This year’s theme, “Birds Connect Our World”, marks the global celebration of Bird’s Migration Day. The meaning of the theme is also a reminder of the presence of migratory birds in life. The migration routine of birds is the most impressive form of adaptation. These birds are journeying thousands of kilometres to breed, forage, and temporarily stay.
Migration season demands the readiness of nature to provide the necessary healthy ecosystems on land, sea and air. Long group trips which cross national boundaries are often interrupted by stopovers for resting and foraging. This journey connects one ecosystem to another without recognizing national boundaries. It is not surprising that ecological connectivity has an important role in bird migration activities.
Indonesia is on the East Asia-Australasia flyway, which stretches from Korea to New Zealand and across eastern Asian countries such as China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore and Australia.
“Indonesia is a host for 1,794 species of birds and a stopover ground for 262 species of migratory birds. A total of 124 of them are on protected status and 19 species are in the globally threatened category," Ferry Hasudungan, Conservation Manager of Burung Indonesia in Bogor, explained.
There are obstacles to bird migrations. Migratory birds have to face many risks while traveling, such as bad weather and competition between species. Meanwhile, damage to the ecosystem of the stopover grounds also occurs due to deforestation and waste pollution.
The large number of migratory birds makes conservation efforts a priority. “Burung Indonesia uses Important Bird Areas (IBA) to determine which areas should be conserved first. One of the identification criteria for IBA is the presence of endangered birds and migratory birds. If migratory birds are found in one percent of the population, then the area meets the IBA criteria," Hasudungan added.
The protection of these migratory birds is pursued through migratory bird partnerships involving a number of people: the government, NGOs and the private sector. By regulation, the government has determined protected species through Regulation of the Minister of Environment and Forestry P.106 concerning Protected Species of Plants and Animals. Specifically, the effort to protect migratory birds has been carried out by designating conservation areas such as Berbak Sembilang National Park in the west and Wasur National Park in the east.
The migratory birds indicate environmental health and also act as natural pest control. It is our responsibility to conserve them and there are many ways to support this, such as by making our environment friendly to birds, observing these birds during the migration season or taking a waterbird census. Without our support the birds, which connect our world, will not survive.