Put birding in Spain on the tourism map

This is a call from Birdinginspain.com to all fellow birders who may be planning a birding trip to Spain, not just northeast Spain, but anywhere in this bird-rich country.

Go birding and be seen. Bird and be proud, and in so doing give native Spaniards a little insight as to why you are in their country. “I’m here for the birds” is a valid statement, above all when they can see that you are a paying guest. And that the country’s natural heritage has value and pulling power.

If hoteliers, hire companies, shopkeepers and farmers can see you enjoying wildlife and in a way that may bring them some benefit without doing any harm to the environment, then your visit will have had a positive impact. Some of them may start to regard the steppes, mountains and wetlands that you visit as positive assets, as something worth protecting.

That doesn’t mean that you should blow trumpets when you arrive. Or wave huge flags from your hotel balcony. There are other more subtle but effective ways of being seen birding:

(i) Carry binoculars with you to hotel receptions, shops, restaurants etc.

(ii) If approached by curious onlookers, be polite. Explain what you are doing with the bird guide, gestures and even a little Spanish (or Catalan if in Catalonia).

“I’m watching birds”

= Spanish: “Estoy mirando pájaros” (es-toy-meer-an-do-pa-har-ohs)

= Catalan: “Estic mirant ocells” (es-tick-meer-an-oh-seylls)

(iii) Take some bird-related stickers with you and give them to hoteliers and the like. Or stick them on your car (not on rental cars though!)

(iv) If going to a very bird-oriented destination, such as a hotel near Belchite or the Ebro Delta you could even try to establish a birder’s logbook in the hotel. Take one or two with you and try it out.

Happy Birding!

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