ene 1, 2010
In 1998 Dr. George Angehr, an ornithologist, Research Associate with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, organized simultaneous counts from Ancon Hill, Bahai Temple and Canopy Tower (Semaphore Hill), counting 1.6 million migrating raptors. These counts along with recently organized efforts from CEASPA on the Caribbean Coast of Panama showed that if simultaneous counts were donde in various places at the narrowest part of the isthmus, we could find out the times and routes used by these migrating raptors.
Years later Panama Audubon Society and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary united their efforts in the year 2004 to bring about the first count of migrating birds of prey in the Western Hemisphere in the narrowest place of the migratory route: The Panama Canal. Due to their topography and road system, the neighboring areas of the Panama Canal provided nine (9) accessible observation places during a period of six weeks, being that these places were ideal for monitoring the migratory flights. From October thru November 3,125,486 migratory birds of prey flew over the Isthmus of Panama; among them the Broad-winged Hawk, the Swainson Hawk, and the Turkey Vulture were the most numerous.
This project, called Raptors Ocean to Ocean, was directed by George Angehr and coordinated in the field by the biologist Chelina Batista. The collaborators from non-governmental organizations were CEASPA, the Peregrine Fund and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). The support of the governmental organizations came from the Panama Canal Authority, the Interoceanic Regional Authority, the National Environmental Authority the Panama Mayor’s Office, and the Interinstitutional Protection Service. The private sector was represented by the Canopy Tower and the Gamboa Rainforest Resort.
More than 40 people participated; including international volunteers from Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico, Canada, and the United States. students from the University of Panama, volunteers from ANCON and residents from the communities of Escobal and Achiote in the Province of Colon also took part in this event.
In 2005 and 2006 the raptors counts were done from Ancon Hill; the Neotropical Raptor Center of the Peregrine Fund, Gunn Hill, Clayton; the Canopy Tower, and in the community of Escobal, Loma Flores in the Province of Colon. These counts also counted on the aid of previously mentioned organizations, institutions and private entities, and Advantage Tours.
From Ancon Hill, more than one million, four hundred thousand birds of prey flew over the City of Panama, in 2007. Panama is a privileged country. In the world there exists only four (4) known places where one can see a million migratory raptors in a season: Israel, Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama.