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Canopy Family

October, 2012

Featured Bird

Swallow-tailed Kite

Elanoides forficatus

     The graceful flight of this medium-sized hawk (20 to 25 inches) is always a pleasure to watch.  The striking black-and-white pattern, together with its deeply-forked tail and long, thin pointed wings (wingspan: 48 inches), make identification of this raptor easy. Swallow-taileds feed on the wing by catching flying insects or plucking exposed insects, small lizards and snakes from tree tops.  Swallow-tailed Kites seldom perch, and it is always a treat to see one resting on an exposed tree branch.
    Swallow-tailed Kites breed in Panama and migrate to South America in the non-breeding season (October to early January). Flocks of migrating birds from the southern US pass through Panama on their way to South America in late July through early September and on the return trip in early January through March. During the breeding season flocks of 20+ birds may be seen soaring low over the trees.

Focus on Plants

Epidendrum nocturnum

The Night-scented Orchid

Epidendrum nocturnum is an epiphytic orchid with a wide distribution, found from southern Florida, the Greater Antilles, Central America to most of tropical South America.  In Panama it can be seen flowering most of the year, with the biggest burst during the late rainy season to early dry season (November to January). Though an epiphyte, it can sometimes be found growing on moss-covered rocks or on low branches at eye level. Look for this stunning orchid in trees along Pipeline Road or along wooded trails from the Canopy Lodge.

Quick Facts:

  • easily cultivated
  • flowers usually autogamous (self-     pollinate)
  • sweet scent attracts moths    
  • flower large and white
  • only one flower opens at a time

News Flash!

Carlos (CTF Head Guide) and Evelyn Bethancourt will represent Canopy Tower Family at the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival November 7-11.  Stop by our booth and learn about Panama's great birding!  Then Carlos heads to California for the Central Valley Bird Symposium, where he will be Saturday's keynote speaker.

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Greetings from the Canopy...

Dear Friends,

     The Canopy Tower Family is proud to announce that we have made a significant investment in Planting Empowerment, a socially-responsible forestry management company. The investment will enable Planting Empowerment to expand their operations in Panama’s Darien province, where they has been growing tropical hardwoods for the past six years.  We made this investment because we support their mission of profitable, socially-responsible forestry. Please read more about Planting Empowerment and their efforts to improve forestry practices in Panama.

     During October and November, the narrow isthmus of Panama is the sight of one of the world’s greatest avian migration events.  Hundreds of thousands of raptors pass overhead on the way to their wintering grounds in South America! The Canopy Tower Observation Deck provides an excellent vantage point for observing huge kettles of Swainson's Hawks, Broad-winged Hawks, Plumbeous Kites, Turkey Vultures and other raptors swirling overhead! [See our birding tour designed to fully experience this phenomenon: Panamá's Hawk Migration Spectacular!] We are proud to be a part of the raptor count.   Raptor count data collected by observers is sent to HawkCount, along with other data from census locations in Panama. Panama’s hawk migration provides data researchers use to study population trends.


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


    Raúl Arias de Para

    Canopy Tower Family


Canopy Tower Family News

In September, Steven Morello brought a group to the Tower and Lodge for a 10-night photography and nature tour.  One morning at the Lodge, Mario L. Urriola Hernández of the Serpentario in El Valle, displayed  several reptiles and amphibians from the Serpentario.  Among the five frog species, the favorite was the Red-eye Leaf Frog, with it vivid eyes and striking color pattern! It was a toss-up when it came to the snakes,  Eyelash Palm Pitviper,  Fer-de-lance,  and a very active Split-ringed False Coral!

Steven Morello Photography & Nature Tour at Canopy Lodge

Creature Feature

Green Iguana   Iguana iguana

     The Green Iguana or Common Iguana is native to Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean. Green Iguanas may be various shades of green, grays and browns, with the young usually a bright shade of green.
      Iguanas grow to over 4 feet in length from head to tail and can weigh nearly 20 pounds. Primarily herbivores, they feed on leaves, flowers and fruit. Though agile climbers, they can fall (by design!) up to 50 feet and land unhurt.
      Green Iguanas are diurnal, arboreal and can often be found near water. When swimming, they remain submerged with legs hanging limply, as they undulate their powerful tail to propel them through the water.
     Green Iguanas use "head bobs" and their dewlaps (throat flaps) in social interactions and in threat displays.
    This large specimen was seen feasting on Cecropia leaves and flowers from the Canopy Tower dining room. 

© Canopy Family