Bahamas to attract bird watchers

The tourism department in the Bahamas has launched a plan to encourage bird watching under its birding tourism development plan.

The Sustainable Tourism Unit is supporting the initiative, with the assistance of Small Planet Consulting. Bahamas, which places a great deal of emphasis on preserving its natural environment and natural assets, has taken many steps in order to protect them, and is one of the first countries in the world to establish a Sustainable Tourism Unit (STU), which initiated the development of the Bahamas Sustainable Tourism Development policy guidelines. It has 26 national parks that occupy more than 700,000 acres of protected marine and land area.

The nation is one of the destinations of choice for seasoned ornithologists, as well as for novices who are just starting to watch birds in their natural environments. The Bahamas is believed to have 340 bird species, including about 110 species that breed in the country. Approximately 170 species are migrant birds that visit the nation from other regions and in different seasons. There are also about 50 rarely occurring vagrant species, and 28 species that are not seen in the US, Canada or Europe.

The tourism department had previously developed a fully accredited birding tour guide course, and in 2011 it developed a birding tourism development plan.

Dr Rick Wright, a US birding tourism professional and a former editor of the American Birding Association’s ‘Winging It’ monthly newsletter, said, ‘Everywhere you look there are birds, and birds in a wondrous combination of the familiar and the exotic and new. But best of all, there are birders to show them to you and to enjoy them with you. I can’t imagine a better place to spend a couple of weeks than The Bahamas.’