Fraser's Hill International Bird Race is a popular nature appreciation event held every year at the end of May or in the early week of June.
It is organized by the Fraser's Hill Development Corporation of Pahang and usually co-sponsored by the Malaysian Nature Society and the Malaysian WWW for Nature.
For local and international birdwatchers, the cool highlands of Fraser’s Hill is a real haven where they can get to watch and see more than 260 species of birds, not only of the endemic and local varieties but also migratory birds.
And the bird communities found at Fraser's Hill range from the common to the exotic and the extremely rare species.
This Fraser's Hill International Bird Race is actually a fun event where human participants and nature lovers, from Malaysia and overseas, will outdo each other to sight, identify and record the most number of bird species within a set time frame and location in this cool highlands.
It is definitely not a quick dash flight or relay race between birds.
And so the basic requirements for participants in this fun nature event are a good pair of eyes, ears, binoculars, perhaps a torchlight, a guidebook on birds, and a pen and notebook to record the sightings.
Of course an avid birder will usually bring along his long-zoom digital camera or video-camera to record his sightings.
But any person who previously never could tell a bird from a bat (or a squirrel, maybe..) can take part in this educational and fun event.
In fact every year the Fraser's Hill International Bird Race has a few categories, where young children, students and family groups can participate, with prizes awarded.
P.S. --- In case you wish to stay at Fraser's Hill, visit this Pahang Hotels and Resorts Directory for the list of hotels and resorts at Fraser's Hill and surrounding areas.
Participants in this Fraser's Hill International Bird Race are formed into teams of three (or more) and they will set out to move and settle at various strategic spots to scan the treetops and bushes, and to listen to the tell-tale calls of the birds.
They will try to identify and record as many species of birds their eyes, ears, binoculars and telescopes can locate.
Birds can be identified not only by their physical appearance and feathers, but also by the peculiar sounds they make. Different tweets, chirps, screeches, and songs might make for a different specie from that originally thought.
So participants of this Fraser's Hill International Bird Race must listen carefully to the tune and melodious music made by the bird.
Different birds will make different chirps, cheeps, whistles, shrills, and maybe give out short and repeated chick, chick, chick and twiddle-dee-dee happy sounds. Some are very noisy while others sort of "make a statement" and then stay put or fly away in strict silence. Well, it’s their unique identity.
There are tips and guidance to the competitors given by the organisors of this Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race on the best way to identify as many birds as possible.
Perhaps the most important tip is for the teams to ensure that silence be maintained. Strict silence will ensure that the identifying or characteristic voice of the bird can be heard.
Sometimes we are so joyous and eager at spotting a bird that we shout to our team-mates. Well, that might scare away the bird.
So maintaining our silence will also ensure that the birds will not fly away, disturbed by the existence of outsiders, especially human beings.
Did I say somewhere that we, human beings, have a bad reputation with other creations of nature?
They normally associate us as hunters, killers and rampaging beings. That is why smaller animals and birds usually scamper and fly away when humans are around!
And to all birders, remember, the bird's interest comes first. Do not disturb them or their nests, their youngs or surroundings.
Do not stress them.
Go away if you think the bird feels threatened or stressed, especially if you're around its nest.
Among the exotic and colorful birds found in Fraser's Hill and that are possibly spotted in the Fraser's Hill International Bird Race are the mountain imperial pigeon, silver-eared mesia, mountain tailorbird, great hornbill, long tailed sibia and chestnut-capped laughing thrush.
The commonest bird specie and one that is easily spotted by competitors of this Fraser's Hill International Bird Race is perhaps the mountain fulvetta, although with its dull color it could be quite easily overlooked.
So take a closer look at the bird perching on the tree or bushes, and study the bird's features. And when sure, then it's one more addition to the list.
Then there is the colorful bird, the chestnut-capped laughing thrush, grey-colored with its bright orange beak and legs.
They normally fly in pairs or in small groups. Thrushes usually make loud noises wherever they go, but those are sweet, cheerful sounds, especially in the morning.
Also found there are the long-tailed broadbill, the black headed bulbul and the crimson-breasted wood patridge.
The small streaked spider hunter can also be spotted sipping nectar from the flowers, or perching, anxiously looking out for spiders and insects.
The rare migratory bird, the blue-winged pitta, normally stops by at Fraser's Hill from its migratory flight from Japan and Siberia before proceeding south to Australia.
Well, there are more than 260 species there and within a day perhaps more than fifty could be identified and recorded. A good list approaching 100 birds could be a winner in this popular Fraser's Hill International Bird Race.
The information obtained and gathered from this Fraser's Hill International Bird Race is valuable because the organisors could later analyse the current situation of the bird population and note the existence of new birds and species in the area or the loss or reduction of existing bird species.
It is an environment-friendly sort of survey or census of the bird communities living in the cool highlands of Fraser's Hill.
And in the event of dwindling number of birds or certain species, necessary actions could then be taken such as by making the necessary measures to lure back those birds.
We know, for instance, that any increase in temperature to the cool highlands will attract the lower montane birds, like hornbills, to go higher up the highlands, while those birds that relish and live in cool climates will die or disappear when they migrate to other cooler areas.
The unscrupulous felling of trees and hill-slopes development will make the highlands warmer, thus species of birds relishing the cool temperatures will then move away, or die in the face of new eco-systems that cannot sustain their feeding habitat, putting them in danger of possible extinction.
So, let’s preserve and maintain the environment, its ecological systems and forests.
Don't allow commercial greed to deprive future generations from enjoying the variety of melodious songs and the multitude of vibrant colors of birdies in Fraser's Hill.
Well, hopefully, the Fraser's Hill International Bird Race held annually in the delightful state of Pahang would have attained its goal if participants comprising of families, students and the public, are made aware of the importance of conserving the environment and nature.
It is for us in this generation to preserve nature for our future generations.
As always, from me ...
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