Birding in Belize

Belize Bird Rescue - Avian Rescue and Rehabilitation Center

By Angela Wu 11/23/2018 3 minutes


What is Belize Bird Rescue?

Belize Bird Rescue is a rehabilitation centre for birds in Belize. It was established in 2004 by Nikki Buxton and Jerry Larder. It started primarily as a facility for parrot rescue and rehabilitation but has expanded over the years to cater to all indigenous species of birds in Belize such as raptors, owls, water birds, and passerines. The organization is registered as an NGO and is situated on a privately owned 50 acre reserve, most of which is used to support avian rehabilitation. Nikki and Jerry are also the owner of Rock Farm Guest House.

Our Visit to Belize Bird Rescue:

Our time at Belize Bird Rescue was like no other. We got to see another point of view of a day in a birder’s life. Nikki and Jerry both have a passion for taking care of Belize’s birds, especially those that have been injured or handicapped. They shared their heartwarming story with us, recounting how it all started when they realized the desperate need to establish a better care facility for confiscated or stolen parrots in Belize. The center has grown over the years, starting with the care of a handful of birds and today caring for over a hundred and seventy birds, including different parrot species, water birds, and raptors.

We made our way to the village of Roaring Creek in the Cayo District, and met with the Belize Bird Rescue team, which included their full-time worker Oscar, a few international students from England, and some professors doing research. As we arrived in the morning, they were preparing an impressive buffet of fruits, vegetables, and seeds to feed all the birds. The birds’ breakfast included and arrangement of tropical fruits such as coconut, papaya, oranges, sunflower seeds, palm seeds, and a powder vitamin supplement.

The enclosures where the birds were kept are divided by sizes, which determines the amount of food and what assortment of fruits the birds receive. On this morning, Ms. Nikki waited to start the feeding because she wanted us to be part of their morning feeding routine. After all the baskets of fruits were ready, we took them out to the enclosures where we found some very ecstatic parrots waiting to eat. It was about an hour after their usual feeding time so the birds were both angry and excited that their food finally arrived. I watched as they ate. Some of the parrots would pick on the different fruits, before picking up something that they wanted to eat. I noticed that the sunflower seeds were their favorite as they devoured those in a matter of minutes. It's not an easy task, but a very rewarding experience especially knowing that these little guys were once in a lot of danger and perhaps without food.

While we continued to visit all the enclosures, we saw many different species of parrots, from Red and Yellow Lored Parrots to the endangered Yellow-Headed Parrot. The center houses an interesting mix of birds in addition to the parrots, including a whistling duck, Aracari Toucans, a Red-footed Booby Bird, a barn owl, and a couple of hawks.

After spending the past couple of weeks going bird watching at popular birding hotspots with very knowledgeable birders from the different lodges and resorts in Belize, visiting Belize Bird Rescue was just the icing on the cake. It was refreshing to know that a place like this exists, providing a sanctuary to rehabilitate injured birds here in Belize. It's amazing to hear how the local birding community, local citizens, volunteers, and local businesses come together to support the efforts of Belize Bird Rescue led by Nikki and Jerry. We got to see astonishing birds in the wild over the past few weeks, and now we got the chance to see birds that were just as marvelous in a facility aiding their recovery and releasing them back into their natural habitat.

Ms. Nikki, Mr. Jerry, Oscar, and the rest of the team at Belize Bird Rescue were very friendly and passionate advocates for the rescue and rehabilitation of birds in Belize. We'd like to give a massive thank you to everyone at Belize Bird Rescue for having us over. It was an exceptional educational and fun experience to be at such unique bird rescue and rehabilitation center in Belize.

Where is Belize Bird Rescue?

Belize Bird Rescue is located at Rock Farm Guest House in Roaring Creek Village, which is only a 15 minutes drive heading West from Belmopan City. You can either drive to the facility in your private vehicle or you can take the public bus which will drop you off on the main road in front of the Westar Gas Station. From the gas station you’ll see a dirt road on the opposite side. You’ll need to walk down this road for 20-25 minutes, until you see the entrance of Belize Bird Rescue on the left-hand side.

Who can visit Belize Bird Rescue?

Belize Bird Rescue caters to injured birds with the intention of releasing them back into the wild; and so, they limit the amount of interaction that these birds get with humans. It is not a facility that caters to a “show-and-tell” format for visitors. Those who wish to visit Belize Bird Rescue should be willing to do some volunteer work and adhere to specific rules. The center does not accommodate children or large groups to visit the facility for observation purposes.

How can you assist Belize Bird Rescue?

The facility of Belize Bird Rescue tries to be self-sustainable as much as they can by raising and farming their own worms, mice and chicks for feeding. The property is surrounded by many fruit trees that they pick from to feed the birds. Although some of these items are readily available for the birds, Belize Bird Rescue still needs your help to continue the awesome work that they are doing for the birds of Belize.

