While the coronavirus pandemic has devastated the birding travel and ecotourism business around the world, a number of tour-guide providers are offering virtual tours of birding sites, either for free or for a small fee. These events offer a glimpse at the wildlife of far-away destinations from the comfort of home while generating a bit of income for guides.
On Friday, August 7, our friends at Panama Day Trips, based in Panama City, are offering BirdWatching readers an exclusive live birding tour via Zoom starting on the famous Pipeline Road in Soberanía National Park. The tour begins at 7 a.m. Eastern (6 a.m. Central, 5 a.m. Mountain, 4 a.m. Pacific) and will last around 2.5 hours. It will include two hours of birdwatching and a 30-minute driving tour of the town of Gamboa in the Panama Canal Zone that is home to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
Tour guide Jerin Tate and his fellow guides offer virtual birding tours five days a week for $8.99. The tour for BirdWatching readers is free and has a limit of 90 screens, first come first serve.
To sign up, go to this page and click “Book now.” Even though the website lists the $8.99 price, you can reserve a spot for free without entering credit card details. Just provide an email address so the company can send you the login details. The reservation is per screen, not per viewer, so if you plan to share your computer with someone else, simply reserve for one screen.
The tour will be broadcast live via Zoom, and viewers will see birds in real time through the guides’ scopes.
Pipeline Road is one of the most biodiverse birding sites in Central America. An Audubon survey found no fewer than 385 bird species in only 24 hours, and eBird lists 399 species for the site — from tinamous to trogons to toucans. If you want to keep a list of birds seen during the tour, the guides will display photos of the birds in addition to live images.
Hope you can join us!