Nicaragua IBA Meeting a Success

The active volcano Concepcion on Ometepe

The most recent issue of La Tangara newsletter (the newsletter of Central American Ornithology) featured as its lead our meeting in Nicaragua for the IBA program there.  For the English text of the newsletter visit

I returned to Nicaragua in June for a meeting of IBA leaders and managers for 32 of the 33 IBAs in Nicaragua.  We met at the beautiful volcanic island of Ometepe.  This meeting was the first all country IBA meeting in western hemisphere according to Rob Clay with BirdLife International.  The two day meeting was a chance for these important places to be recognized by the national government through MARENA (the Nicaraguan equivalent to our Department of the Interior).  We had speeches by MARENA and local dignitaries and presentation of plaques recognizing each IBA.  Each attendee also went through an assessment questionnaire process and presented on their IBAs strengths, weaknesses, and major threats.  From these data, our next steps will be solidified as we move forward with conservation of these critical sites.  Some of those next steps involve regional breakout meetings to help establish monitoring programs and identify infrastructure needs to aid those tasked with managing and protecting the IBAs.  One of the other goals of the meeting was to introduce a new eBird filter for Nicaragua that completes eBird availability for Central America.

Audubon NC worked with the eBird to refine the filter to regions within Nicaragua and add species, and recruited reviewers who have now completed review of the existing data already entered and to work with local partners to promote its use.  It was truly inspiring to meet these tireless conservationists working in huge landscapes, often by themselves, with little or no infrastructure or support.  But their passion inspires us all, and as I said in my remarks, often these shared challenges lead to shared solutions.  We look forward to working further with these new found friends in Nicaragua.  Audubon North Carolina was the sponsor of this meeting, paying for each attendees to travel to and from Ometepe (thanks to Juanita Roushdy’s continuing support and other ANC chapter members who went on our trip to Nicaragua in March).

submitted by Curtis Smalling

Working on IBA assessment flip charts

A morning field trip with Salvadora Morales to see her MoSi station where they band overwintering neotropical migrants like Wood Thrush.

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