You can attend or support the Annual Night Out for the Birds.

You can assist Belize Bird Rescue by donating items to the organization or by volunteering your time. Some of the items that you can donate to Belize Bird Rescue are:
  1. Towels
  2. Cleaning supplies
  3. Seasonal fruits
  4. Sunflower seeds
  5. Old newspapers/books
  6. Money
If you would like to find out more about how you can assist Belize Belize Bird Rescue or make a report of a bird in need, then you can contact them through these mediums:
  1. Phone call: (+501) 610 0400
  2. Membership: Sign up for a Fly Free Belize membership.
  3. Website: www.BelizeBirdRescue.com
Learn More
Destinations
Events
Belize Birding Festival To celebrate Belize’s avifauna, the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA), in partnership with the Belize Hotel Association (BHA) and the Belize Audubon ... moreSociety (BAS), decided to host the first ever Annual Belize Birding Festival on October 25-28, 2018, in the capital of the country, Belmopan City.

As nature’s best kept secret, Belize offers many birding hotspots for amateur and expert birdwatchers, including six Important Bird Areas (IBAs). Most of these hotspots are nestled in nature reserves that are tropical forests, savannahs, wetlands, islands, and coastal planes. These locations make for an ideal habitat for a diverse collection of birds.
2018 Belize Birding Festival The 2018 Belize Birding Festival will be the first of it's kind in Belize as it celebrates the love for birds and the unique collection of bird species that exist in the country. This birding festival will be hosted at the George Price Center in Belmopan City.

The Belize Birding Festival starts with a 6AM Urban Bird Watch through Belmopan. The exhibition run from 9AM till 3PM and the day includes vendor and exhibit booths, birding and photography talks, a variety of presentations, video documentaries, and key-note speaker Dr. Oliver Komar, co-author of the Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Northern Central America. There will be an afternoon guided bird walk at 3:30PM and the event wraps up with an evening cocktail hour starting at 5:30PM.

More details will be posted as soon as new information is release by the organizers. See the official website at http://www.belizebirdingfestival.bz or the Belizing.com fan page at http://www.belizebirdingfestival.com

#belizebirding #BelizeBirdingFestival2018 #letsgobelizing
Why should you attend the First Annual Belize Birding Festival? The First Annual Belize Birding Festival is a great opportunity for amateur bird waters and professional bird watchers to come together and celebrate their admiration for birds.
Entrance Fee:
$10 - $25 BZD
Venue:
George Price Center, Belmopan
Address:
Belmopan City, Cayo District, Belize
Start Date:
Saturday, 27 Oct, 2018
District:
Cayo
Tours/Activities
$
1,256
-
$
3,230
/ Person
The perfect vacation for all: singles, couples or groups; bird lovers; adventure-lovers or gentle vacationers. 6 nights all-inclusive package from $1,256US per person... more
Spacious, air-conditioned en-suite accommodation
All food & beverages included 
3 fabulous day-trips of your choice included
Transfers included 
Time to spend with the folks at Belize Bird Rescue
Opportunity to go on avian rescue and release trips
River swimming, woodland walks and arm-chair bird-watching
$
35
/ Person
Departs From:
Orange Walk Town
Bird Watching Belize Tour Early morning river expedition or walking tour Whether you are a beginner and want to see a great variety of tropical birds, or an experienced birder with ... morea checklist of target sightings, throughout our property and the New River you will find birding packages to suit your preference.

During your Belize vacation and across various habitats you can see many of the 500+ birds that have been recorded here.
$
1,625
-
$
2,508
/ Group
 (1)
Belize is known for so many wonderful things- wildlife, cave systems, exotic rainforests- but a fascination with the birds of Belize has become one of the TOP nature-based activities ... moreon demand. The Belizean rainforest and savannahs contain some of the most exotic & colorful birds of Central America. With over 500 known bird species, you will have ample opportunities to see these beautiful creatures during your 4 nights stay at Caves Branch.

Explore the countryside with this unique Belize vacation package created specifically for birding enthusiasts who want more nature-based activities that focus on a growing attraction in Belize. Venture out on each of the daily activities in search of some of the unique winged creatures including the national bird of Belize- the Keel-billed Toucan or the exotic Mot-Mot bird the noisy Toucanets. Capture a Black-headed trogon and be enthralled with the natural beauty and distinct sounds. Learn about conservation efforts in Belize to save and protect some of the most endangered native species. This birding package can be done alone OR can be combined with a beach destination as the grand finale to an amazing vacation in Belize!

