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Bird watching in Thailand
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  1. #1
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    talking Bird watching in Thailand

    Bird Watching in Thailand
    Antony Lynam

    One of the great attractions for nature tourists visiting Thailand is the diversity of environments extending across mountain peaks, lowland rainforests, mangroves, coral reefs, farmland and urban jungles. Within a day, or even a few hours travel, one can easily make the transition between these places and witness natural marvels large and small.

    For wildlife enthusiasts no group maintains interest and pleasure more than birds. While special efforts are required to see in the wild charismatic species such as elephants and primates, birds are found across the entire spectrum of environments from pristine to severely degraded areas.
    Part of the attraction for birds lies in their diversity. Nine hundred and seventy eight bird species have been recorded in Thailand, approximately 10% of the world's total. At the Isthmus of Kra between latitudes 11° and 13°N, a major biogeographic transition between Indochinese and Sundaic forests produces a special diversity of birds with a total of 152 species of birds reaching the northern or southern range limits of their geographic ranges.

    Two-thirds of Thai birds are residents, the remainder are seasonal visitors. Locations where migrants congregate, often in large numbers, are highly accessible making Thailand a special destination for birdwatchers.

    Many birds are susceptible to human disturbance because they have small geographic ranges, a result of specific habitat requirements. For example, Deignan's babbler - a non-descript forest bird is found on Doi Chiang Dao and nowhere else in the world. Gurney's pitta are only found in lowland rainforests. Fewer than 30 birds remain in the last known population in Thailand at Khao Nor Chuchi, Krabi. Efforts by local and international conservation agencies strive to increase protection efforts and reafforest areas encroached by rubber farmers, though time is running out. With approximately 20% of the birds found in Thailand being globally or regionally endangered species, this makes the country a birdwatching haven for bird enthusiasts.

    IDENTIFYING BIRDS
    Birds are distinguished first by their size and shape. They range from diminutive flowerpeckers, sunbirds and white-eyes, about the size of your index finger, to lanky storks and egrets that stand almost a metre tall, and Green peafowl with its spectacular 2m tail. The form of the beak offers vital clues about the bird's diet. For example a thin curved tube for sipping nectar or a sharp hook for tearing flesh. The pattern and colour of plumage can tell apart the sexes as in pheasants where males are bright and striking, and females are drab and dowdy. By far the most useful character for identification is a bird's voice. This is especially true in forests where on average 90% of birds are hidden from view. The most experienced birdwatchers in the tropics know their songs and calls.
    BEST TIMES TO SEE BIRDS
    The nesting season is a good time to be watching birds. During this most active time in a bird's life a variety of vocalizations and behaviours are exhibited. In Thailand, as in other tropical countries, the nesting season coincides with the period when food is in abundant supply. A bird expends much energy in courting, mating, incubating eggs, defending a nest and feeding offspring. Most birds nest during the transition between dry and wet seasons when new leaves and grass shoots sprout. This occurs from February to June. Certain birds depend on the availability of water and nest throughout the rainy season.

    Migrants are best observed during their passage into or out of the country, or as they pass through on their way to other places. Most conspicuously, half a million ducks spend their winter in Thailand, feeding and resting in watery roosts from Chiang Saen to Thale Noi. Thousands of garganey and Lesser treeduck flock during January and February.

    Shorebirds like sandpipers, stints and plovers migrate long-distances between nesting grounds in Eurasia and tropical Asia and wintering grounds in Australasia. They stop to feed in Thailand's mudflats and mangroves during September to May where they stock up on invertebrates and crustaceans. During October, the southward migration of hawks over peninsular Thailand is an avian spectacle. Chinese goshawks, Japanese sparrowhawks, crested honey buzzards, black bazas, and others are seen coasting on thermals in their thousands daily. Less conspicuous is the blue-winged pitta, a ground dwelling bird that arrives with the rains to nest in deciduous and bamboo forests, and escapes the hot season for the wetter forests of Malaysia and Sumatra.

    WHERE TO FIND BIRDS
    Given that many birds are denizens of certain times, places, habitats or seasons, the amateur naturalist can remember them by association.

    PARKS, TEMPLES AND GARDENS
    Some species like barn swallows, magpie robins, mynas and starlings can be found around Bangkok and environs. Lumphini Park, a heavily-used green area in the city centre supports a variety of birds with over 90 species having been recorded there. Temples near Bangkok and Ayutthaya preserve pockets of the natural landscape including birds such as black kites, parakeets and woodland birds that are characteristic of the habitats.

    RICE PADDIES, MARSHES AND PONDS
    Rice paddies, marshes and ponds away from built-up areas support breeding populations of Asian openbill stork and many other waterbirds.

    Key sites: Suphan Buri-Ayutthaya and Beung Boraphet.

