The Belize Audubon Society has a year round calendar filled with educational activities about the flora and fauna of the country. The folks at the Audubon, however, have noted a change in the bird population in Belize City. If you have had your eyes trained to the trees and the skies you would have noted that our national bird, the toucan, is increasing in population in the old Capital. News Five spoke to Audubon’s Birdman and publicity coordinator, Dirk Francisco about the sightings as well as the bird count carried out in December.
Dirk Francisco, Publicity Coordinator, B.A.S.
“The toucans that you see flying around Belize City—that is unusual and exciting for most birders or people who live in Belize City. They are surprised to see toucans flying out in Belize City—I nearly said the wild, but right now Belize City is wild for tree toucans. The reason the toucans are in Belize City is these birds displaced due to hurricane Richard. Richard just changed the habitat for these birds and they found happiness in Belize City I guess. But right now I am encouraging Belizeans please whenever you see the toucans they are beautiful birds, many people like to see them. Stop stone the toucans them.”
“Other than that as the resident authority on birds, Dirk, I understand that Audubon also did a bird count. How is that done and what is the count?”
“Yeah, the Christmas bird count like the name says is conducted around the Christmas season. It’s a census where we monitor the number of birds that visit Belize during the winter. It’s a citizen science, anybody could participate, but we already had the activity conducted and we had a some high turnout of birds this year. The Belmopan area for example, we recorded a total of two hundred and fifty-four species of birds. One of the reason why we saw many bird was because the forest opened up. Hurricane Richard fell a lot of trees. As Belizeans can remember the centre of the hurricane passed right around Belmopan area, so because of that we got the opportunity to see many, many birds that were normally difficult to see because of the denseness of the forest or the jungle. So the Belize City bird count had a total of two hundred and nineteen species and then the Cockscomb Basin Christmas bird count that Belize Audubon Society conducted had a total of two hundred and fourteen species of birds.”