The International Centre from University Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA), in collaboration with the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), Terengganu Branch and the University of Tripoli, Libya, organized an outing in conjunction with the annual World Migratory Bird Day 2022 (WMBD).
The event took place on the UniSZA Gong Badak Campus, Kuala Nerus where 50 participants spent the morning birdwatching and recording migratory and residential bird species on campus. The group counted 237 individual birds coming from 30 different species in the morning walk around campus. Some of the migrating birds seen included Pacific Golden Plover, Common Sandpiper, Common Kingfisher, and Oriental Honey Buzzard. Participants were made up of local and international university students, MNS members, and the general public. In the afternoon, 65 students from the University of Tripoli joined the programme online and listened to several talks on migratory birds in Malaysia and Libya.
Anuar McAfee, Director of the International Centre, UniSZA and an avid birdwatcher said that bird migration is global phenomena. By paying attention to migrating species that pass our area, we can be amazed about the ability of the birds, some have travelled thousands of kilometers from the high arctic where they breed. By studying birds, we can become more aware of our environment as changes in bird populations tell us about changes happening in the environment. Places like UniSZA campus are stop-over sites for some migrating birds who rest and feed here before continuing their journey further south. It is a great opportunity for students to see first-hand the birds that have travelled thousands of kilometers to reach here.
MNS Terengganu has organized World Migratory Bird Day events annually. This year we decided to make it truly international, by inviting lecturers and students from the University of Tripoli to join us and share their experience in studying migrating birds in their part of the world. Dr Khalid S. Etayeb talked about the history of ornithology in Libya, and the recent migratory bird counts conducted by the Libyan Society for Birds, and organization he heads. Dr Abdulmaula Hamza spoke about new research being done on the impact of artificial lighting on migratory birds. Participants online came from Libya, Tunisia, Kuwait, Egypt, and Jordan. This time of year, all over the world, birds from the northern hemisphere are migrating south for the winter, and with World Migratory Bird Day 2022 we can experience it together.
Dr Shaharudin, a medical doctor in Kuala Terengganu said “the morning spent birdwatching and recording migrant and resident birds is a great way to embrace nature. Blending with our environment can give you an inner calmness.”
Caleb Lewis, a first time birdwatcher from Mississippi, USA said “ I could not have asked for a better experience; Anuar was an excellent guide and modeled how to enjoy the diverse bird population in Terengganu, Malaysia including the migratory birds present in October. I am thankful for the organization of such a great event that was friendly towards first timers like myself.”
Dr. Abdulmaula Hamza, Lecturer at the University of Tripoli said, “I used to celebrate the WMBD while I was in Terengganu working for UMT and within the activities of MNS Terengganu branch. This time I felt reconnected with Terengganu and Malaysia, with this first time joint event. The event was a valuable opportunity for both Malaysians and Libyans to know more on their migratory bird diversity and the threat of artificial lights at night on birds and other forms of wildlife. Thanks to Anuar McAfee and UniSZA for this event.”
The event at UniSZA was supported in part by a grant from the East Asian-Australiasian Flyway Partnership Secretariat.
Article by Malaysian Nature Society, Terengganu Branch.