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Raptor Migration: the Annual Tradition of the Sky Wanderers

October is a good time to monitor the migration of raptors across the northern hemisphere to Indonesia in search of food sources. Several species of raptors are known to migrate from their native places such as China, Japan and Russia, to tropical countries.

"Raptor Migratory Watch is an annual awareness activity conducted by Burung Indonesia, which aims to inform the public about the phenomenon of raptor migration," said Muhammad Meisa, Communication and Institutional Development Coordinator of Burung Indonesia, in Puncak, Bogor Regency, on Saturday (22/10).

Meisa explained that raptors usually migrate in the fall, from September to October, and will migrate back to their place of origin in the spring, from March to May. At this moment, 90 percent of the thousands of raptors in East Asia travel south, creating a stunning phenomenon on the horizon. Chinese Sparrowhawk (Accipiter soloensis), Japanese Sparrowhawk (Accipiter gularis) and Oriental Honey-buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus) are species that are commonly found during observations at Puncak.

"The Puncak area is one of the popular locations for observing the raptor migration because it has a very wide perspective and the right altitude," he added.

In the long journey of their migration, raptors face threats such as the conversion of forests to agricultural and industrial areas and colliding with an increasing number of skyscrapers. Many birds are unable to continue their journey due to the death factor. “We need a green area for the birds to rest at night. Another thing that is also a threat is poaching and illegal trade," he explained. The Raptor Migratory Watch 2022 was attended by 23 participants consisting of students, photography enthusiasts, and the general public. The final tally counted seven Oriental Honey-buzzards, eight Japanese Sparrowhawks, and four Chinese Sparrowhawks. One individual of local species, the Crested Snake Eagle (Spilornis cheela), was spotted and added to the list.