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Ecuador’s Magic Birding Circuit Draws New Visitors to Eco-Lodges

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QUITO, ECUADOR—Two eco-lodges in Ecuador—San Jorge Eco-Lodges and Botanical Reserves, and San Jorge de Milpe—are taking advantage of their tropical location and robust bird population to build new business. Located in northwestern South America, the country of Ecuador is rich with bird life. With more than 1,600 species of birds (roughly 20 percent of the world’s total), Ecuador is a birder’s paradise.

Less than 20 minutes from the Quito airport, San Jorge is both a birding epicenter and an ecological masterpiece. Home to the Magic Birding Circuit, San Jorge offers their birding guests the unique opportunity to visit four ecosystems: High Barren Plains and Highland Rainforests outside of Quito, Tandayapa Valley Cloud Forest, Upper Lowland Subtropical Rainforest in Milpe, and Andes Cloud Forest near San Isidro Valley.

With more than 1,200 protected acres to bird and explore, San Jorge also prides itself on conservation by preserving the habitat of many indigenous plants, animals and more than 800 species of birds. This includes very rare species such as the Greater Scythebill and Andean Condor, as well as endangered and scarce species such as the Rufous Antpitta, Orange Breasted Falcon, and Glistening Green Tanager. In addition, 30 percent of all tour proceeds go directly toward their continuous conservation efforts.

The Magic Birding Circuit begins at San Jorge Eco-Lodge and Botanical Reserve in Quito. After spending time there, the next stop for tourists is San Jorge de Tandayapa Reserve. Just 45 minutes from the Lodge, lying peacefully within the Cloud Forest in the lower Tandayapa Valley, Tandayapa is part of the Choco Endemic Bird Area of Northwest Ecuador.

After a full day at Tandayapa, visitors go to San Jorge’s new birding lodge, San Jorge de Milpe. Milpe, which is found in the Upper Lowland Subtropical Rainforest, is not only one of several private birding reserves that are part of the San Jorge family but it is also the new home to their second Eco-Lodge. Opened in late 2006, Milpe shares many of the primary Eco-lodge’s same qualities: excellent birding opportunities with over 450 species, wide trails and observatory sites, and wooden rooms with views.

The fourth and final private reserve is San Jorge de Cosanga-Yanayuca, a birdwatcher’s paradise located in the subtropical eastern slopes of the Andes Cloud Forest near the San Isidro Valley. Adjoining the Antisana National Park, San Jorge de Cosanga-Yanayacu offers 60 acres of wild, virgin forest which are home to ocelets, panthers, night monkeys, porcupines, armadillos, and spectacle bears.

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