Celebrating World Migratory Bird Day

Published: May 2013

Cerulean Warbler (Dendroica cerulea)

As its forest habitat is lost to agricultural and urban expansion, cerulean warbler populations have continued to decline. This small songbird winters on the slopes of the Andes Mountains in Colombia, where the Rainforest Alliance is training farmers in sustainable coffee production. Farmers working with the Rainforest Alliance plant tall shade trees on their coffee estates, which have become a favorite habitat of cerulean warblers, often called the “signature” bird of the shade coffee movement.

Swainson's Hawk (Buteo swainsoni)

This medium-sized hawk gathers in large kettles (flocks) of hundreds of birds for its yearly migration from western North America to southern Brazil, eastern Argentina and Paraguay-- one of the longest migrations of any raptor. During the journey, hawks pass through the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, where 79,000 acres (32,000 hectares) of cattle ranchland have become the first in the world to earn Rainforest Alliance certification.

Rufous-tailed hummingbird (Amazilia tzacatl)

Rufous-tailed hummingbirds are medium-sized migratory birds who feed on nectar and small insects. Among their favorite winter habitats are the cocoa and coffee farms of South America, where the Rainforest Alliance is helping farming communities earn a decent living while preserving biodiversity. Rufous-tailed hummingbirds have been spotted in Ecuador’s moist, dense Chocó forests, where the Rainforest Alliance is working with the Chachi indigenous group to protect their remaining coastal forests.

Golden-cheeked warbler (Dendroica chrysoparia)

The golden-cheeked warbler is a small, endangered songbird named for its distinctive yellow face, which is outlined in black with a thin black stripe through both eyes. Each winter, the warbler migrates south to the pine oak forests of Mexico and Guatemala, where the Rainforest Alliance is working with communities who harvest forest products and training them to use sustainable methods that keep these ecosystems intact while improving local livelihoods.

Ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)

The ruby-throated hummingbird is among the smallest of the North American hummingbirds, weighing only 0.1 ounce! These tiny birds fly south to overwinter on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico--the same region where millions of tourists each year visit the sandy beaches of the Riviera Maya. Travelers can help protect this and other important species by choosing hotels listed on our SustainableTrip.org website, a directory of hotels and tour companies who have committed to protecting the environment.

Golden-winged warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera)

The golden-winged warbler spends the summer breeding season in the open woodlands of the northeastern United States and journeys south to overwinter in the tropical forest canopies of Central America and northern South America. In Nicaragua, Georges and Lili Duriaux-Chavarría created El Jaguar Private Wildlife Reserve, a bird sanctuary that protects 260 acres (120 hectares) of warbler habitat and includes an organic, Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee farm as well as a Rainforest Alliance Verified sustainable eco-lodge.

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