Tuesday, 16 May 2017



Art. # 194



The cover page shows a male Kori Bustard (Bird of the Year 2014).
Cover page layout: beeline
Cover page photo: Birgit Leicher
Screen presentation photos: Birgit Leicher and Stefan Rust
Presentation by: Stefan Rust

Dear participants
BirdsConTour Structure
Bird of the Year (project)
Water for Sossus Birds (project)
Bird and Birder Friendly Award (project)
Birding Tour (project)
Note sheet

Cell: +264 (0) 81 129 8415
E-mail: birdscontour@iway.na
P.O.Box 5182, Windhoek, Namibia


BirdsConTour Presentation (25.01.’13 / 12:00-13:00)

Photos and text by Stefan Rust

(In terms of the Geneva Convention the copyright of these texts belongs to Stefan Rust)

Dear Pack Safari employees, dear tour guides and all other attendees,

some of my most pleasant childhood memories are of nursing a House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) back to health, testing my first pair of binoculars, and traveling to foreign places, identifying and studying new wild birds.
These precious memories accompanied me throughout my life and led the path to that what I do today: traveling, observing wildlife (especially birdlife) and conserving birdlife and its habitat.
In a nutshell I can say: “I’m living my dream!”
And I sincerely hope that every tour guide here today can say the same of her/him being a tour guide. According to me this is the secret of successfully adhering to the Chamäleon Reisen slogan: Die Reise Ihres Lebens! (The holiday of your life!)

Almost one million people around the world are annually discovering the charm and magic of the wonderful Namibia. This causes a lot of pressure on nature and therefore I founded BirdsConTour in 2000.

BirdsConTour is an organization based on bird conservation and sustainable bird tourism funded by the income created through various projects. This structure shows how BirdsConTour is set up:


Conservation                                                             Tourism
“Input gives Wings”                                                “Travel gives Wings”
      |                                                                                  |
      |                                                                                  |
Projects                                                                    Projects

• Architecture for a better Bird Life                         • Bird and Birder Friendly Award

• Water for Sossus Birds                                       • BirdsConTour Report

• Bird and Birder Friendly Award                       • BirdsConTour for a cleaner Bird
• BirdsConTour Report
                                                                                  • Bird of the Year
• Bird-based Research
                                                                                  • Bird and Birder Friendly Habitat
• Bird of the Year                                                      (Consulting, Planning,
• BirdsConTour Structure
                                                                                 • Architecture for a better Bird Life
• BirdsConTour for a cleaner Bird Habitat            
                                                                                 • Birds in Words
• Birding Training
                                                                                 • BirdsConTour Structure
• Birds in Art
                                                                                 • Birding Training
• Young Birders
                                                                                 • Birds in Art
• Birds in Words
                                                                                 • Birding Tours
• Bird and Birder Friendly Habitat
  (Consulting, Planning, Establishing)                     • Water for Sossus Birds

Four projects of your interest will be presented to you (printed in bold above):

1. - Bird of the Year
2. - Water for Sossus Birds
3. - Bird & Birder Friendly Award
4. - Birding Tours

1. Project: Bird of the Year

The Common Ostrich is the Bird of the Year 2013, Namibia. Since this project is launched in Namibia for the first time ever, a bird was chosen that is familiar to the public. Awareness about this project is and will be created through interviews and articles in the media. The 2013 Bird of the Year serves as an important conservation work and is proudly organized and funded by BirdsConTour.
On the Common Ostrich as the bird of the year 2013, for the first time introduced in Namibia, follows this year the much smaller Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori kori). And in contrast to the frequent Ostrich, a few thousand, the existence of the Kori Bustard in Namibia looks quite a bit different. Although Namibia and Botswana in southern Africa are still considered as strongholds of this species, you will encounter them mainly in protected areas. In Namibia in the Etosha National Park with a size of 22 912 square kilometers, live about 1000-2000 birds of its kind. In Southern Africa, the Kori Bustard is already declared as an endangered species.

Find out more about “Bird of the Year” in articles 43, 60, 183 and 184 and stay up to date with “Birds in Words” under www.birdscontour.blogspot.com

2. Project: Water for Sossus Birds

The 30 000 square kilometer large Namib Sand Sea, a Unesco Natural World Heritage Site since 21st of June 2013, lies within Namibia's Namib-Naukluft Park, bordered in the north by the Kuiseb River, in the east by Sesriem and in the south by the Sperrgebiet National Park.

