[Tweeters] RE: Birding dollars and cents. (long)

Brett Wolfe m_lincolnii at yahoo.com
Mon Dec 27 21:02:24 PST 2004

It is about the birds Christine! When My wife and I took oour honeymoon to Belize in 2000, we went and stayed with International Zoological Expeditions (www.ize2belize.com) and got to do some wonderful birding with native guides. Later, we spent a night at Sam Tillett's Hotel in Crooked Tree. Sam told us that years ago, he had been working for the government. A lady he had met from the states was interested in bringing people down to Belize who would pay good money to be shown birds, could sam help? He said he told her the only two things he knew about birds was "kill them and eat them". After giving it some thought though, he decided it was worth a try, and started getting into all of the birds from his homeland of Belize. The first tour group he dealt with tipped him for a 4 hour trip as much as he would have made in a week working for the government. Well, he was soon obsessed about birds, and started his own business, including the hotel. He now mostly runs the hotel and!
 local guides who he trains himself, and these people are good. They learn birds by silouette, flight patterns, calls and songs. What's better is, they show you and teach you how they know what they are seeing, so you can find the birds for yourself when without a guide. It is great, because these people realized what kind of natural resources they had right in their backyards and are taking advantage of it, rather than killing and destroying it. 
Also, the first time I ever went to Louisiana, a friend and I took a tour through the bayou, and it was incredible! The person we went with was very knowledgable about wildlife in general and pointed out some great stuff for us. We even saw some hunters in a boat who pulled up along side of us and showed us the brace of squirrels they had shot that morning. Later on the 'cruise', we went by where these folks lived out in the middle of the bayou and spoke with some of their family. These folks had no vehicles and no roads come within miles of there anyway; the bayou is their roadway. 
The point of this ramble is that there are many places where people are knowledgable and interested in wildlife. These folks in Belize and Louisiana have been able to carve their niches out of our interest in their "backyards", and the wild denizens that live there. when we go to these places, we can help people out a lot by buying native made products, staying with smaller, more native hideaways, rather than just the local international motel. And the more we do so, and the better experiences we gain, the more these people will get continuing business by word of mouth. And ultimately, this helps the birds far more than just sending money to TNC, Audubon and other organizations (please don't slam me on that statement - I still give meoney to thse organizations and others that help birds, it is not a slam on them at all!!). 
Good birding!
Brett A. Wolfe
Seattle, WA

"Christine \"Cricket\" Webb" <idiot at inlandwireless.com> wrote:
I went to the Yucatan Peninsula last December.  At the south end of the Peninsula - almost in Belize, there is a bio reserve called Sian Ka'an.  Historically this the hunting ground of the native Mayan population.  Still is,  but now they hunt for Birder dollars, and are well worth it.  If they "get it" in Kotzebue, Alaska and Sian Ka'an, I am sure, no matter how many of us are birders, bird nerds, bird brains, bird watchers or just like to the watch the birds and don't care what kind they are, we can get the message across that we spend money where ever we go.  Wear you bins and ask the locals about where to find birds (amazing what you can find this way) and print up cards,  all of these things will get their attention.  The more attention we get the more the source of the income will be protected.  Remember - It's about the birds!
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