Second Notice: Foot-It Birdathon, April 25 -May 4

Birds Korea, April 14th 2014

We really do need your support!

Every spring, millions of birds migrate through this region. Some species come to Korea to breed; others continue on to the Amur Basin; still others migrate further still, on to Arctic Russia or even onto Alaska. A few are well-studied; the majority of species are not. There is no region-wide program in place to monitor changes in their populations or their habitat; there is not even a nationwide program.  What information there is on population trends remains scattered and largely unavailable to the general public and to decision-makers. However, we know that much of the bird abundance that impressed earlier generations is disappearing. We know that many shorebird species are in steep decline; that species like the Oriental Stork have been lost as breeding species in the wild; and that roosts of Barn Swallow 100,000-strong that once attracted tourists in Seoul no longer exist. And we also know that declines in these species means a loss of natural ecosystem health, vital to human life too.

An essential first step in halting declines in these and other species is to gather and share best information on their population trends, threats and possible conservation solutions. Birds Korea has therefore been working on a report detailing changes in bird populations in the Republic of Korea since 2011 to present to decision-makers and to participants at this October’s intergovernmental Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) conference (see: http://biodiversity-l.iisd.org/events/cbd-cop-12/). If we prepare and present well, this conference should provide all of us with a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the need to conserve Korean and Asian biodiversity and to help the nation move firmly towards genuinely sustainable development.

This year’s Birdathon will help fund work on this report. The birdathon itself can last for anything from an hour to a week. Simply, go birding on foot any time between April 25th and May 4th; count the number of species you see during that period; and ask your colleagues, friends and family to sponsor you for anything from 100 to 1,000 won per species that you record. All money you collect and send will go towards the production and publication of this Birds Korea CBD report and help to support our attendance at this major event: thank you.

So please spend five minutes, an hour or a day supporting this event – through taking part, sponsorship or through donating prizes to participants. Your support is invaluable.

More on the 2014 Foot-it Birdathon, including sponsor sheets ready for download, will be posted later this week. In the meantime, please send here any questions or comments you might have. Again, thank you!

 

2 comments on “Second Notice: Foot-It Birdathon, April 25 -May 4

  1. Need a little info on the Birdathon. So, this is a walking Birdathon. Is this supposed to limit folks to a single location, where you drive or ride to a location and spend the day birding that spot? Or is it just to say the only birds that count are birds seen while on foot? My reason for asking is because I was planning to bird multiple locations (all would be walked) within a few miles of each other, but I’d need to drive to get to each spot.

  2. Thank you for your mail: always good to hear from you.

    We will be posting more detailed rules and further advice on the blog later this week.

    In the meantime, yes, in the ROK we are asking for participants to get to a certain start-point and then to bird only on foot until the end of the Birdathon. This, we hope, will encourage a few more early-birders to involve; and make it a little healthier and greener than last year (with its ultra-exciting mad-dash movement between sites for our team at least). The idea came about because of an increasing number of birders taking up a similar challenge – birding on foot or on bicycle for a given period – in a number of countries (including the UK with its month-long Foot-It Challenge offering a great and much less wastul new year alternative to national twitching).

    Personally, as planned, and if my legs allow, I will likely walk 25-30km during this year’s event, Might be extremely tiring – but when all is said and done, it will be far less demanding on the body than the migrations undertaken by many of these birds!

    If you could do the same in the US – get somewhere then bird all day on foot – that would be wonderful.

    But if it makes it too difficult to do well, then please stick to your original plan this time.

    We can then all decide together about next year after we asses how this one compares to previous years in terms of participation and fund-raising.

    Good luck – and best wishes and birding!

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