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The Big Birding Day 2013 was jointly organised by the Nature Uganda, Uganda Wildlife Authority and other partners including Diary of a Muzungu, Guide 2 Uganda and Uganda/USAID Tourism For Biodiversity Project. The Sponsors included Rwenzori Bottling Company, Pride Micro Finance and the National Forestry Authority .


A series of events preceded the Birding festival at Kitante school grounds on October 26th, during which hundreds of nature lovers went out to count the birds in the forests, farmlands, open savanna, protected areas, wetlands and urban places among other sites.

The key highlight was the 24 hour Big Birding Day race, in which teams competed to see who could record the highest number of species in a given time The Big Birding Day brought together the Tourism business world with the conservation world, the media, researchers and the rest of the community.

This year's theme for the Birding events was Connecting Birds to People and Nature. The Launch on the 18th October 2013 at the Uganda Museum, which was in form of a Public Lecture on Birding, with UWA Director of Tourism development and Business services as the key note speaker while Mrs Grace Mbabazi Aulo was the chief guest.

The launch was followed by the Big Birding Day on the 19th October 2013, where several teams went birding around the country. Finally, the Big Birding Festival on the 26th October 2013 at Kitante Primary School Grounds where the Birding results were announced, awards given to the Top Birding Teams and Uganda's species richness celebrated.

UWA supported the event through financial contribution, towards the printing of Promotional and Branding materials, free Park entry for the Birding teams to all national Parks and Wildlife reserves inclusive of guides and boat hire to birding groups in all Parks and Wildlife reserves on the Big Birding Day, organizing birding groups at Park or reserve level to participate in the birding on the 19th October 2013 among others.

All the national Parks Participated and the results indicated Mt. Elgon National Park as the winner followed by Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth parks respectively. A total of 32 teams participated in the birding race

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     Uganda Wildlife Authority plans to reduce the fees charged for birding expeditions from US 100$ to US 30$ per day effective January 2014 with a view to boosting birding as a prime tourism product.

    According to the UWA director of Tourism Development and Business Services (DTBS) Mr. Raymond Engena, the new rate will be the same as that charged for the nature walk.”There will be no difference in charges between birding and nature walk,” stated the director during the launch of the Big Birding Day at the Uganda Museum on Friday October 18th,2013.

    Mr. Engena stated that the future of avian tourism lies in the private guides and called upon the birding promoters to harmonize for the activity within and outside protected areas. Addressing the theme of Big Birding Day 2013 “Connecting People to Birds and Nature,” Mr. Engena said that Uganda now boasts of recorded 1,065 species with 60% of this population found in the national parks. He lamented however that birding was competing with agriculture as people cut down the natural habitats for birds and degrading wetlands, lack of appreciation for birds’ contribution to the livelihoods and called on the promotion strategies for birding to be streamlined.

    Mr. Engena who the guest speaker at the launch ceremony argued that the tourism fraternity must get the destination marketing right and think of how best to share the benefits from the birding activity with the communities. Dr. Robert Nabanyumya speaking on behalf of the board chairman, Nature Uganda, said birding and birds contribute immensely to our economic development and improvement of livelihoods. He noted that the birding event was initiated in 2003 but since 2009,it has turned into an annual event

    The birding race was marked by dispatching various groups to different birding sites including wetlands, semi-arid sites, forests, farmland, grasslands and the protected areas for a form of a competition to determine the group that would come up with the longest list of birds identified and counted. The UWA group chose Ziika forest and Kajansi fishing ponds where they managed to identify birds in the wilderness with beautiful colors and unique calls . The group was able to register a variety of bird species such as pied Kingfisher, long tailed cormorant, the yellow weaver bird, white Egret and the black necked dove among others.The official results will be announced during the birding festivbal on October 26 T at Kitante Primary school grounds End .

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