At Simply Cuba, we are constantly striving to provide birding tours of the highest quality and would hope that every birder would familiarise themselves with these general guidelines in order to ensure a more enjoyable tour for everyone on board.
Many of our travellers are avid birders/bird photographers and often have similar goals to many of the other group participants; however, people are different and although the common denominator on our trips is seeing birds, we do find that general group interests, personalities, behaviour etc. can differ markedly from person to person and from group to group. We ate Simply Cuba Tours take dynamics very seriously and understand that healthy group dynamics lead to successful, homogenous tours that can be enjoyed to their full potential.
Trail Rotation – Rotating on a narrow trail every three or so minutes allows everyone an opportunity to be at the front of the trail for a period of time. The front person will step aside after three minutes and, allowing the rest of the group to pass, join up again with the group at the rear of the line. The guide will always be at the front of the line;
We would also like to point out that it is inappropriate to walk in front of the leader whilst birding. It is important for the leader to have as unobstructed a view as possible, so they can find and identify birds. Once the bird is viewable, the leader will move out of the way as much as possible to ensure all our participants can see the bird and on a photography tour, capture them through their lens.
Talking on Trails – Please keep noise levels to a minimum while we are birding, this includes roads and trails. High noise levels make it difficult for the leader to pick out those critical calls and are also likely to have a negative impact on the number of birds and general wildlife you are likely to encounter, as generally, these animals prefer a quiet, natural environment. Constant chatter on trails can also be rather annoying to those who are also trying to appreciate the tranquility of the surroundings. However, at the same time, we do want our participants to enjoy themselves and we understand that tours are a social event; therefore, use your discretion in deciding when it’s appropriate to engage in a conversation with your leader/s or fellow participants.
The odd bit of movement or shuffling when you are by yourself birding is often okay and does not have such a huge impact on your chances of obtaining a sighting; however, when you are in a group and you multiply everyone’s movement and shuffles by six or eight people, it quickly adds up to a rather disturbing volume, which is not conducive to seeing the special species that the group are hoping to find.
Wide-brimmed Hats – Please make sure wide-brimmed hats are not worn as it can significantly reduce the visibility of participants standing or crouching behind you.
Appropriate Clothing – This is another topic that can cause a fair bit of debate and there are a number of theories on the topic. As a general rule, though: dark, neutral colours such as browns, greys, blacks, dark blue, dark green and khaki are preferable. Bright colours such as yellows, white, pale blues, pale greens, pinks, red and oranges are not recommended, especially while birding in forested zones. We find that the combination of wearing the appropriate clothing while taking careful measures to not talk and not move too abruptly helps significantly when searching for forest skulkers. Other items of clothing such as rain pants that crinkle while walking through a forest are also detrimental to the group’s success of finding birds close to the trail, especially some of the more shy forest species.
The same goes for rain boots and rain jackets, which can make loud noises while walking through a quiet rainforest. Please be very careful about the items of clothing you pack for your tour and be aware of the noise levels your clothing can have. There is a huge range of gear out there to choose from with most of the options being quiet and thus, birding friendly.
It is our goal to provide you with the best birding experience possible. We want to be your trusted partner in exploring and appreciating nature, and helping you capture some stunning shots through your lens so we hope that you’ll consider joining us on one of our upcoming tours.