Birds are a key bio-indicator of the world around us - healthy bird life means a healthy environment. Birds keep the population of pests under control, help spread plant seeds to ensure the continued life-cycle of plants and keep ecosystems balanced.
Real bird lovers DO NOT keep birds as pets, collect their nests or support bird rituals, whatever the occasion. Captured birds are subject to harsh conditions before they are exported to supply the demand. Many die before they reach their destinations. If you love birds, observe them in the wild, not in cages.
Information is crucial to conservationists and researchers worldwide. The information that you share as a birdwatcher provides up-to-date data for the welfare of birds and their habitat. Share your observations where it matters:
- Submit bird sightings to bird i-witness
- Submit rare bird sightings to the Records Committee Secretary email@example.com
- Share your field notes, bird articles and other matters of interest. Email David Bakewell firstname.lastname@example.org
- Send bird photographs or drawings for Suara Enggang to Nina Cheung email@example.com
- Send breeding record cards to MNS-Bird Conservation Council firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Watch this space for the next call for volunteers:
ASIAN WATERBIRD CENSUS
What the census is as told by two volunteers:
"One day in a year! We have set aside one day during the second and third weeks of January every year for the last four years to help monitor waterbirds in Chikus, Perak. This site, near Bidor, is a little special to us because we stumbled upon it as a birding site in 2001. At that time, it was the most reliable site for Grey-headed Lapwing in Peninsular Malaysia.
"We are part of a massive monitoring program called the Asian Waterbird Census. Coordinated by Wetlands International, the data collection is done almost entirely by volunteers like us. It is nice to know that our small contribution provides important overall data on the waterbird population in the region.
"Monitoring a site once a year is easy. One would need to have some identification skills. Then, a site needs to be chosen carefully. It would be a good idea to contact the country coordinator Yeap Chin Aik (firstname.lastname@example.org) of the Malaysian Nature Society before deciding on a site to ensure its importance and that it is not already being monitored. Thereafter, it is just a matter of doing it!
"One day in a year. That is all the commitment needed to be part of a regional monitoring programme for waterbirds. If you are a birder, think seriously about doing it. This is one way of giving back to the birds in return for all the joy they give us."
- Khoo Swee Seng & Caroline Ho
Interested to volunteer? Visit the organiser's page here.
Raptor Watch was first organized by the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) in the year 2000 with a group of 15 volunteers. Since then, the event has grown and now, a hundred volunteers give their time and effort to this public event, usually held during the second weekend of March every year.
The occurrence of hundreds of raptors flying across the Straits of Malacca from Sumatra, Indonesia, and thermalling over Tanjung Tuan is indeed a sight to behold. It is a nature phenomenon that all Malaysians should be witness to.
Bring family and friends
Come along and learn about raptors (birds of prey) and their migration. Bring your family and take part in the various activities, games and talks. Or go for a guided walk in the coastal forest and mangroves that are found at Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve.
Tanjung Tuan is listed as an Important Bird Area (IBA) because of the large number of raptors that make the sea crossing from Sumatra at this point - the narrowest - in the Straits of Malacca, with Tanjung Tuan on the Malaysian side and Pulau Rupat, just off the Sumatran coast, on the Indonesian side. These birds are on their journey back to their breeding grounds in the north.
Be part of the general volunteer team
Places for volunteers are normally reserved for members of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) as this is their chance to help raise awareness on the need for the conservation of raptors and their habitat. The general team help man the booths, guide nature walks, run games etc.
Join the raptor counting team
In a 16-day period in March 2008, volunteers from MNS recorded over 35,000 raptors that had made the crossing. 2009 will see the monitoring programme extended to 65 days. The important data collected will effectively confirm the migration patterns for Oriental Honey-Buzzards, Black Bazas, Chinese Goshawks, Japanese Sparrowhawks and Grey-faced Buzzards through Tanjung Tuan.
If you are a raptor enthusiast, your contribution in terms of time and know-how will be welcome and appreciated. Get in touch with Khoo Swee Seng (email@example.com)
Want to volunteer?
If you have a talent or skill that you think can be of help to the MNS Selangor Branch Bird Group, email the Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.