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Bird Migration and the Threat of Forest Fires

Oriental Honey-buzzard gliding in the sky over Puncak Bogor, West Java (Photo: Burung Indonesia/Kukuh Akhfad)

Every year, thousands of birds migrate to the south of the planet to escape the cold weather in the north. Unfortunately, this annual tradition is faced with the threat of forest fires, which can have a significant impact on the environment and biodiversity.

Burung Indonesia's Biodiversity and Conservation Officer Achmad Ridha Junaid said that one of the purposes of birds migrating is to find more abundant food sources. When the birds' natural migration sites are damaged by forest fires, they will move elsewhere. This causes the birds to travel longer distances to find the right location.

About one million birds migrate across the East Asian-Australasian Flyway corridor, which stretches about 7,000 kilometers. However, this route can be disrupted by forest fires. If there are forest fires in this area, they will have to find alternative routes.

"This could extend their journey and affect the availability of resources along the route," Ridha said.

Ridha also mentioned that birds need huge energy reserves when migrating and need food supplies on their path. Unfortunately, forest fires can reduce the availability of food supplies. Birds have to adjust their diet by finding food sources from other locations that may be farther away.

"Smoke and harmful particles from forest fires can damage birds' lungs and affect their overall health. Stress from environmental changes can also affect their ability to migrate successfully," he added.

Forest fires can also make migratory birds vulnerable to human conflict. Forest fires force birds to move closer to human settlements in search of food or shelter.

Finally, forest fires can have significant negative impacts on people, animals and the environment. Animal habitats will be damaged and may even disappear if not conserved quickly and appropriately.