More than 1,000 people attended the third annual Migratory Bird Festival on Chiloé Island, Chile, on November 23rd and 24th.


The festival was held in the town of Putemún to celebrate the migratory shorebirds that winter in the eastern wetlands of Chiloé, a vital site for many species, and was organized by Centro de Estudios y Conservación del Patrimonio Natural (CECPAN). Festival attendees enjoyed shorebird-themed theater, dance and music, as well as local food tastings, handicrafts, scientific and educational talks and guided birding walks in the wetlands of Putemún.


Diego Luna Quevedo, Southern Cone Coordinator for Manomet’s Shorebird Recovery Project, traveled to Chiloé to attend the festival.  


“Chiloé’s Migratory Bird Festival has become an iconic local event, bringing people together to inspire the conservation of shorebirds and their habitats,” Luna Quevedo said. “People begin to feel a sense of pride in the fact that these birds have traveled thousands of miles to get to Chiloé.”


In 2011, the eastern wetlands of Chiloé became a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) site of hemispheric importance. Each year, this site hosts 27 percent of the global Hudsonian Godwit population and 61 percent of the Pacific coast Whimbrel population, making it one of the most important places in the world for these two species. Both the Hudsonian Godwit and Whimbrel breed in North America, have annual migrations over 15,000 miles and are of high conservation concern.


Recognizing Chiloé’s significance for these and other migratory shorebirds, an international coalition of partners has been working with their counterparts in Chile to develop and implement a shorebird conservation plan there.


Through a grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the “Conservation Plan for Migratory Birds in Chiloé” was developed and is currently being implemented by a group of national and international organizations led by Manomet. The group includes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Audubon Society, the Nature Conservancy, CECPAN and several local Chilean NGOs and municipalities.  


“So far, the coalition has made significant progress in good governance and site-level management, the involvement and direct participation of Chilean communities through events like Chiloé’s Migratory Bird Festival, the monitoring of shorebird populations and the generation of direct connections between conservation and local productive development,” Luna Quevedo said.


The Packard Foundation recently provided Manomet with funds to implement the third phase of the Plan, which will be launched in January 2014.


Diego Luna Quevedo and Haley Jordan


Photo Credit: ObsAves Chiloé Cecpan