The Streby Lab
Actionable Science for Evolutionarily Rational Conservation and Management
Medellin is a gorgeous city in the heart of the bird capital of the world. The Department of Antioquia is about the size of West Virginia, USA, but has more bird species (relative to area) than any other place on the planet. This region hosts more species than the entire continent of North America sees all year. We eagerly accepted the invitation to visit Medellin and speak about our migration research at the first annual Bird Festival. Conveniently, we recently found that some of our geo-marked golden-winged warblers wintered in Colombia, making for an exciting topic of conversation.
The Festival was a city-wide celebration of birds and of 30 years of the Antioquian Ornithological Society (SAO). The Festival had scientific symposia, a film festival, a photography competition, a bycicle ride for birds, and much more!
For the first talk on the first day of the festival, Henry presented "From Tennessee to Colombia and Back Again" about our golden-winged warbler migration research, at EAFIT University in Medellin. Universidad EAFIT is a prestigious school with world class facilities. Henry's talk was simul-translated in Spanish, but most audience members were fluently bilingual. You can watch Henry's talk, with Spanish translation, on EnVIVO, the Universidad EAFIT television channel.
After Henry's presentation, he was interviewed by media from the university and other organizations, and then he, Gunnar, and other guests enjoyed a tour of a museum within the university's library.
On the third night of the festival we attended a gala in celebration of 30 years of the Antioquian Ornithological Society (SAO).
The gala was held in an enormous open air venue in the city's botanical garden. The evening was highlighted by a local dance troupe performing as birds, a university symphony orchestra, and great Colombian food and drink with many new friends.
As if the fully sponsored trip wasn't enough, Henry and Gunnar received so many gifts from our sponsors and the conference organizers that Henry had to buy an extra bag for the trip home!
By far the best part of this trip was the people. Our hosts were a group of university students and young professionals who treated us like rockstars every moment of the trip. They escorted us around the city from venue to venue, pointing out landmarks, explaining cultural history, and demonstrating great pride in their city and their country. We enjoyed delicious food and amazing beverages at every meal.
They helped us with our Spanish, and they took us salsa dancing, coffee tasting, and of course bird watching! On the last full day we were led by Colombia Birding on a trip to the dry forest of San Joronimo, where we saw 60 species including several migrants that nest at our North American study sites and a few rare endemics.