Cuenca is counting its birds, so far identifying 80 species living in the city and suburbs.
The city’s Environmental Management Commission has enlisted the University of Azuay and professional ornithologists to conduct the survey. The project began in March and will conclude in early 2014 with the publication of a guide of area birds.
In addition to counting species, the work includes identifying endangered species. The work updates a survey conducted in 2003.
Danilo Mejía, who heads up the project, explained that the monitoring covers Cuenca and its suburbs and says locations with the highest number of birds are El Barranco, Parque Paraiso, the Rios Tomebamba Yanuncay greenways and forested areas in Turi and Pumapungo.
Mejía points out that the birds of Cuenca represent a small portion of birds within a short distance of the city. Within 40 kilometers, he says, there are more than 600 species as result of an elevation range of 3,500 to almost 15,000 feet. There are 1,600 bird species in Ecuador, the most for any country of its size in the world.
Among the most common birds in Cuenca are the house sparrow and barn owl, Mejía says.