The waterbirds of Lake Gatun offer a different birdwatching experience from Pipeline Road, with a diversity of herons, waterfowl and raptors regularly recorded on the lake.
Snail Kites, so-called because they have a thin upper bill perfect for removing snails from their shells, are now a common site throughout Lake Gatun and the Panama Canal area. However, These highly specialised raptors were a rare vagrant in Panama until recent times. In the late 1980’s their favourite food source, Apple Snails, were introduced into the Lake in an effort to control the aquatic plants restricting boat access along the Canal. The Apple Snails colonised the entire lake quickly (as quickly as can be expected for snails). Soon after the snail introduction, Kites from neighbouring Columbia discovered this bountiful food source and since then, a large breeding population has settled in the country.