Wednesday, June 2, 2010

World Migratory Bird Day 2010 in Miri and Kinabalu

Students lining up to register and pick up their WMBD souvenirs from Pustaka Miri staff. Pustaka Miri has been a staunch supporter of our WMBD activities since 2008.

Participants posing with their WMBD posters and Encik Ahmad Samsudin of Pustaka Miri.

This year on May 08th and 15th marked the 3rd year MNS Miri Branch celebrated WMBD.

Our first WMBD in 2008 was celebrated with bird photographer Choo Tse Chien from Penang with slideshows of Malaysian birds as well as endemic Bornean species at Pustaka Miri, several schools in Lutong as well as rural schools in Bekenu. We went birdwatching with our members in Lambir Hills and Similajau National Park.

In 2009, Nazeri Abghani from Miri Branch spoke about waders in Kuala Baram and Miri in general in conjunction with WMBD at Pustaka Miri and Kpg Tengah, Bekenu. Denis Degullacion from Borneo Bird Club spoke of Bornean birds at Similajau National Park to park staff and participating schools nearby. We conducted fieldtrips simultaneously in Miri and Similajau for participants and our members.

For 2010, we invited Khoo Swee Seng from Selangor to talk about migrating raptors and garden birds in Pustaka Miri as well as led fieldtrips for members and students to Lambir Hills National Park and Kuala Baram. For the first time this year we exported WMBD to Kinabalu National Park in conjunction with MNS 70th year anniversary. Collaborating with MNS Sabah Branch together with Alim Biun of Sabah Parks, Jimmy Omar of Sabah Foundation, Denis Degullacion of Borneo Bird Club and our staunch supporters we birdwatched with students from SMK Dato Paduka Mat Salleh Ranau at KNP.

"World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) aims to inspire people to take action for the conservation of migratory birds and encourages national authorities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), clubs and societies, universities, schools and individuals around the world to organize events and programmes, which help draw attention to migratory birds around a central theme each year.

This year’s theme is “Save migratory birds in crisis – every species counts!” It is closely linked to the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) declared by the United Nations for 2010.

The WMBD 2010 theme aims to raise awareness on globally threatened migratory birds, with a particular focus on those on the very edge of extinction – the Critically Endangered migratory birds.

In line with the International Year of Biodiversity, the 2010 WMBD theme also highlights how migratory birds are part of the biological diversity of our world and how the threat of extinction faced by individual bird species is a reflection of the larger extinction crisis threatening other species and the natural diversity that underpins all life on earth.

By focusing on “migratory birds in crisis” during the International Year of Biodiversity, World Migratory Bird Day 2010 is also highlighting the role played by birds as indicators, enabling us to clearly see and highlight the negative effects our current way of life is having on the planet and it’s biodiversity.

As one of the best researched taxa, birds serve as vital indicators for the state of biodiversity and the biological health of the ecosystems they inhabit. If a bird species becomes threatened with extinction it is often a clear sign that the conditions of the required habitats have changed and that other species that depend on them may also be affected." (1)

The events at Pustaka Miri on 08th May saw participants from 8 schools in Miri making up approximately 70 students, and teachers. Members of the public were also present. The presentation for the day focussed on common birds in Malaysia according to habitat as well as migrating raptors. Khoo Swee Seng spoke of his involvement and MNS yearly efforts with the Raptor Count in Tanjong Tuan.

Khoo Swee Seng speaking about common birds in Malaysia classified according to their habitats.

Raptors had the students in full concentration, Khoo spoke about the raptors in Tanjong Tuan and the efforts by Malaysian Nature Society with the studies there.

Khoo presenting a momento in the form of a framed WMBD 2010 poster to a representative from Pustaka Miri.

Our fieldtrip the next day, took students to Kuala Baram to see common open grassland habitat birds. The students had ample opportunity to identify several common species to the area.

At Kinabalu National Park on the 15th May, led by Alim Biun, Jimmy Omar, Denis Degullacion, forty students were taken around a loop trail to see some of Sabah's endemic birds common to the locality.

Group photo before the start of the birdwatching session.

Jimmy Omar going though the finer details of how to use a pair of binoculars, Alim Biun and Denis Degullacion led the second group of students.

Now, where did the Green Magpie go. Students peering into the trees to look out for the bird making the loud calls.

Here's another year for the birds and for WMBD!

Nazeri Abghani/MNS Miri/May 2010