What started as a public group for bird enthusiasts in a popular social networking site Facebook, the ‘Birds of Bhutan’ group recorded five new species in the country this year alone.
The forum aims at building and expanding the knowledge on birds in the country through bird diversity documentation by simple observation, photography, and sharing information. Tshering Tobgay, one of the group administrators, who is a bird enthusiast himself said Facebook is the most effective medium to educate people about birds and its correlation with the environment.
The members are comprised of birders from Bhutan and birding visitors from around the globe. They voluntarily contribute bird information for the group along with photographic evidence. The experts and ornithologists then review every post made in the group to correct the identity of the bird species.
With over 7000 members today, the group has managed to come up with the first annual report also based on the valuable posts contributed by the members of the group by validating bird list, gathering data of bird present, and record new species in the country.
“We will continue to gather data of birds through the forum and publish various articles and report in the form of research, magazine, journals related to birds in Bhutan,” added Tshering Tobgay. “We are targeting to build a research community through group where our birders can not only enjoy watching birds, but develop and understand the ethics to watch birds, skills to gather data and have a mind set to work collaboratively in conserving the bird species and environment.”
While many view Facebook as a mere social networking website to virtually connect with friends, the bird enthusiasts effectively used it to maintain records of birds and be a resourceful medium in providing birds’ information to relevant stakeholders for intervention. Till date Bhutan has recorded 722 bird species.