PANAMA CITY – With their binoculars, cameras and other optical aids, birdwatchers are almost always ready to venture off to watch the Panamanian skies, where millions of birds migrate south each autumn from North America.
The birds will begin heading south into Mexico, Central and South America once the weather starts getting colder in more northern climes, seeking more moderate weather to rest, fatten themselves up and reproduce.
The October-November period is the prime time for observing migrating birds in Panama, which has a history of the activity dating back more than 120 years, with the country nowadays constituting a key destination for so-called “green tourism,” which has grown markedly in recent years.
There are three basic migrations – birds of prey, shorebirds and songbirds – and millions of each kind travel to areas near the Panamanian capital, Venicio Wilson, a member of the Audubon Society of Panama, told EFE.
“In the sport of birdwatching, people come as collectors, and in that search for (observing) new species, Panama is a (key) destination,” he said.
“It’s not for nothing that ... the main (birding) country of Central America with 1,010 species of all sorts of birds, wants to attract more and more visitors from North America, Europe and Asia,” he said.
In the international birdwatching competition known as the Global Big Day in May, the isthmus was No. 1 in Central America and sixth worldwide, with about 750 species of birds seen in a single day, exceeding Costa Rica’s 685.
The head of the department of International Communications for the Panama Tourism Authority, Gilberto Alemancia, told EFE that the sector attracts mainly affluent visitors coming from the US, Canada, the UK, France and Germany.
“Many (people) wanting to document exotic species are ready to travel to distant locations, without regard for the cost, given that the majority are also experts and researchers,” Alemancia said.