The Bird Endowment is working to save the critically endangered Blue-throated Macaws, which make small migrations. The fewer than 450 blue-throated macaws roost and forage at the Barba Azul and Laney Rickman Nature Reserves in Bolivia. However, during the breeding season (November through March), they leave the reserve, traveling into unknown reaches of the Beni Savannah. The Bird Endowment is currently raising funds to restore the most important breeding grounds for the macaws, which is located on the Laney Rickman Reserve. In addition to providing critical breeding grounds for macaws, these lands may provide important stop-over sites for other migrating birds.
Long-distance migrating birds evolved to take advantage of seasonal food resources, but they face many challenges and perils during their biannual travels between breeding grounds and wintering grounds. In the Americas, birds usually move north into the United States and Canada in spring, then fly south each fall to wintering grounds in Latin America and the Caribbean. Not ALL bird species migrate. But, many do! Some 350 bird species make this daunting trip and need to find places to rest and refuel along the way, just as people do on a long road trip.
These important locations where birds pause between migratory flights are called stopover sites, where birds can refuel and rest in route to their destinations. Many of these stopover sites are used year after year… such as along the coasts of Louisiana, New Jersey and California, the Copper River Delta in Alaska, and the Upper Bay of Panama. There are also important inland sites, including riparian habitat along the San Pedro River in Arizona, wetlands at Cheyenne Bottoms in Kansas, and grasslands in Venezuela. Even sites in urban areas, like Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C., are important to migrating birds. As new areas are restored, they can provide the resources birds need to use that area as a stopover site.
Thanks to evolving technology, using tracking devices such as geolocators and satellite transmitters, we are learning about other key places where migratory birds stop to sustain themselves along their journey.
Environment for the Americas: https://www.ashland.or.us/Files/Stopover%20Factsheet%201.pdf