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Dec 19, 2011

Christmas Bird Count with Audubon’s birdman

The Belize Audubon Society (BAS) traditionally conducts annual Christmas bird counts.  BAS has compiled three Christmas bird counts so far. The first being the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary Christmas bird count held on December fourteenth followed by the Belize City Christmas bird count on December eighteenth. The next bird count is slated for December twenty seventh in Belmopan. Audubon’s Dirk Francisco explains why birds need to be counted at Christmas.

Dirk ‘Birdman’ Francisco, Publicity Coordinator, BAS

“The purpose is to monitor or count the amount of birds that occur in the country of Belize around this time. The reason being this is the time most birds migrate from the U.S. because it’s winter in America. And we have a methodology of a fifteen mile circle. So we bird for twelve hours trying to count as much birds as possible in that area.”

Jose Sanchez

Dirk ‘Birdman’ Francisco

“Let me ask Dirk, if there is a change in either the species, the amount, whether it decreases or increases, what does that show? What’s really the importance of knowing the statistics?”

Dirk ‘Birdman’ Francisco

“The importance of a Christmas Bird Count is birds are creatures that are loved by many. Some people might think that I am crazy saying this but it’s proven that bird is a big, big recreation activity in North America especially. In Belize there are many bird watchers; there are people who like to get out into nature. And when you step outside of your door, you could look right through your window; the first thing you see or hear is a bird. And so people start to gain a love for the birds and it is important for us to know why or what is making a bird population increase or decrease because birds again are the number one indicators in changes to the environment. So if you start to see a certain type of bird, it is telling me that there is more and more salt water coming into this fresh water area which is something that I recognized in the Cockscomb. We realized that a part of Hopkins has a lot of salt water birds in the fresh water swamp which is in front of the village. So that is telling me that something is changing in that area.”

Jose Sanchez

“So for Christmas you are recommending binoculars?’

Dirk ‘Birdman’ Francisco

“Well not really binoculars. If everyone would get binoculars for Christmas gift, it would be great. But one of the things that Belize Audubon Society wants is for people to appreciate the environment more and more. For this Christmas season have the environment in mind and always remember what conservation is doing for us Belizeans: giving us fresh air, clean water, bringing in tourism revenues and many other things.”

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