From Birthday to Bird day! – Celebrating Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve’s 25th Anniversary, World Migratory Bird Day, and the addition of Mandai Mangrove and Mudflats in 2018

In conjunction with Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve’s 25th Anniversary, the Reserve kicked off its year-long celebrations on World Wetlands Day, culminating with Welcome Waders! From 7 to 13 October 2018 to celebrate World Migratory Bird Day. Throughout the year, there were various monthly activities to engage with the community on a specially created web-page.

To add on to the good cheer, it was announced on 7 October that Mandai Mangrove and Mudflats, a rich feeding ground for migratory birds, will be conserved as a Nature Park. The 73-hectare nature park will enhance the Reserve’s ecological capacity in wetland and migratory shorebird conservation. The momentous news was covered across various online and traditional media platforms in various languages – both online and in print.

For the third year running, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve welcomed the return of the migratory birds with ‘Welcome Waders!’. To raise awareness about these birds, visitors learnt about our feathered friends in a multitude of family-friendly activities and workshops from 7 to 13 October 2018. The event was extremely well received, and drew about 2000 visitors who participated in the various activities. To commemorate 25 years of wetland conservation, a specially produced coffee table book, Birds of Our Wetlands, which displays the beauty of the birds seen at the Reserve and its environs, was also launched. This was accompanied by a photo exhibition of photographs from the book.

Birds of Our Wetlands – a photo journal showcasing the beauty of the birds seen at the Reserve. Readers can learn more about these birds through the various fun facts found in the book. Photo©National Parks Board

The plight of migratory birds depends on the international cooperation along the flyway to survive. Visitors were introduced to Sungei Buloh’s flyway partnerships with her ‘sister wetland’ sites and learnt how these partnerships encourage the various sites to exchange information and experiences to better conserve our biodiversity. At the Bird Monitoring booth, visitors picked up knowledge about the evolution of Sungei Buloh’s bird monitoring programme which utilises different methods to track the movement of migratory birds. Participants of the ‘Wader’s Watch’ workshop learnt about migratory shorebirds and gained useful tips on bird watching. A series of talks were also held to introduce migratory shorebirds and their wetland neighbours to the visitors.

In collaboration with Nature Society (Singapore) (NSS), visitors tested their bird identification skills and were introduced to the threats faced by migratory shorebirds’ and the importance of their conservation in the EAAF through interactive board games at the booth by NSS. While at the ‘Mudflat Café’, participants learnt about the shorebirds’ diet and feeding behaviour by picking out models of worms, shells and crabs using different bird bill models.

The Mudflat Café © National Parks Board

Nature Society (Singapore) booth © Chia Rui Yang (SUSS)

These were two of the most popular booths at ‘Welcome Waders!’ where interactive games were used to introduce the lives of migratory birds to visitors.

Craft activities were also another feature of the celebrations. Visitors assembled, moulded and stitched their very own migratory birds at the various craft activities and workshops. Visitors also came together to create a wetland-inspired community quilt art, and bottle mosaic art with recycled materials at the Up-cycling Bottle Mosaic booth. A variety of activities from guided walks where visitors learnt about migratory marsh and mangrove birds, a mudflat survey and a couple of photography sessions were also held throughout the celebrations.

 ©Chia Rui Yang (SUSS)

 © National Parks Board

 © National Parks Board

  © National Parks Board

Enthused visitors participating in various craft activities where they created their own wetland and migratory shorebird inspired art pieces while learning more about the shorebirds and their environment.

The 2018 celebration was all the more special as it marks the first year where the World Migratory Bird Day was celebrated twice annually to commemorate the arrival of waders in either the northern or southern hemisphere. It is hoped that through events these that people can learn and gain more insight into the amazing lives of migratory shorebirds, and will help in its conservation.

Article prepared by Florence Sim from National Parks Board (NParks), Singapore

Photographs by: Chia Rui Yang (SUSS) and National Parks Board

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