Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Ashely Brian, secretary of the Uganda Bird guiding club, has emerged second in the inter-continental birding competitions held recently in Singapore. The competition, which attracted participants from 78 countries, was aimed at testing birders on different bird species across the globe.
Birdwatching, or birding, is a form of wildlife observation in which the observation of birds is a recreational activity or citizen science. It can be done with the naked eye, through a visual enhancement device like binoculars and telescopes, by listening for bird sounds, or by watching public webcams is allowed, in competitions.
“We had to identify bird species by their sound, family and appearance,” noted Ashley upon his return at Entebbe airport on Saturday evening. Some of the species the birders were told to identify according to Ashely were new to Ugandans.
“I had never seen them but I was able to identify them according to the different bird families,” he said. He attributes his performance to the many bird species that Uganda is endowed with.
He was awarded a silver medal, a full set of kits used in bird watching and a sum of cash he didn’t disclose. Ashley expressed disappointment that several bird species in Uganda are at the verge of extinction because people eat them while the trees and forests where the birds live on are being cut down.
John Kamugisha, a bird watching guide under the Birdlife International and American Bird Association challenged the Ministry of Tourism to promote bird watching by training more guides in the sector.
He also indicated that marketing bird watching to the outside world should always be paramount. The intercontinental birding competitions held in Singapore end of last month, saw a Costa Rica birder emerge top. Papua New Guinea participants came third after Uganda’s Brian .
Malawi and Russia were in fourth and fifth positions respectively.
Uganda has over 1080 bird species. The most common are the crested crane, Ostrich, ducks, geese, waterfowls, flamingos, doves and bustards among others.
The country has several bird sanctuaries including the Botanical gardens in Entebbe, Ziika, Mabamba and the Nsiirwe in Kalangala District. Other Sanctuaries are in Fort Portal and Lake Bunyonyi in Kabale District.