Birds and Wildlife Gardens of Guatemala

Tufted Coquette

Tufted Coquette © Megan Crewe

For months now I’ve been eagerly planning my 20th anniversary celebration trip to see the birds (and their habitats) of Trinidad and Tobago, a small island country (2 islands actually) off the coast of Venezuala.

I’ve been studying the Field Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago so that I will be able to identify the many beautiful new birds I will get to see while there. I’ve been learning about their habitats, including the native plants that make up these ecosystems.

And I’ve been especially interested in learning about the amazing wildlife gardens that have been created at the Asa Wright Nature Center, a restored coffee plantation and now a wonderful ecotourism and birding destination.

Asa Wright is famous for the birds that visit the wildlife gardens right off the veranda. I’m told it’s possible to see many species of hummingbirds and other avian beauties while having an early breakfast. I’m anxious to see the wildlife gardens here, and the many species of birds and butterflies they attract.

And I’ll get to see many of “our” birds in their wintering grounds. Very exciting!

I’ll be leaving next weekend for this 10 day birding extravaganza.

So, imagine my surprise to find out that I’ve been invited to participate in a birding FAM trip to Guatemala! (A FAM trip is a “familiarization” tour sponsored by the tourist bureau to show writers, birders, and naturalists the beauty and wonder of this country so that we’ll inspire others to visit).

This trip is sponsored by INGUAT and will showcase the beautiful birds and their habitats of the many ecosystems in Guatemala, and will be led by some of the best birders in this small Central American country.

It also includes a visit to Tikal, a world heritage site because of its archaeological and bio/ecological interest.:

In the heart of the jungle, surrounded by lush vegetation, lies one of the major sites of Mayan civilization, inhabited from the 6th century B.C. to the 10th century A.D. The ceremonial centre contains superb temples and palaces, and public squares accessed by means of ramps. Remains of dwellings are scattered throughout the surrounding countryside.

Ironically, I’ll leave for this trip one week after I return from Trinidad and Tobago. Not much time to learn about these additional habitats and their amazing resident birds, but I’ll do my best to do as much research as I can before I get there.

I’ve already scheduled an interview with a local landscape designer so we can talk about gardening for wildlife in Guatemala, and I’m really excited about learning from her! I’m looking forward to interviewing our guides about the birds, ecosystems, and conservation concerns of this area. And I’m looking forward to sharing everything I learn with you when I get back.

Have you had the opportunity to visit the wildlife gardens and observe the birds, butterflies, and other wildlife in another country? I’d love to here about what you learned! Please leave a comment below describing your adventures.

*Many, many thanks to Liz Gordon of the American Birding Association for recommending me to the organizers of this trip!

Carole Sevilla Brown lives in Philadelphia, PA, and she travels the country speaking about Ecosystem Gardening for Wildlife. Check out her new free online course Ecosystem Gardening Essentials, 15 free lessons delivered to your inbox every week.

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