Sunday, October 23, 2011

Countdown to Sarawak Bird Race 2011

WHAT is a bird race? Despite the name, a bird race is not a race (flying, walking, running or swimming) between two or more birds. It is a race between teams of birders out to spot and identify the greatest number of species of birds in a specific period of time. It is a fun way to get in touch with nature, increase awareness of birds and be a citizen scientist.

However, there is a serious side. The data collected provides wildlife researchers with background information on bird populations and an understanding of their dynamics, for example f luctuations in populations and species composition.

This is important because bird populations around the world are generally declining, reflecting the deterioration in the global environment. In Malaysia, the most well known is the Fraser’s Hill Bird Race, which started in 1999 and has found international recognition.

The Sarawak Bird Race, which began with a mini-race in 2008, has gradually been put on the bird-watching map. This year, the race, which is jointly organised by the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), Borneo Highlands Resort and Permai Rainforest Resort, will run from the sea to the mountain.

Next Saturday (Oct 29), the race will begin with talks, walks and workshops about birds and the natural world; all of which are open to those who wish to spend the day (from morning to evening) by the seaside at Permai Rainforest Resort.

Dr Pilai Poonswad, an international expert on hornbills will enlighten visitors on this key indicator and trophy family. There will also be talks on swiftlets and migratory birds.

John Arifin, a Singapore-based photographer who contributes to various regional magazines including Asian Geographic, will facilitate a workshop on photographing wildlife. In addition, members of the MNS Bird Group will introduce birding to beginners. A night walk will take you out of your comfort zone and into the sights and sounds of the deep dark jungle.

Next Sunday, the race heads off to the mountains where the half-day Sarawak Bird Race will begin from the Borneo Highlands Resort.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Countdown to Sarawak Bird Race 2011

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