BY STEVE EPHRAEM
A Chimanimani based bird guide has claimed that there is a growing appetite for bird viewing in the eastern region of Zimbabwe. Timothy Mdluli who is a professional bird guide and is also the Vice Chairperson of Chimanimani Tourist Association said that modern technology is playing a pivotal role in this current development.
“There is a huge appetite for bird viewing nowadays, thanks to the ever improving technology. We have seen the coming of mobile applications such as eBird boasting the exploration of birds by bird lovers worldwide. Technology has set bird lovers into one community.
“Technology has worked well for us as Chimanimani. There are tourists who come and say that they saw from eBird App that a certain bird is found in our area and they decided to visit Chimanimani to view it,” he said.
Timothy went on to say that birds which are exclusive to the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe are the ones that give them most business.
“There are some birds which are specific to Chimanimani. We categorise them as indemnity bird species, meaning birds which are restricted to and preserved in Chimanimani. We call them the Chimanimani or Eastern Highlands specials.
“These species attract a lot of visitors. The behaviour of those birds is determined by aspects such as food, shelter, temperatures, altitudes and safe habitats from predators. So a bird guide should be able to know where to find them and also to identify them,” he added.
Timothy has some piece of advice for those who are planning to view the rare species.
“Most of these rare species are very shy. They are different from animals such as the big five which one can view for long periods. These birds might be viewed in a matter of five seconds before they fly away.
“It is essential that a tourist brings own set of binoculars. If people decide to share a binocular, most of them will miss viewing such rare birds. Once the birds detect people’s presence, they simply fly away.
“Tourists also need to bring clothing that camouflages them with the environment. This will help them to walk nearer to the shy birds and enjoy those few seconds before the birds fly away,” he concluded.