One key issue is to prevent mineral exploration. Another key issue includes managing the increasing flow of visitors into this area and the thereby followed impact on nature, especially in Sossusvlei, a major attraction containing large dunes and a salt and clay pan, located in the heart of the Namib Sand Sea.

Inappropriate management of this arid and thus highly sensitive area can have devastating consequences and therefore bird conservation and tourism (BirdsConTour), coordinated by Stefan Rust, took action in the matter of the birdlife by launching the project “Water for Sossus Birds” in Sossusvlei. This project underlies the division “Travel gives Wings” of BirdsConTour.

Devastating footprints

It is scary what devastating footprints guests cause with their visit to Sossusvlei. A research showed that every guest climbing the dune Dune 45, walking to the Death Vlei and back and/or walking in the surrounding of Sossusvlei unconsciously kills with his or her stay an average of ±50 small animals (ants, beetles etc.). With hundred guests per day this is a loss of ±5 000 potential food items of in this case birds. Given the fact that most birds living in this hot and dry part of the Namib Desert prey on small animals to replenish their body moisture as an alternative to water, these footprints left behind by the guests cause a big loss in possible moisture for the feathered animals. This results in a severe decrease of the natural bird population in this area.

Old water feeder                              Updated version of mobile water feeder

To counteract this negative influence and to help the birds to replenish their body moisture, BirdsConTour together with Pack Safari and Chamäleon (German travel company) came up with a solution. Every tour guide who leads Chamäleon guests into the Sossusvlei area takes a portable water feeder, constructed and funded by BirdsConTour, along. When the tour vehicle is parked at the 4x4 parking area, the guide fills the water feeder and puts it onto the ground close to the Pack Safari tour vehicle. With peace of mind, the Pack Safari guide together with the Chamäleon guests can now go and discover and enjoy the Sossusvlei area, while the birds can refill their needed body moisture with water as an alternative for the small animals that are destroyed unconsciously by each visitor.

Every tour guide receives one updated version of these mobile water feeders from BirdsConTour.

Find out more about “Water for Sossus Birds” in article 88 and stay up to date with “Birds in Words” under www.birdscontour.blogspot.com

3. Project: Bird & Birder Friendly Award

The launch of the BirdsConTour Bird & Birder Friendly Award project under the division Input gives Wings created a significant shift in bird awareness.

The handover of Bird & Birder Friendly Awards to various establishments and people is seen by the awardees as a very concrete manifestation of BirdsConTours’ commitment to support bird conservation and to make a difference to peoples’ attitude towards birds.

BirdsConTour (Birds conservation and tourism) believes that due recognition should be given to establishments and people that are being engaged in one way or another in bird conservation and sees recognitions as one of the most effective implements resulting in the expansion of public awareness on birdlife and the conservation thereof.

Bird conservation is no trend – Bird conservation is a development. Therefore BirdsConTour takes action:
Similar to the star symbol award, BirdsConTour rewards establishments and people that are taking care of the local bird life and its habitat and offer adequate services to bird watchers (birding tourism).

Every guide is rewarded with a 2 penguin-rated Bird & Birder Friendly Award for their participation in the “Water for Sossus Birds” project. Livia and Peter Pack are also engaged in bird conservation with having created a bird friendly garden on their premises and therefore receive a 2 penguin-rated Bird & Birder Friendly Award. Another recipient is the Onjala Lodge with a 3 penguin-rated Bird & Birder Friendly Award for their bird and birder friendly practices at the lodge.

Find out more about “Bird & Birder Friendly Award” in articles 1 / 11 / 12 / 18 / 25 / 44 / 50 / 67 / 70 / 71 / 73 / 79 / 87 / 89 / 90 / 91 / 92 / 95 / 96 / 110 / 112 / 115 / 116 / 117 / 119 / 133 / 134 / 138 / 146 / 148 / 151 / 152 / 170 / 179 and stay up to date with “Birds in Words” under www.birdscontour.blogspot.com

4. Project: Birding Tours

To sustain bird conservation with the best possible standards, BirdsConTour thinks outside the box and engages with the private and public sectors to a greater degree than ever before. This has given rise to a number of innovative projects under the „Travel gives Wings“ division, which have the simultaneous benefits of offering financial and moral support to birdlife conservation.

Find out more about “Birding Tours” in articles 54 and 83 and stay up to date with “Birds in Words” under www.birdscontour.blogspot.com

I thank you for the opportunity to talk about BirdsConTour and birdlife and may all of you have enjoyable tours with lots of healthy birds, and if you have a question or something to share, please contact me,

Stefan Rust 

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