Malaysian Bird Report hopes to preserve Malaysian birds’ legacy

Senior paediatrician Datuk Dr Amar Singh HSS is an avid bird watcher and an amazing photographer.

He is the editor at the Malaysian Bird Report, which recently released its second volume of the year. The publication has five volumes – three last year, and two this year – and is a quarterly publication.

Dr Amar, who has been bird-watching for 50 years, said the decision to start the Malaysian Bird Report was because there wasn’t one available.

“We recognised that there was a vacuum in Malaysia. Most countries have a bird publication where people can contribute data and make the information freely available,” said Dr Amar, who has published two bird books, numerous bird research articles, online bird images and audio databases. He is passionate about understanding bird behaviour.

“We had one a long time ago, but it died off. So, I talked with some ornithologists in the country, and overseas, and we decided to start a publication.

“Of course, the problem was staffing and money, but everyone on the project is doing it pro bono.”

He added that the aim was to bring together the birdwatching and photography communities to help document Malaysian bird species, bird behaviour and ecology, conservation efforts, new bird sightings and research on Malaysian birds.

“We hope to help Malaysians and others appreciate how beautiful our birds are,” said Dr Amar, who added that the Malaysian Bird Report has received plenty of interest from countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, India, Europe and Japan.

“Some because they want to come and visit our country, others are ornithologists who use the information and incorporate them in other publications.

“We are also content providers for Birds of the World by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, an online bird book. Some of us have become writers of certain Malaysian species.”

Dr Amar recently prepared a collage of Partridges from Sabah for American friends (main image).

Datuk Dr Amar Singh
For those interested in becoming a bird watcher, Dr Amar has three simple rules – partner with an experienced bird watcher, find groups who conduct classes, and hire guides who know the best places.

Dr Amar said the main challenge in being a bird watcher is a shrinking natural environment and deforestation, as well as poaching.

He cited Cameron Highlands as an example of where the number of birds has dropped due to a temperature rise and deforestation.

Another challenge for bird watchers is that the Forestry Department has become more careful, and most forest areas require entry permits.

“We want to watch birds but don’t want to bring too much attention to a nesting bird, or else someone can damage the area, or poach them,” warned Dr Amar.

“For example, Rhinoceros Hornbills nest inside a sealed cavity. And it is quite easy to steal the birds in the cavity.”

For those interested in becoming a bird watcher, Dr Amar has three simple rules – partner with an experienced bird watcher, find groups who conduct classes, and hire guides who know the best places.

“You will also need some equipment, like binoculars. If you have a good guide, you can get amazing photographs,” said Dr Amar.

Those interested in contributing to the Malaysian Bird Report can contact the editorial team at malaysianbirdreport@gmail.com.

FIESTA SAN PEDRO

The Feast Day of St Peter – the patron saint of fishermen, falls on June 29 – but the climax of the four-day Fiesta San Pedro celebration in Malaysia is tomorrow, June 30, at the Portuguese Settlement in Melaka.

Fishing was once a source of income for the Portuguese-Eurasian or Kristang community, which resettled from other parts of Melaka to the Portuguese Settlement, founded by Rev Father AM Corado and Rev Father JP Francois nearly 100 years ago.

As such, the Kristang community celebrates Fiesta San Pedro with colour, pomp, gaiety and fun.

NATSU MATSURI

Experience the vibrant Japanese summer festival – Natsu Matsuri – with traditional games, delicious food, and cultural performances.

Don’t miss out on this unforgettable celebration at Citta Mall in Ara Damansara, Subang Jaya, Selangor, from July 4-7.

There will be a cosplay party and a children’s Japanese costume competition.

ROYAL SELANGOR JAZZ FESTIVAL

The Royal Selangor Jazz Festival returns to the Royal Selangor Visitor Centre on July 14 (10am-10pm).

There will be back-to-back music across four stages, featuring Tay Cher Siang, Janet Lee, The Shang Sisters, Junji Delfino, David Gomes, The Frankie Sixes, WVC Malaysian Jazz Ensemble, and others.

Besides the performances, visitors can enjoy quizzes, jazz film screenings, jam sessions, rare vinyl record booths, food trucks, and more.

Book your tickets now.

Main image by Datuk Dr Amar Singh HSS – (clockwise from top left): A pair of Crested Partridge (Rollulus rouloul), Crimson-headed Partridge (Haematortyx sanguiniceps) and Red-breasted Partridge (Arborophila hyperythra)

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