the tropics.

Few countries have more hummingbird species than tiny Ecuador with its cross-section of habitats ranging from the vast Amazon basin to lush montane forests and high Andean steppes to desert scrub near the Pacific coast, each area with its own group of specialties: over 130 species are found here!

Now finally we have a book that focuses on this incredible diversity of feathered jewels, a field guide written by Rainforest Trust President, Dr. Robert S. Ridgely, and published this year: Hummingbirds of Ecuador.

Unlike the rest of Dr. Ridgely’s bird books, this one is illustrated by an extraordinary set of photographs using high-speed digital photography. Thanks to an amazing surge in popularity of hummingbird feeders across Ecuador, people can easily see (and photograph) the vast majority of species at ultra-close range. Birdfeeders were the inspiration for this book, as so many people were observing hummingbirds coming to feeders without knowing much about what they were viewing.

This is a book anyone with an interest in birds should own. All proceeds will support reserves in Ecuador owned by Fundación Jocotoco and established with Rainforest Trust support.

You can purchase your copy from Amazon.com!

Matsés Communal Reserve Expanded to 2.3 Million Acres

With your help, we supported our Peruvian partner–Center for the Development of Indigenous Amazon (CEDIA)–in purchasing and saving an additional 148,410 acres of the Matsés Communal Reserve, buffering the Matsés National Reserve. This new purchase expands the combined reserves to over 2.3 million acres for wildlife and indigenous Matsés communities.

In August 2009, Rainforest Trust and CEDIA announced the declaration of the Matsés National Reserve to protect 1,039,390 acres of pristine Amazonian rainforest and buffer the Matsés Communal Reserve from deforestation and mining. Following that declaration Rainforest Trust donors, together with the Blue Moon Foundation, supported CEDIA to establish a long-term management plan for the Matsés Commual Reserve and protected an additional 148,410 acres in July 2012.

Using digital mapping technology, CEDIA identified two tracts totaling 148,410 acres of rainforest in the headwaters of the Río Chobayacu and Alto Yaquerana that were completely unprotected yet contained some of the oldest indigenous settlements of the Matsés tribe. Unfortunately, gas and oil exploration permits were issued to a Canadian company in 2011 for the very same area. Armed with the management plan, maps, and indigenous community support, CEDIA lobbied the Peruvian government to assign the area to the Matsés Communal Reserve. We are delighted to report that the additional 148,410 acres were approved for protection by the government in July 2012, so that a total of 2,306,509 acres of Amazon rainforest are protected in the Matsés Communal Reserve and Matsés National Reserve combined.

Other results of the management plan with the Matsés community have been to establish an eco-tourism initiative called “an Alter-NATIVE experience.” Rainforest Trust’ support allowed the community to structure a surveillance system with equipped checkpoints that prevents illegal logging across the their territories and the Matsés Communal Reserve.

If you are looking for an adventure and want to join Rainforest Trust staff for a visit to the Matsés communities in March 2013, please drop us an email.

Learn more about saving the Amazonian Rainforests in Peru by clicking here.