Bird watching project

18 11 2007

Bird-watching and a small bird banding scheme as a scientific study, an awareness tool for the protection of birds and an educational material for school children in the Jabal Rihane Biosphere Reserve, Lebanon

 Project submitted by

Prof. Dr. Ghassan RAMADAN-JARADI

Beirut, P.O.Box: 11-8281

Beirut-Lebanon

Tel:   961-3-689840. Fax: 961-1-822639

Email:  r-jaradi@cyberia.net.lb

 

 

I-       INTRODUCTION

The pressure form hunting in Lebanon, together with other factors (degradation of habitats, pollution and alien species) have badly impacted the avifauna of the country: the common species density is reduced by 18%, locally threatened species increased 21%, six species have been extirpated from Lebanon (Great Bustard, Houbara Bustard, Little Bustard, Black Francolin, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater and Lesser crested Tern. The latter three are former breeders), and 28 species have stopped breeding in Lebanon (Ramadan-Jaradi & Ramadan-Jaradi, 1999). Despite the ban on hunting in the country, hunters are still active even in breeding season or during the spring migration and do not distinguish between threatened species and game birds.

Biosphere reserves of Lebanon (Arz el Chouf and Jabal Rihane) that are internationally recognized within the framework of UNESCO’s Programme on Man and the Biosphere (MAB) assist in mitigating the pressure of hunting on birds and constitute a refuge for the persecuted species. Biosphere reserves also offer an opportunity for scientific research within the core, buffer and transition zones. They contribute to increased awareness among the public, provide educational material to school teachers and children and assist in the development of local communities through ecotourism and other activities. One of the most important components of ecotourism is bird-watching.

To mitigate the pressure on the birds in the country and allow the biosphere reserves of Lebanon to play their proper role of conservation-development, Dr. Ghassan RAMADAN-JARADI, PhD, ornithology expert of excellence in bird-watching and publisher of several articles on national avifauna, has been conducting awareness and education activities since 1999 in most of the Lebanese natural bird habitats. His present project consists of the following:

1)      Initiating bird-watching techniques in the existing Jabal Rihane biosphere reserve-Lebanon through training sessions and the production of a bird-watching manual.

2)      Mist netting and ringing birds to contribute to an international network of banding, aiming at tracking ringed bird species and determining their origin and destination (scientific component).

3)      Gathering a limited number of people from the public and private sectors, during some mist netting, to enable them by watching birds from a close distance, to learn how to identify and photograph them, and to learn more about their role in the environment (awareness component).

4)      Inviting teachers and school children to attend some mist netting sessions, to educate them about bird biology, enabling them to understand the difference between species and their families or orders, to learn about the ecology and behavior of birds, to see how birds are anatomically equipped for flying, and to understand the relationship between feet and beaks on one side and diet on the other side (educational component).

5)      Training local volunteers from the biosphere reserve in professional bird-watching, so that they can act as guides to visitors and attract national and foreign birdwatchers to their villages and the reserve in cooperation with tour operators (ecotourism: job providing, new source of income and development component).

 

II-    OBJECTIVES

II.1- OVERALL OBJECTIVE

The overall objective of this project is to contribute to the conservation of species and genetic variation, foster economic and human development which is socio-culturally and ecologically sustainable, and to support environmental education and training related to local issues of conservation and sustainable development.

 

II.2- IMMEDIATE OBJECTIVES

         To enable the people of Jabal Rihane Biosphere Reserve in establishing their bird database or checklist that can be sold to interested visitors (income generation) but also can be used as a benchmark list for future monitoring activities.

         To improve the skills of the Jabal Rihane Biosphere Reserve’s staff in terms of increased knowledge and tools required for implementing the bird-watching activities.

         To increase the public’s awareness level concerning the economic value of birds within the environment and to the affordable benefits the birds can give to sustainable conservation through maintaining environmental equilibrium.

         To provide Jabal Rihane Biosphere Reserve with educational tools for school children.

         To provide Jabal Rihane Biosphere Reserve’s staff and local volunteers with a new job opportunities, such as guiding birdwatchers and to allow them help in promoting bird-watching among tour operators.

         To minimize the negative impact of hunters on bird species; particularly, the globally threatened species that are listed in the red data book of IUCN and BirdLife International.

 

III- PROPOSED ACTIVITIES AND EXPECTED OUTPUTS.

To implement the project, it is intended to:

 

Activity 1: Start a small bird-banding scheme at Jabal Rihane Biosphere Reserve to satisfy not only the needs of scientific knowledge but also the curiosity of potential birdwatchers, willing to understand and learn more about the birds’ ecology.

Output 1: Established checklist of ringed bird species in the Jabal Rihane Biosphere Reserve.

Output 1.1: The checklist of ringed birds is successfully used as a benchmark for monitoring purposes.

Output 1.2: The checklist is distributed to birdwatchers and interested visitors as a sensitizing material, and to school teachers and students as an educational tool.

Output 1.3: Ringed birds benefit the international bird banding network/ community and augment the information about the origin and destination of bird species.

 

Activity 2: Ring birds in presence -(at different times)- of school teachers and children, Biosphere Reserve’s staff and potential guides, hunters from the local communities, volunteers from local communities and local NGOs, local municipalities and candidate birdwatchers; and provide them with details about biology and ecology of ringed bird species.

Output 2: Peaceful relationship between both bird and man is strengthened and a new “aviophilic ( bird loving)” generation is built. Such relationships are usually (but not obligatory) the result of dealing closely with living birds.

