Grab your binoculars and cameras for the Bird-a-thon XOC CH’ICH’

Yucatan’s 466 resident and migratory bird species are waiting to be sighted and identified in the 14th annual edition of one of the longest-running and most exciting birding experiences in Mexico.

Set for Nov. 20-22, BIRD-A-THON XOC CH’ICH’ 2015 is part of the “Festival de las Aves” organized by the Pronatura conservation group.

About 100 amateurs and experts from all states of the Península and even from other countries are expected to participate in the Bird-a-thon, said Marigel Campos Capetillo, the event’s lead organizer with Pronatura.

The bird-a-thon will start on Friday Nov. 20 at 5 pm at the Marista University in Merida. At the opening event there will be a brief conference, and delivery of the rules and the kits (a t-shirt, a cap and the official checklist of the Yucatan birds) to the teams.

“The teams can choose their own route,” Campos said. “They are allowed to travel around all the Yucatán state looking for birds. We recommend the teams stay Saturday night in Celestun. There are many hotels of all prices and comfort levels.”

Campos continued, “You do not have to be an expert, you will have the opportunity to meet and interact with local naturalist guides who will share their expertise with you.”



November 20-22


The main event of the Festival de las Aves is the exciting Bird-a-thon Xoc ch’ich’ (Word in Mayan that means “bird count”). Like other similar events that occur all over the world, its goal is to identify as many bird species as possible in a short period of time (29 hours).

It means an amazing opportunity to:

 Experience a different way of seeing and enjoying the culture, nature and hospitality of the people from Yucatan.

 Help promote alternative tourism. The state of Yucatan has more than 30 ecotourism projects carried out by groups and rural communities, who are waiting to share their cultural and natural wealth.

 Contribute to conserving birds and their habitat. Forests and wetlands are critical to the survival of resident and migratory birds.



Form your team of 4 to 8 participants with your friends, coworkers and family, or contact the Organizing Committee (OC) that will integrate you into a team.

Teams must include a local bird guide for which the OC will provide the contact information. In the webpage you will find a list of the certificated bird guides who want to share their knowledge and experience with you.

(The cost of the guide is not included in the cost of the bird-a-thon.)

Teams can choose their own route around the state of Yucatan. Enjoy a weekend of spectacular natural landscapes, from the jungle to the coasts and wetlands. You can choose your bird-watching route freely or contact festival organizers to help you set up one.



The opening event, rules lecture and delivery of kits, will take place on November 20 at 5:00pm in Mérida, Yucatán.

The bird-a-thon officially begins on Saturday November 21 at 5:00am, and ends on Sunday November 22 at 10:00am in Celestún, Yucatán with a closure event breakfast and awards ceremony at La Palapa Restaurant on the beach. During that period of time, the teams must search and identify the higher number of birds species as possible.



The registration fee per person is:

 $250 pesos / USD $22 for general public

 $150 pesos / USD $12 for students

* All the team members, including the guide, must pay the registration fee.

-Includes: Event kit (hat and t-shirt), Yucatan’s official bird list, closure event breakfast.

-Not included: Lodging, transportation, meals, bird guide.

Photo: Yucatan's Toh, a native bird species.
Yucatan’s Toh, a native bird species.

More information and registration:

LARN. Marigel Campos C.

Tel. +52 9999-88-44-37 ext. 113

Or visit:


-By Robert Adams for TYT



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