Discovering the birds of Valparaíso

April 1st – April 13th, 2019
Valparaiso, Chile

The NGO Brote Urbano (Urban Sprout), winner of a mini-grant from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, organized a series of fun and educational activities in the city of Valparaíso, Chile. Other local organizations, such as the Comunidad Parque Quintil (Quintil Park Community), the Instituto de Biología de la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (PUCV, Institute of Biology of the Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso) and the Centro de capacitación para sordos de Valparaíso (Training Center for the Hearing Impaired in Valparaíso), joined their efforts! All of the participating organizations were very important in bringing the world of birds closer to the community. Together, they inspired and brought people of all ages to care about wild birds and their conservation. They also learned about citizen science and how caring for the environment lead to a better quality of life for birds and the community as a whole.

Getting to know the urban birds of Valparaíso!

In April 2019, the NGO Brote Urbano organized a bird walk to observe the birds of Valparaíso and participate in interesting presentations. In the activities, students from local schools participated. During the walk, the participants were able to record the sounds of the local birds. They were very excited to discover that they could submit their recordings in the eBird mobile app. The illustrated data collection sheet prepared by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology was very useful! The participants could compare the birds they observed to their illustrated data collection sheet. This sheet was prepared to support participants from the community, so that they could identify their local common birds easily. You can see and download the material by clicking here! Students also learned about App Aves Chile, a mobile application to identify Chilean birds. Since this application was developed nationally it encouraged students to be interested in this type of technological development. In addition, the PUCV, with the support of Professor Erika Salas Carvajal, made a sample panel of local birds for the students. They were excited and curious to observe the specimens! Photography was not left behind. The national photographer

Activities in the Quintil Park

The Comunidad Parque Quintil is a great green space in Valparaíso and is a recovery space for the local community. For about a quarter of a century, it was used as a place for waste collection and a parking space for trucks. However, since 2016, a revitalization process has begun with the rehabilitation of its green areas and orchard terraces to make it a space for free access anda place to enjoy nature. In this park, and with the participation of the Movimiento Cultural Mesa redonda Panamericana Norte (Pan American North Roundtable Cultural Movement community), bird watching activities were organized with seniors, who were able to live in this urban park and talk with other participants about the importance of local birds. In addition, a nest design was created on a human scale! The participants learned how art could be used as as a tool to get in touch with nature.

Activities with the Centro de capacitación para sordos de Valparaíso

In May, the NGO Brote Urbano set a goal to bring the world of birds closer to the deaf community of the city, bearing in mind that sound experiences are one of the main ways to identify wild birds. To achieve this goal, activities were developed with the Centro de capacitación para sordos de Valparaíso (Training Center for the Hearing Impaired in Valparaíso). In addition, we had the support of students from the Instituto de Biología de la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso(PUCV), who used materials such as our illustrated book materials for Valparaíso as well as field guides to help participants identify local birds. Thus, it was possible to show the participants the most distinctive characteristics of the local birds and their differences, in a closer and entertaining way. This was achieved with the collaboration of Sebastián Gonzales, an educator at tCentro de capacitación para sordos de Valparaíso. It was fantastic to see the participants excited to realize that they could identify the birds that live in their own community.

Activities at the Alimapu School

At the end of April, the NGO Brote Urbano developed outdoor activities with participants of the Alimapu School in the Litre Park (the litre is an endemic tree of the central region of Chile). In this park, they were able to observe birds like the small hummingbird, the Green-backed Firecrown (Sephanoides sephaniodes). The importance of urban parks were discussed, not only for recreation and play, but also to provide habitat to different species of local birds and other animals.

Activities with the children of Colegio Libre Lilén

In May, the NGO Brote Urbano worked with the children of the Libre Lilén School. They talked to them about the birds and took them to observe birds outside! The participants enjoyed the fresh autumn air and discovered the birds in their own environment. In those days, the first rain showers of the season had fallen. The children, curious by nature, wondered if the birds could be seen in these conditions, and what would be their behavior, feeding patterns and movements in these weather conditions. The children were delighted to discover that the birds could be seen despite the rain, and that the urban spaces, even during the rain, provide food and shelter to the birds of the region.

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