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P.O. Box 1148 - 10400NanyukiKenya
February 2016 IssueNo. 4
CONSERVATION INACTION
K
enya
has
always
attracted avid bird
watchers due to the
sheer number of species in the
country. The very first bird atlas
conducted inKenyawascompleted
in the 1970swith over 200 birders
involved in the data collection for
the project which was finalised
in 1984. This work led to the
publication of the renowned book
A Bird Atlas of Kenya by Lewis
& Pomeroy (1989). Scientists and
conservationists alike used half
degree cells defined quadrants in
order to conduct the census which
then resulted in the collation of
data that has, and continues to
be used to inform conservation
and scientific research. The Bird
Atlas gave a great representation
of the bird distribution in Kenya
at the time, andwas used inmany
publications thereafter including
numerous regional bird guide
books.
Bird species distribution has
changed considerably since the
first atlas was published; with
some species increasing their
flight range. A good example is
the House Sparrow. There are
also some species that continue to
limit their flight range such as the
EgyptianVulture.There isnoclear
documentation of how much the
species distributions has changed
over the years and so there is an
imminent need for anewbird atlas
to be produced.
The Kenya Bird Map (http://
kenyabirdmap.adu.org.za) is an
internet-based bird distribution
database that employs citizen
scienTISTS tomap the location of
birdsanddescribe theirdistribution
in real time. TheKenya BirdMap
uses a finer grid referred to as a
“pentad”.Thepentads areoverlaid
on themapofKenya, so thatmore
areas in the country are located
in a given pentad. The proposed
data collection thatwill go into the
new atlas will also be conducted
by citizen scientists (volunteer
birderswho visit sites / pentads of
their choice anywhere in Kenya
to map birds). The birds will be
recorded in the order that they are
seenor heard,makingnote of how
many birds are seen every hour.
There are basically two mapping
protocols:
Full protocol: a bird mapping
session that lasts two hours or
more
Adhocprotocol: abirdmapping
session that lasts less than two
hours
The Kenya Bird Map team
together with Laikipia’s Citizen
Science Initiative, invites all
passionate birders in Kenya, both
beginners and professionals, to
take part in this very important
project. In order to conserve and
protect Kenya’s bird species,
knowledge of their distribution is
crucial. Once it is known where
the different species occur, the
bird mapping team will be able
to monitor the health of the
populations as well as the dangers
they face in those respective
ranges. By pooling the effort of
citizens scientists, the Kenya Bird
Map will tell the public about
the distribution of Kenya bird
populationand in sodoingprovide
ProposedKenyabirdmapping initiative
set toboost Laikipia’scitizenscientists initiative
a powerful tool for conservation.
Thiswill in turn contribute greatly
toavian tourismand thusboost the
economy of Counties across the
country.
Laikipia, and the greater Ewaso
landscape embarked on a mission
late 2015 to be Kenya’s very
own Citizen Science destination,
and will be supporting this bird
mapping initiative. The launch
pad for the Citizen Science
Initiative was the Great Grevy’s
Rally (GGR) that took place from
the 29
th
to 31
st
January 2016.
Residents of Laikipia and visitors
alike participated in the collation
and sharing of data that will direct
future efforts, both for scientific
investigation and management of
key, unique territories and their
resources. The essence of Citizen
Science is that volunteers collect
and share information that can be
analysed by scientists and citizen
participants.
Formoreinformationoncitizens
andhowyoucanparticipatee-mail:
GreyCrownedCrane, photobyWashingtonWachira
CitizensScientists indentifyinga
bird.
1,2,3,4,5,6,7 8
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