06 Jan 20 - Source: Myanmar Times - Conservationists are set to conduct next week a census of migratory birds taking refuge in the country's wetlands to escape the biting winter in their natural habitats.
Daw Thiri Dawei Aung, Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association's (BANCA) managing director, said the census will be carried out at Pyu Lake, Paleik Lake, Sont Ye Lake and Sakar Lake in Mandalay Region.
"We will conduct Asian Winter Birds Census at Inn Daw Gyi Lake in Kachin State, Inle Lake in Shan State and Moe Yoon Gyi Lake in Bago Region," she said.
U Ngwe Lwin, an expert at Fauna and Flora International-Myanmar, said that aside from collecting data on migratory birds the census would also record other bird inhabitants in the wetlands.
"We will collect the migrant birds' population but others birds will be recorded as well," he said. "It is like monitoring activities of water birds for a year."
U Ngwe Lwin said the census would also provide opportunity for conservationists to determine the health of the wetlands.
"But, it is not enough to collect only lake, we should also be collecting data on coastal areas," he said.
Migratory birds are one of the key indicators of the health of wetlands. They provide feeding, resting, roosting and foraging habitats for these species.
Wetland International said the information generated from the census would be used to identify wetlands of high importance for migratory birds.
Winter birds inhabiting in Myanmar's wetland areas migrated through Central Asia Flyway and East Asian-Australasian Flyway.
Daw Thiri Dawei Aung expressed concern over the steady deterioration of the quality of water of the wetlands.
"The water volume in the wetlands is decreasing due to the people's unsystematic use and climate change," she said. "We can know the condition of the wetlands just by observing the entry of migratory birds. Public awareness programs should be provided to sustain these wetlands. It will be more effective with the cooperation of local people.
Despite a law, which punishes people that harm migratory birds or pollute the wetlands, there are still reports of bird poisoning or killing.
Every January, thousands of volunteers across from Asia and Australasia visit wetlands in their country and count waterbirds.
More than 250 bird species were recorded in Indawgyi Lake, Inle Lake and Moeyungyi Lake in 2019.