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4thToh Festival

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Comments About This Event.

Bárbara Hernández, Mexico City
: “The Bird Festival was a complete success! Congratulations to all.”

Barbara MacKinnon, Mérida Yucatan
SUMMARY REPORT OF THE FOURTH YUCATAN BIRD FESTIVAL – TOH DECEMBER 1 – 4, 2005 The fourth edition of the Yucatan Bird Festival – TOH (Maya for the Turquoise-browed Motmot), brought a tremendous increase in local participation, including private and public sector organizations and institutions that contribute to eco-tourism projects in the state. This demonstrates that the first three festivals, along with ongoing efforts at creating public awareness on the many attributes of bird watching, is having a positive affect within the state. The conferences by Humberto Berlanga and Manuel Grosselet the afternoon of Dec. 1 were enthusiastically attended by 400 biology students, conservationists, staff from the federal reserves in the state, outside visitors and bird lovers in general. A hundred guests continued on to the formal inauguration at the Hotel Casa del Balam, where there was a special showing of Antonio Hidalgo’s marvelous bird photographs taken at Chichén Itzá the previous spring. The three top finalists in the photography competition, “Yucatan Birds and their Habitats”, in which 80 participants submitted a total of 369 photos, were also honored at the event. Their photos, and those of all 20 finalists form an exhibit at the “Olimpo” building, next to the Municipal Palace, where it is estimated that thousands of people have already viewed them. Approximately 80 people divided into eight groups early on Dec. 2 in order to go birding on the extensive grounds of Haciendas Tzalamcab and San José Tecoh outside the 16th c. town of Izamal. All met up for a lively luncheon of delicious Yucatecan dishes at the Kinich Kamoo Restaurant. From there, most everyone drove on to Chichén Itzá for the conference by Paul Wood, which served as a visual introduction to the birds of the region. A brief visit was made afterwards to the wonderful, inter-active educational workshop on birds that Niños y Crías A.C. organized for the children in the two towns bordering Chichén Itzá – Xcalacoop and Piste during the entire week. It was a delight to see how excited the children were and how intensely they participated in the different learning games. That evening, half of the teams participating in the annual bird-a-thon (xoc ch’ich’ in Maya), composed of 9 to 10 people, headed out to El Cuyo, Río Lagartos and Dzilam Bravo. The others stayed in the area of Chichén Itzá and drove out to the coast before dawn the next day. The competition lasted from 5:00 a.m. Dec. 3 to 10:00 a.m. Dec. 4 and the object was to register the maximum number of species possible within the state among the members of each team. The winners of the xoc ch’ich’ were announced at the awards luncheon held on Dec. 4 outside in the lovely gardens of the 16th c. Hotel Hacienda Chichén with approximately 75 people in attendance. The winning team registered 187 species while the runner-ups listed 185 species. In total 6 of the 7 teams that participated identified 150 or more species, which was quite outstanding and demonstrates the increased knowledge of the local guides that led the teams. Documentation for a potential new species for the region was submitted and is under examination. Numerous awards were given out for different categories, as well as special recognition trophies for donors. All the awards were produced by local artisans, with the exception of the “toh” photo donated by Antonio Hidalgo. It is hoped that even more visitors will join us for the Fifth Yucatan Bird Festival, which is scheduled to take place November 30 through December 3, 2006.

Beverly Scott, “snowbird” from Canada
“I'm really, really, glad I was talked into participating. I thoroughly enjoyed it, even the 1/2 mile trek in knee-deep water at 5:30 am! I do hope it continues. “

Dorothy Andrews, “snowbird” from Massachusetts
“The guides were wonderfully talented and the places where we visited were fun. You can probably imagine how excited I am to think I was on a winning team and one that found only 5 fewer species than the 'expert' team of guides!”

Humberto Berlanga,, Director NABCIResearcher, CONABIO, México City
I want to congratulate everyone for the wonderfully successful event, and I hope to participate in many more festivals in the future.

Joann Andrews, President founder Pronatura Peninsula Yucatan
Barbara, thanks to you for your last minute, incredible attention to details. And I would like to add thanks as well to the niños and Crias team and to Eduardo Muñoz for his support and his persistence in securing Turismo support. The luncheon closure was just beautiful at the Hacienda, Belisa and the chocolate coco dessert should have been photographered for Bon Appetit. The outsiders all complimented the knowledge, enthusiasm, energy and friendliness of the local guides. We have a fine corps of local guides and it is up to us now to find them clients.

Judith Abbott de Mier y Terán,, Mérida, Yucatán
“What a great time I had last week at the portion of the 4th Annual Bird Festival that I attended! My appetite is whetted!”

Manuel Grosselet, Bird Guide, Oaxaca
“Thank you…thank you. It was an honor to be with all of you. Next year I will return and do better than 190 species in the bird-a-thon!”

Paul y Carolyn Beckman, , Sendero México, S.A. de C.V., Mazatlán, Sinaloa
“We wish to extend our thanks for the wonderful hospitality, friendliness and helpfulness that you all showed us as out-of-state visitors. It is beautiful to see how a vision is transformed into reality, leaving in its path positive results dealing with human development and environmental conservation. As a Mexican, I congratulate all of you for your efforts and accomplishments. You are a wonderful example to follow! “

Rafael Chacón, Cozumel, Q. Roo
“The Festival was fantastic! I’m so very happy to have participated in the event. Thank you! “

Stennie Meadours, President, Houston Audubon Society
“This was my third Yucatan Bird Festival and the hospitality, congeniality and cultural exchange were the best! Our knowledgeable local guide, Diego Núñez, enabled us to see 117 species by 2:00 p.m. ! A bonus this year was witnessing the excellent conservation and environmental education efforts underway in Yucatan. I hope to return in 2006.”
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Calle 3 No. 235 x 32A y 34
Col. Pensiones C.P. 97219
Mérida, Yucatán, México.
  Tel: (52) (999) 920-2772
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