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American Ornithological Society and Birds Caribbean celebrate international Ornithological Conference for the first time in Puerto Rico.

Hundreds of ornithologists and bird specialists visited the island to participate in symposiums, presentations, round tables and field trips for bird watching on the island.

After two years of virtual meetings, the American Ornithological Society (AOS) and Birds Caribbean (BC) celebrated for the first time in Puerto Rico the Annual Ornithological Conference (AOS & BC 2022), in collaboration with Para la Naturaleza and the Sociedad Ornitológica Puertorriqueña (SOPI). 

With attendees from over 30 countries, this year’s conference focused on the theme “On the Wings of Recovery: Resilience and Action”. The conference repertoire included 280 contributed papers, 143 symposia papers in 14 different symposia, 8 roundtables, and the exhibition of 146 posters. 

In addition, visitors were able to participate in bird watching at natural areas such as Medio Mundo y Daguao in Ceiba, the Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve in Fajardo, El Yunque National Forest in Río Grande, the Antiguo Acueducto del Río Piedras and the Parque Central de San Juan.

“Having this conference in Puerto Rico is a great opportunity for local and regional ornithologists and conservationists to meet, learn and discuss the most compelling issues affecting biodiversity around the world, as well as to share the latest leading-edge research and conservation solutions”, said Dr. Adrianne Tossas, President of BirdsCaribbean and founding member of SOPI.

Recognizing resilience and recovery in the Caribbean facing of a variety of conservation challenges, keynote speakers Dr. Howard P. Nelson, professor and wildlife biologist from Trinidad and professor of conservation leadership at Fauna & Flora International, and Dr. Herbert Raffaele, retired chief of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of International Conservation, spoke on “Island Futures: Pathways to Resilient Conservation of Caribbean Birds” and “Saving Our World’s Birds: A Plan for the Future” respectively.

This in-person, post-pandemic, reunion was the 140th Annual Meeting for the AOS and the 23rd International Conference for Birds Caribbean and was held the from June 27 to July 2, at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, in San Juan.

A variety of presentations by Para la Naturaleza

During the ornithology conference, attended by more than 780 bird enthusiasts, Para la Naturaleza participated in the exhibits and offered three presentations about different projects that have been carried out by the organization in the past years.

“Para la Naturaleza is committed to the conservation and protection of the biodiversity of the archipelago of Puerto Rico. By supporting an event as important as this one, we have exchanged information and experiences with scientists and experts from different parts of the world.  This will help us to continue improving conservation strategies in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and internationally”, said Elizabeth Padilla, Manager of the Science, Education and Volunteers Unit.

During his presentation, Omar Monzón, Para la Naturalezas’ Conservation and Biodiversity Specialist, explained the importance of citizen science, collaboration with other private entities, and education as tools for the conservation of natural areas and the birds that inhabit Puerto Rico.

At one of the symposiums for “World Migratory Bird Day 2022: Dark Nights, Safe Migrations”, Elizabeth presented the efforts of Puerto Rico Shines Naturally, an initiative that began in 2005 around the Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve in Fajardo and that has successfully educated hundreds of people about the impacts of light pollution.

As well as other regional efforts related to habitat restoration, Alcides Morales-Pérez, Para la Naturalezas’ Management Coordinator at the North Region, described the methodology and findings of the acoustic monitoring conducted in Caño San José and Caño María Hernández, in the Hacienda La Esperanza Nature Reserve, in Manatí.

Ecosystem restoration efforts are necessary to ensure species diversity in natural areas. You can support these efforts, to learn more visit: www.paralanaturaleza.org.

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