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Bird Watching, an Activity that Can Reduce the Stress Generated by Modern Life in Panama City

Panama is home and pilgrimage site for more than 1,000 species of birds. The tropical isthmus is home to various migratory and endemic birds due to its geographic location between North America, South America, and the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Panama is home to 10% of the world’s known bird species, 107 endemic species, and has more variety of birds than the United States and Canada combined. And it is also one of the five corridors for migratory birds in the world.

All of this makes our country the perfect destination for bird watching. From endemic to migratory birds that escape the North and South American winters, Panama is a sanctuary of color and song.

Photo: Jean Maurice Posner

An Activity That Reduces Stress

A study carried out in the United Kingdom shows that the simple fact of seeing birds improves mental health. Although the crucial role of forests for the health of the planet is well known, more and more studies suggest that green spaces within cities have direct benefits on health. It is not about doing an ornithological marathon but the daily act of looking at the birds and their surrounding environment, such as trees and bushes. According to scientists, this simple action can improve people’s mental health, even while in an urban area. Stress reduction; high blood pressure, heart rate, are several of the benefits of bird watching.

Places to Reduce Stress in the Capital

With so many benefits that bird watching offers for the cardiovascular system and to reduce stress, it is important to know places where it is possible to carry out this activity in points close to Casco Antiguo.

Panama City has three protected national parks within its limits that serve the birds that nest there, as well as other areas of great value for this activity and health.

Photo: Jean Maurice Posner

Metropolitan Park

A 10-minute drive away is this 573-acre sanctuary that is home to more than 200 species of birds. Walking along its trails it is possible to observe blue-crowned motmots, lance-tailed manakins, wrens, greenlets, trogons, flycatchers, woodpeckers, toucans, tanagers, and collared aracari.

Camino de Cruces and Parque Soberania

In its 4000 hectares there are macaws, painted buntings and parrots. The park connects the Metropolitan Park with the 55,000-acre Soberania National Park, another top birding destination in Panama City. In Soberania, the best trail for birding is on Pipeline Road, which, for several years, held the world record for 24-hour bird counts.

Photo: Jean Maurice Posner

Juan Diaz Mangroves

Just 19 kilometers from Casco Antiguo, this area located in the Bay of Panama is considered one of the most important sites for bird migration in the Western Hemisphere.

It is estimated that up to two million specimens pass through this area annually. In addition, the site provides habitat for up to 20% of the world’s population of the Semipalmate Plover and 14% of the Western Sandpiper.

Thousands of birds from the Arctic, Alaska, Canada, the Amazon forests or the coasts of Chile and Argentina pass through Juan Diaz every year.

More Places in Panama City

Other sites that are perfect for shorebird watching in the capital are Panama Viejo, just behind the old museum, in the mudflats and mangroves; and in the birds viewpoint on Paseo del Mar Avenue, in the Costa del Este urbanization located in front of the Bay of Panama. Likewise, Cerro Ancon next to Casco Antiguo is considered one of the best points for observing birds of prey in the city.

The Old Town is surrounded by places that tell another story of our country, but even better…improves your health.

Photo: Jean Maurice Posner
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