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Canopy Family

March 2013

Featured Bird

Chestnut-headed Oropendola

Chestnut-headed Oropendola

Psarocolius wagleri

Chestnut-headed Oropendolas are among the largest members of the Icterid family, which includes caciques, orioles & blackbirds.  They have a black body with a dark chestnut neck and head, yellow tail and a pale beak with a casque (frontal plate).  These large, striking birds are known for their large, woven pendular hanging nests up to 1 metre in length and their even more outrageous call!  They have complex social lives and live in large colonies.  As we approach the oropendola’s breeding season here in Panama we will be able to enjoy all the action at nearby nest sites!

Focus on Plants

Piper peltatum

Monkey's Hand    

Piper peltatum

Piper peltatum is a member of the Piperaceae family, or Pepper family.  They have distinctive flowers, packed onto a stalk which stands vertical when ready for pollination, and are pollinated by bees, beetles & fruit flies.  Seed dispersal, on the other hand, is dependent on specific species of bats called “piperphiles"!  It also has various medicinal properties – a decoction of its leaves provides anti-inflammatory effects, and can help with fever and general pain reduction.  You can rub the leaves over swollen sores for relief, and it can even be used as a tick repellent!

By Jerry Harrison

Early this month, Danilo Rodriguez, Senior Bird Guide of the Canopy Lodge, while leading a group of independent birders, had fantastic views of the rare Crimson-bellied Woodpecker, in the Altos del Maria mountain range.  Check out more recent sightings and trip reports for the amazing birds, mammals, reptiles & amphibians, butterflies and dragonflies seen around the Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge!

Click on the image above to visit our Flickr page for more photos of the Canopy Camp Darien in progress and the great wildlife of Panama!

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Greetings from the Canopy...

Canopy Tower

Dear Friends,

Great things are coming along at the new Canopy Camp in the Darien.  Our crew is out there every day working hard on the construction of the platforms for the tents and on the site facilities.  We have begun to install the flooring in the first tent and it is looking great.  Exclusive Tents, the leader in this industry, manufactured the tents in South Africa and each tent will have its own private bathroom.

I invite you to visit our flickr page to view our construction progress.

We look forward to offering extraordinary birding to our guests, a comfortable stay in unique accommodations, delicious food and an overall fantastic experience in this new and exciting location! 

I will be in touch with more progress soon.  Stay tuned for updates in future newsletters. Happy birding!



   Best wishes, and I hope to see
   you here in Panama soon,


    Raúl Arias de Para

    Canopy Tower Family



Canopy Tower Family News

At the end of January, Carlos & Evelyn Bethancourt traveled to Titusville, Florida and attended the 16th Annual Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival.  While at the festival, Carlos did a presentation titled “Natural Splendor of Panama” and a led a workshop on Neotropical Bird ID, and of course enjoyed birding in Florida!

Evelyn Bethancourt and our good friend Victor Emmanuel of VENT at the 2013 Space Coast Festival

The high season has brought lots of birders and wildlife enthusiasts to Panama!  Field Guides tour leader Chris Benesh and his group were here in February.  Mark Garland was just here with the Audubon Naturalist Society from Washington, D.C., and had a wonderful time with Carlos at the Canopy Tower and Lodge during their stay. Highlights of their visit were killer views of Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo, Blue Cotinga & Tiny Hawk!  The Massachusetts Audubon Society also visited us for the 14th year in a row! Many happy birders indeed!

Field Guides group birding Las Minas Road
Birding Pipeline Road with Mark Garland & friends

Creature Feature

Three-toed Sloth

Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth        

Bradypus variegatus

The Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth is a unique resident of the forests of Central and South America.  This large, arboreal mammal has a stocky body up to 80 cm in length, a rounded head with no visible ears, and a short stubby tail.  Sloths are solitary and sleep for 15-18 hours a day, and awake for brief periods to feed and move around.  They have few natural predators, but are a key prey item of the Harpy Eagle.  This iconic mammal of the Neotropics is a common visitor to the Canopy Tower, Lodge & B&B. 

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