Location and Importance:
Patagonia Bird Sanctuary is located inside a 550 acre private nature reserve next to Villa La Angostura, a mountain village in Patagonia, Argentina. What makes this nature reserve so unique is its immense biodiversity, old growth temperate rain forests, 150 acres of protected wetlands, all surrounded by two National parks inside the Unesco World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR). The Andino Norpatagonica region is the natural habitat for over 200 species of birds including the famous Magellanic woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus), only found along the Andes mountain range (longest in the world) of Chile and Argentina.
Both the Municipality as well as the Province have recognized the conservation values of our natural area and have officially declared the Patagonia Bird Sanctuary as a protected area and of public interest. We also have the endorsement of Tim Appleton, our international consultant, who is the Co-Founder of the British Birdfair (the largest bird fair in the world).
In 2011, Nicolas Winegardner was inspired to dedicate a big part of this private nature reserve to the public and created Patagonia Bird Sanctuary in order to attract birdwatchers from all over the world and help contribute to the global sustainability movement through conservation, ecotourism, and birdwatching. Later that same year, however, the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic complex in Chile erupted and massive amounts of ash were spewed into the atmosphere. This ash would eventually reach as far as Australia, but Villa La Angostura and its surrounding regions were some of the most heavily affected areas. Our birdwatching project was put on hold as we waited for nature to heal and restore. While the first few years after the eruption were harsh, due to the incredible fertilization qualities of the volcanic ash, Villa La Angostura has since rebounded and is now more beautiful than ever. Vegetation now grows stronger, lusher, and vibrantly; the lakes have taken new spectacular colors and are incredibly clear; and the wildlife has benefited tremendously from these changes.
Patagonia Bird Sanctuary is currently open by appointment only. We offer half-day or full-day guided tours of the sanctuary with profesional (english speaking) birdwatching guides. The half-day experience is four hours long and can be taken either in the morning or in the afternoon. The full day experience is eight hours long with a lunch break in between. Visitors can choose to organize their experience across multiple days as well. Approximately 60 different bird species are confirmed to currently reside in the sanctuary. More species can also be sighted and observed but with less frequency. To learn more about the birds of the sanctuary, click here. Birdwatchers that range from beginners to experts are sure to enjoy an unforgettable birding experience.
How we are enriching and bringing new life to the Sanctuary:
While our mission is to conserve birdlife, we realize that we can take part in helping it flourish as well. Here are some of the things we are focusing on to bring environmental enrichment to its maximum potential:
For the future, we envision certain aspects that will unlock the full potential of Patagonia Bird Sanctuary. We plan for the sanctuary to include over 2.5 kilometers of walkways, viewpoints of the Andes mountains and lake Nahuel Huapi, hides; a visitor center that will include a reception area, gift shop, ornithology and environmental education classes, educational seminars and workshops on wetlands, conservation, sustainability, flora, fauna, and nature. Professional guided tours will also be offered to all, but will be focused more on avid bird watchers. Most of the general public may wish to simply enjoy nature walks and learn about the importance of land and water conservation, birdlife, and the educational activities and scientific research that will be promoted at the sanctuary.
These goals for the Patagonia Bird Sanctuary project will be developed as soon as financing is achieved. We are in the process of opening a foundation in order to receive donations from public as well as private sectors. Other foundations and NGO's will also be contacted for additional contributions. The province of Neuquén has issued a resolution declaring the Patagonia Bird Sanctuary project of public interest and indicated that it may help fund part of the project. We believe that we can contribute to the global sustainability movement through conservation and education because we have the perfect opportunity to create an emblematic and successful model for a sustainable development inside an urban area as an example for others to follow.
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Patagonia Bird Sanctuary is not affiliated with Patagonia, Inc.