Seabird Training Webinars for Southeast Asia

The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society (HKBWS, an EAAFP Partner) has been engaging with an international team established for the conservation of the Critically Endangered Chinese Crested Tern since 2009. Since 2016, the team started fieldwork in the wintering ground of the Chinese Crested Tern in Maluku, eastern Indonesia. From 2018 satellite tracking of Greater Crested Terns started and it revealed some of the best sites for ground surveys of wintering Chinese Crested Terns in eastern Indonesia. However, from 2020 our fieldwork had to be postponed due to pandemic Covid-19. To the date, international transportation has not yet been resumed.

In early 2022, HKBWS modified the plans and focus on raising awareness and skills of field workers, students and anyone who is interested in seabirds in the wintering grounds of the Chinese Crested Tern (Indonesia and the Philippines). The project supported a team from Pattimura University of Ambon in Indonesia to survey the project site in Seram in late January 2022. In addition, a national webinar forum on seabirds in Indonesia convened on 5th March 2022. To empower potential seabird researchers and conservationists, the project team organized seabird training webinars for Southeast Asia.

Two full-day webinars of the same instructors and contents were convened on 18th and 19th  March 2022: one in English and the other in Bahasa Indonesia. These two webinars attracted a total of more than 170 participants, mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia but also Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and Myanmar. The webinar covered the following topics:

  • Identification of seabirds (by Kenneth Lam, the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society)
  • Survey methods of seabirds (by Fransisca Noni, Burung Laut Indonesia)
  • Census and monitoring of seabirds (by Naoki Tomita, Yamashina Institute for Ornithology, Japan)
  • Banding and tracking of seabirds (by Don Lyons, National Audubon Society, USA)
  • Seabird site management (by Angelique Songco, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, the Philippines)
  • Outreaching and engaging communities (by Masaharu Hayakawa, Waterbird Study Group Japan)
  • Networking and conservation issues on seabirds (by Simba Chan, Japan Bird Research Association/ Wild Bird Society of Japan)

The training webinars were well-received with many questions from the participants. This is a useful first step in promoting seabird study and conservation in EAAF countries. It is hoped 2022 will be another milestone year on seabird conservation.

Participants of the Seabird training webinars for Southeast Asia © Simba Chan

The year 2022 is designated as “the Year of the Terns” because terns can serve as important flagship species of seabirds in the East Asian – Australasian Flyway (EAAF). Their importance has also been revealed by the presentations of the webinars: Greater Crested Tern, Chinese Crested Tern and Aleutian Tern were presented as examples of banding and tracking of seabirds, the Little Tern Project in Japan was used as an example of how to engage communities in conservation of seabirds, and the international cooperation of the Chinese Crested Terns was presented as one of the best examples of networking resulting in conservation successes.

The project is financially supported by the Japan Fund for Global Environment, National Geographic, Ocean Park Conservation Foundation (Hong Kong) and China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings Limited (CALC). Other supporting organizations included BirdLife International Tokyo Office, Burung Laut Indonesia, Burung Indonesia, Indonesian Bird Banding Scheme, National Audubon Society, and Oregon State University.

2022 Seabird Webinar For SEA 3

Poster for the Seabird training webinar in Indonesian

For materials from the training webinar: click here

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