The upcoming March 2nd and 3rd will see the first Honduras Caribbean Birding Festival! The event is being sponsored by several organizations. These include the La Ceiba Municipality and Larecoturh, a grass roots organization that promotes community tourism as a development tool. The event is the second of its kind in the area of La Ceiba. Birdwatching activities will include birding in the area close to the Lodge at Pico Bonito. This area is famous and well established as a birding hotspot.
There will also be other birding activities in the delta that the Cangrejal River forms as it joins the Caribbean Sea. This area was virtually unknown, and yet is now one of the birding hotspots around La Ceiba. Best of all, it is very close to the city. Finally, there will also be a birding experience at the old La Ceiba Botanical Garden. Today, the CREDIA (Centro Regional de Documentación e Investigación Ambiental) sits on the grounds of this botanical garden. The Botanical garden was put together as part of the research by the Standard Fruit Company. The main objective was to determine which species of fruit trees did better in the local climate.
Other Birding Festivals and Events in Honduras.
The Honduras Caribbean Birding Festival is the second event of its kind in La Ceiba, The first was the Cotinga Blitz that took place in 2017. But these are not the first in Honduras. There have been many different events over the years. The oldest one is almost 30 years old! I am referring of course to the Lancetilla Christmas Bird Count. This event takes place the first week of December every year. The XXIII Lancetilla Christmas Bird Count took place last year!
The Lancetilla Christmas Bird Count
The oldest bird watching – counting activity in Honduras is the annual Christmas Bird Count that is held in the Lancetilla Botanical Garden. This event has been happening for over 30 years Over 326 bird species have been documented in the gardens. The site is an experimental botanical garden that was originally set up for research by Dr. Wilson Popenoe. Locals and foreigners flock to Tela every year to participate in this grand event. Some of the more popular target species in this area are the Rufous-tailed Jacamar, the Orange-billed Sparrow and the Ruddy Crake.
The Lake Yojoa Birding Blitz
Another important birding event that has become popular in Honduras is the Lake Yojoa Birding Blitz. This important activity dates to 2014. The Lake Yojoa area includes two national parks: Parque Nacional Azul Meambar (PANACAM) and Parque Nacional Montaña de Santa Barbara. The área sits between 640 meters above sea level and 2400 meters above sea level. This provides an abundance of habitats that are ideal for birding. The event was so successful that it is now institutional. The next Lake Yojoa Birding Blitz will take place in January 9 through 12, 2020.
The Celaque Bird Count
Another popular birding festival and event in Honduras takes place every year in the City of Gracias. Here the highest peak in Honduras, Montaña de Celaque towers over the city. The park provides for outstanding birding, and over 287 species have been identified in the area. The most outstanding of all is the Respandent Quetzal, who’s tail is spectacular. The ancient Aztec emperor ceremonial dress included a spectacular quetzal tail crest on his head. For them, this was far more precious that gold! (This of course disappointed the Spanish Conquerors, but that is a different story!)
Gracias is a lovely colonial city is the highlands of Western Honduras. It offers many different things to do in the area, including some magnificent hot springs. There are many different hotels in Gracias where you can stay. This event will take place between the 26th and the 28th of April.
New Birding Events Coming up this Year
The Chamber of Tourism of La Ceiba is sponsoring a couple of new birding festivals and events in Honduras this year. The first one will be in the Aguan Valley near the city of Olanchito. The event, the Dry Forest Bird Count will take place in the Refugio de Vida Silvestre Colibri Esmeralda. The highlight of the area is of course the Honduran Emerald Hummingbird. Another signature bird of the tropical dry forest is the white bellied wren. This will be the first bird count in the area and the event seeks to include members of the Tolupan Tribe that live in the valley. This event will take place between the 12th and the 14th of June, 2019.
The Tolupan people are one of the ethnic groups that live in Honduras. The Chamber of Tourism is working together with the IDB using funds from the Nordic Fund to assist Native American tribes. This is a joint effort by the Chamber of Tourism of La Ceiba and Forests of the World, a Danish NGO who has a long history of working in Honduras supporting local people and national parks.
The Cangrejal River Bird Fest, a New Birding Festival in Honduras!
Finally, a group on entrepreneurs from the Cangrejal River Valley are organizing the first Cangrejal River Bird Festival. Their intent is to create awareness about the outstanding birding opportunities in the area. Best of all, there are a total of 10 lodges that are all ideal for birding. This allows birders with different budgets to visit the area and discover the huge number of birds in the area. The Cangrejal River Valley is already a birding hotspot in the Cornell University E-Bird platform. The Cangrejal River Bird Fest will take place this coming November during the Thanksgiving Holidays.
If you want to participate, go ahead and plan and make your reservations now! Save the dates of November 21th through Deccember 1st. For a complete list of lodges and hotels, go ahead and visit the Cangrejal River web page. The organizing committee is already working on the Cangrejal River Bird Fest and information should be up shortly. The committee includes several hoteliers as well as Mr. Angel Fong of Go Bird Honduras tour company and the local chamber of tourism.
It Will be a Busy Year for Birding in Honduras
As you can see, there are interesting birding festivals and events taking place in Honduras throughout the year. If you live in Honduras and are a birder, take advantage and participate in all of them! If you live abroad, surely one of the dates should fit into your travel schedule. See you in Honduras! Enjoy some of the best birding in the tropics with us in Honduras!