    PEAT SWAMP FORESTS
    Almost the last vestige of Thailand's peat swamp forest at Phru To Daeng or Chalerm Phrakiat Wildlife Sanctuary in Narathiwat supports Lesser adjutants, a kind of stork, along with several birds characteristic of Sundaic forests.

    LAKES, RIVER SANDBANKS AND REEDBEDS
    Lakes, river sandbanks and reedbeds preserve unique assemblages of wintering waterfowl and perching birds.
    Key sites: Chiang Saen, Fang Hot Springs, and Thaton.

    AGRICULTURAL LANDSCAPES
    Agricultural landscapes across the country support species that tolerate human presence and include kites, rollers, bee-eaters, coucals, weavers and bulbuls.

    SANDY BEACHES, MANGROVE AND TIDAL FLATS
    Sandy beaches are attractive to tourists but are barren habitats for birds, while little-visited mangroves and tidal flats that are rich in nutrients and microorganisms, are favoured feeding haunts for migrant waders. Some birds like the Brown-winged kingfisher and Mangrove pitta, are entirely restricted to mangroves while Mangrove whistlers and flyeaters rarely leave the area.
    Key sites: Samut Sakhon, Ban Laem in Petchburi, and Krabi.

    OFFSHORE ISLANDS
    Offshore islands such as Phi Phi, Libong, Surin and the Similans support fewer species than similar sized mainland habitats but some such as Nicobar and Pied Imperial pigeon are entirely restricted to these refuges.

    SEASCAPES
    While there are fewer seabirds in the warm Thai waters compared with those in the northern and southern hemispheres, frigate birds, skuas, boobies, and terns are among the rewards for marine birders.

    FORESTS
    Most resident Thai birds depend upon forests for their survival. Rainforests in the extreme south support the greatest avian diversity, while seasonally dry dipterocarp, mixed deciduous and evergreen forests in the centre and north.

    Key sites: Khao Yai National Park, Kaeng Krachan National Park, Khao Soi Dao, Nam Nao National Park, Khao Nor Chuchi, Ban Nai Chong, and Hala Bala Wildlife Sanctuary.

    MOUNTAINS
    Sibias, minlas, and laughing thrushes are relatives of species found in the Himalayas and southern China, and can only be found in mountain forests. Following surveys of high mountain peaks in the last decade, at least 20 new species or 2% of the total have been added to the lists for Thailand.
    Key sites: Doi Pha Hom Pok, Doi Chiang Dao, Doi Inthanon, Doi Ang Khang, and Doi Suthep.

    By visiting these enchanting destinations, travellers can appreciate the avian wonders that Thailand offers and better understand the importance of the wild and not so wild areas that preserve them.

    Contact information:
    Bird Conservation Society of Thailand (BCST)*
    69/12 Soi Ramindra 24, Joorakaebau, Ladprao, Bangkok 10230, Thailand
    Email: bcst@box1.a-net.net.th
    Tel: 66-(0)-2943-5965
    Web sites:
    www.bcst.org/index_ebird.html
    www.thai.net/bcst
    * The Bird Conservation Society of Thailand (BCST) is a BirdLife Partner

    Oriental Bird Club (OBC)
    c/o Uthai Treesucon, 723/1 Mu 2 Soi Ram Intra, Joorakhaebua, Bangkok 10230.
    E-mail:
    utree@loxinfo.co.th
    mail@orientalbirdclub.org
    Web site: www.orientalbirdclub.org

    Wildlife Conservation Society - Thailand Programme
    P.O. Box 170, Laksi, Bangkok 10210
    Tel: +662-503 4478, +662-503 4479
    Fax: +662-503 4096
    Email: thailand@wcs.org

    Reference information:
    Field guide
    Robson, C. 2002.
    A field guide to the birds of Thailand.
    Asia Books, Bangkok. 272pp.

  2. #2
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    I have a pet "Sulfure Crested Cockatoo" it is a big powerful bird with a big claws and a powerful beak.
    I let it walk around my back yard of my house as he does not like flying.
    One day a Germain Shepard dog came into my yard as the gate was open, and the dog came to close sniffing around my Cockatoo, all of a sudden my Cockatoo, chased after the dog and bit it on the nose, the dog yelped and ran away, My bird is very dangerous as when it bits it sticks his claws in and will bit very hard, My cockatoo sharpens his beak like a raser blade and can cut throught wood with ease.
    My Cockattoo is now 37 years old, but they live till there about 75 to 80 years old. My bird is very dangerous and will bite as he thinks he's a gard dog, as he has not developed a feer of people like a wild one has.
    Wild Sulfer crested Cockatoo's are very common in Sydney and tourists feed them in the Batanic Gardens Next to the Sydney Opera House, these cockatoo's are much more friendly then mine.

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