Output 2.1: Hunters become more aware of the importance of sustainable hunting because they are aware of which species of birds should not be hunted and why they should be saved.

Output 2.2: The Public becomes aware of the economical importance of birds and of their role in the environment.

Output 2.3: Teachers and students acquire new knowledge, complementing that found in their books, and they appreciate more the role played by birds in nature.

Output 2.4: Public and private sectors gradually become more supportive of hunting management issues in Lebanon.

Output 2.5: Biosphere Reserve’s staff, guides and potential guides acquire the necessary experience, upgrading their skills in order to prepare for future income generating bird-watching trips and eco-guiding tours.

 

Activity 3: Conduct, in presence of stakeholders, bird-watching training sessions prior or after each ringing operation in biosphere reserves.

Output 3:  Improved skills in identification of bird species.

Output 3.1: Hunters will be able to distinguish between game birds and other species that merit protection. This is a pre-requisite for obtaining hunting permit.

Output 3.2: Reserve guides will be equipped with a robust tool to lead bird-watching groups and to sensitize visitors.     

Output 3.3: New markets will be opened to the villagers (sale of binoculars, telescopes, field bird guidebooks, hiking shoes, etc.).

Output 3.4: The birds will enjoy a protected area where hunters will respect the rules and contribute towards saving the threatened species.

Output 3.5: Bird-watching becomes an important source of income for many people and tour operators.

Output 3.6: An annotated checklist is produced for the Jabal Rihane Biosphere Reserve.

Output 3.7: Published findings on the International and Regional Biosphere Reserve Websites.

 

IV- DELIVERY OF THE PROJECT

         Interpreted list of the ringed birds

         Interpreted list of the recovered birds

         Annotated checklist of the birds of the Jabal Rihane Biosphere Reserve

         Manual for assisting guides and volunteers in bird-watching

         List of schools benefited

         List of other stakeholders profited

         Assessment of the project and analysis of its strength and weakness.

 

V-    WORKPLAN

Two field trips per month, except when weather is inadequate, in the Jabal Rihane Biosphere Reserve, to implement the activities indicated above. The activities include bird-watching with binoculars, trapping with mist nets and ringing. Rings and ringing tools are to be purchased in accordance with the two offers shown below in annexes.

 

The activities will be implemented by the Consultant Ornithologist, Dr Ghassan RAMADAN-JARADI with the assistance of the management team of the Biosphere Reserve.

The following Time table shows the details:

Proposed start date: Any date    

Proposed end date: After 10 months from the start.

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

Purchase of rings, mist nets and ringing tool (see offers in Annexes below).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Establish contacts with stakeholders and prepare a time table for the participation of each category of people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Implement activity 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Implement activity 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Implement activity 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Production of interpreted list of the ringed birds in the biosphere reserve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Production of interpreted list of the recovered birds in the biosphere reserve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Production of an annotated checklist of the birds of the biosphere reserve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Production of a Manual for assisting guides and volunteers in bird-watching.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

List of schools benefited

List of other stakeholders profited

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assessment of the project and analysis of its strength and weakness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Publish findings on the International and Regional Biosphere Reserve Websites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cost

Description

(suggested Items)

Consultant’s contribution

US$

Contribution requested

US$

Total

US$

Office running cost

Transportation: 20 outings (including 4 preparatory outings)

1000

1000

Equipment

$2160(in kind)

4 binoculars x$200 + 2 telescopes x $600 + 4 field guidebooks x $40

3000

See offers below

5160

Manual for bird watching preparation ready for printing

2000

2000

Annotated Checklist

750

750

Interpreted list of ringed and recovered birds

750

750

Reporting, assessment of findings & evaluation of results

 

1200

1200

Total

2160

9518

11660

 

 

 

 

ANNEXES

(1)Equipment to be purchased

From PORZANA LIMITED

Elms Farm, Pett Lane

Icklesham, East.Sussex TN36 4AH

 

Tel No: 01797 226374

Fax No: 01797 226374

E-mail: porzana@wetlandtrust.org

Mobile: 07702 453944

 

Description

Quantity

Price per 1,000

Total Value

2.0 mm alloy (size O)

1,000

37.00

37.00

2.3 mm alloy (size A)

1,000

38.00

38.00

2.5/4.0 mm alloy (size B)

1,000

118.00

118.00

2.8 mm alloy (size C)

1,000

39.00

39.00

2.8 mm incoloy (size D)

1,000

73.00

73.00

4.3 mm alloy (size F)

1,000

49.00

49.00

5.25 mm incoloy (size H)

1,000

80.00

80.00

Small order charge

 

 

125.00

Delivery Charge

 

 

10.00

TOTAL INVOICE VALUE

 

 

£910.25

Or

$1860

 

 

 

 

(2) Equipment to be purchased

From Michael G.R. Armelin

Rua Mouzinho de Albuquerque 11,
Murches, 2755-243 Alcabideche
Portugal

Tel:  351-21-4870357
Fax: 351-21-4851450
Mobile:  91-931 7094

 

Description

Quantity

Total Value

Mist net 16mm mesh X 240 cm height X 12m length 4 shelves tethered top and bottom.

10

610.00

Small Pliers                     

Pair

35.70

Removing pliers               

Pair

37.60

Digital balance                 

One

152.00

Pesola   100gr

one

40.00

Postage

 

120.00

Tax

17%

148.8

TOTAL INVOICE VALUE

 

US$1024.10

The above prices are certainly subject to minor changes at the purchase time

 

Best regards

Ghassan RAMADAN JARADI

08/10/2005

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