Caves Branch Tropical Feathers- Bird Watching Package

6 nights in a lovely Jungle Cabana

Daily buffet breakfast, lunch on tours, and buffet dinner enjoyed family style

Unlimited local beers, local rum mixed drinks, juices, sodas, coffee, tea, and water

4 Full Day Guided Birding Tours + 1 Additional Full Day Adventure Tour of Choice
**Surcharges apply for Tikal Maya Ruins tour, ATM Cave, Diving, Snorkelling, River of Caves 7 Mile Tour combined w/ Ziplining

Jungle Safari After Dark Tour (approx. 2 hours) which leaves right after dinner time

Roundtrip shuttle service to & from Belize City (includes international or municipal airports)

All Taxes Included
$
65
/ Person
Departs From:
Hopkins
This tour begins just before daybreak with a drive through Sittee River where the lush vegetation attracts many species of birds in Belize. Be sure to keep your eyes open and your ... morebinoculars handy as you are bound to encounter spectacular plumage, stirring calls, and the steady drumming of a hummingbird’s wings.

Some of the tropical birds often spotted in the area are keel-billed toucans, fork-tailed flycatchers, tropical kingbirds, and Amazon kingfishers, blue crowed mot-mot and harpy eagle.
$
1,249
/ Person
Day 1: AIRPORT/CRYSTAL PARADISE You will be met at the airport by your Belizean bird guide and transferred to your jungle lodge accommodations. Optional stop to visit the Belize Zoo ... more(entrance fee not included, US$15/pp). We check into our accommodations at Crystal Paradise after a short orientation.
O/N Crystal Paradise Resort. /D

Day 2: MACAL RIVER CANOEING – morning or afternoon
Canoeing on the Macal River. While canoeing we have the chance to see Neotropic Cormorants, Mangrove Swallows, Kingfishers, Gray-necked Wood-rails and other wildlife that frequent the riverbanks such as iguanas sunning themselves on the rocks and trees.
O/N Crystal Paradise Resort. B/L/D

Day 3: EL PILAR
We will make an afternoon visit to El Pilar, a Maya site, and flora/fauna reserve. It is excellent for birding, hiking, and provides an insight to Belize’s sub-tropical forests. We will make stops along the way to view such birds as the Collared Manakins and Honeycreepers an array of flycatchers etc. We will then return to our accommodations after witnessing a Belizean sunset.
O/N Crystal Paradise Resort. B/L/D

Day 4: Mountain Pine Ridge/Rio on Pools/Rio Frio Caves
The Cayo District’s principal town of San Ignacio is the gateway to some of Belize’s most precious ecological gems. After breakfast at the hotel, we will experience the wonders of Mountain Pine Ridge.

Bring along your walking shoes, swimwear and adventurous mind for a full day of activity. The reserve is teaming with hills and valleys, rivers and falls, swimming holes and caves, all surrounded by the majestic beauty of Pine Forests. Our main stops will be at the Rio Frio Caves, Rio on Pools and weather and road conditions permitting, you’ll get a chance to see the 1000 ft. Hidden Valley Waterfalls. Bring along your binoculars, as there is much to see in the line of exotic flora and fauna, endemic only to this extremely rugged, but beautiful part of the county. Lunch is included before returning back to Crystal Paradise Resort. O/N Crystal Paradise Resort. B/L/D

Day 5: Spanish Lookout & Laguna Aguacate
A 45-minute drive north of Crystal Paradise through rolling green hills brings you to Spanish Lookout, a modern-day Mennonite settlement reminiscent of Pennsylvania farmlands. Several different habitats in the area make it a favorable birding destination. The area consists of Savannah, open farmland, and subtropical forest around the lake. In the open land and pastures, it is easy to find Vermillion Flycatchers, Fork-tailed Flycatchers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, White-Tailed Kites and Hawks, Laughing Falcons, Meadowlarks, Swallows, Herons, Jabiru storks just to name a few. Aguacate Lagoon Reserve is located about 20 minutes beyond the community and provides a birdwatcher’s paradise. In the forest around the lake common sighting may include Jacamars, Trogons, Puff-birds, Crested Guans and Great Curassows. Other birds may include Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Night Herons, rails, and Crakes. O/N Crystal Paradise Resort. B/L/D

Day 6: DEPARTURE
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Belize City/Belize Airport.B/

** itinerary is subject to change once here due to weather conditions or unforeseen events***
$
100
/ Person
Departs From:
San Ignacio Town
An opportunity to view some of Belize's most beautiful birds. There are close to 600 species of birds, including approximately 20 to 25% migrants. Cayo District is an excellent place ... morefor bird watching with locations such as El Pillar, Mountain Ridge, Spanish Lookout etc. In addition for avid bird watchers packages can be customized to include other excellent locations in other parts of the country such as the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, Lamanai, Blue Hole National Park, Baboon Sanctuary, Jaguar Reserve, Guanacaste National Park and Gra Gra Lagoon and other locations. Bird watching tours can also be combined with other tours for eg mayan sites and nature walks.

Angela Wu

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