Belau National Museum Education Campaign on the Northern Peleliu Lkes

During the 2020 migratory season, the Belau National Museum and the Palau Conservation Society embarked on 6 trips to the Northern Peleliu Lkes.  During the 2021 migratory season our 1st and 2nd team trips to the Northern Peleliu Lkes were during September 14th and October 12th 2021.  During October 9th, 2021, we celebrated 2021 October Big Day and World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) with birdwatching activities throughout Palau.  The aim of WMBD is to raise awareness on the importance of ecological connectivity for migratory birds.  The 2021 WMBD theme was “Sing, Fly, Soar – Like a bird!”  This theme invited people everywhere to connect and re-connect with nature by actively listening to – and watching birds – wherever they are. The theme appeals to people around the world to use their own voices and creativity to express their shared appreciation of birds and nature.

As migratory birds connect many countries, their conservation requires cooperation between these countries and across national and international boundaries. Most migratory birds flying to Palau stay at the Northern Peleliu Lkes for the entire migratory season or use the site as a critical stop-over habitat as it continues its journey.   The BNM with our partners are conducting an Awareness Campaign on the importance and conservation efforts at this site to ensure the survival of migratory birds. Conservation consortium partners from the marine, cultural, agricultural, and tourism sector participated in our Peleliu Lkes sand flats bird watching event. We thank the Small Grants Program, Global Environment Facility, Peleliu State, Palau Conservation Society, Kaudiais, Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Environment- Bureau of Marine Resources for their support. 

Since 2020, we have observed hundreds of Whimbrels, Red-necked Stints, Greater Sand Plovers, Ruddy Turnstones, and many other migratory birds. Observations include the endangered Far Eastern Curlew and Great Knot. Several birds had color coded flags on their legs that indicate they flew all the way from China, Russia, Taiwan, Japan, and perhaps New Zealand, to rest and feed at Northern Peleliu Lkes. These winged ambassadors require our good stewardship and protection to ensure their well-being and safety during their long migratory journeys in the East-Asian Australasian Flyway.

During September 14, 2021, the BNM Natural History team (Ann Kitalong, Milang Eberdong, Sholeh Hanser, Naito Soaladaob, and Niro Nobert), and PCS Communication and Outreach Officer, Rimuu Williams, observed over 26 species and 771 birds at Northern Peleliu Lkes including 1 of the globally endangered Far Eastern Curlews and a record number of 13 endangered Great Knots. Large populations of the Greater Sand Plovers (189) and Ruddy Turnstones (197) were observed. 

During October 3, 2021, BNM Research Associate, Glenn McKinlay observed over 1,500 birds representing 42 species including the endangered Great Knot (7), and large populations of Whimbrels (417), Red-necked Stints (500), and Gray-tailed Tattlers (192).

October Big Day was Saturday, October 9, 2021. More than 33,000 birdwatchers from 195 countries observed 7,269 species.  This was the highest global participation ever!  In Palau, 63 species of birds were recorded by 13 participants and 105 checklists were submitted by 8 birders.

During October 12, the BNM team (Ann Kitalong, Milang Eberdong, Sholeh Hanser, Naito Soaladaob, Niro Nobert, and Research Associate, Glenn McKinlay), and the PCS team, (Director Michelle Ngirutang and Communication and Outreach Program Manager, Heather Ketebengang) observed over 1,241 birds representing 32 species.  Species observed included a record number of Gull-billed Terns (5); the globally endangered Far Eastern Curlew (1); and the endangered Great Knot (7).  

Each first Saturday of the month we are birdwatching at Long Island Park from 6am to 7:30am.  Please join us this 2021 migratory season in Palau to observe, record, and welcome our winged ambassadors from afar.

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