Birding in Belize
As promised, we return this week with another Rx for the blues, boredom, and the indoor-itus many of us have endured these last few months.
Cure number three is another one of our favorite activities – and Belize and Chaa Creek are recognized worldwide as top spots for enjoying it. This is also one you can start practicing right now, wherever you are.
Yes, we’re talking:
Birding, the activity formerly known as Bird Watching, is one of the fastest growing pastimes in the United States, having already outstripped golf, fishing and other outdoor pursuits in popularity.
To us, this makes perfect sense. Try to name another activity that gives so many people so much pleasure – something with built-in physical distancing that can be done by anyone, anywhere and anytime, without the need for expensive equipment or special training.
In fact, Birding easily fulfils the criteria we established earlier:
Getting out in the fresh air to observe and record our avian amigos in their natural habitats is healthy without being physically demanding – leading us to criteria number two:
We’ve seen entire families, from grandparents to youngsters, discover a passion for birding in Belize. We’ve seen marathon hikers incorporate birding into cross-country jaunts, and people enjoying it from wheelchairs. Starry-eyed couples, from newlyweds to retirees, have returned to the Lodge with tales of seeing a Keel-billed Toucan, Orange Crested Falcon or beautiful Mot-Mot.
Without a doubt, birding is a great equalizer.
Well, that depends…
But the truth is you can make birding as easy or as difficult as you like. Whether observing birds from a hammock on your private veranda, or hiking the Chiquibul National Forest in search of a scarlet macaw, you’re sure to find exotic birds in Belize. And with 350 species of our feathered friends having been recorded right here at Chaa Creek, you’re sure to see something special.
Some birders pack a small fortune in state-of-the-art infrared-enabled binoculars, spotter telescopes, zoom lenses and other gear, while others are perfectly content with budget binoculars, a field guide and notebook. John J Audubon, still regarded as the greatest ornithologist that ever lived, hiked into the wilderness with just a notebook, paper and paints.
From what we’ve seen, it’s the experience itself that’s priceless.
Which brings us to that – in our humble opinion – all important final element:
What’s not to love about getting out and about in nature with family, friends, that certain someone, or all by yourself? And part of the fun is that birding combines so well with so many other pastimes. Painters, photographers, writers, bloggers, poets, and others all find inspiration and a heightened sense of awareness watching birds do their thing in their natural habitats.
When you take it home, it’s a passion you’ll always have with you. Wherever you are in the world, there will be birds. And training yourself to be on the lookout for them establishes a fulfilling, lifelong relationship with nature.
With birding, you’ll never be alone.
And we think that’s pretty cool. Years ago, The Lodge at Chaa Creek was selected as a host location for the international “Birds Without Borders” project. This resulted in Chaa Creek’s naturalist guides receiving specialized training that led some of them developing the passion and skills to become Belize’s best birding guides. With 350 recorded species, and a 400-acre private nature reserve to observe them in, we’ll go out on a limb (pun intended) to say Chaa Creek offers some of the best birding vacations in the world – right in our backyard.