Birding Hikes in the Copper Canyon?

Erin writes:

I’m a gal traveling solo (with dog) and plan on spending 1.5 weeks in the Barrancas del Cobre region and am looking for advice. I have a truck and a safe place to keep it in Baltopilas and Creel. I am an avid birder and naturalist and am looking for some birdy multiday and day hikes. Do you have any insight as to good spots for eared quetzal or military macaws? I just finished reading the PG and birds are mentioned often but you don’t have any good website links with bird info for the area. Any recommendations for a birdy 2-3 day hike in and around the canyons? (I’m in good enough shape and have all my gear).  I’m planning on hiring a guide and am also searching for anyone else interested in joining me. Also do you have any recent information on the road conditions/safety issues between Urique and Baltopilas?  I am very conversant in Spanish and comfortable traveling sola in Latin America, plus have the aforementioned dog.
Any help appreciated!

editor replies: I passed your email onto Michael Huckaby, a recommended Copper Canyon guide, and our resident expert on the Copper Canyon. (Carl could also qualify for the latter half of that title if he wasn’t quite so laz—ahem, leisurely in his approach to answering mail.)

Michael Huckaby hikes the Copper Canyon.

Mike says:

Hi Erin,

Military macaws and maroon fronts might be on the Guacamayo Preserve located between Tomochi and Madera. It’s a bit difficult to get to, and I really can’t think of a guide in the area, except actually on the preserve. Eared quetzals and elegant trogons could be found at Cusarare falls. Cusarare is about 40 minutes from Creel on the road to Guachochi. You could park at the Sierra Lodge and walk downstream to the falls. Some of the locals around the hotel may be able to give you more up-to-date info. In Batopilas, you can look for Manuelito Gill. If you’re driving you won’t see his sign, but if you’re walking his sign is above a narrow set of stairs uphill but downstream of Marios’ Chula Vista Motel (which was closed when I was last there in December). It’s kind of between that and the “downtown” squares.
If you really want to be inundated with eared quetzals, there’s tons of habitat below Divisadero on the camino real to Pamachi. Ask Jilo to take you. It can’t be done in a day. One day to the river, and one day up, but time enough to chill on the Rio Urique and slow down. Jilo’s is beside Tienda “Berta’s” which is beside the church in the curve in Areponapuchi (4 km from Divisadero)
My understanding is the road is fine between Urique and Batopilas. Where are you staying in Urique? Consider camping at Keith’s “Entre Amigos” and enjoy a salad. It’s on the upstream end of town, on the left. I can amplify this info, but I need to know it’s helping. You may even want to go Urique to Batopilas instead of visa versa as the road paving project is causing some really inconvenient delays.
Saludos, Mike


2 Responses to “Birding Hikes in the Copper Canyon?”

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  1. -El Codo- says:

    ARGHHHHH! I would send cyber hugs and kisses to see images taken of these birds in the canyons. My disability forbids me from ever hiking this rugged region. So please keep others and myself in mind when you have an opportunity. Mil Gracias!

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