Singapore’s Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) has embarked on an “Engraved Flagging Programme” aimed at enhancing its shorebird ringing programme. This new method will allow it to study the movement of individual birds in Singapore and along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway by identifying the letter and number on the flags. Shorebirds that have been netted will have green over white colour flags on the right leg. Since Aug 2012, the flags even have an alphabet and a number to identify the individual waders.
Field ornithologist Wang Luan Keng is assisting SBWR to monitor the movement of shorebirds in Singapore. She has requested that anyone (naturalist, photographers, birdwatchers) encountering any of these flagged birds, whether in the reserve or elsewhere in Singapore, to please report these sightings by e-mail to NParks_SBWR@nparks.gov.sg.
It is also possible to encounter shorebirds with other colour flags. These, and the birds tagged with the new colour codes, would be netted in other countries and the information would be transmitted back to the SBWR for subsequent analysis.
Please include the following information in your sighting report: Location, Date, Time, Name of Observer, Species, Position and Colour of flags, Lettering and Number on flags and photographs (if available).
A Facebook group “Sungei Buloh Engraved Flag Sightings” has also been set up to share information on sightings of engraved colour flags.
“It is important that we find out where the shorebirds are feeding when they are not in SBWR, so that those areas can get some protection as well. We suspect that besides Mandai, the birds might be feeding elsewhere but we still don’t know where,” wrote Luan Keng.
Wang Luan Keng & YC Wee
(Note: Information provided by Wang Luan Keng and the Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve. Image by David Li of SBWR via the Digital Nature Archive (DNA) of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research LINK)