EcoTourism Belize’s October Big Day

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Team EcoTourism Belize joins the global birding movement. EcoTourism Belize recorded 94 bird species in a one-day birding event event!

Belize is a birding paradise – having over 500 bird species. The small Caribbean country attracts thousands of birders – people who love watching birds. More than half of these birds are found in the Maya Golden Landscape in southern Belize, where EcoTourism Belize is continuously recording sightings along with visiting birders.

In August and peaking in October, birds migrate from North America to escape the winter months. While some migratory species such as raptors (birds of prey) and warblers refuel and shelter in Belize and then continue their journey to South America, others stop in Belize to nest, a second home. The visiting birds add more joy to the landscapes in Belize.

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Farmer and tour guide Daniel Chiquin recording birds at Golden Stream Corridor Preserve. | Photo: Maximiliano Caal

Not only are the observations of birds treasured, but the records are publicly shared on an online platform called eBird. It is a platform that can also be used by citizens to document migratory and resident birds. The information gathered increases knowledge on the diversity and richness of bird species and the health of habitats and ecosystems.

Team EcoTourism Belize joined October Big Day, a 24-hour global bird-watching event on October 6th. The team comprised of three Ya’axché staff members and a young farmer and tour guide from Indian Creek, Daniel Chiquin, who visited various points of the Maya Golden Landscape in southern Belize in search of our feathery friends.

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Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus) soaring high in the sky. | Photo: Maximiliano Caal

Team EcoTourism Belize identified six birding locations and submitted six checklists on eBird. The first stop was at the 15,441-acre Golden Stream Corridor Preserve where 45 species were recorded for the early morning count starting at 6:20 AM. Pine Hill road and Barranco road each yielded results of 23 species; 19 species were recorded at the Pine Savannah in Bladen Nature Reserve; 12 species were recorded at Cattle Landing; and, 9 species at Moho River bridge.

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Green Kingfisher (Chloroceryle americana) are always found near water, the team was not disappointed.  | Photo: Maximiliano Caal

A total of 94 species were recorded on October Big Day. Highlights of the day were King Vultures, a Broad-winged Hawk, a Bare-throated Tiger-heron and a Keel-billed Toucan – the national bird of Belize! An American Kestrel, a Merlin, a Short-tailed Hawk and a kettle of 42 Mississippi Kites were observed at the Raptor Watch Count Site, Cattle Landing.

The early morning bird highlight goes to the Great Antshrike sighted at Golden Stream Corridor Preserve! This uncommon forest bird is typically heard more than seen and has a preference for dense vegetation.

Join a bird specialist ranger on EcoTourism Belize’s Birds of Belize ecotour for an early morning bird monitoring session.

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Ranger guide Ramon Sanchez looking over the Pine Savannah at Bladen Nature Reserve. | Photo: Maximiliano Caal

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