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4thToh Festival

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TOH, Fourth Annual Yucatan Bird Festival

Dec 01, 2005 - Dec 04, 2005

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 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 7 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, and altogether, 270 species were identified. This 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.



Bird Checklist  Chichen Itza

Bird Checklist  Ria Lagartos

Bird Checklist Izamal

Bird Checklist Xcambo

Birding list of the Xoc Chiích with participating teams, download PDF visible on the lower right.

Pre Festival

Sunday,  Noviember 27 : Birdathon in Celestun and Ria de Lagartos

 Monday, Tuesday, Wenedsday November 28, 29, 30.:
Merida Conferences sponsored by the Merida city Government.

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