Birding Heaven – The Crooked tree Wildlife Sanctuary

Here comes the Birdwatcher paradise, the crooked tree wildlife sanctuary located 33 miles out of the Belize City. Don your binoculars and telephoto lens and get ready to witness a plethora of ornithological haven. Not only nature lovers and bird lovers will find this place enchanting but everyone who comes here will ultimately appreciate the store house of flora and fauna.

The Jabaru Stork, the largest bird in the America, with a wing span of 10-12 feet makes it the largest flying bird in the World. The crooked wildlife sanctuary boasts of its presence here during the months of November to June. The World’s fastest Falcon – the Peregrine also nests here. To name a few other inhabitants – herons, ducks, kites, egrets, ospreys, kingfishers and hawks flock the sanctuary. The lagoons and marshes are house to about 275 species of bird. Most of the migratory bird fly in the sanctuary in the months of November and leave before the rainy season. Abundance of food resources and shallow waters keep on attracting the migratory birds to the sanctuary.

A Pleasant way to explore the sanctuary is by boat. The Snail kite is another Crooked Tree bird spectacle. The beautiful snowy and great Egrets fishing along the shoreline, all five species of Kingfisher, Black Collared Hawks, diving towards the water surface for catch can be spotted and photographed. This is truly an amazing place for a bird watcher and nature photographer. A network of lagoons, wetlands and swamps add to the beauty of this place. A natural reservoir in the Belize river valley, it provides flood control during the rainier months.

Visitors like me need to first register themselves at the visitor centre. This acts as a check in point and also guides and tours are available for the excursion. The guides with their extensive and exhaustive knowledge will keep on telling about the flora and fauna of this sanctuary but at the same time they will keep on telling you some interesting stories of the Crooked Tree village as to how the village got its name. The “Birdwalk” gives the viewers an opportunity to see the indigenous plant and animal life on foot.

Visit anytime during the dry season but the time from February to May will be the best as you can spot many migratory birds flocking in the sanctuary. Be sure that you abide by all the rules and regulations or be ready to pay a heavy penalty. The crooked village lies within the sanctuary and is also famous for the Cashew festival in may as Cashews grow in abundance there.