The Big Birding festival was organized as a three day festival from the 29th September 2011 to 1st October 2011 under the theme “Connecting Birds to People and Nature”.
The festival kicked off with the launch of the Big Birding Day on 29th Sept at the Uganda Museum, the actual Birding Day on 30th September and the Birding Festival on 1st October at Ndere Centre. The launch was an event to announce the schedule of all activities and flag off the birders to conduct birding the following day.
The birding event included guided nature walks throughout the country. We had expert ornithologists and bird guides from among NatureUganda membership and Uganda Bird Guides Club (UBGC) who lead participants at various locations to a competition on Bird watching throughout the country.
The event was a 24 hour bird watching contest throughout the country, from midnight to midnight. The event involved selecting groups each with at least 2 members who are experienced bird watchers to confirm the species identification. The sites were chosen to represent all the different vegetation types in Uganda to try and record all birds that can be seen in Uganda. All birds seen and heard calling within these sites were recorded.
A tally centre was set up at NatureUganda to receive all records from all participating teams. Results from the birding event were received at the tally centre beginning Friday evening to Saturday morning. The strategy was to receive, compile and analyze all the data and come up with a summary from all the participating sites before the Big Birding Festival on which these results were announced.
The results from the Uganda Big Birding Day indicate a total of 569 species recorded in the 53 sites done by 36 bird racing teams. The highest score was by the teams in Queen Elizabeth NP with 207 species, followed by the Entebbe Peninsula team with 189 species and then the Kidepo Valley NP team with 149 species.
The Big Birding day Festival was the climax of the events. It begun with a morning bird walk around a Ndere ndere troupe centre and members later assembled for the ceremony where presentations were made and results from the Birding exercise were announced. Sponsors of all the events and the best birding teams were awarded. Entertainment for this day included presentations from Ndere troupe , Railways Primary School, Kalinabiri secondary school and St Joseph's Girls' secondary school, Nsambya.