Peru has registered 1877 birds (Plenge, 2020), so it is one of the countries with the largest number of birds in the world. For this reason, between others that are presented in this article, bird watching is an activity with a big potential to become a national hobby.
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The importance of birds in ancient Peru
Our ancestors already had a special connection with birds, and they were represented in different objects and rituals.
For example, according to the Larco Museum (2020), birds symbolized the Hanan Pacha (world above) and different species had a special meaning, for example, eagles and hawks were related to the sun; the condor, being a carrion bird, represented the connection between the world above and the world below; seabirds connected the sea with the celestial world and ducks connected the water that comes from the inner world with the upper world; macaws, on the other hand, represented the exuberance of vegetation, and owls, the connection between the celestial world and the night. In general, in the Andean cosmovision, birds are powerful animals that transcend the terrestrial plane and connect with the higher world (Larco Museum, 2020).
The great opportunity of bird watching in Peru
Currently, birdwatching is an activity that has become a hobby with many followers worldwide, mainly in the USA, Canada and the United Kingdom. So, in recent years it has also been growing in other European and Asian countries and in South America.
To get an idea, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (2016), birding in the U.S. is the leading wildlife watching activity and gathers around 45 million participants, of which, 16 million are more active.
Perhaps, there is not very concrete data in other parts of the world on this, the ranking of lists entered in the Global Big Day 2020 (Ebird, 2020), can get us an idea of how “birding” is happening in other countries.
The number of lists entered does not give the exact number of people who have gone birding, but it does show that the production of more lists is due to the greater number of people birding. Thus, Peru is within the top 15 countries with the highest number of birders, but with a big difference compared to the top 5, where Colombia stands out, which produced 5 times more lists.
Therefore, it is still necessary to develop a culture of outdoor recreation in the country, and bird watching or “pajareo” highlights as such, thanks to the natural richness that is already existing, the flexibility to do it in any space (city or rural area) and the availability of access to different ecosystems of the coast, jungle and highlands in just a few hours.
In addition, birdwatching generates various benefits for both physical and mental health, including reduced anxiety and depression, it expands observation, reasoning and analytical skills and also reduces the risk of childhood overweight, respiratory diseases and low attention and hyperactivity disorders (SEOBirdlife, 2017).
First steps to birding as a hobby
To get started in the world of bird watching we recommend the following steps:
- Start studying about birds. Prioritize the birds that you can observe close to your home.
- Acquire a binocular, one that is not too expensive to start with (approximately 600 soles). The use of this equipment is essential.
- Have information material such as guides or brochures, where there is information about the birds around you.
- Share your hobby. You can share your hobby with family and friends, or join birding groups.
Go out birding and enjoy!
- Danesha, N. (2020). The Incas Were Some of the Earliest Bird Conservationists. Disponible en: Audubon
- Ebird (2020). Global Big Day 2020. Disponible en: GBD 2020
- Museo Larco (2020). Aves. Disponible en: Aves
- Plenge, M. (2020). Lista de Aves del Perú. Disponible en: Lista de aves de Peru
- SEOBirdlife (2017). Observar aves es bueno para la salud. Disponible en: SEOBirdlife
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (2016). 2016 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated
Recreation. Disponible en: FWS