Asa Wright Nature Center: Oct 09—13, 2006

Pre-trip to Jungle Rivers Cruise

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Departs: Port of Spain, Trinidad
Tour Limit: 34
Download Itinerary: PDF (162.3 KB)

Tour Leaders


Steve Hilty

Steve Hilty is the senior author of A Guide to the Birds of Colombia, and author of Birds of...

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This tour emphasizes the natural history of the American tropics as well as bird identification, and is designed for anyone interested in tropical natural history. Birds comprise a highly visible portion of the natural world at the Asa Wright Nature Center, where the tour is based, and they provide the dominant theme of study throughout our tour. The identification of birds in their natural environment is perhaps the first step towards a greater understanding of their lives and of the natural world. The second step is gaining an appreciation and understanding of some of the relationships of present-day tropical birds to their environment. Through a series of relaxed, informative field trips, we hope you will gain confidence with bird identification and a better understanding of how birds and other living things respond to life in the tropics.

Trinidad has a diverse, but not overwhelming number of birds, plants, and animals. Here novices and experienced birders or naturalists alike can get acquainted with almost all of the New World families of birds and sharpen their skills on an avifauna of nearly 400 species. It's also an excellent place to become familiar with an array of tropical trees and flowering plants. During discussions and while in the field, we will examine some of the consequences for birds that drink nectar or eat fruit, as compared to those that search for insects or follow army ants. We will learn about some of the ways tropical plants cope with their environment and how they are affected by the birds and animals that drink (or steal) their nectar and destroy or disperse their seeds.

We will spend four nights at the world-famous Asa Wright Nature Centre. Over the years the Centre has hosted a veritable Who's Who of scientists, including many from the New York Zoological Society's research center just down the valley. One of the first and most prominent was William Beebe. Later, David and Barbara Snow, two English scientists, spent nearly four-and-a-half years working here. Some of their pioneering studies of fruit-eating birds and of the relationships between frugivorous birds and their host plants are classics which laid the foundation for later work by others.

Our pace will be relatively relaxed throughout. This is one of our least strenuous tropical American tours.