Most visitors to South America associate parrots and hummingbirds more with the steamy, verdant jungles of the Amazon than the frigid extremes of Tierra del Fuego. However, it is also possible to see them both in Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego. The unmistakeably garrulous Austral parakeet is the world’s most southerly parrot, inhabiting these temperate forests year-round. The Selk’nam christened it Kerrhprrh, in onomatopoeic imitation of its call. Once upon a time, according to their beliefs, all Fuegian trees were coniferous, and it was Kerrhprrh who transformed some into deciduous forests, painting them autumnal reds with the feathers of its breast. The tiny Green-backed firecrown is the planet’s most southerly hummingbird, and has been recorded – albeit rarely – flickering about flowering shrubs in summer. Known to the Selk’nam by the graceful name of Sinu K-Tam (Daughter of the Wind), this diminutive creature was, curiously, believed by them to be the offspring of Ohchin, the whale, and Sinu, the wind.

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