Friday, November 10, 2006
Macaw Mountain Bird Park near Copan, Honduras (Updated January 2011)
One of the most inspiring places that I visited during my recent trip to Honduras was the Macaw Mountain Bird Park and Nature Reserve located on the outskirts of Copan Ruinas, not far from the famous Maya ruins of Copan. This forested reserve is home to 110 exotic Honduran birds, including macaws, parrots, and toucans that have been rescued from captivity. A true labour of love, the bird park was created by American biologist and businessman Lloyd Davidson. He operated a bird park on the island of Roatan for over four years before purchasing a ten-acre patch of old growth forest near Copan Ruinas. After two and a half years of planning and building, Davidson and his business partner chartered a plane and moved the birds to their new home in 2003.
In addition to large flight aviaries with ample space for the colourful birds to fly around in, the park has nature trails, elevated platforms for viewing wild birds, and open encounter areas where visitors can interact with uncaged macaws and parrots. The park’s gift shop carries souvenirs and packages of “bird friendly” coffee from Finca Miramundo, a highland coffee farm partly owned by Davidson. Proceeds from the shop go towards the reserve’s upkeep.
The Macaw Mountain Bird Park and Nature Reserve is located about 2.5 km north of Copan Ruinas, a short taxi ride from the main square. The bird park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is US$10, which includes a tour with an English-speaking guide. The entrance ticket is good for three days.
Lloyd Davidson, the owner of the Macaw Mountain Bird Park, told me on a visit in October 2010 that he now has between 160-170 birds and is no longer emphasizing breeding. Rather he is organizing moves to release more endangered Scarlet Macaws (the national bird of Honduras) into the Copan Valley. He will also be working with the World Parrot Trust on a ten-year plan to repopulate the wild with Scarlet Macaws, whose populations are seriously low due mainly to habitat destruction and illegal poaching of chicks for the tropical bird pet trade.