Like many Americans, I’ve had a lifelong fascination with Cuba. At first it was the stuff we all know about US – Cuba relations with such history as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs invasion, leading to what is nearly a complete ban on travel there by Americans. Later, the wont to visit a place so close and yet so far away was added to by the knowledge of its myriad endemic bird species and tales of still-existing Ivory-billed Woodpeckers. I missed the short window of easy travel there opened by the Obama administration when it was nailed shut again by the Trump administration.
It’s against this backdrop that I responded excitedly to a July 2022 email about available space on a Cuba Bird Survey trip through Western Field Ornithologists, a professional organization that I am a member of. Originally scheduled for 2020 and delayed by the pandemic, the Cuba Bird Survey trip was rescheduled for January 2023 and in need of more participants to operate. Turning down such an opportunity was not an option.
Now, having completed this trip, there is a lot to share… far too much to put into one post. While the structure of the trip was focused heavily on Cuban endemic birds (and we saw all of them – at least the ones most consider still extant), we also took a deep dive into Cuba’s history , culture, and people. It was, perhaps, the greatest trip I’ve ever been on.
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