Crooked Tree is a small village located about 30 minutes north of the Belize International Airport and lies within a wildlife sanctuary consisting of tropical forest and a vast wetland of lagoons and interconnecting waterways. Water-birds and Crooked Tree Lagoon are the main attraction for most visitors.
Bird-watchers, don your binoculars and telephoto lens and get ready to witness an orgy of ornithological bliss. Herons, ducks, kites, egrets, ospreys, kingfishers and hawks are just a smattering of the 275 bird species seen here, including the Jabaru stork, with a wingspan of up to 10-12 feet, making it the largest flying bird in the New World.
Literally thousands of birds congregate within the sanctuary during the dry season, taking advantage of shallow water and easy food resources. Migratory birds begin arriving in November, and leave before the rainy season starts in July. The best time to see them is between February and May. Black Howler Monkeys, Morelet’s Crocodiles, Green Iguanas and freshwater turtles can also be found within the sanctuary.
The wetland is a mile wide and more than 20 miles long and features a number of trails including the "Bird-walk", a three quarters of a mile elevated walkway, which passes through wetlands and gives viewers on foot an opportunity to see more indigenous plants and wildlife.
A pleasant way to explore the sanctuary is by boat. Many water birds congregate along the lake-shore. Some of the birds you can expect to find here include the Black-Collared Hawk, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck several species of herons and egrets, limpkins, the elusive Sungrebe, and the even more elusive Agami Herons; Northern Jacanas, Least Grebes, Pygmy Kingfishers, Rufus-tailed Jacamars, and several species of parrots and the unique Snail Kite can all be found here and are frequently photographed up close.
While Bird watching is by far the most popular activity, the village is also famous for its cashews. Cashew trees grow in abundance, yielding cashew nuts, cashew wine, and stewed cashew fruit. The village celebrates with an annual Cashew Festival in May. There is food, music, lots of dancing and celebration, and of course, lots of cashews.
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