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Sarah Syphus Birds in Belize 545 words Birder, coming from tThe verb is “to bird,” meaning a person who loves to study birds in their natural habitat.and Tthis fall offers the perfect opportunity for those who love birds, toyou can become a birder as you follow the birds from your backyard to the central-American country of Belize. The search for birds through the tropical jungles and the pine forests of Belize is a journey that offers everyone from the experienced birder to the curious amateur an escape from the beaten path. A Day in the Life of a Birder in Belize If you want to try birding in Belize, an eco-friendly lodge like the Crystal Paradise Resort offers an authentic cultural experience and an opportunity to connect with other birders. Guests stay in hand-thatched cabanas and begin and end their days gathered together for family-style meals. While staying at the Crystal Paradise, you can find birding groups to join and hire local guides to lead you on birding tours. Birders rise early, usually around five am, and walk long distances, sometimes several miles, and stand for long periods of time waiting for birds to come into view, but birders will tell you that the journey is worth all of the effort. Lisa Boice, an international birder who recently returned from Belize, calls herself an “accidental birder.” She’d always been a traveler, but she only discovered birding when she fell in love with and married an avid birder. Now she says, birding has given a whole new meaning to her travel. “It’s like choosing something to seek after,” Boice explains. “You can go to any place. You can go to all the places that they recommend, but I’ve found that when I’m traveling and I’m looking for something, it makes things different.” Following the birds in Belize leads travelers not only seeking birds, but new sights as they across the small country’s stunning and various environment. Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary Crooked Tree, a low-lying network of savannas, marshes, and lagoons, offers birders in Belize exceptional views of long-legged wader birds like herons and storks. The sanctuary is a destination for birders in search of the Jabiru Stork, a very rare and very endangered bird that spends the fall and winter months in Belize. At five-feet tall and with an eight-foot wingspan, the Jabiru is believed to be the largest bird in the Americas. Birders at Crooked Tree can find this enormous stork pacing the lagoons in its natural habitat. El Pilar Nature Reserve El Pilar is a Maya nature reserve located on the Belize-Guatemala border. It offers a promising system of trails through the jungle, but it is also one of the more dangerous pockets of the Belizean jungle. It is advisable to travel to El Pilar in a group with a trusted guide and even armed guards. These measures sound extreme but shared with a group, the cost of a guard is not too heftysubstantial and the sites possible at El Pilar are worth it. [KH1]Here birders can hope to see a variety of tropical birds such as woodpeckers, flycatchers, toucans, and parrots. Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve At Mountain Pine Ridge birders can escape the humidity of the jungle and visit the pine forests in the mountaintops of Belize. Visitors to this area enjoy cooler temperatures, picturesque forest walks, and views of 1000-foot waterfalls. Here birders can hope to see the orange-breasted falcon, one of the most rarerarest breeds of falcon in the world[KH2].


For more information on international birding or to begin planning your birding trip, check out birdingpal.com.

Sources: accidentalbirder.wordpress.com birdinginbelize.com belizezoo.org http://ambergriscaye.com/pages/town/parkcrookedtree.html

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