Birding

February 21, 2014

The Cuban Trogon: Guest Poetry

Travel to Cuba impacts everyone differently. International Expeditions’ guest James Blackburn wrote a series of poems about his experiences on our people-to-people Cuba tour. James’ poetry includes stars of Cuba's endemic bird species.

The Cuban Trogon

December 06, 2013

The Cuban Parrot: Guest Poetry

Travel to Cuba impacts everyone differently, and many IE guests have found themselves moved to poetry! A guest on our people-to-people Cuba travel program wrote a dozen poems about his experience—all are accounts of Cuba seen through the eyes of birds. James Blackburn's poetry includes stars of Cuba's endemic bird species: the Cuban trogon, the limkin, the Cuban tody and the smooth-billed ani.

While traveling to a big city like Havana may give you a chance to sample Cuba’s music and art, journeying outside to the countryside when you travel to Cuba on International Expeditions’ “Complete Cuba” tour gives you a chance to experience the nature of this once-forbidden island. Though there aren't many mammals in Cuba, there are numerous endemic species of birds.

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A new Andean bird species — the Junin Tapaculo — was discovered in Peru by a University of Kansas graduate student working in Junin, a remote department north of Cusco. The new tapaculo’s range is limited to heavily vegetated band of Andean cloud forest between about 8,000 and 10,500 feet

Following up on leads from fellow birders and ornithologists, Peter Hosner tracked down this new species by following its distinctive vocalization.

The diminutive Cuban pygmy owl lives exclusively on Cuba, but they make their homes in a variety of forest habitats across the Caribbean island. The IUCN Red List classifies this species as one of Least Concern, which means there is a healthy number of these endemic  winged creatures living all over the island of Cuba. So there's a good chance you'll spot at least one of these tiny birds when you join IE’s people-to-people Cuba tour.

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The Northern horned screamer is a large bird that doesn’t quite fit in with other species…in fact; there are only three species in their family Anhimidae. Northern horned screamers live in aquatic areas with lots of emergent vegetation and when walking on water lettuce or hyacinth, look like a very large goose.  Their feet, however are not webbed, but they have fairly heavy long toes that support their weight on the floating mats of vegetation. 

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In January, Jim Smith joined IE to travel to Cuba. Jim commemorated his experience with a series of poems, which he has graciously agreed to share. Read other entries here.

flitting branch to branch
sipping nectar ceaselessly
rare “bee hummingbird”

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An amazing fact in regards to the great egret, also known as the common egret: Not only is this a common bird in the Peruvian Amazon, but it is also a common resident over much of the United States.  Often, however, on ecotours, guests seem to be quite enamored by the 3 ½ foot tall birds not realizing that it’s the same bird they may have seen in their own home state!

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