“Birding in Singapore and the Challenges of the 21st Century” has just been published by Nature in Singapore, the scientific online journal of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, University of Singapore. You can download a PDF file by clicking HERE (#9).
The paper details the changes that need to be urgently implemented to bring the local birdwatching scene to a higher level. Challenging activities need to be incorporated into routine activities if interest in birdwatching is to be maintained. Documenting bird behaviour and studying bird calls and songs are major aspects that citizen scientists can contribute to the ornithological knowledge of the local species. The camera has become a basic necessity in birdwatching and photographs need to be accompanied in any sightings of rarities and difficult species, if the local records committee is to remain creditable.
It is not enough to just report observations in websites and in-house newsletters. There is a need to publish them in scientific journals, making information available to ornithologists and birdwatchers alike. Similarly, it is not enough to compile information into books if manuscripts are not properly reviewed.
Whatever it is, the dynamics of birdwatching in Singapore has changed irreversibly since the early 2000s. And if you are a birdwatcher, photographer, nature enthusiast, ornithologist, citizen scientist… this paper will have something for you.
(Images courtesy of Dr Jonathan WK Cheah)