… following the country’s inclusion in one more global bird-watching event

Birding: Bhutan is going to participate in “Global Big Day”, an international annual bird-watching event contested by birders across the world.

Initiated in 2015 by eBird, an online checklist programme, the even begins on May 14.

For the first “Global Big Day” held last year, 6,085 species were reported on 44,173 checklists from 13,664 participants across 135 countries.

On the big day, birders will count the number of birds seen or heard and submit a checklist of the day’s observations to eBird, which is based in Ithaca, New York in the United States of America. eBird was introduced to revolutionize the way the birding community reports and accesses basic information about birds, their abundance and distribution, according to its website.

Bhutan will be entering the “Global Big Day” for the first time after Bajo Higher Secondary School teacher, Tshering Tobgay, a keen birder managed to enroll Bhutan into the contest recently.

“Bhutan wasn’t included so I wrote to the organizers to enlist our country in the contest,” Tshering Tobgay said.

Confirming Bhutan’s entry, eBird wrote on its website: “Tshering Tobgay will be out in Bhutan on May 14, representing Bhutan for the first time in the Global Big Day. Best of luck.”

“I invite all my birder friends to join this global event. Let us include birds of Bhutan as part of the world too,” Tshering Tobgay wrote on his Facebook page following Bhutan’s inclusion.

As only a handful of Bhutanese birders are aware of Bhutan’s entry into the contest, Tshering Tobgay is hopeful that the number of birders will increase with the recent news.

Thimphu Division Forest Ranger, Yejay, another keen birdwatcher plans to join the contest along with other birder friends. “I would like to contest since it is going to help create awareness on birds of Bhutan at a global level,” Yejay said.

Moreover, the contest is expected to raise awareness on the importance of birds as species in the eco-system. Some will participate to learn more about birdwatching.

“I am thinking to contest since its going to help enhance bird photography and exchange birdwatching methods,” Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park, senior forester, Kado Rinchen said.

In February, four birders, Nim Tshering, Rinchen Dorji and Tshering Tobgay with tourist, Broadie Lewis also contested in first Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) in Bhutan, another annual event organized by eBird. GBBC usually focuses on documenting birds from one’s backyard.

During the four-day GBBC, the four birders contributed 151 species from 18 checklists, which secured Bhutan the 64th place from among 150 countries.

May 14 is also marked as an International Migratory Bird Day according to eBird.

Tempa Wangdi