Toh Festival birdwatchers in 2017. Photo: Facebook

Inspired by the Tho’s plumage, the Yucatán Bird Festival named for the state bird is about to begin its 17th edition.

The Tho — or in English, the Turquoise-browed Motmot — and its beautiful plumage is just one of hundreds of species that make the Peninsula a birdwatchers’ paradise.

Organizers announced its 2018 program of activities, all carried out with the objective of promoting nature tourism in the state.

In the last eight years the program has focused on encouraging birdwatching and welcomes the general public, tourists, nature photographers, birdwatchers, naturalist guides, students and children.

In this edition, the Tho Festival de la Aves organizing committee chose the Puuc Biocultural Reserve as the marathon’s base.

Five municipalities make up the Puuc Reserve: Muna, Santa Elena, Oxkutzcab, Tekax and Ticul and is governed by a decentralized body, the Intercultural Biocultural Board of Puuc (Jibiopuuc).

A highlight of the program is the Marathon Xoc ch’ich, which is Maya for Count Birds, from Nov. 23 to 25. Participants, in teams, will try to observe and register the most bird species in only 29 hours.

The Puuc Biocultural Reserve, in the south of the state of Yucatán, is one of the most important reserves on the Peninsula. With its 1,640 hectares/4052.5 acres of low and medium jungle, it has a vast wealth of landscapes that are a refuge for a great diversity of species of flora and fauna, as well as important Mayan ruins.

The Eumomota superciliosa inspires Yucatán’s bird festival. Photo: Getty

The reserve has 247 species of birds, and is an AICA site (Area of ​​Importance for the Conservation of Birds) “Sierra de Ticul-Punto Put.” It is an optimal area for refuge, feeding and reproduction of both resident and migratory birds in spring and autumn.

The Toh Bird Festival begins in March and concludes in November and includes activities such as ecotourism and birdwatching tours, children’s activities, as well as various courses and workshops.

The organizing committee is made up of Pronatura AC, the Yucatán Scientific Research Center (CICY), the Mérida City Council, Ecotourism Boundaries, Ride into Birdland, Co’ox Mayab, and Jaltun.

The festival’s 2017 events were focused in Sisal, where coastal ecosystems were explored.

For more information, visit www.festivalavesyucatan.com, call Mariana Puerto Suárez at 52 999-988-4436 ext. 113 or email infotoh@pronatura-ppy.org.mx.

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