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I love birds!

Oct 17 • 481 views • 5 Comments birds, birdwatching, Conservation, East Africa, Kampala, tourism experience, Uganda, wildlife

Diary of a Muzungu is proud to be a sponsor of Big Birding Day 2013, supporting the next generation of birders in Uganda.

How many birds will you see at Big Birding Day 2013?

Bigger and better than ever, help us beat last years record - 290 birders in 58 teams, birding in 35 areas, recording 657 species (63% of the total species of Uganda recorded and an increase of 82 species from the 2011 record)!

The Muzungu with young birder Hope at Kasenge, Uganda. International Day of the Safari Guide

The Muzungu with young birder Hope at Kasenge on International Day of the Safari Guide. Photo courtesy of Titus Kakembo and Uganda Tourism Press Association

This Friday 18th October is the official launch of Big Birding Day 2013 at the Uganda Museum in Kampala.

The free to enter Big Birding Day race is a 24 hour competition this Saturday, 19th October, at dozens of sites across Uganda, involving birdwatching groups competing to score the longest bird species list in 24 hours. Birding teams are led by professionally trained guides and experienced bird guides from NatureUganda membership and UWA staff. Each group must have at least 2 members who are experienced bird watchers to confirm the species identification.

All birds seen and/or heard calling within these sites will be recorded (TICK!) A tally centre will be set up at NatureUganda to receive and check all records.

Each new bird sighting gets a TICK

Each new bird sighting gets a TICK – but no cheating please guys!

The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and National Forestry Authority (NFA) are offering FREE entry for all Big Birding Day participants birding in National Parks, Wildlife Reserves and Forest Reserves - but you need to register your team first. (Scroll down for the flyer and contacts below).

…And if you can’t make the Big Birding Day race this Saturday, why not join us for the Festival Saturday 26th October? Here NatureUganda will name the Big Birding Day winning teams at Kitante Primary School Gardens (behind the Uganda Museum). This free event is open to the whole family and will be a chance to learn more about birds and birding. There will also be live music, dancing, face painting for the kids and more…

What can you expect from the Big Birding Day 2013 Race?

One year I was lucky enough to tag along with expert birders Roger Skeen and Nathan Eluku who recorded an incredible 175 bird species between Namuwongo, Kampala and Entebbe. What a fantastic day out it was. And the best bit? Our team won!

How to take part in Big Birding Day 2013, Uganda

Diary of a Muzungu is proud to be a sponsor of Uganda’s Big Birding Day 2013, supporting the next generation of birders. Birds, conservation, tourism

It’s not all about winning of course… this year I’m excited to be going to Mabamba Swamp, famous for its rare Shoebill Stork. I can’t wait!

Shoebill Stork, Entebbe, Uganda

Shoebill Stork, first seen by the Muzungu (though the mesh of its cage) at UWEC, Entebbe, Uganda

If you’re asking yourself, “why exactly does the Muzungu keep banging on about birds?” read “Why we should embrace Uganda’s Big Birding Day.” They delight me and enthrall me.

There’s a serious side to the event too and this year’s theme is: Birding, Our Livelihoods and Our Economy

Birdwatching can present significant economic opportunities for countries through sustainable tourism, says the United Nations environment agency. In Uganda, tourism is the number two foreign exchange earner (second only to remittances from Ugandans living overseas).

Did you know that worldwide, one in eight people earn their living directly or indirectly because of the tourism industry?

You only need to look at Uganda’s gorilla tourism and the way this single species has promoted Uganda internationally and helped fund other tourism initiatives and conservation across the country to see the huge potential for birding to develop Uganda’s economy. The Uganda Wildlife Authority, conservation organisations and tourist lodges work very closely with the community: training and employing local people.

Birding directly employs qualified bird guides and rangers, tour operators and sales consultants. Employment opportunities exist for land owners, farmers and producers who supply lodges, people who maintain tracks and trails, lodge and hotel staff and all the smaller businesses that support these: boda boda drivers, restaurants and shops. Birding tourism or ‘avitourism’ can thus become an economic and political force for both development and conservation.

Birding disproportionately favours the poor, since we find the highest number of bird species in remote areas. Thus, with the right investment in training and tourist facilities, birding can contribute to raising people out of poverty.

By supporting Big Birding Day 2013, the training of the next generation of birders and the investment in tourism infrastructure, you’re helping build the skills and opportunities of individual Ugandans, the economy of Uganda and protecting its wildlife and natural heritage at the same time …

… hell, you can have a great day out at the same time :)

Please contact NatureUganda on 0414-540719 / 0414-533528 / 0772929626 to find out more, email bbd@natureuganda.org or register via the NatureUganda website.

NatureUganda is a membership-based organisation that would not exist without your support. 

Did you know you can renew your NatureUganda membership by mobile money? Just 5000 UGX for students and 25k UGX for annual family membership. Send to 0777147367

Follow NatureUganda on Twitter and be a Fan of NatureUganda on Facebook

If you like my birding stories, you might enjoy Diary of a Muzungu’ s page dedicated to our feathered friends, Uganda’s birds.

Do you like birds? Are you taking part in Big Birding Day this year? This annual event is growing every year. If you have ideas on how we can help develop BBD, do get in touch!

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5 Responses to I love birds!

  1. Great that this has become a routine activity and has enriched the public about bird species. I admire the birds colours, they are beautiful. How I wish I was part of the fun

    • the muzungu says:

      Come the weekend, I know you like to be home with your family Patrick – especially after being in the Bush with UCF all week!
      I always remember you telling me how you once thought those Bazungu were crazy, getting you to stop the vehicle for just another bunch of birds in the trees … and now you have the birding bug too :) I find watching birds so relaxing, they can transform an otherwise boring day.
      If you can’t make it this weekend, maybe you could bring the kids to the Festival on Saturday 26th of October? At the primary school behind the Uganda Museum. Hope to see you!

  2. PA says:

    Great stuff Cha. What a wonderful country – surely one of the best in the world for watching and studying birdlife and even better than The Gambia which is already pretty darn good! Just been listening to Desert Island Discs featuring Chris Packham from BBC TV nature. What an interesting character! He is a one off and crazy about pumk rock too! Obviously I thought of you (LOL). XXX

    • the muzungu says:

      Uganda is unbelievably blessed with wonderful, beautiful natural life. Sigh…
      I think you’re saying I’m just as INTERESTING as Chris Packham – I can live with that! xx

      • the muzungu says:

        Update from the Muzungu:
        Big Birding Day 2013 was a great success – more birds, more teams, more competition!
        708 bird species were recorded in this year’s 24 hour bird race, with a whopping 275 recorded by the team from Mt. Elgon National Park.
        BBD had 489 participants this year, a big jump on the 311 that took part in 2012.
        Diary of a Muzungu is delighted to help promote Big Birding Day Uganda
        NatureUganda commented “there has been remarkable competition between the teams, lots of enthusiasm and excitement, which created outstanding teamwork.” Diary of a Muzungu was honoured to receive a special mention at the BBD Festival and I look forward to helping promote and develop Big Birding Day in 2014.

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