Ecotourism with the Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS)

The Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS) runs a bird-watching and tagging program on the small island of Antikythera, 17 miles northwest of Crete, between June 20 and October 20. You will need a good pair of binoculars or a telescope, a hat, sunscreen, your sleeping bag and a bird guide. For at least 15 days you will be recording the birds of prey migrating over the island, which is part of the Natura 2000 network.

Alternatively, if you already have some experience, you can participate in the bird-banding program, which is an aid to studying wild birds by attaching a small individually numbered metal or plastic ring to their legs or wings, so that various aspects of the bird’s life can be studied by the ability to monitor and find the same individual in a later time. This can include migration, longevity, mortality, population studies, feeding behavior and many other aspects.

HOS also operates a volunteer work, programing the bird habitat of the Yalova Lagoon in Pylos, Peloponnese, which targets the sensitization of visitors and includes guided educational tours and walks and a program targets the protection of a rare specie of chameleon by monitoring its population.

Much nearer Athens, bird watching is popular in the Schinias National Park, some 40 kilometers to the northeast of the capital. There are six bird observation posts. A day trip there can be combined with a visit to the nearby historic site of Marathon and a swim at the sandy beach.

Cost of participation: Antikythera, 30 euros for non-members of the society, plus 18 euros for insurance. Yalova, 60 euros for non-members. Accommodation is provided at organized campsites (about 4 euros/day). Tel. +30 210 8228704, rg.ikigolohtinroobfsctd@ofni