Black Vultures, Laughing Gulls, White colored seedeaters and the list goes on.
These are some of the species of birds that are spotted during the Belize Audubon Society's Annual Christmas Bird Count. Every year a team is sent to several sites around the country to count and document the different species of birds. It may seem time consuming given that during this exercise the team spends 12 hours counting birds for 3 days. But according to Publicity Coordinator Dirk Francisco, it is pretty easy and you do not need to be a professional bird watcher to participate.
Dirk Francisco, Publicity Coordinator - BAS
"Every year the Belize Audubon Society in December hosts the annual Christmas Bird Count, which is a global event led by National Audubon from the US. Belize Audubon is the compiler of the Belize City Christmas Bird Count, it's named Belize City, but Belize City isn't a part of the circle, but the Belize District, Belmopan Christmas Bird Count and the newly formed Christmas Bird circle, the Cockscomb Basin Christmas Bird Count. Each one of them, very unique. The Christmas Bird Count is a 15 miles diameter circle, so we try to watch birds within that 15 miles. We try to get as much people, you don't have to be a bird watcher to participate. Knowing bird behavior is learning how to count birds and there are simple methodologies, like point counts, just standing in an area and looking at the birds and you would know whether or not you count the same bird. Some birds actually group in certain numbers. Some are alone and some are in pairs and then they have a certain range of where they fly. So, you know whether or not you saw the same bird. What this does is get you into the back country of Belize, like you see the countryside, you see things that you wouldn't see as an everyday tourist or Belizean in Belize. I always encourage people, if you want to get excited about nature, start with bird watching."
The results of this year's bird count will be available by the end of this month. Now outside of the bird counting exercise - a new species of bird was found at the St. Herman's Blue Hole National Park by a ranger. It is called the Townsend's-Warbler bird. According to Francisco, there are 579 species of birds in Belize.