Foz do Iguacu, Brazil: Day 5
“It’s for the birds” has a whole new meaning for me today as I entered the Atlantic Rainforest at Parque das Aves a/k/a the Bird Park where you will find in their natural habitat many species of birds and other exotic creatures (140+) from around the world many of which are endangered. One usually visits the Bird Park on the same day as one visits the cataratas on the Brazil side because it’s across the street but I didn’t make it that day. Arguably, however, this place deserves its own special day.
The Bird Park in Foz is credited as being the most spectacular Bird Park in Latin America and a unique experience like no other. I can certainly attest to the latter. I’m not sure if it was the cooler temperatures following an overnight/early morning storm, the glistening dew left behind on the plentiful foliage, the theatrical yet strangely seemingly never ending rolling thunder with no accompanying lightening or rain (at least not in the first part of the afternoon), the sunless sky, the minuscule number of tourists or the combination thereof, which was so inviting to our rainbow colored flying friends but today was a delightful treat of chirping, singing, buzzing, splashing, flying and frolicking in the Bird Park. One duo would fight and then kiss and make up over and over again as I watched. (Remind you of anyone you know? Ha!) They all came out to meet me today and, by extension, to meet you. At one point I was standing in the Macaw’s avery at feeding time and 3, 4, 5 or more flew over and around me simultaneously and so close that I could feel the flapping of their large red or blue wings brushing my skin and hair as they passed by. There were at least 50 or more birds just in that one den flying back and forth from one end to the other sometimes together and sometimes alone. I felt my heart leap from my chest in utter excitement each time they would go. It was one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life to be right there in the middle of them all and my excitement grew exponentially in that moment for the Amazon, Pantanal and/or Bonito portions of my trip down the road. I have never desired being in the wild quite as I did today.
You should know how important it is to see the park not only for your own edification and the lifting of your soul but also because your role as a visitor is fundamental to the sustainability of the park. Half the birds that come here were rescued from mistreatment or animal trafficking and require serious rehabilitation and hospital care. Of course, when possible they release them back into the wild when they have healed; however, sometimes that isn’t possible and instead they get to stay in this magnificent home right here in the Atlantic Rainforest. Moreover, the park assists in reproduction of endangered species, develops conservation projects, contributes to conservation in the wild, works with reforestation and is highly involved in a variety of environmental projects. If there was ever a place to buy exorbitantly high priced souvenirs or gifts for family, this would be the place to do it because the money will go directly back into the park benefitting these lovely creatures and maintaining this place of mouth gaping bliss for the next lucky visitor. I would, however, encourage the park to offer the ability to ship said purchases home. Unfortunately, some of us can’t travel with heavy and/or large gifts and need to be able to ship them.
That’s all for now. With love and a bit of frolicking and whole lot of bliss from the Bird Park in Foz. Foz do Iguacu