Visitors to the CraneFest will have the opportunity to see the Greater Sandhill Cranes fly in, as well as to experience a host of intriguing wildlife in Big Marsh Lake. The event include guided nature hikes, a Wildlife Art Show, and a host of activities for children. For more information visit www.cranefest.org
Date: 11-12 October 2014
Venue: Kiwanis Youth Conservation Area
Consisting of nine-acres of old growth forest, the Macaw Mountain Bird Park & Nature Reserve offers visitors the opportunity of viewing a wide variety of tropical birds in their natural environment. Located near the town of Copan Ruinas in Honduras, the large flight aviary is home to just about all the species of parrots and toucans to be found in this beautiful South American country, and many of its feathered inhabitants are so tame that visitors are able to interact with them at leisure.
While providing a haven for rescued, abandoned and endangered birds, the Macaw Mountain Bird Park is dedicated to educating the public about these beautiful animals and their vulnerability caused mainly the by destruction of their natural habitat. In a region known for its excellent birding opportunities, the Macaw Mountain Bird Park offers an unforgettable bird watching experience. Visitors to the park will enjoy strolling along the network of pathways which allow easy access to the entire area throughout the year. Interaction with the park’s birds allows visitors to appreciate their beauty and intelligence, while at the same time being made aware of the obstacles and dangers they face in the wild, which have brought many species to the brink of extinction.
Quite a number of the parrots and macaws found in the park were at one time household pets, but oftentimes people who buy these birds have no idea how long they live – parrots have a lifespan or 50 to 60 years and macaws can live for a century – or that because of their intelligence they require a lot of attention. So, when the birds become too much to handle at home, they are donated to sanctuaries such as the Macaw Mountain Bird Park & Nature Reserve. Birds to be seen in the park include the scarlet macaw, buffon’s macaw, green-winged macaw, yellow-lored Amazon, white-fronted parrot, red-lored parrot, mealy Amazon, yellow-crowned Amazon, white-crowned parrot, olive-throated conure, red-throated parakeet, keel-billed toucan, chestnut-mandibled toucan, grey hawk and great-horned owl.
The Copan region of Honduras is home to more than 330 species of birds representing 51 families, and has become a popular destination for keen birders from around the world. Although birds can be seen in the wild in the vicinity of the park, bird watchers should include Macaw Mountain Bird Park in their itinerary to experience up-close interaction with the birds of Honduras.
The RSPB has been particularly excited, and also perplexed, at the highs and lows in bird populations this breeding season. On the one hand, it appears that many of their conservation efforts have paid off with the organization enjoying one of the best bird breeding seasons on record. However, at the same time a number of more common bird species are clearly struggling to deal with climatic changes and their numbers are dwindling.
If you’re planning a trip to Holland for business or pleasure, you may want to consider doing a spot of bird-watching in your spare time. This stunning country is home to a number of great bird-watching sites and there are usually more than a few avid birding enthusiasts in the area who will be more than willing to accompany you and provide you with helpful information and a trained eye.
With an unbelievable variation in habitat and no less than eleven nature reserves, Kenya is a very worthwhile part of the world for birding enthusiasts to visit. The varied habitats ensure that each day of bird-watching is a rewarding adventure, while the hospitable Kenyans ensure that birders have all they need for a memorable trip. Bird watchers can expect to see around 350 species in the space of two weeks, with some specialized birding tours reporting sightings of between 500 and 600 species within a two week period. Clearly there are plenty of birds in Kenya.
Primarily due to its abundant wildlife, Kenya is a popular tourist destination, and there are many different types of organized tours available, with the classic wildlife safari being the most sought after. The main objective of going on a classic wildlife safari is to spot the “Big Five” – lion, elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard and rhino – and while this in itself is exciting, the focus is on the animals and not the birdlife, which can be frustrating for the keen birder.
Appreciating the fact that many people visiting Kenya want to focus on bird watching, a number of tour companies offer specialized birding tours and the trick is to find the tour that is right for you. Do you want to stop and watch the birds in a relaxed manner, seeing how they interact with one another in their natural habitat? Or do you want to spot as many species as possible in the shortest period of time possible? While given the number of species resident in Kenya, the latter may be tempting, the first option is considered by many birding enthusiasts to be the most rewarding. Whichever choice you make, make sure that the tour you pick will suit you.
From a birding point of view, one of the most popular of the eleven reserve areas in Kenya is Lake Baringo, which is situated about 290 kilometers north of Nairobi. It is not uncommon to spot around 300 different species of birds in the Lake Baringo area in a single day. Birding enthusiasts can expect to see Vereaux’s Eagle, Heuglin’s Courser, Three-banded Courser, Lichtenstein’s Sand-grouse, Spotted Thick-knee, Paradise Flycatcher, African Fish Eagle, Marabou Stork, Hemprich’s Hornbill, African Skimmer and much more.
Tsavo is Kenya’s largest game reserve and one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries in the world. In addition to the fascinating wildlife that are resident in Tsavo, birders can look out for Golden-breasted Starlings, Evergreen Forest Warbler, Kenyan Ostrich, Common Ostrich, Somali Ostrich, Hartlaub’s Bustard, Sooty Falcon and Eleonora’s Falcon.
Many of the lodges in Kenya have a resident guide who is knowledgeable with regard to local birds and can give guests an informative tour of the lodge area. The best time for birding is between October and April each year when over 120 Northern hemisphere migrant species arrive for the summer. Between April and October migrants from the southern hemisphere and Madagascar flock to Kenya, many of which are in breeding plumage at that time.
Kenya certainly has plenty to offer birding enthusiasts, and many birders return year after year to explore a new area each time – and are never disappointed.