Although it is always enjoyable to lie on a beach for vacation, it won’t make you feel like you made a difference for the birds and conservation of the area you visited. There are many opportunities to contribute to bird conservation organizations and their efforts through volunteering to help with on-the-ground projects, whether within your country or internationally. These entities are often looking for experienced birders to help with bird research and monitoring, or education and outreach. Once you know where you want to go for your vacation, determine if there is a local non-profit organization looking for assistance, and whether that need matches up with your vacation dates and other plans. If it does, you will feel like you have contributed to the conservation of the place you chose to visit and the people who live there, to ensure these human communities and wildlife habitats are sustained into the future. Or you can simply target your vacation for a place and group that needs your help! A great option is the Pronatura Veracruz (Mexico) Río de Rapaces, or River of Raptors, program, which has engaged many visiting birders in their raptor counting and banding efforts. These lucky volunteers get to witness the phenomenal fall migration of four to six million raptors through that area. Now that’s a vacation!


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