Hey! It's a Honduras Bird Festival!

This February, the Central American country of Honduras will host the first annual Mesoamerican Birdwatching Festival, organized by the Mesoamerican Ecotourism Alliance (MEA).

The event will feature three program segments: a guide training/certification course (February 13-20), a Birdwatching Festival (February 21-26), and a post tour for birdwatching company representatives and nature writers (February 27-March 5).

Honduras is located in the heart of Central America, allowing for a rich diversity of species from the northern and southern countries of the region. While only 740 species (and counting) have been registered in Honduras, along with one endemic, many are very desirable and easy to observe. In the Mosquitia region nearly 500 species have been recorded, the north coast more than 400, the Lake Yojoa basin over 400, and 400 within the department of Copan.

The principal objective of this annual festival is to elevate interest in bird watching in Mesoamerica on a national and international level in an effort to increase sustainable tourism. This will then create employment, and most importantly, help preserve the ecosystems where the birds live and nest. The festival will subsequently be held in a different Central American country each year.

Guide Training / Certification Course (February 13-20):

The guide training course in the Lake Yojoa basin will last five days and be field intensive. Sessions will be conducted by trainers with extensive field experience in guiding, habitat and bird biology. Identification of birds by sight and sound will be emphasized, as well as their names in English. Students will also attend technical seminars and complete an exam (in English) at the end, with the results appearing on their diplomas. The guide training courses is limited to 30 people.

Bird Watching Festival (February 22-27):

The Bird Watching Festival will last four full days, and each will be filled with field trips to a number of different sites in the Lake Yojoa basin accompanied by qualified guides. Attendees will also have the privilege to bird with Robert Ridgely, author of various bird guides in Central and South America, and considered by many as the leading Neotropical ornithologist. Each evening, there will be presentations and seminars touching on various bird topics. The Bird Watching Festival is limited to 100 people.

Post Tour (February 27-March 5):

The post tour will include visits to Copan Ruinas, the Lancetilla Botanical Gardens in Tela, the Lodge at Pico Bonito near La Ceiba, and the Aguan Valley. The objective is to show the richness that Honduras has to offer along the north coast. The tour will be limited to ten international bird watching company representatives and nature writers.

Visit Birding Honduras for registration info.