Events News

Nature Uganda Announces Dates for the ‘Big Birding Day’

Those who love the birds of the feathered kind will be marking November 27th 2014 in their calendar, when from midnight to midnight ornithologists and hobby birders will once again swarm Ugandas best, and also the lesser known sites to collect sightings and audible identifications of as many of the 1.065 species confirmed to have been recorded in the Pearl of Africa.

Every year families, individuals, conservationists and the tourism industry come together to celebrate Uganda’s Big Birding Day (BBD). Whether you are young or old, a beginner or a professional ‘twitcher,’ the Big Birding Day has something for everyone. For tourists taking safaris in Uganda, don’t forget to mark this great day on your calender. If you’re competitive, you might like to join one of the teams of professional birdwatchers looking to improve on last year’s incredible score of 275 bird species seen in one 24 hour period in Mt. Elgon National Park.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority and the National Forest Authority are once again participating in the event and will be offering free entrance to participants to the parks, reserves and national forests, to broadly promote domestic tourism and in particular raise awareness for the rich variety of birds found across the country. Last year some 40 official teams covered 38 sites across Uganda and brought home sightings of 622 species, something the organizers hope to better this year with more participants covering yet more of the country.

First launched in 2009 by Nature Uganda and conservation partners, the #BBD this being the hash tag on Twitter for the event besides #VisitUganda or Big Birding Day has since evolved into a major conservation and domestic tourism event, held annually and promoted by safari companies, safari lodges, the Uganda Tourism Board, the Uganda Wildlife Authority and the National Forest Authority. Companies have last year sponsored teams, collecting bird sightings and reporting them back via twitter to base for instant computation and updates and the social media will again be playing a major role in publicizing the event more broadly around the world, perhaps with enough hash tags even trending.

The winners of the event will be announced and celebrated on October 27th at a venue still to be announced, so watch this space for future updates. Meanwhile, visit with specific questions.

Events News

The Big Birding Day

While planning your birding tour to Uganda, as a birder I advise fellow birding travelers to book their birding trips corresponding with the dates of Uganda Big Birding Day Event. Here you with your guide will meet various birders and interact to learn more about Uganda’s birds and the migratory birds from Europe. On this event you will visit most of the important bird areas-including Mabira forest, Katomi Kingdom resort-Garuga, Lutembe bay, Uganda wildlife education centre and Botanical gardens Entebbe, Mpanga forest, Mabamba bay swamp for the rare stork shoe bill.

Mabamba Bay is one of the spotlight site where the highest number of Shoebills has been recorded in one day and over a relatively small area. This kind of concentration of the species has attracted tourists as well as wildlife traffickers looking for both the eggs and the birds for trade. Recent reports from immigration office indicate increased incidences of culprits of wildlife trafficking being arrested at border points, however, many still go unnoticed.

On the other hand it presented opportunities for income generation for communities through eco-tourism. Uganda tour operators and other sectors like Nature Uganda aims to support and strengthen the Mabamba community groups for long term conservation of the wetland.

This is mainly through:

  • Specialized training of selected community members in conservation linked livelihood alternatives such as tour guiding, crafts and eco-tourism,
  • Promoting avian – tourism especially Shoebill trekking in Mabamba Bay,
  • Getting selected community members trained to undertake basic site monitoring to track status – threats at the site and conservation actions within the site and
  • Community compliance policing undertaken on a regular basis to strengthen the implementation of the community management plan and improve on wetland management by the District.

The information collected will contribute to the effort to develop a global species action plan for the shoebill and creating a community-government partnership to cab wildlife trade.