Mentoring Youths in Bird Watching and Conservation

We’ve taken it upon ourselves to engage the youths in bird watching and related activities by starting a weekly bird watching exercise. The initiated by George of Bird Twitcher and Ibrahim Onyango is to identify and support our youths to contribute to the greater conservation of birds around Lake Kanyaboli. Already 30 youths have been identified to participate in our new weekly morning bird watching with which results and sighting shall be recording both in the Kenya Bird Map and here on Bird Twitcher.

To make this work from the beginning we’ve brought together all our essentials birding gears namely the binoculars, birding guidebooks and checklist, notebooks among other birding accessories. To make it effective and observed majority of birds, the team will be conducting weekly morning bird watching both in the swamp and on the dry land. The number of youths showing interest is growing by each day and this too poses a challenge to the few binoculars and guidebook that we have at our disposal. You can always join us with the youths to enjoy our weekly birding with the youths and for the youths.

We’ve taken it upon ourselves to engage the youths in bird watching and related activities by starting a weekly bird watching exercise. The initiated by George of Bird Twitcher and Ibrahim Onyango is to identify and support our youths to contribute to the greater conservation of birds around Lake Kanyaboli. Already 30 youths have been identified to participate in our new weekly morning bird watching with which results and sighting shall be recording both in the Kenya Bird Map and here on Bird Twitcher. To make this work from the beginning we’ve brought together all our essentials birding gears namely the binoculars, birding guidebooks and checklist, notebooks among other birding accessories. To make it effective and observed majority of birds, the team will be conducting weekly morning bird watching both in the swamp and on the dry land. The number of youths showing interest is growing by each day and this too poses a challenge to the few binoculars and guidebook that we have at our disposal. You can always join us with the youths to enjoy our weekly birding with the youths and for the youths.

We’ve developed a simple recording tool for the youths, an exercise book divided into two sections to record English name on the left side and a vernacular name against the record bird species. To our surprise majority of the young stars can’t name most common bird species such as common Bulbul Pycnonotus barbatus in their mother tongue. The reason being no interests have been developed towards birds by these youths. In our day one youths bird watching a total of 22 bird species recorded and these includes the Black-Headed Heron Ardea melanocephala, Hamerkop Scopus u. umbretta, Streaky Seedeater Serinus burtoni, Gabar Gosh hawk Micronisus gabar aequatorius, Common Bulbul Pycnonotus barbatus, Black-headed gonolek among others. For the full list of bird species watched together with the youths you can always check on Kenya Bird Map.
The youths have a long way to go but as volunteers we’re determined to assist them to learn basic birding skills and bird conservation. With youths in bird watching activities we’re hopeful to create more awareness to the community at large.

Why Yala Swamp is one of the best places for bird watching in kenya

bird watching in kenya

Yala Swamp is known as a birders paradise with arrays of varieties of bird species, and its one of the best bird watching destination site in Kenya. It’s one site with unique ecological characteristics inhabiting several plant and aquatic animal species. The Swamp is found both in Siaya and Busia county surrounded with many satellite and an Ox-bow lake called Lake Kanyaboli and covers over 200 square-kilometer along Lake Victoria. Its one of the Important Bird Area, as designated by BirdLife International with it being an Important Bird Area many would love to see what the swamp offers for bird watchers and travelers.

bird watching in kenya
When planning a visit to the swamp, one has to consider the available accommodation facilities within the region, we have some excellent hotels both in Bondo and Kisumu this to help have an adequate time in the swamp as a one day tour might not provide a better opportunity to watch as many birds as possible. When organizing for a trip to Yala Swamp for birding one is encouraged to carry with them the necessary birding tools such as bird watching binoculars and guides. With the binoculars you’ll be able to observe birds from areas submerged in water and with dense Papyrus habitation. Also carry with your lighter clothes as it might get hotter as the day progress. Before heading for bird watching in the swamp, birders are encouraged to carry packed lunch as walking back and forth in the dense papyrus may prove just difficult
bird watching in kenya

It host water bird species some of which are migratory birds traveling as far as North America, with migratory of birds to the swamp its offer an opportunity for bird ringing and observing already ringed ones. As a bird be prepared to watch the bee eater and notably the most common being the blue breasted, the most endemic birds are also found and a walk around the swamp will give you a chance to watch the papyrus gonolek, papyrus yellow wabler. Papyrus yellow wabler is one of the rare birds and in most cases isn’t easy to observe but in the vast Yala Swamp you’ll be able to watch them. The swamp flycatcher a bird not scared by the presence of people and will freely move from one papyrus stem to the other in search of flies as the name suggest. The papyrus canary has got a home within the swamp and is found where other the swamp places other unique birds found includes the baillor’s crane, white winged warbler, great snapper among others and provide a place for students study ornithology.

If you want to carryout the bird count on water birds then you’ll have a number of bird to record in your birding list, its also a conducive environment for the waterfall bird counts that happens annually. The wetland International in the recent years decided to celebrate the 50th International Water Bird Census on March 21 that brought participants from various countries in Africa in recognition on the importance of the swamp as a home for birds