AFCoW Waterbirds Collaborative Takes Flight

Ruddy Shelduck in flight with transmitter attached © Nyambayar Batbayer

The Asian Flyways Collaborative for Waterbirds (AFCoW) was established in October 2021 with the goal of creating a network of researchers to exchange ideas and develop collaborations on waterbirds in the Central Asian and East Asian-Australasian Flyways. These two Flyways encompass a large landmass and is home to over half of the world’s human population. As a result of growth of the human population, these areas are undergoing rapid land use and land cover changes and in some areas are seeing effects of climate change at a faster rate.

More than 50 million migratory birds make their way through these Flyways which provide habitats for breeding, molting, migrating, and wintering periods of the annual cycle. Migratory waterbirds often cross country borders, and this provides opportunities for scientists in countries and communities to work together, combine their knowledge and increase research opportunities that could be used to save and protect the birds that call these Flyways home. With AFCoW, we hope to foster scientific discussions, improve understanding of these Flyways and conserve the waterbird species that use them, and provide opportunities for those who seek collaborations.

By working with researchers from different countries who may study different waterbird species, we can improve our understanding of waterbird ecology in East Asia. Collaborative work will allow us to look at different approaches to research questions and to encourage combining different types of data. For instance, integration of citizen science data (such as the eBird app) and movement data (satellite telemetry) could be combined to better understand waterbird distributions and movements.

Through the AFCoW website, we hope to increase communications across scientists and provide resources to improve knowledge of these Flyways including datasets, data analysis techniques, and references. We encourage contributions from our members to build upon our website with resources they find useful. We also began the AFCoW listserve to provide an open forum for discussion and updates from the website. And lastly, we are hosting monthly webinars through April 2022 to provide members the opportunities to share their research and allow for the growth of collaborations and exchanging of ideas (all webinars are recorded and can be viewed onthe AFCoW website). We welcome and encourage any member who wants to contribute and may present a webinar of their choosing. We hope to continue growing this community and hope you will join us at one of our next webinars!

Prepared by The Asian Flyways Collaborative for Waterbirds (AFCoW)

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