Red Siskin Initiative

Understand, Protect and Restore

The Red Siskin Initiative works to understand, protect and restore sustainable populations of the endangered Red Siskin (Spinus cucullatus) in northern South America. In Venezuela, the Red Siskin Conservation Center rescues birds from illegal trafficking and collaborates with specialists and organizations internationally to advance a conservation breeding program for future reintroduction. At the same time, in the United States, we have expanded our public exhibits from one to five zoos and continue to increase the number of partner institutions. These exhibits provide learning opportunities, support research, and raise awareness among US aviculturists and the public.

To protect and recover valuable habitat the Red Siskin Initiative is restoring forest through propagation and planting of native trees and promoting best practices in agroforestry. This year we launched the first “Red Siskin Specialty Coffee”, produced by 39 farmers whose coffee farms are certified organic and Smithsonian Bird-Friendly®. In addition, we have built alliances to reduce the threat of illegal bird trade, including a new behavior change campaign that aims to mitigate unsustainable harvest of the Red Siskin and the Yellow-shouldered Parrot and a research project, with Fundación Temaikén of Buenos Aires, Argentina, to better understand wildlife trafficking more broadly across South America.